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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, January 5, 2018

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

BØRNS, God Save Our Young Blood

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: BØRNS feat LANA DEL REYGOD SAVE OUR YOUNG BLOOD: BØRNS has enlisted global superstar Lana Del Rey for new song, God Save Our Young Blood, and the results are as good as you might expect. A sleek slice of dream-pop, this features both artists in laidback form, dropping their wistful vocals over smooth synth waves and subtle beat arrangements. There’s a siren-like central electronic arrangement that lends the song some urgency but, in the main, this has a hazy, dreamy vibe befitting the vocal strengths of both artists (who compliment each other really well). The chorus, meanwhile, is as catchy as they come without being too energetic. It’s a perfect kind of song for just kicking back and chilling out with (right down to sentiments like “save the birds, save the bees”). The track has been chosen as the first Beats 1 World Record of 2018, and will be featured on BØRNS’ sophomore album, Blue Madonna, which is set for release on January 12, 2018.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Justin Timberlake

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: JUSTIN TIMBERLAKEFILTHY: The first big event tune of 2018 took no time in arriving thanks to Justin Timberlake’s penchant for showmanship. Filthy marks the first taste of the singer’s forthcoming LP Man of the Woods, which marks his long-awaited follow-up to The 20/20 Experience. The result makes you sit up and take notice. Co-produced by Timbaland and the latter’s protege Danja, this is built around funk and space-pop, dropping a huge wobbling bassline as a centre-piece and placing a sharp emphasis on darkness and edginess. The central lyric, of “whatchu gonna do with all that meat?” is designed to be provocative and succeeds in being so. It’s very much a future sounding record that is designed to push the musical envelope. Hence, while the funk inherent within nods to Timberlake’s signature elements, it’s also fresh enough to be doing something entirely different. And yet there are nods to Prince too, as well as the bombast of Daft Punk with some electronic flourishes into guitar rock territory. It’s a shape-shifting, wholly ambitious production that’s designed to make you take a side. Hence, while the younger fans pining for a new tune like Can’t Stop The Feeling may well be disappointed at the lack of sing-along or sugary pop elements, Filthy lives up to its name in being a dirty, provocative foot-stomper of a tune that succeeds in making you excited to hear just what more Man of the Woods can deliver by way of surprise.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Anderson East, Girlfriend

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 3: ANDERSON EASTGIRLFRIEND: Alabama soul singer Anderson East has unveiled the official video for new song, Girlfriend, and it’s a fittingly lively offering for a track that is all about stealing away with somebody else’s girlfriend. The video features Anderson singing while a young boy and girl duel in some woods and in a field. It’s got plenty of imagination, much like the brass-heavy song itself. Showcasing a ’70s funk sensibility in both its bombastic use of brass and its swirling, retro synth arrangements, this also showcases Anderson East’s vocals at their most soulful and brash (think The Heavy). It’s a romp that can’t help but make you feel instantly excited the moment you hear it. Written by East, Dave Cobb, Aaron Raitiere and Avicii, Girlfriend is the third song taken from East’s highly anticipated new album, Encore, which will be released next Friday, January 12 (2018) on Low Country Sound/Elektra Records.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Jeryko

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 4: JERYKOFIGHTING FOR: “What are you fighting for, she asked me simply, are you the lover or are you the enemy?” So sings NYC artist Jeryko over the opening chords of his new single Fighting For. And it’s this emotive, provocative lyricism that adds to the singer’s instant appeal. It makes you listen. But the rest of the song is just as striking. With a clean and driving acoustic guitar, smooth vocals, original choruses and meaningful lyrics, Jeryko lays down an early marker as one of the artists to keep a keen eye on in 2018. His singer-songwriting approach may bear comparison with the likes of Ed Sheeran (no bad thing) and others of that type, but there’s also a keen sense of his own identity. Hence, Fighting For is intricately layered, dropping in some late robust beats, echoed vocals and vibrant acoustic licks as it reaches its empowering finale. It’s a song that reaps big rewards. The video comes as the first of a two-part saga that rides the themes of brotherhood, bravery and cliffhangers akin to a full-length film. Roll on part two, we say!
Rating: 4 out of 5

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MGMT, Hand It Over

MGMTHAND IT OVER: The latest offering from MGMT’s current LP Little Dark Age is the psych-rock slow-builder Hand It Over. Taking its cues from the similarly synth heavy and psychedelic When You Die, this once again finds the MGMT boys adopting an ethereal falsetto and allowing it to soar over those trippy synth arrangements. It has a bittersweet element to the lyrics, which lament the passing of time as much as anything. But it also allows room for some beauty, too, infusing the chorus with a female backing harmony that only heightens the psychedelic/dreamy nature of the song as a whole. It’s still a far cry from the euphoric greatness MGMT achieved with breakthrough track Time To Pretend but it’s a nice tune to relax with, while showcasing a different side to their musical make-up. Indeed, we’ve heard the track compared to Ariel Pink’s Dedicated to Bobby Jameson and it’s a fair description of what to expect.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Youngr, Ooh Lordy

