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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, July 13, 2018

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

Kyson, Every High

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: KYSONEVERY HIGH: Kyson is the musical project of Australian born and now Berlin based producer/composer/vocalist, Jian Liew. Melding organic acoustic arpeggios with vocal loops and carefully crafted synthetic sounds, Kyson’s experimental electronic compositions have roots in the worlds of both hip-hop and folk music. As further evidence of how this sounds, check out new single Every High. Featuring ethereal vocals (reminiscent of artists such as Jose Gonzalez) with beats and electronics that draw from hip-hop arenas (a la DJ Shadow) and guitar strums that are all about the folk movement. It’s a highly intoxicating juxtaposition of sounds that makes for a distinct and quietly impressive listen. What’s more, in these hot summer days, it’s a near-perfect track to sit back and allow to wash over you. It’s soothing. Speaking about Every High, Kyson himself shares: “I wanted to write a song about overcoming the feeling or need we have as individuals to modify ourselves and our personalities to please others in our daily lives… about how honesty and trust can help overcome this pressure of pleasing, and the journey of finding the way towards both of these emotions.” It’s beautiful stuff.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Fickle Friends

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: FICKLE FRIENDS feat AMBER RUNHEARTBROKEN: Fickle Friends have partnered with Amber Run to create a new version of Heartbroken, a fan favourite which originally appeared on their debut full-length, You Are Someone Else (Polydor Records). The new duet is the third release from the new EP, following an acoustic release of Say No More and an alternative mix of Wake Me Up. All three tracks comes from their forthcoming release, You Are Someone Else (Versions), an EP featuring special versions of select tracks from the album. You Are Someone Else, the album from which the tracks are taken, which hit No.9 on the Official UK Album Charts, is out now. Speaking about the new track, singer Natti Shiner commented: “Heartbroken has all sorts of meanings, but when we wrote it we were in a difficult headspace and kinda thought the music industry was out to get us. I know a lot of people have felt that way at some point, including our good friend Joe (from Amber Run). Asking him to sing this with me gave it a whole new feel, his voice is incredible and it made it more special because I think he could totally relate to the lyrics too.” The song itself is a melancholy lament about feeling as heartbroken as the title suggests. It’s quietly delivered, with soft acoustic arrangements and subtle electronics accompanying the impassioned, often crestfallen vocals. Shiner is typically expressive, while Joe gives it his all – the boy-girl vocals providing an interesting alternative to the song’s original version. It’s cinematic, emotionally powerful and beautifully bittersweet.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Kodaline, Shed A Tear

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 1: KODALINESHED A TEAR: “It’s harder to see through the eyes of a stranger, it’s easier to love when the world doesn’t hate you”… so sing Kodaline at the start of their latest single, Shed A Tear – and thought provoking stuff it is too. A song that’s designed to empower, this recognises the debilitating effects of loneliness and/or depression, before reassuring the listener that there are people to turn to… and that “I’ll shed a tear for you”. Later lyrics suggest: “I’ll share the pain when I know you’re in trouble”. It’s a warm listen, passionately delivered… but not as euphoric as some acts may have done. Rather, there’s moody back-beats, gospel-style backing vocals, and moody electronics that serve to create a heady, quietly empowering overall vibe. To mark the release, Kodaline have now released the official music video for the epic track, which is taken from their eagerly anticipated new album Politics Of living (out August 10 on Sony Music). Speaking about the video, Kodaline’s bassist Jason Boland said: “We’ve always been incredibly lucky to work with some of the best Actors and Directors in Ireland when it comes to our Music Videos and this time is no exception. James and the lead Actor Ryan have done some amazing work recently and when we read James’s treatment for Shed A Tear he was clearly the guy to go with. He’s produced a world class video for us and we look forward to working with him and his crew again in the future.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Rudimental and Major Lazer

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 2: RUDIMENTAL & MAJOR LAZER feat ANNE-MARIE AND MR EAZILET ME LIVE: Rudimental, the BRIT-award winning collective and global dancehall masterminds Major Lazer, have just unveiled the video for their collaborative new single, Let Me Live, featuring Anne-Marie and Mr Eazi. The official video, shot on location between London and Johannesburg by South African director Chris Saunders, bursts with joy, exploring the mood and themes of “Let Me Live” through colour, dance and movement. Beginning in London, Anne-Marie is transported from a grey, uninspiring day on the streets of London to a bustling, vibrant street party in Johannesburg, where she joins a troupe of local dancers. Inspired by South African street culture, and in particular Pantsula – a hi-energy dance form originating in Johannesburg – and Durban’s Gqom music scene, the video reaffirms Rudimental’s willingness to spotlight local cultures, dropping as a truly global and shared celebration. The song itself offers a combination of new-school pop sensation Anne-Marie’s dusky vocals and afro-beat star Mr Eazi’s flawless tones. It has a celebratory, even Caribbean infused vibe that’s all about cherishing life and the opportunities it affords. It’s a song about empowering the individual, celebrating diversity and creating a feel-good vibe befitting the diverse spectrum of singers and musicians performing it. As if to underline this, the song features vocals from Ladysmith Black Mambazo, an incomparable five-time Grammy-winning South African male choral group. If, ultimately, it’s not doing anything amazing, dazzling or particularly innovative for this kind of thing (it bears all the Rudimental hallmarks, as well as plenty of traces of Major Lazer), it’s an enjoyable enough listen with a strong message behind it.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Miss Red

