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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, April 14, 2017

IndieLondon gleefully checks out the cream of the week’s singles

Linkin Park

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: LINKIN PARK feat PUSHA T AND STORMZYGOOD GOODBYE: Three new tracks in and the omens still appear to be good for Linkin Park’s new album, One More Light (which drops on May 19). Admittedly, the heaviness more commonly associated with them appears to be absent almost completely, with a sound more mainstream friendly than ever before. But that doesn’t mean to say they’re not afraid to experiment. And new single Good Goodbye fuses genres, with their alt-rock, nu-metal elements now combining with an urban/rap edge courtesy of guest vocalists Pusha T and Stormy. Indeed, while most previous Linkin Park offerings have become associated with the type of thing you’d find an a Transformers soundtrack, this one belongs firmly in Fast & Furious territory. Stormzy’s presence, in particular, gives it a very contemporary edge (he is one of the grime artists of the moment), while adding some much needed attitude. But the chorus is chock full of melody, meaning that it can be embraced in an anthemic, even sing-along way. And while those who like their Linkin Park material to be heavy and Download [Festival] friendly, this is more Shadow of The Day/Minutes To Midnight era friendly.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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The Kooks

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: THE KOOKS – BE WHO YOU ARE: The Kooks have released their new track Be Who You Are as part of their new album, The Best Of… So Far (out on May 19) – and it’s a fun blast from the past. The band have long been known (and loved) for their breezy indie-pop energy and the elements that helped to shape such sizeable hits as She Moves In Her Own Way and Ooh La are here in spades. There’s a jangly pop sound, a “da da da da da” harmony, a colosally breezy chorus that’s all about empowerment and some edge, too, amid the heavier guitar riffs. What’s more, there’s even a mid-track breakdown into the type of territory that classic Beatles may well have inhabited. It’s a song shot through with undeniable energy that’s as catchy as hell – the sound of a band doing what they do best. And it’s a terrific track to be played loud in the sunshine. The greatest hits album is the usual assortment of their greatest hits as well as two new songs, Be Who You Are and Broken Vow. Lead singer Luke Pritchard commented: “It’s been the greatest pleasure to work, travel, fight, hate and love the best and most talented people I’ve met in my life. It’s the greatest job in the world and we don’t intend to stop any time soon.” On the strength of this new single, that’s very good news indeed!
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Gold Setting

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 3: THE GOLD SETTING – MY LOVE: The face and voice of The Gold Setting is Liza Colby. Channelling sensual 1960s soul, 1990s R&B and Tina Turner-esque swagger, The Gold Setting boasts a fluid cast of all-stars, including multi-instrumentalist/composer/arranger Todd Simon (Ghostface Killah, Sharon Jones, Lily Allen), Grammy-nominated Adam Berg (Decoders), and songwriter/producer/musician Richard Rudolph (Stevie Wonder, Minnie Riperton, A Tribe Called Quest, 2Pac, Chaka Kahn, En Vogue). New single My Love is a delight. Built around a laidback beat, some fine stabs of brass and a set of vocals that are so sultry, they positively purr, this channels everyone from classic soul to trip-hop Morcheeba and mellow Nightmares on Wax. It’s the sort of track that’s designed with relaxation and positivity in mind (right down to lyrics that suggest “we don’t have to rush”), and which could well become one of the laidback anthems of the summer of 2017 for anyone who hears it. The track is taken from The Gold Setting’s debut EP, Volume and Tone, which lands on April 21.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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The Jesus & Mary Chain

THE JESUS & MARY CHAINMOOD RIDER: The return of The Jesus and Mary Chain with Damage and Joy – their first album in almost 19 years – feels as if they’ve never been away. Released to positive reviews across the board, the album saw the Reid brothers return to the Top 20 for the first time since the Stoned & Dethroned album in 1994. New single Mood Rider underlines that. Built around those same hazy vocals, and that inimitably psychedelic indie style, this also drops some great guitar riffs and a big chorus that gets better the more it rolls around. The guitars are as take notice as ever and come complete with a stonking solo midway through, which is accompanied by some woo-hoo harmonies. If you’re looking for comparisons to draw from, think Dinosaur Jr melded with Screamadelica era Primal Scream. It’s that good. The accompanying video features a rush of hallucinatory imagery as frontman Jim Reid performs the track, while its lyrics flash-up at an urgent pace.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Royal Blood

ROYAL BLOODLIGHTS OUT: After becoming the biggest breaking British rock band with their self-titled 2014 debut album, Royal Blood’s eagerly anticipated second album How Did We Get So Dark? will be released on June 16 on Warner Bros. Records. To celebrate, the album’s lead single Lights Out is now available and it’s immediately apparent that the track ups the ante from their debut with a wrecking ball of a groove cemented by Ben Thatcher’s thunderous rhythms, while Mike Kerr wrangles the twisted invention of his bass riffs to a whole new level. It’s a typically heavy offering but, crucially, there’s something melodic enough to keep it in tune with a certain mainstream scene. Think the kind of mainstream that embraces bands like Muse or even Kasabian. The guitars have punch but energy and are hook-laden and catchy, while the chorus – while big – enables the song to soar without becoming too heavy. Indeed, the guitars are great throughout, as evidenced by the solo element. Lights Out could well become an instant anthem for them that only broadens their following. The 10 tracks that feature on How Did We Get So Dark? were written in instrumental form during sessions in Brighton, Hollywood, Los Angeles and Nashville. Always trying to explore ways of stripping their enormous sound back to give it more space and impact, inspiration for the lyrics came from events in vocalist/bassist Mike Kerr’s life since the band first found huge success.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Hercules & Love Affair, Controller

