Follow Us on Twitter

Music - Singles of the week - Friday, February 15, 2019

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

Meadowlark

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: MEADOWLARK – H.I.T.H.: In the wake of recent singles Appetite and Family Tree, Meadowlark have released another new single entitled H.I.T.H. The track marks the start of an exciting new chapter is the band’s career as their first release on German label Guesstimate, to which they recently signed, and arrives ahead of a European headline tour which will take place throughout April. Speaking of the curiously titled new single, Meadowlark share: “H.I.T.H (Hole In The Head) comes from a place of undeniably wanting to be near someone, but hating the fact that you do. From wanting someone physically but being terrified when emotions follow. Admitting your feelings for someone is one thing, but to let yourself fall in love and take on all that comes with it is one of the scariest places we can go as a human being. We make assumptions about the future to protect ourselves from the fear of it possibly going wrong. But love is relentless… it’s like a hole in the head. You have to address it before it takes over.” As ever, Meadowlark marry lyrical intelligence with addictive instrumentals but perhaps sound more pop than usual [or mainstream]. H.I.T.H thrives on breathy vocals, sweeping beats, sleek electronics and a sharp sense of melody. It’s as radio friendly as Meadowlark get, and deserving of big hit status.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Foals

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: FOALS – ON THE LUNA: Foals have unveiled a second track from Part 1 of their ambitious dual album project Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, in the shape of On The Luna. Already picked out by Q as one of the album’s highlights, On The Luna stirs Foals’ strident grooves and skyscraping hooks with sparkling synths and a clattering cowbell. Meanwhile, Yannis Philippakis’ lyric declaration, “we had it all but we didn’t stop to think about it”, underlines the track’s foreboding atmosphere, as if giving the band’s listeners something to think about in regards to the current social and political upheavel affecting us all. The track itself is shot through with sharp hooks, off-kilter rhyhthm changes, ’80s leaning vocals and an energy that’s impossible to ignore. It’s a song that refuses to sit still, but one that remains utterly infectious and strangely empowering. The accompanying video offers an observational, documentary-style snapshot of all things Foals… the grainy, Super 8-styled video blends the visceral energy of their live show with intimate, behind-the-scenes footage as they work on Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost. It’s an exciting time to be a Foals fan!
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

Crystal Fighters, Wild Ones

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 3: CRYSTAL FIGHTERSWILD ONES: Always inspired by new experiences and taking the road less travelled, Crystal Fighters release their new record Gaia & Friends on March 1, 2019. The record has been launched with the new single Wild Ones, an exuberant fusion of psychedelia, global modern pop and bass heavy production. And in true Crystal Fighters style, it’s a blast – a ray of musical sunshine that’s tailor-made to make you feel deliriously happy during these gloomy wintery days. There are giddy ‘la la la’ harmonies, an almost calypso chime to some of the electronics and back-beats, as well as a feel-good fusion of boy-girl vocals that create a self-consciously hip party vibe. It’s a celebration of diversity that stays true to the Crystal Fighters ethos of offering something different. New album Gaia & Friends is being described by the band themselves as a “snapshot of time and a chapter of music” created across continents, with a crew of collaborators and with a clear message at its heart. Featured on the record are Anna Of The North, Colombian superstars Bomba Estéreo and South Africa’s Petite Noir, alongside interludes, samples and field recordings captured by the band on their travels across four continents. The title ‘Gaia & Friends’ is a reflection of Crystal Fighters’ outlook on the world and existence – ‘Gaia’ representing Mother Earth and ‘Friends’ her diverse inhabitants. Humanity, animals and plant-life co-exist in the moment, with the planet representing a gigantic party for life in all of its many forms. The songs naturally touch upon themes of togetherness, inclusivity, conservation and connectivity, all united by the realisation that we need to respect the world that we live in. We can’t wait to hear more.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Zedd and Katy Perry, 365

