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Music - Singles of the week - Monday, May 21, 2012

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

We Are Augustines, Juarez

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: WE ARE AUGUSTINESJUAREZ: Following the release of their critically acclaimed debut album Rise Ye Sunken Ships, Brooklyn’s We Are Augustines return to tour the UK alongside the release of new single Juarez, one of the album highlights. The track was written about the Mexican town that exists on the southern border of the United States. The vibrant community there has featured in poetry, songs and films over the years due to the huge amount of people passing through there on a daily basis. But since 2009, the level of escalating violence created by local drug wars has destroyed the area leaving more than 80,000 young people unemployed and over 100,000 lost jobs due to closed businesses. The ensuing song is delivered with an epic sense of sorrow and compassion that makes it all the more endearing… a slow-building guitar providing the backdrop for some genuinely anguished vocals. If anything there’s a Killers vibe about it as well… only better. And to make the single even more compelling, it comes backed with a previously unreleased cover version of the beautiful Los Lobos track Saint Behind The Glass, which offers a cracking contrast. It’s exemplary stuff from one of the more exciting US bands of the moment.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Rumer, P.F Sloan

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: RUMER – PF SLOAN: The Karen Carpenter-esque vocals of Rumer provide a lovely setting for the singer’s P.F Sloan, a delightful cover version of a song originally sung by Jimmy Webb and the first song to emerge from her forthcoming album, Boys Don’t Cry, a collection of lesser-known songs from the ‘70s, all of which were originally sung by men. The mysterious Sloan in question was a huge songwriter in his own right throughout the ‘60s, penning Barry McGuire’s Eve Of Destruction and composing the riff that would go on to become the Mamas & The Papas’ California Dreaming. Desperate to sing his own material, however, Sloan gave it all up to record as a solo artist, but failed to sell any records. He disappeared into obscurity, only to be remembered by Jimmy Webb’s own song, P.F Sloan: one songwriter’s bittersweet tribute to another, documenting the costs of being a true artist. “It’s a song about the great writers who have been forgotten, or sidelined by a commercially-driven music industry,” summarises Rumer. It’s beautifully delivered, retaining that classic ‘70s vibe, yet benefiting from Rumer’s distinct and rather lovely delivery and a killer hook that opens with “no no no no no no no no, don’t sing this song”. It’s made for nodding your head along in appreciation, and possibly even singing along… while remembering the mysterious person at its core.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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PALOMA FAITHPICKING UP THE PIECES: Few female artists can hope to hold a candle to the chart domination of Adele at the moment but Paloma Faith is one of those singers who can possibly aspire to doing so. Blessed with a similarly emphatic set of vocals, she also knows how to deliver a telling pop song that reaches greater emotional depths than the norm. Hence, new single Picking Up The Pieces lays down another marker… setting a tale of angst and worry about a relationship against a backdrop of slick beats and lush orchestral arrangements that combine to create a winning, head-spinning whole. Faith’s gutsy delivery also lends the song extra edge, making this a fine comeback for her (especially once the gospel-style layering kicks in towards the finale).
Rating: 4 out of 5

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This Many Boyfriends, (I Should Be A) Communist

THIS MANY BOYFRIENDS – (I SHOULD BE A) COMMUNIST: Leeds indie-poppers This Many Boyfriends launch their bid to become the new Smiths with the release of new single, (I Should Be A) Communist. Toe-tappingly catchy, this boasts lively indie-pop guitar riffs, lively beats and a chant-along style delivery that includes “who ho ah”s aplenty and disaffected lyrics. This Many Boyfriends had this to say about it too: “We say it’s a pop song about big stuff, the big stuff being buying superfluous, dumb things when you have no money. And we should make it clear from the off that it’s not really an academic study about the merits of Communism, it’s a silly song with a guitar solo. Karl Marx, avert your ears!” Well, maybe not quite that Smiths-like yet then. Sound-alike, yes… but maybe more fun and disposable as a result. The B-side, How Is This Even A Job? follows the same kind of formula and is just as snappy.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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The Wanted, Chasing The Sun

THE WANTEDCHASING THE SUN: From the moment Chasing The Sun hits you with its Ibiza-leaning synth sound you know where this track’s true heart lies… on the dancefloor with maximum mainstream appeal. Hence, The Wanted’s latest party anthem is largely generic and totally soulless… a perfectly concocted single that will, obviously, bring them massive chart success for those who like their music to conform to a rigid pop-dance structure. It’s attempts to mix darker lyrics with a brighter musical style also don’t quite convince given the pre-packaged vibe surrounding the whole endeavour. Sad to say, it will quite probably be the biggest seller of the week.
Rating: 2 out of 5

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Halfway To New York, Treading Water EP

HALFWAY TO NEW YORKTREADING WATER EP: Having last month sold out the barfly for their debut London headline show, and recently returned from the US (where amongst other things they headlined the legendary Viper Rooms), Halfway To New York now release their debut EP in the form of Treading Water. Garnering comparisons with the moody, slow-building style of Snow Patrol at times, as well as the anthemic likes of Killers and even Stereophonics, it’s a lively introduction that explains why they’re generating buzz on both sides of the Atlantic. Of the five tracks on the EP, title track Treading Water has a genuine Snow Patrol vibe early on in the way it builds from an atmospheric opening to a gritty, raw rock-rollercoaster of a potential stadium filler. What A Way To Go ditches the slow build, however, for a more vibrant and melodic offering, before debut single Out of Time recalls an earlier effort and a more classic rock sound. That track was actually mixed by Simon Gogerly, Grammy award winner for U2’s How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. It’s similarly lively and stadium leaning. Evidence of the band’s ability to slow down the tempo and deliver a meaningful ballad is to be found on We Were Wrong, while Going Home rounds things off with another gritty rock ‘n’ roller that arguably contains one of the best riffs on the EP. They’re an act to keep a keen eye on.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Cry Baby

CRYBABYWHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT: Crybaby’s When The Lights Go Out is a song about saying goodbye to someone close and finding solace in your memories when they’ve gone. And yet while it’s coached in sadness, it maintains a crowd-pleasing melody whereby the guitar licks and vocals retain a sense of optimism about them. It’s slightly quirky, by virtue of the Bristolian singer-songwriter’s heightened vocals. But it’s delivered with meaning and sticks by its guns in delivering songs that provoke thought and treat its listeners as adults. It’s taken from the eponymous debut album, which has also been garnering strong reviews.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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The Coronas, Addicted To Progress

THE CORONASADDICTED TO PROGRESS: Platinum selling, Dublin based four-piece The Coronas follow up last week’s release of their new album, Closer To You with the release of the single Addicted To Progress… and it aint bad. Kicking off with a nice piano intro before unleashing an addictive indie-pop guitar blast, this is delivered with vigour and catchiness. It’s not doing anything particularly different for the genre but the chorus has a sing-along element attached to it (courtesy of its “if I had a rainbow” refrain) and the melody remains tight throughout. It’s produced by Tony Hoffer (Air, Beck, The Kooks) and shows signs that the band continues to mature nicely, while gaining more and more confidence.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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