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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, September 7, 2018

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

Maverick Sabre, Drifting

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: MAVERICK SABREDRIFTING: Irish soul singer Maverick Sabre makes a belated but welcome return with new single Drifting. Aimed as part of a multi-track ode to cinema and other video influences, Drifting has a laidback soulfulness that’s entirely intoxicating. Sabre drops some falsetto-based vocals over trip-hop beats and a subtle soul chorus. There’s even some Indian-style chanting at times, to draw on other world influences and enrich the overall sound. It’s a highly impressive, expressive and – yes – cinematic listen. Speaking to The Fader, Sabre said of the track: “I wrote Drifting to numerous different visuals that I was inspired by, from Kendrick Lamar’s Khalil Joseph documentary through to La Haine. That’s why it has this cinematic feel within the music before we even created the film.” He continued: “I was brought up in Ireland and Irish cinema has always grabbed me, so we wanted to carry that on through and make sure it was captured as beautifuly as possible. The aim is to tell as many different untold Irish stories within a grander film. Drifting is scene one.” We’re hooked.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Metric, Now Or Never Now

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: METRICNOW OR NEVER NOW: The latest offering from Canada’s Metric is the rousing Now Or Never Now. An epic offerinbg that clocks in at a litle over six minutes, this deftly combines Emily Haines’ beautiful vocal style with throbbing synth arrangements and lively drum beats, plus the odd guitar riff. It’s the kind of song that effortlessly soundchecks Regret-era New Order, ’80s synth pop and Ladytron while somehow still managing to pull off a sound that’s very definitely Metric’s own. The song is also notable for hitting the ground running (thereby hooking you in straight away) while continuing to grow in sonic ambition the longer it lasts. There’s a lot going on with those instrumentals, which make for a compelling backdrop. Lyrically, there’s a certain sense of loneliness and trepidation in lines that explore what it is to “be nowhere left alone” – but in addition to being thought-provoking, it elicits a sense of vulnerability that only endears the song even more. Art of Doubt marks Metric’s first LP since 2015’s Pagans in Vegas. It was recorded at their own Giant Studio in Toronto with producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen. Along with Now or Never Now, the group has shared album cuts Dark Saturday and Dressed to Suppress, all of which have impressed.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Lucy Spraggan, Stick The Kettle on

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 1: LUCY SPRAGGAN feat SCOUTING FOR GIRLSSTICK THE KETTLE ON: Lucy Spraggan’s empowering new single is as inspring as it is comforting. A team-up with indie pop favourites Scouting For Girls, this is an endearing ode to saving yourself that aims to raise awareness of mental health issues, while offering an anthemic sing-along to boot. Commenting on the track herself, Spraggan said: Stick The Kettle On is a song about making sure you’re looking after yourself and your friends. We live in such a fast-paced environment at the moment and sometimes it’s so easy to miss the signs that something isn’t OK. Like my best mate says, ‘There’s nothing a good brew can’t fix.” The song is also in support of the charity CALM, aka Campaign Against Living Miserably, which aims to bring down the suicide rate among men. Hence, it’s a song that carries an important message about never losing hope that’s delivered in an amicable, upbeat, even breezy manner. It’s all the more notable for doing so, helping to inspire debate and happiness. You’ll be humming along in no time, while quite possibly sticking that kettle on yourself to deliver a much needed brew. Heck, it may even help you to get on top of your own problems by pausing to think your way around them… or possibly reaching out for help.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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John Butler Trio

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 2: JOHN BUTLER TRIOWADE IN THE WATER: Australia’s highest selling independent artist of all time, John Butler, shares the second installment in a three-part video series for album track Wade In The Water, taken from the forthcoming album HOME, out September 28). Directed by Nick Mckk, produced by longtime collaborator Kester Sappho and filmed in one continuous shot, the video features Butler and son Jahli skateboarding through the streets of rural Australia. While the first video for title track Home showed the competing elements of life on the road and being away from family, the latest chapter captures the uninhibited feeling of cruising indefinitely through uninterrupted, open roads without the distractions and limitations of modern life. The song itself is fantastic. Built around a tremendous slide guitar riff, this is a gutsy, bluesy rocker of a track that is steeped in classic values. Vocally, there’s shades of Americana, or even Pearl Jam, while the guitars just keep getting better. The solo roars. It’s why guitars are so great. Commenting on the track himself, Butler said: “Wade In The Water is one of my favorite songs off of this album. It’s a soul searching proclamation and a journey back to myself. The words just kinda fell out and I didn’t really know what they meant for a long time until I stood back and took a look at the song and the passage of time I’d just been through. This song celebrates my love for Led Zeppelin, Hip Hop back beat, Indian classic music and is one of my favourite songs to play live.” We can well imagine why.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Kyson, Have My Back

