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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, March 29, 2019

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

Feeder

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: FEEDERFEAR OF FLYING: Feeder are in the midst of a resurgence, having scored consecutive Top 10 albums with 2016’s All Bright Electric and the 2017 Best Of. That renewed power continues with their tenth studio album Tallulah, which will be released on August 9, 2019, via BELIEVE. To mark the release, the band have dropped the incendiary, crowd-pleasing new single Fear of Flying, which is classic Feeder mixed with elements of Foo Fighters. Lyrically, this is the band looking on the fragility of fame and confronting their fear of the bubble bursting. But it’s delivered with trademark gusto, thereby emerging as more empowering and anthemic than insecure or melancholy. It harks back to the classic Feeder sound, albeit with a little more bite in the guitars. It’s a great way to announce a new album. Commenting on the inspiration behind the song a little more, Grant Nicholas revealed: “Everybody in music who has some success has a fear of the bubble bursting. A lot of things that come with success aren’t always positive. I wrote it with a female rock star in mind, but it was based upon my own experiences of being in a band, and what you see when you’re hanging out with other bands. It also touches on being a band in the social media age. It’s not just about being reviewed by a certain magazine anymore, it’s about being reviewed by virtually anyone who wants to do so. It’s a whole different world out there for everyone, of any age.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Jesse Mac Cormack

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: JESSE Mac CORMACKGIVE A CHANCE: Montreal native singer-songwriter Jesse Mac Cormack will release his anticipated new album, Now, on May 3, 2019, via Secret City Records. As a taster, he reveals new album cut Give A Chance. The result is utterly compelling. The album, as a whole, is said to be prismatic and forward-facing, recalling the adventurous pop of acts such as Tame Impala, Talk Talk and Perfume Genius. Mixed by Matt Wiggins in the UK (Adele, London Grammar, Lorde), it is a work of ardent, kaleidoscopic art-rock that is at once a dazzling premiere and the culmination of a meticulous five-year evolution. The lead single showcases this in mesmerising fashion. Comprised of fractured beats, cinematic electronics, edgy vocals and soaring choruses, this creeps up on you and seduces in a way that you’d never expect. The beats, though unconventional, grip the attention, while the vocals have an edgy, atmoshperic quality that’s oddly uplifting (particularly when the chorus lands). The electronics, meanwhile, have a cinematic quality befitting a Michael Mann, Heat-style production. They’re epic. The finale, which builds to something quite heady and mind-blowing, is exhilarating. Think Peter Gabriel meets Talk Talk and you’re somewhere close.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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The Chainsmokers, Kills You Slowly

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 3: THE CHAINSMOKERSKILLS YOU SLOWLY: They may have their detractors, but The Chainsmokers remain – to us – one of the most consistently engaging EDM acts around. They don’t always get things right but their willingness to mix up their sound so consistently means that every new release [and they’re prolific] comes with a keen sense of anticipation. New offering Kills You Slowly once again plays around with their sound and emerges as anything but trademark. A ballad of sorts, this drops a low-key tempo, in keeping with the song title, that is highly endearing. Hence, the track eschews some of the duo’s more club-based material to deliver something more radio friendly and resolutely pop, couched in those ballad values. The vocals have a hushed, bruised quality, while the beats and electronics are subtle by comparison to some of their heavier club-leaning material. There’s a keen sense of melody, too, which makes this instantly gratifying in a mainstream kind of way. It’s sure to be another smash hit for them and one that could potentially win them even more fans.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Editors

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 1: EDITORSBARRICADES (THE BLANCK MASS RECORDING): Editors have announced the release of The Blanck Mass Sessions for Record Store Day 2019. An electronica-infused alternative version of their acclaimed top 10 album Violence, The Blank Mass Sessions cast the songs in a bold new light, offering a fascinating insight into the album’s creative process. The album will be released on limited edition colour vinyl on Record Store Day on April 13 with general release on May 3 via Play It Again Sam. As a taster, the band have dropped the track Barricades complete with a striking video. The track itself finds lead singer Smith’s hopeful lyrics combine with yearning synths over robotic drum machines and sweeping basslines. The beats are particularly striking, lending the track an emphatic focal point. But the synths are equally notable late on, adopting an almost Depeche Mode quality. But the layered vocals, combined with Smith’s distinct, moody lead, also provide a formidable presence for the single, helping it to register strongly from the moment you hear it. The thoughtful lyrics, which pose questions such as “how long would you wait for the one that you love?” also ensure the album sticks in the memory. It’s terrific stuff.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Foals

