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Music - Singles of the Week - Monday, October 6

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

The Courteeners, That Kiss

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: THE COURTEENERSTHAT KISS: With the dust barely settled on the release of the now gold certified St. Jude, Liam Fray and The Courteeners have appeared from the studio with a new single. That Kiss, produced once again by Stephen Street, is a slice of modern balladry shot through with a Ronettes rhythm and a chorus sure to echo across the UK when the band embark on a further sold out tour in October. The strings were arranged by Liam and are played by the players heard on Blur’s The Universal. A completely new track, That Kiss boasts some terrific lyrics (“that kiss lasted too long and we probably shouldn’t have danced to that song”) and a keen sense of melody that suggests The Courteeners are growing in stature approaching the sophomore album. The track will be a stand alone single in the tradition of such band favourites as The Smiths and The Stone Roses – so it’s well worth rushing out to buy!
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Kaiser Chiefs, Never Miss A Beat

KAISER CHIEFSNEVER MISS A BEAT: Another welcome return from the Leeds misfits that are the Kaiser Chiefs. Never Miss A Beat is a slight departure, but only slight given that it still manages to set that chant-along style against some slightly meatier guitar chords in a crowd-pleasing kind of way. The lyrics are punchy and rebellious too, reminding me of the same sense of anarchy that inflicted Pink Floyd’s We Don’t Need No Education. Taken from the band’s forthcoming third album, Off With Their Heads, it’s an excellent opening salvo that should inspire plenty of jumping up and down during live shows, as well as some insane dancing from anyone who catches it on the radio. It’s made for playing loud.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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The Rascals

THE RASCALS – I’LL GIVE YOU SYMPATHY: Reeling from the release of their debut album Rascalize, Miles Kane (guitar), Joe Edwards (bass) and Greg Mighall (drums) – aka The Rascals – are back with another hard-hitting track in the form of I’ll Give You Sympathy. A firm favourite on the live circuit, and one of the highlights from the album, it’s a gritty mix of guitars and organs that finds the Liverpudlians channeling the classic energy of bands such as The Inspiral Carpets, whilst sounding as vibrant and contemporary as ever before. The guitar solo is a particularly thrilling aside. I’ll Give You Sympathy is released through Deltasonic Records and will be available on download and 7”.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Todd Rundgren

TODD RUNDGRENSTRIKE: Strike is the first single to emerge from artist/producer Todd Rundgren’s new album, Arena, which features his first collection of original studio material in four years. Much like the album, Strike captures the essence and energy of Rundgren’s passion for “arena” rock, with a bombastic central guitar riff giving rise to a mighty, chant-along style chorus (all about getting ready to “rumble”). It’s all very old school rock ‘n’ roll, in a grandiose Kiss kind of way, but if you get your kicks from that kind of scene, then this shows plenty of touches of quality. Those that feel that Rundgren should have, perhaps, hung up his guitar strings in the ‘80s will hear little here to suggest they’re ever going to be proven otherwise.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Sugababes, Girls

SUGABABESGIRLS: The Sugababes have long been known for their ability to reign supreme at the top of the pop scene while adding something a little more sassy/funky to the usual all-girl formula. And so it is that latest comeback single, Girls, drops a funky, floor-filling, Motown-tinged instrumental around some typically sassy, take-charge vocals. It’s very much a call to arms kind of song, built around a slightly repetitive chorus of “here come the girls”, and promising everything from “little black dresses” to “heeled stilettos”. It’s some way short of emulating the best that the Sugababes have had to offer, but it’s also a guilty pleasure kind of dancefloor workout in all the right ways. The girls have definitely got their groove back, they’re clearly having fun, and the rhythm is shamelessly infectious.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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John Legend, Green Light

