A few weeks into the year and the charts come alive – enjoy your fifteen while you can, GaGa, because the big guns are coming calling.
And the first out of the blocks: Franz Ferdinand. We’ve already been pleasantly wowed by their third album, ‘Tonight: Franz Ferdinand’ – read our review HERE – and now we’re moved enough by their comeback single to award it our weekly top spot.
‘Ulysses’ is in good company, too, with cuts reaching our ears from rising grime MC Tinchy Stryder, Nina Persson’s A Camp, and the much-tipped Kid Cudi. The latter looks set to have a very good 2009, and is already riding high in the singles chart with ‘Day N Nite’.
Sadly there’s guff this week, too. If you’ve never heard Screaming Lights, please don’t bother. We did, and now we’re feeling a little off colour. Time for a pick-me-up bacon sarnie, maybe…
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Single Of The Week
Franz Ferdinand – ‘Ulysses’
Having sat on the sidelines for almost four years, you could forgive the average indie fan of forgetting who Franz Ferdinand are. Take me where? Exactly. Trends have come and gone in the music world, and yet the Glasgow group remain a huge talking point, with album sessions in the home city remaining a well-kept secret. The first new single from the group in some time, ‘Ulysses’ is a blinder. Buoyed by the simmering tension of the sparse drums and bass intro, Kapranos leaps in with his best Prince impression before the whole thing explodes into the sort of wild dancefloor abandon that Franz Ferdinand specialise in. Welcome back, guys.
Also out today…
A Camp – ‘Stronger Than Jesus’
The quite fantastic Nina Persson returns with a new single from her post-Cardigans project A Camp. ‘Stronger Than Jesus’ retains the super Swedes’ pop nous but replaces the frothy and fun aspects of The Cardigans with some overly serious lyrics that occasionally collapse in on themselves. Warning of the “poison inside the bom bom”, it’s difficult to take too seriously. That said, Persson can still handle a chorus like Lewis Hamilton’s handles sharp corners.
The Rifles – ‘Fall To Sorrow’
Returning Mod types The Rifles hop on their Vespas with a trail of two-stroke steam and melody behind them. Triumphant second album ‘The Great Escape’ is due for release later in the month, and this is a good taste of what to expect: stabbing Jam-type chords, pummelling drums and lyrics that hint at some serious social discontent. Not reinventing the wheel, but then they only need two in the first place.
Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip – ‘Thou Shalt Always Kill’ (De La Edit)
Still struggling to shrug off accusations of being a novelty act, this new mix of Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip’s calling card reflects on a tumultuous year in the life of the courageous duo. Featuring brand-new vocals from De La Soul member Pos Plug Won, it reinforces the lyrical message as it exists within the group’s new found semi-fame. The beats are beefed up too, for some truly daft daisy age fun.
Tilly & The Wall – ‘Pot Kettle Black’
A snarling, stomping monster from the Omaha group. Not surprisingly for an Omaha band they have a Conor Oberst connection, but Tilly & The Wall are as far removed from the Saddle Creek stable as it’s possible to be. Riding atop a tense, chugging blues riff, lead singer Kianna Alarid’s vocals sound like Karen O after someone’s half-inched her eyeliner. Yep, THAT pissed off.
Kid British – ‘Leave London EP’
Here’s hoping there’s more to this tipped Manchester four-piece than the lack of depth exhibited across these three tracks. Billed as mixing hip-hop and indie traits with the “Specials rudeboy bonhomie”, what’s promised on paper isn’t entirely delivered. ‘Lost In London’ is a dreary recounting of Tube-related wrong turns and how lads from the north can, y’know, get lost (really? Millions of people find navigating our capital a piece of piss), ‘Elizabeth’ shakes its bits like a rougher-edged Rumble Strips, and ‘She Will Leave’ takes the Roses’ terrace anthems and repaints them by numbers without consulting the key. Not one elevates its makers to a level of critical appreciation higher than, oooh, The Kooks. More is demanded next time or this particular Hot New Band For 2009 will be the first to fall. MD
Kid Cudi vs Crookers – ‘Day N Nite’
Charting high in our Top 40 tracks of 2008, this club banger’s now heading for the mainstream (and the top of the charts). We can’t complain – its bumps and pops and air-raid sirens are all present and correct thanks to Italian remix duo Crookers, and while it’s maybe not the jump-off for a shot at Kanye-level stardom, it certainly showcases Kid Cudi’s credentials as a new hip-hop/R&B artist to watch closely in 2009 – what follows next will almost certainly be the breaker. For the meantime though, doesn’t he look just like the cat that’s got the cream in the accompanying viddie. MD
Van She – ‘Cat & The Eye’
The latest slice of electro to emerge from Australia, Van She are evidence that living in sunnier climes really can fry your mind. ‘Cat & The Eye’ is a confusing and amusing mixture of psychedelic sounds with techno, rooted in the ‘80s but staring off into the future. Best heard under the glorious Southern Hemisphere sun, this may be lost under the January snow. Shame.
Tinchy Stryder – ‘Take Me Back’
The London-born Ruff Sqwader finally makes his solo mark with this cut featuring Taio Cruz. It lacks the frenetic feel of his contribution to the last Gang Gang Dance record, the dizzying ‘Princes’, but Stryder acquits himself decently enough amongst now-standard future-funk R&B beats to suggest the Bow boy could yet outgrow the domestic grime scene and take his talents international. MD
Screaming Lights – ‘GMN’
Imagine Enter Shikari ‘re-interpreting’ Joy Division. Chills you to the bone, right? Best not ever hear this – you may never thaw. It’s genuine awfulness, beyond derivative, dressed up as anthemic angst-rock for 14 year olds. Picking dead skin off your heels is a more enjoyable way of passing three minutes. MD
Additional words: Mike Diver