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Music - Singles of the Week - Monday, June 5

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

Monday, June 5, 2006

Rocco Deluca, Colourful

SINGLE OF THE WEEK: ROCCO DELUCA – COLOURFUL: Rocco DeLuca is, of course, the Dobro steel guitar playing sensation that is being supported and promoted by Kiefer Sutherland. His album, I Trust You To Kill Me was recently the focus of a Sky One documentary that followed Rocco, Kiefer and entourage on a mini-European tour last Christmas. Sutherland aside, however, DeLuca is clearly a massive talent whose music speaks for itself. Steeped in classic rock values and compared favourably to the likes of Pearl Jam and Robert Plant (to name but a couple), it is immediately distinctive because of those electrifying guitar riffs. Colourful, the new single, is a wonderful example of DeLuca’s musical magic. Driven by a husky set of vocals that are bound to go down a storm with Gomez fans, the track is a rousing effort that builds towards a jubilant sing-along chorus that’s perfectly suited to the approaching summer sun. If you haven’t already heard of him, then make darn sure you do – otherwise Jack Bauer will be after you!!!

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Depeche Mode, John The Revelator

DEPECHE MODE – JOHN THE REVELATOR: A welcome release for John The Revelator, one of the standout tracks on Depeche Mode’s latest album, Playing The Angel. The track contains a heady dance-floor vibe thanks to some truly boisterous beats, as well as a vocally explosive performance from Dave Gahan, which hints at old-school rock ‘n’ roll. It’s one of the gutsiest records on the LP that just keeps getting better every time you listen to it. With summer festival dates (including the Wireless Festival in Hyde Park), Depeche Mode appear to have lost none of their ability to entertain. Playing The Angel may fall a little short of the overall quality of their very best work – but tracks like John The Revelator are certain to whip crowds up into a frenzy whenever they’re given a live workout. It’s good to have them back in such fine form.

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The Automatic, Monster

THE AUTOMATIC – MONSTER: The Monster has become something of a signature tune for The Automatic – a live favourite that never fails to send the fans into a frenzy or have them singing along. As a follow-up to their Top 40 hit Raoul, it’s an excellent example of what The Automatic do best – namely, blending raucous disco-punk with a chorus that’s destined to be sung from playgrounds to football terraces across the country. The track is taken from the band’s hotly anticipated debut album Not Accepted Anywhere, which was produced by Steve Harris (U2, Kaiser Chiefs) and Richard Jackson (Super Furry Animals, The Boyfriends) in Liverpool, Cardiff and Lincoln. Now once again, for the cheap seats, “what’s that coming over the hill, is it a monster, is it a monster?” You know you’ll be chanting along for many, many Saturday nights to come while down the pub.

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Robots In Disguise, Turn It Up

ROBOTS IN DISGUISE – TURN IT UP: A current Xfm favourite, Robots In Disguise are Sue Denim and Dee Plume and they specialise in funky, yet eccentric electronic workouts. Having been branded by the NME as ‘the worst band ever’, they return in suitably feisty fashion with the impossibly catchy Turn It Up, a radio-friendly effort that’s built around some funky beats, some snappy electronica and a dark vibe that manages to encompass early Depeche Mode, Blondie, Client and Kraftwerk (no mean feat). It’s the sort of track you hear once on the radio and just have to find out who’s responsible. Fans of the Mighty Boosh might recognise Robots In Disguise from the support they provided during the recent tour. They’re certainly an outrageous duo – but on the strength of this new offering, they’re improving all the time.

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Nelly Furtado, Maneater

NELLY FURTADO – MANEATER: Don’t worry, Nelly Furtado’s new single is not a cover version of the Hall & Oates cheesy classic of the same name, but rather a beat driven, hip-hop influenced pop record that was co-written by Furtado and Timbaland and produced by the hip-hop uber-producer. Featuring a grinding central beat and some typically distinctive vocals, Maneater is a sly, catchy effort that once again finds Furtado exploring new avenues, while remaining as radio friendly as ever. As an indicator of what to expect from the beat-driven album Loose (which hits stores on June 12), it bodes extremely well. It seems that Furtado will capably follow the success of her five million selling album, Who Nelly and its two-million selling successor, Folklore. The video is well worth checking out as well – and you can catch it by visiting our AV Room.

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Embrace, World At Your Feet

EMBRACE – WORLD AT YOUR FEET: Much has been written about the merits of England’s official World Cup song to the point that even the most ardent Embrace cynic may have begun to feel sorry for the band. Artists like Richard Ashcroft have resolved to put their own unofficial anthems out, while the media has consistently been on Embrace’s backs because the song, World At Your Feet doesn’t even mention the word football. What it does do, however, is deliver a rousing anthem that is perfectly capable of appealing to people that don’t even intend to follow the football, while encapsulating all the values that have helped to mark Embrace’s recent revival. It’s fast, lively and features a typically epic chorus and will doubtless provide a fitting backdrop to television replays of (hopefully) England’s centre-forwards putting a few goals in the back of the net. Whether it’ll ring out as David Beckham lifts the tournament’s trophy is doubtful but it’s a lively enough summer anthem that will probably prove the sceptics wrong with a suitably high chart placing.

