Follow Us on Twitter

Music - Singles of the week - Friday, January 13, 2017

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

Bonobo, No Reason

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: BONOBO feat NICK MURPHY – NO REASON: After two recent singles showcasing the dynamic range of his new album Migration (out now), Bonobo returns with a song that perhaps exemplifies the record. No Reason features the vocals of Bonobo’s long-time friend, and now collaborator, Nick Murphy (formerly Chet Faker). It’s dance music at its deepest… a beautiful house song with fragile melodies underpinned by a tough-edged groove and razor-sharp arpeggio. The song came about when Simon Green (aka Bonobo) and Nick were discussing a shared love of disco. Si played the instrumental of No Reason, and Nick instantly fell in love with it. After laying down demo vocals in that first session, the pair recorded the final version in NYC, Si’s former home, and Nick’s current one. The result is something that’s equally entrancing, pulsating and inspiring. The lyrics contain some stark imagery (“waking like soldiers waiting to drown”), while the beats and electronics showcase a deeper dance sound than a lot of Bonobo fans may be accustomed to… given his more cinematic, laidback tendencies. This is more urgent and could well broaden his following. On the evidence so far, Migration looks set to be something special.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

The Beach, Bite My Tongue

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: THE BEACHBITE MY TONGUE: Singer-songwriter The Beach releases Bite My Tongue online and impresses. The spirited track combines an epic, spirited melody with The Beaches powerful lyricism, showcasing a distinct and exciting new voice in British music. The beats are robust and lively, the chorus anthemic in the extreme, while the composition and elements of the delivery recall class acts like Imagine Dragons (especially that rousing chorus). The lyrics, meanwhile, showcase something more bittersweet, with lines like “I wish I could bite my tongue without drawing blood… but it’s too late, too late, too late”. The Beach said of the track: “The song is about saying something in the heat of the moment and then instantly wishing you could take it back.” The accompanying video was shot in the heart of the La Merce Festival in Barcelona.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Cage The Elephant

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 3: CAGE THE ELEPHANTCOLD COLD COLD: Cage The Elephant come over all cinematic and retro for their new single Cold Cold Cold. Built around a thrilling central guitar riff that recalls the classic likes of The Kinks, The Beatles or surf-rock bands of the ’60s and ’70s, this also drops a deliciously melodic chorus that declares “doctor can you help me cos something don’t feel right”. It’s during the chorus, too, that the track adopts a more robust set of handclap beats, providing it with a foot-stomping quality, while the belated inclusion of some trippy, Doors-like organs adds another layer of class. It’s a bold, striking, ultra cool new offering from this excellent outfit. On the inspiration for the video, Matt said: “I think we’re all very prone to subscribe to a safe, surface level pursuit of happiness, keeping our adversities out of sight out of mind, in a way. We try to fix ourselves to fit into the social norm, and it is so easy to forget that in one way or another, the broken hearted are the beautiful ones.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

Tiggie Hawke

TIGGI HAWKENEON DANCER: Hot on the heels of Burn Notice EPs success last year, pop’s new darling Tiggie Hawke is back with electric new single Neon Dancer. Produced by Lewis Gardner (previously of Prides) and co-written by Hawke herself, the track finds Hawke’s breathy vocal laid over rumbling drums beats, with a galactic, looped breakdown cashing into view. It’s a song capable of appealing to the dance crowd as much as the pop one, especially once the beats kick in proper. But another strength of the track is the way it continually changes tempo, going from mellow to thumping dance anthem several times. It likes to re-set itself and build back bigger. While Hawke’s vocals are a fine focal point – sweet yet empowering. A key component of the creative community that has settled in North London’s Tileyard area (home to Mark Ronson, Basement Jaxx, Chase & Status and many more) Hawke spent last summer busy writing and recording new material, alongside taking part in Chloes prestigious Paris Fashion Week show from front row. A gifted wordsmith, Hawke draws from her own life and own experiences to craft colourful pop music. Comparisons have been drawn with Taylor Swift and Ellie Goulding – with the latter one feeling particularly appropriate to this track.
Rating: 3 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

