Singles Club #239


Dr Orange

This week’s strong selection of the platters that matter are analysed and scrutinised by Getintothis’ Steven Doherty.

So how’s your week been?

Any 60-mile drives to tourist locations?

Still angry about the whole thing but not enough, you’ll be ecstatic to know, to go over all that again, it consumed the whole of my Bank Holiday weekend and that’s plenty.

But people don’t seem to be discussing much else.

So, let’s keep it light and, more importantly, music-based.

2020 is going to be the year that breaks the music cycle. The single-in-the-spring, album-in-time-for-the-festivals, and tour-autumn-to-winter schedule that seems to have been the norm for the industry for a good old while now.

There’s albums being delayed all over the place, for example the new Fontaines DC album is due the end of July, not a traditional hot-spot week for new records usually and the tours that are already in the diaries are still looking quite precarious.

Everywhere you look, things are being re-arranged, and now they are mostly being pushed forward by 12 months, in some cases to the day.

There’s not going to be much festival line-up anticipation in 2021, that’s for sure, as most of them are sticking with what you would have seen in the next couple of months, regardless of where acts will be (or even whether they’ll still be going) this time next year.

Strange times ahead.

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Single Of The Week

Dr Orange: These Things (Baby I Know)

There’s a lot of people releasing their second single this week, and the best of the bunch is the mysterious moon-rockesque Dr Orange.

This sophomore effort, like his debut Comes In Threes, features the helping hands of collaborator, producer and all round good-egg Jon Withnall, and pushes the envelope on even further from the first single.

Anything that sounds this much like a Boy Azooga/Gruff Rhys crossover is doing something very clearly right, and this is ace from start to finish.

It’s all catchy choruses and spaced out verses, a leisurely shimmering stroll back in time.

It’s author says “it sounds like it was recorded on the moon” and that sums it up better than I was ever hoping to.

Little Furry Things: Proof Of Concept EP

Following hot-on-the-heels of the recent release of last single Cold War (which also appears here), this is the first full-lengther from FUSS‘s Alex Hannah, who is himself, apart from the drums, Little Furry Things.

It’s a barnstorming collection of songs, it really feels as if there’s so much of a heart and soul that’s gone into the making of this.

It’s a warm and fuzzy kick in the teeth, early Nirvana would be a lazy journo’s starting point, but also riffs and bounces in the places that you hope it does.

Of the four tracks, opener Life Gets In The Way is probably the pick of the bunch, but it’s a fat-free foursome with no waste of seconds on any of it, hits hard then ends, like all good EP’s should.

Just misses out on Single Of The Week by a whisker, look forward to more of this.

Ana Mae

Ana Mae: Gobstopper

Gobstopper is Ana Mae’s first release on Birkenhead-based record label Eggy Records, and following slots at last year’s Skeleton Coast and 6 Music Festival, this piece of wonky-pop could elevate her on to even greater things.

It’s a serene slice of summery pop, the perfect antidote to the bleakness of the here and now.

Repeated listens are highly recommended, and unlimited kudos for the “nothin’/coffin” rhyme, and that’s before you get to the gorgeous chorus.

Could easily have been in a three-way tie for this week’s top spot.

Just so sweet. (sorry).


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Melanie C:  Blame It On Me

Widely regarded as The-One-Who-Can-Actually-Sing-Spice, Melanie C (full title, well nearly) is back.

It’s perfectly serviceable pop, although it could be said she sounds like she’s trying too hard to sound either futuristic or still relevant.

She just succeeds on both counts, although it never quite ‘goes off’ in the way that you would hope it would, and that’s probably why she’ll remain behind the Jepsens or XCX‘s of the world in the disco diva stakes.

It’s certainly no Spice Up Your Life.


Hollows: Apologise

Manchester four-piece Hollows bring us their second single of 2020 already, the follow-up to the well-received Painkiller.

It’s already received airplay both locally and further afield, including some international plays on a French radio station.

The influences on their self-penned bio consists of all the usual-ticked boxes, but to these ears it’s all very reminiscent of Placebo, of all people, the clearly prounounced and precise vocals, the chundering bass, stop-start guitars, whether they realise or not.

Being bereft of any semblance of a chorus makes it an odd choice for a single, but all in all it’s marvellously executed.


Dyasono: Walk Away

Dyasono is the nom de plume of Anindya Kartika, an artist out of LA via Indonesia and Malaysia, and she describes Walk Away as “her break-up song”.

And she conveys her discontent and unhappiness whilst still managing to make a great sound.

It masquerades as edgy, minimal pop, but due to the massive production by a.P.A.t.T’s Stephen Cole, this is something of a misnomer as layer upon layer is heaped on the already hefty beats.

A younger, hipper man would no doubt describe them as ‘fierce’.


Bobby West: As The Morning Crept In

Sounding like a Vegas crooner rather than a Walton resident, this is some vocal performance from Bobby West, and a splendid way to spend five minutes of your time.

It’s a brooding ballad of a debut, bringing to mind the first time you heard Scott Walker and Richard Hawley, on first listen you are just breathing in the voice.

The instrumentation is equally impressive, the sax breaks and simple drum taps fit in perfectly with the mood of the single.

An intriguing beginning.


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The Sword: Daughter Of Dawn

This is not exactly a new track (although it’s never been released outside of Japan before), but it’s a teaser for The Sword’s upcoming career-spanning 3-CD release Chronology: 2006 – 2018.

For the previously uninitiated, the Austin, Texas hailing hard-rockers have released eight studio albums and racked up tour supports with the likes of Metallica, Clutch and …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead.

It’s just over five minutes of bombast and bluster, and in places it’s very much of Love Spreads if the Levellers covered it, it’s one of their less all-out rockier numbers, but still enough going on to get those prog toes tapping.


The Post Romantics: ‘bad friend’

Self-produced under lockdown at the bands home in Liverpool, The Post Romantics are back with a brand new track.

Last year saw them supporting the likes of Larkins and Wolf Alice, and 2020 (fingers crossed) will see them with prestigious slots at Sound City and Hit The North Festivals.

The single itself is their take on toxic relationships and friendships, it has more than a smidgeon of The Weeknd, and lord knows how it’s going to get any radio airplay with its very sweary chorus.

Mellow, dark beats under heartfelt delivered words, this could easily go very big.

Gaygirl: Pleasurehead EP

Gaygirl are another off the seemingly never ending South London four-piece conveyor belt, but unlike many of their peers, this has some substance to it.

MNausea is the debut’s eye-opener, a thrashing cacophony of an introduction, but pick any of the four tracks as a suitable place to start.

They have already supported the likes of Calva Louise and Sorry, and it’s the latter where the comparisons will be made, due to the similar moody feel.

Strong stuff.


Sea Girls: Do You Really Wanna Know?

And finally, here was me thinking that, for the first time ever in my Singles Club history, that I was going to have a 100% hit rate of decent tracks in a week, without anything making me want to pour bleach down my ears.

That’s before the unfathomably popular Sea Girls appeared.

They are just one of a number of bands, says the old man, that are so painfully watered down, so anodyne, far from what guitar bands once stood for.

Who deliberately writes a song in order to sound this much like The Kooks?

Weak. Just weak.