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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, September 13, 2019

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

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, This Is The Place

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: NOELL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS – A DREAM IS ALL YOU NEED TO GET BY: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds have released another sublime new track, A Dream Is All I Need To Get By, which is available digitally now. In Noel’s own words: “To my ears, it sounds like one of those iconic B-sides by The Smiths, only obviously not as good. A song that was born very quickly, which is always a good sign… like it’s always existed… somewhere… Manchester probably.” As if to underline the diversity of The High Flying Birds’ new music, this once more sounds like a departure from anything close to an established sound (if they now have one). Lyrically, the sentiment behind it is quite wistful, with the central motif of “a dream is all I need to get by” worth getting behind (and something anyone can relate to). But there’s mention of talking in sleep, as well as laidback ‘ba da ba da’ harmonies, slinky guitars and electronics and a breezy disposition that is perfectly in keeping with the dream-laden nature of the words. It’s a beautiful song, tailor-made for laying back and enjoying. The track follows the release of similarly excellent new single, This Is The Place – available now – which is taken from the forthcoming EP of the same name.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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The Heavy, Put It On The Line

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: THE HEAVYPUT IT ON THE LINE (THEME FROM BORDERLANDS 3): It’s always good to have new material from The Heavy. The song is a track they were asked to write for Borderlands 3 and carries many of the classic Heavy traits: think How Do You Like Me Now? or That Kind of Man (which were heavily used for movie advertising campaigns once released). This adopts a classic blues rock/alternative vibe, dropping in slick beats, crunching blues-rock guitars and those distinct vocals. But there’s also some dreamy whistling to usher the track in, those deloiciously soul-filled falsetto vocals, as well as a gritty rock vibe throughout the chorus. It’s unmistakeably the work of The Heavy but it’s also different enough to suggest they’re continuing to expand their sound. Put It On The Line has all the potential to become another anthem for them, concluding with a gloriously heavy climax (complete with reverb and drums), before then ending on one throbbing guitar note. It’s an emphatic return from a band that has always known how to make an entrance.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Weezer, Van Weezer

SINGLE/VIDEO OF THE WEEK 1: WEEZERTHE END OF THE GAME: Multi-platinum, Grammy award-winning Weezer’s new single The End of the Game, produced by Suzy Shinn, will be included on their forthcoming 14th studio album, entitled Van Weezer, due out in May 2020. The track was dropped on the same day the band announced an extensive European tour with Green Day and Fall Out Boy. And in keeping with the style of those two bands, this showcases a heavier sound for Weezer, which paves the way for what to expect from the new LP, which derives its inspiration from the deepest roots of Weezer – metal! In his earliest years, Rivers was a huge KISS fan; Brian was a big Black Sabbath fan; Pat worshipped at the altar of Van Halen and Rush, and Scott loved Slayer and Metallica. And in those early riffs on the intro to this track, there’s a definite sense of KISS. But fear not, Weezer haven’t turned their backs on their own signature sound. The alt-rock, slacker vibe is inherent in the tight hooks, the epic chorus and those equally reassuring vocals. It’s still very much a Weezer track, complete with ‘woo hoo’ harmonies, terrific guitar work, tongue in cheek lyricism and a vibe that’s tailor made for enjoying. The Cherry Glazerr featuring video is equally worth checking out.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Green Day, Father of All

GREEN DAYFATHER OF ALL…: Five-time Grammy Award-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Green Day have unleashed their fiery new single Father Of All…, the lead track on their forthcoming 13th studio album of the same name, which will be released on February 7, 2020, via Reprise / Warner Records. A manic fusion of soul, Motown, glam and punk, the track rattles off the blocks with blistering guitar hooks, livewire drum beats and an incendiary set of vocals that flit between gritty punk and crazy, Motown-inspired falsetto. It’s an adrenaline shot that, in Billy’s own words, are “dirty messy”. “The lyrics are like a party and lifestyle of not giving a fuck,” he continues. “The life AND death of the party. Not political. Surviving in chaos. The real shit. Me, Mike and Tre of the Green Day cut through the bullshit. That’s how it’s always been for us. Everything else is fake. Frauds I tell ya!! Rock has lost its balls. We’re gonna teabag all these mother fuckers. The baddest rock band on the planet that gives a shit.” And so there it is, Green Day are back and unapologetically brash. They have something to say and are not afraid to say it. With blistering songs such as this, it’ll be impossible to ignore them either. But then again, you won’t want to!
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Fall Out Boy, Dear Future Self

