Follow Us on Twitter

Music - Singles of the Week - Monday, September 13, 2010

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

Harper Simon, Berkeley Girl

SINGLE OF THE WEEK: HARPER SIMONBERKELEY GIRL: You just can’t beat the classics… and that’s what you get from Harper (son of Paul) Simon on new single Berkeley Girl: a classic vibe, brilliant execution and one of the most idyllic records of the month. An old fashioned love song (though this time written to an old friend) of the sweet variety, Berkeley Girl is disarmingly, yet achingly romantically simple – set against a lone acoustic guitar strum, some lovely vocals and some beautiful lyrics. It’s taken from Simon’s eponymous debut album, which has deservedly won accolades across the globe. It’s no small tribute to write that Harper is every inch a singer-songwriter capable of following in his father’s gargantuan foot-steps. Of course, they’re big boots to fill, but Harper is well on his way. The video is also notable for featuring Jena Malone. Shot on 8 mm film in the hills of Echo Park, LA’s new bohemian hub, and drenched in golden light, the video recalls the romantic quality of the great films of the 1970s and was directed by Benjamin Kutsko from LA-based film collective/production company The Masses (Devendra Banhart, Passion Pit, Beach House, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros). Says Benjamin of the opportunity: “I was really excited to explore Echo Park as a character in this video, as well as the delicate balance that exists between two people whose relationship has moved from lovers to friends.” Watch the video
Available across all formats
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website

Manic Street Preachers, (It's Not War) Just The End of love

MANIC STREET PREACHERS – (IT’S NOT WAR) JUST THE END OF LOVE: First off, a word from the songwriters themselves… Nick, of the Manic, states: ““At our best, rage and melancholia becomes uplifting. Your Love Alone Is Not Enough is a line from a suicide note. But we turn it into a world -wide hit. Only we can do that.” The new record from the Manic Street Preachers is a typically frank and thought-provoking effort, albeit one that soars optimistically into musical highs courtesy of a string bedding and some typically enthusiastic guitars. It’s first and foremost a pop record – a radio friendly offering that makes you feel quite lively in spite of the potentially downbeat message of the lyrics. But then the Manics have never been ones to necessarily push the boat out in terms of optimism. As first songs from new albums go, though, this ‘aint bad and an encouraging insight into what fans can expect from their forthcoming tenth studio album, Postcards From A Young Man, which is released on September 20.
Available across all formats
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Website

Paul Weller, Fast Car/Slow Traffic/Andromeda

PAUL WELLERFAST CAR/SLOW TRAFFIC & ANDROMEDA: Days after narrowly missing out on this year’s Mercury Music Prize (and despite going into the ceremony as the hot favourite), Paul Weller releases double A side Fast Car/Slow Traffic and Andromeda from his critically acclaimed hit album, Wake Up The Nation. The lead track, Fast Car is notable for reuniting Weller with his former Jam band-mate Bruce Foxton – the first time the pair have teamed up since The Jam split in 1983. Indeed, the reunion proved so enjoyable for both that Bruce also recently joined Paul on-stage at the Albert Hall (on Paul’s birthday) to perform Fast Car and a few Jam songs which unsurprisingly brought the house down. Weller says of the track itself: “It’s a real London tune. It’s a pretty full on. It was really interesting to hear Bruce playing on it. You can instantly tell it’s him.” As its name suggests, the track darts in and out of riffs and piano chords, stop-starting the pace and frequently throwing in the odd breakdown designed to throw you a curve. Andromeda, meanwhile, is one of the more psychedelic and messy offerings… by turns slow burning, trippy and experimental. It’s a measure of the quality of Wake Up The Nation as a whole that neither track rates as a highlight for us.
Available across all formats
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Order the album l Album review

Example, Last Ones Standing

EXAMPLELAST ONES STANDING: Example continues his assault on the charts with the release of the boisterous dance record Last Ones Standing. Never one to mess around, Example hits you immediately with some stabby synths that are designed to grab the attention, before coming over all rap meets r’n’b and pop a la Black Eyed Peas. The ensuing offering is pretty much as bland, predictable and generic as the description sounds… failing to capitalise fully on the early potential shown by those synths and remaining content to play to formula throughout. Of course, it’ll be a massive dance and chart hit, which is kind of Example’s reason for existing… but we should really be a little more demanding of a lot more creativity from our mainstream artists, shouldn’t we?
Available across all formats
Rating: 2 out of 5

