Follow Us on Twitter

Music - Singles of the week - Monday, December 12, 2011

IndieLondon gleefully checks out the cream of the week’s singles. All you have to do is click on the pictures to order them…

Little Comets, Worry

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: LITTLE COMETSWORRY: Having already made their mark at the start of the year with the release of their cracking debut album In Search of Elusive Little Comets, Geordie mavericks The Little Comets look to round it off in similarly impressive fashion with new single Worry, taken from an upcoming EP. The track brings with it the Little Comets’ trademark afro-beat swagger as well as a highly contagious and beautifully unconventional chorus hook, with their usual carefully constructed poetic lyrics. And while the verse structure and afro-beat elements may take a little getting used to early on, there’s no denying the infectious nature of that chorus, which puts them on a par with contemporaries such as The Kooks for their ability to deliver a killer mainstream hook. If you’re not toe-tapping along by the first or second listen then it may be time to check your pulse! Another of the EP’s tracks, his Thunder, slows things down dramatically, heightens the emotion and the atmosphere, and showcases the band at their most raw and intimate. It’s thrilling in a different way and comes back with an equally marvellous acoustic video of that track.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website

Warch an acoustic performance of Little Comets’ Worry:

Watch Little Comets perform His Thunder:

Coldplay, Charlie Brown

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: COLDPLAYCHARLIE BROWN: The third single to be released from Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto is timed perfectly to coincide with the band’s sold out UK tour dates – and it’s typically assured stuff. Slow-building, but with an epic sense of timing and delivery, this finds Chris Martin’s emotive vocals belting out around a lively synth arrangement and some typically assured guitar work from Jonny Buckland. The meaty chorus, in which Martin rallies ‘all the boys, all the girls’, is designed to be best appreciated (and sung along to) in the stadiums that Coldplay now effortlessly call home, while the instrumentals, as always, would work just as well on their own. It’s epic, inspired and typically Coldplay, right down to the enchanting (and melancholy) piano outro that ends things on a surprisingly reflective, thoughtful note.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website

DJ Shadow, Scale It Back

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: DJ SHADOW feat LITTLE DRAGONSCALE IT BACK: Another masterful slice of music-making from DJ Shadow, Scale It Back sets a delightfully laidback trip-hop beat against some fine piano work and a crooning, soulful vocal from Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano. It’s a smooth, effortlessly appealing mix of soul and hip-hop that’s both sexy, sensual and cinematic in scope – and much more relaxed than some of the music that DJ Shadow is more commonly associated with. It’s the sign of a performer still at the top of his game, who is continually prepared to surprise his listeners by mixing up his sound. And the video, too, is typically worthy of your attention. The song is taken from DJ Shadow’s current album, The Less You Know, The Better.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website

Watch the video:

The Collectable Few, Model Behaviour

THE COLLECTABLE FEWMODEL BEHAVIOUR: Model Beahaviour is the second single from The Collectable Few following Headstrong and is another lively track that reflects urban anxieties. Based around a griding bassline and an anthemic chorus, it takes a lyrical dig at social extroverts with lines like “there’s no truth in that model behaviour” while delivering the sort of sing-along chorus that is designed to fill the largest stadiums. It’s delivered with suitable power and confidence and is already firmly on the radar of radio stations like Xfm and 6Music. But then it fits the bill for their kind of sound perfectly… perhaps erring towards the overly generic for this kind of thing.
Rating: 3 out of 5

Website

Watch the video:

Lady Gaga, Marry The Night

LADY GAGAMARRY THE NIGHT: Yet another release from Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, which has to rate among the disappointments of the year in terms of music releases. A typically gargantuan sense of production values finds Gaga initially sounding melancholy over restrained chimes and heartfelt vocals, before drawing in sweeping synth arrangements and a vaguely ‘80s sensibility (a la Bonnie Tyler). The chorus, which is presumably designed to be empowering and inspiring, is nothing of the sort, with the techno backdrop emerging as particularly disappointing. This is all a very far cry from the heights that Gaga was previously hitting with her previous album.
Rating: 2 out of 5

Website l Album review

Foo Fighters, These Days

FOO FIGHTERSTHESE DAYS: One of the highlights to emerge from Foo Fighters’ latest LP, Wasting Light (the highest selling album of the year on US iTunes), These Days is compelling evidence of the band’s ability to marry power and tenderness in their song-writing. The verses are melodically composed with thought-provoking lyrics about the nature of life before giving rise to a powerhouse chorus in which Dave Grohl predicts that “one of these days your heart will be broken”. The guitars are robust during the choruses, too, serving as a nice contrast to the more slow-building, brooding verse. We referred to it as bipolar in our album review and given the nature of the conflicting lyrics, it’s easy to see why. It’s a great way to herald the end of another successful year for them.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Album review

Cee Lo Green, Anyway

CEE LO GREENANYWAY: “I know I’m stingy with my money… I know your father wants to fight me… but you still love me anyway” – So, Cee Lo Green marries a fine sense of humour to a soulful love song that manages to be playful and sentimental at the same time. Backed by Cee Lo’s slick, soulful, falsetto-courting vocals, it’s a typically assured slice of soul-pop that’s difficult not to enjoy in some way. It won’t rate among Cee Lo’s finest works, though, and has a generic quality to it backed by some cheesy backing singer elements. But I guess it’s fair to say that, if not love, we still like it anyway!
Rating: 3 out of 5

