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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, July 12, 2019

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

Lykke Li, Two Nights Part II

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: LYKKE LI X SKRILLEX X TY DOLLA $IGN – TWO NIGHTS PART II: Lykke Li revisits her classic former album track Two Nights by teaming up with Skrillex and Ty Dollar $ign to mesmerising effect. The second track to be taken from her forthcoming EP still sad still sexy, this maintains that sexy, melancholy vibe and a keen sense of longing with a greater sense of urgency and – perhaps – even some danger. The added beats lend extra impetus to the track, as do the combined vocals, which find Li’s ethereal tones merging seamlessly and highly effectively with the more urban leanings of Ty Dollar. Skrillex’s beats heighten the late night vibe, bringing a greater sexual energy that could also enable the track to appeal to the club scene. Hence, while the original was cinematic, moody and highly atmospheric, this maintains all of those components, while also broadening its appeal to the masses. It’s a masterful creation that just gets more and more addictive, the more you hear it… rather like the relationship underpinning it.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Ed Sheeran, Antisocial

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 1: ED SHEERAN & TRAVIS SCOTTANTISOCIAL: Another week, another new offering from Ed Sheeran, taken from his No.6 Collaborations Project (out now). This one, Antisocial, features Travis Scott and is another change of style. If anything, it’s as close to a rap song as Sheeran is ever going to get. There are rapped elements, mostly delivered by Scott, as well as slick, hip-hop beats, electronics and – of course – a catchy chorus. The track itself is about not fitting in, or doing your own thing, and ignoring social norms. It has a central loop of “don’t touch me”, as well as some choice, provocative lyrics (including an F-bomb), as well as plenty of attitude. Younger Sheeran fans may find their ears being covered at times, especially when it comes to the accompanying video. Directed by Dave Meyers, the official video nods to several seminal movies and sees both Sheeran and Scott playing larger-than-life characters who are dropped into worlds they were never meant to occupy. It’s a whole lot of fun, visually and in terms of being able to pick out those movie references.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Swimming Tapes

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 2: SWIMMING TAPESKEEP HER CLOSER: Swimming Tapes have unveiled the official video for Keep Her Closer – one of the standout moments from their just-released debut album, Morningside. The video builds on the blissed-out summer vibes of the track and introduces us to an alternative world where Swimming Tapes are girls and a feel-good plot unfolds. Speaking about the video’s concept, director Zoé Kraft shared: “The making of this video was just as genuine and light-hearted as the song itself. There wasn’t meant to be a distinct narrative. It simply evokes dreamy, summer-time feelings. The quirky little moments were included to remind viewers to not take things too seriously. Although the girls are meant to subtly represent each member of the band, it’s also supposed to feel as though this song could be about any one of the girls.” Whilst speaking about the track itself, Louis Price of Swimming Tapes shared: “Keep Her Closer is a song I wrote after finding out a very young love got married. Her house had an amazing garden and I remembered all the times we went out at dusk and ran through it to the fields behind her house, escaping our parents. I just wrote it as an ode to her and in the hope that she’s happy and enjoying life.” The ensuing track certainly has that sense of nostalgia, and a kind of melancholy romanticism attached. But it’s also bittersweet, poignant and oddly beautiful. The guitars reminded me of classic Cure, especially during the solos, while the hazy vocals have an air of psychedelia about them that somehow heightens that sense of regret and nostalgia. It’s a lovely offering from Swimming Tapes which is, unsurprisingly, an album highlight.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Rhys Lewis, What If

RHYS LEWISWHAT IF: Singer-songwriter Rhys Lewis has shared his thoughtful new single What If, as well as two firsts: an Asia tour and a UK headline tour, including his biggest London show to date at Earth in Hackney on November 25. Featuring Rhys’s unique standout vocal, What If showcases the singer’s ability to tell poignant stories through his contemplative lyrics, which have helped earn him a legion of dedicated fans all over the world. Just like with his recent In Between Minds EP, Rhys once more takes hold of the production reins alongside collaborator Aidan Glover, recording straight to tape in their studio in South London. The ensuing power ballad ruminates on a classic ‘what if’ scenario, as the singer seeks to rebuild a relationship if being given a second chance (“what if we’d held on for longer/ what if breaking made us stronger? Either way I’m contemplating if there’s a way to get you back”). It’s a poignant, sorrowful single lyrically, which affords the listener some hope in its soaring melodies, sweeping chorus and impassioned vocal delivery. There’s a cinematic grandeur in the balladry that’s favourably comparable to the likes of Ed Sheeran and Coldplay.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Indi Rose

INDI ROSELEMON TREE: Indi Rose is a singer-songwriter who released her debut single Jealousy last year. It was playlisted in 40 countries and has already got 35K streams. Indi is currently recording her first EP at Tileyard Studios with Tom Fuller (he has worked with Tom Walker, Rolling Stones and Jess Glynn). Indi lives in London and studies music tech. But as she now releases her second single, Lemon Tree, her profile looks set to become even bigger. The track is nicely deceptive, too. Early on, it’s a stripped back ballad, showcasing Indi’s sultry vocals and the depth of emotion in the lyrics (which talk of escape). But gradually, the beats and electronics become layered in, lending the track and increasing sense of urgency and a more cinematic grandeur. The sense of escape that informs the early part of the song becomes more pronounced, too, as Indi really allows her vocals to expand and showcase her striking range. If you’re a fan of the likes of Bonobo (instrumentally) and Sia (vocally), then this could well blow you away.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Jax Jones, Harder