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 2: FOALSCAFE D’ATHENS: From playing chaotic house parties in their home city of Oxford to becoming major festival headliners across Europe, Foals’ trajectory has been remarkable. They’ve earned critical acclaim (NME and Q Award wins, plus Mercury Prize, Ivor Novello and BRIT Award nominations) and fan devotion (1.7 million sales of their four Gold-certified albums, plus over half a billion streams at Spotify since 2015) in equal measure. New album, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1 has seen them achieing new heights. To mark the release of the LP, Foals have now dropped a video for the track Cafe D’Athens and continue to impress. A hypnotic, trippy offering (visually), the video somehow arrives as a striking juxtaposition to the track itself, which is alive with energy and only heightens the comparisons that have been made with Radiohead’s OK Computer LP. The beats shuffle along in quickfire fashion, while trippy, almost experimental electronics weave in and out. The vocals veer between stoner and falsetto, lending the track a striking element that refuses to let go of your attention. Hence, while the overall style is far from mainstream, there’s something deeply ear-catching about the delivery that helps to ensure that Foals are very much one of the buzz bands of the moment.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Tarantina, One Eye

TARANTINAONE EYE: One Eye is the third track to be released from self-taught singer, multi-instrumentalist, producer and videographer Tarantina’s second EP Organs (out now) – it’s typically impressive. Billed as a haunting, goose-bump inducing offering, this combines some of Tarantina’s now trademark elements: from ethereal, Kate Bush-style vocals to layered insrumentals and intelligent lyrics. The overall result is a striking track that manages to be both urgent (instrumentally, especially in its robust drum loops) and dreamy (vocally). But it’s this juxtaposition that lends the track such a fascinating presence. And lyrically, it’s well worth taking the time to listen to, as Tarantina herself explains: “One Eye is about understanding that we may never fully know the whole truth about who we are or where we’re going but at the same time, trying to search for that is very human and something which we can all relate to.” Speaking about the accompanying EP, Tarantina adds: “Organs is the result of a period of internal reflection. These songs are part of a remedy or a healing process.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Interpol, Weekend

INTERPOLTHE WEEKEND: Interpol have announced new EP A Fine Mess, which will be released on May 17, 2019, on Matador Records. The announcement comes with new track The Weekend, which offers up a classic slice of Interpol art-rock. Recorded during time spent in upstate New York with Dave Fridmann, the five songs that make up A Fine Mess gradually emerged as a body of work with a narrative and flow unto itself. The title track, and BBC 6 Music-playlisted single Fine Mess, then received further production from Kaines & Tom A.D. and mixing from Claudius Mittendorfer, who had first worked with Interpol as engineer on Our Love To Admire. The resulting set is a living, breathing postcard from the band to their fans as they tour the world throughout 2019, and a linear continuation of the visceral and contagious energy set loose with Marauder. Lead single The Weekend is three minutes and two seconds of angular guitars and edgy vocals that combine to create something of a trademark sound. But while the song revels in its retro values, this should come as good news to Interpol loyalists, who have had to endure quite a lengthy wait for new material. It’s lively, vibrant and energised… complete with that guitar sound that only Interpol can create.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Cage The Elephant and Beck, Night Running

CAGE THE ELEPHANT feat BECKNIGHT RUNNING: Two great acts combine to create Night Running, the lively new single from Cage The Elephant, featuring Beck. Taken from the forthcoming Cage The Elephant album, Social Cues, the track – sadly – isn’t quite the classic we had hoped it would be, perhaps because it defies easy categorisation. There’s something of a reggae vibe to it early on, as well as a future pop sound that’s inherent in some of the more electronic elements. But the backbeat, when it’s allowed to take centre-stage, certainly lends itself to reggae, while there’s a dub-style element to some of the accompanying sound effects. The track’s refusal to adhere to any one genre is also evident in the hip-hop-infused beats that accompany the verses, with both Beck and Cage The Elephant’s Matt Shultz trading trademark vocal styles to further bring out the track’s eccentricities. It’s actually the type of song that gets better with each listen… the initial disappointment giving rise to something more appreciative. With Beck involved, you can almost always guarantee a sense of cool (especially when any kind of beat is involved). But this one takes time to properly ingratiate itself.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Rhys Lewis, End Like This

