Singles Round Up – May 20th

Olugbenga on Paramore, Nick Cave, Jake Bugg and more...

Known to some as a remixer and producer on the rise, to others as one-fourth of the always awesome Metronomy… and to people of a certain vintage as a member of the underground titans Akira, Olugbenga has been on the scene a while, but is now ready to steal the spotlight in no little style.

Olugbenga’s debut release (proper) under his own name is ‘Hafiza [Innocence]’ (released on Pictures Music, May 20th), the sort of immediately infectious cut that fans of his remixes – for the likes of Alt-J, Three Trapped Tigers and Esben And The Witch – have come to expect. But it’s characterised by traits that go deeper than standard move-your-feet fare: this is music that evidently comes from the heart, even if it is manipulated by digital means.

A good friend of Clash – he’s previously been featured in our Track Of The Day section – Olugbenga agreed to sit down with a handful of tracks, comprising the singles round up for May 20th.

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RDGLDGRN – ‘Million Fans’

“I always want to like this kind of rap more than I do. Of course, I like that there's live instrumentation and the production isn't just a straight-ahead kind of thing, but I also feel like The Roots are pretty much the only band out there to pull this kind of thing off consistently. Something about this didn't grab me. More power to them, though.”

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NO CEREMONY/// – ‘Hurtlove’

“Sad piano, mangled vocals and sparse, gritty production? Yeah, I'll take that. It's harder than it appears to pull off a track like this and in my opinion NO CEREMONY/// have pulled it off very well indeed.”

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Jake Bugg – ‘Country Song’

“I'll be honest: this is the first time I've heard Jake Bugg's music, and frankly I was expecting to hate it. I didn't. He can play guitar and he can sing. In another era this would be unremarkable, but it's 2013 and if you're the kind of person who feels ‘guitar music’ needs to go to war against Simon Cowell’s pop hordes… well, you have to take what you can get, right?”

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Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – ‘Mermaids’

“This is nice. Not knowing too much about Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (I'm actually more familiar with Grinderman), I never thought ‘nice’ was a word I'd use to describe a Bad Seeds track, but there it is. I guess I mean that the music is lush and restrained. By contrast, the lyrics can safely be filed under ‘PRETTY MESSED UP’. I hear that’s par for the course.”   

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San Cisco – ‘Fred Astaire’

“NAH. I don't think anyone but a major-label A&R believes that the world was waiting for a cross between fun. and Arctic Monkeys. Of course, now that I've said this, they'll probably be huge. An honourable mention goes to their drummer, though. She does a stellar job of bringing some life to what is otherwise a pretty bloodless, sexless affair.”

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Paramore – ‘Still Into You’

“This reminds me very, very much of ‘Bleed America’-era Jimmy Eat World, but with none of the dynamics that made you believe that, as polished as the production was, you were still listening to a band of humans in a room. Of course, making this kind of pop music is a bold, almost perversely ‘punk-rock’ thing for a band to do; but given their history, I think this song (and this album) makes a lot more sense in the context of something like Taylor Swift's last album than anything in the current landscape of rock music.”

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Raffertie – ‘Build Me Up’

“This is an exquisitely produced slice of post-Dilla, post-FlyLo, post-Blake, bugged-out soul music. If there was a criticism, it would be that I feel like I'm hearing this sound a lot right now, but that seems churlish when talking about a piece of music delivered with this much panache.”  

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Get more Olugbenga online here

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