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Music - Singles of the week - Monday, March 2, 2015

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

The Bohicas, To Die For

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: THE BOHICAS – TO DIE FOR: Hailing from Essex, The Bohicas are a four-piece who recently signed to Domino Records (the home of Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand). Their music combines sharp indie hooks (a la Arctics and Kasabian) with a krautrock edge. But the frenetic pace of their catchy riffs is contrasted by slick production courtesy of Mark Rankin (Queens of the Stone Age, Bombay Bicycle Club). New single To Die For combines some thrilling guitar riffs with slick vocals and a soaring chorus that declares “I get high, I get low” at several points. There’s a brashness and swagger about the delivery, too, that recalls some of the biggest bands in Britain right now (notably Kasabian) with the killer hooks of those bands, albeit with that krautrock edge. It’s the sort of record that should get them even more noticed as they look to enhance their fast-growing reputations. It’s thrilling stuff.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Death Cab For Cutie

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE – NO ROOM IN FRAME: Death Cab For Cutie have made No Room In Frame available as the latest taster for their forthcoming (and excellent) eighth LP, Kintsugi (out March 30). The track is built around Ben Gibbard’s distinct, ethereal vocals and some great guitar hooks that start out mellow and slowly build to something quietly inspiring. Indeed, the deeper you get into the song, the more intricately layered it becomes – with the final moments genuinely beautiful and supremely satisfying. Having already listened to the LP, we can confidently tell you that this is another classic from the band that, if anything, is evocative of some UK acts such as James and Placebo. No Room In The Frame is one of the highlights – but there are many to look forward to, with some exemplary guitar work in there too.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Foo Fighters, Congregation

FOO FIGHTERSCONGREGATION: Foo Fighters describe their latest album, Sonic Highways as a love letter to the history of American music and listening to latest track, Congregation, it’s easy to hear how classic driving anthems have helped to inspire this one. A big, anthemic track that also features Zac Brown, it’s also a fairly typical big stadium rock track for Dave Grohl and company that offers very little in the way of progression. Whether that detracts from things is up to you (diehard fans won’t and don’t care a jot). But when compared to the best tracks the band have delivered – the type of which boast a broader, more crossover potential – Congregation is content just to do what Foo Fighters do best: namely, combine powerful guitars with ear-pleasing, radio friendly melodies. It’s solid rather than spectacular.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Take That, Let In The Sun

TAKE THATLET IN THE LOVE: Take That do generic Take That, aka their new single Let In The Love. Featuring empowering lyrics such as “pick yourself up and let in the light” and “open up your windows and let in the sun”, this is designed to celebrate life and lift people from any self-imposed doldrums. It’s also got jangly guitars, handclap beats and soaring vocals from the boys. And it’s a safe and as woo-hoo laden as things get from the band, occasionally leaning towards the Coldplay-esque in its quitar licks (especially around the two minute 20 second mark). As pop records (and Take That songs) go, it’s decent enough… suitably life enhancing, big and pop-tastic. But you can’t help feeling that Take That haven’t really stretched themselves here. They’re being anthemic without really trying. The fans will lap it up, especially when it’s played live.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Love For Zero, Diva

LOVE FOR ZERODIVA: Manchester based five-piece Love For Zero release their latest offering, Diva, in the hope of adding to their growing fanbase. Shot through with layered synths, intricate rolling percussion, driving bass-lines and a chorus that’s designed to be catchy, this also employs a set of vocals from Chris Niebel that aren’t afraid to drop in the odd falsetto. The ensuing mix creates a brisk indie-pop sound that soundchecks some of the band’s influences, from The White Lies to London Grammar. However, it lacks that crucial little spark to make it really stand out despite some nice touches. Love For Zero have potential but it’s yet to be fully realized on the strength of Diva.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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The Overtones, Something Good

