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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, September 22, 2017

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

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

SINGLE OF THE WEEK: BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUBLITTLE THING GONE WILD: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are currently putting the finishing touches to their forthcoming eighth studio album, the follow-up to 2013’s Specter At The Feast, entitled Wrong Creatures, which will be released on January 12, 2018. And the good news, on the evidence of first taster Little Thing Gone Wild, is that they’ve lost none of their ability to mood rock your socks off. The track is a dirty, sexy, rollicking ride of big licks and heavy bass, augmented by sharp stabs of harmonica and those gruff, moody, oh-so husky vocals. The chorus is as big as you’d expect… a riot of raucous energy that matches anything that Kasabian or Oasis can offer in the way of brashness. The track is also the inspiration for the LP’s title, drawing on a lyrical passage: “Lord you hear me loud into my soul speaker, why won’t you let me out, you’ve got the wrong creature.” It’s a fiery, epic comeback from a band we’ve long missed and always loved.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Shed Seven, Room In My House

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: SHED SEVENROOM IN MY HOUSE: It’s been a while since we’ve had anything new to write home about from Shed Seven (apart from their annual, always welcome tours). But now they’ve delivered the anthemic, chant-worthy indie-rocker Room In My House. As ever, Rick Witter drops some towering vocals, showing that time has not diminished on his prowess for delivery. But there’s also the usual powerhouse guitar-work, with an indie leaning, as well as a rousing, crowd-pleasing chorus that’s clearly designed with those annual live shows in mind. That is to say, there’s heaps of “yeah yeah yeah” and “oh oh oh” chanting, mid-chorus, that’s sure to whip the live crowd into a frenzy. The obligatory guitar solo is also something of a killer, even at times channelling the cool of The Stone Roses’ Driving South. It’s an emphatic return from a band that deserve to have another big moment in the spotlight, rather than coasting on nostalgia. The track is taken from the upcoming album Instant Pleasures (out November 10) and we’re suitably excited.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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The Barr Brothers

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 3: THE BARR BROTHERSQUEENS OF THE BREAKERS: The Barr Brothers have shared the anthemic title track from their forthcoming album, Queens of the Breakers. This album, the band’s first in three years, will be released on October 13 on Secret City Records and, on the evidence so far, it promises to be a cracker. If not quite as rocky as It Came To Me, their blistering last offering, this nevertheless displays the excellent songwriting skills that have come to mark their music. This one is alive with slick folk-rock guitar licks, warm and reassuring vocals and a keen sense of melody, all delivered in a classic rock style. Hence, if you’re fans of bands like Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers in their prime, or Beck and Springsteen, then this exhibits many of the same timeless qualities. The guitar solo is great, the sense of pacing is spot-on and the overall enjoyment value sky-high. Queens of the Breakers takes its name from The Breakers, a Vanderbilt mansion perched atop Newport, Rhode Island’s rocky coastline. As teenagers, brothers Brad and Andrew Barr were part of a mischievous group of friends that would descend upon Newport dressed in their mothers’ clothing; the better to shock the tourists. It’s a vehicle for reflection: a tight group of friends that grew apart, now seen through a Terrence Malick Tree Of Life-like haze.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Rhys Lewis, Wish I Was Sober

RHYS LEWISWISH I WAS SOBER: Rhys Lewis continues to display some impressive credentials with new single Wish I Was Sober, a heartfelt – but surprisingly upbeat – lament about a failed relationship and the heavy drinking that followed. Lewis finds himself “feeling low” throughout, fuelled by regret and drink. But his backing instrumentals include some slick piano arrangements and equally toe-tapping back-beats, as well as a gospel-tinged backing that create something of an upbeat vibe. Sure, once you pay attention to the lyrics, they’re pretty downbeat (and even despairing). While a mid-track breakdown, in which he pleads “will you take me back”, really brings out the depths of Lewis’ despair. But on the whole, this is a lively record that combines Lewis’ ability to write heartfelt, intelligent and sometimes painful songs with the type of songcraft that should effortessly appeal to the mainstream listener. Crucially, it won’t bring you down.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Paloma Faith

PALOMA FAITHCRYBABY: Paloma Faith has described her keenly-anticipated fourth album The Architect as “a social observation record”. Hence, lead single Crybaby ponders whether war would cease to exist if men successfully dealt with their emotions. It begins with an emotive, even haunting spoken word speech, which culminates with the line: “You are the leaders of tomorrow bred to be the future’s history… you should hold yourselves as such. Do not let the world see you tremble.” It’s food for thought, followed by a surprisingly upbeat disco-pop record. The melodies are pure pop, the chorus fairly euphoric, with slick beats and soaring vocals. And yet, there remains a seriousness to the vocals, which contemplate that idea of being faithful and true to your emotions. Faith’s vocals also carry a reassuring vibe throughout, instilling the listener with a confidence to be true to how they’re feeling (“go on and cry baby, cos you don’t have to keep it inside”). Given the current show of machismo being carried out by two world leaders at present, it’s a song that couldn’t be more relevant.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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DJ Snake, A Different Way

