Follow Us on Twitter

Music - Singles of the week - Friday, April 24, 2020

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

The 1975, If You're Too Shy

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: THE 1975 – IF YOU’RE TOO SHY (LET ME KNOW): Already a long-term fan favourite from its live appearances, The 1975’s new song If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know) is another gem to emerge from the incoming Notes On A Conditional Form LP. A nod to the type of coming-of-age films that John Hughes used to specialise in, and bands like Tears For Fears and The Cure used to contribute to, this combines emo with indie-pop, as well as shameless ’80s pop nods. There are stabs of brass, cute guitar hooks, sleek electronic arrangements and a big, brash, boisterous chorus that encapsulates that sweeping, grab the moment style headrush moment from the type of films it seeks to emulate. Sure, that saxophone solo is blatantly cheesy (and for fans of St Elmos Fire a real throwback!), but it somehow works within the wider context of the song, which brings a warm glow and a sloppy grin from the very first time you hear it. The nods to emotional vulnerability and seeking some kind of inner confidence that Matt Healy’s words bring also endear the song even more, making this a potential anthem for the disaffected as well as the cool kids on the block.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

Henry Jamison

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: HENRY JAMISON feat ED DROSTEGREEN ROOM: Henry Jamison duets with long-time hero Ed Droste, of Grizzly Bear, on beautifully relaxing new single Green Room, the third and final offering to be taken from Jamison’s collaborative EP Tourism, out May 15th on Color Study. Like previous singles I Forget Myself (featuring Darlingside) and Still Life (featuring Joseph), Green Room comes from a period when Jamison and his then ex-partner split whilst he was on the road. They have since got back together, moving back in with one another a week ahead of quarantine. “The song is specifically about being in LA and seeing the movie Spirited Away come on the TV while I half-slept on the green room couch. It was my then-ex-girlfriend’s favourite movie and brought on a flood of memories. It also features a very compelling character called ‘No-Face’, a being who is so spiritually empty that it needs to devour everything in its sight, a mythical ‘hungry ghost’. Being in LA, home to many would-be stars, I was forced to ask if I was a hungry ghost myself, as my career had taken me away from so many things I missed so badly.” It’s an extremely sad sentiment, especially when set against the context of lyrics that proclaim “there’s a ghost in me”. But the sorrow is offset by the beautifully lush melodies, the superb vocal exchange between Jamison and Droste (who brings trademark Grizzly Bear class) and some soft acoustic guitar riffs, which allow the song to wash over you like some reassuring piece of mood music that’s tailor-made for these dark days. It’s a bittersweet gem.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Jake Bugg, Saviours of the City

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 3: JAKE BUGGSAVIOURS OF THE CITY: Jake Bugg slows down the tempo for a lovely new song called Saviours of the City, an acoustic offering that genuinely resonates with the moment we’re all faced with due to coronavirus. Bugg says of the track himself: “I wrote this last year with my mate Robert (ONR). It’s a song I didn’t envisage releasing this early, but it seems to resonate with what’s going on right now and makes sense of it for me in some ways.” Clocking in at just over two minutes, this is a heartfelt offering that contemplates a fractured state of mind and a fractured world (the singer is “searching for the ones I couldn’t save”). He also sings “we were born to be saviours of the city” over the chorus, which assumes an almost confessional offering of the state of things. Where we should have been our planet’s protectors, we’ve perhaps now abused that position and brought ourselves to the brink. Too deep? Perhaps… but the gentle strumming and reflective, contemplative lyrics are thought-provoking and achingly beautiful in the same breath. It’s a quiet but deeply affecting offering from Bugg that ends all too quickly.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Skott, Talk About Me