KYSONHAVE MY BACK: Continuing his series of single releases with B3SCI / Majestic Casual Records, Kyson – the moniker of producer, singer and songwriter Jian Liew – has unveiled a third new track, Have My Back. While the first two singles in this series showcased an electronic soundscape, Have My Back introduces a more indie-fuelled sound to Kyson’s repertoire, channelling the likes of King Krule and Mac DeMarco, and setting a new tone for the remaining two singles in the four-part series he’s currently in the midst of. Speaking about this sonic diversity, Kyson himself said: “Have My Back came out of a bunch of sessions when experimenting on songs for my new album. It comes from a very different place to Every High and Clear Air and I really wanted it to sit separately from them, so we decided to break the original EP format and go for a collection of two double a-side singles instead.” The ensuing track is certainly more pop as well. Early on, there’s a minimalism that feels more folksy. But once the beats and electronics drop, there’s a sound that’s instantly more accessible to mainstream followers, as well as an indie sensibility that continues to set Kyson apart from his peers. Hence, there’s a great deal of satisfaction to be felt in listening to this one… coupled with a sense of bittersweet as the singer laments the story of someone who “used to have my back but now you don’t”.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Jessie Reyez, F**K Being Friends

JESSIE REYEZ – F**K BEING FRIENDS: Following last month’s MTV VMA’s performance of Apple Juice, a remixed release of Body Count featuring Kehlani and Normani, appearances at US festivals AFROPUNK and Made In America, two notable features on Eminem’s newest album Kamikaze and now topping over 230 million streams worldwide, Jessie Reyez has announced that her second EP, Being Human in Public, is set to be released on October 19, 2018 via Polydor / FMLY. As a further taster, she’s shared another new track, the provocative F*ck Being Friends, to kick off the sale of her North American Being Human on Tour autumn dates. The track, like its name suggests, is as no-nonsense as Reyez can make it. Indeed, it kicks off with the lyrics in question, suggesting that the loss of a friendship doesn’t much matter. But there’s a seductive background electronic and some slick beats to accompany the vocals, which conform to a sassy rap style. Hence, you will want to sit up and take notice as Reyez drops ‘f**k’ and pussy bombs all over the place. With that in mind, it’s not a song for the easily offended. But as smooth groove R’n‘B mixed with hip-hop elements goes, Reyez knows how to deliver the provocative goods.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Juiceboxxx

JUICEBOXXXRIPPING UP MY SOUL: Milwaukee enigma Juiceboxxx has released the lead single from his forthcoming EP, Ripping Up My Soul. Described as a rock and roll appraisal of a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, the singer states. “This song is about sub-culture as a weird spiritual surrogate, and trying to navigate a life after years of rock and roll damage. Coming to grips with this force that has both given your life meaning but also made it deeply confusing. Sometimes I feel trapped in the basement, the dive bar, the warehouse, whatever… There is a punk rock version of ‘Catholic guilt’ and I don’t really know how to process it. Some people end up dying. But I continue write songs. And try to take it one day at a time.” The ensuing song has an instantly in your face vibe, driven by spiky, punk-inflicted guitar riffs and some quick-fire drums. The vocals are raw in a kind of post-punk, post-Strokes kind of way. But while that lends it an alternative-meets-punk energy, there’s also a keen sense of melody in the chorus that makes it well worth chanting aloud whenever it’s belted out in live form (or even played on the radio). In his one of a kind career — how many people can say they have had a book written about them (The Next Next Level by Leon Neyfakh) before the age of 30 — Juiceboxxx has touched on a variety of American music forms (everything from noisy rap to freaked out hardcore), but the past few years of live shows have zoned in on a one of a kind synthesis that combines the fury of punk with a cathartic, hook-happy approach. That is more than evident here.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Fergus, Willow

FERGUSWILLOW: London-based singer songwriter Fergus has released the supremely tranquil Willow, taken from debut EP Purple Road (due for release Autumn 2018). The track continues along a poignant emotional journey as this gifted tunesmith celebrates a new life. Produced by Jake Gosling, it’s a song that’s drenched in lush, almost whispered vocals (tinged with a bittersweet element), as well as haunting melodies. And yet, there’s a beauty to offset the apparent sadness, too. It’s a warm song that transfixes by virtue of its tranquility, especially when taking into account the inspiration behind it. Speaking about the track, Fergus explained: “This one started out as a poem set to music really – a lullaby, after close friends had a baby girl called Willow! I wanted to paint a beautiful, peaceful image lyrically, inspired by this new life, a new beginning, and voyage into the unknown. The message is, that fundamentally, everything is going to be ok – “don’t weep for me, Willow”. It’s as much a message to me, as it is to her and makes an uplifting (and welcome!) contrast to the first two songs.”
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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She Drew The Gun

SHE DREW THE GUNRESISTER: She Drew The Gun have dropped the livewire lead single from their sophomore album, Revolution of Mind, which is out on October 5. Propelled by a buzzing scuzz guitar riff, the song bristles with an unbridled energy that is further enhanced by pulse-pounding drums and a sexy vocal that seduces over a sleek chorus. It’s a shot of female-driven indie pop-rock that really delivers the goods. Commenting on the song themselves, Louisa Roach – the band’s guitarist and frontwoman – said: “Resister is a song for people who find themselves on the edges of society… it’s about not giving up, not becoming cold, keeping your heart open and resisting the powers that be in whatever way you can. For the video, we carried on the theme we used in the album artwork, taking inspiration from feminist artists such as Judy Chicago, Jenny Holzer and Barbara Kruger. We played around with the lyrics using text art, the female body is so entangled in pop music and art so we used this is as something to work from.” As such, it’s also an empowering anthem for those willing to listen, which also comes complete with a genuinely rousing guitar solo.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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