Follow Us on Twitter

Music - Singles of the week - Friday, January 31, 2020

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

Howie Payne, Into Daylight

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: HOWIE PAYNEINTO DAYLIGHT: Howie Payne drops livewire new single Into Daylight, the first blast of new music from the former Stands frontman since 2017’s critically praised solo album release, Mountain – and he’s lost none of his touch. Shifting up through the gears from the blissfully understated songwriting which characterised much of both Mountain and Payne’s Ethan Johns-produced 2009 debut, Bright Light Ballads, the clattering Into Daylight buzzes along atop the attack and recoil of darting electric guitar lines (with all instruments on the recording played solely by Payne). It’s got a real energy about it, courtesy of stop-start drum beats, wonky electronics and those intricate but spiky guitar licks, which neatly offset Payne’s trademark laidback vocal delivery. The solos, in particular, set the track on fire. Speaking about the lean, self-produced and self-mixed track – which zips by in barely two minutes – Howie said: “The first person I played it to said; ‘It sounds like if Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac and early Pink Floyd were the same band’… I’m having that thank you very much. It’s the first full on electric rock and roll tune I’ve put out since I was doing The Stands, definitely the most psychedelic, and the first guitar solo I’ve cut for a while. I’ve been listening to a lot of rock and roll and rediscovered my love of playing the electric guitar, and of volume and it sent me off in a new, heavier direction. Into Daylight is a pure rock and roll song, it’s loud, fast and exciting to play live. I can see us absolutely jamming the shit out of it at the shows down the line.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Blue Moon Rising

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 1: NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDSBLUE MOON RISING: Always on the up, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds have released new single Blue Moon Rising, the title track from the forthcoming EP of the same name (which is released from March 6, 2020). But never ones to shy away from self-praise, Noel says of the single: “How it manages to combine the influences of Metallica, The Jesters Of Malice, Mantovani, Robinson Crusoe as well as Bob Marley AND The Wailers is literally beyond me… oh, and it’s not about City by the way.” Admittedly, not all of those inspirations are immediately apparent to us, but the dance-inspired track thrives on a throbbing electronic pulse, some slick guitar interludes and a typically laidback vocal that works as a nice contrast to the otherwise electric pace of the track. It’s a highly stylish offering that once again shows how Noel isn’t afraid to tinker with sound. There’s nothing trademark about it. An accompanying video has alson been released starring acclaimed actor Jack O’Connell (Starred Up) and actress/model Gala Gordon. Shot at London’s Scala and directed by Dan Cadan and Scully, the narrative is a game of power play, charged with drama, 70’s undertones and cinematic flare. Dan and Scully also directed previous videos for this recent series of EP releases by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. It’s equally eye-catching.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

Liam Gallagher and Eric Cantona

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 2: LIAM GALLAGHERONCE: The Gallagher brothers seem to have established an unspoken rule of stoking their rivalry by dropping any new material either on the same day, or within days of each other. Hence, as Noel dropped Blue Moon Rising with a video featuring Jack O’Connell, so Liam now drops an acoustic version of Once complete with a video featuring none other than Eric Cantona. And it’s great. Captured in one continuous shot, the video features football legend (and Manchester United stalwart, no less) Cantona as the The King. Eccentric and debauched, The King exudes charisma with his every move demanding the viewer’s attention. Meanwhile, Liam uncharacteristically steps away from the spotlight as The Butler. Directed by Charlie Lightening (As It Was), the video encapsulates the message of the song – a nostalgic yearning for a once-in-a-lifetime moment that can’t ever be replicated. But it’s also a celebration of everything that was achieved. The song itself is delivered with Liam’s typical swagger and panache, yet taps into something of a Wonderwall vibe with acoustic guitars and strings providing the main musical backdrop. It lends the track a sense of grandeur and poignancy that’s positively epic and Lennon-esque. So, while no departure from the signature Liam sound, it’s nevertheless the sound of Liam at his best. “I’m absolutely thrilled to have Eric Cantona, the last rock ‘n’ roll footballer, star in my video for Once,” said Liam. “Songs like this don’t come around very often and neither do football players like him.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