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 4: SKOTTTALK ABOUT ME: Critically acclaimed Swedish singer, songwriter and producer Skott shares her new single Talk About Me, via Dollar Menu in partnership with Cosmos Music. The unparalleled artistry of both sound and visuals are reflected in the accompanying music video released the same day. Directed by the artist herself and videographer Paras IV, the enchanting animation pulls us into a dreamlike world of surreal moments, as the central character’s neurosis unravels. Talk About Me delivers a hypnotic and powerful slice of sophisticated pop that’s full of surprises. Folk driven melodies unfold into a drama of eerie electronic atmosphere, peppering cinematic intrigue throughout. There’s also pulsating acoustic guitar and percussion driving the track forward, as Skott’s alluring vocals and songwriting captivate from beginning to the bittersweet twist ending. Vocally, the track is endlessly endearing, combining some of those ethereal Swedish elements of country-mates such as Robyn with a warmer pop vibe. It’s a track that’s infectiously catchy and utterly contagious, even when chartering territory that chronicles the slow unravelling of a mind. Explains Skott: “It’s a quirky song, about a little girl who loses her mind to narcissism while chasing her big dreams. For the video we snuck pop culture references into this outer space Hollywood-type alternate universe – it’s so far from what I’d normally do. The lyrics tell a story about a little girl who dreams about fame, and it distorts into madness, like she’s losing her mind. But we learn that in reality, she just feels invisible. I directed it together with my friend Paras IV who animated the whole thing, we had fun with it. I’ve always wanted to ride through Florida on the back of a giant beetle.” Talk About Me is the final track to be released prior to Skott’s debut album release on June 12, 2020.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

Offworld

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: OFFWORLDBURNT OUT STAR: Having released their new single Burnt Out Star and debut EP Brave To Be Alive earlier this month, music collective OffWorld have now released the official music video for their latest cut – and it’s a potent shot at US President Donald Trump as well as the wider world in general (and the effect of humanity on the planet). Explaining a little more, Richard said: “Very happy to release a video to accompany our single Burnt Out Star made using found and recycled footage. We started putting this together last year, Trump withdrawing from the Paris Agreement whilst wildfires swept California then Australia and grown men demonised a teenage girl trying to make a difference… now the same actors bungle a belated response to Covid-19. ‘This place is no longer my home – people got no heart’.” The track itself blends rock, soul, blues and gospel amid lyrics that reflect the turbulent nature of the world, even pre-Covid-19. Elaborating on the track a little more, he continued: “Burnt Out Star was originally written as a response to Trump, Brexit and the rise of populist nationalism that made us feel we no longer recognised the place we called home. It’s been quite disturbing to note how prescient it feels, lyrically, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, along with its sister track on our EP, Brave To Be Alive. They seem to describe the times we are living through even though they couldn’t have been foreseen. Alienation, it’s cold outside. Stay smart, stay cool – we’re all Brave To Be Alive.” It’s a timely and sobering track that’s delivered in a way that’s still instrumentally enjoyable.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

The Rolling Stones, Living In A Ghost Town

THE ROLLING STONESLIVING IN A GHOST TOWN: The Rolling Stones follow-up their appearance on One World: Together At Home with the release of their first new material since 2012. The track, Living In A Ghost Town, is designed to resonate with current sentiments globally, as the world struggles to come to terms with its new reality amid the coronavirus pandemic. It adheres more to modern Stones music, rather than the classic rock vibes of old, with a slower pace. But some of the guitar riffs do still err on the welcome and familiar, Jagger’s hushed vocals add a ghostly presence to the lyrics (which reflect the state of cities currently) and there’s some fantastic harmonica late on. The track was actually developed pre-lockdown, as the band were working on new material. But, according to Jagger, “we thought it would resonate through the times that we’re living in right now. We’ve worked on it in isolation. And here it is”. Keith Richards added: “We cut this track well over a year ago in LA for a new album, an ongoing thing, and then shit hit the fan. Mick and I decided this one really needed to go to work right now and so here you have it.” Stones fans will lap it up, given some of its familiar elements, but those who have been holding out for a return to their classic sound (the one that made them so iconic) will have to wait a little longer. It’s good without being great.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Charli XCX, Claws

CHARLI XCXCLAWS: The latest offering from Charli XCX’s upcoming quarantine album How I’m Feeling Now (out May 15, 2020), new single Claws is a fast-moving electro pop offering that shows there’s no keeping a good XCX down! Produced by 100 Gecs’ Dylan Brady, this exudes a positivity that stems from lyrics that proclaim “I like everything about you…” But it’s actually born from a place of self-doubt and anxiety, as it cries out for the return of a lover (“don’t you want me back”), while also being alive with sexual longing and tension, courtesy of suggestive lines such as “I’m not shy, make you sigh, slip and slide up my thighs, juicy just like clementines, sorry if I make you cry”. It’s a whirlwind of emotion that, courtesy of its electronic pulse, creates an energetic, urgent electro-pop cracker that’s tailor-made to deliver the goods for all fans of this prolific and hugely talented singer. Claws follows the lead single Forever, released earlier this month. How I’m Feeling Now is a collaborative album Charli made with her fans. It was written and recorded during self-isolation during COVID-19 and is designed to offer a tonic to anyone struggling to cope with the effects of the current pandemic.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the lyric video

