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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, June 14, 2019

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

Bat For Lashes, Kids in the Dark

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: BAT FOR LASHESKIDS IN THE DARK: It’s been a while but Bat For Lashes return with a genuinely laidback, beautiful new single in the form of Kids in the Dark. Taken from the forthcoming Lost Girls LP (out in September), this finds lead singer Khan employing similarly mellow vocals, while backed by lush electronic soundscapes that sometimes conjure the memory of ’80s teen movies. But there’s a darker element underpinning the lyrics, which talk of ‘a body bag’ and ‘endless sleeping pills’. It’s a bittersweet journey, with danger bubbling beneath the smooth veneer of the surface sound. But that’s just the way we like it. This has a cinematic majesty to rival its intimate beauty, making this a fiercely compelling, intelligent listen in truly classic Bat For Lashes fashion.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Kaiser Chiefs, people Know How To Love One Another

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: KAISER CHIEFSPEOPLE KNOW HOW TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER: Kaiser Chiefs have announced the release of anthemic new single People Know How To Love One Another alongside details of a UK arena tour in January 2020 (including the O2 Arena on February 1). A riposte to the current state of divided Britain, this was partly inspired by the political and social chaos kickstarted by the Brexit fiasco. But in true Kaiser Chiefs form, the track is also an uplifting mix of radiant melodies and Northern Soul-style grooves. Its message of positivity came from guitarist Whitey. “It’s the antithesis of Every Day I Love You Less And Less,” says Wilson. “The title is a statement – there’s no judgement or ‘this is how you should live your life’, no bravado, it’s just, ‘this is how it is.’ It reminded me of our first record.” Bassist Simon Rix thinks the world in 2019 needs a song with such a declaration of human warmth. “It’s a really important song and a great message for Brexit Britain.” Hence, you can expect a repetitive central message, delivered with giddy abandon, to create something truly sing-along, ultra anthemic and utterly crowd-pleasing.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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The Chemical Brothers, Eve of Destruction

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 1: THE CHEMICAL BROTHERSEVE OF DESTRUCTION: To coincide with the announcement of several shows this November, The Chemical Brothers have also dropped a stunning video for their new single Eve of Destruction, the opening track from their acclaimed new album, No Geography. A staple of the band’s DJ sets for the last two years, Eve of Destruction is based around a relentless groove that gives way to a jacking house chorus. It’s high energy, dance friendly and mixes genres as only the brothers have worked out how. It also features vocals from Norwegian singer Aurora and Japanese rapper Nene, as if to underline the track’s shape-shifting sensibilities. And while, for some, the relentless nature of the beats and woozy electronics might be too monotonous, this is a crowd-pleaser that will set the dancefloor ablaze whenever it comes on. Little wonder, then, it’s become such a live favourite. The single is released ahead of their headline slot at Glastonbury Festival this month, while a stunning visual for the track has been created by the band’s longterm collaborators Adam Smith and Marcus Lyall, featuring all manner of weird and wonderful fighters – part video game based, yet populated by live-action people with an emphasis on Japanese culture.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Liam Gallagher, Shockwave

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 2: LIAM GALLAGHERSHOCKWAVE (VIDEO): Liam Gallagher has dropped the incendiary and typically attitude-laden video for his new single, Shockwave. Directed by the award-winning François Rousselet, the video sets Liam’s swaggering charisma to some striking, cinematic-scale photography. It takes him on a voyage through America’s Deep South, from desolate wastelands to train tracks and large scale protests. Could the song itself be more signature, though? Erupting into life with a beast of a riff, which deliberately channels The Who and T. Rex, the song then drops a blast of harmonica before Liam bursts in on the incessant hook with typical venom and punch. Vocally, there’s just no getting away from the sound of Liam. The hard rock ‘n’ roll swagger is also pure Gallagher, boasting the same kind of no-nonsense hallmark and hard living that has become his hallmark. The glam influences also hint at classic T-Rex. But this is a lived-in sound, harking back to a classic style of delivery as only Liam knows how. Whether that’s really a stretch for him, though, is another point entirely. Liam is operating well within his comfort zone here (unlike brother Noel’s High Flying Birds). So, while familiar in a good, head-nodding kind of way, the song gets marked down a little for refusing to take many risks. The lyrics go like this: “You sold me right down the river, you had to hold me back… you could’ve looked for the sunshine, but you had to paint the whole thing black. It’s coming round like a shockwave!” Liam wrote Shockwave with two of the key collaborators behind the critically-acclaimed As You Were album: Andrew Wyatt, who won the Academy Award for Best Original Song as co-writer of Shallow from the film A Star Is Born, and the multiple Grammy-winner Greg Kurstin who also produced the track. It was recorded in Los Angeles. The track also marks the first taste of his forthcoming second album Why Me? Why Not.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Jorja Smith, Goodbyes