MISS REDDAGGA: Following collaborations with Gaika, Mark Pritchard, Mumdance and Andy Stott, plus live work with Flowdan, Daddy Freddy, Warrior Queen and Riko Dan, the blueprint for futuristic new dancehall is being laid out on the debut full-length LP from dancehall artist Miss Red, produced by Kevin Martin aka The Bug. As a taster, her new single Dagga is designed to address one of the hot button issues of the moment: the tension between men and women. As Miss Red states: “The tension created by a woman’s wish to remain strong and beautiful, intellectually sexually and physically, without wishing to feel the sickness of relentless objectification by certain men, who purely regard women as meat or prey. I’m showing in the video how trapped a woman can feel, when she lets greedy men smother her with their ugly and selfish all-consuming lust for power. And how a woman can show sexist men that she’s so much more than a trophy. Certain men seek to erase a woman’s soul and heart with their animal craving, to reduce a woman to a personal sex doll, or domestic slave.” It’s a notable offering, potently delivered in a raw, jagged style. And while it may struggle to break beyond the dancehall genre, given its stabbing synths and beats, as well as Miss Red’s urban-tinged vocals, it certainly serves notice of a street-savvy new dancehall voice. The accompanying video was directed by Vasilisa Forbes c/o First Films.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Tina Dico

TINA DICOFANCY: Danish singer-songwriter Tina Dico is set to release her 11th studio album, Fastland, on September 28. As a taster, new single Fancy confirms she has lost none of her style. The track is a typically classy piece of mature pop music and a song about materialism and our love of ‘luxury’. Going against the materialistic mindset (“I don’t need fancy”), it’s a song based on how we should stray away from needing tangible things to make us feel accepted, successful and safe. At this moment in time, where electronic devices are in need of almost continual upgrade and shops bid for us to spend ever more, that seems highly relevant. Dico, for her part, delivers her vocals in a serene, yet passionate style, while the accompanying beats, pianos, electronics and tambourines are subtle but highly melodic. It’s a beautifully realised single. The album itself is said to mark a return to more electronic roots, following 2014’s folk influenced Whispers album. Fastland is titled after the Danish word for ‘mainland’, as Tina explains: “Fastland is my view on the modern world in which things are always on the move. I used to be Fastland/now I’m a movement.” The video to Fancy was directed by Daniel Charluck Garrelts and shot in Iceland and Denmark.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Seafret, Can't Look Away

SEAFRETCAN’T LOOK AWAY: Seafret return after a two-year hiatus to release their new single Can’t Look Away – and it’s a rousing track full of gusto and heart that finds the North Yorkshire duo, Jack Sedman and Harry Draper, on top form. The record begins with a rousing recurring guitar riff and a male vocal that heightens the sense of urgency surrounding it. It quickly draws on both vocals, as well as some robust drumming, to further the track’s impressive momentum. As they sing, “we just keep on rising, faster than the lightning”, you can’t help but think that so, too, does this striking single. Speaking about the track, Seafret commented: “After touring flat out following the release of our debut album, it feels incredible to release some fresh new music. It’s been a while coming so we are doubly fired up to release Can’t Look Away as the first glimpse of the EP we shall be releasing in the near future. In contrast to our debut album that was recorded in London, we’ve recorded all the new music up in Scotland. By once again removing ourselves from our comfort zone we feel it’s had a great effect on the music and kept it exciting for us. We’ll always only put out music that feels honest to us but by changing our surroundings we feel it’s made us produce music that sounds fresh and new. We hope the fans enjoy it as much as we do.” Can’t Look Away is taken from Seafret’s new EP Monsters, which will be released in the autumn and was produced and co-written with Ross Hamilton at Rocket Science Recording Studios, Glasgow. They will be announcing live dates in the coming weeks.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Twenty One Pilots

TWENTY ONE PILOTSJUMPSUIT: Twenty One Pilots have shared two new tracks – Jumpsuit and Nico And The Niners – which are available via all DSPs and streaming services. Jumpsuit is joined by an official music video, directed by long-time collaborator Andrew Donoho, which is now streaming now on Twenty One Pilots’ YouTube channel. Both tracks will appear on the band’s anticipated new studio album Trench, which follows the GRAMMY Award-winning duo’s 2015 LP, Blurryface, which has sold over 6.5 million copies worldwide. Trench will arrive everywhere October 5 via Fueled By Ramen, with more details to be revealed in the coming months. Jumpsuit is a typically lively offering from the band, but one that still manages to combine restraint with power. It’s a slow-builder [of sorts] early on, with scattershot drums enlivening proceedings and a menacing guitar riff. The band sing about a jumpsuit covering them, even breaking things down midway through for a complete mellow slice of psychedelia. But the sense of foreboding is ever-present and the track eventually re-sets and rebuilds, with the guitars adding belated menace and the vocals entering goth-like wails. And yet, still, the band manage to strip things back, again, for a climax that aims to surprise by virtue of its cinematic grandeur. It’s an ear-catching slice of rock from the band.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Menke

MENKENATTSKARRAN: Swedish multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Menke has unveiled the video for her track Nattskärran, taken from her recently released debut EP, Till Havet, via Size/Cosmos Music. Nattskärran‘ is the second release from Till Havet, following on from Moln that was released at the end of last year, with the video being shot in Sicily where Menke spends her summer holidays. The video focuses on the contrasts and dynamics between shadow and light and aims to illustrate the mood of Karin Boye’s poetry, with the words for Nattskärran taken from one of her poems. It’s an utterly distinct listen, almost classical at times and certainly cinematic at others. The instrumentals are classically-drawn, with string arrangements creating something that’s both beautiful and beguiling. Vocally, Menke adopts a fragile, sometimes almost spoken approach to delivering the Swedish lyrics. Hence, while you may not be able to decipher the meaning of her ‘poetry’, there’s still something strikingly hypnotic about the way she delivers them. It’s not for every taste, but it is a fascinating and, ultimately, relaxing and satisfying listen.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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