Singles of the Week
By some coincidence, it fell to me last year to deliver the Mother's Day singles round up and I attempted some topical joke about flowers. Seeing as I was never going to match up with that, I thought I'd just ramble on a bit instead. So, yeah. Onwards.
Peppy, upbeat, endearing and rather cute, 'Here We Go Again' from Ex-Girls guy Christopher Owens, is one of the better tracks from his solo effort Lysandre. If you like this then you will love the album which is basically more of the same.
Another cracking piece of raucous homegrown folk/punk that should see Crowns star continue to rise. Great stuff.
You might not know it, but you've heard of Ed Drewett before. Having written the likes of The Wanted's 'All Time Low' and appearing on Professor Green's 'I Need You Tonight', 'Drunk Dial' is the first single to be taken from Drewett's debut album and, at times, it feels like The Streets for the pre-teen crowd. An inoffensive enough pop effort which is bound to be huge with the young'uns, we just don't feel like we're the right crowd for it...
I am definitely too old for this kind of epic, stadium friendly dance music but even I have to admit to a slight admiration for its toe-tappingly addictive bounciness. Great fun for kids everywhere.
Mixing pop and politics has always a been a tricky game especially as the mainstream is becoming blander and blander but, on this, his second solo EP former King Blues frontman Itch has delivered the kind of fiercely political music that this country desperately needs. Fusing hip hop, metal and funky groovy with deeply felt lyrics this is an EP of angry agit-rock that starts off with the furiously and fully realised 'Diplomat' a song that tells you all you need to know about the depth of Itch's anger at society today. The remaining three songs are no slouches either and make this EP essential listening to anyone fed up with the anaemic dross force fed to an uncaring audience.
Following up their promising debut double A-side 'Swing Low / Young', LULS have delivered another duo of hugely listenable art rock. At times it all gets a bit Reverend And The Makers, but the trio deliver their sounds with such panache and confidence that the only feeling it leaves is one of euphoria. 'Sympathy Or Love' adds a splash of first album White Lies into the mix, hinting at even more exciting times ahead.
One of the standouts from Paloma Faith's double platinum second album Fall To Grace, 'Black & Blue' is a simply fabulous showcase for those powerhouse, arena-filling vocals. Heartfelt, powerful and soaring, it's a belter of a track backed by a stylish b&w video directed by Si Allen.
Available in no fewer than five versions, the first single to be taken from Riva Starr's sophomore album Hand In Hand is an intriguing blend of house beats with surf guitars, layered with vocals from RSSLL, AKA Russell Searle. 'Absence' won't be for everyone, but the adventurous may find themselves pleasantly surprised.
The third track to be taken from Take The Crown, 'Be A Boy' unfortunately ends up sounding like two tracks fitted together - and not very successfully at that. Robbie Williams' vocals are at odds with the cheesy synth-fuelled backing, to the extent that you're left wishing that they'd really be backed by a stadium-sized riff instead. Even a sax solo can't save the track, and that's when you know things are bad.
Fuzzy, noisy and always best played very, very loud this second vinyl only 7"er from these Southend based rockers is exactly what garage rock should be about. Perhaps the best of the three songs on display is the gloriously ramshackle 'Haxan' but there is nothing here that doesn't bear repeated listening. If all releases on the Polyvinyl Craftsmen Records label are as good as this, the world will be a much better place. Marvellous.
Single of the Week
With the excellent 'Bones' being used on the recent Game Of Thrones trailer, noir pop duo MS MR could be about to become very big indeed, and 'Fantasy' is yet further evidence that they'd fully deserve it. Lizzy's honeyed vocals are the star here, ably backed by choral backing refrains and subtly soaring synths. Debut album Second Hand Rapture cannot come soon enough.