Timothy Alexander "16/12/27"

Timothy Alexander and Diacope Records are swiftly becoming the watch words in exciting and inventive  House and Techno. The new release “16/12/27”, available to buy from Monday, encapsulates the  risks and revolutions taken, enveloped with a distinctly minimalist flavour.

16/12/27 by Timothy Alexander (www.facebook.com/timothyalexandermusic)
The three sides of the techno triptych relate to each other as so many distant relatives in a family gathering – distinctly different with shared traits, a form of storytelling through solely electronic means. “16” is enclosed, attracting the visceral unease towards dark shadows and the noise you hear from the bedroom when you know there’s nobody around. “12” is an unsettled wind looking for a current to reverse, breaking out into a vaguely tribal motif. The lighter “27” channels multiple layers of sounds and beats through increasingly tighter curves,  not so much blending into each other as assimilating.

Each track is so twisted they might as well be cousins, and married, and really into chains.

You can find out more about Diacope through their Twitter  and Timothy Alexander can be sought after at Soundclound

Britney Spears "Hold It Against Me"

So it’s out there, and YouTube is full with “0 Views” hastily copied videos of it, Twitter is awashed with RT’d links to naughty download sites, and Facebook seems to have become a de facto fan site….

Yes, Britney Spears – the schoolgirl gone RnB princess via media meltdown – has a new single out (as though any of the contrived publicity has passed out by). Is it any good? Erm…Well….

It’s a muddle of a song, to be fair. The title – “Hold It Against Me” – is the tag-line for the world’s worst chat-up line (and, it seems, written in more seriousness than The Bellamy Brothers ever did).

There’s just the hint of the GaGa about it (the ‘in the club playing my favourite tune’ vibe of the first verse is clearly hoyked from “Telephone”), with the dubstep beats and multi-layered vocals all combining together with an over familiarity. Remember when Kylie over-used the vocal-effect of ‘coming up to air from underwater’ ? It’s here, right before the Eurovision-style key change for the end. There’s even a sudden stop ending, an old throwback if ever I heard one…

All that said….however….it’s a comeback single alright, one which shows intent and direction. Faced with Rhianna and Lady Gaga, and witnessing the hapless reinventions of one time rival Christina Aguilera, le Spears has not embarrassed herself much at all. Tap your foot, nod your head, murmur along to the words whilst in the shower; it’s at the upper end of ‘decent’.

Whole new image? Entirely new direction? Revolutionary reinvention? Not a chance. It’s still very identifiable as Britney Spears, unusual mouth-full-of-boiled-vegetables voice an’ all; it sure as Heck ain’t “Toxic”.

UndeReview – Next Stop Atlanta "Next Stop Atlanta EP"

Next Stop Atlanta

Truth be told, the pop-punk scene didn’t half trip itself down the steepest of hills just as things appeared to be breaking out into very interesting times. Maybe the need for mainstream foot-tapping melodies over-balanced the logistics necessary in ‘keeping it real’, the fashion equivalent of bringing two north-facing magnets together?

Next Stop Atlanta
take to the stage with this history – albeit not personal – putting its hand on their shoulders. For the best part of their EP is reimagining the past, remembering how everything was and could have been. This is the photo album flick-through which doesn’t involve awkwardly skimming past elderly relatives in bikinis or parental units in states of undress. Smiles and relief all round, not least in the familiar surroundings of breakfree choruses lifted above melodic free-for-alls and snappy surf guitars.

To British ears this could seem positively garish, so thankfully the lyrical content has melancholy and regret whisked into the generally over-familiar streetsmart attitude. Unlike the kind of throwaway “songs with no meaning” referenced in the brilliantly catchy “I’ll Catch Fire”, there are substantial, heartfelt moments throughout, strides away from the playground lowlights from recent years.

Opener and typesetting nightmare “fourteennineeightseven” has more bounce than Freejumpers let loose in a multi-storey, all layers of vocal and runaway drums and the much maligned stop/start ending. In short, these are top songs more “Deathcar” than “Ticket Out of Loserville”.

Lesser publications would make issues aplenty with NSA’s female singer, who speaks assuredly from the heart without vocal trickery or (and here’s the thing) an accent from the Emo Stageschool. When asked to soothe worried souls (“When Perfection is Key”) or put the record straight (“You, Me and the Dance Flaw”), her authenticity far outshines any audacity.

That could well be the best summary for the EP; polished production, and tasty little guitar breaks which are superb and conventional in almost equal measure. There is no threat of history sticking out its leg anytime soon, there’s clearly a lot of Next Stop Atlanta to go round only hinted at here. A fine EP and much promised, even if the ambition of the band name may be a while off yet…

Next Stop Atlanta on MySpace, Twitter and Facebook