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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, March 3, 2017

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

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: LAURA MARLINGNOTHING, NOT NEARLY: Laura Marling has released Nothing, Not Nearly as the fourth and final preview track from her forthcoming LP Semper Femina, which is out on March 10. The song follows the recent unveiling of a new single, Next Time, and two introductory releases, Soothing and Wild Fire, in previewing Laura’s sixth studio album. The track is notable for featuring a harder sound, instrumentally, than is usually more common for Marling. There’s a fiery guitar stab weaving its way in and out, and which occasionally blossoms into something more extended. It’s a great addition to Marling’s arsenal, complimenting her soft, folksy vocals perfectly. If anything, the track has something of a Dylan vibe at times, with the mix of folk and rock working nicely in potentially broadening the appeal of the song beyond Marling’s core fanbase. As if to remind her fans of what makes her so special, the track ends in beautifully acoustic fashion, with the electric guitar sound replaced by something softer for a genuinely satisfying conclusion.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Nathan Fake

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: NATHAN FAKEHOURSDAYSMONTHSSEASONS:HoursDaysMonthsSeasons is a reference to the amount of time that kept passing that I hadn’t made music, or addressed problems and thoughts that I’d been having,“” explains Nathan Fake about the track he has just dropped ahead of the release of next week’s Providence LP. “It’s about watching time slip away pointlessly, feeling a bit hopeless that you’re wasting your life… but it’s kind of a positive vibe too, the track builds up and has a bright ending, because there was an ending to feeling like that.” The ensuing track has an urgency that’s impossible to ignore, stemming from an almost siren-like wail that’s on repeat, which is then undercut by slick beat arrangements and atmospheric electronics. It sounds like the sort of instrumental that could become annoying, yet it works. The immediacy and vibrancy of that loop forces you to take notice, while the surrounding elements create a sometimes urgent, sometimes ambient and sometimes cinematic tone. It’s a track that’s designed to help get Nathan Fake even more noticed – and it does just that. The ending transcends the original sound to take the form of something befitting a sci-fi movie or an epic blockbuster. It has to be heard to be savoured.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Lucy Rose

LUCY ROSE feat THE STAVESFLORAL DRESSES: Lucy Rose has uneviled a new single, her first through Communion Records, and the first music to be lifted from an exciting new album project. It follows a film trailer which launched last week, detailing news of a documentary showing Lucy playing for and living with her fans in Latin America. Floral Dresses strips Lucy’s music right back to where it started, harbouring her fragile voice and acoustic guitar. The new record, to be announced imminently, has been a labour of love and a real voyage of discovery for the acclaimed young British musician over the past 12 months. As ever with a Rose production, it’s the vocals that leave the biggest impression… her soft tones showcasing a really appealing singer in the classic sense. Admittedly, the song could – at times – do with a little more instrumental help and pacing, to lend it wider appeal than the acoustic folk brigade. But when the acoustic guitar is employed, it’s nicely realised and there’s a dusky, heartfelt appeal to the song that will endear it to long-term fans of the singer. Produced by Tim Bidwell at his home studio in Brighton and featuring his house/studio band, Floral Dresses also features the exquisite harmonies of The Staves, a band that Lucy has a long-standing respect and appreciation for. Commenting on the track, Rose said: “When I wrote Floral Dresses, it really reminded me about who I was, and I always think that some of the best songs are the ones which can stand on their own with just one instrument. The message is pretty clear and I hope other people will find comfort in it, and realise they are different but also the same as many people. Having The Staves on it was a real dream come true.”
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Coldplay, Hypnotised

COLDPLAYHYPNOTISED: Just a week after releasing Chris Martin’s team-up with The Chainsmokers [Something Just Like This], Coldplay themselves release the fourth single from their latest album, in the form of Hypnotised. As its name suggests, the track does boast a hypnotic quality courtesy of some almost ambient piano loops and a soaring falsetto from Martin. Guy Berryman’s guitars are around, mostly in the background, almost being employed to Dave Gilmour-style effect. Admittedly, the track does adopt a slow-build approach, whereby some beats are gradually layered in – but the track never aspires to reach the euphoric type of highs that Coldplay are capable of. Rather, it’s a serene offering… a thoughtful one, which manages to sound both soothing and kind of inspiring. Martin’s distinct vocals are always a plus, while the instrumentation is as accomplished as we’ve long come to expect. It’s also less pop than some of their more recent songs, which is another good thing. The finale, which relies more on the instrumentals in tandem with Martin’s harmonies, is epic and almost cinematic. It’s a real grower of a record.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Bruno Mars, That's What I Like

BRUNO MARSTHAT’S WHAT I LIKE: Multiple Grammy® Award-winning singer/songwriter/producer/director/musician Bruno Mars has unveiled the highly anticipated companion video to his blockbuster new single That’s What I Like. Directed by Mars and Jonathan Lia, the clip blends his skilful choreography with some eye-catching animation. That’s What I Like is taken from Mars’ critically-acclaimed new album, 24K Magic – the track has already had over 40 million streams in the UK to date. The song itself is a mid-tempo offering that combines Mars trademark capacity for funk with some slower, more ballad-style vocal refrains. Hence, without being a powerhouse dance-floor filler, it puts forward a slick mix of funk and soul that seeks to combine both styles. It’s a mix that can sometimes be frustrating in the way that it hints at offering more of a killer workout, before hitting you with a more ballad-style chorus. But it’s also evidence of how Mars can capable mix things up and still remain likeable – if nowhere near his best.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Starling

STARLINGLARGE IT: Large It marks the second single to emerge from Starling’s forthcoming EP, The Body, which is due to be released on March 31. A sense of not giving a shit permeates the record (which comes complete with an explicit video), which is chock full of attitude, edgy synth stabs and scattershot beats. Starling herself has a feisty set of vocals that feel, by turns, urgent, raw and continually edgy. Speaking more about the track, Starling explains: “Large It means everything and nothing. It’s a song about getting wrecked and not giving a shit! But on a deeper note, it reflects the turning point of my liberation. Caring not about what people think and more about what I think. How I feel, feeling alive and feeling free. I feel quite empowered to have grown out of my seriousness and the past on my shoulders. It feels fun to own my own weirdness and not try to be an idea of myself. Another step towards owning my own misfit. I hope it inspires people to do the same.” Whether that’s the case remains to be seen, as the track will be an acquired taste given it channels the misfit nature of that statement. But it’s certainly distinct and unashamedly doing its own thing (as a song and as a video), lending Starling a distinct, sometimes startling voice, that is defiantly non-conformist and unlikely to be pigeon-holed.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Izzy Flynn

IZZY FLYNNAREE: Inspired by Joni Mitchell, James Blake and Chopin, London-born singer-songwriter Izzy Flynn is an artist who draws upon a breadth of influences. New single Aree is the final piece of soulful electronic pop to come from a distinctly forward-thinking EP, who’s previous singles have been met with great acclaim. Aree is distinctive for its glistening pop production and haunting vocal harmonies, the former being an element of music creation that Izzy has become incredibly passionate about recently. Teaching music as a day job, she wants to inspire as many young women as possible to get involved in the world of electronic production and engineering, a field dominated by men. “There’s just not enough of us out there,” she says. “I’d love to see the next generation of girls in the studio, and I hope I can be a part of that.” The track itself is a nicely atmospheric mood-piece, in which Flynn’s sultry vocals shine. The backing beats and electronics are nicely understated to deliver something that has a soothing, sometimes hypnotic, late night kind of effect. It’s evidence of an artist who is very much on the rise, with a chorus that really makes a big impression.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Soeur

SOEURPUT ON YOU: What Separates Us is the debut four-track EP from Sœur, which is due for release on March 21. The first track has now been dropped as a taster and it’s a song called Put On You. The immediate verdict is to say that if you’re a fan of classic Smashing Pumpkins mixed with a little Hole and a splash of Pixies and The Subways, then this one’s for you. There’s an alt-rock element, mixed with some garage rock ‘n’ roll and classic punk sounds. It’s got a classic vibe and a nice mix of boy-girl vocals. And there’s some stirring guitars thrown in… jagged and stop-start to give things extra edge. The chorus is a powerhouse of aggressiveness, even though you also suspect they may be holding something in reserve for further down the EP. Speaking of that EP’s title and overarching theme, Anya Pulver said: “ Whether it be an internal separation of the mind or the great separations instilled by society, we wanted to show people that ultimately, we create the things that separate us and that they are insignificant and impermanent.”
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Loop, As If

LOOP – AS IF: Emerging UK pop hope Loop has confirmed that her debut EP will be released on April 21, 2017, and the next single to be taken from it, As If, is out now. The track is set to set fire to thedance floors across the UK, with it’s catchy pop hooks over a 90’s throwback dub rhythm. But far from being a wishy-washy lyrical offering about nothing much, this displays a fiercely independent spirit that declares she will not get down over a failed relationship. The central line talks of “there’s no need to lie to me baby” before declaring, “as if I care”. Vocally, there’s a seductive quality to Loop’s vocals… which, again, flies in the face of the central message. It sounds as though Loop is confident enough in herself not to worry about what people think. As such, the pop record that has been created is more empowering than most, while those ’90s synths and dub rhythms work well in creating a vaguely retro but still kind of cool contemporary sound.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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