RHYS LEWISEND LIKE THIS: Featuring Rhys Lewis’ trademark soulful and honest vocals, End Like This is a harrowing recollection of a relationship unravelling and the crushing heartache of it ending. The track showcases Rhys’s captivating gift for telling poignant and vivid stories through his lyrics, and his willingness to bare all. But at the same time, it’s also stirring stuff, refusing to wallow – instrumentally at least – in that sense of melancholy. The pianos and accompanying beats are carefully deployed, but nevertheless help to create something of a cinematic backdrop. The vocals, meanwhile, find Lewis bearing his heart and soul for all to hear… it’s impossible to resist, such is the conviction with which they are delivered. The lyrics, in particular, are highly relatable to anyone who has had to recover from a break-up, with telling lines such as “I still sleep on the left side, like you’re laying with me”, and “I still reach for two cups, when I’m making coffee”. Commenting on the inspiration behind the song, Lewis explains: “Putting too much faith in love is the only way to feel it in its strongest incarnation. When you do feel it powerfully for someone you put all your trust in it, you start thinking 10 years ahead and picture what your lives might look like together. When a relationship breaks down, you not only have to let go of the person you were with, but every single one of those visions too. So, for a while at least, you have to live with a different image of the future.” The song is the third single to be taken from upcoming EP In Between Minds, which features five tracks, including recent singles Hold On To Happiness and Better Than Today.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Rob Thomas, I Love It

ROB THOMAS – I LOVE IT: Multiple Grammy® award-winning singer/songwriter Rob Thomas has released new track I Love It, the second instant-grat track from his highly anticipated fourth solo album, Chip Tooth Smile, which releases everywhere on April 26. The Matchbox Twenty vocalist has gone for straight-up rock on this one, delivering an urgent crowd-pleaser of a track that’s driven by emphatic beats, fiery guitar riffs and an infectious energy that’s evident from the “I love it” chorus. It’s the type of song that’s designed to whip the fans up into a frenzy in live form (or when played loud on the radio) and it succeeds in doing that. A charismatic, engaging, and indefatigable live performer, Thomas has spent much of the past two decades on the road, fronting massive world treks with Matchbox Twenty and on his own as well as a series of intimate acoustic tours. Thomas is also a dedicated philanthropist, establishing Sidewalk Angels Foundation with his wife Marisol Thomas in 2003. The organization is dedicated to providing critically needed funds and support to over 20 no-kill animal shelters and animal rescues, across the US, that help to fight for the rights and fair treatment of those with no voice.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Liimo, Get Weird

LIIMOGET WEIRD: Edinburgh natives Liimo return with their breezy, trippy new single Get Weird, featuring Lizzy Land, through B-Unique Records. An R’n‘B infused slow jam featuring the honeyed vocals of US vocalist Lizzy Land, this is a daydream of a record that takes a surreal trip through life, as if lived in a movie. It’s got dreamy beats, sultry boy-girl vocals and a pop sheen that makes this tailor-made for the term ‘radio-friendly’, albeit with a late-night, smooth groove vibe attached. Commenting on the inspiration behind the track, Liimo’s frontman Kieran explained: “Get Weird is a song about a whirlwind romance. That sweet spot at the start of a relationship where everything feels unlike anything you’ve ever been used to. The kind of moment where all other things in life take a backseat, you’re both making it up as you go alone, seeing how it all plays out. We’d written the song with a collab in mind and we completely fell in love with Lizzy Land’s interpretation of it.” The overall effect is deeply hynpotic, but highly satisfying, with some thought-provoking lyrics thrown in for good measure.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Carnival Youth, Phantom Planet

CARNIVAL YOUTHPHANTOM PLANET: Latvian trio Carnival Youth are back with a new release – a double A side featuring Birthday and Phantom Planet (the track we’re focusing on), via their own label. Blending hazy vocals with Tame Impala-esque jangle guitars, the two new songs manage to combine the melodic, experimental sojnd for which the band have become known for. In the case of Phantom Planet, this is both good and bad. For while the song certainly has an identity and an energy all of its own, the edgy, broken-up style sometimes grates. The vocals never really settle into a satisfying groove, while the electronics also have an off-kilter, leftfield vibe that occasionally gets in the way of an easy listen. It’s consistently intriguing, if only to find out what direction the track will take next (akin to listening to They Might Be Giants kind of material). But it eventually becomes tiring, with an ending that sums up the overall sense of dissatisfaction.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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