Singles Of The Week // 31st May 2011
The synth-pop of Talking Pictures and 'Mirrors' takes the crown of last week's best release, according to you lovely folk, with 55.95% of the vote, ably supported by 'Shimmer, Shimmer' from the lovely She's Hit. This week there is a Belgian girls choir, scuzzy lo-fi and Cosmo Jarvis. A fair mix I think you'll agree. Have a read, have a listen, then have a bloody good vote at the bottom of the page.
Cosmo Jarvis – 'Sure As Hell Not Jesus'
OK, I'm aware that I can be quite predictable, and I guess that my choice for this week is relatively obvious, given the phenomenal success of 'Gay Pirates', but I feel absolutely no shame in being boring if it means absolutely loving Cosmo Jarvis' latest offering. The lead single from the EP of the same name, 'Sure As Hell Not Jesus' is a raucous, hollering romp through bluegrass, country and classic rock'n'roll, with a witty and controversial video to boot. Refusing to be pinned down and pigeonholed, Cosmo has followed the singalong folk of 'Gay Pirates' with a rich, lush sound that embellishes the nuances of his voice, rather than drowning it, whilst the swaggering chorus is unashamedly anthemic. From the meandering banjo underlining the track, to the brash electric guitars, there is genuine depth to the track, but Cosmo's unique talent and personality is always at the centre, driving what is approaching the perfect pop song. (Not pop in the shitty, narrow, artificial Jason Derulo definition, but the catchy, clever, talented Cosmo Jarvis description).
The Lucid Dream – 'Love In My Veins'
At the risk of plagiarising the omniscient Steve Lamacq, this is jangly psychedelica with just the slightest hint of Kasabian. It is a track that gets lost in itself, twisting and turning through a rich aurality that is enhanced by the distorted, drifting vocal. Making the songs that Miles Kane wet dreams over, The Lucid Dream start off sounding like Jim Morrison's offcuts, before building into something far more original and exciting, whilst just about steering clear of Beady Eye and the curse of Liam Gallagher's arrogance and diminishing musical ability.
Stagecoach – 'Jonah Lomu/Tony Hawk'
From the nineties rugby references to the lo-fi harmonies, Stagecoach are on the money to crack the alternative stratosphere, with the only danger being the sheer number of bands out there trying to do exactly the same thing. Making what is truthfully quite derivative music, it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between the hundreds of bands creating very similar effects, from Spectrals to Mazes, from Zoo Kid to Wavves, it is easy to be damning when assessing the whole lo-fi scene, as its DIY accessibility has meant that it has never been easier to write a song and gain a brief following. I enjoy all of the bands I've mentioned, but the more you listen the less you appreciate the casual differences between the acts. Stagecoach then have a serious job on their hands, but 'Jonah Lomu/Tony Hawk' is a good sign, from the hormonal delivery to the Weezer-esque thrash.
Boy Mandeville - 'Gorilla'
What a spanking good song! And I say this as a person who hates exclamation marks more than Geordie Shore. And that's a lot. There is just something about this that is so infectiously cheery, recalling Vampire Weekend at their most effortlessly sweet and fun. There is the falsetto of the chorus, and the African guitars, plus what I think is a hilariously subtle Paul Simon influence. I defy anybody to find anything wrong with this song. Perfect summer music.
Scala & Kolacny Brothers – 'Use Somebody'
I'll admit to a previous ignorance of Scala & Kolacny Brothers, but perusing the back catalogue you begin to recognise their various covers, with the interpretation of Radiohead's 'Creep' sticking as particularly pertinent. A Belgian girls choir, with a simple piano accompaniment, this is a predictably moving and orchestral version of the huge Kings Of Leon hit. This only so much that can be said to dress up what is basically a very beautiful version of a song you've probably heard too many times already. This is fantastic though, stripping the track of all it's mock epic artifice, and re imagining an average song as a glorious, moving lullaby.
O'Death - 'Bugs'
Though a band who (according to wikipedia, that bastion of truth) make music inspired by punk and metal, 'Bugs' is a fragile, reluctant folk track based around a banjo and harking back to previous Single of the Week winners Melodica, Melody and Me. It's only brief, at just over two minutes, but this is a smart, delicate song which follows the ever-changing folk trends of depth and variation. Succeeding with music that Bombay Bicycle Club sporadically succeeded with on their sophomore album. This is more bluegrass than folk, with the country vibes hinting at a band for whom longevity is a result of an ongoing creativity, rather than predictability.
Dangerous! - 'Not One Of You'
A brash anthem to non-conformity, in the lineage of The Vines. The track screams of a precocious and anarchic quality; this is music that makes you want to kick things.
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