Singles Club finds Getintothis’ Chris Burgess on the warpath against Lily Allen, taking in Mr. Blobby, Toyah Wilcox and Robbie Williams along the way.
Mutual Benefit: Golden Wake – Single of the Week
Led by the now Brooklyn-based Jordan Lee, Mutual Benefit have released Golden Wake ahead of their new album Love’s Crushing Diamond. It’s a wonderfully expansive track, at once dreamlike and buoyant.
The spacious, deep arrangement and varied instrumentation are beautiful, as is the band-endorsed video – evocative and poignant.
Lee’s voice manages to be soft and vulnerable, yet soothing and almost comforting too.
“Sometimes my heart and head conspire, to set everything on fire“, he sings. I expect they’ll be blazing a trail in 2014.
Emily Wells: What Is Love?
No, no, no, no, NO!
ENOUGH of these slow, melancholy-female covers of songs.
That bloody awful Lily Allen song is going to be blaring out of in-store speakers every Christmas for the next 30 years, isn’t it!?
Where will it end? Miley Cyrus singing a heartfelt cover of the bleeding Mr Blobby song – THAT’S where!
To be fair to Emily Wells, she has a much better voice than Allen and is probably a victim of bad timing more than anything else – but at the moment this is just too much to take.
It sounds rather cheap and tries far too hard to be quirky-yet-knowingly-ironic that it just doesn’t stand out, especially when there are a million other covers going for the same shtick.
dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip: You Will See Me
Can I have a runner-up for Single of the Week? If so, it’s this one.
Besides one or two standout songs, I find Scroobius Pip’s beat-poetry slightly irritating. A little wordplay goes a long way in music and Pip seems to overload a lot of his work with too clever by half rhymes and metaphors.
However, with le sac’s moody, claustrophobic beats underpinning his delivery, Pip here is superb (give or take a line or two).
The song builds to a mountainous climax and the video appears to be an ode to tidying up. Fans with OCD will bloody love it.
Rocket Girl: 100 (Various Artists)
Ok, not quite a single, but the amazing Rocket Girl records have put together a compilation to celebrate their 100th release – no mean feat in today’s economic climate.
Rocket Girl is an incredibly eclectic label and this compilation highlights that.
Songs vary from the smooth to the quite frankly insane.
Perhaps none more so than Bound For Magic Mountain by Eat Lights Become Lights – a pulsing, driving slice of electronica that makes your heart happy and your head burst open. Try covering this one, Lily.
Axel Boman: Fantastic Piano
Does exactly what it says on the tin. A whirling, tilting journey of a song, with a video recalling faded memories of end-of-pier entertainment.
Boman’s low-key, almost experimental house music is adventurous, deep and moving. It’s also exquisitely produced, from the truly hypnotic bassline to sweet, chirping birdsong towards the end. Magical.
Sounding somewhere between Bjork and Toyah Wilcox, the Swedish post-punk duo Vulkano have released this strangely charming little track ahead of their debut album.
Although there’s enough to hold your interest, the track ultimately threatens more than it delivers. There’s a lot of rumbling but no final blast of excitement. A bit like a Lily Allen interview.
Majical Cloudz: Savage
The sad thing about Majical Cloudz is that although they’re a decent band and write very nice lyrics, their singer unfortunately sounds rather too much like Robbie Williams.
You keep expecting this song to boom into a big catchy, swing-a-long chorus, instead of the introspective, soul-bearing tale that’s actually being played out.
It’s moody, meaningful and emotionally wrought – ideal for Robbie fans that’ve grown up and hit the bottle.
Guided By Voices: Littlest League Possible
I’ve been a big GBV fan for years and am excited that the indie-rock Ohioans have a new album out next year – Motivational Jumpsuit.
Littlest League Possible is a stormer of a song that comes in, says what it has to say and leaves the room. In less than two minutes singer Robert Pollard manages to knock it out of the park.
Another 80’s-formed American indierock band for you here, with North Carolina’s Superchunk delivering a powerful, fun tune you can mosh along to.
There’s plenty of moshing going on in the video, too – with guest appearances from various indie bands including Ava Luna and Heliotropes.
Nothing new here, but big dumb fun nonetheless.
Spring King: Heat of the Summer
Former LIPA members Spring King released their debut album back in September and follow it up with the single Heat of the Summer. Singer Tarek Musa delivers a sparse, piano-led ballad – full of regret and mourning.
Recorded in a bathroom, following the removal of his bathtub, Musa manages to get the perfect acoustics for this song, which has touches of 60’s pop and could easily be a slow, melancholy cover of a Herman’s Hermits song.
It isn’t though, thankfully. These guys obviously know better than to go down that route.
I hate Lily Allen. She’s ruined Christmas.