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Music - Singles of the week - Monday, April 15, 2013

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

Josh Kumra, The Answer

SINGLE OF THE WEEK: JOSH KUMRATHE ANSWER: Josh Kumra is a young troubadour with one foot in acoustic singer-songwriting and the other stepping nimbly between R&B, soul and pop. With his hotly anticipated debut album, Good Things Come To Those Who Don’t Wait, soon to drop (on April 22), the next single from the record will be The Answer, a more melancholic and emotional song than previous output, “about taking risks and not worrying what people think”. Couched in sorrow-tinged vocals that evoke an immediate sense of sincerity, the accompanying beats and acoustic guitars provide a subtle, yet nicely realised backdrop. The chorus, too, is well delivered and really gets into your head in a good way. Kumra’s instantly recognisable voice needs no introduction – he hit the ground running when his collaborative debut single, Don’t Go, featuring rapper Wretch 32, reached number 1 in summer 2011, quickly leading to Josh taking to the stages of Glastonbury and V. You can expect 2013 to yield similarly impressive returns.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Fred's House

FRED’S HOUSEFINE LIFE: Fred’s House are a young band who have been plying their trade for some time via top music festivals such as Bestival and Secret Garden Party, while generating national airplay on the likes of BBC 6Music and supporting artists such as Eddi Reader and Klya La Grange. Finally, they release debut single Fine Life, which underlines their ability to deliver ear-pleasing songwriting built around sweet vocal harmonies and warm, breezy pop-folk hooks. Fine Life begins in low-key, stripped down fashion but soon layers in the instrumentals to augment a lovely set of vocals. The chorus is eventually rich in harmony (as well as the odd fiddle, banjo lick and tambourine clatter) and gets the toes tapping in a way you could never have imagined when the song begins. Fred’s House say of the release themselves: “Our first single release had to be a song that meant something to us. Fine Life is very apt for where we’re at right now and after people have heard the song live, many have said it strikes a chord with them too. We’re just writing about what we know.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Minus The Bear

MINUS THE BEARLISTING: Minus The Bear drop the endearing Listing as the latest offering from their acclaimed Infinity Overhead LP. Built around some breezy acoustic strums and swirling electronics, this is a charmer of a record that feels like a summer record in waiting. It’s upbeat, bright and includes a really good chorus. The mid-track breakdown, which ushers in some strings, is also a really nice touch. The accompanying animated video is worth checking out too. It was directed and designed by Tokyo based artist Jesse LeDoux and produced by hailed animation studio Six Point Harness. Jesse has previously produced iconic artwork and posters for the likes of The Shins, Iron and Wine and Death Cab For Cutie, as well as creating animations for cult show Yo Gabba Gabba.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Robert Vincent, The Passage

ROBERT VINCENTTHE PASSAGE: Liverpool’s Robert Vincent returns with uptempo single The Passage, a lively indie pop offering that also contains more than a hint of folk about it. Produced by Pete Smith, the song employs an engaging melody but underpins it by piercing lyrics about moving on after a bad relationship. It’s robust, nicely delivered and shot through with enough melody to offset the harsher lyrical elements. Vincent says of the song: “For me, it has been easy to forget certain parts of my past because I think they have been harmful, but then I realise that those very memories have taught me too. It’s easy to hang onto them in a bad way and inflict those things onto others. ‘You took what I’d been given, I can’t explain as such,’ that line suggests how we can hang onto some of these situations in a bad way, and pass on bad experiences to others.” The late inclusion of some fiddles to augment the guitars is another nice touch. The single release follows the successful launch of his debut album, Life In Easy Steps, in February, which received an array of four-star reviews from key music press as well as a prestigious BBC Radio 2 playlist spot with the previous, title track single.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Wolf People, All Returns

WOLF PEOPLEALL RETURNS: Ahead of the release of Wolf People’s sophomore album, Fain on April 29, the band drop the single All Returns and roll back the years to the ‘70s. The result is a slightly trippy mix of folk and rock elements that creates something of a throwback to The Doors and artists of that ilk. It’s appealing in small doses but also threatens to outstay its welcome at times, and is probably better when keeping things more mellow than when cranking up the guitars. The ensuing album should be interesting though. Wolf People have also shared the video for their current single. Shot in their rehearsal space in Caledonian Road, London, the video is Wolf People in performance mode. Says director Phil Poole: “Our main objective for the video was to display the band in it’s purest form, capturing abstract pieces of performance played out in their stark rehearsal space. Seeing the music played out in this bare, natural state allowed the song to dominate and remain the focus throughout.”
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Nelly, Hey Porsche

NELLYHEY PORSCHE: “I wanna take your top off” sings Nelly over one of the verses over his latest offering, Hey Porsche. Whether he’s talking about the car itself, or the girl he’s hoping to have in it, who knows… but while cheesy as hell there’s a certain toe-tapping quality about the manner of the delivery. This is a million miles removed from some of the smooth groove R’n’B he’s more commonly associated with, swapping those slick beats for breezy guitar strums, slick beats and a summery vibe. You’ll probably kick yourself for nodding along in appreciation at times but it’s a good makeover for the artist that could well broaden his appeal.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Rudimental, Waiting All Night

RUDIMENTAL feat ELLA EYREWAITING ALL NIGHT: Drum n bass quartet Rudimental unite with Ella Eyre for new single Waiting All Night and deliver one of their best tracks to date. Driven by Eyre’s sassy set of vocals, a typically energised drum ‘n’ bass beat and some sharp stabs of brass to augment the overall sound, this is an empowering track that manages to boast plenty of crossover appeal (it transcends its DnB origins to be equally at home among the dance and pop crowd). There’s a sense of longing in Eyre’s vocals, too, that’s quite distracting and amps up the sexual energy on show. The video saw Nez and producer Elliott Tagg travel to LA to reconstruct, in the form of a mini documentary, the inspirational story of Kurt Yeager, a top BMX pro rider who came back against all the odds to compete again after suffering a terrible injury. It’s worth checking out below.
Rating: 3 out of 5
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Amelia Lily, Party Over

AMELIA LILYPARTY OVER: High octane pop, Amelia Lily-style, is what Party Over, her latest single, represents. Driven by slick, super-fuelled synths and a brash chorus that asks “is the party over?”, this leans towards the dancefloor while also embracing the world of pop. The synths, for their part, have a vaguely ‘80s feel (circa Top Gun era soundtrack), while Lily belts out the vocals like she really means to carry the party on even when it’s finished. Far from being a party closer, this is very much a song that belongs in the throes of any club offering. It’s fun, if disposable.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Psy, Gentleman

PSYGENTLEMAN: Wow, just when you thought that new global superstar Psy (aka the man behind Gangnam Style) couldn’t get any more annoying, he goes and delivers Gentleman. A lazy regurgitation of the onerous elements that made his first outing such a tiresome offering, this actually manages to achieve the dubious distinction of being even more annoying. Over an incessant synth loop and a Korenglish mish-mash of words that include “Alagamun-lan, weh, wakun, heya, hanun, gon”, this is a tedious, tedious dance track that epitomises all that’s bad and ugly and mind-numbingly brain-dead about the mainstream at times.
Rating: 1 out of 5


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