Monster Florence, 26 Ghosts

MONSTER FLORENCE – 26 GHOSTS: British Hip-hop/grime collective Monster Florence have released their new single, 26 Ghosts, as the latest offering from their forthcoming EP Cowboys and Idiots, which is set for release on May 29. Commenting on the inspiration behind it, Wallace Rice said: “The track is an exploration of different relationships whether that be a partner, a substance or the relationships we have with ourselves as individuals. The 26 Ghosts tag line relates to past failures that haunt us and continue to linger around… We were immersed in character whilst writing this song, tongue firmly in cheek.” The ensuing track operates from a really lazy, yet somehow funky, horn loop that feels gloriously retro, while the lyrical style combines hip-hop and grime, making it the type of track that can appeal to the likes of Dizzee Rascal as well as Jurassic 5. The rap itself is quickly delivered but full of the band’s trademark wit. It’s strangely addictive.
Rating: 3 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Monster Florence · 26 Ghosts

Pet Shop Boys, I Don't Wnna

PET SHOP BOYS – I DON’T WANNA: Pet Shop Boys release their new single I Don’t Wanna, on CD, digitally and on vinyl via x2/Kobalt. Taken from the recent album Hotspot, which was released to widespread critical acclaim in February, this has all the hallmarks of classic PSB, with a tenacious lead vocal set against stirring synth arrangements and snappy beats. The chorus, in particular, has a euphoric quality to it and is one of the most anthemic offerings they’ve delivered in a while – as well as, ironically, one of the most timely. The chorus proclaims “I don’t wanna go out, I don’t wanna go dancing” and is designed to reflect a tormented mind. But it’s also evocative of the current world situation, where people can’t go out and – indeed – many don’t want to, for fear of catching a life-threatening virus. It’s potent stuff, when viewed in that fashion. The I Don’t Wanna single packages include remixes by Mano Le Tough and David Jackson and also a bonus song, New Boy, which was originally written by Pet Shop Boys in 1984 and recently finished and recorded. In other news concerning PSB, the Dreamworld tour has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic and the European dates are being rescheduled with an announcement expected early next week. UK dates have already been rescheduled for May 2021 – tickets for the original dates will remain valid for the new dates.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the lyric video

Dan Croll, Grand Plan

DAN CROLLGRAND PLAN: Last Wednesday, Dan Croll announced the release of his third album Grand Plan, out August 21, 2020, through Communion Records and produced by Matthew E. White at Spacebomb. The album, which is available to pre-order now, features his latest double-A side singles – album title track Grand Plan and Work – which are out now. To celebrate, Croll has now dropped the video for Grand Plan, shot by visual collaborators The Wild Honey Pie. He commented: “It felt only right to have this video filmed sat at my desk, it’s where I spend every day working away and where the majority of these albums songs were written. When I first moved to LA, I was living in a tiny little box room in Koreatown, I’d wake up and sit at the bottom of my bed at my desk and try my best to create something. I found it incredibly tough in those first few months though. I felt like I couldn’t keep up with the pace of LA or the talent of others around me. Everyone I met felt was so driven and had this grand idea for what they wanted to do with life, and I was working in what felt like a dark coffin trying to figure out what the hell I was doing.” The video is as endearing and honest as the song itself. It feels refreshingly DIY and timely, having been filmed in lockdown. The track, meanwhile, is an intimate look at life and the uncertainties and insecurities that sometimes surrounds it – even though everyone seems to have a grand plan. It’s reassuring and disarming, making it OK to sometimes feel like you’re being left behind. The soft acoustic strumming that accompanies the song is simple but oh-so effective, adding to the intimate, heartfelt nature of the track as a whole. It’s Croll at his best.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