DJ SNAKE feat LAUV – A DIFFERENT WAY Well this one looks set to be massive. Grammy-nominated French DJ and producer DJ Snake releases his new single, A Different Way, which marks a notable collaboration between himself, Lauv (on vocals), Ed Sheeran, Steve Mac, Lindy Robbins, Ilsey Juber & Johnny McDaid (who all co-wrote the song). The result? A pretty catchy mix of electronics and pop that combine DJ Snake’s trademark electronic loops and mixing skills, with a songwriting sheen that could only have been delivered by someone of Sheeran’s hit-making quality. Indeed, when left to the vocals, the song takes the form of a pop ballad that Sheeran himself could deliver, albeit with a softer set of vocals. But the chorus is pure Sheeran enhanced for the way it delivers on the catchy, sing-along elements. The instrumentals, meanwhile, find DJ Snake throwing off the shackles and delivering what his own fans would expect from him. It’s an effortlessly appealing mix of styles, seamlessly blended together. Like we said, it’s going to be one of the winter’s big tunes.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Demi Lovato, Sexy Dirty Love

DEMI LOVATOSEXY DIRTY LOVE: Sexy vocals, provocative lyrics and super-charged synth bursts… the new single from Demi Lovato is as sexually charged as its name suggests. Flitting between sultry verses, in which Lovato’s vocals take centre-stage, and then euphoric synth blasts, Sexy Dirty Love is a lively slice of electro-pop that ticks all the right boxes. Its edgy at times (especially in its use of lyrics), propulsive at others, but catchy throughout. Lovato knows how to deliver a mainstream record that maintains its own sense of identity, while also being capable of stepping up to the dancefloor and appealing to the masses. The track is taken from her upcoming Tell Me You Love Me album.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Baywaves, Down 4 U

BAYWAVESDOWN 4 U: Baywaves are the latest band to emerge from the burgeoning Madrid independent music scene, following in the footsteps of recent breakthrough acts including their friends Hinds and The Parrots. The four-piece have been gaining Europe-wide momentum with their hypnotic, summery pop songs and powerful live performances. New single Down 4 U was recorded with Hans Krüger at Montreal Studios and mixed by Jarvis Taveniere (Woods, King Gizzard, Real Estate). It’s a typically laidback, hypnotic offering with hushed vocals set against breezy electronic arrangements, that conjure something of a late summer-time vibe. It’s easy on the ears in a chilled out kind of way, perhaps lacking that little spark of energy to geninely make it essential. Baywaves say of the new track: “This song was recorded during the same sessions as our previous single Gliss. It was a great studio experience as each song asked for a completely different approach; while Gliss was more like a punchy, live show-oriented song, Down 4 U is a mellow, yachty pop love song. We spent more time geeking with vintage synths and keys, perfecting the vocal effects and working on the arrangements with Hans Krüger at his studio, with Jarvis Taveniere then giving it the perfect mix between ethereality and groove.”
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Bootsy Collins

BOOTSY COLLINSLADIES NITE: Funk legend Bootsy Collins has released the official music video for his new track Ladies Nite – and it’s all as funky and disco infused as we’ve come to expect. The track features vocals from MC Eiht and BlvckSeeds and combines elements of hip-hop, disco, soul and R’n‘B sass, all seamlessly put together to create a song that belongs firmly on the dancefloor. What’s more, it has a strong female empowerment streak running through it, which keeps in line with Collins’ activist leanings. Above all, it’s fun. And it’ll have you dancing. The track is taken from his upcoming new album Worldwide Funk, which will be out on October 27. Commenting on what to expect from it, Collins said: “The whole concept was not only about playing music or being current on this album, but about teaching people how to funk for themselves so they can bring some funk to get some. We bring them hope like dope, so not one Funkateer chokes. Unity in the community is a part of this plan and when the Mothership lands there’s nothing but helping hands. WWF-Drive is about propelling ourselves and generations to come into the future with the speed of light as in Flashlight.”
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Wild Ones

WILD ONESSTANDING IN THE BACK AT YOUR SHOW: Standing In The Back At Your Show is the second single from the debut album by Wild Ones, the project of Portland-based, part DIY-oddity, part electro-pop collective. The song combines a dream-pop element with shades of rock, courtesy of some striking guitar solos. Indeed, the meaty guitar hooks arrive in stark contrast to the innocent, almost sweet vocals of lead singer Danielle Sullivan, whose delivery is particularly appealing. But it’s a nice mix of styles and one that serves to enhance that DIY, almost kooky element the band possess and wear with pride. Commenting on the track itself, Sullivan said: “Standing In The Back At Your Show is about young love when it’s completely inappropriate and unwieldy. It began as a story about my husband and I, who is also a musician, and morphed into a semi-fictional tale of its own.” It’s a really nice sophomore offering from a genuinely interesting [and appealing] new band.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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