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Music - Singles of the week - Monday, November 24, 2014

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

Lily & Madeleine

SINGLE OF THE WEEK : LILY & MADELEINE – CAN’T ADMIT IT: Lily & Madeleine can seem to do no wrong at the moment. Hot off the heels of their beautiful new album, Fumes, comes the latest single, Can’t Admit It – and it’s a stunner. The track finds the girls pondering another troubled relationship and has a melancholy undertow that’s similarly disarming but no less compelling than other material on the LP. A melancholy yet beguiling piano chord forms the central melody, while lyrics declare: “I call to talk late at night, end up crying, when I told you everything’s alright, I was lying”. It’s heartbreaking and painfully honest (“I’m not so sure I want this anymore”) but it’s also somehow disarmingly raw and beautiful… more so because of the power and beauty in the girls’ vocals. Trust us, this is one of the albums of the year.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Nite Fields

NITE FIELDSYOU I NEVER KNEW: Australian four-piece Nite Fields are generating quite a bit of buzz with their new record You I Never Knew, a precursor to their debut album which is due next year. Described as misery-drenched pop with shades of Echo & the Bunneymen and The Go-Betweens, the guitars also evoke memoris of classic Smiths and The Cure. The track also offers up a sophisticated take on shoegaze blended with pretty pop hooks from the four-piece… in that it combines the melancholy with the jangly guitar sound to extremely impressive effect. In the words of the band it’s ‘a song about missed connections’ – and this is a record that ensures Nite Fields will make a strong connection with you.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Avicii, The Days

AVICIITHE DAYS: Avicii has done it again… the super producer/DJ has combined more dance rhythms with a catchy pop record (this time, apparently, featuring uncredited vocals from Robbie Williams). The song was written by Brandon Flowers (as well as Avicii, Vincent Pontare and Salem Al Fakir) and has an instantly catchy hook as well as a chorus that sweeps to the heighest heights, while being catchy and sing-along as hell. As with some of Avicii’s former hits, such as Hey Brother, the track eventually gives way into a harder dance record but by then it has you wrapped up in its feel-good euphoria. As a taster of what to expect from Avicii’s second album, Stories, the omens appear to be good.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Ed Sheeran, Thinking Out Loud

ED SHEERANTHINKING OUT LOUD: Ed Sheeran underlines his star qualities with new single Thinking Out Loud, the latest to emerge from his + LP. Written with Amy Wadge – a long-time friend of Ed’s who he collaborated with on his self-released 2010 EP Songs I Wrote with Amy – the new single follows Ed’s previous Benny Blanco and Rick Rubin-produced single Don’t, and sees the 23-year-old, BRIT Award-winning, Grammy-nominated musical talent coming over all moody and heart-broken with a piano backed ballad that ponders the intricacies of love (“People fall in love in mysterious ways… I just keep on making the same mistakes, hoping that you’ll understand”). There is, dare I say, a touch of the Motown classics and Otis Redding in some of the chorus as well as a nice touch of the blues during the guitar solo. It’s a class act, as per usual from Sheeran. The official video is not what you’d typically expect from the Suffolk-born singer. Shot in Los Angeles and directed by Emil Nava (who’s previously worked with Ed), it finds Ed hitting the dancefloor to show off a completely new skill – ballroom dancing! Ed commented: “Thinking Out Loud is one of my favourite tracks on the album, if not my favourite. It’s a great one to perform live and means a lot to me. I wanted the video to be a little different, so I opted for ballroom dancing. I had lessons for 5 hours a day when I was on my US tour last month. I hope they paid off! I love the video and hope you will, too.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

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The Chemical Brothers, This Is Not A Game

THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS feat MIGUELTHIS IS NOT A GAME: The third film in The Hunger Games franchise has spawned another high profile album of songs inspired by the film. The Chemical Brothers are among those involved and their new single, This Is Not A Game drips with the menace and foreboding that is inherent throughout the movie, as the games of the title become replaced by the impending threat of revolution and war. A jagged, raw central electronic pulse forms the focal point and hooks you in from the start, while Miguel’s vocals inter-change with a soulful female vocalist and some slick beats. It’s an arresting piece of music that shows the brothers have lost none of their ability to remain cutting edge and genre-bending.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Alabama 3

VELATRONIX feat ALABAMA 3 – FOLLOWING RAINBOWS: Alabama 3 will forever be synonymous with supplying the theme tune to The Sopranos but they have more good songs in their arsenal. Latest single Following Rainbows is another interesting offering in that it seeks to put female vocalists back to the fore, while wrapping soulful vocals around some slick dance arrangements. The ensuing record sounds a little bit like Morcheeba mixed with Alabama 3 and certainly succeeds in making you pay attention. It has a relaxing vibe, as well as a toe-tapping undercurrent. And while it may fall short of their best work, it’s definitely worth a listen.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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One Direction, Night Changes

ONE DIRECTIONNIGHT CHANGES: One Direction release one of the slower numbers from their current LP, FOUR, in the form of the mid-tempo Night Changes. Written by the entire band with their now-regular collaborators John Ryan, Julian Bunetta and Jamie Scott, the track features lyrics about innocence lost and youth fading, yet remains a hopeful ballad. Fortuntely, it retains enough pace about it, and catchy melodic hooks, to ensure that it has an easy-going charm, no matter how sentimental some of the emotions are. It’s evidence of the band’s growing maturity as performers and songwriters (and we never thought we’d be writing that!). The video for Night Changes, directed by Ben Winston, takes the viewer on a series of dates with each of the boys – it’s sure to make the female fans swoon.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Red House Glory

RED HOUSE GLORYLIVING A LIE: Red House Glory are being hailed as part of the new breed of British rock bands currently blazing a trail of monstrous riffs with cautious melody. New single Living A Lie does that to take-notice effect, combining some heavy riffs with some sharp melodies and a lively chorus. It’s designed to be played loud and to fill stadiums, especially during the belated guitar solo, when the band’s instrumental prowess really impresses. They’ve been likened to Tax The Heat and Royal Blood, but are also [apparently] suited to fans of Oasis and Jaguar Ma. You could also add Idlewild to that list. They’ve got potential and Living A Lie is catchy in a good way.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Fyfe

FYFEHOLDING ON: Hotly-tipped artist Fyfe will release Control, his debut collection of brooding alternative pop, on March 9, 2015, through Believe Recordings, flanked by an eight-date UK tour incl. London Electrowerkz on March 25 (2015). Control is described as a collection of brooding, expertly-crafted alternative pop songs, from an artist and producer who has already earned fans as diverse as London Grammar to Childish Gambino (plus over 2 million Soundcloud plays). The single, Holding On, builds from a brooding opening to a sweeping, ethereal chorus that contains an unexpected beauty to it. It combines R&B elements with pop and dance and holds you in a trance-like state while it lasts. The track also boasts a suitably moody new video, which can be viewed below.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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