JOHN LEGEND feat ANDRE 3000 – GREENLIGHT: John Legend announces the arrival of his latest album Evolver by releasing the lead single Greenlight featuring a collaboration with OutKast’s Andre 3000. It’s a very smart partnership that hints at the direction Legend might be taking with his latest long-player – namely, a return to more mainstream material that successfully marries pop, R’n’B and hip hop. Legend’s smooth style is nicely offset by Andre’s distinct rap verse and the upbeat nature of the music unashamedly makes it a song that will have music fans lining up for the dancefloor. If anything, it has that dual ability to leave Legend fans excited about the prospect of hearing the whole of Evolver, whilst reminding everyone of just good cool OutKast can be. Come on Andre, now give us a new album of your own material!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Andrea McEwan

ANDREA McEWAN – CANDLE IN A CHATROOM EP: Fans of Katie Melua will probably soon get to know about Andrea McEwan because she’ll be supporting the popular British singer-songwriter on her forthcoming tour. McEwan, though, could well emerge as a major force in her own right as she possesses many of the qualities that have helped Melua become so popular. Her debut EP Candle In A Chatroom features three songs from her as yet untitled album. The title track finds Andrea adopting a dreamy, acoustic folk style to explore the idea of romance and its place in modern love. From its name alone, it speaks volumes about the difficulty of actually meeting people and displays an intelligence to match the assuredness of the vocals. Black Socks In The Wash is again built around some soft strumming and a vocal that really, really does sound as though it was inspired by the likes of Norah Jones and Melua. We can confidently predict it’ll be a great crowd-warmer during the forthcoming support slots, and it’s arguably a better, more instantly take notice offering than Candle…. Fast Train, meanwhile, is a tender, personal and piano-based ballad that was inspired by a walk on Hampstead Heath one day while she was missing her home and her mother. It’s certain to strike a chord with fans of Melua’s style of songwriting. Sorry to keep making that comparison, but if it helps to get her noticed then that can only be a good thing. McEwan appears to be a singer-songwriting talent in waiting…
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Sharleen Spiteri

SHARLEEN SPITERISTOP I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE: Sharleen Spiteri releases her new single Stop I Don’t Love You Anymore through Mercury Records and seems to be taking a leaf out of the Duffy school for success (not to mention Amy Winehouse!). Stop… is a whip-cracking slice of bittersweet break-up pop in the classic Motown and Northern Soul tradition that drops plenty of sassy-sounding brass around Spiteri’s soulful vocals. It’s snappy, shamefully addictive and evidence of why Sharleen’s debut solo album Melody went straight into the album charts at No 3, and has stayed Top 10 ever since – being declared Gold for 100,000 sales after just three weeks! It may well be derivative of current pop trends, but when it’s done this well then, really, who the hell cares!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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N-Dub, Ouch

N-DUBZOUCH: A big Kiss FM anthem, N-Dubz Ouch begins as a moody slice of smooth groove R’n’B before trading boy-girl raps over a story of bickering lovers. A thumping back beat adds atmosphere, some shameless “ah ah ha”’s bring pop credibility, but the gritty, urban style of the vocals lend it a much harder edge. In truth, it’s actually a bit of a mess that pretends to have something meaningful to say, but which actually is forgotten almost as quickly as it’s finished. Like we said, Kiss listeners will probably help it to a high chart position but this is lightweight stuff that fails to leave any real kind of impression either way.
Rating: 2 out of 5

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Ann Scott

ANN SCOTTIMELDA: Ann Scott releases new single Imelda from the critically-acclaimed sophomore album and immediately reveals why she’s considered to be among the leading lights of Irish indie. Built around a striking set of vocals, which have the ability to sound ethereal, yet warm, both at the same time, the song also displays a keen ear for melody and strong guitar riffs. It’s a lush, memorable listen that, if anything, draws favourable comparisons with both Tori Amos and The Cranberries in their prime. A prolific and busy performer, Scott has shared the stage with artists as diverse as Blondie and Fairport Convention, as well as being nominated in the best female category for the 2005 and 2007 Irish Meteor Awards. It shouldn’t be long before she finds herself nominated for some more widely known awards, or basking in the mainstream spotlight.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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The Drones

