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Music - Singles of the week - Monday, October 29, 2012

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

KAV, King Of The World (The Undefeated Champion)

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: KAVKING OF THE WORLD (THE UNDEFEATED CHAMPION): Happy Mondays guitarist and Kasabian cohort KAV releases his new single King Of The World (The Undefeated Champion) and succeeds in blowing you away in emphatic fashion. With kick-ass guitars, a thumping drum beat and an anthemic chorus in waiting, this is a hard-hitting slice of rock that recalls the early intensity of acts like The Rolling Stones and Tom Petty. Indeed, it’s so steeped in classic rock values that fans of either of those bands, as well as the more contemporary likes of Primal Scream and, yes, Kasabian, would do well to check it out. You’ll be singing along in no time to the rousing chorus. The violent and hard hitting video is produced by Martin Pickering (aka The Pickering Brothers). The video is intercut with footage of KAV’s show at London’s KOKO last month, with a bare knuckle fight. We see pro MMA fighters Lee Coville and Jarek Maryszczak punch it out with the underdog, prevailing as the king of his own seedy boxing underworld.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Tom Odell, Songs From Another Love EP

EP OF THE WEEK: TOM ODELLSONGS FROM ANOTHER LOVE: Given that Tom Odell has been writing his own songs from the age of 13 (he’s now 21), it’s perhaps surprising that only now does his debut EP materialise. Nevertheless, it was worth the wait. Comprised of four songs about love that are as impassioned and thoughtful as they are instrumentally satisfying, this is the sound of a major new talent rising. One highlight is Can’t Pretend (video below), which begins as a tender piano ballad before exploding to life midway through with a rousing combination of drums, piano and backing harmonies. It’s mature stuff, too, as Odell sings with almost bitter resignation: “I guess that’s love, I can’t pretend.” Indeed, it’s the kind of track that gets better and more rousing the longer it lasts and, for my money, is the pick of the bunch, right down to the way he strips things all the way back down for the qiuet finale. Earlier, Another Love once again builds from pleasing piano arrangements to offer a thought-provoking examination of restricted love… a man desperate to impress a new woman but whose tears have been used up on another love. It’s beautiful yet heartbreaking at the same time. Sense, meanwhile, is brooding and sombre, yet every bit as resonant, while a demo of Stay Tonight rounds things off in just as impressive fashion. This is clearly a singer-songwriter to pay close attention to. And one more interesting fact, for those fashionistas among you… Burberry fashion chose Another Love for their Spring / Summer catwalk show earlier this year. So there!
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Watch the video for Can’t Pretend:

Listen to Another Love:

Maroon 5, One More Night

MAROON 5 – ONE MORE NIGHT: The unstoppable re-emergence of Maroon 5 as a major force in music continues apace with the release of new single, One More Night, another effortless crowd-pleaser. While certainly not in the same league as Move Like Jagger, this has a reggae-inflicted vibe that adds to the easy-going pop feel of the song as a whole, while Adam Levine drops a distinct set of falsetto tinged vocals over a track that forewarns an impending break-up. Lyrically, it’s actually quite dark with lines like “cross my heart and I hope to die, that I only stay with you one more night” but you wouldn’t think so to listen to it casually. The track has already made top spot States-side; expect a similarly high chart placement in the UK.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Robbie Williams, Candy

ROBBIE WILLIAMSCANDY: Oh dear… Robbie Williams makes yet another return with new single Candy and once more flatters to deceive. Designed as a feel-good ode to a woman who “thinks she’s made of candy”, it’s bouncy, pop-orientated and full of stabs of brass presumably designed to get you up and dancing. But with lyrics like “ring a ring a roses, whoever gets the closest” you know that not much thought has really been applied to the lyrics. Williams will call it an upbeat, strings-backed slice of feel-good pop to dust the winter blues away. But you’ve got to admit (albeit through gritted teeth) that this vibe is currently being done better by Olly Murs and Scouting For Girls. Candy actually leaves something of a bitter taste.
Rating: 2 out of 5

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Paloma Faith, Never Tear Us Apart

PALOMA FAITHNEVER TEAR US APART: I’ve got to admit, this one’s grown on me. For me, beating the INXS original was always going to take something special. And while Paloma Faith can’t quite pull it off, her take on that classic ballad – as featured on John Lewis’ Never Knowingly Undersold TV advert – has a different kind of quality. The sultry, soulful vocals lend it a different vibe, even if she attempts to replicate the guitar sound that marked the original at a couple of points. The strings, though, lend it a classic cinematic vibe that add to the moody seriousness of it. Once the backing vocals kick in, it comes together quite nicely – just some way short of the original’s breathtaking brilliance.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Passion Pit, Take A Walk

PASSION PITTAKE A WALK: Passion Pit continue to offer their euphoric brand of pop with new single Take A Walk and it’s really kind of infectious (and boasting a great video featuring a flying dog)! The synths continue to be upbeat and jazzy, the vocals upbeat and positive, and the foot-stomping beats guaranteed to get you moving along in tandem with it. The chorus, too, is pretty much a standout, suggesting this track could well become an anthem in waiting for them. Passion Pit may be an acquired taste thus far in the UK but they have a very easy to listen to quality about them, and a sense of optimism and quality, that makes them always worth checking out. Take A Walk leads by example.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Linnea Olsson, Dinosaur