Lissy Taylor, Wildflowers

LISSY TAYLORWILDFLOWERS: Following a commanding introductory single, May Day, British singer-songwriter Lissy Taylor shares another personally driven song in the form of Wildflowers. Much like the preceding track, Taylor’s music combines Americana storytelling with UK indie-rock charisma while balancing her continuously dark-yet-dreamy atmosphere. Her vocals are genuinely sultry, while the track itself is somewhat hopeful, suggesting an easing of personal burdens via lines like “are you ready for the sunlight on your face?” Shedding her own light on the track, the Stoke-on-Trent musician said: ““It is freedom that you can only give to yourself. It is a celebration of life coming into bloom and forgetting what weighs you down. It is growing to become something far more than what is expected of you. It is allowing yourself to flourish. Are you ready?” The song is designed to be empowering and whenever it drops its stirring, yet atmospheric chorus, it certainly is. The track is complimented by a video filmed in nearby Manchester, featuring the city’s cultural centre Northern Quarter, plentiful graffiti artwork and vibrant skater scene.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

LISSY TAYLOR · Wildflowers

Tom Grennan, Oh Please

TOM GRENNAN – OH PLEASE: Tom Grennan has released new single Oh Please, a soulful coming-of-age lament backed by cinematic strings as Tom’s vintage-tinged croon soars. Speaking of the track’s inspiration, Tom said: “When writing Oh Please, I was listening to a lot of Curtis Mayfield, Nas, Kendrick and, of course, Amy Winehouse, and I wanted to channel this through the song. The opening transports me back to visiting America, crossing the Brooklyn bridge for the first time and seeing Manhattan. It really hit me at that moment that anything was possible, and I saw things clearer than ever before. I felt euphoric and excited for the future, a chapter closed and a beautiful new beginning ahead. It changed my mindset towards relationships, to focus my energy on learning from them rather than going into a darker, angry place. Oh Please is about learning from relationships. It’s about staying strong and making the right decisions with respect and grace.” The ensuing track is delivered with the same sense of impassioned vocalism that Mayfield brings to his songs, especially during the stirring chorus, while the strings certainly add a sense of cinema. The back-beats are suitably stirring, too, enabling the track to hit some skyscraping heights, especially when Grennan sings, somewhat euphorically, “but the way I feel, aint nothing I aint felt before”, before adding: “I’ll forget about you in the morning, I’ll sleep you off and wake with my mind at ease”. It’s a song that’s all about overcoming personal turmoil and moving on from relationships that are bad for you, without necessarily indulging in the feelings that bring you down or make you feel toxic. It’s about finding the positives and it works in providing the listener with a sense of empowerment, especially once it approaches its rousing finale.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the lyric video

Cher Lloyd, Lost

CHER LLOYDLOST: Cher Lloyd has debuted a new song in the form of the upbeat Lost, a track about empowerment that’s designed to reflect feelings that everyone has experienced, as well as something of what we’re all going through in lockdown. First and foremost, though, it’s about overcoming the fallout from a failed relationship and having the confidence to realise you may have dodged a bullet. Explains Lloyd: “I’m so excited to share my new single Lost with everyone. I had the most incredible time co-writing and recording this song and video. ‘You think I’d be lost without you, but I’ve got lots without you’ says it all. Everyone has found themselves in the same shoes – having the strength to move on and be bold enough to say that you’re doing great without that person. Every time I sing this song I feel empowered.” Lyrics include lines such as “great sex in the morning sex in the morning someone to hold me, I got lots, stay out in the nighttime out in the nighttime have me a wild time, I got lots, to be honest I think I dodged a bullet with you, and I don’t know how I didn’t see it coming but woo”. The song also has Lloyd’s trademark sass, vocally, as well as some melodic pop beats that give the whole package a very pop sheen. It’s cute and edgy.
Rating: 3 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

Hayley Williams

HAYLEY WILLIAMSDEAD HORSE: Another week, another new offering from Hayley Williams, from Petals For Armor II, a second five-track collection heralding her much anticipated debut solo album. Dead Horse actually has a little more in common with her day job with Paramore, with a harder pop sensibility and a vibe that’s also not dissimilar to classic No Doubt. A mid-track breakdown into “ya ya ya” melodies is a classic case in point, combining sunshine positivity with a sunshine reggae vibe and a celebratory feel. Hayley is clearly having fun singing this one and the track has an infectious, sing-along quality. It’s arguably her most widely accessible offering to emerge from the new material so far. Hayley has been making use of her time at home with a series of covers posted to her social media, including her take on Tegan and Sara’s Call It Off. Williams also treated fans to an at-home workout routine set to her track Over Yet. Dead Horse is another offering that’s sure to delight them all, while quite possibly expanding her reach too.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the lyric video


Heard a great single, but yet to buy it? Well, we may have reviewed it. Previous reviews: