Follow Us on Twitter

Music - Singles of the week - Friday, May 3, 2019

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

Madonna, I Rise

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: MADONNA – I RISE: The Madonna comeback continues in impressive fashion with second new single I Rise, an empowering anthem and power ballad that showcases the more sensitive side to the singer. Co-written with Starrah and Jason Evigan, this finds the singer in unapologetic, self-confident form, possibly firing back at her past detractors, while also striking a further blow for the feminist movement (which has gained a lot more momentum since she was last dropping records). With lyrics such as “There’s nothing you can do to me that hasn’t been done, not bulletproof, should have run from a gun”, before declaring forcefully: “I rise (I rise), I rise (rise), I rise up above it.” But it’s not just about her, as previously mentioned. Later, she sings “no one can hurt you now unless you want them to”, almost juxtaposing the domination-led lyrics of her darker era. In terms of being timely, it’s a rallying call to rise above discrimination or adversity, and it’s done in such a way that it feels both empowering and catchy. The beats are great, albeit restrained and mid-tempo, while the vocals have genuine sincerity. It’s a different and exciting change of pace from the similarly excellent Medellin, which bodes extremely well for the forthcoming Madame X LP, which drops in June.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

The Black Keys

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: THE BLACK KEYSEAGLE BIRDS: Eagle Birds marks the second release to be taken from The Black Keys’ keenly-anticipated new album, Let’s Rock – and like the name of the LP suggests, the single rocks! Combining distorted, old-school guitars and robust drumming, this is a trailblazer of a record that’s designed to set the mosh-pit going whenever it’s played live. Clocking in at just under three minutes, it’s also a busy little offering that in no way outstays its welcome. Fans of Foo Fighters, Led Zepp and ZZ Top will be particularly drawn to this one… its unapologetically classic vibe lending it a timeless sense of class. It shuffles along, inviting rock fans to strap on their air guitars and get their groove on in feel-good fashion. The guitar solo, as you might expect [or at least hope], is a doozy. Let’s Rock marks The Black Keys’ comeback following a five-year hiatus between albums. It looks set to be well worth the wait.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Of Monsters & Men

OF MONSTERS AND MENALLIGATOR: GRAMMY® Award-nominated multi-platinum Icelandic quintet Of Monsters And Men make their much-anticipated return with the new single Alligator. The band’s co-vocalist Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdóttir has taken centre stage on the song not only as the lead vocalist, but as the sole writer of the track. And it’s a brash comeback of sorts, announcing their return in emphatic, rock-driven fashion. Hilmarsdóttir’s vocals have edge and guts to match, complimenting the kick-ass drums and fiery guitars, which are shot through with incendiary energy. It’s designed to be an anthem, the type of song to inspire awe when played live. And it has the power, ferocity and immediacy to do just that. The song was co-produced by OMAM and Rich Costey (MUSE, Vampire Weekend, Chvrches) and marks the first release from the band since their sophomore album, Beneath The Skin, in 2015. On the empowering anthem, the band they noted: “We are so excited about Alligator, the first release from our upcoming album. The song very much speaks to the excitement and energy that we feel about being back. We can’t wait to share more music and see everyone again.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the lyric video

Noel Galagher's High Flying Birds, Black Star Dancing

NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDSBLACK STAR DANCING: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds have dropped a new single in the form of the lively, disco-infused Black Star Dancing, ahead of a new EP. The EP, also titled Black Star Dancing, will be released on June 14 digitally and on 12” vinyl. It marks Gallagher’s first new music since 2017’s Who Built The Moon?. Gallagher said that it combines ‘the influences of David Bowie, INXS, U2, Queen, Indeep and ZZ Top’, which sounds like quite a mix – but one that works surprisingly well, creating a deeply different sound to what we’ve hitherto come to expect. Explains Gallagher: “I might have been watching too much Top Of The Pops recently! Anyway, it’s ‘dope.’ Not my words, but the words of Nile Rodgers who literally danced in the studio when he heard it.” Incredibly, this really does evoke the memory of classic INXS, with its ’80s and ’90s instrumental influences, and nods to Michael Hutchence vocally and lyrically (“it makes me sweat”, from I Need You Tonight). But there are also traces of Bowie in there, too (again, ’80s era), as well as a guitar sound that chews off Elimninator-era ZZ Top. For those reasons alone, it’s well worth checking out. The EP is available for pre-order now. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds will perform several shows in 2019, including Manchester’s Heaton Park on June 9. The band will also play Isle Of Wight Festival and Roskilde Festival, and are set to join The Smashing Pumpkins on tour in North America in August.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Bastille, Joy

BASTILLEJOY: Bastille drop Joy as the latest taster from their forthcoming LP Doom Days – and contrary to the name of the LP, this one delivers the upbeat pop that its title suggests. It’s actually the end of the album, given that Bastille has opted for an interesting concept for their album. The tracklist of Doom Days unfolds overnight, starting with first single Quarter Past Midnight, and ending with the rather more hopeful and celebratory Joy – as though the dawning of a new day brings fresh hope. Hence, the lyrics are designed to give anyone feeling down a bit of a lift, while the accompanying beats and melodies are pure pop effervescence. It’s a good mix of tones, with the lyrics suggesting an emergence from despair and vulnerability, into something more optimistic and hopeful. Overall, this is as feel-good as pop gets – and it looks set to become a lively summer anthem for Bastille ahead of the June 14 release of the rest of the LP.
Rating: 3 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Christof van der Ven

