Singles Of The Week // June 13th 2011
We can all be honest, today is a great day for albums, with Emmy The Great and WU LYF amongst others releasing truly fantastic records, but we're not going to let this detract from a healthy selection of single releases this week are we? No? Good. Thomas Tantrum take the crown as your favourite track from last week, with a crushing 74.89% of the vote. Comprehensive to say the least. If you're interested, Club Smith and Dananananakroyd followed, but they never really had a chance after the eventual winners started and ended strongly, maintaining a healthy level of votes throughout the week. To follow on from there, we needed some huge songs out this week, and I believe I can maintain the high standard with tracks from The Kills, Niki And The Dove, and Space Ranger. You know the drill- have a listen, get voting at the bottom and feel free to comment with abuse, threats or maybe just an opinion on the songs.
Niki And The Dove – 'The Fox'
I was first introduced to Niki And The Dove with the viral popularity of 'DJ Ease My Mind', but there is plenty to explore before this with the gorgeous 'Under The Bridges', and now the brooding, burning pop of 'The Fox'. Following the darkly danceable, subversive melodies of compatriot Robyn, this apparently electro trio from Sweden are making juddering euro-trash without the shitty synths or whistles. This opens with a jerking, angular cello effect, before exploding into a shimmering, anxious chorus which vocally recalls the fragility of PJ Harvey with the early histrionics of Bjork. Even better, you can currently get it free from their website in exchange for your email address, which is fortunate, as you can then be one of those irritating dicks who can claim to have been there from the start when they inevitably end up smashing the mainstream open.
The Kills – 'Future Starts Slow'
I'm actually a big fan of The Kills, and whilst I'm still waiting to really 'get' the new album, 'Future Starts Slow' is an undoubted positive in the mixed bag of Blood Pressures. It is a very easy criticism to level at Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince that, sonically, the spluttering, garage synthetics of the group have actively developed over their four albums, but this latest single is a very fair reminder that with their dancey, dirty hybrid of electronics and cluttered vocals are still contemporary and needed, with the growing success of Sleigh Bells pointing to the influence of the London pair. In its own right, 'Future Starts Slow' is another great song to add to the canon, with the trademark dual vocal juxtaposed with the increasingly disparate rhythm giving the track a certain poetry as Mosshart snarls “England can keep my bones”. Respite is offered in the affected female vocal as the monotone delivery is abandoned halfway through, to a desperate, yearning result.
Space Ranger feat. Captn K – 'Plastic Romance'
Disclaimer- I am going to have to use the words 'groovy' and 'funky' quite a lot in describing this track, and I'm fully aware of how lame I sound. Right, this is sounding very fresh at the moment, and according to the press release will “make you dance with tears in your eyes”. I'm not sure about that, but it is impossibly funky (I warned you), with such a chilled disco vibe to it that I defy anyone to listen without strutting. It's like listening to Toro Y Moi for the first time all over again, only from a band more than happy to sacrifice depth for an instantly accessible and catchy groove. And I can honestly say that I don't use such a ludicrous statement lightly.
Milk Maid – 'Not Me'
From disco to scuzzy lo-fi. Except this isn't particularly scuzzy, and is lo-fi only in the sweeping, lazy way that a distorted, crackling vocal is. This is lo-fi like Yuck are lo-fi, ie. very good, grungey late eighties guitar music, with equal new wave and Pixies influences. You get the sense that this is what The Vaccines were aiming towards, before cleaning up their sound in exchange for chart success. The laconic, measured hook is becoming increasingly familiar around the blogosphere, but 'Not Me' has enough to ensure that this won't be dismissed as just another Wavves pretender. The production is cleaner; this isn't a band who are trying to hide a lack of originality behind a fuzz of reverb and distortion, it is a group who are making refreshing songs external to the crowded market of short-lived, DIY popularity.
Tall Ships – 'Hit The Floor'
Angular math-rock, with an impervious, fun chorus, that avoids falling into the trap of saturating a track with intricate pick work to cover a song that lacks direction. This inevitably attracts comparisons to Foals but as someone who personally can't stand Yannis et al, I find this brand of indie, without the egos and haircuts, surprisingly listenable. Of course the track is based around a hefty portion of awkward, jangling guitars, but it isn't a track that takes itself too seriously. This is not a band who are expecting to change the world, they are trying to make you dance, and are very much going the right way about it with their Franz Ferdinand sense of occasion.
BEATY HEART – '2Good'
As their debut release, on Loose Lips Records, the pressure is on a band who have been stubbornly cropping up all over the internet with their fascinating take on the breaking chaos-pop sound, with artists such as Bibio making a huge splash in the past weeks, with a sound that looks to squeeze as many instruments as possible onto a minimalist canvas. There is Rugrats xylophone and a meandering Vampire Weekend vocal, there are splashes and tribal drums, and the result is a joyous, summer anthem that is perfectly produced to accentuate each individual nuance of a track that sounds like a playgroup on acid. This is a band, and a scene, that has serious legs on it, as a sound that is original, confident and bloody good fun.
Tall ships set to play a series of UK shows before joining Nada Surf on their European tour. [read more]
B&W photos courtesy of Chris Matthews, and the colour photos courtsey of Karlie Pea Dragging our sorry hungover asses to Above Audio first thing would usually be a chore, especially since we are still reeling from Luke's terrible performance as Dave Grohl in our late night karaoke session, but Team Me are fun incarnate. This was the second time in as many months that I had seen the band and I can honestly say that I would watch them every single day and not be bored. It is a pl... (continued) [read more]
If you could wear out an MP3 we'd be pretty close with the new Tall Ships single that Big Scary Monsters sent our way a few weeks back. It gets better with every listen! The track is called 'Hit The Floor' and is released via Big Scary Monsters/Blood And Biscuits on 13th June (digital 16th May). The single will be limited to 300 7" copies in screenprinted, hand-numbered sleeves. Tour Dates 12th May – Brighton, The Great Escape (The Hydrant – 7.15pm - free entry) ... (continued) [read more]
Sometimes, the act of stripping a song down to is barest of bones exposes fresh layers connective tissue between the listener and performer. Sometimes, the biggest songs have the most humble of beginnings. Sometimes, it’s just a real pleasure to hear someone sit and play a song on acoustic guitar.Sometimes, the act of stripping a song down to is barest of bones exposes fresh layers connective tissue between the listener and performer. [read more]