Singles Round Up - March 29th

The best of the week's releases
The-Drums.jpg
You must choose, you must choose...

You have five seconds to decide. Five seconds to realise what purpose you were made for on this Earth.

Plan B vs Matthew Herbert. The Drums vs The Phenomenal Handclap Band. There's a helluva lot of singles out this week, and you must choose, you must choose...

Of course, if you simply can't choose then here's the singles guide!

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Single Of The Week

The Drums - Best Friend (Moshi Moshi)
Sometimes its good to look back. It's certainly worked for The Drums whose nostalgic indie pop might just dig up full battalions of Cure Zombies whilst they romp their way to the top of everyone playlists. Their saccharine yet euphoric songs are nothing new but resonate refreshingly and 'Best Friend' is a classic chiming indie anthem whichever decade you are stuck in. They sound not from New York but from somewhere up norf and that's perhaps why they've lodged in the British consciousness so quickly. The cerebral guitar dances along with the chart ghosts of Morrissey, Marc Almond, Ian Brown and Bernard Sumner. With every music publication and website wetting themselves at these throwbacks its easy to react and murmur backlash yet the fact is they keep a simple game plan happy with classic sounds and some erudite narrative observations. It's worked before, it works now and it'll rarely fail in the future.

The Drums - Best Friend



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The Best Of The Rest...

Plan B - She Said (Atlantic)
Once you tire of being the UK's premier rapper whose chosen weapons are acoustic guitar and a big bag of venom what do you do? Stir up your vitriol and saddening stories and then work them into some classic soul, fire on your dad's old suit and slick back your hair. Plan B is back and it's … well his plan b. Ready made for weekend music TV 'She Said' has all of the polished glide and cheeky aplomb to satisfy the sofa stranded masses yet his lyrics reveal a story that'll burn even deeper if you pay attention. He recasts striped back jealousy, the complications of love, the British legal system and problems of fame into one soul sung, rapped up eulogy of how to transform your career. The video alone is essential viewing as he takes our love of a police drama and injects it with a massive dose of West Side Story. He also did Clash the favour of recording an acoustic version with beat boxer that's equally engaging. Check that HERE.

Peggy Sue - Watchman (Wichita)
A dark number from Peggy Sue's lovely debut album that's been on the cusp of being in our souls for years now. Having finally finished it - 'Fossils And Other Phantoms' - is a denser proposition than their early recordings suggested and the album pivots in many ways around 'Watchmen' as tempestuous cymbals fill their sound and ricochet them through their own macabre soundscapes. With the addition of Olly on drums (for a considerable time now) their songs have stretched out and garnered more of an edge at the cost of their wonky percussion. Some would see this as a loss but let's face it: you're never gonna headline Glastonbury whilst drumming on a piece of wood you found in your youth hostel.

The Phenomenal Handclap Band - Baby (Tummy Touch)
New York has a lot to answer for. PHB though are making up the ground making sure we all smile and dance and groove and swoon. Their latest 'Baby' wont be foreign to core fans since it features on their self titled album of last summer but for newcomers its a soulful ode to love. In a 70s style. Don't be fooled by the floaty nature of this song, PHB can rock and dance you off your heels. Regarded as something of a unique prospect live and the trail of love for them extends through the Clash stable of writers who've all been throughly seduced by the band stomps through progressive rock, disco, soul and everything else you'd like to hurl into the melting pot of the Big Apple.

Matthew Herbert - Leipzig (Accidental Records)
Having destroyed convention, sampled it's downfall before rebuilding it vibrantly in a frantic edifice dominating the leftfield, Matthew Herbert pauses to take breath and dole out a dose of the theatrical. Leipzig is taken from his latest album where for once he's not attempting the extract melody from grains of basmati rice or sampling Heston Blumenthal eating politically charged pickles – he's singing, playing guitars and …. dare I say it: using a studio. The results are understated and cast an eye to a more theatrical setting than his experimental techno forays allowed previously. Herbert is clearly revelling in this pitstop called convention. Leipzig is still way weirder than most singles out this week but its tame for the character who rigorously subjects himself to a recording manifesto and whose principals on politics and ecology set his music on lonely path through landscapes no-one else dare to tread. Just look out for his album in Autumn called 'Pig' where he'll be recording the sound of a pig from the day its born till the day its slaughtered. Sty-Step is almost upon us but until then you can bathe in this calm music that's the most ironically unconventional record he's ever made.

Matthew Herbert - Leipzig



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