Singles of the Week

It's at this time of year we give thanks to a very special person, the man who has risen to the challenge no one else at TMF Towers was equal to, reviewing the new Children In Need single. Ian, we salute you. Now on to this week's offerings.

You only need to tick a few boxes for the Music Fix crew to stop arguing over who's going to wash up the cups and actually pay attention to what's playing on the old Matsui tape deck, and anything that evokes bit of Garbage or Curve will usually do the trick. 'Scarlet' gets more MOR towards the end than it probably realises, but it's still a solid introduction. Catch them on tour with The Big Pink this month.

Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny
Beautiful tune from eccentric chanteuse Beth Jeans Hooughton. 'Liliputt' with it's jaunty playful melody and Houghton's haunting vocal swimming just above, is hypnotic and captivating and exquisitely beautiful.

Brother & Bones
It's almost too easy to compare Brother & Bones to another folk outfit with an ampersand in their name, but give their debut a spin and you'll resist that temptation. Meatier than their contemporaries - thanks to the addition of two drummers - 'Hold Me Like The Sun' delivers the fabulous hoedown tempo that you'd expect alongside a corker of a chorus and lovely subtle harmonies, all resulting in an impressive first bow.

Cave Birds
A richly textured and thoroughly absorbing song of love and pain that grips from start to finish. Debuts as assured and enjoyable as this are hard to come by and mark these Leeds lads as a group to keep an eye on.

Craig Finn goes it alone
Craig Finn, frontman of the critically acclaimed group The Hold Steady, has confirmed the release of a limited 7" single, 'Honolulu Blues', which is backed by new B-side i"Rented Room', at the end of the month. This will be a taster for the January 23rd release of his debut solo album, Clear Heart Full Eyes, on Full-Time Hobby Records.Earlier this year, Finn challenged himself to write a new song every day in his Brooklyn apartment. "I had written a bunch of songs that were outside of the norm for The Hold Steady, a little quieter and perhaps more narrative," says Finn. "I wanted to gain some experience and insight into the process of making a record by working with new people." Finn travelled to Austin, Texas in July, removing himself from all familiar surroundings, to record the album with producer Mike McCarthy (Spoon, Trail of Dead). Of the album's title, Finn says, ”It's a juxtaposed reference to 'Friday Night Lights,' a TV show that excited and moved me and also happened in Texas. Further, 'Clear Heart' signifies honesty and transparency, and 'Full Eyes' suggests experience."Finn's solo album features a variety of guests, including members of White Denim, Phosphorescent, The Heartless Bastards and Centro-matic.2012 tour dates will be announced soon.

The Hold Steady frontman announces his debut solo albun

This rollicking sea shanty, reminiscent of a young Pogues, is a world away from the plethora of nu-folk bands chancing there arms. It may be a tad too polished for many but there is plenty to look forward to from these Cornish lads.

Dan Sartain is Too Tough To Live
Dan Sartain returns with a whore-able new album Too Tough To Live on January 30th, 13 tracks delivered in under 19 minutes! That’s an average strike rate of a new tune every 1 minute and 30 seconds.Recorded at Lucky Cat, San Francisco, Too Tough To Live finds Sartain running fresh out of patience with an itinerary of hassles - department stores, death, the unseeing eye, the all-seeing eye, heaven, hell, Vietnam, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays - and YOU!Sartain is particularly excited to announce singer/ guitarist Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Go's as guest-star on ‘Now Now Now’. The two met at a brain trust of sorts in San Francisco known as a Star Track™ convention. After some begging, name dropping, and a few bucks, Wiedlin Joined Dan Sartain, achieving a forced human interaction paralleled by none!Too Tough To Live is operating at the opposite end of the spectrum to 2009’s Dan Sartain Lives. With adequate production values and some musical ability, the down stroke ridden Too Tough To Live is a tribute to when punk was real, MAAAAAAN!!!!!

so takes out his anger on a new album

Dry The River
The Indie-folk band-wagon just keeps a rolin' along. They are really coming out of the wood-work, now that there is well and truly a niche in the market. At last all these earnest young men and women have an outlet for their heart-felt melancholic outpourings. Dry The River is definitely one of the better ones, mainly down to Peter Liddle's incredible voice. 'Weights & Measures' starts off a bit hesitantly but as it gains momentum you cannot help but be sucked in to the honest beauty of it all. And this sums up the rest of the EP as well. Lovely tunes and great performances given added oomph by Liddle's epic vocals.

Eleanor Friedberger
With perky keys and a nicely fuzzy bass line, Eleanor Friedberger's 'My Mistakes' (lead single from her debut solo album Last Summer, out now) will reel you in from the off and keep you hooked for the entirety, sealing the deal with a cracking sax solo at the end. Lovely.

Hyde & Beast
A delightful blend of bluegrass and folk with lovely harmonies, Hyde & Beast's 'You Will Be Lonely' can't fail to get the head a-nodding. It all goes a bit psychedelic towards the end as well, and that's never a bad thing. Cracking video too.

