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Music - Singles of the week - Monday, July 28, 2014

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

Sivu

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: SIVUMIRACLE (HUMAN ERROR): Sivu (aka James Page) is originally from St. Ives, near Cambridge, and will be releasing his debut album later this year. His latest single Miracle (Human Error) was premiered by Zane Lowe on Radio 1 and maintains the singer-songwriter’s talent for creating affecting, anthemic baroque pop. Combining some swirling synth arrangements with fragile, yet soaring vocals and some slick beat arrangements, this combines to create a heady vibe that gets better and better the more you hear it (intoxicating even). The instrumental moments are particularly sweeping, erring towards the grandly cinematic, yet kept in check by the appealing vocals. If you’re not sure you’ve heard of Sivu before, then consider that his previous track, Better Man Than He, shot inside an MRI machine, has gained over half a million views on YouTube and was declared by M.I.A to be her video of the year. Miracle should garner similar acclaim and support.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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You Blew It!

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: YOU BLEW IT! – SURFWAX AMERICA: Every good summer deserves a good surfing anthem and Orlando’s You Blew It! have just delivered one with their cover of Weezer’s Surf Wax America. Taken from the band’s five-track EP of covers, this is a rollicking rendition of the 90s-era Weezer track that is shot through with catchy guitar hooks, a somewhat slacker vibe and a sound of the summer that’s hard to resist. Frontman/guitarist Tanner Jones says, “We chose Surf Wax because it’s a really great song, plain and simple. We didn’t want to do singles from the record, and luckily Surf Wax is one of those cuts that could have held its own as one, but seemed untouched enough to allow a fresh perspective on it. Not that we or any other band could, but we really didn’t want to try and out-do Weezer. Our goal was to add our touch to Blue, but first and foremost, we wanted pay tribute to the songs themselves in the most respectful way possible. Surf Wax is a great example of that I think.” And if you like this (and you should), then also check out In The Garage, which will also feature on the EP.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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The Family Rain, Hunger Sauce EP

THE FAMILY RAIN – WE ARE IN LOVE: Livewire single We Are In Love is the latest track to be taken from The Family Rain’s new Hunger Sauce EP, which is great. Opening with an instantly catchy guitar hook, the track then hits you with another chant-along chorus (“we are in love, we just don’t know it yet” and “we are in love, it’s the best it can get”) and a genuinely rousing vibe. On this occasion, the guitars really do take centre-stage and even have a classic rock vibe to them, akin to bands like The Doors. The tambourine-clap beats should also get those hips swinging. Recorded with producer Tom Dalgety (Royal Blood, Band Of Skulls, The Maccabees), the four-track EP is another confident collection of tracks that have already been showcased to positive effect during their live dates.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Dagny, I Say

DAGNY – I SAY: Still a completely independent artist, Norwegian singer Dagny has built recognition in Norway via her YouTube channel and as live support for some of the industry’s biggest names, including Elton John. Now settled in London, she’s actively gigging all over the live circuit – including some key UK festivals – and is excitedly pushing her debut UK single, I Say. Dagny’s songs losely fit into the ‘folk-pop’ genre, but each track is laced with deeper meaning. She has been songwriting alongside Ruadhri Cushnan (Ed Sheeran, Mumford and Sons) and other respected songwriters. I Say is a statement of empowerment that’s all about being confident in yourself. It’s delivered in breezy folk-pop style, complete with robust beats and sweet vocals that belie the bittersweet lyrics. It’s an amiable listen from a promising new artist.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Naughty Boy, Home

NAUGHTY BOY feat SAM ROMANSHOME: Super-producer Naughty Boy (aka British-born Pakistani songwriter and record producer Shahid Khan) looks to follow up the deserved success of his Hotel Cabana LP with the release of new single Home – and he should have no problem doing just that. A slick slice of chilled out, soulful synth-pop, this drops a smooth groove falsetto vocal from Sam Romans over subtle beat arrangements and some laidback piano and electronic arrangements. It’s an effortlessly assured track that’s great for just kicking back and unwinding too on a hot summer’s day, with memories of home in mind. If you liked Naughty Boy’s debut LP, then the follow-up material looks just as strong on the evidence of this first taster.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Nell Bryden, Wayfarer

