I absolutely loved Givers last single Up, Up, Up so it delights me that their follow up Meantime is just as good. Like before it’s a fantastically catchy, optimistic piece of electro-pop but is more anthemic, largely due to the fact that the haziness of Up, Up, Up has been replaced with a much bolder sound that manages to be equally upbeat. Their unashamed own brand of pop music that is evident in these two songs have ensured that Givers are well on their way to becoming one of my favourite bands of the moment!
There’s certainly no denying Waylayers‘ productivity. The band begun their Facebook pledge last week, whereby they have resolved to post a new song every week, with synth-pop track Magnets. Their second offering is the more indie-sounding Silver Feeling. The song is still synth-heavy but the vocals are more rousing than a typical electro track. It’s unerringly upbeat and optimistic, acting as the perfect way to help you get over the fact that summer seems to be well and truly over already. I will try to keep you as up to date with the Facebook Plaedge as I can!
Tornoto five-piece The Wilderness Of Manitoba stand out from the abundance of folk around at the moment by taking it back to basics.Orono Park from the band, who return to the UK next month, is a relaxed, acoustic song that relies on its modesty to make it so affecting. There’s no heavy production, no over-produced vocals and only a few instruments are utilised to ensure that the silky harmonies are never lost. It also acts as a perfect track to help you wind down at the end of a long day. The Wilderness of Manitoba – Orono Park by Stayloose
The idea of the ‘difficult’ second album has been rife for quite a while now. When you’re first song is as good as Spector‘s Never Fade Away, though, just the second single has a hell of a lot to live up to. It’s a good job, then, that What You Wanted is just as impressive. If I’m honest, I don’t think it’s quite as catchy, but considering how often I found myself randomly singing their debut track that would be asking rather a lot. It has, however, got just as much of an 80s sound that, combined with Fred Macpherson’s passionate, indie vocals, looks set to become their trademark. On this evidence it’s no wonder that just two songs into their career, they’ve set themselves up as one of the hottest bands around.
Let’s be honest if this track was anything less than amazing it would have proved a huge disappointment. The collaboration of two of the most exciting artists at the moment was always going to be steeped in a pressure to produce something as good, if not better, than their own individual, stunning music. Luckily, the result of this combination is utterly bewitching. Fall Creek Boys Choir works so well because Bon Iver gorgeous, silky vocals act as the perfect accompaniment to James Blake‘s hypnotic, staccato production. In short, there is something in here for fans of both artists and, if you’re a music fan, there’s no denying the genius of this track.
You know those scenes in films when the ‘hero’ gets a bit beaten up and has to pick himself up again before actually defeating the bad guy? Breton seem to have produced the perfect soundtrack for those precise moments. Their new song The Commission, taken from their debut album due for release in February is the very definition of epic, with a hypnotic, slow-building introduction and such an atmospheric feel that at times it sounds ethereal and at others deeply foreboding. Even the video is intense, full of sweeping images of empty space and satellites. It’s the type of song where the vocals play second-fiddle to the music but, quite frankly, when the music’s this good who cares?!
“Shoegaze” is a genre that’s bandied about a lot at the moment; it’s managed to become synonymous with any guitar-driven track that seems to not quite simply fit the term of ‘indie’. This evidence suggests Weekend have set out to prove that actually there’s a lot more to it than that. Taken from their latest EP, Red, new track Hazel is a shimmering example of this distinctly 90s sound, all soaring, atmospheric guitars and addictive melodies. With it’s infectious melodies and late-emerging well-crafted hook of ‘Hazel’, it makes for a fine example of why people are currently clamouring to be identified as shoegaze regardless of whether they are achieving it or not. If it’s a genre you’re unfamiliar with the song will also provide a great education. Weekend – Hazel by Slumberland Records
It’s about time I featured something a little bit different so Steep Hills Of Vicodin Tears by the slightly strangely titled A Winged Victory For The Sullen has arrived in my inbox at just the right time. I’ve never featured a classical song before, but there’s something about this piece that is entrancing. I’m not sure whether it’s the way it builds so delicately, the fact that is a stunning unadulterated piece of music or simply the fact that writing this at 20 to 11 at night has made me bias to something so relaxing; whatever the reason I just cannot stop listening to it and hope that even if, like me, classical is not what you’d usually listen to you’ll give this a chance because it’s worth it for four minutes of absolute, haunting bliss. A Winged Victory For The Sullen – Steep Hills Of Vicodin Tears by erasedtapes
Charlie Simpson is incredibly lucky to have had an album to release this week. Following last week’s devastating fire at the Sony Warehouse in Enfield it has taken some very hard & quick work from those around him to ensure that he actually had some physical copies of Young Pilgrim available to replace those destroyed. The big question though is, was it all worth it? Well it would certainly seem so.
What this album does, above all else, is demonstrate just how talented a musician Simpson is, and why he is so determined to make sure that his days in Busted don’t leave him typecast for the rest of his career. This is, undoubtedly, a lot more commercial sounding than Fightstar, but never sways anywhere close to the teeny-bopper sounds that characterised his first band; it is, instead an incredibly mature, folksy sound.
I’ve already featured opener Down, Down, Down when the video was released and professed at the time just how suited his voice was to this type of music. This is particularly evident, as well, in Hold On which sees him utilise the higher tones of his voice, creating harmonies not too distant from those of fellow acoustic troubadour James Vincent McMorrow. Equally, his softer vocals fit the mellower, strings-driven Farmer And His Gun.
I think the most striking thing about the album, though, is the level of maturity in his song-writing. Whether he’s declaring that he’s ‘sick and tired of all this bullshit politics’ in I Need A Friend Tonight, or begging ‘Please just slow it down, I’m walking off these years’ in All At Once, you get the impression that these are the lyrics of someone much older than 26 years of age. It’s this, ultimately, that proves just how far he’s come as an artist in the past 10 years.
Overall, the whole album harbours a surprising delicacy which perfectly suits his trademark husky vocals, allowing him to show off a much softer side than he’s exemplified as a band member. He will face a challenge in trying to convince some of the most hardened of Fightstar fans to accept his current incarnation as a solo artist and in a market currently packed full of talented young acoustic artists he will have to shout that little bit louder to get his voice heard. It’s also undeniable that due to the chilled out nature of the album for some this will be a grower. Considering that this is his third music foray into though, I get the impression he’ll work hard to ensure it’s as successful as his previous two.
Seasick Steve releases his new single, the aptly titled, It’s A Long Long Way on 15th August, proving yet again why his bluesy vocals have gained him so much support in recent years. His songwriting is so obviously laced with experience that you feel compelled to relate to it and this latest song is no different. He’s one of the few artists you feel can really offer the advice of ‘Don’t give up on your dreams’ because you can feel the sincerity coursing through every single lyric he sings, made that much stronger for those who recognise exactly how far he has come in the past decade. That’s exactly what you understand from It’s A Long Long Way and why, in spite of the extremely laid back nature of his music, his status as a mainstay for Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage for quite a while to come yet.