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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, March 2, 2018

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

Diplo

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: DIPLO feat LIL YACHTY AND SANTIGOLDWORRY NO MORE: Diplo is having a really good year so far. Hot off the success of his ultra-catchy Get It Right, the producer now drops the insanely catchy Worry No More, featuring Lil Yachty and Santigold. Diplo has teamed up with Santigold before and their reunion sees them revisiting the tropical beats of their Top Ranking collaboration. This time, though, there’s a rap energy supplied by Lil Yachty, which adds some street smarts. Hence, the mix of urban attitude, sass and tropical beats creates something of a celebratory, carnival feel. The beats are incessantly toe-tapping, with the electronic stabs similarly upbeat and breezy. And the overall sensibility, about not worrying anymore, is something that everyone can tap into – whether taking a break from the everyday worries of life or the world in general. It’s a really fun listen.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Young Fathers

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: YOUNG FATHERSTOY: Just days before they drop their new album, Cocoa Sugar, Young Fathers (Alloysious Massaquoi, Graham ‘G’ Hastings and Kayus Bankole) have raise anticipation levels even further with the release of new track, Toy, the third offering to be revealed from the LP, following on from lead song Lord (which announced the band’s return in November) and current single In My View. Toy is another enticing glimpse of what to expect from Young Fathers on Cocoa Sugar: something typically unique and exhilarating, but leaner, more muscular and self-assured than ever before. It has a throbbing electronic pulse, similarly urgent vocals and a beat that is positively brimming with pent-up energy. And yet for all of its edge, there’s a hip coolness to it as well, which makes it easy to see why Young Fathers proved to be such an irresistible addition to the soundtrack of Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting 2 last year. This is catchy in spite of its avant-pop leanings, boasting crossover potential without conforming to any pre-determined style. Toy is a track to play and play and play with endlessly.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Van William

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 1: VAN WILLIAMBEFORE I FOUND YOU: Van William has released his new video for Before I Found You, directed by Silvia Grav and featuring actress Caitlin Gerard (American Crime). The song comes from Van’s debut album, Countries, which is out now. Speaking about the energetic and drama fuelled video, Van himself shared: “Before I Found You is about that earth-shattering drug-like love-buzz you experience at the beginning of falling for someone. Its chaotic and intoxicating, but you know it has to end. I always thought the characters of Sailor and Lula in David Lynch’s turbulent masterwork Wild At Heart reflected that dynamic, so I wanted this video to mirror their aesthetic. I also knew I wanted the Spanish artist Silvia Grav to direct, as her style or work can reveal the complexities in seemingly glossy subjects, such as young love.” The ensuing video feels very cinematic, sometimes Lynchian but kind of fun. And it’s very eye-catching. The song, meanwhile, is a lively rock romp, driven by the sort of acoustic guitar that Jake Bugg would be proud of. Vocally, it’s light and breezy, helping the track to zip along and drive you with its unabashed momentum. You’ll be singing “oh my baby, you can save me” before you know it.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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The Blinders

THE BLINDERSGOTTA GET THROUGH: There’s a Tarantino/Pulp Fiction inspired guitar sound to The Blinders’ new single, Gotta Get Through whenever it relies on its guitar sound – and that makes it instantly appealing. But once the vocals kick in, the song becomes a different kettle of fish. It’s out with the cinematic tendencies and in with the urgent, punk rock feelings that inform so much of their material. It’s a heady mix – but one that works, especially since there’s a relatively even balance between the guitars and vocals. In the band’s own words, it’s unexpectedly hooky. Gotta Get Through marks The Blinders’ first release for Modern Sky UK, after the band had spent winter hibernating in Magic Garden Studios with producer Gavin Monaghan recording a debut album, to be released this autumn, a creation into which band and producer alike poured their souls. Commenting on the accompanying video, its makers, Nasty Man Creations, said: “This video is an abstract portrait that explores the warped reality of the downward spiral that is everyday life.” The Blinders themselves describe it as ‘a proverbial palate cleanser from our first full length offering. Tear down the walls of presumption and enter the void of reality and experience the truth of our emblematic columbia through the distorted lens of Johnny Dream. An abstract portrait’.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Esther Joy