THE DRONESTHE MINOTAUR EP: The Drones release a six-track EP in the run-up to the release of their new album Havilah in 2009. Featuring two new tracks from the new LP, The Minotaur and Nail It Down, two tracks from their Australian Music Prize winning 2005 LP and two from their 2006 LP Gall Mill, it kind of gives you a taster of what’s come before, and what to expect from the future… which, it’s fair to say, isn’t much. Of the two new songs, Nail It Down is the better offering – moody, atmospheric, slow-building yet still prone to punk-inflicted edginess and too much distortion. The Minotaur, meanwhile, squanders a promising opening by aiming for Pixies-style epic-ness and falling some way short. If anything, it just pisses you off by the time it lumbers out of ear-shot.
Rating: 2 out of 5

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Tiny Spark

TINY SPARKALASKA EP: Tiny Spark release their debut EP on The Animal Farm, the label run by the producers of One Night Only, Ejectorseat and Rosalita. Hailing from South London and Portsmouth the band (named after the Brendan Benson song) have gained an endorsement from the clothing brand Ben Sherman and are set to play The Water rats in King’s Cross tonight (October 6) to mark the release of their single. Alaska is rightly described as epic pop-rock with an alt-country twist. Kicking off amid a swirling piano loop and gradually drawing on drums and a notable guitar solo, it’s a striking debut single that even has a terrific chorus. George Lenton’s falsetto-tinged vocals are also pretty notable, making them well equipped for a full-blooded assault on mainstream glory. Tiny Spark are no strangers to walking in big circles, though, having performed to sell-out crowds, including recently the Hi-Fi Festival alongside acts such as Ian Brown, Hard-Fi and the Super Furry Animals. They were also nominated for an Indie Award in the ‘Virgin Xtreme Best Indie Act’ category. They are George Lenton (vocals), Ali Robertson (guitar) and Dan Longyear (bass) and they met whilst attending a film school on the south coast of England.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Nephu Huzzband

NEPHU HUZZBANDSHOULD HAVE USED AN ABACUS: Nephu Huzzband were named as one of the Levi’s ‘One’s to Watch’ bands in The Fly magazine and they combine a large range of influences to create a sound that’s billed as unique to themselves. Mixing together elements of indie, post-hardcore, screamo, art-rock, Nnw wave, old school Emo and punk to create a fresh sound that many people struggle to classify, this Nottingham four piece aspire to make noisy sonic indie using two vocals/guitars, bass and drums. The debut EP received national support on Liz Kerhsaw’s and Gideon Coe’s BBC 6 Radio shows and the band played a live Hub Session for George Lambs BBC 6 Show earlier this year. Sadly, and contrary to the hype, the music they create is loud, laboured and pretty forgettable. Should Have Used An Abacus is a stop-start guitar-based anthem that features angular riffs and punky vocals, complete with a punk-disco bassline throb. It’s nothing really groundbreaking and not remotely special. They’ll have to work a lot harder to really catch our attention.
Rating: 2 out of 5

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Language

LANGUAGE – MACADAMiA/WE ARE HERE: Language release their debut double A side sing via Little Power Records. The band are a three piece comprising of Hugo Santa Cruz (vocals/guitar), Vic Volts (bass) and Marc Microchip (drums). Bassist Vic used to make a living out of the film industry, but always wanted to be in a rock band. When asked to write music for a gay porn film he enlisted session musician Hugo of former Mute Records fame and Marc Microchip to come up with a collection of “songs to fuck to”. The band, using money made from the porn industry, decided to take on a career in a much healthier environment, the music industry… Their PR credits them with being capable of going the distance with their Smashing Pumpkins-esque distortion and wailing – but, to me, there’s nothing that comes close to Smashing Pumpkins-style brilliance in either of the two songs on show here. There’s distortion, wailing, and even a scuzzy, underground vibe. But it’s just not that appealing.
Rating: 2 out of 5

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