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Music - Singles of the week - Monday, September 22, 2014

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

Kongs, Come With Me Now

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: KONGOSCOME WITH ME NOW: One of the immediate highlights to emerge from Kongos’ excellent album, Lunatic, is this rousing anthem, Come With Me Now. Dropping in slick beats, slide guitar, a chant-worthy chorus and enough energy to fill a stadium, this comes over like a dizzying cross between Eels, Mumford & Sons and Kings of Leon. It’s a track that demands to be played loud and repeatedly. With Greek blood in their veins, a childhood spent in Britain and South Africa and their family home now located in Phoenix, Arizona, Dylan, Danny, Jesse and Johnny Kongos are the sons of legendary British singer-songwriter John Kongos, most famous for his 1971 Top 10 single, He’s Gonna Step On You Again, which Happy Mondays covered for their 1990 hit Step On. They are currently the No.1 alternative act in the US, while their debut LP is the fastest ever to hit the top spot. It’s deserved.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Weezer, Back To The Shack

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: WEEZERBACK TO THE SHACK: From its incendiary opening guitar riff, it’s good to have Weezer back. New single Back To The Shack is taken from the forthcoming LP Everything Will Be Alright In The End (out September 29) and is a rousing alt-rock anthem that deserves to become an instant anthem for them. The guitars are meaty without being too heavy, the chorus is shot through with ear-pleasing melody and the lyrics encourage sing-along behaviour. The chorus, too, is typically great, proving that Weezer have lost none of their ability to deliver a killer cut that’s capable of crossover appeal. A mid-track guitar breakdown is also pretty exhilarating before catapulting you into another rousing chorus. Altogether now: “Let’s go back, back to the shack….”
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Arcade Fire, Reflektor

ARCADE FIREYOU ALREADY KNOW: Having dazzled on numerous occasions with the fruit of their current musical tree, Arcade Fire now release You Already Know as their latest single. An apt, if belated choice, the song is quite possibly the most fun track on the Reflektor LP, complete with handclap beats and a rhythm that owes more than a passing resemblance to The Cure’s Lovecats. There’s an energy that’s difficult to resist, vocals that drift towards the falsetto and cute, and a striking mix of drums and guitars and electronics that, arguably, combine to create Arcade Fire’s most insanely catchy and chart-friendly release to date.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Bo Keeney

BO KEENEYMIDDLE CLASS DAYDREAM: 7 Eleven is the upcoming EP from Californian musician and producer Bo Keeney, set for release via underground Berlin blueprint Nipple Clips. The three tracks, recorded in a Hackney basement shared with longtime friends and collaborators Flyte and Bombs, explore ideas of excessive consumption and waste, centered on his upbringing in San Diego. Middle Class Daydream employs a teasing, stop-start guitar riff and drum loop to offset the thoughtful lyrics. It also builds into something even smoother, with various electronic loops also weaving their way in and out. It’s an insistent, clever listen that has much to offer. The video, directed by Navarro Aydemir, centres around a man following a woman down the street at night, and ties in heavily with the lyrics. “The good-natured man becomes gradually more sinister in defense of the woman he’s following,” says Bo. It’s also worth watching.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Janet Devlin, Creatures of the Night

JANET DEVLINCREATURES OF THE NIGHT: Former X Factor contestant Janet Devlin has come along way since featuring on that wretched show. For starters, her debut album Running With Scissors reached No.1 on the Official UK Independent Album Charts and now she’s teamed up with Newton Faulkner to write this single, Creatures of the Night. The ensuing track is a delightfully catchy folk-driven pop song that was inspired by Janet’s chronic insomnia at the time. It starts off acoustically and builds by adding eerie owl-like backing vocals and rhythmic rolling drums to Janet’s lush Northern Irish vocals. And while a little dark thematically, it’s a fun, catchy listen that is likely to win her many fans. Janet describes the experience of writing with one of her musical heroes as “a dream come true. I’ve been a huge fan of Newton for years. To work with him was great; terrifying, but great! As soon as I got over the shock of meeting him it was straight to work. Both Newton and his brother Toby were very laid back and chilled and I always love our sessions together”. And her passion for cartoons inspired the video, which was created by rising director Gary Dumbill.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Dee Sada, Bells and Ships And Songs

DEE SADABELLS AND SHIPS AND SONGS: Multi-instrumentalist, Dee Sada (voice/drums/guitar/bass/piano) releases her debut EP, Fragments, on cassette tape and digital. From the fury and guttural sounds of An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump to the shoegaze turned experimental electronic sounds of Blue on Blue, Dee’s solo project is the marriage of confessional lyrics and haunting melodies, a theme which has been at the very core of all of her previous projects. Fragments is a collection of songs inspired and haunted by fractured personal relationships. The songs have been documented through raw, minimal recordings co-produced by long-term musical collaborator, Billy Steiger (Blue On Blue/Hebronix). The first track to be released is Bells and Ships and Songs, a poignant and beautiful track which perfectly introduces the emotional atmosphere of the EP. Sada’s crestfallen vocals provide a quietly mesmerizing focal point, while the wistful background harmonies are offset nicely by a solitary guitar loop that adds the song extra emotional gravitas. It’s captivatingly bittersweet and a fine introduction to this new talent.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Amber Run, Spark

AMBER RUNTHANK YOU: Amber Run will release their brand new EP, Pilot, on September 21 on RCA Victor. Having already revealed a two-part video for lead track I Found and title-track Pilot, the band have just unveiled the third song from their EP, Thank You. And in keeping with their material so far, this is another assured and highly likeable indie-pop offering that almost instantly conjures comparisons with bands such as Embrace and Coldplay. That is to say, the track features a strong electronic hook, emotive vocals and a slow-build towards a sweeping chorus that has stadium-filling aspirations written all over it. You can’t help but wish them every success in realising that ambition if this is what they’re capable of. Another of their tracks, Spark, is also recommended to further their appeal even more.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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We Were Promised Jetpacks

WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS – I KEEP IT COMPOSED: Scottish rock band We Were Promised Jetpacks’ drop the first single, I Keep It Composed, from their eagerly awaited third album Unravelling and show they’ve lost none of their penchant for delivering big tracks with punch. Filled with pounding rhythm, surging guitars and heavy bass lines alongside the soft melodic piano and Thompson’s emotionally riveting vocals, this a powerfully turbulent yet beguiling track that thrives on the mix of gritty guitars and softer vocals. In spite of the album title, We Were Promised Jetpacks are doing the opposite of unravelling musically; this is a strong, fully-realized and assured album, brimming with passion. The LP was recorded in Glasgow at the infamous Chem19 Studios with Paul Savage – known for his work with Teenage Fanclub, King Creosote, The Twilight Sad and Mogwai. On the evidence so far, it’s going to be worth checking out. I Keep It Composed builds towards a truly rousing finale, where the guitars really create a wall of noise that’s exhilarating.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Charlotte OC, Strange

CHARLOTTE OC – STRANGE: Charlotte OC’s new EP, Strange, is released through Polydor Records today and is marked by the title track, which draws eerie, ethereal comparisons to artists like Lykke Li and Kate Bush. Produced by Tim Anderson (Solange, Sia), the track is shot through with a subtle electronic edge, and soaked in an eeriness that is fiercely compelling. A central vocal harmony meanders its way throughout the song and serves as a strong hook, while Charlotte’s ethereal, almost mournful vocals have a hypnotic effect. The beats are restrained, the electronics nicely subtle, creating a song that – on the whole – intrigues and impresses.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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