JORJA SMITHGOODBYES: In the wake of headlining Field Day 2019, being announced as Dior Beauty’s latest ambassador, receiving an Ivor Novello nomination for Blue Lights and an incredible 17-date collaborative tour with Kali Uchis, Jorja Smith today unveils her new visual for the hauntingly beautiful Goodbyes. Taken from her Mercury Music Prize-nominated album Lost & Found, the evocative track sees Jorja discussing the process of mourning and regret after death. Its intimate, stripped back [with only an acoustic guitar for support] and devastatingly honest. She explains: “Goodbyes is a song for anyone who has not been able to say their last words; to say goodbye to someone. Rashid and I filmed the video at home. I just sang as I wanted to create a homely feel. Then me and my friends set off fire lanterns for the people we miss.” The sensitively filmed visual, which through its direct and honest focus, inspires an intense feeling of emotion, was directed by Jorja’s long-term collaborator Rashid Babiker (On Your Own) and shot at Jorja’s home. Rashid continues: “Jorja called me and said get your camera let’s shoot a music video in my flat for Goodbyes and see what we come up with. She expressed to me she wanted to take things back to basics and strip the theatrics. We shot a performance piece with Jorja mostly looking down the barrel of the lens, something understated and simple that allowed the emotion in the lyrics to take center stage which didn’t need much visual interpretation…. then we had friends over for drinks in the eve, someone brought me flowers, we let off some biodegradable short burning lanterns off for lost ones at night and got our shoes muddy. Best shoot ever and another chapter in my visual odyssey with Jorja.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

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DJ Snake

DJ SNAKE, J BALVIN & TYGALOCO CONTIGO: DJ Snake, J Balvin and Tyga have shared a bouncy, Latino infused new summer anthem called Loco Contigo and it’s nearly impossible not to get a little jiggy with it. With its seductive rhythms, otherworldly beats and ear-friendly melodies, Loco Contigo finds DJ Snake and his collaborators attempting to redefine Latin music for today’s pop landscape. Latin Grammy Award-winner J Balvin graces the track with the smooth vocals, lending something of a hip hop vibe, without ever coming over too urban or gritty. Rather, he seems to be settling back into the track’s smooth rhythms and delivering a vocal that’s equally soothing. It’s got summer hit written all over it. The eye-catching video has been directed by Colin Tilley (an award-winning filmmaker known for his work with artists like Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, and Nicki Minaj) and is also well worth checking out. Loco Contigo arrives as the latest in a series of successful singles from DJ Snake, including the all-star hip-hop anthem Enzo (a collaboration with Sheck Wes, featuring Offset, 21 Savage & Gucci Mane) and the double-platinum international smash Taki Taki (feat. Selena Gomez, Ozuna& Cardi B).
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Ren, Spencer Street

RENSPENCER STREET: Ren announces his new single Spencer Street as a follow-up to last month’s well received Blue Hounds. Unlike that track, a protest song in the classic mould, Spencer Street is, as Ren explains “a nostalgic song reflecting on a relationship and life I had in Newcastle a few years ago”. “I wrote it whilst I was on the road a year or so after the break up. But Spencer Street with her still felt like home to me,” he continued. Recorded during downtime at a famous London studio, it was engineered and produced by Jim Abbiss’ former assistant engineer up and coming producer George Chung. Mixed by Paul Gregory (Lanterns on the Lake) and mastered by Noel Summerville (The Clash, The Police, Elvis Costello). The result is an intimate offering, chock full of reflective, heartfelt sentiments. There’s some nicely measured acoustic guitar and piano to accompany it for most of the way, until a mid-track guitar interlude plugs things in to excellent effect. Vocally, Ren does keep things low-key and subtle (think Paul Simon crossed with Joshua Radin), but this only adds to the intimate and personal nature of the song as a whole. It has a genuinely endearing quality. Ren – born Conor Owen in East Ham, East London to a Mum from Dublin and a Dad from Liverpool – is now based in Newcastle after studying music in London
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Jackie Cohen, Yesterday's Baby

JACKIE COHENYESTERDAY’S BABY: Jackie Cohen has released an official video for her song, Yesterday’s Baby, and brings a sense of playfulness to an already bright and breezy track with something to say. The track is taken from her debut album Zagg, which is out now via Spacebomb. Adrian Vega-Albela Osorio – who also directed the video for FMK and Jackie’s Zagg Chats interview series – captured Jackie with bandmate Kevin Basko scootering around familiar spots in Jackie’s Los Angeles-area neighborhood. Speaking of the shoot, Jackie herself shares: “The San Fernando valley gets a bad rap for being this dull, suburban area outside of LA, but I love the val and think people have it so backwards. What we lack in Rick and Morty themed barcade brunch spots, we make up for in Ventura Blvd realness, Pegasus Fashion Lounges & pure Cheesecake Factory culture. I wanted the Zagg videos to feel true to my home, the heart of the record, and for ‘Yesterday’s Baby’, Adrian captured and hyper-saturated all the long afternoon colors. It’s vibrant and breezy and hot and sweaty. Also Kev is a sick Limer. Legitimately talented if he ever wanted to make a second career out of it.” Combining elements of space pop and glam, the single has a highly melodic, bouncy quality that also offers up some telling observations about the state of modern society, all relayed from a retro slant. It’s clever, it’s catchy and it’s fun.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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