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Music - Singles of the week - Monday, August 25, 2014

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

Ed Sheeran, Don't

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: ED SHEERAN – DON’T: Ed Sheeran’s latest offering, Don’t actually began life as merely a riff on the singer-songwriter’s phone. But then following sessions with the acclaimed producers Benny Blanco and Rick Rubin, the track turned into the defiant, soulful anthem that it is today. It drops a slick back-beat, a nice piano melody and a really stylish and soul-filled vocal from Sheeran, who even drops a rap at certain points. The chorus is catchy as hell, while the verses have a certain cool vibe attached that is evidence of an artist at the top of his game and not afraid to experiment and branch out across genres. The Don’t EP includes a Rick Ross remix of the track, plus Be My Husband (live from Glastonbury) and Everything You Are. The equally arresting video follows one man’s journey from rags to riches through a series of encounters with the residents of LA. Ed once again teamed up with director Emil Nava and makes a cameo appearance or two.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Lily & Madeleine, The Wolf is Free

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: LILY & MADELEINETHE WOLF IS FREE: Lily & Madeleine release The Wolf Is Free as the first taster from the sister’s sophomore album, Fumes, which will be released October 27 – and it’s a typically classy, beautiful offering. Dripping in cinematic qualities, as well as a wistful, nicely serene element, this finds the duo melting hearts in effortless fashion. Speaking of the album itself, Madeleine comments: “Fumes is a new step for us as artists. It shows our transformation as musicians and as women, and was inspired by our experience on the road as well as the life experiences of people close to us. Dedicating more time and working with new artists in the studio allowed us to better create the sound we wanted. It’s a perfect reflection of this stage of our lives.” It’s also the kind of record you’ll want to hear over and over again. Lily & Madeleine continue to be a class act. Roll on the new album!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Kimberly Anne

KIMBERLY ANNELIAR: Soul star Kimberly Anne serves further notice of her impressive talent with new single Liar, taken from the EP of the same name. The lead track is a melody rich tune that is driven predominantly by Kimberly’s vocal inflections. But it’s also aided by an acoustic guitar and a propulsive drum beat, used sparingly. The percussion parts are mainly built up of Kimberly thrashing the hell out of some empty water cooler bottles. There’s also vocal layering over the intense chorus (“it’s more than I could care to be… a liar”) that lends them more of an epic, skyscraping sweep. Put together, it’s extremely accomplished and actually quite empowering.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Tenterhook, London Heart

TENTERHOOKLONDON HEART: Tenterhook will release his eponymous debut EP digitally through Cartoon Records on August 25. Having already received plays across BBC Radio 1, XFM and Amazing Radio, the release will be supported by a show at London’s St Pancras Old Church on September 11. Having quietly uploaded his demos to Soundcloud a few months ago, 19-year-old Archie Faulks (aka Tenterhook) has since caused quite the stir amongst both fans and critics alike. February’s Stereo and most recent demo Chemicals portray a collection of beautifully constructed, tender pop; marrying his delicate yet anthemic melodies with sparse guitar and piano accompaniment. The same can be said for the latest single offering from the EP, the sparse but striking London Heart. Constructed around soft vocals (that are nevertheless dripping with emotion) and subtle piano and acoustic guitar backing, the track eventually springs to life for a finale that adds some strings and becomes cinematic. Tenterhook is a new young act to watch – and Zane Lowe has already placed him as a ‘next hype’.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Marc Halls, Open Ended Stories

MARC HALLSOPEN ENDED STORIES: Singer/songwriter Marc Halls is best known for being the writing force behind previous outfit Fei Comodo and the front man of his current band Hey Vanity. With a surplus of material that didn’t quite fit in with his other projects, he is now set to release his second 7-track solo EP, which includes the single Open Ended Stories. Taking his stripped-back songwriting cues from his rock heroes in bands like Thrice, Reuben, Coheed & Cambria and City & Colour, there’s also a big helping of country, folk and blues from one of Hall’s other major influences, Loudon Wainwright III. The result is a folk-infused blue collar, heart-on-sleeve offering that has more in common with contemporaries like Frank Turner, Dave Haus and Rob Lynch than Halls’ day job in Hey Vanity. Open Ended Stories is a really good taster track that will instantly endear you to him. Featuring earnest, heartfelt vocals and an acoustic guitar hook dripping in folk-rock qualities, this is steeped in ear-pleasing melody and passion. If anything, a soundtrack surely beckons soon.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Saint Raymond, I Want You

SAINT RAYMOND – I WANT YOU: Saint drops his happy-go-lucky new single in the form of I Want You, which is dripping in feel-good melodies and a brash, cheeky style. A heady mix of afro-beat guitar, a hypnotic looping chorus and summer-tinged melodies, the track builds towards a strong chorus and generally endears itself with its upbeat, sunny positivity. It’s a nice late summer anthem to keep you in high spirits. Saint Raymond says of the track himself: “I wrote I Want You recently, so not only am I looking forward to releasing it, but also to introducing it to my setlist and performing it live. It is an up-tempo, energetic and summery song so I think it will be a fun moment at festivals.”. Talking of live dates, the 19-year-old is confirmed as main support to Ed Sheeran on his upcoming autumn, UK and European arena tour. A good year already looks set to end on the highest of highs. Oh, and a little further info on the track – it was produced by Jacknife Lee (Crystal Castles, Bloc Party) while the video has been produced by Niall O’Brien.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Saint Raymond, I Want You

JAMES YORKSTON feat KT TUNSTALLGREAT GHOSTS: James Yorkston unites with KT Tunstall for his latest offering, Great Ghosts, an enticing mix of country, pop and folk that compliments both performers’ styles. The PR describes the track as ‘a beautiful, mocking lament in duet with fellow Scotswoman KT Tunstall’ that also features The Pictish Trail. It’s a good way of describing the song further – Yorkston and Tunstall make for a terrific vocal collaboration, while the slick but subtle beats and nice acoustic strums (and belated strings) contribute to a record that is, by turns, breezy and beguiling. The track is produced by Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor. The track features on Yorkston’s new album The Cellardyke Recording And Wassailing Society, which was released on the August 18.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Sophie Ellis-Bextor, The Deer & The Wolf

SOPHIE ELLIS-BEXTORTHE DEER & THE WOLF: Following the release of Love Is A Camera, Sophie Ellis-Bextor will release live favourite The Deer & The Wolf, the fourth single from her silver certified album Wanderlust. Built around a striking central guitar riff and some equally striking vocal imagery, this is another confident offering that adds some welcome grit to the Ellis-Bextor pop sound. Her sweet vocals also provide a nice contrast to some of the edgier elements, enabling the song to build towards a sharp, melody-strewn chorus. Having never been that sold on the merits of this particular artist until now, the new material is really showing off an artist who is finding new range and a broader appeal as she gets older and more experienced.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Maroon 5, Maps

MAROON 5 – MAPS: Is it me or do Maroon 5 sound a lot like The Police on their latest release, the provocative Maps (particularly when singing “I was there for you in the darkest times” over the chorus). Elsewhere, there are falsetto vocals galore from Adam Levine, laid down over some sharp, urgent beats and a rolling central guitar riff. It combines elements of rock, pop and soul and has a vitality and edge that is in keeping with the themes of the song, which find someone helping the one they love through some troubling times. And if you don’t quite get that from the single, then the hard-hitting accompanying video will properly show you how the band have a knack for the cinematic. Put together with the song, it’s a gripping watch.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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