Singles of the Week
Written about her performance at Hampden Park, 'Pride' finds Amy Macdonald on auto pilot. The elements are all there - husky, passionate vocals married to understated jaunty guitars - but there's very little present that fully excites. Solid, but uninspiring.
It's almost like they've never been away. 'Octopus' finds Bloc Party on the firm indie rock territory of their earlier years and while it might lack the immediacy of a 'Banquet' or a 'The Prayer', it's still a fine return that bodes well for FOUR.
If anything can be defined as Django Django's sound, it's probably 'Hail Bop'. An innovative and endlessly fun mix of psychedelia, synth pop and dance, 'Hail Bop' won't be for everyone but more fool them.
Coming across like an Alex Turner or Miles Kane with both eyes firmly on the past, Nottingham troubadour Jake Bugg impresses highly with his new EP Taste It. Remarkably just 18, Bugg showcases exceptional vocal skills - with an excellent streak in earthy emotion - across all four tracks. All tinged with country, the tracks are meat-and-potatoes stuff albeit created with Kobe beef; opener 'Taste It' shows he can do uptempo, while 'Love Me The Way You Do' belies his tender years with a world-weary soulfulness. An auspicious effort from a supremely talented singer/songwriter.
Jessie Ware has already made a name for herself on the scene by gifting her vocals on several tracks from SBTRKT’s LP. ‘Wildest Moments’ is very much her own, a slow burning, beautifully crafted track designed to accentuate the Brixtonite’s haunting tones. Jessie Ware is going to be huge, this song is only an introduction.
Hazy guitar riffs govern this yearning slow burner, with frontwoman Jana Hunter’s ethereal vocals providing a perfect soundtrack for 2am bleary-eyed drives home. Bleak, beautiful shoe-gaze: it’s all very Beach House-y.
Shingai Shoniwa’s distinctive vocal plastered all over this 60’s inspired track is guaranteed to lift spirits from the dismal British summer. A simplistic beat and memorable chorus make this a sharp sample of upcoming album Contact from the ever dynamic duo. The sound is transparently Noisettes: eclectic, elevating and unashamedly energetic pop.
One of the standouts from Paloma Faith's sophomore effort Fall To Grace, '30 Minute Love Affair' is utterly gorgeous thanks to its unashamedly grandiose instrumental backing and Paloma's peerless vocals, in turns soothing and heartbreaking. Wonderful.
You will definitely already know the latest release from Roc Nation darling ,Rita Ora thanks to its constant radio airings. With Jay-Z as a mentor, she’s clearly been given access to the formula of how to have a chart hit. Not as energetic as her previous singles, ‘How We Do (Party)’ is a slow paced mediocre pop track, slightly saved by Ora’s more than capable vocals.
The Boy Royals
A bouncy piece of indie rock that would probably be more enjoyable if it didn't sound uncomfortably like a pumped up version of Billy Bragg's 'A New England'.
A nice change of pace from four-piece The Tricks on the latest track to be released in conjunction with their monthly club night Bop! Club. Their angular guitars are in the background on 'On Trial', allowing Joel Hodges' strong vocals to shine through. It's not perfect, certainly a touch overlong, but it's nice to know they have different layers.
We Are The Physics
With the notable exception of Man or Astroman the field of science has been criminally ignored by rock bands over the years. Step forward Glasgow's We Are The Physics whose latest single is a sharp, spikey slice of angular post punk nerdiness that is toe tappingly catchy and impossible to dislike.
Single of the Week
Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo with Frank Turner
Fresh from his turn as Olympic opening ceremony warm up act, hardcore screecher turned follkie Frank Turner adds his distinctive voice to that of fellow troubadour Emily Barker. The result is a dark, but beautiful bouncy murder ballad with a vintage country tinged edge that is simply irresistable. Let's hope Turner's increased popularity will see 'Fields Of June' receive the plaudits it so richly deserves.