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Music - Singles of the week - Monday, November 7, 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…

Cave Painting

EP OF THE WEEK: CAVE PAINTING – YOU’LL BE RUNNING SOON: Brighton five-piece Cave Painting were signed to Hideout Recordings on a major long-term deal before they’d even played their second live show, such was the impression they made after releasing their beautifully gentle single Leaf as a free download earlier this year. They now make good on that early promise with the release of the stunning EP, You’ll Be Running Soon, which effortlessly combines the emotional sweep and easy appeal of bands like Coldplay with the classic, almost epic reach of revered artists such as The Police and Peter Gabriel. Opening track Midnight Love showcases Adam Kane’s distinctive vocals as they melt into brooding melodies, combining a sweeping, almost haunted Sting-like approach (of The Police era) with some atmospheric but endearing instrumental arrangements. It’s immediately striking and just keeps getting better and more rewarding with each listen. Our Click Say Yeah ups the tempo slightly, once more thriving on Kane’s distinct falsetto approach, but employing a rhythmic ambience that’s by turns thrilling and strangely ethereal. Rio, on the other hand, brightens things up and almost comes over all breezy, layering the percussion and guitars to create a soaring crescendo of sound that Coldplay would be proud of. The mid-track strip down that finds Kane singing a capello “who would have seen my face when I was a hollow man” is spine-tinglingly good. So Calm, meanwhile, combines more haunted vocals with striking guitar riffs to hit a sound that reaches the emotional highs of both Coldplay and Peter Gabriel. It’s also empowering with its lyric of “I’m not wasting time… feel so calm in the way you are”. Trust us, this is a band that’s genuinely worth getting excited about.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Website

Listen to the EP here

Maverick Sabre, I Need

MAVERICK SABRE – I NEED: It’s a central sentiment that many of us can no doubt relate to at the moment (“I need something good”), so in that sense Maverick Sabre has tapped into a feeling that everyone can get behind. But what follows is something that’s also very personal, a reflective offering about the good and bad old days that wears its heart on its sleeve, while delivering its thoughts in a gravel throated, soulful fashion. The accompanying instrumentation weaves in emotive strings, slick beats and melodic piano chords to provide Maverick Sabre with a follow-up to Let Me Go that’s every bit as accomplished and impressive. Given the depth of his vocals and the assured way in which he floods each track with such layered, high-quality instrumentals, you can’t help but feel that something good is right around the corner for him.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Duologue, A-B EP

DUOLOGUE – A-B EP: Written, performed, produced and mixed by Duologue, so goes the credit on A-B the impressive second EP from the London based five-piece. The follow up to their eponymous first EP, this new release is yet further proof of this experimental bands ability to fuse audio technology with good old-fashioned heartfelt songs. As one critic noted, listening to them is like bridging the gap between Radiohead and Foals, with some of Muse’s more theatrical elements thrown in. Half Heart Rag kicks things off with the type of pained falsetto from vocalist Tim Digby-Bell that makes for immediate comparisons with Thom Yorke and Matt Bellamy, although the horns and beats make for a heady, distinctive brew that equally defies easy comparisons. Push It unfolds amid another striking falsetto from Digby-Bell but is content to let the guitars do the talking and proceeds to deliver some striking riff structures. It’s a tale of frustration that’s far from a frustrating listen. The EP then changes direction once more with the addictive electronic pulse of Crave, which feels dangerous and almost industrial. The vocals, meanwhile, take on a darker feel and perfectly compliment the atmospheric sound. If anything, this is the standout moment. But Endless Imitation retains the quality, hitting a slightly more warmer sound through its guitars and electronics, and finding more hope in the lyrics about lost love and personal recovery. It’s here, more than ever, the Radiohead comparisons become crystal clear… and if you’ve been missing them of late, then here’s the new ticket. But Duologue do enough throughout this second EP to suggest they’re fast becoming a major force in their own right… intelligent, striking and really worth investing your time in.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website

Watch Push It (recorded live):

Seun Kuti, Rise

SEUN KUTI & EGYPT 80 – RISE: The lead track from Seun Kuti’s From Africa With Fury: Rise LP (released earlier this year and produced by Kuti, Brian Eno and John Reynolds), this is a lengthy statement of empowerment that encourages listeners to rise above the oppression that so often marks life in the African continent. As Seun himself states: “In Africa today, most people are struggling in silence. The systematic oppression of the people has made them blinded to their reality. Everybody’s just thinking about survival. Nobody wants to stand up for anything, everybody just wants to tow the line. So, I’m trying to make people think about these things that they are forgetting. I want to inspire people to want things to change.” The ensuing track is a slow-builder that combines heartfelt, thought-provoking lyricism with impassioned vocals (from Kuti and his backing gospel singers) and a deeply African vibe (complete with striking basslines and stabs of brass that conjure memories of Marley). It’s an assured piece of work from the 27-year-old performer that does exactly what it sets out to, while offering plenty of instrumental enjoyment along the way.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Eleanor Friedberger

ELEANOR FRIEDBERGER – MY MISTAKES: Eleanor Friedberger is best known as one half of Chicago’s The Fiery Furnaces but she’s decided to go it alone with debut solo album, Last Summer, the first taster of which is this confessional lead single My Mistakes. Far from being downbeat, however, this autobiographical single is marked out by some breezy guitars, a catchy electronic melody and a fine set of vocals that determine to learn from her mistakes. Indeed, once the song gets going proper, there’s even a hand-clap, hip shaking quality about it that can’t fail to have your head nodding along in appreciation, while maybe even reflecting on your own mistakes that you may want to learn from. Catchy, thought-provoking and totally endearing, this is an excellent appetiser for the main course LP to come.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Watch the video:

Steel Panther, If You Really Really Love Me

STEEL PANTHER – IF YOU REALLY REALLY LOVE ME: “If you really, really, really love me, then you really got to show me, don’t mind if I put it in your booty…” It can only be the new single from Steel Panther, those comedic ‘gems’ that take male chauvinism and misogyny to new heights. Supposedly fun, and offering a more melodic, chart-friendly sound than the heavy rock riffs that dominate their new Balls Out LP, it’s a throwback to the sound of bands like Kiss and Motley Crue that belongs in the ‘80s amid a bygone era of thinking. That’s not to say it’s not a guilty pleasure of sorts, and this does rate as one of the album’s better and more tolerable songs, but it’s still a juvenile effort that adds to the bafflement surrounding Steel Panther’s continued success.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Website l Album review

Pixie Lott, What Do You Take Me For?

