Hot Chip have always been steeped in pop lore.
Sure, the band own more than their fair share of impossible to find Detroit techno, but they also admit a penchant for Prince. Capable of crafting nigh on impeccable pop music, Hot Chip recently returned with new single 'Don't Deny Your Heart'.
A real group effort, the single showcased Alexis Taylor's keening voice as well as their usual, future minded production. With that in mind, ClashMusic decided that keyboard player Owen Clarke would be the perfect choice to man our latest Singles Round Up.
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Chase & Status - Big Man
Somebody's guitar is feeding back, Chase and Status try and figure whose guitar it is whilst one of chaps attempts to get the shipping forecast. Static. (It's all DAB nowadays guys) A trunk-full of potential tempo changes are offered in the first few bars and so I anticipate an a bass wub-wub of such magnitude I will be instantly transported into my teenage self pulling a whitey. Big riff detail instead falls to an approximation of rage against the machine on a chainsaw, much akin to those F1 engines that are tuned to play 'the chain' by fleetwood Mac. The wub-wub manifests itself in a more mid range synthline that goes 'wrillow-wrillow' much like a sizeable French cat. The autotune abstraction of the vocal lends it the endearing quality of a robot soulfully singing Welsh town names peppered with the letter 'L'. All good fun. I have no idea what it's all about but I definitely want to play the computer game Wipeout.
Kelly Clarkson - Catch My Breath
This is the soundtrack to me saying "No I don't have a Superdrug rewards card" whilst buying gum. Played at low volume, uber-proccessed female vocals at full pelt singing about being 'stronger now' or something. I cant remember how the music goes. It just does. I think there were eurostyle synthpads or maybe that was just a product I saw whilst deciding whether to have blue or green Wrigleys. The chorus had a cymbal smash and Kelly sang at the top of her voice so we knew it was the big bit. I feel concussed. I think she mentioned something about a 'spiders web of lies' but thats got to be bollocks. You've heard Kelly Clarkson before, right? It sounds exactly like that.
Nathan Fake - Paean
A paean is a song or lyric poem expressing triumph or thanksgiving. This is very much the case with this Nathan Fake track in the light of exposure to Kelly Clarkson's noisak. Typewriters and Dice shakers make a rhythm a bit like Yosemite Sam saying 'succotash' A woozy snake melody rises out of a basket and heads down to A&E to lie down with a life support machine bleep. Some stone cold ride cymbals pay a visit and pinch some prescription painkillers on the way out and are enveloped in a warm rising drone accordingly. Neat.
Florence & The Machine - Lover To Lover
Florence has got herself a big old snare off Amazon. Her order has been dispatched. In the meantime she's having 'the machine' take a gospel piano moment. And it's pretty darn groovy thankyou very much. Now Florence is pretty psyched about this snare. It's big. She's "been losing sleep, been keeping herself awake, for days and days and days". She's got her tambourine out in anticipation. And now it's only bloody arrived! So she gets a choir round to celebrate and she splits in four and sings with herself and everybody has an almighty ding dong.
Lianne La Havas - Age
I was operating under the assumption that jazzy female vocalists 'aren't my sort of thing'. And generally they aren't, but I really enjoyed listening to this.This is pretty sweet and very pleasant from the outset. That beguiles a ruthlessly minimal production. Jazz guitar. Vocal. Vinyl crackle. Theres a bit of reverb but thats it pretty much it. It was great to hear some pinging guitar harmonics, string squeaks and a really good voice with cracks and breathing. You can actually hear her smiling. Pretty mad. I had my ears vacuumed recently to get some moulded headphones fitted and the effect afterward was a bit like this. I could just bloody hear everything. Refreshing. Oh, and its about dating an older man.
Major Lazer - Jah No Impartial
Major Lazer recently put some reggae in Hot Chip's jeggae with a reworking of our track 'Look At Where We Are'. So I thought I had some idea of what I was in for. 'Jah No impartial' starts there. Then proceeds to grab absolutely every known sonic weapon known to man and unleash merry honking havoc. Surveys the damage.
Then brings out the big guns.
Bloody hell! Jah certainly no impartial.
He's getting into a chopper with lasers, actual lasers.
Everything is fried.
It's fine. He's out of the chopper now.
What? He's only getting the big guns out AGAIN!
Then he gets back in the chopper and leaves.
Willy Mason - I Got Gold
Whew. Willy's good. He ain't mad. He's not going to shoot me with lasers. Why? Because Willy's got gold underneath the ground and he sound's pretty stoked about it. I would be too. He's also got a tick-chacka-boom rhythm and a rolling acoustic guitar. Theres a nice harmonium cross harmonica wheeze to boot. It's deeper instrumentally and a little more complex than the apparent simplicity of the track would initially suggest. I don't know why but I think this would be great over a montage of stunts. I suspect its due to exposure to the Dukes of Hazzard and The Fall Guy as a kid. Someone should put it with something a bit classier like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid montage if some youtube brightspark hasn't already.
Mumford & Sons - Lover of the Light
Banjos, waistcoats, yadda-yadda. Mumford and sons get a lot of stick for being middle class, their sartorial decisions and choices of instumentation. Hot Chip are very different proposition but also 'get a bit of that'. And so their thing is very different to our thing but I'm up for giving this a go and you know what, there is no denying the size of this song. It is big. No half measures. These guys give it a fair old whack. I like it when there is a synthesis of musical elements where you can't quite tell what made the noise you're hearing. That's afoot here in the fuller parts and I think they've squeezed some dischordant strings in there at one point which is good in my book. Nice arrangement lad's. Anyways on a side note, I hope I'm not spoiling the video but if you were to actually see Idris Elba 'do the thing' at the end that would be absolutely kick ass. I love a stunt.