Raph's March 2004 Musical Overview

Aussie rockers The Vines show they have all the makings of a decent rock and roll band, with the small exception of a decent musicianship. Second album Winning Days, is a mediocre-at-best attempt to fuse the dynamic of Nirvana and The Beatles, and fails.

Madrugada are a new name to UK shores but will soon be quickly established if Grit is anything to go by. The Norwegian outfit inspire pulsating rhythms and a Nick Cave-styled vocal attack, and are hard to ignore once they have graced your stereo.

Zero 7’s sophomore album When It Falls is a blissful collection of sunshine-drench chill, just when the genre had moved away from the Ibiza hedonism. Again utilising the same vocalists as they did on Simple Things, Hardaker and Binns have maintained, and then expanded a winning formula.

Ultra-successful million-selling Spanish punk-poppers Dover are trying to break the UK market, and they deserve to with The Flame, which is a fun, thirty minute roller coaster ride of sweaty power chords and unrefined rock.

It’s always the quiet ones you should watch, as former Hole and Smashing Pumpkins bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur proves with her scintillating self-titled debut album. With fine rock heritage and an iconic presence, Auf Der Maur might have stolen Courtney’s crown from under her nose.

Comet’s On Fire release a blistering assault on the nostalgic senses with Field Recordings From The Sun, which harks back to psychedelic, drug-crazed rock in a Woodstock field. If Hendrix was still alive, he'd sound like Comets On Fire.

Rock’s answer to the Addams Family, the Horrorpops, release a ghoulish bag of fun punk horror with Hell Yeah!, an album that could earn the Copenhagen band a cult following, or at least give the listener a more pleasant appreciation for all things undead!

March 2004 Album Of The Month

Album of the month for March was the fine second album from sub-pop acoustic/indie-rockers The Shins. Chutes Too Narrow has finally received a UK release, and conjures up brilliant summer feelings with the best Violent Femmes factors they could muster. Short, and very sweet, The Shins have crafted a popwork of sparkling strumming genius.

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