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Music - Singles of the week - Monday, March 18, 2013

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

Lord Huron, Lonesome Dreams

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: LORD HURONLONESOME DREAMS: Lord Huron release the title track from their new album and one of its many highlights. Lonesome Dreams is a heart-melting moment, complete with glockenspiel inflicted chimes and a really keen sense of melody. Its mix of folk, rock and Americana is utterly intoxicating; it’s imagery as beautiful as the melodies that accompany it. The guitars make a fantastic impression, while their perfectly complimented by the harmonies inherent in the layered vocals and the vaguely ethereal style. Led by Michigan-born song-writing prodigy and general creative genius Ben Schneider, Lord Huron combine Appalachian percussion, rustic guitars and sumptuous harmonies to genuinely impress. If you haven’t yet heard their album, then you really are missing out on one of the year’s finest collections of songs.
Rating: 5 out of 5

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Mikill Pane

MIKILL PANEGOOD FEELING: Having collaborated with the likes of Ed Sheeran and Paloma Faith recently, Mikill Pane now looks set to claim some of his own limelight with new single Good Feeling, the type of free-flowing mix of rap elements and pop that leaves you with a good feeling. A follow-up to his equally enjoyable Dirty Rider offering last year, Good Feeling drops urgent beats, an infectious electronic (if scuzzy) bed, and some cheeky lyrics about flat-sharing and partying and generally getting on with things. It’s fun, relatable and an anthem in waiting for anyone just about to enter student digs, or who has survived the whole experience of university.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Icona Pop

ICONA POP feat CHARLI XCX – I LOVE IT: It may have taken the better part of nine months to find its feet but Icona Pop’s single I Love It has finally found the following its infectious brand of power electro-pop deserves. A break-up anthem that declares “I don’t care… I love it” over lyrics about crashing cars into bridges and being up in space, it’s a gutsy statement of independence that is empowering, chant-worthy and – ultimately – upbeat and celebratory in spite of the lyrics. In the US, the track has already found its way onto an episode of Girls and a Dr Pepper advert, as if to underline the durability, adaptability and widespread appeal of the song. You’ll be chanting “I don’t care, I love it” at the top of your voice within about two or three listens, no doubt waving your arms in the air at the same time.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Pink, Just Give Me A Reason

PINK feat NATE RUESSJUST GIVE ME A REASON: Pink unites with fun’s Nate Ruess for her latest offering, the piano-based pop ballad Just Give Me A Reason. And it’s the type of song that benefits from the mixture of vocals, emerging from a pretty bog-standard ballad early on (featuring Pink’s lead vocal), to something a little warmer and more enjoyable. Once Ruess lends his own distinct vocals to proceedings, and a toe-tapping back-beat kicks in, this really opens up and feels like a more celebratory offering. The late inclusion of some string arrangements also helps to add to the enjoyment factor, meaning that Pink has once again beat the doubters, remained true to her own passions, and delivered another satisfying (if not genre-defying) single.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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The Burning of Rome

THE BURNING OF ROMENORMAN BATES: The art of a good, intelligent pop song is the ability to wrap dark themes into catchy melodies. The Burning of Rome achieve that with new single Norman Bates, taken from their forthcoming album With Us (out March 25). A gypsy punk pop romp that has catchy melodies, foot-tapping beats and giddy piano arrangements, this is also a look at the unhinged life of one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous characters. Or, as the band themselves put it: “Quite literally, this song portraits the schizophrenic meltdown of Hitchcockian character Norman Bates. He consciously sees motel guest Marian Crane as a damsel in distress, however internal rants he hears from his deceased mother are brewing darker plots for the mislaid maiden.” It’ll be highly intriguing to see what else the album delivers thematically.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Fall Out Boy, My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark

FALL OUT BOY – MY SONGS KNOW WHAT YOU DID IN THE DARK: Fall Out Boy’s return is…. well, pretty much like the stuff they were doing before. Or at least until you hit the big chorus, which feels a little more pop and slightly more euphoric and incendiary than normal. Overall, the song offers robust verses and an epic chorus that is given chant-worthy quality by the lyrics “light em up, up, up”. The inclusion of some R’n’B inflicted female vocals during that chorus adds an extra dimension too. It’s a heady return and one that’s designed to get them noticed. It succeeds. And don’t bet against this featuring on some soundtrack soon too. It’s good without being great.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Dan Michaelson & The Coastguards, Sheets

DAN MICHAELSON & THE COASTGUARDSSHEETS: While Dan Michaelson’s 2011 album Sudden Fiction saw him decamp to Marfa, Texas to create a sparse and bare boned lament to failing love, his new album Blindspot (out March 25) sees a return to familiar territory for an album about coming home and picking up the pieces. Recorded between stints of touring with I Am Kloot, Phosphorescent and Beth Orton, and scoring his first feature film with Johnny Flynn and Lorne Balfe (Lord of the Rings/ Transformers/Inception), Blindspot is a subtle reflection on what is left in the peripheries when all else has been obstructed. The first single off the album is Sheets, an ode to leaving your troubles at your lover’s door, and stepping over the line into a place where the rest of the world disappears into insignificance. It’s stripped back, with an aching central vocal, and a subtle combination of piano, violin and acoustic strumming. It may have a melancholy refrain but there’s also something beguiling about it too.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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The Bazaars, Girls In Time

THE BAZAARSGIRLS IN TIME: With influences spanning from their obsession with Bitches Brew era Miles Davis, through to Henri Mancini, the sublimity of The Beatles, by way of Jeff Beck, Hendrix, CAN and 70’s Germanica, The Bazaars mixture of pure pop with its deep, brooding soul attempts to bring their influences up to date. New single Girls In Time, taken from their forthcoming, as-yet unnamed album, has a Bowie vibe attached too, thanks to a chorus that has a very ‘80s vibe. There’s also a touch of the Springsteen and Killers about it given that it embodies a big, anthemic, grandstanding kind of sound and wears its heart on its sleeve. It’s a catchy offering that should place this Leeds-based act firmly on the map. For the record, The Bazaars are childhood friends Jonny Woolnough, Tom McGeorge, Jonny Pugh and Paul Brown.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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The Saturdays, What About Us

THE SATURDAYS feat SEAN PAULWHAT ABOUT US: I can’t think of too many collaborations that are less appealing than this one. And, sure enough, the moment Sean Paul’s one-note rap ushers in proceedings, and a cheesy Ibiza-leaning synth sound drops in, you know this is disposable dance-pop of the most mind-numbingly generic variety. Lyrically, it even lazily drops in a “na na na na” refrain over the chorus, presumably designed to get those Tweenie-fied Saturdays wannabes flinging their arms in the air in giddy abandon. There’s nothing remotely enjoyable or recommendable about this offering.
Rating: 1 out of 5

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Damn Vandals

DAMN VANDALSKINGS OF NEVER: Damn Vandals release Kings of Never from their acclaimed debut album, Done For Desire, and continue to impress on their own terms. Featuring brooding, rolling guitar riffs, a giant chorus and those distinct, throaty vocals of Jack Kansas (which continue to garner comparisons with everyone from Bowie to Mark Lanegan via Jim Morrisson), this is a mood-rocker in the classic style that has deservedly got people talking about it. The B-side, The Revenge of Spider Toothy, was written by a three-year-old child apparently, and lyrically is as inventive as a child’s imagination being allowed to run riot could be. It also has a spooky cinematic quality attached to its instrumentation, befitting the Tim Burton-esque lyricism.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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The Trade

THE TRADEFIGHT CLUB: Taken from their debut album, Lie In The Dark, The Trade’s new single Fight Club is as volatile as that name suggests (and clearly an ode to David Fincher’s film of the same name). Driven by Ross Milne’s gritty vocals and some meaty guitar work from Liam Moir and Stevie Morris, it’s a beefed up offering that screams of torment, conflict and anguish (“I love you, I hate you, I miss you”, etc) which actually gets more likeable the longer it lasts (thanks to increased intensity). It makes you want to hear more of what they have to offer.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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