Kathleen Edwards
With new album due in January, the Canadian singer announces her return in thrillingly upbeat fashion. A raggle-taggle burst of folk-pop, it gets in and gets out - two perfectly formed minutes. Bodes well for the album.

Kathleen Edwards - Sidecar by Kathleen Edwards

Kings of Leon
The rise and fall of an American band.

Life In Film
Indie pop-rock with bundles of retro charm, 'The Idiot' is one hell of a calling card from London four-piece Life In Film. Lovely melodies result in a track that is effortlessly easy to listen to but one that won't rest easily in the background. Turn it up loud, relax and revel in the fact that, just sometimes, life can be beautiful.

Oh My!
OK, so we know Oh My!'s 'Dirty Dancer' is likely to annoy as many as it charms but we can't resist falling into the latter category thanks to one of the catchiest choruses of the year. Brimming with energy, big synth hooks and sharp lyrics - "I want a Patrick Swayze, a dirty dancer / Take my hand, don't leave me in the corner baby" - it makes us wish we could be young again so that saying we like it doesn't come across like an embarassed Dad trying to be down with the kids. Could do without the Scru Fizzer cameo though mind.

Random Impulse
It could so easily have been a mess but Random Impulse's blend of indie, rock and drum & bass proves a winning combination on his latest EP. Delivered with enthusiasm, littered with memorably eccentric turns of phrase ("Every day feels like fate's picking on you like a cold sore" - 'Lying To Myself') and with big rock-edged hooks, each of the three original tracks delivers something different. Highlight is opener 'Put It On My Card' with its catchy chorus that revolves simply around the use of credit cards on a night out. Yep, you read that right; the cheeky scamp. No Sleep For Winners is an impressive calling card for one of the most exciting and freshest UK acts out there.

Straightforward punk rock but not in a bad way, London trio Shuga's debut single may not break any new ground but it does what it does effectively. Staying around for just two minutes, 'Hey Baby' will be welcomed by anyone who likes their music to get to the point fast and do so without anything other than a pair of guitars and a drum kit.

Simian Ghost
A deeply laid back of gently ethereal beauty that swirls around your brain until you are as relaxed as humanly possible. A lovely introduction to these chilled out Swedes

You wouldn't necessarily expect a slice of dubstep to be a lyrical message to a newborn son, but that's precisely what Skream's 'Anticipate' is. That's about the only interesting thing about it though unfortunately as it presents everything you'd expect - icy synths and throbbing sub-bass - but in a decidedly workmanlike fashion with nothing particularly exciting to these eardrums.

The Bleeps
There's some good grungy bass work on this release from the London three-piece, but otherwise it doesn't stand out from the indie crowd.

The Collective
Yep, this is about as good as we'd expect a cover of Massive Attack's sublime 'Teardrop' from the likes of Tulisa, Wretch 32, Ed Sheeran et al. (i.e. not very). Still we're not all cynical bastards around here. It's the Children In Need official single so buy a copy, then just hide in somewhere in your house - or hard-drive if you go digital - so that you won't accidentally play it instead of the original.

The History Of Apple Pie
More scuzzy delights await you on The History Of Apple Pie's second single, 'Mallory'. Despite guitars being amped up since 'You're So Cool', Stephanie Min's vocals remain as arresting as ever (witness the ooo's of the chorus) and it all builds to a superb riff-tastic finale. Wonderful stuff.

The Pipettes
Rejected from the last Pipettes' album on account of it sounding too like their early stuff, this has been dug out as a stop-gap release, notable for the fact that it was the last thing producer Martin Rushent worked on before his untimely death. 'Boo Shuffle' is from the group's up-beat 60s dancer toolbox - which most fans will welcome - although it's a rather minor entry in their canon. Solid rather than spectacular.

The Twilight Sad
A sinister mix of looping guitar, ethereal synth rhythms and James Graham’s distinctive drawl that marks a sea change in style for these Scottish rockers but one that will hopefully serve them well when their new album hit the shelves next year.

Thee Spivs
With Thee Spiv's second album Black And White Memories set to drop this month, Thee Spivs are releasing this limited 7 inch with this good old slice of acoustic-driven rock 'n' roll. On the B-side is a cover of Billy Childish's 'I Don't Like The Man That I AM', a song that appears to be rather popular with Thee Spivs label mates, and judging by this version that's no surprise.

Wild Beasts
It's been a good year for Wild Beasts, with 'Reach A Bit Further' a timely reminder of one of those Spring albums that might get forgotten come 'Best of the Year' lists. The dancing beats; the pretty, chiming guitars; the ethereal vocals - it's all very 2011.

Single of the Week

Jodie Marie
We simply refuse to believe that Jodie Marie is 20. Her voice is just astonishing: full of gravitas and an earthiness that makes you feel every note she sings. It elevates 'On The Road' from your standard output into delicious soulful fare revolving around the pains of love - "I call when I'm in trouble / Because you can make me feel better / But then you always let me down / I just can't help but need you now". She's going to be big, trust us.

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