Aerial M - M Is (Domino)
Big Pete Wrigley once said "when you have a favourite song, all you want to do is listen to it over and over" and for the majority of early 1998 I felt that way about Wedding Song No. 3. Everytime I heard the delicate, snow flake notes my back shivered and my bumps goosed. Happy and sad. It made me feel small but significant. The guitar carried me away, only to hold for breather and then carry on again. Halfway through it breaks, as if to build into something sinister. And just as it climaxes, and you expect the end of the world, the initial snow flake guitar reappears to calm the situation down, reassuring and comforting the listener, goosebumps still intact. Few songs are this wonderful.

The Jesus & Mary Chain - Cracking Up (big Creation Records)
They've returned to reek havoc and the world is almost a better place for it. Cracking Up is a dishy ditty with a humdinger drum beat and handy, if restrained, guitar action. Their comeback is a gamble as a Verve or Bunnymen scenario could occur (in other words mass re-popularity and enthusiasm for the worst, weakest material of their careers) but we'll just have to see. Can't wait to see them live.

Arab Strap - Live (Too Many Cooks)
This is their tour seven inch. It features live versions of Packs Of Three and Blood with Stuart Leslie Braithwaite making an introduction. Its excellently recorded (for live) and, as Matt pointed out the other day, Blood is far better live than on record anyways.

Arab Strap - Here We Go (Chemikal Underground)
I know this story all too well. This is their best single since their debut, a performance where they get everything right. The riveting guitar descends deeper and deeper as Aiden parallels into despair.

Mogwai/Magoo - split single (Fierce Panda)
METAL! Magoo do Black Sabbath very straightfaced, very true to the original musically with trademark master Magoo vocals giving the track a personal touch. Mogwai's version of Sweet Leaf is better than I could ever imagine. Snippets of conversation slash through the stoner boner as Stuart's anti-Ozzy singing style avoids cliché.

The Jesus Lizard - Cold Water EP (JetSet)
Five songs here. The first three are more Yow yells. The b-sides feature remixes from Joe Baresi and Jim O'Rourke, which makes it of added interest. Baresi posts it and O'Rourke adds a hip hop beat and piani, both taking Yow's vocals away. Bastards!

The Make Up - Untouchable Sound (Woo Me)
The Make Up wake up and shake up. Relentless vocals and drum beats eclipse any frailties which otherwise might prevail. Produced by Guy from Fugazi. Ian certainly sounds like he means it.

Sonic Youth/Jim O'Rourke - Invito Al Cielo (SYR)
It certainly seems Mr O'Rourke is currently the name to drop to sound in the know. And to remain cutting edge the Sonic Youth sensibly choose to work with him. This isn't strictly an instrumental EP, as the sound of thousand objects being stretched and snapped rain out, Kim's whispery voice adds moonlight and seduction. Depending on your stance, this will either be a piece of cake or hard going with tracks lasting 20 mins and nearly 30 mins. No description can do this justice. More Jim than Kim however it has to be said.

Royal Trux - I'm Ready (Domino)
This is twisted, "shit is it playing at the right speed?". It breaks in sounding B-Boy, until a cat like whining guitar wees all over the sound as distortion fed yells act as vocals. Noise wins everytime.

The Delgados - Everything Goes Around The Water (Chemikal Underground)
Gringo was conceived at a Delgados gig, so I'm eternally fond to this band. This isn't as hectic as previous outings but it does oodle charm. Concerns of a change towards a bad direction are eased with thorough, accomplished and interesting b-sides.

Frank Black And The Catholics - All My Ghosts (Play It Again Sam)
We all know who said ghosts are. This breaks out superfast, superpunk before slowing to a pace more befitting a man of Charles' age. Its a standard workout, put it in its place below the Pixies first and then judge it's merits. I guess the emphasis is rather on the lyrics than the music these day. Regardless Frank Black's still welcome in my house.

