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Designer Magazine Top Ten Tunes

Date: W/c 13.02.05

1. Cabin Crew Star To Fall
Data Records
2. Brigade Safe Hands
3. Rooster Rooster
Sony BMG 
4. The Explosion Black Tape
Tarantulas Records 
5. Days Of Worth The Western Mechanism
Visible Noise 
6. The Black Velvets 3345
7. The Ga Gas Tonight The Midway Shines
8. Patrick Wolf Wind In The Wires
9. Doves Some Cities
10. Fierce Girl What Makes A Girl Fierce?
 Red Flag / Horny Pony

Cabin Crew's "Star To Fall" is the sort of record which will be embraced by the white shirt brigade as the anthem of the Chav's, but it's hard to deny that this tune is set to be the banger of the year. Taking off where Eric Prydz left with "Call On Me", this track takes the vocal sample from Boy Meets Girl "Waiting For A Star To Fall" puts it through the filter adds a four to the four beat. Simple and effective, cheesy as f**k and as 80s as the School Disco revival.

It's never been fashionable to list Placebo and Feeder as your main influences, but it may be Brigade's saving grace when the emo scene crashes and burns and people crave honest, heartfelt and passionate rock songs. We've watched Brigade over the past 12 months grow from a band who know where they want to be to actually realizing the songs in their head. The latest demos "Safe Hands", "I'll Be Your Emergency" and a re-recorded version of "Go Slow" are beefed up by the addition of new guitarist James Plant. The band are currently playing selected dates with Fightstar (Brigade's lead singer / guitarist Will Simpson is the older brother of Charlie Simpson) but given time, Brigade will stand out on their own as one of Britain's shining rock bands.

When Rooster first released "Come Get Some" we were the first to admit that we we're sceptical. It wasn't the fact that people were quick to compare them to the likes of Busted or McFly, it was the fact that they sounded like a carbon copy of Brit Rockers Reef. When "Staring At The Sun" stole the riff from Oasis' "Champagne Supernova" and a middle eight from Haven it became a running joke in the office as to which indie band they would steal from next. However an instore appearance at HMV proved to us that Rooster are more than just another pop-rock crossover band, they had more in common with the Britpop bands of old than the Noise Next Door. "Standing In Line" sounds like The Rolling Stones and Free, "Platinum Blind" has a huge Led Zep style riff that John Squire could have used on "The Second Coming". "Deep And Meaningless" sits somewhere between Bon Jovi and Robbie Williams, but somehow remains listenable with blues licks all over the place. In 12 months time Rooster could be the biggest band in Britain...and let's face it, rather them than Keane

Boston punk band The Explosion have split fans with their "Black Tape" album and without hearing their 2 previous independent albums it's hard to gauge why. Coming across somewhere between a high gloss version of the Clash and a rough and ready Green Day the band maul their way through 12 tracks. The Explosion are one of those bands who bottle and distil the true sound of punk rock to three minutes. Anger, disillusionment, despair are omnipresent, but the delivery is one universal message that demands you jump around like a nutter. "Filthy Insane", "I Know" and "Grace" are modern punk classics whether this major label debut sells 20 copies or 2 million.

Days Of Worth's "The Western Mechanism" starts off as a direction less dirge for the first four tracks and then "Take Me Through" kicks in and it all makes sense. It's a shame because at least half this album has all the hallmarks of a great debut album. Opener "Standard Suburban Anthem" in truth could be any local rock band, at best it's a good tribute to Therapy. It's the same for the tracks leading up to the aforementioned "Take Me Through". An urgent track bursting with energetic buzzsaw guitars until the breakdown of "be quiet, be quiet I can't hear myself think". "Youth Base Setter" sounds like Manson, shiny clear guitar riffs melting down to the crunching power chords and 3 piece harmonies. "Narcolepsy" with it's driving bass line could quite easily be a comeback song from the reformed Pixies. Buy this album, download the last 6 tracks to your MP3 player and you've got the best tracks from a hit and miss debut.

The Black Velvets "3345" is the missing link between Primal Scream's "Rocks" and The Datsuns "Harmonic Generator". A dirty sleazy rock and roll riff that has already attracted attention from the likes of The Who and John Squire, both of which who they supported last year. The track is about the love and hate relationship they have with the bar on Parr Street, Liverpool. This band are about as far removed from the current crop of Liverpool as you can imagine.

We've seen The Ga Ga's live so many times it's hard to separate "Tonight The Midway Shines" from the live shows. The image is so intertwined with the music it's almost impossible hear the likes of "Sex" or "Swallow Me" without thinking of Tommy and the boys sleazing their way across the country with nubile girls in plentiful supply. It's this decadence and obedience to rock n roll which makes their arrival on the scene ever more important. For too long the rock scene has been taken over by nice boys you could take home to your mum- The Ga Gas would probably try to f*ck your mum.

"Swallow Me" with it's the immortal line "They couldn't swallow me. They couldn't suck and see. So f**king dead inside" sums up what the band are about in a succinct lyrical couplet. It's musical twin "The Real World" should be the track that takes them over ground from the present King Adora style cult status. Elsewhere on "Severed" they prove they have more to their musical palate than 3 minute rock classics with a ballad which soars.

The fact that The Ga Gas are at a stage where they can still connect with the fans on a personal basis is what makes the live shows such an experience. This album proves though that they should be playing arena's.

Patrick Wolf's "Lycanthropy" was one of those album's that had the touch of a free spirit at work. Wolf was a man (or a boy at the time) not afraid to take risks and while being experimental it was still an essential pop album that took as much from The Pet Shop Boys as it did from Alec Empire and obscure folk records. The follow up "Wind In The Wires" has similar spirit, but there's a dark melancholy running through it reminiscent of Nick Cave. With the exception of "The Libertine", "Tristan" and "Lands End" it makes for uneasy listening and as such makes for an accompanying partner to the debut rather than a progression.

Missy, Xtina, Britney, Beyonce, Jamelia, Sugababes, Danni Minogue and of course Kat Slater. These are the girls that make up Greg and Scott Fierce's (aka Fierce Girl) world. "What Makes A Girl Fierce?" is one of those all time classic list songs (and on that basis even Steve Lamacq might approve despite the lack of guitars) and takes them one step further to getting smashed at The Cock on a Friday and mixing with proper popstars on CD:UK on a Saturday morning. Now if Phixx could  push their "Strange Love" single back one week against Fierce Girl we'd not only have 2 great pop acts releasing in the same week, but two pop acts managed by former members of Brother Beyond (kids - download "The Harder I Try" off the net).

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