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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, September 15, 2017

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

Weezer, Beach Boys

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: WEEZERBEACH BOYS: As anticipation of Weezer’s new LP Pacific Daydream grows, the release of new single Beach Boys merely heightens that excitement. A more laidback offering than previous offerings Feels Like Summer and Mexican Fender, this nevertheless retains an infectious energy and a really feel-good vibe befitting its beach boys theme. The central riff is simple but endearing, while the chorus is catchy as hell, asking listeners to “turn it up, it’s the Beach Boys”. The harmonies are tight and, late on, owe more than a passing resemblance to Brian Jones and company. But this remains a distinct slice of Weezer song-writing – and it’s a pleasurable listen that makes you want to hear it over and over again. On the evidence thus far, Pacific Daydream could be one of the albums of the year and one of the finest in Weezer’s collection.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Rae Morris

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: RAE MORRIS – DO IT: Blackpool-born artist Rae Morris has unveiled Do It as the second track from her upcoming sophomore album (due for release in Spring 2018). Produced by her long-term collaborator, and now boyfriend Fryars, as well as My Riot (London Grammar, Bloc Party, RHODES), and featuring Rae’s trademark ethereal vocals over euphoric electronic pop elements, Do It is a highly personal tale of letting go and jumping in to the unknown. It disarms from the start, with its a capella opening. But as the beats become layered in, and the melodies create an ever more infectious backdrop, the overall beauty of the single is allowed to shine through. This one eventually shimmers with the lush combination of Morris’s lovely vocals and those carefully constructed instrumentals. The video sees Rae once again collaborating with Noel Paul (Bat For Lashes, Röyksopp) who directed the video for Reborn. Commenting on the track herself, Rae said: “‘This song is a dare to myself; it’s about daring to take a risk and choosing to take the more exciting route! It kind of exists as a part two of Cold, from my first album Unguarded. It’s what happens when you go back into the studio to make more music. Do you write another duet and do a similar thing, or take a risk and do something you’ve never done before? It’s also pretty damn sexy!”
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Meadowlark, Sunlight

VIDEO/SINGLE OF THE WEEK: MEADOWLARKSUNLIGHT: Meadowlark have shared a striking video for their new single Sunlight, which in itself impresses with its mix of seductive vocals and melodic beauty. Built around those beautifully evocative vocals, and some laidback beats, this seduces effortlessly during its build-ups and then drops a mesmerising chorus that’s dripping with quality. It’s a tranquil, thoughtful offering that nevertheless registers strongly in the mind. The track is the latest to be lifted from the Bristol based boy-girl duo’s debut album Postcards, which is out now on AllPoints, and which further underlines why they’re so critically hot right now. The Sunlight video was directed by Meadowlark’s own Dan Broadley who alongside playing in the band has produced videos for the likes of Don Broco, Lower Than Atlantis, Mallory Knox, as well as the majority of Meadowlark’s catalogue. Featuring two men in Y-fronts and Donald Trump masks making out, the video is provocative but rather than aimlessly smearing America or its president, the video is a satirical look at prejudice. Dan himself explains further: “Sunlight is probably one of Meadowlark’s biggest sounding songs and with that I wanted to create a big visual statement for it. A lot of our conversations recently have been swaying towards political discussion and it’s hard not to bring up the USA during them. I have no idea why I thought up the idea I did, it just came to me, possibly because of my pent up frustration with all that’s going on over there. Once it was in my head I couldn’t think of anything else to go with the song (believe me, I tried).”
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Sean Christopher, Paper Plane Pilot

SEAN CHRISTOPHERPAPER PLANE PILOT: Paper Plane Pilot is the debut UK single from Dutch-born, Bristol-based artist Sean Christopher – and it marks him out as a talent to watch. Taken from his forthcoming LP, Yonder, which is due for release in early 2018, the track combines a warm set of vocals (which have already been compared to Jeff Buckley) with some slick acoustic guitar licks. It’s very much a troubadour style offering that, again, draws comparisons to the likes of Buckley, Newton Faulkner and even Chris Martin (at times). But it’s an accomplished listen – one that’s alive with tight melodies, intelligent lyricism, emotional content and a really appealing set of vocals. Commenting on the track, Christopher said: “I wrote Paper Plane Pilot last year after visiting a good friend in a remote area of Southern France. Although the lyrics might imply this song is about myself wandering French fields, it’s really to do with youth. It’s about feeling free without really being aware of the fast-paced environment we currently live in, and a certain nostalgia for a kid’s view of the world.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Carly Rae Jepsen

CARLY RAE JEPSENCUT TO THE FEELING: The official video for Carly Rae Jepsen’s latest single, Cut To The Feeling, was shot on a studio lot in Los Angeles. Carly’s band in the video is made up of friends and musicians David Kalani Larkins, Greta Morgan (from Springtime Carnivore) and James Flannigan. The song itself is as brash, pop and euphoric as its name suggests. For starters, there’s a thumping back-beat, some soaring vocals over the sweeping chorus and lyrics that find Jepsen seeking some ultimate highs (such as dancing on the roof or playing with the angels). It’s all about cutting to the feeling. And while certainly effective in bringing your own energy levels up in the style of other pop artists such as Katy Perry and Charli XCX, there’s also that nagging sense that this is following a tried and tested formula. Hence, while fun while it lasts, there’s a sense that this isn’t a stretch too.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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David Gray, Hole In The Weather