JAX JONES feat BEBE REXHAHARDER: Fresh from his latest single One Touch with Jess Glynne, two-time BRIT Award nominated DJ/producer Jax Jones is back with yet another collaboration in the form of Harder with pop powerhouse Bebe Rexha. Given that it features a pop powerhouse, the emphasis is on pop. Hence, this is catchy, breezy, highly disposable fun, tailor-made for getting more than a little jiggy with over the summer. Rexha drops some playfully suggestive vocals and lyrics, Jones contributes some background laughs and there’s an overall sense of fun that’s infectious. In typical Bebe style the lyrics on Harder showcase her sass and sharp wit underpinned by the infectious dance and pop beats Jax is synonymous for. Harder is aimed at offering an empowering and self-assured message on how to handle love that is frank but yet fun. Speaking of the recent singles and collaborations, Jax said: “Me and Camille have a great relationship and we’ve enjoyed a lot of success together – All Day and Night and Ring Ring – so to join forces with her and Steve Mac, who I’ve looked up to for a long time, was a great opportunity for me to try something different and flex my pop muscles. Bebe Rexha linking up with us on this record was the icing on the cake, she’s pretty iconic and is just a don. All Day and Night was for the clubs, this one’s the daytime snack”.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Ted Jasper

TED JASPERDON’T WANT IT: Ted Jasper’s Don’t Want It arrives like a slick mix of Bonobo and Jose Gonzalez, which is no small compliment in our mind. The Cornwall-raised and London-based musician and producer describes the track as downtempo jazzy electronica, which was written in collaboration with fellow London-residing producer, Beni Giles. It boasts sleek beat arrangements, jazzy backdrops (with some horns) and late night electronics that convey both images of smoke-filled London jazz clubs and something even more cinematic. It’s quietly ambitious stuff that plays well to the late night chilled out crowd, tailor-made for some of London’s trendier bars. Talking about the story behind Don’t Want It, Jasper reveals: “Me and Beni were writing it together and coming up with the hook using computer-based software, and throughout the session we were talking about how there’s always this ‘new’ thing you need as a producer. When it comes to software and technology, it moves so fast and certain technology that you’ve just acquired becomes obsolete so quickly. There’s this constant change, and that’s where the chorus came from – ‘Need it but don’t want it.’ It’s about the necessity of having to have this thing to continue, even if you don’t particularly want it.” The new single arrives alongside disjointed, grainy visuals of Jasper wandering through London’s brutalist landscapes.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Scouting For Girls

SCOUTING FOR GIRLSGROWN UP: Two years after officially marking a decade since the release of Scouting For Girls’ unstoppable million-selling eponymous self-titled debut album, the band have announced the release of a new album The Trouble With Boys, the first taste of which comes in the form of the typically catchy Grown Up. A satisfyingly catchy summer anthem, Grown Up is full of melodic hooks, catchy choruses and disarmingly honest lyrics. A breezy lament about the trials and tribulations of being a grown up, this playfully laments: “I don’t want to be a grown up”, while dropping pearls such as “we grew up in the countryside, feels like another life” and “just a boy in the body of a man”. It’s a central sentiment that anyone can identify with, in a way… but it’s delivered in a way that makes you want to reflect on and reminisce about the joys of youth and hanging out with your own friends. It looks set to become another popular anthem for them.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Of Monsters & Men

OF MONSTERS & MENWILD ROSES: Multi-platinum Icelandic quintet Of Monsters & Men display their quieter, more intimate side on new single Wild Roses, taken from their forthcoming third full-length album Fever Dream, due July 26 via Island Records. Combining a sense of reflection with a sense of melancholy, this displays a more tragic side to the band’s songwriting that is even more thought-provoking than normal. It’s not exactly a ballad, but it has a greater sense of radio-friendly melody, a soaring chorus and some quieter, more dusky vocals. It’s the type of song that could easily broaden their appeal beyond their core fanbase. Co-vocalist Nanna Hilmarsdóttir commented: “The song shows an introverted side to the album and is influenced by a bit of dance music and Joseph Campbell’s “The power of myth and what it is like to lean into your sadness.’”
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Dude York

DUDE YORKSHOULD’VE: Feeder meets L7 with a dash of Garbage on Dude York’s new single Should’ve, complete with an early ’90s throwback sound that Captain Marvel would be proud to include on her original motion picture soundtrack. Should’ve is the infectious third single from Falling, which is a tribute to adolescent romance and early-aughts mall punk. It follows the equally-spirited title track and Box from the Seattle trio. The guitars on Should’ve are particularly striking, evoking those L7/Garbage comparisons. But the vocals are also retro-tinged and perfectly in keeping with the throwback sound the band are clearly attempting to conjure. It’s a great introduction to the band for fans in the UK, and one that also brings fond memories of the classic Seattle grunge sound, albeit given a little contemporary heft. “There are two ways things can fall,” says Dude York’s Claire England. “They can fall and be ruined, or they can fall gently like a feather and be fine.” On Falling, their second full-length for Hardly Art, the trio explores that sentiment — evoked by the broken cake on the album cover and the soft confetti on the inside sleeve—through impossibly catchy and emotive songs that investigate the ways you can fall in and out of relationships, and sometimes fall back together. Recorded at Different Fur Studios in San Francisco with producer Patrick Brown, Falling finds Dude York sounding bigger and more fully-realised than ever before.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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