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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, June 24, 2016

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

DJ Shadow, The Mountain Will Fall

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: DJ SHADOW feat ERNIE FRESHTHE SIDESHOW: DJ Shadow has unveiled yet another new song from his new LP The Mountain Will Fall, (out now on Mass Appeal Records). The Sideshow is a nod to DJ Shadow’s scratch track/old school hip hop roots and features MC Ernie Fresh. It’s a real throwback of a record that sounds like classic Shadow from his Entroducing years, mixed in with a little Beastie Boys urban attitude. It’s slickly produced, scratch heavy, laden with old skool hip hop beats, and funky as hell. It’s also a timely reminder of what has helped to make DJ Shadow such a formidable force in the first place, coupled with the cinematic elements that underpin his more recent work – the stabbing synths that dart in and out adding an extra layer of sound that only enhances the overall effect. It’s yet another compelling reason to buy the album.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Jurassic 5, Customer Service

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: JURASSIC 5 – CUSTOMER SERVICE: So, we’re coming over all old-skool hip hop this week with our new music selections. Having dug DJ Shadow’s latest, we now offer up Jurassic 5’s comeback single, Customer Service, for your consideration. The first new track from the hip hop crew in over a decade, this is another gloriously retro offering that – again – serves as a potent reminder of why they are among the heavyweights of the genre. Playful, funky, foot-shuffling and full of their trademark wit and social observation, this is also a glorious reminder of how hip hop can appeal to the masses without the need to succumb to some of the more unsavoury (ie, sweary, bling-heavy) elements that bedevil so many modern hip hop offerings (from Kanye to Jay-Z via 50 Cent and Eminem). So, kick back and revel in the sound of hip hop as it should be done.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Lack of Afro, I Met You Today

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 3: LACK OF AFRO – I MET YOU TODAY (BEATING HEART PROJECT): And completing the hat-trick of hip hop influenced tracks, Lack of Afro’s I Met You Today is a real summer carnival of a record that demands to find a wide and appreciative following. This one combines some deliriously feel-good electronic sounds with an African party vibe that manages to put a smile on your face in almost effortless fashion. The bass, guitars, saxophones and percussion are all done by by Adam Gibbons and combine to scintillating effect to create something that is clearly designed to get you up and dancing along. It’s a hip sound that demands repeat listening – with slick drum arrangements ushering the record to a heady climax. What’s more, it’s the kind of record that has you hooked from the very first seconds… it’s electronic arrangement cheekily seguing into a saxophone medley and scattershot beats that get into your head and refuse to budge – in all good ways!
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Lake Komo, Milkwaukee

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 4: LAKE KOMOMILWAUKEE: Released, fittingly, in time for July 4 (a date the song continually references), Lake Komo’s Milwaukee is another beautiful addition to their already impressive arsenal of songs. The Manchester based four-piece have delivered a song that radiates warmth and easy-going melodicism, in spite of the melancholy sentiments underpinning it. The track is actually one of the first the band ever wrote together and explores a break-up frontman Jay Nudd experienced one university summer not too long ago and the emotional trials and tribulations that followed. Directed by Franklyn Banks, the accompanying video sees Jay embark on a journey of discovery across America, cementing Milwaukee as the band’s summer anthem. Explains Jay: “We wanted a video that would mirror the sentiment of the song whilst giving the viewer a real sense of discovery and wonder, and a roadtrip up the Californian coast gave us the perfect opportunity to do that. The warmth and positivity of the American people we met along the way acted as the perfect accompaniment to a song which mainly looks at self discovery, realisation and the excitement of things to come.” It’s a song born from sorrow that somehow inspires, intoxicates and exhilarates – a near-perfect driving anthem that sounds great played loud on a summer’s day.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Bring Me The Horizon, Avalanche

BRING ME THE HORIZONAVALANCHE: Having already been turned into a Hottest Record of the Week by Annie Mac, Bring Me The Horizon now officially unleash their latest single Avalanche – and it’s big in every sense. Featuring frenetic guitars, impassioned choruses and crunching drum loops, this soars to epic heights, yet manages to combine the band’s trademark power with something more melodic and more widely accessible. It’s the kind of track designed to go down a storm in live form with the diehard fan-base, yet also one that could reach out and grab even more followers for the short term. Featuring lyrics like “I need a cure for me cause a square doesn’t fit the circle” and “give me a remedy cause my head wasn’t wired for this world”, this is also packed full of sing-along chants that are easy to get behind. It’s an effective release that genuinely does exhilarate.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Editors, All The Kings

