Singles of the Week

The ghouls have come out to play, but are any of the singles in this week's bundle a complete horror show? Read on to find out.

Arctic Monkeys
I'll be honest and say that Suck It And See failed to worm its way into these affections, with part of the problem being none of the singles did enough to sell the album itself. The title track is nice enough within the context of the full-length but radio play? dancefloor? first/last song at a wedding? We think not.

Born Blonde
A blissful (You’re fired - Ed.) and richly textured piece of hypnotic pop that would have been far better suited with a summer release. It could have have been used as a soundtrack to a relaxing Sunday afternoon spent sipping cider in the sun.

Charlie Simpson
One of the highlights from Charlie Simpson's debut solo album, 'Cemetery' is littered with fantastic pauses augmented with sustained vocal notes and a beautiful chorus backed by lush harmonies. To top it all, there's a 'woah-oh-oh' refrain towards the end. What more could you want?

Civil Civic

Dog Is Dead
A lovely little slice of indie pop/rock, 'Hands Down' from Nottingham five-piece Dog Is Dead starts off with a bit of genteel guitars and vocals before delivering a gorgeous chorus that lifts the spirit as much as it excites the ear drums.

King Mob

Lou Reed & Metallica
Oh dear. As a review, we feel that's apt enough but we know you're thirsty for reasons. Quite simply, Lou Reed's distinctive vocal delivery, especially embarrassing when he tries out his rock star delivery halfway through, just does not work with Metallica's meaty riffs and we're astonished that either artist ever thought they would. Perhaps the album will sway us though. Open minds and all that.

Miniature Dinosaurs
With an air of the 80s about it, this staccato pop-rock ditty is an enjoyably engaging way to spend three minutes. Just make sure you switch off before the utterly abysmal remix kicks in.

Mozart Parties
The debut single from Mozart Parties, project of singer-songwriter James Bennett, succeeds thanks to its sharp production that ensures what's happening beneath the vocals is as interesting as what's happening on the surface. Blending lush backing vocals and various bursts of diverse instruments, it all helps craft a track rich in atmosphere and marks out Mozart Parties as someone we're eager to keep an eye out for; the more immediate B-side 'Raining At The Crossroads' only helps reinforce this further.

Mozart Parties - Black Cloud from rob heppell on Vimeo.

Some Velvet Morning
We get that not all music needs to set the pulse racing but there always has to be something; unfortunately for Some Velvet Morning, 'Don't Think' doesn't have that. Too low-key and brooding for its own good, you get the feeling it'll work great in an album context - a subtle moment before a more bombastic effort - although as a single, it's nowhere near memorable enough. Nice retro guitar riff though, even if that disappears towards the end as well.

Sonic Youth
Now that the future of seminal noise rockers [b]Sonic Youth[/b] is up in the air, this wonderful mix tape of their "greatest hits" is a real treat and a not so gentle reminder of what an incredible contribution they have made towards modern music. How ironic then, that [i]Hits Are For Squares[/i], a compilation spanning the band's first 30 years, handpicked by a slew of the hippest artists and musicians, was first released in 2008 through Starbucks. An indication perhaps of how these outsiders have now permeated our day to day lives perhaps? After a limited European release in 2010 the album has finally been made available on a much wider scale.The influence they have had on music is astounding and it is quite telling that a corporate white-washed coffee-chain was originally responsible for its initial release. Artists hand-picked by the band selected the songs so while the tracks may not cover the band's entire discography, the choices for the most part are good ones. So alongside the obvious inclusions - 'Bull In Heather' (as chosen by actress Catherine Keener) from 1994's [i]Experimental Jet Set, Trash And No Star[/i], 'Teen Age Riot' from 1988's [i]Daydream Nation[/i] (chosen by Eddie Vedder) and 'Kool Thing' ([b]Radiohead[/b]'s selection) from 1990's [i]Goo[/i] - you also have a cover of [b]The Carpenters[/b]' 'Superstar' and the excellent 'Stones' from 2004's [i]Sonic Nurse[/i] as well as a previously unreleased track, the glorious 'Slow Revolution'. A fabulous idea for compiling a 'best of' that brings it out of the norm and throws in a few surprises. But what else would you expect from one of the greatest and most significant bands of the last 30 years?

Greatest hits but with a twist.

Syd Arthur
Popular Music annoyance #31456 - Giving your band a fictitious bloke’s name. Men of Kent, Syd Arthur are one such band who, despite having a rather nice line in melodic psychdelia, will find the most common question they have to field in any interview is the old classic. Which one’s Syd?

Ode To The Summer by Syd Arthur

The Drums
Jacknife Lee adds a light dusting of student disco fairy talc to a track that cements The Drums' position as purveyors of effective lower-league indie. 'How It Ended' has a nagging, melancholy chorus that sneaks up, demanding a press of the replay button.

The Sound of Arrows
We were just talking about the future of male-fronted pop t'other day because we take this job very serious and that. The outlook didn't seem terribly good, but then Swedish duo The Sound of Arrows come along with this slice of trance influenced goodness that blows other, more high-profile, acts out the water. Sure, it won't change your life but it definitely fills a gap in the market.

The inclusion of some nice violins in the middle section add a bit of class to this otherwise by the numbers, pop-rock ballad that, although pitched perfectly for the target audience, is likely to leave anyone else a bit cold.

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