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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, March 16, 2018

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

Fenne Lily, On Hold

VIDEO OF THE WEEK/SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: FENNE LILY – ON HOLD: Fenne Lily has released an official video for the title track from her soon to be released debut album, On Hold (out April 6, 2018). Self directed, this DIY video project stars Fenne roller-skating around London on a mission of random acts of kindness, the unfolding of which is all captured by her friend following behind on a skateboard with a camera. It’s as fun, free-wheeling and heart-warming as it sounds. The song, meanwhile, underlines why Lily is such a favourite of ours. Built around a sultry, achingly beautiful vocal from Lily, this also boasts a great guitar strum and some lively back-beats that eventually become complimented by a brash electric guitar pulse late on. It’s got an edge that doesn’t always accompany Lily’s songs – but one that’s entirely welcome, inflicting the song with an indie spirit to enhance some of its more folsky tendencies. Those vocals, though, really do entrance. When put together with the video, it’s utterly mesmerising stuff. Speaking about the concept for this video Fenne Lily shares: “On Hold was written as a thank you for the warmth of the world when I was at my lowest and I wanted the video that accompanied it to be a raw representation of this gratitude. Being nice is underrated. It makes me smile to watch, and dorky as it is, I feel this video communicates a joy that often goes untold.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Hudson Taylor

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: HUDSON TAYLOROLD SOUL: Hudson Taylor – made up of Alfie and Harry Hudson Taylor – have dropped new track Old Soul, featuring Gabrielle Aplin – and it’s great. An acoustic slice of laidback folk-pop, this has a classic songwriting vibe that’s shot through with heart-warming melodies and that sense of hitting the highway and going for a sun-drenched, late evening drive, while reminiscing of the happy times of old. The brothers share vocal duties and drop a chorus that’s achingly laidback and really rather beautiful. While Aplin lends her silky smooth vocals and harmonies to the chorus, too, providing a lovely backdrop to a song that’s like a daydream. The song is taken from the duo’s forthcoming Feel It Again EP, which is out on March 23. It’s designed to showcase the duo’s more band-inflicted sound and comes off the back of former singles Run With Me and the title track. It’s a song designed to have you listening over and over again, while singing along to that chorus after only one or two listens.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Eels, Premonition

EELSPREMONITION: Eels have dropped a third track from their forthcoming LP, The Deconstruction, in the form of the melancholy Premonition. The song finds the band finding hope in despair, yet still managing to leave you feeling sad. The central chorus, for instance, finds Mark Oliver Everett singing: “I had a premonition, it’s all gonna be fine; you can kill or be killed, but the sun’s going to shine.” Accompanying the song in terms of instrumentals is a sparse guitar lick, which again maintains the melancholy tone. There’s a choral, almost angelic harmony at times, drifting in and out, which adds an ethereal, even heavenly element to a song that deals with life and death in such striking fashion. But in spite of the largely downbeat lyrics, Eels retain a sense of hope that “we’re going to get by”, even though bad things may continue to happen. And it’s that sentiment that helps the song to endear in the way that it does. Hence, while not the most accessible song to drop from the forthcoming LP to date, it does underline the band’s versatility and their ability to write a thought-provoking, emotionally resonant song.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Pearl Jam, Can't Deny Me

PEARL JAMCAN’T DENY ME: Given the divided state of America right now, it’s hardly surprising to find that a lot of mainstream artists are turning to song to vent their anger and frustration at the way things are panning out right now. Pearl Jam are the latest to deliver a song that would seem to be aimed fairly at Donald Trump and his administration. Can’t Deny Me is therefore a bolshy rock song that goes straight for the jugular with lyrics that declare, defiantly, “you may be rich but you can’t deny me, got nothing, got nothing but the will to survive, you can’t control and you can’t deny me”. The guitars are more rock-driven than normal, with bite, while the drums have a pounding quality, thereby allowing Eddie Vedder’s impassioned lyrics to really soar. There’s anger but there’s hope… in the sense that no matter how bad things get, the will to survive and stand independently remains as strong as ever. It may not rate among Pearl Jam’s best, but it’s timely, potent and it really does rock.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Chainsmokers, Everybody Hates Me

CHAINSMOKERSEVERYBODY HATES ME: Chainsmokers continue to explore darker themes with their new single Everybody Hates Me – a song title that inevitably invites some smart-ass journalists to concur smugly. But don’t be deceived – this is another smart offering from the EDM act. Taking shots at social media and self-promotion (“I’m a product of the Internet”), this also taps into insecurity and self-loathing to deliver a thought-provoking message for anyone who sees above the easy-going synth stabs and EDM dance elements (“I walk into the club like everybody hates me”). Yes, the song retains a sense of disposable catchiness in line with a lot of Chainsmokers stuff, with the electronic pulse leaning towards the Ibiza set. But Chainsmokers skill has long been to deliver tunes that are resolutely mainstream, while also offering something just leftfield enough to also generate crossover potential. Everybody Hates Me, without being their best single, maintains that ability to deliver ear-pleasing tunes.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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OUTLYA, White Light

