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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, February 9, 2018

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

Meadowlark, Pink Heart

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: MEADOWLARKPINK HEART: Meadowlark have shared an official video for their beautifully trippy new single, Pink Heart. The track is taken from the duo’s debut album, Postcards (out now on AllPoints) and its release precedes the band embarking on a European headline tour throughout March. The track finds Kate McGill’s effortlessly cool vocals layered over lush, carefully orchestrated production values (trip-hop style beats, spine-tingling piano loops), making for a captivating, even cinematic listen. There’s also something highly nocturnal about it, which makes it great for kicking back with after a long day at work or a heady night out. It’s the sound of Meadowlark at their absolute best. As with all of Meadowlark’s official videos, Pink Heart was directed and produced by the band’s own Dan Broadley who is a professional videographer alongside being Meadowlark’s guitarist. The cut is a nostalgic look back at the band’s history and compiling it was a project which saw Dan trawling through hours and hours of footage captured throughout Meadowlark’s time together – right from the very early days as they were just starting out, to the process of recording their album, and the whirlwind of the last 18 months. Dan himself explains: “The release of Pink Heart coincides with the fifth anniversary of Meadowlark’s existence. It felt right to look back over the last five years to see how far we’ve come not only as a band but as people too, and compile some of our fondest memories into a video to one of our favourite songs from the album.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

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We Are Scientists, One In One Out

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: WE ARE SCIENTISTSONE IN ONE OUT: We Are Scientists, the Brooklyn, New York-based power pop troupe are set to return with their sixth album. Titled Megaplex and released via 100% Records on April 27, the album finds the infamous duo – Keith Murray (guitar/vocals) and Chris Cain (bass) – set to dazzle the world with 10 new splashes of colourful and utterly addictive pop that serve as a welcome distraction to these bleak times we live in. As an opening salvo, One In One Out bodes extremely well. The power pop inherent in so much of their past music is present and correct, with livewire guitars and synths colliding with one hell of a catchy chorus and some empowering lyrics. There’s also a woo-hoo backing harmony, evocative of classic Beach Boys, that brings an even greater sense of sunshine vitality whenever it’s around. Commenting further on what to expect from the LP, Chris stated: “In the past we’ve used our music to educate, to enlighten, to awaken people to the depth and complexity of moral concerns. This time, we really wanted to drop a fun-bomb. Something to dance or f*** to.” Recorded at Tim Wheeler from Ash’s Atomic Heart Studios in NYC and once again produced by Max Hart (ex-Katy Perry), the duo set about honing down a sprawling burst of creativity to make the concise pop beast that is Megaplex.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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The Wombats

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 3: THE WOMBATSBLACK FLAMINGO: With their new album Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life released on Friday (February 9) via Kobalt Music Recordings, and a sold-out UK tour beginning on March 9, The Wombats have also dropped a new track in the form of the exuberant Black Flamingo. A bittersweet slice of edgy indie-pop, this drops lines like “I wanna love you but it hurts, hurts, hurts” and a killer central guitar hook and grabs your attention from the very first listen and refuses to let go. It’s a cracking addition to an album that already boasts the tracks Lemon To A Knife Fight, Turn and Cheetah Tongue (which have received over 10 million Spotify streams in a couple of months). Produced by Mark Crew (Bastille, Rag’n’Bone Man) and Catherine Marks (Wolf Alice), the album finds The Wombats pushing the boundaries of alt-pop innovation with a lush, ultra-modern indie soundscape, irrepressible hooks and tragi-comic lyricism belied by a newfound maturity and moving emotional depth. Judged purely on the singles so far, it also continues to showcase their talent for bringing something a little different to the indie-pop scene with something that’s equally capable of breaking out and appealing to the masses. Black Famingo is just a great listen.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Lucy Rose

