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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, February 16, 2018

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

Lord Huron

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: LORD HURONWAIT BY THE RIVER: Wait By The River, the new track from Lord Huron’s highly anticipated album Vide Noir, illustrates why the new material is so keenly anticipated. A trippy mix of the ethereal, the strange, the enchanting and the classic rock n roll, this creeps into your subconscious and just keeps getting better. Lyrically, there are themes of waiting, forgiveness and mortality, which pose some probing questions. But it’s the classic style of the vocal delivery and the lush instrumentation, which incorporates so many different elements, that makes this track so endlessly fascinating and – ultimately – so wonderful. It’s a track that just keeps on giving. And we reckon the forthcoming album may well do the same. Singer, songwriter and producer Ben Schneider found inspiration for the LP wandering restlessly through his adopted home of LA at night: “My night-time drives ranged all over the city—across the twinkling grid of the valley, into the creeping shadows of the foothills, through downtown’s neon canyons and way out to the darksome ocean. I started imagining Vide Noir as an epic odyssey through the city, across dimensions, and out into the cosmos. A journey along the spectrum of human experience. A search for meaning amidst the cold indifference of The Universe.” Vide Noir is out on April 20 on Whispering Pines/Polydor Records.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Diplo, Look Back

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: DIPLO feat DRAMLOOK BACK: Hot on the heels of Get It Right, Diplo’s collaboration with Mo, the producer now teams up with rising rapper DRAM for new single Look Back – and the results are pretty damn hot. A slow burning ballad, this is reminiscent of something that DJ Shadow could produce. There are trip-hop beats, a hint of indie rock in the deployment of guitars, church organs and DRAM’s emotive, soulful vocals. It’s a far cry from the synth-pop of Get It Right, showcasing a more sensitive and more passionate side to the Diplo armoury. Indeed, there’s something very cinematic about this one. And DRAM really covers himself in glory vocally, stretching himself from angsty and moody to hopeful and falsetto. He really carries the song’s emotional core. But the production values are top notch, too, making this every bit as good as Get It Right – and all the more remarkable for representing such a musical departure.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Chainsmokers, You Owe Me

CHAINSMOKERSYOU OWE ME: Chainsmokers continue to show signs of evolving with new single You Owe Me, the second part of a dual-sided single, entitled Sick Boy… You Owe Me. Featuring a more muted sound than normal, and less EDM than alt-pop elements, the song shows how the producers are looking to broaden their fan-base beyond EDM while also ensuring that they don’t alienate their current following. Hence, the catchiness that has marked so much of their work remains intact, while the EDM elements are present in the occasional blasts of synth. But there is something a little more edgy and even outwardly melancholic in the song’s overall structure, which makes it just as endearing. When the synths do explode, late on, the make a very well timed addition. But even then, after the electronic flourish, the song strips things back down before bringing things to an unexpectedly abrupt close. Crucially, however, the song keeps you entertained while thirsting for more.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Niall Horan, On The Loose

NIALL HORAN – ON THE LOOSE: Fresh from the massive global success of his critically-acclaimed debut solo album Flicker, Niall Horan has now released his new single, On The Loose, and manages to retain that same catchy quality that made former offering Slow Hands such a success. On The Loose is slightly, well, looser than the edgier, more bluesy Slow Hands, and therefore more pop than rock. But it retains a soft-rock edge, as well as the occasional country and western twang. But once the song hits its chorus, the pop elements really do kick in and you can tell that Horan has constructed it with stadium-pleasing in mind. This has an anthemic sweep to it that’s certain to turn it into a live favourite. Since departing One Direction, though, Horan has impressed with a greater maturity in his songwriting. He knows how to deliver the radio friendly elements while still dabbling in other musical inspirations. He looks to have a very big future ahead of him as a solo artist.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Royal Blood

ROYAL BLOODLOOK LIKE YOU KNOW: Ahead of the Brit Awards, at which Royal Blood are in the running for British Group, the band have decided to drop a new video for one of the album’s key tracks Look Like You Know. Celebrating everything that the band achieved last year, the video compiles fiery live footage from their shows in support of the album, which included three sold-out nights at London’s Alexandra Palace, alongside intimate behind-the-scenes clips. Capturing the duo’s visceral incendiary energy, the video also highlights the duo’s emergence as charismatic performance and thoroughly modern rock stars. The song itself is as uncompromising and heavy as we’ve come to expect, with an emphatic guitar riff underpinning proceedings, as well as some rousing rock vocals. True, there are traces of acts such as Muse and Queens of the Stone Age in the composition of this one, but that’s no bad thing as Royal Blood look to continue their upward trajectory. The song rocks big time, combining a hardness synonymous with the genre, with something equally radio-friendly (as all the best rock acts can do). It’s rousing, impressive stuff.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Muse, Thought Contagion