Fleur East

FLEUR EASTLUCKY: Fleur East kicks of 2020 with new single Lucky, co-written by Fleur herself and produced by Okan. The track fuses rhythmic percussion, smooth vocals and a pulsating bass line to drop a calypso vibe and the sort of pumped up offering that could grace the closing family scene of a Fast & Furious movie. Hence, the track does have a sense of uplift about it, reflected in its dance-worthy vibe and overall sense of positivity (in spite of some bittersweet lyrics about the nature of luck). East delivers the vocal with typical verve, adding to the overall energy of the song and its feel-good elements. Commenting on the song herself, Fleur said: “I’m really excited for people to hear Lucky. It’s such an uplifting, feel-good song with a positive message. It’s all about being grateful for the blessings you have in your life, and understanding that everything worth having is hard work. You may assume it’s just ‘luck’ but there’s a lot more to it. I want everyone to celebrate everything they are thankful for, and take a second to reflect on what you’ve achieved. I love the percussion on the track and the bass line really makes you want to dance.” Lucky is taken from Fleur’s upcoming second album, Fearless, which is released later this Spring.
Rating: 3 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

Peter, Bjorn and John, Drama King

PETER, BJORN AND JOHNDRAMA KING: Peter, Bjorn and John have released yet another new single from their forthcoming new album Endless Dream, which is due out on March 13, 2020 via INGRID – and it could be their best offering yet! Drama King is a jazzy retro track written by John and is accompanied by a trippy video. A retro laden feast for music fans, this combines the snappy coolness of a classic David Holmes/Ocean’s 11 cut with vocals that Jim Morrisson would occasionally be proud of. The result is effortlessly trippy, incredibly cool, highly cinematic and utterly contagious. John, who penned the sparsely produced track, said of it: “Well, the title and the lyrics sort of speak for themselves but regarding the music, I had a vision that I wanted it to sound like an obscure James Brown song, performed by a group of amateurs in a workshop in a funk-shop for beginners. And, the intro is supposed to resemble the beginning of a four-hour long epic drama-comedy that never made it to the cinemas.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Zak Pajak, Retrograde

ZAK PAJAKRETROGRADE: London-based Zac Pajak will release Retrograde as the latest offering from his debut EP Early Hours, which is set for release in early 2020. The track follows the release of debut single Again and follow up track Not Around and embraces a contemporary, stripped back minimalistic style. The single evolves as Zac’s soulful vocal glides over delicate guitar turns and beautifully subtle electronic atmospheres. It’s a track that crawls with emotion, not only in Zac’s compelling songwriting and delivery, but in every inch of its production by Jake Gosling (Major Lazer, Wiley, Timbaland). The sparse opening allows Pajak’s vocals to shine and the sensitivity in the lyrics to shine through, before the instrumentals eventually add extra atmospherics and beauty. The electronics are particularly effective late on, enabling Pajak to inject even more emotion into his vocals and deliver something sweeping and cinematic. While the decision to strip things right back to piano for the finale also ensures the track ends on a high. It’s another strong record to augment an already strong selection of songs from the forthcoming EP – and one capable of appealing to fans of acts like Ed Sheeran. Speaking about the track, Pajak said: “Retrograde is about letting go and trusting the journey. Sometimes life can take a turn in a different direction and you just have to believe that things happen for a reason. You may not always end up where you thought you were going, but you’ll always end up where you’re meant to be.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Holly Humberstone

HOLLY HUMBERSTONEDEEP END: Taking inspiration from Damien Rice, Lorde, Bon Iver, Phoebe Bridgers and HAIM, Holly Humberstone clearly aims high. And on the evidence of debut single Deep End, she’s capable of emulating some – if not all – of those acts. Deep End is a deeply atmopsheric, brooding but highly emotive track that’s dripping in sincerity. A show of support for a sister who was going through a difficult time, it’s designed to offer reassurances, while acknowledging the depth of suffering that some people can suffer. But in lines like “I’ll be your medicine if you let me”, there’s a genuine sense of warmth and comfort that translates well to the listener, and which could offer some warmth to anyone feeling similarly dark thoughts: there may always be someone out there willing to help. Instrumentally, the track fuses the warmth of the acoustic music Holly grew up listening to with a darker, wonky atmosphere and tone that makes it more striking. Commenting on the song herself, Holly said: “This means a lot to me and it’s quite a personal one. One of my sisters was going through a difficult time and I was struggling to know how best to help. This song is my way of telling her that I’m always here. It feels like a lot of people are going through something similar or suffering themselves and don’t have an outlet to express it. It’s a difficult conversation but really important to let those around you know that you care for them and will always stand by them. The video came from an idea that we have had for a while. We kept imagining this really dark image of me stood dripping wet in the cold, staring at the camera and playing my electric guitar. We then thought it would be funny and relevant to reveal my sisters holding hoses, spraying me down. My sisters are all so important to this song.”
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