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 1: ZEDD & KATY PERRY – 365: Having collaborated with some of the biggest artists on the planet already (including Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande), Russian-German producer Zedd now teams up with Katy Perry for new single 365 – and he could just have delivered his best work yet. A sleek slice of electro pop with R’n‘B influences, this has a modern vibe thanks to the chiming beats, which lend it a futuristic vibe. Perry, meanwhile, drops one of the most sultry vocals she has ever delivered. It’s a mature performance from her that perfectly compliments the subtle electronic arrangements and those memorable beats. The chorus, meanwhile, is catchy as hell… and seductive, with Perry purring “are you gonna be the one that’s on my mind, all the time, 365”. The accompanying video is hot stuff, too. It underlines the futuristic vibe with Perry playing a robot who gets to learn about human love. It has an ex_Machina kind of vibe.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Twitter

Watch the video

Weezer, Take On Me

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 2: WEEZERTAKE ON ME: OK, so this is a cover version… and one that meticulously strives to be as close to the inspired original as possible. But on this occasion, it works. Weezer’s covers compilation, aka The Teal Album, is full of highlights, but their version of A-Ha’s seminal 80s hit Take On Me is terrific. It maintains the sweep of the original (which has already enjoyed its own revival on the Bumblebee movie soundtrack), as well as the giddy pop exuberance. Rivers Cuomo’s vocals are deeper than Morten Harket’s, of course, but he delivers the chorus with typical gusto, while some of the guitars provide a nice alterative to the dated synths. But this remains a blast – paying due reverence to that original. The video, too, does the same. Where A-Ha’s iconic original featured a drawing coming to life, so Weezer’s version finds the band practising the song at home and eventually becoming absorbed into a drawn world. It’s highly effective and a deserved selection of video of the week.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

David Gray, A Tight Ship

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 3: DAVID GRAY – A TIGHT SHIP: David Gray has just dropped the video for former single A Tight Ship, which he’s created with Rex Russell (son of filmmaker Ken Russell) using green screen techniques. It’s lifted from the upcoming March album Gold In A Brass Age and is suitably strking. Speaking about the making of the video, Gray said: “The central idea came directly from the beat of the song. The first part is in a 6/4 time signature and when I was moving it seemed like a really natural thing to have a little mark on every sixth beat to help accentuate each change. Green screen afforded us more freedom in post-production to really get this concept working. On the day, it was good fun although walking on the walkolator whilst focussing on the camera wasn’t without it’s challenges. I came off several times!” The track itself is classic Gray, with a modern touch. Hence, while you’ll still recognize Gray’s gravelly rasp on the track, the singing is softer, sweeter, more intimate and occasionally falsetto. It’s part of a song-writing shake-up that defines a more intuitive approach from Gray across the album. Using a cut and paste approach to the arrangement of songs, lyrics have been transformed, with couplets closer to poetry, and whilst his guitar and piano playing remain, it’s the ushering in of electronica and the exploring of alternative sound textures alongside new production techniques that take to the fore. Here, we have a trip-hop style back-beat, a distinct vocal difference, an upbeat vibe and some quirkily breezy electronics.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

Cardi B & Bruno Mars, Please Me

CARDI B & BRUNO MARSPLEASE ME: GRAMMY® Award-winning Atlantic recording artist Cardi B has released her first new track of 2019 in the form of the provocative Please Me with Bruno Mars. A sexually playful, and sometimes risque, offering, this finds Cardi B and Mars striking sexual suggestions off each other, which add up to a chorus that begs “please me baby”. Cardi, for her part, talks about being on the dancefloor with “no panties in the way”, while the object of her seduction, Mars, keeps on pleading “just turn around and tease me baby”. The instrumentals lean towards smooth groove R’n‘B with a little hip hop thrown in. But while slickly produced (with Mars also helping in that capacity), the song becomes tiresome after a while. It’s all tease and no real climax… a beg-athon that just keeps begging. Please Me arrives mere days after Cardi B received the ‘Best Rap Album’ GRAMMY® for her chart-topping, RIAA 2x platinum certified Invasion of Privacy, making history as the first solo female artist to win that prestigious category. Unfortunately, Please Me doesn’t suggest further awards will follow.
Rating: 3 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Stereophonics, Chaos From The Top Down