ADELESKYFALL: As James Bond celebrates his 50th anniversary with new film Skyfall, it would seem that the series creators are pulling out all the stops to give 007 the best time ever. Skyfall is a great Bond movie (we can happily confirm, review to follow) and Adele has delivered a great Bond theme. Employing her distinctive, powerhouse vocals and merging them with the cinematic vibe of classic Bond, this is a match made in heaven – arguably the most striking mix of vocals and instrumentals for a 007 opening credits sequence since Shirley Bassey and Goldfinger. But then Skyfall, the film, is as much about celebrating Bond’s past as it is his current and future. And in Adele, they’ve paired with the biggest singer of the moment. The track itself begins amid piano chords and a sombre vocal stating “this is the end”, before slowly easing in the orchestral elements and raising the intensity of Adele’s vocals. It works well as a stand-alone track and is sensational when paired with the movie.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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John Wean, M.A.P

JOHN WEAN – M.A.P: The M.A.P of the title to John Wean’s latest refers to the morning after pill and the song is a tongue-in-cheek hymn to the conflicting thoughts that can swamp the brain in the moment of realisation that all has not gone to plan! “Show her the ring or the middle finger,” sings songwriter Conor, as if to underline the extremity of the choice that some people have to make. The song itself offers a suitably rousing backdrop, akin to the type of raucous energy that Idlewild also specialise in – solid guitars, sharp lyrics and a vibrancy that is hard not to become wrapped up in. The chorus, for all its volatile sentiments, has a catchy ring to it that should become easy to get behind and sing-along to in live form. Just don’t sing it close by to the one you love, to avoid any misunderstandings!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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The Twang, Mainline

THE TWANGMAINLINE: Described as a departure, The Twang’s new single Mainline is the first fruit to be heard from the long-delayed 10:20 LP, which is also released today. In truth, it’s not too much of a departure as the distinct vocal sound remains intact. But there are dark and twisted verses with a carnival like chorus, complete with stabs of brass that give it a crowd-pleasing vibe. It’s a solid effort without being one of the highlights from the LP, which is worth hearing. 10:20 is also notable for introducing a new drummer to the band, in the form of Ash ‘grandmaster ash’ Sheehan, a well known percussionist on the underground house scene. It was Ash who originally played all the trumpets on Mainline before stepping behind the drums for a session and really finding his niche.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Mutado Pintado, Carbon Copies/This Life

MUTADO PINTADOCARBON COPIES/THIS LIFE: Mutado Pintado, aka Craig Louis Higgins Jr, was born in Cape Cod and now cuts a rug round South London by way of the streets of NYC. Having previously toured with acts as diverse as Kasabian and Bryan Adams under his Black Daniel moniker, Mutado Pintado (moo-tah-doh pin-tah-doh) – skin shed, guitars retuned – is returning with the double A-side single Carbon Copies/This Life. Recorded at Elton John’s Rocket Man Studios and the Pintado House of Horrors, the tracks deliver a tale of war, love and death and a nice biography about growing up on Cape Cod. Both offer a welcome introduction to someone who looks set to be one of the more interesting new acts of the moment. Carbon Copies, in particular, has a Lou Reed-style vocal quality with some classic instrumentation, beginning almost lazily but getting progressively faster and more layered. It’s a compelling listen. This Life, meanwhile, has a Beck-meets-Eels vibe, complete with folk-funk guitars and spoke-sung vocals, that hook you in. Mutado says of the tracks: “Carbon Copies came about by just playing the three chords over and over on my banged up guitar at my house and liking the hook of it. The verses changed from the bizarre to the obvious and the electric turned into acoustic. I sent it to Matthew (Hardwidge, producer) and he hooked up a day in Rocket Studios. This Life was done the same way. It’s just about growing up and being the misfits in beautiful Cape Cod, causing ‘good’ trouble and living life as we thought it should be, based on the movies and magazines we were looking at in a totally cut off part of the world.”
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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PJP Band, I Am A Racer

PJP BAND – I AM A RACER: I Am A Racer is the first single to be taken from The PJP Band’s forthcoming debut album and is a decent introduction to their sound with its uplifting, life-affirming energy. Indeed, for a track called I Am A Racer it aptly zips along amid rapid-fire drums, funky guitar riffs and a euphoric chorus that declares: “I am a racer and you are the carborator.” OK, so the lyrics don’t necessarily make sense but there’s a catchy quality to their pop-rock brand that should help to get them noticed. The track has already received spins by Edith Bowman after winning the public vote on the Radio 1 Review Show (We Are The Ocean took in the track, fresh from The PJP Band’s album recording session). It has also received plays from firm-fan Tom Robinson on 6 Music. The video, though slightly freaky, is worth checking out too.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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