PIXIE LOTTLAY ME DOWN: Pixie Lott adopts a more urgent style for her latest slice of pop with a track entitled Lay Me Down. Built around a fizzing beat structure that slides an insistent loop in and out of the vocals, this also drops in some chiming electronics, the odd swirling string arrangement and an insistent chorus that asks: “Why don’t you lay me down closer to you?” But while catchy in a generic kind of way, there’s not a lot going on that’s really original here and Lott is capable of a lot better. It’ll no doubt please the unassuming masses but it’s only really an average pop record in spite of the energy it transmits.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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Nell Bryden, Wayfarer

NELL BRYDENWAYFARER: Nell Bryden releases new single Wayfarer, the new single from her forthcoming album of the same title. Having already received 12 consecutive play listed tracks on Radio 2, Nell is hoping for as much success with this single as she has garnered in the past. The track kicks off with a euphoric punch, offering a motoring, light-hearted look at Nell’s travelling past. It’s the tale of a footloose nomad who’s finally home to roost, but has seen so much, and now it all makes sense. There’s a driving sense to the track, too, that’s propelled by the breezy electronic arrangements, soaring vocals and slick beats, meaning that the song feels fresh and vibrant in a soft-pop kind of way. The rest of the album is said to contain the same optimistic vibe, as Bryden herself confirms: “This album is a breakthrough for me, a total departure. It’s so uptempo, and my life is uptempo right now. I feel very, very happy.”
Rating: 3 out of 5

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ATTU

ATTU – WE ARE ORDINARY PEOPLE: London electro-pop outfit ATTU are set to release their debut EP We Are Ordinary People on limited edition vinyl and download, through Beatnik on September 1, 2014. The EP will be supported by the release of debut single, We Are Ordinary People today (July 28). The quietly momentous track drops in some rousing soundscapes with the some sharp melodies and a blissfully blessed out central vocal from Michelle Antoinette. The latter part of the song even draws in multiple vocals for a nice finale that succeeds in putting a smile on your face. It’s a sly song in the way that it begins slowly and blossoms into something really quite grand and radiant. But it does bode really well for what the rest of the EP may have to offer. ATTU are North London based four piece comprised of Stefan Antoinette (guitar/vocals), Michelle Antoinette (bass/vocals/synths), Chike Newman (samples/vocals) and Timothy Earl (guitar/synths).
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Tara, Beast

TARABEAST: Having been supported by Indie Shuffle, Irish Daily Star, The Irish Times and The Unsigned Guide Review (to name a few), Tara now releases her new single Beast to mixed results. With Australian, Irish and Indian roots, Tara attempts to combine her unique cultural influences into her music but sometimes comes across as attempting to be too ambitious. Beast consists of ethereal soundscapes, energetic drum patterns and dominant vocals, with Kate Bush-esque backing harmonies. At times, it does resemble the likes of Sia, Delilah and Shakespear’s Sister – but only loosely. For everything that’s good about it (especially the ending), there’s a lot that frustrates and the mixture of influences tends to create a record that never really finds its true rhythm. Nevetheless, it makes an intriguing first impression.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Das Fluff

DAS FLUFFONE CENT PLUS POSTAGE: “How much to see me naked? How much to get inside my brain?”. So begins One Cent Plus Postage, the new single from Berlin based dark-electro pop outfit Das Fluff (released as a double-A side with the similarly provocative Shut The F**k Up). According to their PR, Das Fluff combine icy-post punk with hypnotic and sensual electro to conjure comparisons with the likes of Depeche Mode and Front 242. Not so… at least with the former band in mind. Rather, this is a monotonous slice of dark electro-pop that never gets going. It drones along with ugly synth loops and an android-like vocal that is designed to get it noticed (lyrics and all) but which quickly ends up being a turn-off. The song was written after seeing previous album Meditation and Violence available on eBay from the US for 1 cent – incensed by this she was encouraged to write a song about it which resulted in the furious Lintern penning the indignant response.
Rating: 2 out of 5

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