HERCULES & LOVE AFFAIR feat FARIS BADWANCONTROLLER: Hercules & Love Affair have debuted Controller as their propulsive new offering. The track features The Horrors’ Faris Badwan on vocals, thereby fusing his starker post-punk stylings with Hercules & Love Affair leader Andy Butler’s disco-house heritage. The ensuing track has a feel that’s both haunted and sexy, delivering the sort of late night dance-pop that Depeche Mode specialise in… at least until Badwan drops his vocals and a gospel backing also broadens the sound and appeal of the record still further. It’s a hypnotic offering that has been labelled sexy by several outlets. It has a sexual energy and edge that’s designed for the late night crowd. The accompanying video features direction from London artist Rei Nadal. Nadal has previously directed music videos for Primal Scream, Reptile Youth and Vaults, as well as fashion films for SHOWstudio. The result of her collaboration with Hercules & Love Affair is an edgy, voguish visual element which pairs frenetic wide shots of dominatrix imagery with striking close-ups of fluttering eyelids and lyricizing candy-red lips.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Ten Tonnes

TEN TONNESSILVER HEAT: After launching his track Silver Heat, Ten Tonnes – aka Ethan Barnett – has recently been added to the bill for this summer’s Reading and Leeds Festivals, and has also announced a UK tour as guest to Will Joseph Cook. Produced by Hugo White, of The Maccabees, and recorded at the band’s storied studio The Drugstore, Silver Heat is billed as a moment-in-time snapshot that encapsulates Barnett’s breezy ability to fashion earworm melodies alongside lyrics which brim with both youthful exuberance and a nostalgia for a recent past. It’s energetic in the extreme, complete with rip-roaring indie-rock guitar blasts, brash young vocals and a brash chorus that’s designed to go down a storm whenever played live. It has traces of bands like The Kooks and The Kaiser Chiefs, with a punk streak that’s akin to listening to The Clash (come the livewire finale). The video, directed by Mark Kelly, finds the young musician playing the track in a claustrophobic restaurant kitchen while the staff members’ collective temper starts to boil over. Says Barnett: “I wanted to make a video that really captured the energy of the track and what better place to do that than in a tiny restaurant kitchen? This was my first ever music video and it was really fun to do, I hope everyone else likes it.”
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Atlas Wynd

ATLAS WYNDMONA LISA: Atlas Wynd have unveiled their latest cut, Mona Lisa, following an explosive debut which took them all the way to South Korea’s Zandari Festa. The Brighton-based duo of Peter Chapman (vocals/guitar) and Harry Sotnick (drums) are barely out of their teens but operate like seasoned professionals as they thrash and snarl on this absolute brute of a new single. It’s a heavyweight indie-rock anthem that’s built around thick, robust guitar riffs and some gutsy vocals – think Kasabian in all their swagger. It’s the sort of offering that’s designed to get them noticed – and which succeeds in doing just that in emphatic style, right down to the brilliant guitar ending, which even drops in some slide. Mona Lisa is only the second track to come from the young two-piece, but already there’s an unbridled power behind every bite of the guitar/drum marriage that promises to keep delivering for some time to come. The track was born out of long rehearsal room jams and simply having fun with a song without thinking too much about what it meant. Speaking of the murky finale, Peter explains how it started as ‘a poem I was writing in my head while pacing around the kitchen in our old house’, before taking on an extended outro, fuelled by raw energy. The recording is the result of a week long studio session with Irish duo St. Francis Hotel last year, and with the remaining half to follow soon, the band plan on getting straight back to sharing the new material in a live setting, the way it was always meant to be experienced.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Feist

FEISTCENTURY: Feist has shared the latest track to be taken from her forthcoming new album Pleasure, entitled Century and featuring a spoken word outro from none other than the intimitable Jarvis Cocker (of Pulp fame). The stormy, brooding track is available as an instant grat download upon pre-order of the album. Feist’s first album in six years reflects on secrets and shame, loneliness and tenderness, care and fatigue and is at its core a study on self-awareness. And perhaps fittingly, the new song has a keen sense of edge to it, with an uncertainty born out of the emotions informing the songwriting. Instrumentally, though, the song has a raw, ragged vibe courtesy of gutsy blasts of guitar that carry a classic PJ Harvey vibe. The closing vocals from Cocker, meanwhile, have a haunted, thoughtful vibe that brings the song to a distinct close. It’s a potent cocktail that whips you into an emotional whirlwind, providing enticing evidence that Feist’s new material could well be worth hearing. As the fourth full-length from the Canadian singer/songwriter born Leslie Feist, Pleasure builds off the warm naturalism of the Polaris Prize-winning Metals and emerges as her most formally defiant and expansive work so far. Recorded over the course of three months — in Stinson Beach, Upstate New York, and Paris — Pleasure was co-produced by Feist with longtime collaborators Renaud Letang and Mocky. In addition to re-affirming Feist as a cagily inventive guitar player, the album threads her shape-shifting and often haunting vocals into sparse and raw arrangements. In addition, Feist has now released the official video for Century, which you can now watch below.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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