Website

Watch the video:

Phantom Limb, The Pines

PHANTOM LIMBTHE PINES: Phantom Limb release the first single from their forthcoming album (out February 13) in the form of The Pines and showcase their passion for the classic sound of Americana. As an album, The Pines was in part conceived on the road, then in rural France, before being produced by Marc Ford (The Black Crowes) in Signal Hill; the oil capital of California. All proved to be condusive settings for an album largely written about escape. Musically, the songs stand at the crossroads between country and classic R&B, which range from Ray Charles’ country albums to The Staple Singers fronting The Band. Yet as singer Yolanda succinctly puts it: “Country and gospel are the same, just with different race singers.” On this occasion, Yolanda wraps her R’n’B tinged vocals around some classic country licks for a track that effortlessly showcases what the band are talking about in terms of comparison. It’s steeped in classic values and difficult not to fall for, especially if you’re also a fan of country or Fleetwood Mac.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Website

Watch the video:

Hook & The Twin, We're So Light

HOOK & THE TWIN – WE’RE SO LIGHT: Hook & The Twin are Marcus Efstratiou and Tom Havelock and, having had two previous singles championed by the likes of Zane Lowe, Rob Da Bank, Steve Lamacq and The Independent, they’re looking to complete the hat-trick with new single We’re So Light. The second single to be taken from their forthcoming 10-track debut album, to be released early 2012, it was recorded across an array of synthesisers, studios and old buildings around London, culminating in a final dawn session with Andy Ramsay (Stereolab) and mixed by rising producer Jim Anderson (Anna Calvi, Cold Specks). It’s a slow-building, haunting yet eventually lively offering that takes a few listens to properly appreciate, but which is hard to get out of your head. Admittedly, some of the washed out vocals are an acquired taste and the early part of the track requires patience, but come the synth-heavy finale you’ll probably just about be won over and wanting to hear more from them. Along with previous single Bang Bang Cherry, the song features in the critically acclaimed indie film Weekend, which won this year’s SXSW’s Emerging Visions award among others (and which was released in UK cinemas in November).
Rating: 3 out of 5

Website

Brite Futures

BRITE FUTURESTOO YOUNG TO KILL: Seattle-based quintet Brite Futures release their ultra-catchy new single Too Young To Kill and go some way to endearing themselves once more after the furore surrounding their original name of choice, Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head. Now, with legal wrangles behind them, they can let their music do the talking and it does so in pretty emphatic fashion. Too Young To Kill is all about sing-along values (it asks you to do so, practically) given that it contains an infectious chorus, a lovingly stolen Beatles melody (from Here Comes The Sun), some sharp guitar riffs and a dizzying slice of synth backing. It’s fun, brash and cool in a catchy mainstream way (which is not an easy thing to pull off). The mix of boy-girl vocals also works a treat too. The album, which follows, is called Dark Past and promises an equally keen mix of New Wave, rock, funk and dance music. The future looks ‘brite’ for them.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Website

Watch the video:

Bear Cavalry, Maple Trails EP

BEAR CAVALRYMAPLE TRAILS EP: Formed in Gosport on the southern English coast, Bear Cavalry have attempted to defy easy pigeon-holing by creating a sound that fuses indie-rock, math, post-rock and world influences thanks to their use of at least seven different instruments. Evidence of this is particularly rife on Custom Hands, the second track on their hit-and-miss Maple Trails EP, which manages to combine an angular indie-rock guitar sound with a surprising brass instalment early on and some African/world tendencies towards the finale. It’s playful, catchy and the pick of the EP tracks. Lead offering Roman Summer is slightly more generic but still manages to throw in some cute guitar riffs and remain catchy. While the comically named Will Smith Solves The Rubik’s Cube manages to combine a slow-build, melodic approach with a mounting intensity that, once more, defies easy comparison (especially once that trumpet sound returns). It’s good in places but their non-comformity sometimes counts against them… the business of the songs occasionally not allowing them to settle. But they remain an interesting act and one worth checking out.
Rating: 3 out of 5

Website

Sport of Kings

SPORT OF KINGSLOGIC HOUSE EP: Comprising members from far flung places and music of different styles, Sport of Kings hail from Brooklyn. At the heart of the band however, is an Irish songwriter, Richard Kelly, who moved to New York from Ireland in 2006. The ensuing sound feels like a free-spirited version of Ben Folds, with jazz, pop and soul tendencies thrown in for good measure, not to mention 70s smooth rock, a three piece horn section and another classic keyboard in the Moog synth. Their Logic House EP is a generally appealing introduction that’s built around lead track Free Jazz, a useful showcase of the eclectic and continually evolving nature of their sound. The track begins almost sedately, before adding that horn section, handclap beats and an optimistic spirit that’s melody-laden and harmony-strewn. Their love for the past is also evident in follow-up 1964, which once more manages to combine laidback, Beach Boys-style harmonising with something more empowering and progressive. Those two tracks are reason alone for checking this NY act out, although a summer single mix of Free Jazz is also cool too, as is the video to the track (which, rather conveniently, is below).
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Website

Watch the video for Free Jazz:


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