STEREOPHONICSCHAOS FROM THE TOP DOWN: Stereophonics have delivered a surprise release with their new song, Chaos From The Top Down, a typically anthemic pop-rock offering. Of the song, Kelly Jones said: “Chaos From The Top Down is a song sung from the imagined perspective of a 15-year-old boy laying in the road after being shot. He’s reflecting in his time of dying about his life and the choices he made through the lack of options and opportunities he felt he had in today’s Britain. It also touches on the tags and labels that have been stuck on him. The stereotypes and clichés that were placed on him. It’s based on a true story that happened just outside my street. It’s happening everywhere. I’ve always written about what’s going on around me or within me since Local Boy In The Photograph in 1996. It doesn’t fit into the style of the album I’m writing and the current political climate inspired me to release it now.” The themes of the song are powerful, indeed, and delivered in a style that give proper pause for reflection. But while designed to reflect both personal experience and collective social responsibility, the surrounding instrumentals are robust, melodic and radio-friendly, thereby helping to get the message even more noticed. Stereophonics fans are sure to embrace the track as another anthem, especially in live form. But this could just as easily appeal to new listeners as well.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the lyric video

MYKL, Conversation

MYKLCONVERSATION: Sonically reminiscent of 80’s pop, Conversation – the new single from MYKL (MakeYouKnowLovr) – is another self-written and produced track with an atmospheric sound that highlights MYKL’s alluring vocals and ability to conjure some catchy pop hooks. Conversation is about reconnecting with someone after time spent forgetting their undeniable feelings for one another. It’s the type of track, with its emphasis on electronics, beats and falsetto soul vocals, that plays well to fans of acts like The 1975 and Michael Jackson, deliberately tip-toeing the line between ’80s influenced pop and more contemporary indie-pop. And while those comparisons do suggest a sense of over-familiarity, Conversation actually comes across as an effortlessly likeable offering that thrives on those falsetto vocals, slick beats and lush electronics. It’s genuinely likeable, with emotional sincerity to boot.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the lyric video

KYOTI, Restart The World

KYOTIRESTART THE WORLD: Acclaimed art pop trio KYOTI return with an explosive new single in the form of Restart The World. Kicking off with a sparse backdrop of pounding electro beats and snappy percussion, the track then builds into an energy infused anthem with catchy infectious synth hooks. It sounds like 80s era Depeche Mode mixed with Pet Shop Boys. But it arrives with a timely social message too, being described as an anthem for a technology dependant, politically charged and anxiety-fuelled era. Hence, while upbeat, this dystopian party tune also has a lyrical intelligence that has plenty to say. Speaking about the track, the band said: “Restart The World is about feeling powerless in a quickly changing world. We are slowly losing our humanity and giving it over to machines. Our collective memory is being eroded, falling in to the endless sea. We need to start again.” It’s a strong enough offering to hopefully make people take notice, even if those retro leanings can sometimes be diverting in terms of having you pick out the musical references. KYOTI are Ed Burgon (vocals), David Mabbott (keys/synths) and Benji Huntrods (drums). Collectively, a powerhouse of disparate influences, including jazz, funk, dance and pop, together they create rich soundscapes of synths and beats, interlaced with thoughtful lyricism.
Rating: 3 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Hot Dreams

HOT DREAMSCALIFORNIA: Hot on the heals of releasing their single Stronger in January, London indie quartet Hot Dreams continue apace with the release of their new single California, a slice of hazy sun-drenched indie. Speaking about the record, the band explained: “California is about growing up and moving on. It’s a simple yet heartfelt letter about breaking up and realising the value in independence.” The resulting single offers up that sunshine indie vibe with something altogether more lyrically bittersweet. And it’s a really strong juxtaposition. For while instrumentally, the track sounds tailor-made for hitting the sun-drenched highways of California itself, top down, the break-up anthem nature of the lyrics call for some greater introspection and listening, as you contemplate some of the loves you, yourself, may well have lost. It’s ear-catching stuff from a band that are clearly on the rise. Hot Dreams formed in 2016 over a shared interest in artists such as Pumarosa, Blonde Redhead, Slowdive and King Krule. They’re completed by Kai Fennell (vocals, guitar), Aaron Clarke (bass), Alex Bloomfield (guitar, keys) and Cam Fyall (Drums).
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here


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