YOUNGROOH LORDY: As he looks to kick off the year with a bang, Youngr has announced the release of new collection, This Is Not An Album, led by new single Ooh Lordy, via Island Records. This Is Not An Album is a collection of Youngr’s releases to date, including the likes of goliath hit Out Of My System, Monsters, recent release Give It Up and new single Ooh Lordy. This latter track is described as an instantly euphoric slice of house-pop that finds Youngr at his effervescent best. There’s a bouncing synth loop, slick finger-click beats and a near-falsetto vocal that feels positively jubilant. It’s infectious and makes you want to hang out with those fireflies too. Commenting on the new collection, Youngr said: “This Is Not An Album is a collection of all the songs I’ve released over the past year, plus my first ever releases from back in the day; September Sun and Disappear and my newest jam, Ooh Lordy. Thought I’d throw them all together in one nice organised package for your aural pleasures.”
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Into The Ark

INTO THE ARKBURNING LOVE: If the title of Into The Ark’s latest single seems familiar, then it’s because it’s a cover of the Elvis Presley classic, Burning Love. Here, though, it’s stripped of the soul-infused rock and roll of ‘The King’, and replaced instead with the acoustic sound synonymous with this duo. And you could almost be forgiven for not recognising it at all, especially if you’re not familiar with the lyrics. With that in mind, it’s possible to best enjoy the cover by forgetting that it is, indeed, a cover and appreciating the new spin put upon it. In this form, it’s very much a slow burn/smoulder approach, with the acoustics laidback and almost melancholy. The vocals, meanwhile, are delivered in a style more reminiscent of Turin Brakes than Elvis Presley. It’s delivered with Into The Ark’s usual passion and works on its own merits. But that might not be enough to prevent fans of the original from emerging slightly disappointed. The track was recorded live at the world famous RAK Studios in London. It’s the second single, concluding their double A-side following on from Straight To Your Door – available now. This double A sided, limited edition, RED vinyl will ONLY be available through the band’s web store, giving fans the opportunity to own a rare live acoustic recording from the band. You can purchase one of 500 individually numbered and signed 7 inch vinyls on the website link below. Taylor, of Into The Ark, explained: “We’ve played this song for a couple of years now and we really wanted to capture it live so we recorded it acoustically (at RAK) for the 7 inch… it’s a well travelled song – not just for Elvis – but for us too, and one that means so much to us and our journey and to say we’re proud of it coming out on vinyl is a massive understatement.”
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Bruno Mars, Finesse

BRUNO MARS feat CARDI B – FINESSE (REMIX): Bruno Mars comes over all retro in more ways than one with the newly issued remix of 24K Magic favourite Finesse in remix form. Tapping into an unashamedly late ’80/early ’90s synth pop vibe (think The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff), this is clearly designed to bring about a keen sense of nostalgia and offer up another funky slice of fun. And it works, too. The track isn’t wrong when it claims to be ‘dripping in finesse’ over the chorus – but then Mars is rapidly becoming one of the most stylish artists working in the mainstream at this moment in time. The presence of Cardi B lends some needed sass to the vocals, too, and strike a nice balance with Mars’ own soulful crooning, making this a certain dancefloor favourite for early 2018. The accompanying video is similarly nostalgic, featuring ’90s-themed outfits, bouncy choregraphy and colourful video sets.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Kendrick Lamar, SZA, All The Stars

KENDRICK LAMAR, SZAALL THE STARS: If you thought that Marvel’s forthcoming Black Panther movie already looked set to become one of the coolest films of 2018, then get a load of this. The soundtrack is being curated and produced by Kendrick Lamar and Top Dawg Entertainment CEO Anthony ‘Top Dawg’ Tiffith. The first taster of this collaboration is Lamar’s new single, All The Stars, and it’s a sleek slice of synth-pop/soul that is instantly gratifying. Kendrick drops his familiar rap, and embraces the film’s themes of conflict and resolve, while SZA drops some sensual vocals that offset the rap element well. There’s an anthemic synth hook and some suitably pumped up beats, ensuring that the song zips along in suitably grand fashion. The chorus is especially lively, ensuring that it has an anthemic vibe capable of giving it crossover appeal while raising the profile of both artists.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Sea Girls, Heavenly War

SEA GIRLSHEAVENLY WAR: Following quickly on the heels of the R1 approved (Annie Mac/Huw Stephens/BBC Introducing) What For, Heavenly War furthers the bold claim that Sea Girls are one of the most reliable new bands for penning these instant indie-disco, festival-ready anthems (a la Scouting For Girls). Written and fronted by Henry Camamile, Heavenly War follows Call Me Out, Lost and What For as another timely example of what this young British band are capable of. It’s got catchy hooks, robust drum loops and an indie-disco vibe that makes you want to toe tap along and nod your head appreciately. And it’s lively fun. Commenting on Heavenly War, Sea Girls’ Henry Camamile saod: “This song is about that weirdly exciting but quite difficult conflict of feelings and events that makes our lives worth living. Ultimately describing that moment when you feel the best about life. I think it’s a really positive message.” That positivity shines through.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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