EDITORSALL THE KINGS: Editors release a further track from their top 5 UK album, In Dream, in the form of the emotive All The Kings. According to frontman Tom Smith, the track represents a rare pop moment on the LP, in which the band get to channel their “inner Eurythmics”. “I’m singing about being alone, not in a sad way, trying to get to something empowering.” To be fair, it succeeds. The stabbing synth sounds suggest the darkness of Depeche Mode but also have a pop sensibililty akin to Eurythmics, while Smith’s brooding vocals seem more lighter and breezy than normal, particularly over the chorus. It’s another great track from an album already loaded with them. The video is directed by renowned photographer and visual artist Rahi Rezvani, the creator of the films for all the previous singles, and is also worth catching… bearing, as it does, a sometimes uncanny resemblance to Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line in its use of soldiers.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Alicia Keys

ALICIA KEYS – IN COMMON: Fifteen-time Grammy® Award-winning singer, songwriter and producer Alicia Keys is back with the release of new single In Common. The single is Alicia’s first release in four years, and taken from her forthcoming sixth studio album, due out later this summer on RCA Records. Written by Alicia, Illangelo, Tayla Parks, Billy Walsh and produced by Illangelo, the long-time Grammy-Award winning producer of The Weeknd, In Common drops an infectious baseline and Latin inspired rhythm, which have a sense of energy without being overbearing. If anything, it allows Keys’ more fragile vocal delivery to shine. Commenting on what inspired In Common, Alicia states: “We all have our issues, our challenges… We are all kind of messed up and that’s all right. In fact, that’s what helps us understand each other. To me, that’s is what is so beautiful.” The resulting track is easy to get behind, both in terms of its lyrical sentiment, and the way in which it effortlessly combines hip hop elements with soul and pop. It’s a promising return from Keys.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Frightened Rabbit

FRIGHTENED RABBITDIE LIKE A RICH BOY (ACOUSTIC): Selkirk’s finest Frightened Rabbit have released an acoustic version of new album favourite Die Like A Rich Boy to both serve as a reminder of why their latest LP will be one of the best reviewed of the year and to coincide with the release of a Winter UK tour. It’s a raw but still beautiful version of a song that already had IndieLondon’s Jack Foley raving. In his review, Foley wrote of the track: “[The song] rounds off the album with a low-key slice of beautiful song-writing – acoustic licks accompanying sombre yet ethereal piano chords and a gentle set of vocals that talk of a yearning to escape. The chorus is great, again.” Frightened Rabbit’s Dessner had this to say about it: “([The song] feels like a completely classic song, but it’s also a distillation of everything Scott has ever written about. It’s so gracefully constructed and realized, and it’s not trying to be anything other than what it is. I wish I could write a song like that.” In stripped back, acoustic form it resonates even more powerfully.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Panic! At The Disco, Don't Threaten Me With A Good Time

PANIC! AT THE DISCODON’T THREATEN ME WITH A GOOD TIME: An ode to hedonistic excess, Panic! At The Disco deliver a post-punk, alt-rock influenced fusion that showcases the best and the worst of the band. It opens in promising fashion with a cheeky sample of The B-52’s Rock Lobster, which drops several more times throughout. But once it hits the chorus, it enters more generic territory, struggling to really differentiate itself from the trademark Panic! sound. Fans, of course, will lap it up, while jumping on board the excess that is inherent in the lyrics (which reference champagne, cocaine and gasoline). But newcomers may not find that much to get behind, save for the eye-catching video that is shot from a first-person perspective and follows a kind of B-movie horror format. If anything, it’s the main reason for checking it out… along with that B-52 sample.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Evering

EVERINGHAVE NO FEAR: The inheritance of an old piano sparked new Scottish act Evering’s first collaboration. From this inception, the duo of Chris Yendell and Dawn Coulshed have created a sound which is also brimming with inheritance from their varied influences, including Scottish traditional Highlands music, Elbow, Jeff Buckley and Led Zeppelin, yet have kindled something that is their own. New single Have No Fear is shot through, thematically, with a longing for freedom, yet finds reason to be celebratory in its resolution. It’s a song that’s rooted in classic folk influences, recalling both their Scottish roots and the work of other artists such as Jeff Buckley (especially with its bittersweet elements). The subtle use of piano, to break-up the acoustics, also works well, while the boy-girl vocals also adds some nice contrasts. The final moments, when the guitars and piano work seamlessly with each other for an extended instrumental, is also a really nice touch, bringing the song to a really satisfying, even beautiful, climax. But you do have to dig the classic folk scene to get the most from it.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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