Dan Croll

DAN CROLLSTAY IN LA: The simultaneous release of Dan Croll’s Yesterday and Stay In LA follows a two-year hiatus after the release of his second album Emerging Adulthood, which saw Croll, like many in the latter half of their twenties, question the very fibre of his being: career, relationships, life choices, future. He upped sticks and moved to LA on a whim and hasn’t returned. The resulting transition to life in California, going back to basics with his songwriting and taking inspiration from the music that truly inspired him (James Taylor, Burt Bacharach, Joni Mitchell), many of which are part of Laurel Canyon’s musical heritage, bore these musical fruits and a new chapter for this prolific songwriter. And this is never more evident than in the second of the new songs, Stay In LA, which embraces a Bacharach-meets-Mitchell troubadour kind of vibe. It’s a heartfelt, stripped back offering that finds Croll reflecting on his experiences of the city with just an acoustic guitar for backing. His voice sometimes reaches some falsetto highs, while drifting back into something more reflective at others. It’s a daydream of an offering. Tying in with the reelease, Croll has also unveiled the video for Stay In LA, fittingly shot in Echo Park, Los Angeles.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

Marsicans

MARSICANSCAN I STAY HERE FOREVER (PT II): Tipped by The Guardian in their 50 Best New Artists for 2020, Marsicans (‘MAR-sick-anz’) have dropped the first single from their as-yet untitled debut album. Can I Stay Here Forever (pt.II) is arguably the band’s hardest hitting musical offering to date, reflecting the turbulent times in which it was written and recorded. And yet it’s deceptively so. Early on, there’s something mellow about it, especially in James Newbigging’s engagig vocals. But once the guitars get warmed up, they swirl about the place and infuse the song with a real energy that’s difficult to resist (something akin to classic Kings of Leon at times). It’s like a whirlwind contained within the main fabric of the song, juxtaposing that laidback vocal style to seamless effect. And to mix things up still further, the song breaks down and comes over really mellow midway through, before delivering a malestrom of a climax that’s designed to leave your head in a spin. You’ll know you’ve just heard something different and special. Commenting on the inspiration behind it, Newbigging said: “The UK has been a particularly divided place over the past few years and this song was born out of frustration with it all. My head was (still is) overloaded by news surrounding Brexit and an impending environmental disaster. This song is me wanting everyone to chill the fuck out, stop treating other people as the enemy and just get on with actually solving the problems we’re facing. I was going to say this song isn’t aimed at one particular side of ‘the debate’, but that was my issue in the first place. There isn’t a debate. People shut their ears to anyone with an opposite opinion, rather than trying to understand their point of view and have a reasonable conversation.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Morrissey, Love Is On Its Way Out

MORRISSEYLOVE IS ON ITS WAY OUT: Only Morrissey could deliver a song entitled Love Is On Its Way Out – and mean it. But true to form, the singer has delivered a lament about the loss of love… the decline of good acts in a world filled with horrible headlines. There are references to “the sad rich, hunting down, shooting down, elephants and lions”, while declaring that love is effectively done. There is some sense of hope, however, as Morrissey states that “before it gores, do you have the time to show me what its like?” The accompanying instrumentation, meanwhile, finds some uncharacterstic uplift, with mystical riffs helping to create something of a beautiful audio landscape that culminate in a breath catching symphony. It brings the song to an unexpectedly upbeat close. To coincide with the single, it was also officially confirmed that Morrissey’s 13th solo album and second studio album for BMG Records, I Am Not A Dog On A Chain, is set to be released on March 20, 2020.
Rating: 3 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Dua Lipa, Physical

DUA LIPAPHYSICAL: Dua Lipa has confirmed that her highly anticipated new album Future Nostalgia will be out on April 3, 2020. The LP will include the Number 1 global hit single Don’t Start Now and new single Physical, a turbo-charged slice of future-pop that would seem to epitomise the sound driving the rest of the album. Hence, we have propulsive synths, sleek disco beats and feisty vocals that drop sexually charged lyrics (the “let’s get physical” behind the chorus). It’s playfully sexy in a pop kind of way: the type of thing we now know Lipa does so well at. The rainbow coloured accompanying video is fun, too, having been directed by Lope Serrano, the esteemed creative behind The Less I Know the Better from Tame Impala. It’s a slick package.
Rating: 3 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video


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