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Music - Singles of the week - Monday, October 27, 2014

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

The Staves, Blood I Bled

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: THE STAVESBLOOD I BLED: The Staves have unveiled Blood I Bled as one of the main track from their new EP, released on Atlantic Records, and it’s typically beguiling. The title track from the EP, Blood I Bled benefits from a full supporting cast of producer Justin Vernon’s Bon Iver band-mates and is an intricately layered offering that keeps getting better. Early on, it’s dusky and intimate, with acoustic folk elements under-pinning it. But once the drums start rolling and the stabs of brass permeate, this takes on a new life that feels fuller, richer and more emotionally compelling. It’s early evidence of the heightened and supremely focused sense of drama and atmosphere that are to be found in The Staves’ new songs and recordings, which will extend to a new album soon.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Bonobo, Flashlight

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: BONOBOFLASHLIGHT: Ahead of his forthcoming Alexandra Palace show, Bonobo makes a welcome return with his new Flashlight EP, the lead offering of which is the title track. Featuring the same kind of intelligent, intricately woven electronic loops and beats that have become something of a hallmark, this is both beautiful and energising. The beats are finger-click sharp and slick, the electronic arrangements polished and flighty, meaning that the track has a really cool groove to it. There’s also a woozy sound drifting in and out like a whale bobbing beneath the surface of the ocean, adding an addictive element whenever it resurfaces (not to mention an ambient quality). The most distinctive element, however, is just how Bonobo manages to continually evolve his sound, make it seem vital, whilst retaining that signature element that has made him one of the most foremost artists in the UK of the moment.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Jake Morley, Falter

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 3: JAKE MORLEYFALTER: Having just reviewed the new track from Bonobo, it’s amazing how the instrumentation on Jake Morley’s latest offering, Falter, sounds like it could be one of that artist’s instrumental arrangements. The track doesn’t depend on gimmicks, kitsch or any shock factor but rather near-perfect construction. The production is a mixture of Gotye’s creativity, Bonobo’s cinematic leanings and Ed Sheeran’s mass-appeal. Quirky nods to acoustic pop and an unconventional guitar technique show off his imaginative song-writing and arrangement abilities, which are then married to intimate, heart-on-sleeve songwriting (“all I seem to do is falter”). The result is a moody, intricately layered, serene offering that displays beauty and intelligence to match.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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The Subways, I'm In Love and It's Burning My Soul

THE SUBWAYS – I’M IN LOVE AND IT’S BURNING MY SOUL: The Subways have announced the release of their long-awaited fourth studio album The Subways on February 9, 2015. But fear not, while that sounds like a long time to wait, there’s a new single to rock your socks off in between. I’m In Love And It’s Burning My Soul is a typically volatile offering that features blistering guitar hooks and the usual blend of high tempo boy-girl vocals. It has that no-nonsense punk rock vibe that has long been associated with The Subways and is delivered in an unfussy, non-pretentious, full speed ahead kind of way, from the first moment (and its giant riff) to the last (where it suddenly cuts off, leaving you breathless). You can only imagine the mayhem it will cause in the mosh pit in live form. The video for the single was created by Steven Mertens, a director and animator based in Los Angeles. Employing the “multi-plane” method first developed by Walt Disney Studios in the 1930’s, Steven has created an eyecatching series of worlds and abstract stories from cut out paper. It’s well worth catching.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Flight Facilities, Two Bodies

FLIGHT FACILITIES feat EMMA LOUISETWO BODIES: Two Bodies is the seductive new single from elusive duo Flight Facilities, which is released on the same day as their debut album, Down To Earth. Shot through with velvet-smooth synths floating over the duo’s signature melodic bassline and some sensuous vocals from Emma Louise, this is designed to evoke a continuous state of bliss. And to be fair, there’s a laidback element to it that makes it a nice slice of chillout, akin to listening to a track from someone like Lamb, Aphex Twin or Everything But The Girl. It’s a serene, satisfying record that bodes well for the rest of the album. The stunning video was shot in New York and directed by Lorin Askill, who has previously collaborated with Flume, Phoenix, Chet Faker and Lana Del Rey. With highlights placed on the innocence and rawness of adolescent love, the video explores the positive affirmation of sometimes needing or wanting to be taken advantage of when such a strong connection between two people is formed.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Chirping

CHIRPINGAMBITIONS: Chirping are an indie pop rock band hailing all the way from Sweden but who have so far drawn favourable comparisons with Morrissey and Julian Casablancas. To be fair, new track Ambitions doesn’t immediately leap out as a song that could have been recorded by either of those artists. Rather, it takes more of its inspiration from the likes of The Cure, Pulp and The Drums. It’s a breezy enough listen, shot through with cute hooks, high energy and a punk-inflicted indie-pop energy (even with the synth flourishes that accompany it). Whether it’s enough to get them noticed remains to be seen, however, as it’s missing that special something. The four-piece, consisting of Carl, Johan, Björn and Viktor, have a very strong DIY attitude. They spent a long period of time building their own rehearsal room and recording studio from scratch where they self-produced and self-mixed Ambitions. At the very last hurdle they had decided to bring in a mastering professional called Thomas Eberger who has worked with a countless amount of Swedish stars including The Hives.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Say Lou Lou

SAY LOU LOUGAMES FOR GIRLS: Say Lou Lou announce that their debut album Lucid Dreaming will be released through Columbia Records on February 2, 2015. This will be preceded by their brand new single Games For Girls, a thrilling collaboration with fellow-Scandi producer Lindstrøm. Destined to tear up dancefloors across Europe and beyond this autumn, Games For Girls is an addictive slice of contemporary electro-disco, delivered with some fun vocals from twin sisters Miranda and Elektra who formed Say Lou Lou just two years ago. If anything, there’s a touch of Robyn about the vocal delivery, while the accompanying synth sound combines kitsch ‘80s elements with contemporary electro-pop. It’s kooky and it’s fun… a dancefloor friendly slice of electro-pop that succeeds in getting into your head from the moment you hear it.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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CryBabyCry

CRYBABYCRY – GO GO: CryBabyCry are already dominating West Yorkshire with sell-out shows, limited edition EP releases and fans eager for them to become the poster band of the North. They now release new EP, Go Go, which features the appealing lead track. At times invoking the sparse minimalism of The XX, the sass of Nancy Sinatra and the balls of the Rolling Stones, the single is enlivened by a gritty central guitar hook and an appealing boy-girl vocal delivery. The ensuing record neatly blends the heavy/gritty with the sweet/melodic, with the female vocals particularly good at offsetting the more bluesy, edge elements. A Tarantino soundtrack sound has been mentioned and there’s mileage in that. It has a universal kind of sound that’s tailor-made for a soundtrack inclusion, as well as one that’s capable of appeal on both sides of the Atlantic. The build-up to the finale is also good, morphing the record into something that has clearly found a home up North, but which could equally appeal to fans of The White Stripes.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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God Damn, Horus

GOD DAMNHORUS: A musical force hailing from the heart of the Black Country, God Damn are described as a red-hot burning molten pot of pop hooks and grinding, bludgeoning riffs and rhythms. Latest single Horus is a heavy monster of a rock track that really batters you into submission. A flurry of distorted guitar signals the start of the song, before the band come charging in, creating a thick wall of disconcerting rock noise that aims to creep you out – meaning it’s a good time to release it so close to Halloween. With a lyrical theme that references the Egyptian Sun god Horus (who has the body of a man, a birds head, with one eye the sun and the other the moon!), Horus explores utopian ideas with a brooding, dark musical background that is set to pulverise. If you like it heavy and relentless, then this is the one for you.
Rating: 2 out of 5

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