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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, June 8, 2018

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

Julia Michaels, Jump

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: JULIA MICHAELS feat TRIPPIE REDDJUMP: GRAMMY® Award-nominated multi-platinum singer-songwriter Julia Michaels has just released the official music video for her latest single, Jump, featuring Ohio rapper Trippie Redd. A slick blend of soulful vocals and hip-hop/R’n‘B beats, this manages to be both sexy and urgent without sounding at all generic. Michaels, herself, drops a sultry set of vocals, which perfectly compliment the magical beats that also boast a late night energy. Lyrically, the song explores the feeling you have when jumping into another love affair despite having been burnt by a failed romance in the past. It’s about bravery, restarting and bouncing back. And, in its own way, it’s an inspiring, empowering song that finds triumph out of adversity. Michaels remains one of today’s most in demand collaborators, traversing seamlessly across multiple genres. She currently features on rising pop/folk artist Noah Kahan’s single Hurt Somebody – the latter of which is currently topping National Airplay Charts in Australia. She has songwriting credits on Christina Aguilera’s upcoming album, co-wrote Janelle Monàe’s latest Make Me Feel, Anne-Marie’s 2002, and has a sample of her vocals on Migos’ Gang Gang. Moreover, she’s written on recent albums from P!nk, Maroon 5, Jessie Ware and Years & Years. With Jump, she looks destined to jump into the limelight solely for herself – and deservedly so!
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Dan Caplen

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: DAN CAPLEN feat MS BANKSTROUBLE: Brixton-based singer-songwriter extraordinaire Dan Caplen has unveiled his infectious new single, Trouble, featuring breakout UK rapper, Ms Banks. The track marks Caplen’s first single since touring with Macklemore and the extraordinary success of Rudimental’s Platinum-selling UK No.1, These Days – a track Caplen wrote for the band and also features on, alongside Jess Glynne. Trouble could well build on that success, while placing Caplen front and centre. Honing in on Caplen’s musicality, Trouble oozes the classic, funk-soul style he’s swiftly made his own, as retro guitar licks and deep, lo-slung beats are knitted together by Caplen’s powerful, anthemic vocal hook – “Yeah trouble always follows us, but baby we’ll be okay” – and Banks’ thoughtful, rapid-fire bars. Indeed, it’s this funk-soul bed that helps elevate the track from the more generic hip/hop meets R’n‘B elements that so occupy the mainstream. This has those, as well as the soul and funk that is a Caplen trademark. It’s also pop enough to slip right into the mainstream sensibility. You’ll be toe-tapping along in no time. It’s a real summer anthem.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Lucy Rose, Moirai

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 3: LUCY ROSEMOIRAI (LIZ LAWRENCE REMIX): Lucy Rose’s new remix album, Something’s Changing (Remixes), is set for release on July 6 via Communion Records. In the run up to the album’s release, Lucy will be sharing two of the remixes every fortnight. Remixes of Intro, by Chartreuse, and Second Chance by JAWS are already streaming online and today, two new mixes have been made available. The most impressive of these is Liz Lawrence’s remix of Moirai, which comes with its own video (once more filmed by Will Morris and edited by Lucy’s long-term visual collaborator, George Cotterhill). Speaking about her contribution to this unique project, Liz Lawrence said: “I think there always has to be a balance between carving out time for yourself as an artist and being open to ventures with others too. Particularly when you’re a solo artist, I feel like you can get pretty isolated so it’s good to keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. I think artists collaborating together is so positive, holding each other up rather than trying to scramble up the ladder, it’s a really cool thing.” The ensuing track once again sets Rose’s lush, dreamy vocals (which take on an ethereal edge here) set against some trip-hop back-beats and enticing electronics. It’s another daydream of a record… one that’s full of lyrical reflection on life and love, but one which washes over you like a cool summer’s breeze on a hot day.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Leo Stannard, 5 Years Later

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: LEO STANNARD – 5 YEARS LATER: Leo Stannard has followed up the release of recent single Home with new track 5 Years
Later
, out now via Black Butter Records – and it’s a really charming release. Showcasing Leo’s highly accessible songwriting craft and finger-plucked guitar skills whilst tapping out percussion and melodies at the same time, 5 Years Later sees Leos’ unique, heartfelt and earthly-toned vocals combine with sweeping strings to create a tender and beautiful ballad that fits perfectly into his ever-increasing canon of music. Anyone fearing that this may emerge as overly sentimental or too ballad-driven had best think again, though. This is the type of offering that should effortlessly appeal to fans of artists such as Ed Sheeran or Newton Faulkner for the manner in which it combines those genuinely heartfelt emotions with a musicality that’s high on ear-pleasing, chart-friendly melody. Stannard’s huskier tones, however, make this distinct in its own right.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Sonny

SONNYSUPERNOVA: Supernova, the new single from Sonny, showcases his diverse musical style with a bolder rock-pop sound that infuses futuristic electronic elements in the production and is led by his captivating raw vocal. It’s a boisterous offering that finds the singer in blistering form, vocally, gradually layering in those rock-pop elements to create a vast, stadium-sized sound. The lyrics, meanwhile, intelligently combine high concept ideas such as space travel with something more intimate and emotional. Commenting on the track himself, Sonny said: “Supernova shows a different side to my music that I’ve never shown before. It’s a big rockier and darker. I was massively influenced by Nirvana and Foo Fighters at the time as I was listening to them a lot and just watched Montage of Heck.” It’s not quite as grunge rock driven as Nirvana, or as epic-rock driven as Foo Fighters at their most commercial. But it does showcase an interesting and lively new direction for Sonny that will surely only broaden his appeal. Sonny’s second EP, Northern Lights, will be released on June 22. It was co-written by Sonny himself and mixed by Joe Zook (One Republic, Pharrell Williams, U2, One Direction).
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Tove Lo, Bitches

