Getting the ball slowly rolling once again, Getintothis’ Matthew Wood is back with the first Singles Club of 2018 featuring Merseyside hip-hop, Canadian post-punk, plus, the sound of the future?
Hello there, and welcome back! I hope 2018 finds you in good health and your new years resolutions are still going strong, I’m still yet to have a beer this year so I feel your pain.
2018 is looking like a strong year already with some mammoth bands making their return, Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend and Interpol look set to bring hefty contenders to the mainstream, while Jack White, David Byrne and Gaz Coombes fly the flag for the well-weathered, vintage rock & rollers releasing records through their respective solo projects.
Of course, as always here at Singles Club there will be a steel vein of work from more underground figures who may slip under your radar, and I’ll be compiling Spotify playlists for each week’s list so you can swerve the chit chat and get straight the brass tacks.
Single of the Week
MC Nelson – By The River
Self-taught rapper and producer MC Nelson embarked on his journey to become a hip hop musician when he was the ripe age of 9. His ambitions led him to join a Merseyside hip hop crew, and later delve into more experimental waters via his bedroom recordings. Melding his sharp creativity with his black heritage, he aims to tell the ‘untold’ story of the UK’s oldest black population.
By The River is a jaunty, jazz and psych-inflected track, Nelson’s expressive style finds its groove while he sits atop a raft and bathes among flowers and oranges. The surrealist-tinged video was previewed to a sold-out audience at FACT earlier this month and starting the year so strong can only stand Nelson is fine stead for 2018.
FRIGS – Talking Pictures
FRIGS recently announced their debut album Basic Behavior, due for release February 23 via Arts & Crafts. Talking Pictures is a phenomenally jarring single from the Toronto post-punk quartet, opening with superior, foreboding stabs of guitar, settling into a throbbing groove.
The sense of approaching explosion soon comes to fruition with a blood curdling roar from vocalist Bria Salmena, from this moment the track builds with a frantic intensity with Salmena announcing ‘kill them all‘ as she channels the edge and aggression so vital in post-punk success.
Panda Bear – A Day With the Homies
No accompanying track for you here but I do bring good news on the Panda Bear front. The Animal Collective co-founder released his last solo record back in 2015, Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, a characteristically colourful venture with whacky acid trips such as Boys Latin.
So what can we expect from A Day With the Homies? “I hoped to make something without frills or much embellishment, principally because I’ve found more fluff tends to equal less power. Since the juiciest action is entirely focused in the deeper zones of the frequency spectrum (at least from where I’ve sat), power was key.”
To witness the juiciest action live, Lennox will play Manchester’s Gorilla April 2.
U.S. Girls – Pearly Gates (ft. James Baley)
Chameleonic pop pioneer Meghan Remy, aka U.S. Girls announces her new record, In A Poem Unlimited set for release February 16.
Pearly Gates follows a woman attempting to seduce St. Peter to ensure entry to Heaven. Accompanying her journey to heaven is an old skool 90’s hip hop beat, complete with crab scratching and Remy embodies Madonna and Gwen Stefani while James Baley provides a sweet falsetto hook.
Pond – Fire In The Water
The thing with psych music these days is that its so ubiquitous, its easy to wonder whether we’ve heard it all by now and another psychedelic tune just won’t cut it. One band adamant on proving that theory wrong is the Aussie masters, Pond, fronted by the creative force of Nick Allbrook who makes 2018 his 9th year running in which he’s released music through one of his many projects.
Although technically released last year as a Japanese bonus track, I thought I’d pop this one in for those who missed it, plus the music video is well worth a watch with Allbrook shifting and morphing like Tom Yorke in Lotus Flower.
Franz Ferdinand – Feel The Love Go
Often, when assigning a replacement it can completely change a band, for better of for worse. Franz Ferdinand return in 2018 with two shiny new members, Dino Bardot on guitar, formerly of Rough Trade signee 1990 and another Glaswegian musician, Julian Corrie on synth.
The result? A very 80’s inspired track recalling the likes of Human League looping dark, brooding synths and an interrogative baritone from front man, Alex Kapranos.
In a recent interview Kapranos announced that FF will bring the sound of the future to 2018 and while the hook is a funky one, it sounds oh too familiar with LCD Soundsystem and the latest Horrors record making great progress in the synth-pop revival.
Sure it’s a darn catchy tune, but the sound of the future? Nah.
Gaz Coombes – Deep Pockets
Following up the success of 2015’s Matador, which earned Coombes a Mercury Prize nomination, the former Supergrass front-man returns with his third solo record, World’s Strongest Man.
Claiming influence from Frank Ocean’s Blond, Cali cannabis and kraut legends, Neu! and recording it in his home studio Oxford’s Courtyard Studios, its clear Coombes doesn’t seek to limit his sound in any way, branching out and acting upon his heady rock & roll ambitions.
His Neu! infatuation is evident in Deep Pockets, a motorik beat and urgent bass line march this one into action, screeching guitars and Coombes versatile vocal give this an dark, urban feel, pulsing through the track like a surging electricity.
Jack White – Respect Commander
Released alongside the lead single Connected By Love, taken from his forthcoming record, Boarding House Reach, his third solo album.
Respect Commander takes us as close as we can hope to get to a Jack White practice session; teasing us with a bluesy jam, White gets his band mates to stop messing around and get on with the song. A complex, supercharged break beat ensues with rapid warbles of funk bass and some experimental samples; we’d forgive you if you had no idea this was Jack White.
But then, we reach another shift in narrative and we’re back in familiar territory. White bellows out his undying respect for his commander before launching into a sumptuous blues jam, shrill, biting and a quick reminder of what this guitar wizard has up his sleeve.
Kyle Craft – Exile Rag
Taken from a self-coined term he used to refer to his guitar pieces played whilst everyone else slept, Exile Rag is a triumphant track with the sultry symptoms of a glam rock track, infused with a sun-kissed Bluegrass and country influence.
Craft’s vocal is an extremely powerful one, recalling Television’s Tom Verlaine, his voice could be suited to practically any occasion be it glam, country or post-punk.
Full Circle Nightmare will be released February 2 on Sub Pop Records.
Ty Segall – Every 1’s A Winner
Great news for Ty Segall fans, his latest record Freedom’s Goblin shall be released January 26, and in keeping with the celebratory mood he’s released a cover of Hot Chocolate’s Every 1’s A Winner, that lead hook marked with the sweet, signature Segall fuzz.