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Fightstar, Hazy Eyes

FIGHTSTAR – HAZY EYES: Ex-Busted member Charlie Simpson continues to expand his range as part of Fightstar. Hazy Eyes is another rock track that explores the darker side of the equation and is one of several efforts on the Grand Unification long player that are built around the theme of re-awakening. Sadly, it’s not one of the most impressive efforts and feels quite bog-standard – as several of the tracks on the long-player do. Indeed, the album is at its best when keeping things focused towards the mainstream, such as former singles Paint Your Target (which falls prone to comparisons with Hundred Reasons), or most recent hit, Waste A Moment, that could well have been penned by Funeral For A Friend, Lostprophets or, to a certain extent, Bush. Hazy Eyes is certainly melodic enough but it’s the weakest offering so far.

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Mike Rosenberg Band

MIKE ROSENBERG BAND – STRAY DOG: Mike Rosenberg is a 21-year-old native of Brighton whose wide-eyed yet fragile voice works wonders when set against the context of his band’s penchant for telling musical stories. Tipped for big things, Mike Rosenberg Band would appear to be a beguiling outfit that place as much emphasis on strong lyrics as they do music. Hence, Stray Dog is a wonderfully bittersweet offering that tells of a potentially melancholic tale of a journey made alone (“I needed you but you never came”). The vocals are distinct, strong and memorable, set against a really nice bed of synths, electronic doodles and a cello line that lends proceedings an epic value. As evidence of what to expect from the band, this is an excellent taster and one can only ponder what the forthcoming album will deliver – especially since their PR credits them with combining a mutual love of the lyricism of Paul Simon and Neil Young (as shown here) with the samples and beats of Blockhead (an IndieLondon favourite).

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Morrissey

MORRISSEY – YOUNGEST WAS THE MOST LOVED: The second track to emerge from Morrissey’s latest album, Ringleader Of The Tormentors is The Youngest Was The Most Loved, a typically downbeat (lyrically) tale of under-achievers and downbeats that is built around the central theme of ‘there is no such thing in life as normal’ – in this case, the early years of a psychopath. Musically, the track is slightly more upbeat than some of Morrissey’s material but it’s rich in the classic traditions of the artist’s work both individually and with The Smiths. The presence of a child’s chorus is clearly designed to layer on the emotion – but it threatens to stretch the point a little uncomfortably. Morrissey fans will hail it as a return to classic form (given that it’s unmistakeably Morrissey) but it’s a little too generic for an artist who has consistently proved himself of much better. The video is good, though, and certainly worth checking out.

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The Motorettes, You Gotta Look The Parts

THE MOTORETTES – YOU GOTTA LOOK THE PARTS: North East trio The Motorettes return with another slice of infectious pop energy in the form of You Gotta Look The Parts. Comprised of three tracks, the new single has already been hailed by the likes of NME and Radio 1’s Zane Lowe for the fresh, no-nonsense approach it takes to getting the job done. You Gotta Look The Parts is an especially livewire performer, built around almighty drums, edgy vocals and razor-sharp stop-start blasts of guitar. It takes a couple of listens but it eventually wins you over with its hook-laden charm, managing to cram plenty into its tight running time. Better still, however, are the bonus tracks. It’s Them… Blast ‘Em is more melody-based and features a more laidback vocal style as well as some boy-girl trade-offs that work wonders, while (Shall I) Shine A Light is a fresh blast of retro-tinged pop-punk energy that is an absolute shambolic delight. Make sure you check them out. The change of pace at the end is also designed to catch you off guard and succeeds in doing so in some style.

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Men, Women and Children, Dance In My Blood

MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN – DANCE IN MY BLOOD: What is it about dance-floors and blood? No matter, Men, Women and Children are another of those hot tips to breakthrough in 2006 because of the way they frenetically combine disco, punk, electro and funk. Dance In My Blood is billed as a rallying call to embrace the band’s dance-floor friendly philosophy. It’s built around some sweeping strings that lend it a curiously 70s-tinged vibe, some hard-rocking guitars and plenty of vocal layering that makes for a heady but radio friendly mix. The conga-style percussion play-out also guarantees that the temperature on the dance-floor should be turned up to the max. That said, Men, Women & Children still have a little way to go before they can lay claim to being truly impressive – no matter how distinctive they look.

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Marvin The Martian

MARVIN THE MARTIAN – HOODS AND BADGES EP (DOWNLOAD ONLY): Marvin The Martian is credited by the likes of the NME as being one of the leading lights on the Grindie scene. A native of Brixton, he is one of several UK hip-hop/grime MCs who have hooked up with emerging indie bands to play at the same gigs, sample and remake their songs. The Hoods & Badges EP is a strong collection of songs that perfectly showcase Marvin in full effect. Lead track I Don’t Go (Alone) samples Walk With Me from emerging band, Good Books, who have just been signed to Columbia. It’s a catchy number, featuring some strong warped vocal samples, and a telling rap that demonstrates the Grindie ability to appeal to both grime and indie sensibilities. Slightly less successful is Around The Way, a slice of motorbike grime that takes you on a trip around Marvin’s hometown. But Stay Off The Kane is a strong cut, taking a sample of Emily Kane from Art Brut and twisting it into something distinct and different. Indeed, Xfm’s talent spotter chief John Kennedy picked up the track on his radio show almost a year ago. It’s a smart play to include it on this EP and concludes proceedings in suitably impressive style. It’ll be interesting to see how the Grindie scene develops with the likes of Marvin heading it. Hoods and Badges is only available as a download, having been released via Universal Digital.