MUSETHOUGHT CONTAGION: “You’ve been bitten by a true believer…” So sing Muse over the heady chorus of their new single Thought Contagion. And after hearing this new offering, you may well find yourself bitten by the Muse bug too. A big, epic rock offering with supernatural undertones in the instrumentals, this is designed to be a horror story in the way that it channels contemporary anxieties and becomes quite political. For, as frontman Matt Bellamy, told Rolling Stone, the inspiration for the song ‘probably’ came from “watching American news stations”. He continued: “We’re living in an age where these sort of ideologies, people’s belief systems, whether they are true or false, are getting a lot of air time, especially ones on the false side. I think that we’re living in an unusual period where a lot of airtime is being given to crazy ideas. The flip side is that we’re living in a time where pointing out someone’s inaccuracies, using science for example, is becoming increasingly difficult. Sometimes it’s even perceived as an insensitive thing to do. The verses are me streaming off anxieties and feelings, which in the course of the song, I’m wondering whether they’re actually mine or not.” As anxious as elements of the song unquestionably are, it nevertheless retains the unique energy and edge that accompanies Muse… combining the theatrical with the political to offer up something of genuine substance, that’s also catchy as well.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Skinny Lister

SKINNY LISTERTHING LIKE THAT: London-based folk punks Skinny Lister are proud announce their new single in the form of the riotous Thing Like That, a politically charged track taken from their recently released double-album version of their third critically acclaimed full-length, The Devil, The Heart & The Fight. The track is a response to recent political events in both the UK and US, which have proved difficult to ignore, even for a usually non-political band. The discourse created by the likes of Brexit and Trump course through the veins of this blistering rant of a track which flashes by in an exhilarating two minute dash. But while certainly punk-inflicted and punchy lyrically (as well as evocative of bands like The Clash), the song is also catchy as hell – the “why you wanna go and do a thing like that” chorus just screaming out to be chanted along with, while fist-pumping the air in giddy appreciation for what the song is saying. Its message-making in rabble rousing folk-punk style. Thing Like That, along with Christmas Calls (a song inspired by The Pogues’ classic Fairy Tale Of New York) led the second CD of the new package.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Rosborough

ROSBOROUGHANOTHER LESSON: Loaded with alternative grit but lifted by soaring, cinematic soundscapes, Glenn Rosborough has been creating a stir since he released the single Burn Blue in his native Ireland last October. Awarded Single Of The Fortnight by Hot Press magazine, Burn Blue attracted radio support from every major Irish network. Buoyed by the success of that single, Rosborough has now released Another Lesson as his first official single. The track shares Burn Blue‘s multi-instrumental qualities, while showcasing his ability to drop a telling chorus. The song is delivered with plenty of energy, some tight melodies and a soaring, anthemic grace. It’s sure to get him noticed. “It was a house party, we’d been up all night and everybody fell out with each other about something that no one remembers,” he recalls of the song’s inspiration. “It’s about that human capability of having control then losing control. Life’s about choices. You can make excuses or take responsibility for how you interact with the world. Not allowing yourself to get sucked into negativity in life is the best thing you can do.” As such, it’s also a song about empowerment and being true to yourself.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Marshmello & Anne-Marie, Friends

VIDEO DEBUT: MARSHMELLO & ANNE-MARIEFRIENDS: Following the release of their huge joint single Friends last Friday, Marshmello and Anne-Marie have unveiled the accompanying official video! Directed by Hannah Lux Davis (Ariana Grande & The Weeknd, Love Me Harder, David Guetta ft. Sia & Fetty Wap, Bang My Head), the video plays on the song’s spirited narrative, following two characters – played by Marshmello and Anne-Marie – who are on different sides of the page with their relationship. The song itself finds BRIT-nominated star Anne-Marie and electronic mastermind Marshmello uniting for the second time. Friends is a really chart-friendly piece of ear-candy. Marshmello’s stellar, throwback production combines with Anne-Marie’s Sia-like vocals, buckets of sass and, of course, matchless humour to create a sonic slice of fun. There are toe-tapping beats, slick electronic arrangements that belatedly turn into a fanfare, and rap-sung vocals. It means that the combination of attitude (“get that shit inside your head”) and pop revelry blends seamlessly to create something that a wide range of people can enjoy. It’s irresistibly catchy. Recorded at Sarm Studios at the end of 2017, Friends marks a continuation of a budding friendship – in 2016, Marshmello remixed Anne-Marie’s double platinum and UK Top 20 breakthrough hit Alarm.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Georgie

GEORGIETOO MUCH TV: Mansfield troubadour Georgie makes a return with new single Too Much TV. Taken from the EP of the same name, which will be released on March 16, the song is being hailed as one of the most personal that the singer has written. She states: “I was inspired by my personal life and also by society and how it feels that we should all conform and belong to something, when actually doing that can make us feel very lost. So, we just gotta be ourselves.” The ensuing song paints a sometimes bleak picture of becoming stuck in the hum-drum… whether it’s being dependent on too much TV, or drink, or fitting in as a norm. There’s an angst to it that’s thought-provoking, especially for those that can identify with having become too entrenched in the rat race. But there’s a also a hint of optimism in what Georgie is trying to say. The accompanying melodies are crisp and lively, while the vocals are husky and emotional (evoking comparisons with Sia at times). It’s a heady mix, admittedly, but it has something worthwhile and intelligent to say, without being preachy or condescending. And it’s retains a catchy, radio friendly appeal too.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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