When Will I Be Famous?

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Led by a woman in a bikini top who's clearly had experience dancing in her underwear in public, Seattle's Snake River Conspiracy are the latest sensations in the burgeoning rawk! field. But, raves in the metal press notwithstanding, they just aren't the all-out experience you might expect.

Led by a woman in a bikini top who's clearly had experience dancing in her underwear in public, Seattle's Snake River Conspiracy are the latest sensations in the burgeoning rawk! field. But, raves in the metal press notwithstanding, they just aren't the all-out experience you might expect.

There's a whiff of contrivance even, as their attempts at rocking out seem half-hearted. The more expansive arrangements on their Sonic Jihad album are never approached live, while their singer, Tobey Torres, doesn't know whether to cheerlead or goad the crowd, especially during a pointless if affectionate trashing of The Smiths' "How Soon Is Now". The mechanical riffing of the expletive-laden closer "Vulcan" is highly effective, but it's hardly metal.

In Giles Smith's hilarious, recently reissued book Lost In Music, there's a great description of how early "in-car entertainment" consisted of the tinniest, thinnest systems, as if bass had yet to be invented. Love As Laughter, also from Seattle, sound just like that. Better still, they're like a crude rehearsal tape that makes sense only to the players, at full volume. To be fair, one amp was making some very unhealthy, unplanned noises, but their urgent desire is unmistakable. They are the sort of band who write better verses than choruses; the set's stand-out was the medley of the new single "Keep Your Shade" and The Velvet Underground's "What Goes On".

Warrington's Starsailor, already signed to EMI, are clearly expected to follow Coldplay into the charts. The signs are bad from the off - the word "freeway" appears in a lyric, and the band, who take their name from Tim Buckley's most outré album, borrow one of his titles for a chorus. James Walsh's quivering tones have genuine charm, though, and the thirtysomethings present lap it up. But the contradiction between Walsh's essentially naïve and somewhat repetitive songs and the slick arrangements rarely seems resolved. Of the originals, only the chugging "Poor Misguided Fool" really convinces, while the excellent Band-style cover of Gram Parsons' "Hot Burrito #2" stands out a country mile. Do we need another Richard Ashcroft anyway?

Such worries are unlikely to beset Black Moses. Including former members of the arch-traditionalists Thee Hypnotics and Penthouse, they resemble Oasis without any Gallaghers. But though they play music that was going out of fashion around the time they were born, this power trio are an irresistible guilty pleasure. "Eye On You" is just scorching. Somewhere it's always 1968, and the garage is free for a jam while dad takes the Vauxhall Viva out for a spin, possibly to listen to the radio. Ah...

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