The Orwells

THE ORWELLSBLACK FRANCIS: It’s not difficult to guess that The Orwells’ new single, Black Francis, is a blatant, heart-on-sleeve homage to one of their favourite bands, The Pixies. Built around the type of gutsy, gritty guitar riffs that have become a Pixies hallmark and delivered in the same kind of raucous, punk-infused vocal manner, it’s a glorious ode to that band as well as a damn fine record in its own right. It’s also catchy as hell in spite of wearing its punk influence on its sleeve. Guitarist Matt O’Keefe calls the song “an ode to one of our main men” referring to The Pixies Frank Black, aka Black Francis. “[It] felt long overdue that we paid him some direct respect. We’ve been ripping him off for years, hopefully this chips away at the massive debt we’ve got to him.” Matt’s brother, Eddie O’Keefe, directed the accompanying video, and explained that the band’s goal was to “channel a sort of nineties hip-hop energy; something that could compliment the track’s Beastie Boys-like cadence”. He added: “In an effort to achieve that feeling, we drew inspiration from Spike Lee, using the opening-title dance sequence from Do The Right Thing and his infamous floating subject shots as the foundation of our shoot.” It’s a riot of energy and fun.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video

Chainsmokers, Paris

THE CHAINSMOKERSPARIS: The Chainsmokers – aka the electronic music duo of Drew Taggart and Alex Pall – follow-up the success of their Closer duet with new single Paris. Trading on the familiar, this contains all the hallmarks of Chainsmokers’ material to date, from chilled out keyboards to catchy guitar loops. The lyrics also capture a sense of nostalgia and come laced with bittersweet sentiments (“if we go down, then we go down together”). There’s the presence of a female vocalist too (Don’t Let Me Down songwriter Emily Warren) but she’s used fleetingly. It’s a well produced mainstream electro-pop song… one made more notable for the melancholy undertow surrounding both the lyrics and some of the electronics. But it’s also mindful not to take too many risks with the Chainsmokers’ format, for which it does get marked down. Fans will lap it up, though, and it’s sure to set the charts on both sides of the Atlantic alight.
Rating: 3 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Fenech-Soler, Conversation

FENECH-SOLERCONVERSATION: Conversation is the lively new single from Fenech-Soler, available to stream and download and as an instant grat with album pre-orders. It’s the second single to be taken from the Northamptonshire electro-pop duo’s new album Zila, which is released on February 3 on So Recordings. The album itself is said to be inspired by disco, old soul vocal harmony groups and an unwavering love of pop music – and the latter is certainly evident here. There’s fizzing synths, handclap beats, falsetto vocals and a high-flying attitude that enables the track to soar as high as all good pop songs should. It’s a celebratory offering, designed to make you feel-good while listening and to have you up dancing. It succeeds on its sheer exuberance alone – the synths, in particular, sweeping all before them the longer they continue. It’s a good indicator of how the new album could well leave you in a very happy place.
Rating: 3 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Leiff Vollebekk

LEIFF VOLLEBEKKINTO THE ETHER: Montreal singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Leif Vollebekk has unveiled the second song from his forthcoming album Twin Solitude (out February 24 on Secret City Records) in the form of the piano-soaked, mood-piece Into The Ether. The new album was born out of recalibration; Leif changing his approach to songwriting and exploring musical ideas that came to him spontaneously. Hence, many of the songs written in one sitting, including Into The Ether, which came to be while playing piano. The piano assumes a particularly cinematic quality, while the accompanying beats and vocal delivery smack of a soul-jazz kind of vibe that’s both relaxing and inspiring. Lyrically, it’s reflective of life and love and the narrow space that exists between the high of being in love and the disappointment of failure/rejection. As with former release Elegy, you can well imagine Vollebekk sat at some dusky piano bar in the middle of the night, playing and singing his heart out, while a crowd of spellbound night owls listen in the wings, enthralled. It’s another classy single from a class act.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Listen here

Tor Miller

TOR MILLERALWAYS: Rising singer-songwriter Tor Miller drops new single Always, a lively, foot-stomping piano-pop ballad that offers a bittersweet examination of the confusion of love. The New Yorker demonstrates a powerful set of vocals as well as a keen ear for some sharp melodicism. Hence, the chorus elevates the song to inspiring levels, while the verses have plenty of bounce to them – even though the lyrics themselves convey the conflicted mind of someone who is experiencing a lot of torment. The track continues to build in momentum, too, for a rousing finale. The accompanying video was directed by award-winning filmmaker Fern Berresford and was shot in a Greenwich foot tunnel in the early hours of the morning. “The video for Always is about the conflicting views the main character has on his current situation and the person he thinks he still loves,” explains Tor. “Working with Fern was a great experience. We wanted to portray the conflicting emotions within the song, envisioning the tunnel as a sort of nightmare, which keeps looping – being haunted by apparitions of your significant other. I think it’s my best video to date.”
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Website l Twitter

Watch the video


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