Chief Sharkey - Demo
Tasty. Chris Base One has a guitar sound so great and a mystery drum in a clanking clunking class struggle. How To CB follows with some dodgy bloke talking all over the tune about the subject of the seventies internet, CB. Where did they get that flexidisc from? All complete with French radio tarred onto the beginning. Very Windsor For The Derby. Suits You reminds me of Navigator at the climax.

NYCC - Fight For Your Right (I don't know, Satan?)
Angels weep as the biggest pile of shit since whoever turns the best punk/rap/metal crossover ever into a backslapping, cocksucking, tame, redundant dance floor filler. Why change your dad to your boss? Next week the slightly harder Backstreet Boys perform Sabotage. Probably.

All Seeing I - The Beat Goes On (?)
I should never have heard this, let alone purchased and enjoyed it. It got slipped on by mistake as Tom abused his brother's decks. Karaoke I'm into. I'd probably have dug the original.

Dawn Of The Replicants - The Diesel Hands EP (EastVest)
This got undeservedly slated in some corners. Its Hogwash Farm again. Farms are an infinite source of humour. "I have a dog who has no sense of humour". And he's called Snowy. No arguments here from me, Paul's voice still reigns supreme and behind him you can hear so much going on in the boiler room.

Bette Davis And The Balconettes - Celebrity Fuckers (Slampt)
Still a fan. My god, I've heard God Of Hate and I'm in love with them now more than ever. The Balconettes sound so wild and evil from seemingly such small resources. And they sound so sincere on Like Me, Be My Friend.

Nought/Dustball - split single (Shifty Disco)
The Nought Peel session sounded revolutionary but I'm now unsure after hearing this. Best treat this as just a false start. Dustball are more straightahead rock and surprisingly come off from this release better.

Red Aunts/Constant Comment - split single (Sympathy For The Record Industry)
This came with US fanzine Hit It Or Quit It. Red Aunts are disjointed and angry nasty. Constant Comment is apparently Patty and Melissa from Hole, which intrigued me enough to purchase. It transpires to be sinister music accompanying a sinister radio show, all a thousand times better than was expected. VFM.

Jolt - Made My Day (Fluffy Bunny/Scared Of Girls)
Fuck me, a promo I actually wanted. Or did I? Compared to previous outings its disappointing but BB's voice sounds great jogging the memory back to when Veruca Salt etc were awesome bands and ruled the earth for a few weeks in the mid nineties.

Dick Johnson - Can't You Give Me Love (teen-c recordingz)
I get the impressive that it must really take a lot of effort to get your guitar sounding like JSBX Dang, put it into a song and still sound seductive. More than a pleasant surprise here, it is actually on the most pleasing thudding songs I have ever heard. I want more.

The Jennifers - Jellybean (Human Condition)
Here is the song where they nick that canny Babes In Toyland riff and produce something of pleasure, overall reminding me of Eska going metal on us.

Delicate AWOL - Demo
Bit like Ripley, bit like Skunk.

Money Mark - Hand In Your Head (Mo Wax)
This is not cheesy and this is not just for pseudo (fake arse) hipsters. This is a great song because it tastes and sounds so fresh which with each listen makes me, basically, feel good. This reminds me of my naivety and how great things once seemed, to which this would have been the/my soundtrack. The video is ripper too. Check out some Donald Fagen for similar sounding shit.

Snow Patrol - Little Hide (Jeepster)
An excellent hoover like guitar sound brings many gifts to this old mans weakened ears.

Aerial M - Vivea EP (Domino)
This is the tour single which features some of the earliest M stuff around. And go fuck me if I don't prefer it to the album also. Safeless is so solemn, reminding me of a love of the distant and first time occasions. Napoleon builds high to a timid climax and Vol de Nuit nearly gets violent.

Jonathan Fire*Eater - These Little Monkeys (Deceptive)
Relentless drumbos combine with spooky k'boards and warped guitars to fuel a tune about little monkeys. I like monkeys.

Pearl Jam - Given To Fly (Epic and Sony)
I could never understand Pearl Jam vs Nirvana really. I figured you could like both so long as you understood each band and their respective positions on the great grunge food chain. Regardless though, this is dull as fuck. At least the Pearl Jam oldies were exciting.