THE OVERTONESSOMETHING GOOD: Something Good, the new single from The Overtones, is the latest offering from their new album, Sweet Soul Music (also out today), and is geared wholly towards reflecting the ethos of the album: to pay tribute to the doo-wop/ soul sound of artists such as The Drifters, Al Green, Marvin Gaye and The Temptations. Hence, this is shot through with classic harmonies, shuffling, energetic beats and stabs of brass that add extra sass to the soul. There’s also a keen mix of female and male vocals. However, in paying such a honed tribute to the artists they have selected, there’s a danger that the music itself sounds a little generic. And this is in keeping with past Overtones songs like Gambling Man and Superstar as well as the kind of thing that Amy Winehouse was doing, and which has inspired countless artists since. It’s hardly fresh, no matter how toe-tapping.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Hillstrom & Billy, The Holding

HILLSTROM AND BILLYTHE HOLDING: Originally a one-man band Hillström & Billy gradually gravitated into becoming a musical collective of fellow musicians. Their low-key new single The Holding aims to showcase their more expansive sound. It boasts a dreamy, cinematic soundscape, that’s carried on the back of rolling percussion work. Littered with fuzzed guitars, some larger-than-life piano organs and boasting an array of strings and harmonies, it’s relaxed and epic at the same time, drawing on influences from Tame Impala, Wilco and even Wayne Coyne and Neil Young. The chorus is particularly notable, while the instrumentals showcase a band that’s clearly in fine tune with each other, and not afraid to really broaden out a track. The track is taken from the upcoming album called The Neverending Paint Job, which should really be worth hearing.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Keroscene, Cotton Candy

KEROSCENECOTTON CANDY/STORM OK: London based four-piece noise rock band Keroscene release their debut double A-side Cotton Candy and Storm OK and immediately provoke comparisons with the likes of Echo & The Bunnymen and The Cure, as well as late 1980’s noise rock, no-wave and psychedelia. Lead track Cotton Candy is a big, driving anthem chock full of distorted guitars and wailed vocals. But it has a gutsy vibe that sweeps you along, as well as a cinematic sweep that could easily see it finding its way onto some soundtrack sometime soon. Storm OK, on the other hand, trades nicely psychedelic vocals with the kind of crunching riffs and power drums that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Foo Fighters’ record. Combined, both tracks have enough power and quality to get them noticed. The band’s name is a portmanteau of the words “Kerosene” and “Scene”. The idea for the name came after lead singer David Troster, had a drunken argument in a bar with a journalist who claimed that there are no more scenes as they all quickly burn out.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Young Romance, Wasting Time

YOUNG ROMANCEWASTING TIME: Formed in 2013 – Young Romance is the London based Noise Pop duo comprising of Claire (vocal and drums) and Paolo (guitar). Their sound has been likened to the Jesus & Mary Chain meets Kate Bush. They drop their new EP, Wild on Monday, March 9, ahead of which comes the lead single Wasting Time. And true to description, this combines some crunching, indie-esque (and yes Mary Chain-style) guitars with the kind of vocals that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Kate Bush record. Claire’s vocals are particularly striking and contrast well with the driving guitars that underpin the song, and which are unleashed to headrush effect for their own mini solo late on. The sudden stop also catches you off-guard and just might leave you wanting more. This duo would appear to be an arresting proposition as they move forward.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Wicked Whispers, Maps Of The Mystic

THE WICKED WHISPERSMAPS OF THE MYSTIC: Liverpool’s The Wicked Whispers return with an exclusive digital single hot on the heels of last year’s much praised debut album Maps Of The Mystic. The title track from the LP, fits in the fantastical lyrics, floating organ, jangling arpeggios and winsome vocals that for many sum up the spirit of the band. More 23rd Turnoff than The Coral, but clearly hewn from the same mindset of both local acts, this is retro leaning and deeply psychedelic, with the instrumentals arguably stronger than the hazy vocals. Nevertheless, the classic vibe that comes attached is a strong selling point as the band clearly know how to deliver a telling melody that is steeped in the values of the band’s that clearly inspired them. If you’re in the mood for something blissfully retro, then listen here.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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