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: LUCY ROSESTRANGEST OF WAYS: Marking the release of her new single Strangest of Ways, Lucy Rose has created a stunning official video for the track with an emotional inspiring story behind it. Strangest of Ways is taken from Lucy’s third studio album, Something’s Changing, which is out now on Communion Records. The album was released alongside a mini-documentary of the same title, following Lucy on a tour of South America where she stayed with fans and played free shows they booked for her along the way. Lucy subsequently embarked on a tour of UK cinemas where she screened the documentary alongside playing songs from the new album and it was at one of these cinema shows that Lucy first met a girl called Zoe Schofield. Zoe lives with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), which means she doesn’t have the ability to travel and explore. Watching the documentary brought back home truths for Zoe, meaning that her reaction was one of sadness rather than hope. Moved by their conversation, Lucy reached out to Zoe after the show and asked her if she’d like to be involved with making the music video for her next single. Speaking about that moment, Zoe said: “One of the things that made me want to do this most was that it initially terrified me. But then I thought actually no, I’m not going to listen to that voice telling me all the things I can and can’t do. The very fact that it terrified me so much made me want to do it, made me want to say yes let’s go and do this crazy amazing thing and make the most of this opportunity.” The concept of the shoot was for Lucy and Zoe to go on their own adventure and after much planning, the pair jumped on a plane to Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland where they spent the day exploring this natural phenomenon together with a camera to capture everything. Zoe continued: “With chronic illness, your world shrinks because your home essentially becomes your world. The tether that you have to the rest of the universe starts to wither away and it’s really isolating. With this video, the idea was we go somewhere wild and beautiful, where you can sense and feel a real connection to the world.” The video is as moving as it is inspiring. The song, meanwhile, showcases another set of beautiful vocals from Rose, as well as a fine sense of percussion that lends the song an upbeat vibe, in keeping with the general feeling of warmth and positivity surrounding it. For more information about CFS and ME, visit the Action for ME website
Rating: 4 out of 5

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El Perro Del Mar

EL PERRO DEL MARMIRRORS: Acclaimed Swedish artist El Perro Del Mar (née Sarah Assbring) follows Fight For Life from her EP, We Are History, with striking new single Mirrors and its acoompaning video. The track itself is ‘about reaching out to yourself for empathy and humanity’. It’s also about ‘daring to see yourself and others with love and compassion’. It’s both apologetic (“I know we messed up”) as well as hopeful (“I wanna try, to see through your eyes”), and is delivered in a style befitting a Bonobo production. The background instrumentals are laidback, simple but achingly beautiful at times, nicely offsetting the similarly fragile, yet occasionally ethereal, vocals. Yes, you could add there are traces of Bjork too. But Del Mar does more than enough to forge her own identity and this is a song that carries a positive message and lays it out in beautiful fashion. The video is once again directed by Connor Hurley, who commented: “For me, Mirrors is about the struggle and perseverance of women from the beginning of time. The characters represent the same woman at three stages of life and the idea of attempting to communicate with your past and present selves.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Marshmello & Anne-Marie, Friends

MARSHMELLO & ANNE-MARIEFRIENDS: BRIT-nominated star Anne-Marie and electronic mastermind Marshmello unite for their joint new single Friends and succeed in delivering a really chart-friendly piece of ear-candy. Marshmello’s stellar, throwback production combines with Anne-Marie’s Sia-like vocals, buckets of sass and, of course, matchless humour to create a sonic slice of fun. There are toe-tapping beats, slick electronic arrangements that belatedly turn into a fanfare, and rap-sung vocals. It means that the combination of attitude (“get that shit inside your head”) and pop revelry blends seamlessly to create something that a wide range of people can enjoy. It’s irresistibly catchy. Recorded at Sarm Studios at the end of 2017, Friends marks a continuation of a budding friendship – in 2016, Marshmello remixed Anne-Marie’s double platinum and UK Top 20 breakthrough hit Alarm.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Ten Tonnes, Lay It On Me