CHRISTOF VAN DER VENBRAVAIS ARC: Holland-born Christof van der Ven has announced his second album, You Were The Place, with autumn tour dates and first single, Bravais Arc. A Bravais Arc is the optical phenomenon of an upside-down rainbow, and though they are relatively common, they require a special set of circumstances to be seen. Within this first album track, Christof recalls the alignment of circumstances and intimate snapshots that lead to the evening that Christof was given a stick and poke tattoo of an upside down rainbow: “It was a honeymoon phase. It was something I had not felt in years and I was in complete awe of her – we were in a bubble, where at that point in time nothing else mattered.” It’s a beautiful sentiment that’s delivered in suitably upbeat fashion, with breezy vocals and upbeat melodies that are designed to evoke the giddiness of the feelings that Christof is singing about. As such, it’s the type of song designed to put a smile on your face and warm thoughts in your head – and it does just that.
Rating: 3 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Sabina Ddumba

SABINA DDUMBA feat MR EAZIBLOW MY MIND: Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, Sabina Ddumba was born to Ugandan parents, the youngest of eight children. At the age of 14, she joined Stockholm’s prestigious Tensta Gospel Choir, boasting notable alumni, including Lykke Li and Seinabo Sey. Today, she releases new single Blow My Mind, co-written with MNEK, and the first single from a new EP due later this year. And on the evidence thus far, she could soon be occupying the same sort of critically-acclaimed company as her choir mates. Blow My Mind is a genuinely catchy offering – a toe-tapper that combines vibrant beats with deeply soulful vocals. Ddumba has an instantly appealing set of vocals, which soar over the layered chorus. But the song as a whole is shot through with quality, from those vibrant beats to the laidback rapping of guest vocalist Mr Eazi. Blow My Mind is an easygoing summer anthem in waiting. Ddumba commented: “I am African – the musical influences from the continent, and more closely Uganda, is in my blood. I’m not saying that I’m all about doing African-influenced music, but I love that Blow My Mind turned out to be a perfect merge of soul, R&B and African rhythms.” She added: “When [MNEK and I] were close to finishing the song, I was really feeling it and I asked TMS, the producers, to modify the bassline just to bring in some of that Ugandan vibe. And Mr. Eazi is the right artist for this. Even though he’s not from Uganda, I can hear that we have the same musical influences and talk the same musical language.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

Kishi Bashi, Marigolds

KISHI BASHIMARIGOLDS: Marigolds is the latest track lifted from Kishi Bashi’s new album Omoiyari, due for release on May 31. Taking its title from a Japanese word which means ‘compassion for others’, Omoiyari – also a companion documentary film made by Kishi, due for release in 2020 – is informed by the experiences of over 100,000 Japanese-Americans who were incarcerated in internment camps during WWII by President Roosevelt, following the Pearl Harbour attacks. Listening to it, however, you could be forgiven for failing to grasp the enormity of the themes this particular single embraces, given its warm melodicism and easygoing beats. It’s only when you really concentrate on the lyrics that you realise the depth of emotion on show. Hence, Kishi Bashi have succeeded in marrying some big historical themes (with contemporary resonance) with a relaxed, enjoyable listen that’s tailor-made for chilling out to. The string arrangement, late on, is cinematic and utterly beautiful. Commenting on the track themselves, Kishi said: “Marigolds is about the differences between generations that are difficult to comprehend sometimes. It’s almost impossible to completely understand somebody who grew up in a different era than you, older or younger, alive or deceased. It’s the realisation that another person’s perception of the world is just as real to them as yours is to you, and that this humility is the first step in living in harmony on a planet that is ultimately made up of 8 billion parallel universes.”
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Drool, Junkyard

DROOLJUNKYARD: Billed as a song for fans of vintage Pixies and Nirvana, with a little Smashing Pumpkins thrown in, Drool’s new single Junkyard is a throwback to a classic punk-meets-grunge rock kind of sound. From its loping, low slung beginnings to the sprawling wall of noise and cut-glass guitar breaks that haul it to a crashing crescendo, Junkyard takes a classic, well-worn path to delivering its highs. But the band has learned well. For they deliver the goods in ear-pleasing [and sometimes bashing] style. Based around a real-life antagonistic exchange between two friends, the song lures the listener into the unsettling and claustrophobic confines of a scrap metal yard where their argument begins to heat-up. Speaking about the track, the band’s frontman Joey Rogers said: “The song’s a conversation between two people. One asking for help and the other who’s unwilling to listen. It’s based on a conversation I had with a friend. I liked the imagery of someone being inside a graveyard of old cars and appliances being cast aside and left to rot.” By the time the song reaches the aforementioned crescendo, you’ll be completely hooked and pining to hear it all over again. Fans of the bands previously mentioned will feel like the good times are rolling again!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Website

Listen here

Beharie

BEHARIELOSING MY MIND: Norwegian singer songwriter Beharie shares soulful, melodic debut single Losing My Mind and immediately serves up a notice of intent. A classy fusion of both modern and traditional influences across soul and electronica, the single is a beautiful melodic sound, interspersed with unique atmospheric touches that mark it out from the masses. It boasts elements of John Legend and Michael Kiwanuka, a cinematic sweep in its instrumentals and an emotional intensity that makes it easy to get swept up in. Speaking about the song, Beharie commented: “The song is about the struggles of being an introverted soul in a world of full of perceived extroverts and carrying an overwhelming fear of not being good enough or fitting in with the crowd.” Ironically, then, it looks set to place Beharie in some very crowded company… the kind of which is reserved for critical acclaim and widespread popularity. Yet, while the song embraces many classic elements (and isn’t afraid to display its influences), it’s also different and distinct enough to make sure that Beharie is a name to keep a close eye on moving forward.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here


Heard a great single, but yet to buy it? Well, we may have reviewed it. Previous reviews: