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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, April 25, 2019

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

Two Door Cinema Club

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUBSATELLITE: Admittedly, this one takes a little bit of time to warm to. But once you’ve given it a few spins, it’s a genuinely catchy, breezy new offering from Two Door Cinema Club. Satellite is a slice of future pop that also tosses in a few retro nods. Early on, the vocals sound reminscent of Gary Numan-era 80s pop, before opening up and embracing a more common Two Door Cinema Club sound over the brash chorus. In that regard, it’s a song of two styles. But while the verses are more of an acquired taste that take a little getting used to, the chorus is another gem. It zips into your subconscious and refuses to budge, enabling you to get giddy with it from the moment you first hear it. The mid-track synth breakdown is another 80s throwback, offering up something cinematic. But it’s quickly swallowed up by another chorus that ensures you leave the song on a high and, crucially, wanting more. And that will come soon enough in the form of new album, False Alarm, which is out later this year.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Taylor Swift, ME!

SINGLE/VIDEO OF THE WEEK 1: TAYLOR SWIFT feat BRENDON URIE OF PANIC AT THE DISCO – ME!: Say what you will about the song (and we’re sure there’ll be plenty of detractors), the video for this latest Taylor Swift offering is a visual feast. Opening with a predatory snake stalking its way to front of camera, the video then erupts into a swarm of colourful butterflies, before then dropping into the main story – featuring a rocky relationship between Swift and co-singer Urie. But there’s plenty more going on besides, with yet more explosions of colour, dancing and general revellry. The song itself adopts a bombastic approach to the relationship struggles it chronicles, with both Swift and Urie declaring throughout that “you’ll never find another like me”, before adding: “You’re the only one of you and baby that’s the fun of you!” The supporting instrumentals combine the pop sheen and pizazz of classic Swift with the alt-rock mainstream tendencies of Panic At The Disco, meaning that its crossover potential is immense. And there’s no denying this is a power surge of a pop track that will generally delight fans of Swift, Urie and perhaps even more besides.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Kiefer Sutherland

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 2: KIEFER SUTHERLANDSOMETHING YOU LOVE: Kiefer Sutherland has finally released a new video for single Something You Love, which was shot in Downtown LA and directed by Tom Kirk (Muse, Metallica, Guns & Roses) and produced by Rowan Glenn. The video finds the singer and his band performing the song on a sunny street corner, eventually attracting quite a crowd of appreciative listeners. And it has an addictive, upbeat quality. The track itself is a propulsive Petty-meets-Springsteen rocker bursts with energy, and is shot through with American rock values. Co-written with Cole, it pays tribute to the “average person who works very hard just to stay in the middle”, who finds themselves betrayed by big business. “Has it happened to a lot of people I care about?” questions Sutherland. “Yes, of course it has.” It boasts lyrics such as “wasting my time just paying my bills, staying in line but getting no chills”, thereby striking at the heart of a popular sentiment at the moment [albeit a frustrating one], while also tipping his hat to the working man structure of many a Springsteen offering. Rather than wallow in the frustrations inherent in the lyrics, however, Sutherland dresses it up with some hard-rocking elements, indulging in some lively guitar solos as well as delivering his own set of blistering, gutsy, raw vocals. It’s a rabble-rouser with plenty of meaning that nevertheless offers a real good time of a listen.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Le Boom

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 3: LE BOOMDANCING BUG: Dancing Bug is the latest single to be taken from Le Boom’s blistering forthcoming EP, All Of My Highs (out May 3), threading Hot Chip-styled synths alongside bold pop choruses and butter smooth melodies. With a video that was impeccably choreographed on the streets of Dublin, Ireland, the new track was inspired by a friend who used dancing as a way to curb anxiety and cope with stresses and trauma that ticked through life. As a track with a worthwhile message behind it, it’s difficult to resist. Yet, while carrying a serious message (or inspiration behind it), the song is delivered in such an infectious, alt-pop style that it doesn’t sound preachy. Rather, it’s celebratory and empowering, with cute synth hooks working well in tandem with the slick beats and even cuter vocals. The accompanying video is fun, too, splitting its time between the dancers [with the bug] and the people watching and eating fruit. It’s quirky enough to be genuinely eye-catching.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Florence + The Machine, Jenny of Oldstones

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 4: FLORENCE + THE MACHINEJENNY OF OLDSTONES: It’s a good week for music videos! And what better time than on the eve of the one of the most anticipated episodes in TV history, to release a video [and song] that recaps Game of Thrones so beautifully? Florence + The Machine’s Jenny of Oldstones is a haunting, atmospheric tale of Westeros folklore that is poignantly delivered. And while it may struggle to stand up as a single in its own right beyond Game of Thrones fans, there’s something defiantly mystical and old school about it, that makes it a befitting song for the soundtrack of the show it represents. There’s sombre piano, haunted vocals, moody imagery and a tragic tale that underpins the many, many tragedies that come with watching this classic HBO show. The video, meanwhile, offsets the lyrics with images old and new from the show, serving as an eye-catching recap of what’s come before, heading into the battle with The Night King this coming Sunday/Monday (on whichever shores you’re watching).
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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LANY, okay

