Singles of the Week
Halloween will soon be upon us, and at TMF we're not above having our arm twisted by a seasonally appropriate release when it comes to awarding SOTW. Now who's got that Cliff Richard Christmas single?
Dirty Projectors & Björk
Winter is coming. But that hasn't stopped Friends Electric trying to inject some Balearic rays into your speakers. Brilliantly (yet somewhat bizarrely) backed by a macabre video, 'Puzzle Pieces' doesn't stop the thought that you're listening to a long-lost relative of Friendly Fires, but its euphoric synths and nifty chorus will sweep you along nicely enough to let that not bother you. It's just that, like the frustrating missing last piece of the puzzle, they might need that extra edge to mark them out distinctively.
Frost are Norwegians Aggie Peterson and Per Martinsen. This single is remarkably chilled for something with a 120 bpm disco backdrop. My synapses are switched on by the way Aggie's vocals soar. Not that far from a very stripped back, more intelligent, less frantic take on that Paul Van Dyk / Jessica Sutta collaboration from a couple of years ago; it produces a paradoxical stretch in time despite the beat.
The Woods by frostnorway
This is more like it from Fyfe Dangerfield & co. 'I Don't Feel Amazing Now' isn't quite vintage Guillemots, but by stripping things back to basics and focusing on Dangerfield's emotive vocals, it delivers an absolutely lovely five minutes of downbeat delight.
Guillemots - I Don't Feel Amazing Now by Guillemots
Never really getting out of first gear, Kindness' 'Cyan' is a bit of an underwhelming return if we're being honest. There's some funky basslines going on in the background, but nothing to really stop it being pretty dull on the whole, not helped by the woozy lead vocals that sound disinterested. You will be too.
I have to start with a question - WHY? If you're a huge established star, then even a whole album of remixes might be a worthy project. But, with all due respect, Laki Mera? An EP of 3 remixes? The original song is great, so why spoil it? At which point I'll turn volte-face, because truth be told I've actually rather enjoyed this EP. It's like meeting three sisters - the slightly grimy dubby one, the massive house-banger and the sparse stripped down version. I'm still puzzling over the motivation for the release though. To show my perversity, here is the rather fine original instead
A generic slice of bog standard singer-songwriter shtick that is quickly forgotten once the final chords fade away.
Fuzzed up garage rockers Mazes and Eagulls met at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds while playing a benefit gig in support of the Beacons festival that had been cancelled because of atrocious weather. Having identified a mutual love of The Wipers it was only logical that they would joining forces for this rather spiffing split 7” . Mazes win out in the own compositions stakes with the rambunctious ‘Farewell Summer’ simply buzzing with energy while Eagulls raucous run through of ‘Mystery’ takes the Wipers cover version prize . A draw is the obvious result and these a couple of bands well worth supporting.
Mystery by eagulls
Noah And The Whale
Much like with The Pierces, you should already know what you're getting from the fourth single taken from Noah And The Whale's superb third album Last Night On Earth; similarly you already know how we feel about them. With perky acoustics and a violin hook, 'Waiting For My Chance To Come' delights long before the key change in the final bridge that, no matter what mood you find yourself in listening to it, cannot fail to bring a smile to your face. Even among jaded, cynical critics like us.
Ruben & Ra
We don't know much about this release, bar that it's vinyl and digital only. These four feel good tracks encompass old-fashioned house and disco. Nothing here is essential, but it's inoffensive enough boogie material.
Five tracks of bleepy, bassy electronica from 22 year old producer, Greg Feldwick. Only the deeper 'Depth Perception' elicits an emotional response.
Manchester's The Narrows say "dark futuristic electro guilt pop" and we're not going to argue with the notion. 'Able Danger' has a few quirks that make it stand out from the crowd but the heavy effects on the vocals and slightly weedy drums dull the sheen somewhat.
If you don't know what you're getting from Alabama duo The Pierces yet, then that's just because you haven't submitted to their luscious charms. 'Kissing You Goodbye' might be the 50th (roughly) release from You & I, but with the duo's honeyed tones undercut with soft guitars and a glockenspiel, it's still a welcome release and one that, if you foolishly haven't done so already, should persuade you to finally give You & I a spin.
The Pierces - Kissing You Goodbye by The Pierces
The Travelling Band
Feelgood electric folk that hits the mark. The lyrics are pretty if somewhat standard - tales of the road, searching for answers, you know how it goes. The thing is that I consider huge amounts of this beardy genre to be insufferable twee tosh, whereas this on the other hand is unaffected, unpretentious and all the better for it.
Barrelling along at 100mph this two minutes of distorted, no nonsense, female fronted punk rock makes a refreshing change from the anaemic tosh that often passes for popular music these days.
MOTHER KNOWS BEST by Throwing Up
More raucous indie rock excellence from Camden four-piece Tribes on 'When My Day Comes', the latest taster of their debut album which is already one of TMF's most anticipated releases of next year. Combining catchy, soundbite lyrics - "If nothing ever stays the same / Then why should we worry about acting our age" - with frenetic, rough-edged guitars and held together by Johnny Lloyd's distinctive vocals, it's clear to us that Tribes' day is just around the corner.
Single of the Week
The Miserable Rich
Only the subtly positioned drums and trembling vocals of James De Malplaquet give away the fact that this wonderfully orchestrated tale of ghostly possession is not the ethereal work of a quartet of Jacobean troubadours but rather a beautiful textured piece of modern pop from this Brighton quintet. One to treasure.