Singles of the Week
Whilst our esteemed editor might have been gallivanting on the other side of the world, it's still been business as usual for the crew he's left behind - the word mutiny might have been bandied around now and then - and we all know what time it is: it's singles o'clock.
A Genuine Freakshow
The new double A-side single from oddball post-rock collective A Genuine Freakshow is all dramatic, emotional vocals and grandiose, weaving strings. And pretty damn fine it is too. It's even backed by a glitch-ridden remix of previous single 'Hopscotch Machine Gun Madness'.
Stunning production elevates 'Believe', the latest track to be taken from Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor's debut solo album Dreams Come True, under his CANT guise. Synths swim in and out of focus alongside some impressive bass, while Taylor's dreamy vocals remain a constant presence resulting in the overall whole being something that's hard not to appreciate.
CANT - Believe (taken from Dreams Come True - Terrible Records / Warp Records) by Warp Records
As a first single from a debut album, this ain't bad, if rather too familiar. The Futureheads are perhaps the best reference point.
On his debut 5 track EP, David Lemaitre recalls the likes of Jose Gonzalez, The Beach Boys and Jeff Buckley. Mainly, it's his acoustic guitar against subtle beats and vaguely experimental sounds (but nothing to frighten the cows). Should go down well with fans of folksy singer-songwriters.
An excellently written and performed piece of laid back hip-hop that would be a perfect summer song were it not for the annoying caterwauling of guest singer Daniel Merriweather. A lost opportunity.
Ah, lovely Dutch Uncles. Their soothing sound is a balm for the soul. The latest single 'The Ink', from their debut album Cadenza, ticks all the right boxes. Beautiful vocals? Check. Inspired arrangements? Check. Clever lyrics? Check. Feel good tune? Check. Just put this beauty on, sit back and enjoy the moment.
With a feature film dedicated to their sudden rise currently making festival rounds, Kev takes a listen to the music that inspired it all.
The first taster of Hatcham Social's second album About Girls, 'Like An Animal' lacks a bit of punch to make it anything other than solid guitar-led rock fodder. Catchy chorus though.
Having spent years rocking and rhyming at the helm of heralded experimental hip-hop troupe [b]Dälek[/b], Will Brooks has now launched new project [b]iconAclass[/b] as a vehicle to go back to a purer form of hip-hop. Debut album [i]For The Ones[/i] is a relatively stripped down affair, disposing of the huge waves of electronics and ambient atmospherics to concentrate on the lyrics and the message he spits out over a few beats, backed by just a splash of treated synths for some colour.What hasn't changed is his dark, cutting raps and the intelligent, insightful diatribes on politics, class and religion. Brooks does a very good job in putting to shame the more populist artists with their simplistic, pseudo-angry and expletive-filled petty rants that are more about grabbing attention than thrashing out real grievances. [i]For The Ones[/i] hardly digs up new ground, but is instead a labour of love for someone with a thing or ten to say and with [b]iconAclass[/b], they will continue to be shouted loud and clear.
MC Dälek goes it alone to deliver his message.
Impressive double A-side from the London duo. 'Rewind Forward Replay' starts off as somewhere between drum ‘n’ bass and dubstep, then, with the introduction of Melanie Dymond’s intoxicating vocal, suddenly becomes more reminiscent of mid-90s trip-hop. 'Black Honey' continues this comparison, thanks to a strange Massive Attack style backing track. A band to watch.
Effortlessly cool and speckled with memorable analogue synths, 'Lost In Love' is a very encouraging first glance at L-Vis 1990's debut album Neon Dreams, due out on October 3rd. Coming equipped with two remixes and dub versions of those remixes too, there's likely to be something for everyone on here; if the laidback charm of the original doesn't grab you, the clubbier Neon Dreams mix will.
A song about being told that you'll never sing again might sound like a depressing prospect, especially when the singer in question is Little Fish's Juju. Remaining the band's biggest selling point, her stark, instantly recognisable vocals initially seem at odds with the jaunty acoustic backdrop (perhaps not entirely what you'd expect either from the trio) but it all melds into something soaring and beautiful come the climax. Never has a song title ever seemed so appropriate.
The words "pointless" comes to mind when listening to former hairdresser Macks Faulkron's new single 'Hairspray'. Grating, aggressive, annoying, but you have a feeling that's exactly what Faulkron is intending. He is definitely provoking us with this performance art inspired track and accompanying video with it's screeching beats interspersed with random soundbites. This is musical Marmite. You're gonna love it or hate it.
Roots Manuva feat. Rokhsan
Blissfully short but that's pretty much the only thing going for it, 'Get The Get' (featuring former BBC New Talent Rokhsan) is aiming for the dancefloor but just ends up sounding so safe that it's hard to believe it's come from Roots Manuva. The Slugabed remix improves on the original but that's not saying much. Disappointing.
Ignoring the hideous strained vocals from someone clearly trying to hard to convey some attitude, Newcastle rockers The Kush's debut single 'Aniseed' isn't that bad. Decent guitar lines and frenetic, but not messy, drumming keep you listening in spite of the efforts of lead singer Dan Clark. You imagine that they could be a decent gig night out, if only because you'll get lost in the guitars and energy rather than anything else.
The Wilderness of Manitoba EP
The world is getting a bit folked-out at the moment. Seems like everyone, from both sides of the pond, is picking up acoustic guitars and singing abut angst and loneliness and birds and trees. Even the Canadians are at it now. Yet The Wilderness of Manitoba are actually worth a listen. Beautiful harmonies, jaunty melodies and clever arrangements will have you tapping your toes while your heart soars with joyful abandon. Lead single 'Orono Park' with it's Bon Iver esque hushed vocals and soft fluttery guitars is lovely while icy 'November' is more subdued and atmospheric. The wonderful 'Dreamcatchers' is the standout track however, fun and uplifting, proving that The Wilderness of Manitoba are more than just another cutey folk-outfit.
UnClubbed2 - out now
UnClubbed2 is out now on New State Music.
UnClubbed2 is an inspired collection of stripped back, acoustic covers of some of dance music’s best-loved tunes. These laid back, blissed out covers are performed by a range of hugely talented vocalists including previous UnClubbed collaborators Abigail Bailey and Zoe Durrant, new to the UnClubbed project but established artists Kim Wayman (Telepopmusik) and Sarah Howells plus fresh voices Jenny Lynn Smith and Gerard O’Connell.UnClubbed2 features eleven brand new interpretations of contemporary club classics taking in more recent anthems such as Calvin Harris – I’m Not Alone, Robyn – With Every Heartbeat and Empire Of The Sun – We Are The People through to classics like Donna Summer – I Feel Love, Grace (and Klaxons) – Not Over Yet, Kosheen – Hide U, Gnarls Barclay – Crazy and Reflekt – Need To Feel Loved. Also included are two more instrumental lead tracks with Moby’s – Go and Robert Miles – Children plus a stunning version of St. Etienne – Only Love Can Break Your Heart, featuring a male vocal taking it back to Neil Young’s original.
Club classics, stripped back.
Single of the Week
We Were Promised Jetpacks
Cracking stuff from Scottish indie rockers We Were Promised Jetpacks on the first release from their excellent second album In The Pit Of The Stomach. 'Medicine' is an immediate, catchy and generally just brilliant track that showcases the impressive musicality of the foursome as it flows through dynamic and tempo changes, never once failing to captivate the listener as it does so.