Website

Axwell, Nothing But Love

AXWELLNOTHING BUT LOVE: Featuring the Vocals of Errol Reid, Nothing But Love is the first single to be released from Axwell’s forthcoming debut album, which is due next year. Sadly, it’s a fairly generic dance offering that actually squanders a promising, piano-led opening to drop one of the more routine beats associated with the Balearic dance scene. Reid’s vocals add a lot of soul and no amount of quality, but once the track goes all euphoric as opposed to heartfelt and meaningful, it becomes pretty soulless in spite of the lyrics. Commenting on his new material, producer Axwell said: “I have been holding back with the productions for a bit and that’s because I’m finishing my debut album. I’m used to working track by track, but making a whole album, and making the whole thing sound fresh, that’s been a challenge, but a fun one.” Alas, there’s still work to be done in really making the material sound fresh and – at the very least – different.
Available across all formats
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Website

Loick Essien, Love Drunk

LOICK ESSIENLOVE DRUNK: Fresh from featuring on Bashy’s hit When The Sky Falls, from the film Shank, and collaborating on Chipmunk’s Beast, 19-year-old Loick Essien brings his debut single, Love Drunk, to the dance masses. Produced by Labrinth, the track is a huge dancefloor crossover offering that finds Loick channelling the likes of Tinie Tempah, Akon, more recent Kanye West and company. That is to say, it’s tailored towards the mainstream dance scene, where it’s sure to become a mainstay with Kiss FM listeners, etc. It’s generic and pretty forgettable, despite boasting a slightly more catchy chorus than most tracks of this nature. Loick looks destined to become a huge record seller… although he probably won’t feature too prominently on many IndieLondon playlists.
Available across all formats
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Website

Goodluck Jonathan

GOODLUCK JONATHANTHIS IS OUR WAY OUT EP: Goodluck Jonathan are a Brighton-based outfit who specialise in punchy and edgy rock ‘n’ roll songs that build from introspective melodic angst moods into driving infectious chanted choruses. If we’re being generous, there’s a touch of the Placebo about them… albeit without the quality. Instrumentally, and especially through their emphasis on warped, atmospheric guitar riffs, the band do grab your attention. But the angst-ridden, outsider lyrics and the somewhat whiny vocals do them few favours… especially as there are countless bands to bemoan their circumstances doing the same kind of thing a little more notably. Of the four tracks that comprise the EP – Bruises Disappear, Stranded, Broken Heart and Lights Burn My Eyes – the best is arguably Stranded. But despite glimpses of potential, there’s work to be done.
Available across all formats
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Website

Maini Sorri, Someday EP

MAINI SORRISOMEDAY EP: Scandinavian singer-songwriter Maini Sorri sings English translations of Finnish originals. As she seeks to become more widely known in the UK, Sorri releases her Someday and hasn’t anything to be apologetic for (pardon the play on words!). Combining pop and folk elements with a vaguely Corrs meets Carpenters meets Abba sensibility, Sorri’s material is classic sounding and European embracing. There’s a keen sense of melody, a lovely voice to deliver the romantic lyrics (whether hopeful or downbeat) and an appreciation for classic song-writing values. Admittedly, there’s a Radio 2 vibe attached to it, but with Celtic influences hinted at on a track like I Am Leaving and a Corrs/Cranberries style of delivery to enhance the vocals on the title track, this is a pleasant enough listen that passes the time amiably.
Available as a download
Rating: 3 out of 5

Website

Andy Lucas

ANDY LUCASTURBULENCE: Andy Lucas grew up listening to his parents early ‘70’s Randy Newman and Elton John records, which inspired him to play the piano. He was taught piano by an old blind teacher, who in his youth played the pump organ for silent movies and dodged peanuts thrown by the children. His grandfather played the ukele and guitar in the hallowed working men’s clubs of the ‘50s and Andy has lived all over the world, but currently resides in Scotland… His debut album, Weekend Millionaire is due for release later this year (October 25, to be exact), but preceding that is new single, Turbulence. Combining guitars with some fine piano work (especially mid-track), it’s an interesting introduction to a singer-songwriter who would seem to have a fine future ahead of him. Admittedly, the song itself is pretty average, but Lucas has a decent voice and his piano-playing prowess is beyond doubt. A little better, perhaps, is the jazzy pop of the album’s title track, Weekend Millionaire, which benefits from a snappier attitude, some sassy female backing vocals and a genuine sense of class.
Available as a download
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Website


Heard a great single, but yet to buy it? Well, we may have reviewed it. Previous reviews: