Follow Us on Twitter

Music - Singles of the week - Friday, November 23, 2018

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

A$AP Rocky, Sundress

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: A$AP ROCKYSUNDRESS: If there’s one producer we’re always keen to hear more from, it’s Danger Mouse. He has an ear for quality. As if to underline this point, Danger Mouse has co-produced A$ap Rocky’s new offering, Sundress, and duly applies the same level of quality. The track, which cleverly samples the Tame Impala song Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?, has a jaw-droppingly cool back-beat, some soulful falsetto vocals and a knowing sense of cool. And while it does have the hip-hop elements that are synonymous with A$ap Rocky, it also reaches beyond that genre to boast genuine crossover appeal. But therein lies the magic of Danger Mouse… he has that ability to transform hip-hop into something more mainstream and radio friendly. Here, there’s a rapped line or two, but there’s also soulful sung vocals and playful beats and electronics that combine to create something genuinely feel-good. Your toes will be tapping along in no time at all. And at three seconds shy of three minnutes in length, this is a song that leaves you thirsting for more, rather than outstaying its welcome.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

Weezer, Can't Knock The Hustle

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: WEEZERZOMBIE BASTARDS: Not too many bands could turn a song entitled Zombie Bastards into something kookily endearing. I mean, with a name like that you’d expect foreboding atmosphere or brain-blasting death metal. Weezer, though, have laid down a hip-hop infused back-beat, some finger plucked guitar licks and an outrageously laidback vocal from hipster vocalist Rivers Cuomo. Hence, while the chorus pleads “die, die, you zombie bastards”, the sound invites you to want to hang out, tap your toes and nod your head along in a slacker-style appreciation. It’s the second cut to emerge from the band’s forthcoming Black Album, which in Cuomo’s own words, is intended to sound as “the Beach Boys gone bad”. And while the instrumentals don’t necessarily come across that way, the bad boy lyrics do. It’s playfully dark, complete with more bad language… but it doesn’t stray too far away from the Weezer sound and should be a blast for anyone who stumbles across it. One could almost describe it as ‘dead catchy’ [get it?].
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Weezer, Can't Knock The Hustle

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 1: WEEZERCAN’T KNOCK THE HUSTLE: Weezer’s Can’t Knock The Hustle may not be their very best work but it’s a real grower – and comes complete with a kick-ass video. A lively offering, it incorporates Hispanic and Spanish elements, courtesy of funky stabs of brass, as well as some livewire guitar riffs. But it also has a smooth groove vibe that manifests itself in the slick, hip-hpo infused beats and the lively vocals, which pop things up from their more common slacker sound. There’s also a bad boy vibe surrounding the lyrics, which drop the odd F-bomb, some choice Spanish terms and an ‘I don’t give a damn attitude’. It’s actually a romp of a record. And the video is a hoot too, featuring Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz as Rivers Wentz, a put-upon cab driver who has, quite literally, picked up the tab from hell (two lovers who begin their journey by slobbering all over each other before falling out violently). It’s a useful change of direction by Weezer, which mixes up the sound of their last Pacific Daydream LP into something more adventurous on their forthcoming Black Album.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

The 1975, Sincerity Is Scary

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 2: THE 1975 – SINCERITY IS SCARY: The 1975 have debuted the video for their recent single Sincerity Is Scary – and it’s worth the wait. Directed by Warren Fu (Daft Punk, The Weeknd, The Strokes), the video follows a young man wearing earphones as he makes his way along a street and reacts to the beats and lyrics contained in the song. Around him, meanwhile, are all manner of passers-by, some of whom break into dance, others who complete a brass band. It reminded me of the classic Joseph Gordon-Levitt moment in (500) Days of Summer, with added surreal elements (especially when a black and white character enters the fray and starts being watered). The fourth track to be taken from The 1975’s new album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, it is perhaps the most experimental too… as well as their most sincere. Featuring lyrics that question “why can’t we be friends, when we are lovers?”, this takes a deep probe into the nature of relationships that almost sounds as if it’s coming from a place of hurt [if not confusion]. Singer Matt Healy is at his most vulnerable here, and it’s endearing – if lacking in the urgency of Give Yourself A Try or potency of Love It If We Made It. Rather, the instrumentals here are more jazzy than indie or alternative. For starters, the guitars are absent, replaced instead by brass, piano and dragging beats. And like all classic jazz, there’s a shuffled sense of doing its own thing… hence the quasi experimental vibe. Heck, there’s even a gospel tinge to some of the latter choruses. It’s a class act.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

Joanna Serrat

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 3: JOANA SERRATUNNAMED: Joana Serrat has shared a striking new video for her current single Unnamed. Filmed in Spain’s Sierra del Segura, it was directed by José Hortelano with the Murcian production company Dr Terociva – and it has a surreal, almost ethereal quality that is nicely in keeping with the sedate, dreamy nature of the acoustic-driven song itself. That ethereal element is never more evident than when the song reaches three quarters of the way in, as Serrat (or someone) stands in a field as tiny rocks spin around her. It’s almost alien. But at other times, Hortelano is content to let the striking natural beauty of the region, as well as the sunlight, take centre stage. The video has a genuinely calming, hypnotic vibe. The song itself is also good too. It’s a laidback, thoughtful slice of folk-pop that finds Serrat dropping some soothing vocals over heartfelt lyrics. The guitar work is exemplary, especially during the instrumental that indulges it for some time and even plugs things in. Joana reckons Unnamed is her best song yet – and she might be right. Commenting on the track and its accompanying video, she said: “I love the environment and the dynamics of production, the sound grows and widens and draws a great horizon and landscape for the listener. The lyrics talk of resurgence in a dark world, of redemption, of how the feeling of loneliness is capable of drowning you and of the need to flee, to escape from those deep nebulae.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

