Singles of the Week
With Wimbledon out of the way for another year, and a whole nation's hopes dashed again, cheer yourself up by trying to guess just which of this week's singles belong on a musical Centre Court or Court 18...
A Hyde-ing to nothing - Arcade Fire headline in the capital.
Seven albums and still going strong, 'Jejune Stars' finds Bright Eyes at their perkiest. Catchy melodies and memorable riffs are all wrapped together with Conor Oberst's characteristic vocals and and the result is stunning to behold. If you haven't heard Bright Eyes yet, now there's no excuse.
A prime example of the kitchen sink approach to music making. Jangly guitars, horns, strings and probably loads more a thrown together to make a ramshackle noise that is ultimately unfulfilling and rather dull.
Do we really need another folk artist?! Seems so if Dan Mangan has anything to say about it. It all peters on very conventionally for two minutes with your standard folky elements but then vastly improves around the two minute mark, first with an interesting breakdown leaving you just with Mangan's raspy vocals and an acoustic guitar and then as it rebuilds into a gleeful finale where handclaps become the rhythm section to delightful effect.
Definitely a feel good track of the summer. At any other time of the year the bright neon coloured vocals and and unabashed joviality of Louisiana's Givers would be too intense and grating, like an overly friendly puppy. But the sparkly fun of 'Up Up Up' is the perfect song to blast out of your speakers at the beach or while you're serving up those burgers at the barbecue.
There's nothing inherently wrong with 'I Must Be A Lover' but it does seem to find Guillemots on auto pilot. There's still the usual array of interesting sounds and the refrain is rather catchy, although you can only really see it being a track that you'll leave on only when you can't be bothered to change the radio channel or press the skip button on your MP3. For Guillemots, it's all pretty vanilla, even if their vanilla is still head and shoulders above most bands' output.
Is there such a thing as Lolita metal? If not, let us invent it now for the [b]Cranes[/b]-lite vocals of [b]Japanese Voyeurs[/b] atop the chugga-chugga rifferama. Every rock band writes an Eastern-sounding tune eventually, so congrats for just getting it out the way now rather than falling back onto the cliche when you need a tune for album number three.
It's hard to believe Jodie Marie is only 19 years old, such is the maturity of 'Single Blank Canvas'. While not really anything we haven't heard before, it's lifted by her utterly gorgeous vocals that could swoon you even without the genteel acoustic guitar backing with final act violins that kick the track up a notch into semi-epic territory.
Joe And Will Ask
Two relentlessly bouncy electro tracks. Both are more suited to a club than home listening.
A reworked version of the album version, 'Waking Up Sideways' has had a lot more musical colour added to it in terms of variation of instruments, but sadly lacks the oomph that the album version had once the drums kicked in midway through. Still, it's a dreamy folk track that soothes more than it fully excites, but would be a perfect soundtrack to wile away a long summer's evening.
The San Francisco duo's latest 5-minutes of dirty space rock is an interesting experiment in sound and visuals, but it's not entirely successful as a track. Grunge-laden guitars and a simple percussion fill an impressive sound-space but the almost complete lack of vocals mean that 'Fallout' has nothing to drive it. Listen once, and listen loud and you will be impressed, but we'd find it hard to play it through a second time.
Pal of the likes of Pharell Williams and Kanye West, Pusha T delivers a weighty hip-hop number with an unusual backing track of marching band and organ, and, in the dirty version at least, plenty of use of the 'N' word.
The Beekeepers feat Mystro
Irreverent hip-hop poking fun at a failing relationship. There's a cracking, seemingly Beyoncé-baiting line.
Single of the Week
The Bronze Medal
An affecting, subtle slow-burner of a track, 'Milk' is one hell of a way to introduce yourself. To put it bluntly, The Bronze Medal's debut single is stunning, enveloping you in its warm glow with its vocal harmonies making you forget the fact that it's a track with no definitive structure and certainly no chorus to speak of; even when the drums and piano break out around the three-minute mark, they in no way signal a soaring finale that you'd perhaps expect. However, gorgeous music like this is allowed to break conventions every now and then in our opinion.
The Bronze Medal - Milk