FALL OUT BOY feat WYCLEF JEANDEAR FUTURE SELF (HANDS UP): Fall Out Boy’s new single Dear Future Self (Hands Up) (featuring Wyclef Jean) will be featured on their forthcoming record, Greatest Hits: Believers Never Die – Volume Two, out November 15, 2019, via Island Records. And rather like the new material from Green Day and Weezer (who Fall Out Boy will be touring with next year), this is fast, frenetic, lively stuff. There’s a buzzy guitar riff that wouldn’t sound out of place on Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction soundtrack, scattershot drum beats that heighten the manic energy and boisterous vocals that declare: “Hands up ready for the boom! Never mind the rocket launcher talking ‘bout a tune.” Wyclef Jean brings his trademark rap style to proceedings throughout the song, occasionally dropping his flow in tandem with Fall Out Boy themselves. But the fusion of styles works surprisingly well, adding to the energy of the track as a whole. It’s a fizzing, euphoric affair that hits you like a sugar-rush. No wonder, then, that the video features lots of sweets and ice-cream! The song marks the band’s first new music since the August 2018 release of the three-song Lake Effect Kid EP.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Leif Vollebekk

LEIF VOLLEBEKKTRANSATLANTIC FLIGHT: Leif Vollebekk has unveiled the second single from his forthcoming album New Ways (out November 1, 2019, via Secret City Records) with a music video for one of the stand out tracks, Transatlantic Flight. The track itself deliberately takes its time to wrap itself around you, slow building with thoughtful lyrics (the astral plain is mentioned), slow-burning pianos and broody beats, and a husky set of vocals that really underline the atmospheric, beguiling nature of the song as a whole. Leif found inspiration in a host of places – the dark sizzle of Leonard Cohen, the visual mastery of Richard Linklater (he drops a couple references in the opening verse of the song), thereby setting to the song up to build towards a soaring euphoria, a wall of rich sounds and trembling strings as Leif pleads: “So, why don’t you come on over, start talking to me, one thing I can tell you, you look good when you’re tired, on a Transatlantic flight”. As such, it’s very much a song that rewards the patient listener, clocking in at just over seven minutes. But it’s also a song that grows with each listen, and there’s something cinematic about it, come that finale. Speaking about Transatlantic Flight, Leif himself shares: “I worked a bit on the record in Marin County and while I was there the cliffs by the ocean overlooked the bluest of blues. The same blue – no an even richer blue – than I see when I hear Transatlantic Flight. I told Kaveh (the video’s director) that I wanted to sing the song there and get it on film. The video is just one long take with the exception of one cut. I asked to have it like because I always liked how in [Richard Linklater’s] Before Sunrise the takes are so long that your eyes have a chance to wander around and start seeing subtle things. You get lost in the moment. He lets time itself become a character in his films. In the last sequence, while we were by the water, when I opened my eyes, I suddenly saw a pack of dogs with these neon collars, like the kind you’d see at a rave or dance party. It was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen – to see these neon-collared dogs with this epic sea as a backdrop, in the distance running towards me. Their owner, she was calling to them to come back but they were headed straight for me. I laughed so hard. She was so kind and yelled to me, ‘I’m so sorry I hope they didn’t ruin your video!’ We just left the whole thing in.”
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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65daysofstatic

65DAYS OF STATICFIVE WAVES: On September 27, Sheffield-based experimental stalwarts 65daysofstatic release their anticipated, expansive new album replicr, 2019 via Superball Music. This immersive album highlights a continuation from previous releases and a constant evolution which has been evident since their formation. As a taster, the band have dropped the beguiling, cinematic Five Waves, prompting them to state: “When you really get down to it, everything is made from sine waves, right? We leaned into that idea for this song. Called Five Waves, it is a tidal push and pull of clean, fundamental frequencies and sculpted white noise beats. One of the earliest tracks from replicr, 2019, it started life as a ramshackle piece of generative software that stacked sine waves on top of each other in interesting combinations and then battered them against rhythms in 5/8 built from glitches and white noise, like waves at high tide hitting the rocks of a stormy shore. Or maybe it was the rhythms battering the sine waves. One of these things is the ocean, the other is the rocks. It’s hard to know which is supposed to be which. Maybe both are both.” As cryptic and uncertain as that sounds, the track itself comes together in impressive fashion. Early on, there’s nothing much going on, save for a mellow electronic sound. But something more ominous begins to manifest itself around the 45-second mark, before the beats drop in around the minute and 20-second mark. From then on, the track builds beautifully, entering Bonobo-esque territory around the two-minute mark and then soaring away into its own, highly layered, ultra cinematic territory. Hence, it’s a track that rewards the patient listener. But once it explodes into life, it’s truly something to savour.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Halsey, Graveyard