TEN TONNESLAY IT ON ME: Everything in the world of Ten Tonnes is stepping up a gear at present. He started the year by being named as one of Huw Stephens’ Alternative Tips for 2018 and is currently completing a tour as guest to Rat Boy, which concludes at the O2 Academy Brixton. Now, new single Lay It On Me arrives brimming with the propulsive energy of his live band and an immediately enticing melody. The track feels like an early ’80s new wave classic re-imagined for the current indie scene. That is to say, there are kitsch elements married to a Brat Pack-style/Breakfast Club sensibility, as well as the edge and spirit needed to give it contemporary clout too. The mid-track guitar solo is as robust as we’ve come to expect from Ten Tonnes, while the “lay it on me, lay it on me, lay it on me” chant that immediately follows is tailor-made for singing along and lends the track an anthemic quality. Ethan says of the song: “Lay It On Me is telling someone if they need you, you’ll be there. You’ve been away and distant, but now you’re back.” The track was produced by Ten Tonnes’ regular collaborator Hugo White, of The Maccabees.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Fontaines DC, Chequeless Reckless

FONTAINES DC – CHEQUELESS RECKLESS: Fontaines DC met as a quintet in Dublin, influenced and driven in equal measure by the rich history of their hometown’s counter-culture. Their response has been to make concise and immediately authentic indie-punk that has done anything but fall on deaf ears. The last six months have seen Fontaines D.C. release two hotly received double A-side singles, both of which were named as singles of the week by Rough Trade, and garnered early support from the likes of Steve Lamacq and others on BBC 6 Music, as well as earning feature space from every major Irish publication. They’ve also drawn favourable comparisons with everyone from The Fall and Iggy Pop to The Strokes. New single Chequeless Reckless finds the band delving even deeper into their influences (which they personally cite as spanning from The La’s to The Pogues to Buddy Holly) employing hypnotic, kraut-rock infused cyclical riffs, whilst channelling Dublin into their concise and often-unassumingly poetic lyrics with a distinctive gritty Irish drawl. It’s a song shot through with energy and urgency, posing questions like “what’s really going on?”. In the background, meanwhile, are those foreboding drums and some heavy, punk-infused energy that lend it quite a charge. It’s easy to see why Fontaines DC are getting the post-punk scene so excited.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Amaroun

AMAROUNMADE A FIRE: Newcomer Amaroun releases a slice of soul infused indie-pop called Make A Fire and shows plenty of potential. A follow-up to her debut single Bed Bugs, this one finds Amaroun (singer-songwriter Jay Brown) furthering her reputation for delivering electronic soul-tinged guitar pop that’s catchy and radio-friendly. The vocals are nicely delivered, while the mix of electronics and guitar create a swish, swirling, nicely realised backdrop that lends the song plenty of positivity. Of Made A Fire, Jay said: “The song was written in a heightened state, in the aftermath of my coming out. It’s a narrative progression from my previous single Bed Bugs, where I was deep in confusion, distraction and escapism. In Made A Fire, I’ve found clarity in the thrill of meeting someone new. When you find that person and there’s this instant connection you can’t deny, it’s something that’s hard to describe. This song is simply gratitude in musical form for that person and that feeling.” In that sense, it’s empowering to boot.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Teen Creeps

TEEN CREEPSSIDENOTE: Ghent-based trio Teen Creeps have just announced their debut album Birthmarks, which is set for release on April 6. Combining a mixture of ’90s inspired alt rock with hard-hitting punk, the first single from the LP, Sidenote, is online now – and it exemplifies their sound. The guitars are the best thing about the track, recalling ’90s acts like Ash or Smashing Pumpkins, and enabling the track to zip along in as close to radio friendly fashion as an alt-rock track can. The vocals, on the other hand, are pure punk-rock aggression and they may just be the deciding factor in how much you like the record as a whole. But there’s plenty to keep you interested, including an edgy video that is delivered in some style. Speaking about the new track, singer-bass player Bert said: “It’s about not fully committing to someone and getting nowhere because of it. Feeling something but holding it off because you don’t want to get hurt again. When I wrote the words, I had just come out of a relationship and wasn’t ready yet for a new one. I met someone but things went sideways because of this.” Of the video, he adds: “The dancer in the video is Jules Jordens, an actor who is a friend of the band. He showed up with an entire dance routine that perfectly translates the vibe and energy of the song. Plus, watching him go at it brings smiles on our faces.” It could well do the same to you.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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