>Today’s New Band – Extradition Order

Everyone loves demo tapes. Ask any indie wannabe in any indie hang-out what they’re doing, and they’ll tell you, either excitedly or haughtily, about the demo they’re recording with such-and-such local producer you’ve never heard of, but get the feeling you ought to have.

The phrase ‘demo tapes’ itself has so much indie-cool cachet that having one is almost better than an actual album. In truth, most demo tapes are crud: the sound grim, the songs ropey, enthusiasm overtaking craft. And yet, The PixiesCome On Pilgrim is a series of demos off a C90 tape. The demo world is fraught with such confusion.

Today’s New Band, Extradition Order, have some of the most impressive demos this writer has heard for a while. In these tapes, the songs themselves are at the fore, and the time and effort put into writing them is clear.

Take Matches Meet Petrol – a rock song without a guitar shoved right under your nose; a song where jittering drums, rhythms and bottle-tapping take precedence; a song that excels, screaming, in its self-constructed arena of mania and threat. It’s as thrilling a song as you’ll have heard all week.

Or take Laura In The Winter, flooded with gothic (note: not ‘Goth’) melodrama and strange lust, the sheer attentiveness of which shows Extradition Order to be a band with their eyes fixed firmly on bigger and better things.

The Come On Pilgrim demo was released as it was, because label bosses were worried that rerecording them would detract from their impact and power. Extradition Order might well ponder the same concerns. Their demos are good. A great way to end the week – Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Record Hop

>I always thought that being called ‘pretentious’ would be one of the worst labels you could pin to a band, with the image Über-punchable, po-faced, saint-wannabe Bono popping readily to mind. So when ‘unpretentious’ was the first word that I leant towards when describing today’s new band, Record Hop, I was sure that I was on safe, appreciative ground.

But think about it – ‘unpretentious’ would be unfair: the word smacks of earnest trad-rock lumps who, you know, maaan, ‘just make music we like, and if anyone else likes it, well, that’s a bonus, yeah?’.

Well, Record Hop aren’t anything like that. They say that 80’s/90’s underground rock is their thing, and it sounds like it too, crunchy guitars and drums that aren’t influenced by either disco or New Wave. They make songs that pick from “exciting”, “heartfelt” and “scrappy” as their points of reference. Listen to Giant Babies on their Myspace page (http://www.myspace.com/recordhop) to hear all three colliding at once on a sweaty dancefloor.

Record Hop sound like they were designed to play your, and only your, favourite local venue and become the band you tell everyone about in the hope they become much bigger. With songs like Giant Babies and Last Second, there’s a good chance they will. They aren’t pretentious, but are thoughtful; they’re not unpretentious either but are happily shooting forward outside of the mainstream. Good for them.

P.S. Steve Albini engineered their last sessions, and I know that for some people this fact will make the difference between listening and not listening.