ESTHER JOYDAY 1 (SILIPUR LEAVES HOME): Having spent the last year touring with Charli XCX’s band and collaborating with artists like Tourist, emerging London-based producer Esther Joy is back with a new EP, The Acid Caves Vol 1, which is set for release April 27. The first single from the new record, Day 1 (Silipur Leaves Home), is online now and packed with bewitching, dynamic electronic sounds. It’s a heady brew of hard dance grooves, emphatic beats and ethereal vocals that lend the track a very distinct and exciting identity. It’s leftfield, for sure, but the punchy synth-pop has enough energy about it that it could tip-toe into some mainstream thinking – the dance elements have a mix of Chemical Brothers and Avicii about them, at times, as well as the dark, orchestral undertow of Depeche Mode. The ending, meanwhile, catches you completely off-guard, ending seemingly mid-track to leave you thirsting for more. It’s a distinct track that should get Joy even more noticed,
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Chvrches, My Enemy

CHVRCHES feat MATT BERNINGER – MY ENEMY: Chvrches make an impressive return with the bittersweet new single My Enemy. Teaming up with The National’s Matt Berninger, this moody slice of electro-pop has a melancholy undertow as well as cinematic elements. The indie rocker adopts a typically baritone approach, which underlines the foreboding inherent in lines like “and you could be my enemy”. But that’s offset by Chvrches vocalist Lauren Mayberry, who brings a little more tenderness to the mix. The two styles compliment each other well. The beats and electronics, meanwhile, slow-build in highly effective fashion, creating that cinematic backdrop (think late ’80s meets Drive-era Nicholas Winding Refn). My Enemy will appear on Chvrches’ third LP, Love Is Dead, which is released on May 25 via Glassnote. On the evidence so far, it could be a very impressive piece of work.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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George Ezra, Pretty Shining People

GEORGE EZRAPRETTY SHINING PEOPLE: You can pretty much guarantee that George Ezra is going to put a smile on your face whenever he releases a new song – and so Pretty Shining People, his third offering from forthcoming LP Staying At Tamara’s (out later this month) does just that. Slightly lower key than the likes of Budapest or Paradise, this takes longer to build to the crowd-pleasing highs synonymous with his songwriting. There’s also a sense of doubt in lyrics such as “am I losing touch?” and “why, why, what a terrible time to be alive”. But once the chorus drops, there’s an undeniable energy that might not hit the giddy highs of similarly named songs such as REM’s Shiny Happy People but which nevertheless has you toe-tapping along. And it has that same sing-along sensibility that has endeared Ezra to so many people with his former singles. As if to underline the sing-along nature of the track, the accompanying video finds Ezra performing the track in karaoke style. But the undeniably bittersweet vibe of this one also adds something too.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Hillsburn

HILLSBURNSTRANGE CLOUDS: Canadian indie-rock quintet Hillsburn release their debut UK single in the form of Strange Clouds. The track is taken from their forthcoming The Wilder Beyond album. The opening track, Strange Clouds sees the band adopting a more guitar-driven sound than on their award-winning debut album In The Battle Years. But while the guitars bring to mind the likes of Broken Social Scene and The National, the chorus revolves around a defiant, choir-like refrain that recalls Florence + The Machine at her festival headlining best, as well as elements of Evanesence at times. As if to underline their playfulness, however, the band strip things right back midway through, killing the pace and turning almost laxadaysical, before ramping up the guitars for the gutsy finale. It’s a track that’s designed to get them noticed as they look to branch out beyond their Canadian shores. The band have also announced a pair of UK shows, including an appearance at The Great Escape Festival. They should be well worth catching, on the evidence here.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Twin Shadow

TWIN SHADOWLITTLE WOMAN: Twin Shadow, the project of George Lewis Jr., will release his fourth album Caer (pronounced ka-air) on April 27 on Warner Bros. Records. As a taster, he has dropped the atmospheric new single Little Woman. The ensuing track is a brooding, ultra slow building piece of ambient pop that gets better the longer it lasts. Early on, there’s a minimalist approach, that puts the vocals front and centre. But around the midway point, the electronic and piano arrangements begin to take the song into a different direction, enabling it to continually confound expectations. Indeed, there’s a whole mid-section that feels experimental. But once the vocals return, the song really gains momentum, with the electronics building steadily to help deliver an emphatic finale that feels grand and cinematic. Little Woman certainly won’t be to everyone’s tastes. But there’s a uniqueness to it, an ingenuity and a playfulness, that makes it continually engrossing. And the closing chimes of the track ensure it ends on a real high. Kudos to Twin Shadow for delivering something so resolutely unique.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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