LANY & JULIA MICHAELSOKAY: Ahead of LANY’s 40-plus date North American tour, the critically-acclaimed band have released a new track with Grammy nominated artist Julia Michaels, entitled Okay – and it’s sure to become a live favourite on the tour. The song actually marks the band’s first ever collaboration, which intertwines lead singer Paul Klein and Michaels’ vocals throughout. The duet, co-written by Klein and Michaels in just two days, is filled with colorful details summarizing recent personal break-ups. And yet, while born from hurt, it has a breezy, upbeat nature that finds both singers declaring “I’m gonna be okay”. Prior to that, though, there’s plenty of self-doubt to be found in the lyrics, with lines such as “I wish I could tell myself that at night” and “is it wrong to think you’re sadistic, I know you’re sleeping perfect, when I’m over here hurting”. If you’re fans of acts like The Chainsmokers and Kodaline, then you’re sure to enjoy this one. For those that don’t already know, LANY are a Los Angeles-based trio comprised of Paul Klein (piano, guitar), Les Priest (keyboards, guitar), Jake Goss (drums.) The band formed in Nashville in 2014 and after relocating to LA shortly thereafter, they released their first set of songs by the end of that year. Michaels, meanwhile, has transformed the pop music landscape not only from behind-the-scenes as one of the most in-demand songwriters, but in the spotlight as a solo artist as well. Her rapid rise can be attributed to identifiable honesty in every lyric, as exemplified in her triple-platinum selling debut single Issues.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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The Chainsmokers, Do You Mean

THE CHAINSMOKERS feat TY DOLLA $IGN & BULOW – DO YOU MEAN: The latest offering from The Chainsmokers is a semi-decent offering that kind of continues their up and down quality at the moment. Do You Mean is certainly catchy but it’s not at the level of their very best material. And the lyricism is lazier than normal, with a lot of repeated, looped vocals. Bulow’s sultry offerings form the best part of it (as the inclusion of a female singer so often does on a Chainsmokers track), while Ty Dolla also contributes some nice flow. The beats are slick, the synths smooth and subtle. And the low-key, mid-tempo vibe is satisfying in a toe-tapping, background kind of way. But while endearing enough, it’s just missing a little something – and that’s hard to put your finger on. It’s good, just not as great as The Chainsmokers’ very best stuff.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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David Gray, Mallory

DAVID GRAYMALLORY: Close on the tail of his critically-praised new album Gold In A Brass Age, David Gray has announced details of an acoustic EP titled Gold In A Brass Age – Ground Control Acoustic Sessions, due for release in summer 2019. Recorded at Gray’s home studios with producer Ben de Vries, the EP was created using nothing more than an acoustic guitar and an upright piano, stripping the tracks back to their bare essentials, bringing the imagery of the lyrics to the forefront. As a taster, he’s also shared Mallory – and the results are striking. With just a sparse, sombre piano to accompany the song, this enables Gray’s emphatic vocals to take centre-stage, which in turn allows the poignant, emotive lyrics to really stand out. It’s a heartfelt song, beautifully delivered, that serves as an excellent alternative to the plugged in, album version. Speaking about the EP, Gray said: “Many of the songs had never really been performed in that way. So, it’s heartening to know, that even on a record where production and sound plays such a major part in the structuring of the music, the songs can still stand up by themselves.”
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Kehli

KEHLI feat KID ETERNAL & SAM OJOONE LAST KISS: Irish pop artist Kehli drops her debut track One Last Kiss, featuring Kid Eternal and Sam Ojo, as her opening gambit. The result is an energetic introduction to an exciting pop prospect. Speaking about the song Kehli said: “Summer vibes! Had so much fun recording this track at SARM with my producers… instant bop! Hope people like it ?” The song is certainly infectious, dropping bouncing pop melodies with cheeky, flirtatious lyrics that declare “give me on kiss, before you go, one last kiss before you go”. Early on, Kehli’s own vocals take centre-stage and are as playful as they are sexy. But as the slick beats and flamenco influenced guitars become more layered, there’s also vocal contributions from Kid Eternal (adding something a little more edgy and urban), and Sam Ojo. It’s a slick offering from a new pop star who is worth keeping an eye on.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Hildur

HILDURWOMAN AT WAR: Rising Icelandic pop artist Hildur has released her empowering new single Woman At War as a battle cry for equality. Built around subtle beats and ear-catching melodies, this is lifted by a serene set of vocals that really lay out the central plea to empower women. Throughout, Hildur maintains she doesn’t want to be a woman at war, before steeling herself for an almost inevitable fight. It’s a song that endears by virtue of its resonance and the passion with which it’s delivered. But it doesn’t sound preachy… rather, washing over you in a laidback, relaxing fashion that allows you to take in its message without feeling overwhelmed by it. Speaking about the track, Hildur explained: “Woman At War is a song to honour all the strong women I know that have fought many battles and are tired. Tired of always having to put up a fight, tired of putting in all the efforts but not seeing the situation change, tired of having to fight the same fight again and again, tired of being labelled angry when they really are just fighting for equal rights. I had experienced this feeling again and again and I wanted to try to put that exact feeling into a song. However, this song is not about giving up. It has hope. It conveys understanding that this is what the situation looks like right now and it’s ok to be overwhelmed by it and want to give up at times. Because the beautiful thing is that all the woman I know that have hit this wall, me included, they somehow find the strength in them to continue and return fighting strong, again.” Woman At War is the follow up to Hildur’s recent single 1993. Both tracks will feature on Hildur’s forthcoming Intuition EP, which will be released in early summer.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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