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Needles

THE NEEDLES – DIANNE: Aberdeen-based four-piece The Needles are described in their PR as being like “Satan’s own High School prom band” because of their insurgent pop-flecked punk shockers, angular guitars and a deluge of hormonal anthems. Sadly, that’s the main problem – The Needles don’t really sound any different from countless other angular sounding punk rock bands. Dianne does at least throw in some frenetic organ late-on that enlivens proceedings but in the main it’s a fairly generic punk offering that did little to get me excited. Of the bonus tracks, Delivery Day is two minutes and 24 seconds of more unbridled energy that recalls very early Inspiral Carpets mixed with more contemporary Franz Ferdinand, while Black Belt is a prickly concoction of organs, guitars and drums in overdrive. It’s actually the best offering – and it’s an instrumental. Maybe that tells you something. For the record, the band is comprised of Dave Dixon (guitar/vocals), Paul Curtiss (bass), Richey Wolfe (keyboards/vocals) and Johnny Wolfe (drums/vocals).

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5678s, Woo Hoo

5678s – WOO HOO!: You can pretty much guarantee one thing this summer – a lot of football-related adverts and a lot of songs being released that have been used as bedding. First off the bat is the 5678s infectious Woo Hoo, a song that may well already be known to keen movie fans as forming an essential part of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill soundtrack. It’s now been swiped by those ad execs at Carling and is surely the greatest punk song to feature whistling. It comes from Japanese all girl band the 5678’s and is totally fun, utterly danceable and tailor-made for some easy-going summer sunshine listening. The chorus, especially, sticks to your subconscious like glue.

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Dead Disco

DEAD DISCO – CITY PLACE (DOWNLOAD ONLY): Girl power combines with 80s-style synth pop on Dead Disco’s City Place. But while there’s certainly plenty of energy about this digital release, it lacks anything to really make it special and seems content to go about its business in efficient, if unspectacular fashion. The band is comprised of three glamorous ladies and one noble boy drummer who have attempted to escape the drudgery of the small town they grew up in by dressing up and singing out. The track kicks off with a strident drum pattern before popping in some Georgio Moroder style synths and launching into the sort of vocals that Debbie Harry may once have been proud of. Yet while certainly energetic, it’s a little too kitsch and fades from the memory all too quickly.
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Sugababes, Follow Me Home

SUGABABES – FOLLOW ME HOME: Sugababes follow up the feverish excitement of Red Dress with a track to tug at the heartstrings in the form of the moody ballad Follow Me Home. Taken from the current album, Taller In More Ways, it’s a deliberately sultry effort that’s set against a backdrop of epic strings, dramatic orchestrations and trip-hop beats. What’s more, it’s accompanied by a glossy, cinematic video. Sadly, however, it’s one of the weaker efforts on the long-player and falls some way short of the Sugababes best stuff (either upbeat or dramatic), emerging as a little too over-earnest and polished. The increased emphasis on the vocals towards the end smacks of Destiny’s Child and simply adds an extra layer of emotion that isn’t really needed.

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The Streets, Never Went To Church

THE STREETS – NEVER WENT TO CHURCH: The second single to be lifted from The Streets’ latest album, The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living is the tiresome slow-burner Never Went To Church. Designed as a tribute to his recently-deceased father, the track follows the same sort of style that helped become such a big success and is arguably the artist’s most mature and complete piece of song writing so far. But while the lyrics are loaded with moments of genuine sadness, there’s something over-familiar about it that made it difficult for me to like – no matter how noble the intent behind it. I feel terrible for saying it, mind, but I continue to be dumbfounded by the continued acclaim that surrounds this particular artist.

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Dead Poets Society, England My England

DEAD POETS SOCIETY – ENGLAND MY ENGLAND: With just five days to go before the World Cup kicks off, Monday, June 5 seems to be the day that everyone releases their England football anthems. Embrace, of course, lead the way with the official England song – but there are countless wannabes all hoping to score their own hit in some way. Sadly, there’s some utter crap to contend with such as this hammy, supposedly patriotic effort that feels so laboured, its tantamount to the embarrassment of scoring an own goal on the footie field. Featuring the vocals of Elliott Frisby, England My England is a tedious excuse for a World Cup cash-in that really labours the point repeatedly. It’s better than the Crazy Frog’s soccer anthem, and yet another reworking for The Road To Amarillo but that’s not saying much. This, quite frankly, sucks. For the record, the source of the lyrics come from a range of English poets stretching back to the 1500s and includes inspiration from WE Henley’s classic poem. The Dead Poets Society, meanwhile, is a project featuring former Radio 1 DJ Mike Read.

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