PIXIE LOTT feat PUSHA T – WHAT DO YOU TAKE ME FOR?: Given the success of Beyonce and Rihanna at the moment, and their particular brand of girl powered pop meets R’n’B, it’s little wonder that the chasing pack are taking their cues from them. Pixie Lott is the latest to combine feisty R’n’B style vocals over hip-grinding, urban influenced beats and a sassy sense of style that’s also reflected in the video (that finds her dancing along in slightly revealing outfits). But she also imbues that combination with a soulful set of vocals over the chorus, as she provocatively asks the listener: “What do you take me for?” Pusha T crops up occasionally to add some raps into the mix but this is mostly Pixie’s show and while not particularly ground-breaking (dare we say generic), it’s a radio-friendly offering that’s catchy and harmless enough while it lasts. It’s taken from the new album Young Foolish Happy, which is also out today.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Watch the video:

The Minutes

THE MINUTESBLACK KEYS: Dublin’s The Minutes were born out of the mid-Noughties with a shared love of NYC punk rock, The Smiths and Thin Lizzy. Evidence of how that has informed their sound is on offer on new single Black Keys, the first song to be taken from their forthcoming debut album, Marcata, which is scheduled to follow in early 2012. Featuring some heavy rock riffs that owe as much to Lizzy as they do the likes of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (who they’ve recently supported), and a ballsy set of vocals from Mark Austin that recall the swagger of bands such as Kasabian and Oasis, this is a heady, thrilling brew that marks an emphatic new arrival. And while you may well argue it’s not doing too much different, it does what it’s doing so well that you should be having too much of a good time to pay that much notice. Expect them to make quite a splash in 2012.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Watch the video:

JLS, Take A Chance

JLSTAKE A CHANCE ON ME: Cheesy melodies, saccharine harmonising, R’n’B meets pop sensibilities… it can only be the return of JLS. It’s a typically anaemic offering from the boys that sounds every bit as manufactured for maximum emotional manipulation as you’d expect from the Simon Cowell backed boys. The beats are light and inconsequential, the piano chords derivative of better ballads and the lyrics… well, if you’re won over by easy sentiments such as “so when you feel like trying again, reach out, take my hand” or “when I’m looking at your face, the world’s a better place” then you get what you deserve (which many, many, many chart followers will!). Sadly, this has hit written all over it – and that’s by no means a compliment or a statement of approval.
Rating: 2 out of 5

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We Are Augustines

WE ARE AUGUSTINESBOOK OF JAMES: We Are Augustines, the Brooklyn-based band formed by ex-Pela members Billy McCarthy and Eric Sanderson (with Rob Allen on drums), are aiming to make a big splash in early 2012 and lay the groundwork with striking new single Book of James now. Epic, moody, instantly striking, the song is Billy McCarthy’s attempt to humanize the homeless and mentally ill. “Everybody deserves a proper eulogy; this is mine for my brother James,” explains Billy. “As far as I’m concerned our society at large would rather not think about the topic of homelessness and mental illness. Unfortunately, people who have lived through it are forced to find a place to store it internally. This song is written from that place.” Anyone anticipating something too preachy had best think again, though, for there’s a keen melodic structure and a rawness of sound that’s thrilling and which delivers an empowering backdrop to the sentiments behind the thought-provoking lyrics. The new Kings of Leon anyone?
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Watch the video:

The Lights

THE LIGHTSMOSTLY WATER: Taken from The Light’s current album, Teenager of the Century, The Lights’ new single Mostly Water is a shimmering piece of indie-pop that juxtaposes melancholy lyrics (“we’re going down with a sinking ship”) with some lush guitar riffs and a pleasing melodic structure. Liz Shiels’ breathless vocal are genuinely appealing and have a distinct quality about them, while the guitar work is great, especially during a lively solo around the two and a half minute mark. It’s no surprise to find that the album and single have benefited from the production work of renowned sonic guru Gavin Monaghan, who has worked with everyone from Travis and Editors to Kings of Leon. The Lights are keeping good company and shining ever brighter.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Foxx on Fire, March In The Sun EP

FOXX ON FIREMARCH INTO THE SUN EP: Foxx on Fire lay claim to making psychedelic pop music that’s influenced by Brian Eno, Pharoah Sanders and Bryan Ferry. Their new March Into The Sun EP certainly has the psychedelic elements but is missing something (perhaps it sounds too samey early on). The mix of falsetto leaning vocals, brass sections and trippy tendencies lend things a generally upbeat vibe and a retro feel but there’s a spark that’s just not there. So, whether that’s the pounding Into The Light, the trippy, ‘80s leaning Vicious Satellite (which seems to be taking its cues more from INXS and Duran Duran instrumentally), or the lead offering March Into The Sun, with its euphoric ‘woo-hoo’ harmonising, there’s nothing really here that you haven’t heard done better before. Maddeningly, you’ll probably want to like them more than you do…
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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