Singles of the Week
The festive month is here and while we wait for the massive anticlimax of the completely pointless 'CHRISTMAS NUMBER ONE', there are still a few weeks to fill with music more deserving of plaudits. What joys greet us this week?
2011 in Review #4 - TMF's most-read news stories
You put it out there and you don't know what will stick. There may be a science to it, but most of the time news comes in, a quick judgement call is made as to what's worth uploading and you move on to the next one.Below is a list of the most read news stories that appeared on TMF in 2011. Most of it makes no sense in terms of what we - and others - might tell you about what the most 'important' stories of the year were. But this is our cold, unforgiving data - unedited and unexpurgated. A world where [b]The Corrs[/b] are still bigger than [b]Coldplay[/b] and nothing gets people more excited than some re-packaged albums from the 1960s.
All the news that's fit to print.
Ben Howard is on a roll. Latest single 'The Fear', from his hit debut Every Kingdom is already getting a healthy dose of radio-time. Definitely one of the album's highlights the song charges along at an infectious clip with Howard's evocative vocals adding a nice dose of vim and vigor.
'Distant Neighbourhood' tells us nothing we didn't already know - Big Deal have been one of 2011's little delights. Their girl/boy bedroom indie is as sweet and swoonsome as it was on day one and we've not tired of it yet. Get the Lights Out album for the full effect.
Another solid dose of dance/rock from Example on 'Midnight Run', the latest track to be taken from his recent Gold-certified album Playing In The Shadows. For people who like this sort of thing, it comes equipped with five different remixes and three different edits so you're bound to find a version you like. If you're interested, we like the Wideboys remix best, adding a welcome euphoric edge to proceedings.
A slow-burner of a debut, FAMY may test some peoples' patience (especially on meditative B-side 'Mother Benita'), but those willing to be wooed will uncover a lovely mix of soft vocals and delicate, subtle acoustics that, while neither track builds up to any expansive climax, leaves a strong lasting impression.
Dogg Dogg by FAMY
Anyone with a penchant for gravelly male vocalists should find much to love about ex-Loverman vocalist Gabriel Bruce's debut solo single 'Sleep Paralysis'. It's hardly light-hearted stuff - "I got this feeling I were dead" - but a final act tone switch suggests there's more to be uncovered with Bruce and, on the back of this, we'd welcome the search.
I Am A Camera
Dark electro pop/rock that leaves you feeling a touch grubby, we like I Am A Camera's 'Commuter Love' a lot. It's a song about stalking, which is appropriate as we'll be following everything the duo do now on the strength of this.
The catchy drumbeat peaks our interest before Laura Gibson's distinctive vocals kick in and, you know us here at TMF Towers, we simply can't resist a slightly quirky female solo artist. With deliciously eerie, whispered backing vocals, 'La Grande' is on the surface at least, punchy, interesting indie pop; the fact that it leaves you with a bit of a unsettled feeling, just makes it quite superb.
Laura Gibson - La Grande by cityslang
Alright everybody, time for a bit of skanking. This stunningly enjoyable Reggae take on the Nirvana classic is so bouncy and brilliant that if it doesn’t get you dancing then you have no soul.
With her European tour currently hitting UK shores, what better time to revisit (or visit for the first time) the opening track from Meg Baird's most recent album Seasons On Earth. 'Babyon' is a charming, magical and rather short track that does a wonderful job of showing off her sweet vocals and intricate, meandering acoustics that have become her hallmark.
Red Sky July
Easily the pick of their debut LP, ‘How To Get Your Love’ is a gentle rolling piece of folk skiffle with beautiful harmonies and a laid back vibe that will warm the cockles of your heart during these cold winter days.
'Here We Go Again' finds Roots Manuva in low-key form and the results are largely impressive. Over a throbbing bass, Rodney Smith is in reflective mood over a past friendship, while a strong vocal over the chorus from Spikey Tee steals the show. Unlikely to win over new fans, but decent nonetheless.
Roots Manuva - 'Here We Go Again' by Big Dada Sound
Currently gaining a fair amount of plaudits, Spector round off their trilogy of singles for Luv Luv Luv Records with 'Grey Shirt & Tie' - and we're still not 100% convinced. It's all sharply done but is it really exciting? Not to these ears.
Sophisticated, all-grown-up melodics with some jazzy/urban beats. It's not a million miles away from what you would imagine Will Young might be doing currently. The video is porn for city traders with a food fetish.
We Were Promised Jetpacks
We've already been highly glowing of the immediate brilliance of 'Human Error' here, so the real joy of this double A-side is the non-album cut 'Ink Slowly Dries'. More WWPJ is never a bad thing in our book and so it proves; 'Ink Slowly Dries' is a softer effort and slowly draws you into its haunted, melancholic world before hitting you with a soaring epic finale. Brilliant.
We Were Promised Jetpacks - Human Error/ Ink Slowly Dries (FatCat AA Single 7fat83) by Fat Cat Records
It's not often that we're left wishing a single was longer, but that'll be precisely your thoughts after a listen of Willy Moon's debut single 'I Wanna Be Your Man'. A completely unique effort of 50s rock sensibilities spiced with a modern edge, it's really quite brilliant. More please.
Conventional is not one way you can describe Woman's Hour, certainly not on the basis of their double A-side debut release. 'Jenni' kicks in with almost two minutes of instrumentals before any hint of vocals but the jaunty angular guitars more than keep you company, while 'Human' is a more expansive effort that revels in reverbs and is unafraid to not fill every moment with something. Highly promising.
Single of the Week
First Aid Kit
How much do we love First Aid Kit? Lots. The latest Swedish export, sisters Johanna and Klara, bring us the first single from their soon to be released second album. 'The Lion's Roar' is a gem, with their lush vocal harmonies, gorgeous shimmering melody...sublime, stupendous and just plain great.