With King Creosote & Jon Hopkins, Okkervil River...

"...summer's lease hath all too short a date" opined the great bard and boy he wasn't wrong but really, three weeks is taking it too far! We're hopeful that last years Spring/Summer turn around won't repeat itself and that the tree uprooting storms and rain of recent days are on the way out and blistering sunshine and garden parties are on the way in. Despite the unseasonableness of the weather, we're munching nectarines and listening to Curtis Mayfield to get us in a suitably summery frame of mind...

Single Of The Week

King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - Bubble

A collaborative effort from the King of Fife and engaging electronic cohort Hopkins, the recent album 'Diamond Mine' may have been slight in length but it was unquestionably substantial in artistry. This is the latest single from a shimmeringly gorgeous suite of songs stretching back through KC's extensive back catalogue, which have been loving tweaked and spun out by Hopkins subtle revisionist arrangements. 'Bubble' is a fragile thing; a lullaby of found sounds, a tender entreaty played out through effortless harmonies. It's nostalgic and pastoral yet vital with emotion; songwriting and production coalescing effortlessly. Soothing and mildly soporific but unqestionably stunning.

Mo Kolours - Biddies

This would easily have been single of the week had the monarch not had it in the bag. Mr Mo Kolors is a percussionist first and foremost, weaving the unique influence of his native Mauritian Sega music through the glitchy grooves of the likes of Gonjasufi and the upbeat loops of Four Tet, resulting in a gentler affair than either. Not a great deal happens in this tune but its still most affecting. An audience digging afro latin grooves and the increasingly common looping vocal practice of people like Tune Yards (people like me) will be delighted with this. We can't wait to hear the rest of the album.

Okkervil River – Rider

I've always got a soft spot for a well read misanthrope. When said gentleman hails from Austin, Texas, which although a splendid musical city isn't known for it's overtly literate offerings, all the better. Frontman Will Sheff (confusingly close to Self) used to be in the same line of work as us (champions of the new/sneering dream tramplers: delete as applicable). This isn't quite as indulgent or emotional as previous efforts but still contains the out of kilter angst ridden nihilism I was hoping for. Yes, there's the noisy clatterings of Arcade Fire but in addition, a vehement, erudite quality that has something of the Cure, even a little bit of Nick Cave about it. A current office favourite.

Ben Howard – The Wolves

My response was to run for the hills when I discovered that Master Howard was an acoustic surfing balladeer, despite this release being on Mr Mumfords 'Communion' label. Unwarranted perhaps, but despite reservations, I'm rather glad I stuck around. No prizes will be won for genre busting but this is still a jaunty, melodic, Witchseasony delight. Everyone seems to be digging John Martyn and Nick Drake at the moment; kids, this is no bad thing and long overdue. From subtley picked guitar and slight percussion we are faced with something unexpected, a pleasing tone to the vocal which is growlishly Gomez-like yet lilting in the vein of Buckley senior. Really rather good.

The Greeks – Is Tropical

Crackin off with an 80's eastern guitar refrain which segues into upbeat bass and some seriously 80's synths this is all very chipper; a high energy, hi jinks, bursting at the seams pop offering. Certainly something those bemoaning the credible demise of the Klaxons are bound to love. It even has a whiff of a joyful New Order. But what we really like and why the single has made our list is the video. Remove the politics and it's an out and out small boys fantasy of causing mayhem with guns. As tropical as a can of Lilt, i.e not very, but juicy nonetheless.

Erland & The Carnival - Springtime

It's impossible not to appreciate a frontman with an Arthurian monicker. The fabulously named Gawain Erland Cooper has a look of Hayden from Wild Beasts and rather fabulously hails from Orkney. Teaming up with former Verve man Simon Tong has produced a strange if only mildy affecting mix. A rather mannered affair, it's an excercise in polite singing but then takes on a rather worrying early eighties Tears For Fears vibe. The video is rather nice in a being buried alive kind of way but in all honesty, it's the strongest part of the package.


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