Lydia Evangline

LYDIA EVANGELINEDOWN: Lydia Evangeline’s fourth solo record, Down, is an appealing slice of dark synth-pop that genuinely comes alive during its chorus. Hailed as her grittiest offering to date (in the wake of Coldest Shadow, Get Over You and T.R.US.T.), this combines swirling electronics with a darker buzz, as well as brooding but subtle back-beats and impassioned vocals. Once that chorus lands, it delivers a heady mix. The accompanying video is well worth a look too. Lydia explained: “I wanted the visuals to reflect the metaphoric nature of the lyrics in the song – it’s a song about trying to escape from a bad relationship but always being sucked back in, a feeling I likened to drowning in the lyrics. I also wanted the surrounding scene to be an abandoned party – you’ll see champagne flutes, bunting, flamingo glasses and floats… all things that would trick you into thinking you were part of something good, something fun. But once they’re ruined and abandoned, the scene is just left looking pretty sad and eerie.” Evangeline is clearly someone to keep an ear and eye on.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

RuthAnne

RUTHANNE – IT IS WHAT IT IS: RuthAnne’s soulful, heart-rending piano ballad It Is What It Is showcases a singer at the peak of her power, vocally. Delivered with one voice and one piano, in heart-on-sleeve, intimate fashion, this combines smoky vocals with tender piano arrangements to convey the emotional complexity at the heart of the song. Explains RuthAnne: “The song is a bittersweet acceptance about a relatable relationship issue… you know, the ‘I’ll be the one that changes him’ thing. The truth is, that when someone wants to be in a relationship with you, they WILL be happily with you regardless of timing or circumstance… It Is What It Is is about me finally taking the power back and saying to a certain person that I deserve more. I stuck by my words and never went there again.” The ensuing song is as sad as it is empowering. But the lyrics do resonate, featuring lines like “like Romeo & Juliet… star-crossed but not dead yet” and “we can’t move on when there’s mountains in our way, I want you so badly but you know that I can’t stay”. RuthAnne is a striking ballad singer and this song could well be gracing a soundtrack soon.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

Clean Cut Kid, Deafening

CLEAN CUT KIDDEAFENING: Fresh off the back of their comeback EP Painkiller, featuring leaf single Emily (which picked up radio support from Radio 1, 6Music, Radio X and Virgin Radio), Clean Cut Kid have dropped another new track in the form of the volatile Deafening. Showcasing a more harder-edged rock sound to the EP that took its cue from ’70s West Coast American music, Deafening sees a stomping drum beat and fuzzy guitar riff combine to soaring effect, a further move away from the indie-pop of debut album Felt last year. If you think of a cross between The White Stripes and 70s psychedelic rock, then you might get close. It’s ballsy, attention-grabbing stuff. Speaking of the song, Mike said: “Deafening was written at a point in the band’s lives when the damaging effects of interfering voices were weighing heavy on our creativity. It’s about the ever present battle between artist and industry, and the frustration of being caught up in record label politics.” Consider the point very well made!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Rudimental/Rita Ora

RUDIMENTAL & RITA ORASUMMER LOVE: Rudimental continue to impress with their latest offering, the late summer anthem in waiting Summer Love, a collaboration with Rita Ora. The fifth single to be released from Rudimental’s Toast To Our Differences LP (as well as Ora’s Phoenix), this combines the R’n‘B elements of a classic Ora cut with the drum n bass leaning, dance-pop of Rudimental’s signature sound. It’s a lively, vibrant offering that could well offer some sunshine positivity to these colder autumnal days. The beats are slick and urgent, the electronics warm and friendly, and Ora’s vocals as compelling and assured as ever. It’s a really positive mix of styles that showcases just how Rudimental have been able to mix things up and become more and more commercial, without turning their back on their roots. It’s sure to become a big dance anthem for the coming months.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Oh Brother

OH BROTHERWHAT’S THE POINT: “You’ve been hanging around with all the wrong people, you’ve been f**king around with all the wrong guys”… so sing Oh Brother over the chorus of their livewire new single, What’s the Point. Having made their live debut at All Points East festival earlier in the year, when they succeeded in turning heads, the band now drop this lively, even incendiary offering that delivers a keen mix of edgy rock and radio-friendly pop. It’s fuelled by some brilliant guitar work, which works in tandem with those edgy lyrics that don’t mind dropping an offensive F-bomb or three. Hence, while the lyricism probably excludes it from being heard on the radio, it’s the type of track that could benefit from growing word of mouth, thereby cementing Oh Brother’s burgeoning status as a new act to watch. Singer Jake says of the track: “This song tells the tale of a young man in love with a girl who, sadly, seems to make consistently bad choices. He doesn’t know quite how to tell her – so what does he do? He writes a song about it, of course!”
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website

Watch the video


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