Singles Round Up - 8th August

Featuring Elbow, Hyde & Beast, Sarah Williams White, Tom Vek & More
Hyde & Beast
"A riot is the language of the unheard" – Martin Luther King

My introduction to the week's releases is usually jocular, sarcastic or at the very least mock dreary in tone. However, in light of the devastation caused by civil unrest across the capital over these last few days I feel I must take pause. In addition to the homes, businesses and livelihoods destroyed by the actions of the rioters, it was with heavy hearts we awoke to the news that the PIAS Distribution / Sony DADC building in Enfield was burned down last night. It contained the stock of numerous independent record labels. For some, all of their stock. It's hard to gauge at this juncture just how far reaching the implications could be for those in the UK music industry. To our friends and colleagues touched by these events, we send you our best wishes in the same breath that we condemn the actions of the people responsible.

Hyde & Beast

'Never Come Back'


It's the Beta Band! No wait, The Bees? Hmmm...is it the Super Furry's in disguise? Why, it's none of the aforementioned fruity beat combo's but rather the delectable new partnership of Dave Hyde (Futureheads drummer) and Neil Bassett (ex-Golden Virgins drummer). Who knew two men of percussion could be so motivated, so adaptable, so good at other stuff? 'Never Come Back' is a gentle psychedelic soup of jaunty time signatures, multi layered harmonies and some cheeky chappy brass kicking in at the chorus. We like this tune, we like the set up, we like the prodigious grey and grizzled facial hair. We don't like the video. Point deducted. Harsh, but that's how we roll.



Elbow

'Lippy Kids'


Guy Garvey can make your heart weep with a word, that much is true. He slips through my cynicism with his wit and beardy grin and makes a mockery of my criticisms. Elbow's impact may be in danger of dilution from overexposure but they do elegant and elegiac like no-one else. This track is a restrained, understated, nostalgic paean to childhood. Alan Bennett, eat your cloth cap.

“Lippy kids on the corner again,
lippy kids on the corner begin, settling like crows
and I never perfected that simian stroll
but the cigarette scent, it was everything then.

do they know those days are golden?”



Sarah Williams White

'Hide The Cracks'


Let's just get the cockerney Dick Van Dyke-isms out the way first, in addition to mention of Messrs Allen and Nash. It's feels churlish to mention them really but I'm incapable when a South London lady singer songwriter crops up, it's like a tic. Despite this, 'Hide The Cracks' is a rather pleasing mix of minimal beats, voice looped, white urban soul. It's a touch repetitive perhaps but melodic and vaguely reminiscent of Fiona Apple. The video was rather good also, all Mondrian squares of her mouth in close up but then horror of horrors; some chick fondling a squid. Underwater creature nightmare! Now, my most discomfiting cinema experience ever is the squid eating scene in Oldboy (and let's just say I lost a stone when I visited Japan). The vapours sir, I am quite nearing a swoon...marked down for making me a little bit sick in my mouth.



Tom Vek

'Aroused'


I loved his last album, 'We Have Sound', it was the soundtrack to a happy summer. I especially liked it as Mr Vek sounded so fresh, young and uncompromising, plus it was made in his mums garage. So where has he been for the last 6 years? Doodling, noodling, being a postman? It doesn't seem to have been spent refining his craft any, there's a rather shameful lack of progression here. All starts well, there's those reedy Tim Drum like samples, synthesised shamisen and monotone vocals...but that's it. Thirty seconds in and I was bored. The video of pretty people smoking is possibly some sort of comment about glamorisation through advertising or some such. But it's not clever enough to be satirical. Next!



Daedelus Feat Bilal.

'Overwhelmed'


This begins with fierce, clattering, snare heavy percussion and drags us into bassy womp womp territory fairly sharpish. So its not quite the usual fayre for gentleman dandy Daedalus (the rest of the album certainly differs). To say it's dense and textured is an understatement, with big knotty lines almost obscuring the vocal and melody. Bilal is a formally trained jazz/soul singer but amidst this musical maelstrom it's hard to tell. I bet there's all kind of subliminal shit going on in there but wouldn't like to hazard a guess. It's a bit like an abrasive facial scrub that tingles when you put it on, too much at first but then you get into the rhythm of the thing and wash away the matter, the results become apparent. Everything is cleaner, tighter and more finely textured afterwards. Fresh and distressing at the same time.



Fantine

'Rubberoom'


Fantine is an exuberant lady of Russian/Dominican extraction who grew up in Australia. Much like the exotic geographical fusion of her roots, the music she makes is a sherbety pick n mix of electro, indie and soul. She's sexy, sassy and in possession of a big ole beautiful voice which calls to mind various disco and northern soul diva's. Unfortunately the music itself is just a little uninspiring and insubstantial. Despite this disposable feel it's good summery, upbeat pop and the vocals and attitude make up for what's lacking. If she got herself some better tunes she could be taking on the likes of Janelle Monae (if she can also do the backward moonwalk then I'm 100% sold).



Metronomy

The Bay (Erol Alkan Remix)


Everyone seems to have a hard on for Metronomy at the moment. I don't, by virtue or being neither a gentleman nor particularly digging that fashionable multi octave breathy indie singing thing (made popular by Everything Everything and their ilk). That's not to say I dislike them but this is one lady who is left just a little on the cold side. Getting old Erol in to do a glossy remix hasn't changed my mind much. The original was fine, good gated synths, slappy bass and that Ed Banger-ish over production but the lyrics are trite and lazy and it just goes on forever. I'd rather spend ten minutes doing something else if I'm honest.



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