HALSEYGRAVEYARD: Given Halsey’s propensity for tapping into dark themes, a track like Graveyards should be full of atmospheric beats, breathy vocals and a heavy sense of brooding. But as subversive as ever, Halsey has delivered something far more lively. Graveyard instead employs slick hand-clap style beats, minimalist but snappy back-beats and husky, lively vocals to highly appealing effect. The track sets its stall out early with a lush acoustic guitar opening, before Halsey’s delicious vocals ease you into the song. The beats don’t actually kick in until the 30-second mark, and even then are understated… again, allowing Halsey’s sublime vocals to take centre-stage. It merely serves to highlight the bittersweet nature of the lyrics, which reflect on an escape from a difficult relationship (“I would have followed all the way to the graveyard… I keep digging myself down deeper, I won’t stop until I get where you are”). As ever with Halsey, there are pop smarts to compliment the darker side of things. It’s a great new single.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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She Drew The Gun

SHE DREW THE GUNTROUBLE EVERY DAY: Fresh from a series of triumphant festival appearances this summer, including performances at Glastonbury, Latitude, Bluedot and Deer Shed, She Drew The Gun have now released the politically charged video for new single Trouble Every Day. The track is a reinterpretation of Frank Zappa’s original, with She Drew The Gun frontwoman Louisa Roach re-writing the lyrics to reflect our troubled times. As she explains: “There’s a classic picture of Zappa in an apartment holding a cat and the TV is hooked up to the toilet upstairs, we thought we’d pay homage to the big man and take inspiration for the video from that. The video is all about the TV News filter, about how it defends the interests of capital rather than people. The song is over 50-years-old, so it’s amazing how much of the social commentary on it still works but I updated some the lyrics to look at the things I’ve seen happening from the TV, from English riots to Extinction Rebellion. It looks at the fruits of neo-liberalism, like the rise of the far right and environmental catastrophe, and at the role the media plays as propaganda machine in service of corporate power.” The video is full of news snaps of the events the band is singing about, while the updated lyrics reflect just how screwed up the current state of the world is, offering up the trouble every day of the song’s title. It’s only right, then, that the song also has a high energy tempo, reflective of the never-ending news cycle, and the urgency that’s needed for change. Zappa would probably be proud of this re-interpretation.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Honeyvale

HONEYVALEMERCURIAL: Hailing from sunny East Kilbride (where there are more roundabouts than human beings), Honeyvale release their new single Mercurial, taken from their forthcoming debut EP, Polo Mint City (a local nickname for East Kilbride), which is due in early 2020. A tale of love, dancefloors and stolen lighters, told in the dappled light of an early Sunday morning, when optimism prevails and the hangover hasn’t yet kicked in, this has a cheeky lyricism about it that’s neatly offset by the more spiky intensity of their guitar work. The overall result sounds like a sharp mix of Stereophonics and The View, with a post-punk element thrown in for good measure. The guitars are particularly pronounced and deservedly get a rollicking good solo of their own, which only endears the track more. But Connor McGlave’s gutsy vocals are also a selling point and suggest that there’s even better to come. As things stand, Mercurial is a strong introduction to this lively new band. There’s nothing contrived or try-hard about Honeyvale. There’s is the sound of four lifelong friends growing up together and making a racket, honing their song writing into something that swaggers between the slick, accomplished pop of bands like the Walkmen, the youthful social commentary of Sam Fender or the unabashed melodicism of the aforementioned Stereophonics and latter-era Kings of Leon.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Kitt Philippa

KITT PHILIPPAFAHRENHEIT: With all three of the first singles from Kitt Philippa’s upcoming debut album Human being nominated for Best Song by the Northern Irish Music Prize, the expectation is high for the next and final single to be released ahead of the album’s release. Fahrenheit is able to realise that expectation in grand fashion. An atmospheric offering, this finds Philippa’s soaring, expressive vocals offset against minimalist electronics and delicate drum beats. It’s an intoxicating listen that combines serenity with intensity, thereby creating something highly cinematic. Speaking about the track herself, Philippa said: “There’s a heaviness in the lyrics, and an intensity to their delivery. The cross-section of the track probably reveals difficulty interacting with self and others, at times. Looking at thermometers to understand how something feels is relatively simple; I interchanged the language to maybe try to view things in an easier way. It is a busy track with a lot of layers and intersections. I very much see all the individual parts like components of a greater structure – they have their own characters – but how they work together interested me.” A video is due to follow in late September.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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