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We’ve been struggling of late to justify the existence of these pages, especially given the fact that many bands nowadays are bypassing record companies entirely and simply heading straight to the web via their own or MySpace pages. We have also found ourselves awash with digital releases which, whilst not exactly demo’s, are very unlikely to be found in your local record shop or indeed on Amazon. So we've decided to open up these pages to include downloads, digital only release and - yes we still want to hear ‘em - just a plain old fashioned demos, and no we’re not changing the name, we like it. So if you fancy some A&R action (we do get regularly checked out by record company types ) or want us to help point people towards your download, or indeed just want punters buying music straight from your site then send a CD, a picture and short biog to... (address link)

Flies Are Spies From Hell

Great name for a kick off and, if you're going to be paddling around in the post-rock pool you'd better be sure to have some arty non-specific pictures to send to the likes of us (tick that box as well then), but the real litmus test in the 'quiet bit loud bit' game is the music, get it wrong and it sounds properly duff - and believe us we've heard more than enough bands who think that all you need to do is turn everything up halfway through and they'll sound like Mogwai. Well we're here to tell you that doesn't work, what you're looking for is a grasp of dynamics, and an understanding of why and where you are going to move from lulling your audience into battering them senseless. Get it wrong and it's just noise, get it right and you're making some thrilling instrumental racket like the aforementioned Mogwai, Explosions In The Sky, Godspeed You! Black Emperor or newcomers like Vessels, bands beside which, we are here to tell you, FASFH sit very comfortably thanks very much, and their seven track debut Red Eyes Unravelling would certainly have been in our normal review section garlanded with superlatives like 'thrilling, goose bump inducing, piano driven post rock' if they weren't currently totally self-sufficient. If you love any of the bands named above then do yourselves a favour and check out Flies Are Spies From Hell, you won't be disappointed.
www.fliesarespiesfromhell.com



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Cassette Electrik

With download releases, and platforms like iTunes allowing artists to increasingly give record labels a complete bodyswerve nowadays it’s becoming increasingly impossible to quantify exactly what is a demo anymore – aside from the ones we get that sound like they were recorded through a pillow in a car park. This is avowedly not a demo as it is both very well recorded and is already available to download but falls into the new remit of our pages as (to the best of our knowledge), it isn’t available in record shops, what it is however is rather good and has already drawn comparisons with Goldfrapp, Ladytron and Client. Being of a rather older persuasion we feel it has more in common with Depeche Mode or Gary Numan (all the lovely squelchy electronica being supplied by Oli Freke) only this time around fronted by a proper chanteuse (the Haunting torch like tones of Lucy Bugiel) rather than the glacial drones of untutored lads. Check 'em out at...
www.myspace.com/cassetteelectrik



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Kat Vipers

Immediately grabbing our attention, mainly due to the totally bonkers title track on her Hot Air Balloon EP which is part torch song, part gothic Cure style breathy whisper, part show-tune, and the bug-eyed experimentation doesn’t stop there. With shades of Moloko, PJ Harvey, the warped hopscotch approach favoured by Sparks and sheer theatricality of Alex Harvey. Sound an unlikely amalgam? Well it does to us as well now having read it all back, but these and many more reference points all spring to mind at one time or another over these five tracks, which will make selling it to the public at large a complete bugger but if you are heartily sick of Saturday evening pop stars commented on by fools and voted for by Big Brother fans then we promise you this really is a blast.
www.katvipers.com



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Arty Karate

Like the name Daft but memorable, Arty Karate also tick all the right boxes. Idiotically young? Check. From Brighton? Check. Decided to record James Watts’ bass guitar parts so they sound like forty foot elastic bands played through a bank of shredded speakers? Check. Drummer (Fredrik West) appears to have far too few arms for the whirlwind of cymbal work going on? Check. Which just leaves front man Dan Grace who’s got the whole Pixies style crunching riff thing down pat and has a neat way with a swaggering vocal howl, even better they understand that as a trio you need to keep things tight, punchy and don’t allow your audiences attention to wander. They have yet to record anything world-shattering, but there’s more than enough evidence here to show if they keep at it they almost certainly will.
www.myspace.com/artykarate



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Claire Toomey

Just the one track, which sounds not unlike TotalMusic-Online favourite Thea Gilmore, something always guaranteed to peak our interest. We actually first caught the tail end of Claire’s set at Guilfest (at least we think it was Guilfest) and were impressed enough to make half arsed attempts to find out who she was but, possibly due to some alcoholic confusion, failed miserably until after the event. So it was fortuitous that we then found this track, entitled spookily enough, ‘Found’, in the great big wobbly demo pile at TM-Towers and were delighted to discover young Ms Toomey was just as good as we thought she was the first time around (you can never be certain a few beers into a long day's festival-ing), and lending a quick shell-like around the noisier bits of her website reveals there’s plenty more where this came from.
www.clairetoomey.com



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BDI's

Not looking to reinvent the wheel The BDI’s (formerly The Panda Gang and possibly taking their new nondescript nomenclature from Brent Thorley, Dominic Clark and Ian Parkes first names) are clearly in thrall to ‘70s soul with a hefty side order of Paul Weller style R’n’B and a willingness to get funky should the occasion call for it. There’s also a light jazzy side to the band that will appeal to fans of George Benson or the Crusaders. The only down side to all this is the rather thin production which fails to make the most of the brass lines which are crying out for some punch, and when they do stray into Otis Redding territory the lack of attack leaves things a little flat. These guys are clearly all very adept players and songwriters, they just need to sort out a producer that makes the most of their undoubted chops.
www.myspace.com/thebdis



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