OUTLYAWHITE LIGHT: After impressing with former singles Heaven and Howl OUTLYA return with catchy new single White Light, which represents arguably their most mainstream offering to date. Written by Will Bloomfield (OUTLYA), Jim Irvin and Max Mcelligott (Max Wolfgang), and produced by Dan Grech-Marguerat (Liam Gallagher, Radiohead, The Vaccines), White Light is an indie-pop romp, complete with “woo-hoo” harmonies over the bright, brash chorus. It’s top-loaded with killer hooks, snappy piano and electronic arrangements and slick beats. And while unashamedly big and pop, drawing on ’80s sing-along sensibilities at times, it’s designed to throw caution to the wind and invite a sense of euphoria when listening or singing along to it. Speaking about the song, Will commented: “White Light is a song about pushing through the darker days we all find in ourselves in some times. Whether it’s faith, love, determination, everyone has a ‘white light’ that offers up some illumination or hope in times of trouble. We wanted to take that sentiment and make a physical version of it that would make you want to dance. Dancing is this really instinctive raw human expression of emotion and we tried to encapsulate that.” The woo-hoo’s help to heighten the anthemic elements of the song!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Magnus Carlson, Wait For Love To Grow

MAGNUS CARLSON & WEEPING WILLOWSWAIT FOR LOVE TO GROW: Magnus Carlson – one of Sweden’s most successful artists – ahas unveiled a breezy new single in the form of Wait For Love To Grow. Billed as an uplifting, neo soul-pop offering, this tips its hat to Paul Weller and his Style Council. Co-written with members of his band Weeping Willows, who also perform on the track, the single is the first to be taken from Magnus’ forthcoming UK solo album, due this summer. It’s driven by slick acoustic guitar licks, some strings-sounding electronics and a sweeping sense of optimism that also recalls the sunshine optimism of performers like Burt Bacharach. Put it this way, it has a grooviness that would make Austin Powers swoon. So, if you’re feeling a little down in the dumps for any reason, then this could just provide a musical remedy. With a long and varied music career behind him in his native country, Magnus has several Gold and Platinum records under his belt already. In the past year, he’s started to make inroads in the UK too, with celebrated EP release, The Northern Soul Sessions. It’s a record that displays his deep passion and artistic mastery when it comes to the sixties soul genre.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Emily Watts, Where Are You Now

EMILY WATTSWHERE ARE YOU NOW: Influenced by female singer/songwriters such as Kate Bush, Bat For Lashes and Joni Mitchell, Emily Watts uses piano and vocals to perform her haunting self-penned songs. Following her debut EP, From The Blue, Watts will release her second EP, entitled All These Years, on her own label, Beautiful Town Records. The EP is a collection of songs written over the past couple of years, exploring themes of life, love, fear and loss. The EP features the single, Where Are You Now, which has received national radio play on BBC Radio 2. A slow-builder that’s delivered in soulful, even melancholy fashion by Watts, this succeeds in laying down an impressive marker for Watts. Her vocals are undeniably powerful, while the intricately layered instrumentals have a cinematic quality by the time the song reaches its emotive climax. Fans of the aforementioned artists will definitely want to check this one out. The EP was produced by Daniel Moyler, who has worked on releases by JP Cooper, Rae Morris and Jake Isaac and was recorded at The Neighbourhood studio in London – the home of multi-platinum selling band Athlete and mastered at Metropolis Studios by Andy ‘Hippy’ Baldwin. Emily has also recently ventured into writing for other artists, co-writing Signs for Alex Maxwell with Alex and Gregor Philp (Deacon Blue), released on Hollywood Records / Polydor.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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George Ezra, Saviour

GEORGE EZRA feat FIRST AID KITSAVIOUR: Having already impressed with past singles Pretty Shining People and Paradise, George Ezra now ups his game a little more with the epic Saviour. Featuring backing vocals from the ever-excellent First Aid Kit, this feels like something more weighty is going on, with lyrics that lean towards vulnerability and self-doubt (“what I’ve got to give is not enough” and “it’s a dark night”). First Aid Kit’s harmony-driven backing vocals heighten the cinematic nature of the song as a whole, while some brooding guitar licks enhance the epic feel. Ezra remains an endearing central vocal presence, of course, but this is more slow-building and moody than previous offerings, even though the accompanying video is delivered in the same fun karaoke style that marked Pretty Shining People. It’s another strong offering from Ezra’s forthcoming LP, Staying At Tamara’s.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Ivory Wave, Cool Kids

IVORY WAVECOOL KIDS: Birmingham’s Ivory Wave release new single Cool Kids and immediately succeed into tapping into an endearing classic indie feel. Since mid 2016, the band have enjoyed a fast ascent from a gang of mates to local heroes selling out hometown shows which now erupt into chaotic, sing-along frenzies. New single Cool Kids has that dancefloor kind of vibe, given the way its shot through with baggy big beats, snappy synths, bubbling bass lines, liquid guitars and even a sax. It’s an indie-dance record capable of landing favourable comparisons with former indie heavyweights such as Black Grape, Hard-Fi and Weekender. It’s as catchy as the write up suggests… and cool to go with it. The band’s frontman, George Johnson, explains the inspiration behind the track, saying: “It should be us who shape our own future as we will be the ones who are living it. It’s a celebration of being able to wear what you want, a celebration of being who you want to be and most importantly a celebration of youth.”
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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