TOVE LO feat CHARLI XCX, ICONA POP, ELLIPHANT & ALMABITCHES: Tove Lo has assembled a superstar line-up for new single Bitches – and the result is highly provocative. From its name alone, you suspect this could be a no-nonsense rap-pop offering. And true to form, Lo dishes out lines like “let me be your guide when you eat my pussy out”, while dropping a video that features a dominatrix going to work on an apparently innocent couple. The single is backed by a hip-hop style beat, while the vast array of guest vocalists drift in and out of proceedings to lend extra heft at crucial times. Admittedly, the provocative nature of the track, lyrically, will be offputting to the more sensitive listeners. But for those willing to go with the flow, this is a suitably propulsive R’n‘B/Hip-hop/pop hybrid that is catchy enough to become massive. And the video is kind of fun, too, in a naughty way.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Becky Hill, Sunrise In The East

BECKY HILLSUNRISE IN THE EAST: Becky Hill’s new single Sunrise In The East, her first for Polydor, looks set to propel her further into the mainstream affection. With its elastic beats and warm, summery synths, the track is a captivating first strike for the artist. Hill wrote the song with Maverick Sabre and Lost Boy and it was produced by ADP (Krept & Konan, Jeremih, M.I.A.). It captures the exhilarating flourish of a new relationship, of discovering someone on a deeper level. “We talk until the sunrise in the east, I’m hanging onto every single word that you say,” Becky sings, in her characteristically dusky voice. And it’s this voice that elevates the song above the norm – there’s warmth, edge and sex appeal contained within them. The beats, meanwhile, manage to combine a hip-hop/pop element with something reassuringly eastern, befitting the name. Sunrise In The East is the first taste from Hill’s forthcoming debut album, which she is currently working on with the likes of MNEK, MJ Cole and Two Inch Punch. Hill is a hotly-tipped rising talent on the pop landscape. She has taken the long way round, plucked from obscurity as a teen and thrown into the limelight as a contestant on The Voice, before embarking on worldwide tours with Rudimental and experiencing huge chart success through her collaborations with Wilkinson, Oliver Heldens, MK and more. But the 24-year-old is ready to forge her own path, to be an artist in her own right. So far, so good.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Passenger

PASSENGERWHY CAN’T I CHANGE?: Ivor Novello Award-winning singer-songwriter Passenger, aka Brighton’s Mike Rosenberg, follows up the release of official new single Hell Or High Water with second new offering, Why Can’t I Change? – and the quality is maintained. A mid-tempo ballad, driven by some country-meets-folk rock guitar, this is an inward looking examination of life and learning from past experiences. The singer is in extremely contemplative mood, asking why he can’t change over lines like “whatever life brings… I’m still whistling the same old tune”. It’s the type of confessional songrwiting approach that only makes you warm to this singer even more. And the keen ear for melody, coupled with his obvious passion for Americana-inspired country and folk, ensures that this is another terrific offering from his forthcoming album, Runaway, which is available for pre-order now. One of the most successful UK artists of this decade, Passenger has had in excess of a billion streams on Spotify. Nominated for a Brit in 2014, he won an Ivor Novello Award that year for Let Her Go, which reached No.1 in 19 countries, with the accompanying album All The Little Lights achieving platinum or multi-platinum status in 11 countries.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Jackie Cohen

JACKIE COHENDARLIN’: Spacebomb Records artist Jackie Cohen has now released a video for her new track, Darlin’. The video was directed by Anise Mariko and was shot in Los Angeles. Cohen said of the video: “For this one, I wanted to do a sort of exaggerated, garish home-workout video that reflected some mechanisms of anxiety management. Emotional processing is very physical for me. I do a lot of planks and eat a lot of garbage when I’m overwrought. I love working with Anise as a director because her shots are so intimate, textural, and romantic. She’s the only person I’ll let straddle me for a shot. Introducing her style to Danny’s video-synth editing made for a really unusual and striking aesthetic that I can hardly take credit for. My dad built the green screen and big crazy candles. Rado’s footage didn’t make the cut. Sorry, babe.” The song itself is a confessional of sorts, but one delivered with such conviction and musical gusto that you don’t really notice how full of regret and, by extension, sorrow it really is. Lyrics include lines like “I’m not proud of what I chose to do, darlin’”, which are indicative of the mood of the song as a whole. But the lively beats and brisk piano arrangements, coupled with the odd bell chime and electronic surges, make this an endlessly fascinating, continually evolving record that gives rise to plenty of pleasant surprises. Cohen has also announced she will release her debut EP Tacoma Night Terror Part 1: I’ve Got The Blues on June 29, 2018 via Spacebomb. The EP was produced by Jonathan Rado, Brian D’Addario and Michael D’Addario (The Lemon Twigs), who also serve as the backing band behind Cohen’s vocals.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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