Singles of the Week
You know it, you love it, you can't get enough of it, The Music Fix Singles Of The Week.
Acres of Lions
'Reaction' is hugely enjoyable piece of jaunty power pop that you can't help but sing along to. It's a shame that joint A-side 'Set Me On Fire' is an overwrought and underpowered attempt at a stadium rocker. Still, one out of two ain't bad.
Wildly ambitious chamber pop from Cardiff (there's a phrase you don't see much) that blends strings and brass with interesting, modern percussion. If we don't hear more from this crowd, there's something seriously wrong.
Benjamin Francis Leftwich
A truly lovely, lovely tune from Benjamin Francis Leftwich. His breathy vocals feels like he is whispering in your ear and adds to the song's simple charm. I am smitten.
The shimmering early singles from Born Blonde showed great promise but 'Signs of Fear' is a hideously dull piece of Coldplay-lite MOR indie aimed squarely at the kind of people that buy their CDs in Tesco. Hugely disappointing
Clocking in at almost 30 minutes for five tracks, Eaux's i EP isn't for the fainthearted. Persevere however and there's a lot to admire, mostly stemming from the trio's penchant for improvisation. With each track formed from a half-finished idea, there is often the feeling that the track is developing in front of your own ears, its beats and Sian Ahern's distinctive vocals building up throughout. Certainly won't be everyone's cup of tea but for those who like an exciting rawness to their music, it's well worth checking out.
A mightily impressive opening salvo, 'Blind As I Am' puts Indiana's vocals front-and-centre. Soulful yet fragile, they work with the minimal beats to add to the overall ghostly tone of the whole track. Subtly captivating.
Debut single from Jenn D, formerly of Soft Toy Emergency and more recently known as Vela, is a beat-heavy club track that resembles Girls Aloud at their most upbeat. 'Lose It' can be busy at times, but features a solid pop hook that ensures that the track stays in the memory for the right reasons. Promising start!
With a host of remixes from the likes of Paul Oakenfold and Riley & Durrant, 'Come With Me' should have probably landed on the Dirty Dancing desk but we'll muddle through as best we can. Mid-paced Euro tune with a Middle-Eastern flavour and a rather tired trip-hop beat, we thought this kind of thing had died when the doors closed on the last wine bar in town. Colour us 1993-ed.
Now apparently forging a truly independent path (she's crowd funding her next album) Kate Nash delivers this new five-track EP to keep her audience engaged in the meantime. Sonically, it's an extension of her drift towards upbeat garage-pop which thankfully doesn't abandon her inherent gift for a catchy melody.You will most probably have seen the Halloween-themed video for 'Fri-end', but the EP's strongest effort is its title track, the sinister Dick Dale-isms of the verses contrasting with the bubblegum chorus - suggesting Nash is not content to simply ape the punkier and New Wave artists she's currently devouring. The wheels come off a little with the somewhat cliched Riot Grrl yelps of 'I Want a Boyfriend With a Car' and while a re-tread of 'All Day And All of the Night' may not initially entice, it eventually picks up some momentum and Nash transforms the track into a minor femme-love anthem. Closer 'May Queen', with its simple voice and Bontempi arrangement may ultimately prove to be a more intriguing artistic destination.
Death Leppard: Kate Nash rocks out.
Not to be confused the Leeds noise merchants of the same name, this brand of Shields hail from Newcastle and deal in a currently very popular line of slightly off kilter pop that, although pleasant enough, does not have anything to mark it out from numerous other similar bands. Fun while it lasts but unlikely to linger long in the memory
Pinch me - I appear to have woken up in 1973. Heavy, soulful rock of the Almost Famous variety. Not my flagon of Jack D.
Two Door Cinema Club
Decent slice of pop fun served up by indie heroes Two Door Cinema Club. 'Sun' is already getting heavy rotation on the radio and it's not hard to see why. Smart well crafted melody coupled with witty lyrics, all wrapped in Alex Trimble's winsome vocals. What's not to like?
With debut album Pushin' Against A Stone due out early next year, 'Workin' Woman Blues' gives us the first taste of Valerie June's country-tinged output. Low-key instrumental backing adds a welcome dustiness to June's strong bluesy vocals, but it's hard to say whether there's anything here that will appeal to anyone who's not already a fan of the genre.
Breezy Caribbean-tinged pop that manages to throw in a sax solo without offending. Hold the front page: pop single found alive and well!
Inoffensive garage pop/rock awaits on Young Buffalo's eponymous five-track EP and while it's all nicely done, there's not much here that has us itching to press repeat. 'Upstairs' is a high point showcasing the duo's undoubted sharp ear for a melody, while you're worth skipping the mess that is 'Nature Boy' (unfortunately chosen as the EP's lead single) where their attempt to mix afrobeat with garage rock just doesn't work. Worth a listen if it's your kind of bag; avoid if not.
Single of the Week
The Civil Wars
Given their recent well-documented issues, this Poison & Wine EP might be the last thing we hear from The Civil Wars. Let's hope not. With four tracks of gorgeously honed folk led by the heartbreaking title track (taken from their debut album Barton Hollow), the EP breezes by in a glorious haze. Each of the three covers is strong, yet their Smashing Pumpkins' cover of 'Disarm' is our personal favourite. Put on this EP and then cross every possible digit that we hear new stuff come 2013.