The Dirty Dozen - October
Knee deep in the coming month's singles, Nick Mitchell pans for gold.
Getting us off to a bad start, Daughtry are a distasteful concoction of American Idol runner-up, faux-metal session band and rawk schmaltz. A sickbag should be included with Home (1/5) [29 Oct]. They may possess more authenticity than Daughtry, but perennial post-punkers Hundred Reasons are equally flaccid. Any real emotion in No Way Back (1/5) [16 Oct] is drowned in a swamp of messy production. Marginally better are Welsh punk revivalists Funeral For A Friend. The Great Wide Open (2/5) [1 Oct] provokes one of two reactions: apply mascara and headbang like a sixteen year-old or fold arms and sneer contemptuously. So kudos to Biffy Clyro for succeeding where their tattooed peers fail. Machines (4/5) [8 Oct] may be reminiscent of Idlewild's foray into the mainstream a couple of albums ago but it's still a very good song.
Leaving the angst behind, it's off to sunnier climes with eccentro-popsters Tunng. Their pick-up-&-play policy on Bullets (3/5) [15 Oct] results in all kinds of percussive racket-eering, but at least there's a tune behind it all. For an unknown Bristol six-piece, Seagull Strange make unexpectedly grandiose music, though Love's Sick Disease (3/5) [1 Oct] is a tad earnest. Existing in an earnest-free universe are Brazilian lunatics CSS. Alcohol (3/5) [1 Oct] is dumb, fun and even has a Casio keys bit that sounds like a Highland jig (I swear). The fun don't stop with Devendra Banhart. Forget his beardy, introspective image: Lover (4/5) [1 Oct] is pure Jackson Five move-ya-feet funk, even if the fledgling wackos would've been baffled by his dirty innuendo-laden lyrics.
Back to this side of the pond and some more established British names. Neil Hannon and Romeo Stoddart both guest on Duke Special's Our Love Goes Deeper Than This (3/5) [1 Oct], which says a lot about the Belfast boy's direction: orchestral, melodious, if a bit kitsch. Talking of kitsch, the 60s-styled music video is currently in vogue and The Coral's Jacqueline (3/5) [1 Oct] was made for it – though without the psych-whirl of past glories it's a bit frothy. Manic Street Preachers know more about perseverance than progression: the all-too-familiar-sounding Indian Summer (2/5) [1 Oct] will be defended by fans and forgotten by others. Another Britpop survivor was behind our single of the month. Gilt Complex (4/5) [29 Oct] by Sons and Daughters was produced by Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, who has honed a sharper edge to the Glasgow quartet without sacrificing their foot-stomping essence. Bring on the album.