DAVID GRAYHOLE IN THE WEATHER Multi-platinum recording artist David Gray has released new track, Hole In The Weather, his first new material of 2017, and it’s a self-consciously upbeat offering that continues to showcase the singer’s exceptional vocals. It’s augmented by a warm set of melodies that charm from the outset, and which really come alive during the big chorus. It’s the kind of song that almost instantly makes you toe-tap (or head nod) along in appreciation, while building to a big, harmony-strewn chorus that should go down a storm in live form. It looks destined to become a firm fan favourite, as well as carrying the potential to win over even more followers. Gray’s vocals, as ever, are as emotive as ever and oh-so distinct, lending the song its own kind of identity. It also looks certain to make you reminisce about your own favourite place. Commenting on the track, Gray said: “I’m just coming to the end now of what has been a hugely rewarding and super creative year in the studio with my new producer Ben de Vries, and we are in the final stages of finishing off a swathe of new music, most of which will be released next year. Taken as a whole I think it’s possibly the most uplifting batch of songs that I’ve ever written. Hole in the Weather is one of several tracks that are now completed and I’ve decided to put it out there as a little taste of things to come for what is set to be a new and very upbeat phase in my music. Hope you all enjoy. Much much more to follow in 2018….”
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Fall Out Boy

FALL OUT BOYTHE LAST OF THE REAL ONES: Fall Out Boy have released something of a celebratory new single in the form of the upbeat The Last Of The Real Ones which, like Linkin Park, seems to have adopted a more pop sheen than their more commonly known for. Built around a lively piano arrangement early on, it then piles on the electronics and guitars for a brash, sometimes frenzied sonic assault. It’s fast, its lively and it’s almost certain to have you dancing along. Of the song, Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz said: “That kind of love you feel for someone because of their glitches, not in spite of them… where you feel the vacuum of them everywhere… and your heart just feels like TNT, quicksand and oblivion all at once.” It’s an apt description for a song that continues to explode throughout, rather like the TNT Wentz references. Admittedly, it could have benefitted from a little more restraint, allowing the piano loop to take a greater hold. But it’s got an undeniable energy and should easily appease the fans. The accompanying video is directed by Mccoy | Meyer.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Liima, 1982

LIIMA – 1982: Danish and Finnish band Liima (featuring all three members of Efterklang) have announced details of their second album, 1982, to be released on November 3, 2017 via City Slang. To celebrate, they’ve dropped the title track and come over all cinematic. In the year 1982, Time Magazine chose the first ever non-human ‘person of the year’, the Personal Computer. It’s also the year that Liima’s Casper Clausen was born, with the other three band members born in the surrounding years. Though 1982 is not an album that tries to mimic the sounds of that year, it is an album borne of influences and circumstances that stem back to that point in time. Hence, this title track has an electronic element underpinning it that’s very retro and ’80s influenced, as well as cinematic (in a futuristic Blade Runner kind of way). It’s a record that sweeps you along on those electronic waves, before dropping a somewhat more laidback vocal that serves as a beguiling contrast. 1982 is arguably at its best when focusing on the instrumentals but it’s a consistently engaging listen, nonetheless. The video for the album’s title track, shared online today, was created by director and visual artist Baby Duka. He commented: “Liima reached out to me while I was in the middle of developing a computer game – the melancholy world of synths and wet drums fit perfectly with an idea I’ve been toying with for a while: to mix the pixel graphics of the Atari and C64 with a 3D camera. I saw it as a cool opportunity to visualize an Orwellian dystopia where the dream of being in another place is always present in the human individual.”
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Howie Payne, Some Believer, Sweet Dreamer

HOWIE PAYNESOME BELIEVER, SWEET DREAMER: Howie Payne has released Some Believer, Sweet Dreamer as the latest offering to emerge from his long-awaited new album Mountain, to be released on October 27 on Full Stack Records. The new album, The Stands’ frontman’s first since his 2009 Ethan Johns-produced debut Bright Light Ballads, is being described by the confident singer as his best so far. Of the new track itself, Payne said: “I wrote Some Believer, Sweet Dreamer walking around London. I wanted to write something that had a kind of epic-ness to it, like those great 60s/70’s songs by Neil Young, Nick Drake, Pink Floyd and all that. I had this chord someone had showed me, it’s in a tune by Love, a magnificent sounding chord. So, I was playing around with that and came up with this little pattern that I thought was pretty cool. Over the next couple of days when I was out and about, I had this pattern in mind and started to make up some words for it. I wasn’t really thinking about what or who it might be about, I just liked how the words sounded together. I mean, it’s probably me singing to me, you know, but it could be about anyone who’s moved around some, who’s chasing something, and I think we all feel like that sometimes.” The resulting single does have a vaguely psychedelic vibe, vocally, that recalls classic Pink Floyd, as well as psychedelic Beatles. It’s shot through with classic elements – good vocals, good use of guitar and a really classic kind of rock vibe.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Malka, No No No

MALKA – NO NO NO: Scottish experimental alt-pop singer Malka has dropped the lively new single No No No, the latest to be taken from her new album Ratatatat, due for release on October 20. And while it’s clear from the album’s name that the songs should have that rapid, rat-a-tat kind of vibe, No No No picks that up and runs with it. It combines electronic and world sounds, creating a colourful carnivalesque pop sound that is high on energy and bristling with energy. Malka’s own vocals add a nice pop sheen, flitting between innocent during the background harmonies, to sultry whenever she slows them down a little (and that’s just a little). The lyrics are shot through with some wonderfully trippy lines such as “no one to stop them, those bright burning eyes; no one to tell us to fight or to hide”. The trumpet fanfare towards the end is a lovely touch too. In short, it’s a record that’s alive with possibility and vibrancy, and which underlines Malka’s experimental, alt-pop credentials to the maximum best.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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