Clash woke this morning to sunshine, and radio talk of the credit crunch perhaps reaching a white light/tunnel end phase. Seriously, folks – word is that things are getting better.
Okay, so perhaps they’re not just yet, but where there’s hope there are smiles and good times, and today’s singles round up collects a number of tunes guaranteed to brighten any day.
We’ve the return of our own first lady of pop, Lily Allen, as well as something predictably boisterous from Norway’s Ida Maria – love her or loathe her, there’s no denying the girl makes one heck of a noise. Plus we’ve been exposed to great new music from up-and-coming types – Mike Bones is a New Yorker to pay attention to in 2009, and London’s Electricity In Our Homes have gone and done themselves a giant killing by actually scooping our Single of the Week prize.
Well, I say prize. There’s no prize, as such, just our respect. Which is all you can really ask for given we’re skint. ‘Til we’re out of this slump, lend us a tenner, yeah?
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Single Of The Week
Electricity In Our Homes – ‘Gymnastics’ / ‘Motorbike’
“Oooh, bend my back”: not the kind of line you imagine ever being something you’d sing along to in a sweat-stinking basement club, but London trio Electricity In Our Homes somehow graft this gleaming nugget of accessibility onto a clattering lo-fi riot of a track (‘Gymnastics’) that comes on like XX Teens when they’re not showing off too much. It’s art-rock stripped of all pretension and left to dance itself into a giddy mess, and breathlessly ace all told. Flipside ‘Motorbike’ chugs to a less-frantic beat, but is equally ragged of design – it’s Yo La Tengo covering Pavement as interpreted by The Fall while tumbling down several flights of stairs. Only better than that. Yeah, really. John Peel would approve wholeheartedly.
(Hear ‘Gymnastics’ on MySpace)
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Also out today…
Lily Allen – ‘The Fear’
Lily Allen returns with what just might be her best single yet – a fizzy pop delight that bobbles beautifully on silken synth lines, making good to an extent on its maker’s claim that new album, ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’ (reviewed HERE), is more electro-flavoured than her ‘Alright, Still’ debut. Lyrically it swings its share the way of the troublesome tabloids, and touches unsubtly upon her public perception via such sources (and the fickleness of a pre-credit crunch lifestyle in general), but Allen’s delivery is never less than candyfloss sweet – whether she rots them through or uses her fists, you feel you’re losing teeth one way or another.
Ida Maria – ‘Oh My God’
It’s re-release time for Norway’s self-proclaimed ‘Queen of the world’, with the song that first introduced her to UK audiences back in 2007. I’d love to say it warranted a second outing, but the song lacks the core catchiness of Ida Maria’s most-successful single, ‘I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked’. Plus, the girl can’t actually sing, can she? She does what Pink does: shout and jump about a lot until men wet their pants through pleasure or fear. Strip this track’s energy away and all you’ve got is a painful tantrum.
Mike Bones – ‘What I Have Left’
New Yorker Mike Bones’ moniker sounds like he’s gonna shake, rattle and roll you; but the man’s understated guitar pop proves to be the most delightful downer, ‘What I Have Left’ mixing subtle strings into a sublime arrangement that stirs thoughts of Dan Sartain lifting a page or two from M.Ward’s songbook, with a little Arcade Fire bombast chucked in at the end for that ‘epic’ vibe. A promising sign of things to come on Bones’ forthcoming second LP, ‘A Fool For Everyone’.
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Mike Bones – ‘What I Have Left’
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Fight Like Apes – ‘Tie My Up With Jackets’
These Dublin-based pop types trade wares not so dissimilar to Johnny Foreigner and Los Campesinos! – indie that one can get emotional to, while at the same time sweating themselves thin. Lead screecher MayKay’s got a set of admirable pipes on her – the kind that switch between vulnerable and violent with nary a second’s forewarning. The whole thing throbs with an authenticity that the above-reviewed Ida Maria can most likely only dream of, reinforcing the fact that boy troubles need not produce sappy music.
The Qemists – ‘Dem Na Like Me’
Featuring grimer-for-hire Wiley, The Qemists plug their recommended ‘Join The Q’ album – released February 2 – with a skull-pounding number that’s heavy on the low end and light on the tact. Wiley goes off on one – about cars, clubs, rival MCs, whatever; the man’s flow now familiar without quite breeding contempt – while the Brighton collective craft a drilling D’n’B composition that could, with its frequencies only partially adjusted, quite easily topple buildings. Got some demolishing needing done on a budget? You know which group to call.
Delta Spirit – ‘Trashcan’
San Diego group Delta Spirit are gradually building a domestic audience – they’ve been on the road with Cold War Kids and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, which hardly damages their indie credentials – but ‘Trashcan’ perhaps isn’t the single to break them into the big leagues. It’s got a natural, soulful swagger about it, and lead singer Matthew Vasquez can hit the highs few in his line of work can – the boy’s got it in the blood, no doubt. But it’s a little too breezy for these wintry times. Come calling again in July, guys, and let’s see what the sunshine makes of you then.
The Officers – ‘Red Chapter’
Marilyn Manson’s okay by me. Depeche Mode, too, I’ve been a fan of. Bands combining clearly evident aspects of the two to create some awful, angst-ridden industrial clatter? No thank you.