With the month of reflection now over (what did we learn? Erm… check back later), it’s straight into February’s first singes round up.
From festival line-ups suddenly being confirmed and bartering for every last penny and summer suddenly not seeming like an imaginary daydream from yesteryear (mind you, as Fleet Foxes have proved this week, U.V. withdrawals aren’t exclusive to just us milk bottle Brits) it’s onwards and upwards regardless of the icy blizzards currently circulating.
Hitting the stereo this week is a fine selection of singles yet again. The View finally unleash their second LP today - as well as the second single
from ‘Which Bitch?’ (reviewed HERE) - and newcomers The Airborne Toxic Event and Wavves deploy their best singles so far, among others.
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Single Of The Week
Fleet Foxes – ‘Mykonos’
It’s easy to see how The Fleets’ homegrown folk harvests made them the sleeper hit of last year, but what’s even more astonishing is that ‘Mykonos’ was omitted from their debut LP’s track list. Thank your woozy harmonies, then, for the re-release is an undoubted highlight from the band. Like Crosby Stills & Nash glugging maple tea in a dusty log cabin pining for “a sun to maybe dissipate”, it’s a timeless victory of delicacy-over-decibels throughout. Come the harmonious outro you’re left imagining what a plaid-wearing Brian
Wilson may have conjured up had he swapped the lilo for the snowy pines of outer Seattle. The title may reference a neon-stricken, euro-pop-blasting tourist hotspot in Greece, but with the current winter chill refusing to give up, we can whole-heartedly relate.
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Also out today…
The View – ‘Shock Horror’
Returning with what looks set to become a highlight of their live set, ‘Shock Horror’ manages to instill all the classic components of life-affirming rock ‘n’ roll (emotive intro, beaker-launching chorus, the ramshackle pop-punch of The Libs on a seesaw) into four towering minutes. Expect a sea of shattered limbs by the time this hits the road.
Daniel Merriweather – ‘Change’
Famed for causing Smiths fans to throw plant pots by raiding ‘Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before’ and re-working it into a brass-laced limbo with Mark Ronson, Merriweather now returns with ‘Change’.
It isn’t a million miles away from said single either, seeing as Ronson has snuck his rent-a-riff brass parps all over it again. “Saw a dried-up river and a rich man turning on a garden hose,” quips Merriweather. Potent content, but surely these slick music vids use up more resources than a Kiss reunion tour?
The Airborne Toxic Event – ‘Sometime Around Midnight’
One of the standout moments from their forthcoming debut, and an example of the Californians at their most stirringly colossal. A vast orchestral opening that would make Bernard Butler blush is rendered a teaser until the outro, as Mikel Jollett opens the emotional cylinders and we find him battling heartbreak by roaming the streets, drunk. If a young Springsteen had befriended Arcade Fire in a backwaters saloon, this would be a likely result. Mammoth.
Coldplay – ‘Life In Technicolor II’
More epic miserabilism from Coldplay, who nowadays seem intent on never once cracking the kinds of smiles they showed way back on debut LP ‘Parachutes’. It’s all excellently pieced together – but where’s the passion? The spark? The imagination? The sound of autopilot beginning to misfire, maybe. MD
Wavves – ‘So Bored’
Recorded on a four track in Nathan William’s San Diego bedsit, ‘So Bored’ manages to sound resonantly eerie and fun throughout. Its the racket you imagine No Age gargling cough medicine at a Sonic Youth slumber party may sound like, and also the kind of lo-fi alt-pop riot that makes Pitchfork disciples hang out bunting and high-five one another. It’s selling on eBay for £40 a pop, so you may want to just make do with checking it out on YouTube.
Bloc Party – ‘One Month Off’
Bloc Party’s persistent attempts to reinvent themselves after their bona-fide classic breakthrough debut ‘Silent Alarm’ has infuriated some sections of their fanbase, those who just want to show up at a gig and dance themselves silly. Here, the London four-piece offer something of a compromise – an accessible track with just a hint of electronica experimentation, from an album characterised by inconsistency but offering glimpses of genius. For most of its run time ‘One Month Off’ is flawless – a blistering-of-pace indie-dance track seemingly designed to get tight jeans incredibly sweaty. But the three-minutes-in key change? Unforgivably Westlife. MD
The All American Rejects – ‘Gives You Hell’
So this is what happened to Wheatus! A name change, a few new fringes: bingo, new band. Same old shit. (Clash would like to point out that The All American Rejects are not actually Wheatus under a different name, but that yes, this is just as awful as that’d be.) MD
Cage The Elephant – ‘Back Against The Wall’
Apparently Cage The Elephant are one of the most incendiary live bands presently tackling the toilet circuit. They’d have to be – this is dreary, plod-along drawl-rock with no real direction nor purpose, album filler dressed up as a single to fulfil some contractual requirement most likely. Zed, zed, and zed once again. MD
Teitur – ‘Catherine The Waitress’
The Faroe Islands – not the first place you think of when it comes to upbeat indie-pop disguising the lyrics of the broken-hearted. Yet Teitur – about to begin a campaign in the UK after success in his homeland and elsewhere in Europe – can rank alongside the likes of Loney, Dear as an artist capable of capturing listener attentions with subtlety over showboating. An impressive introduction – look out for his album ‘The Singer’ later this month. MD
(Additional words: Mike Diver)