Singles Round-Up 12/09/11

silverseasWith the Mercury Music Prize already awarded, it is now time for the second most important award of the week to be awarded, with GIITV’s Single Of The Week!!!! Summer is officially over by the looks of things! It’s wet, windy and wonderfully cold. Is it wrong to be secretly over the moon? It means we’ve got a wonderful excuse to not really do much other than listen to lots of great music, hurrah! Let’s see if the stereotypical summer ‘choons’ have now dissolved along with the ice-creams, and been replaced with whooly-hat Autumnal warmers to help stoke up your beleaguered and chilly spirit. The soul of music tends to get a bit lost during June/July/August – like all great art, it can’t thrive unless there’s a bit of atmosphere and nous knocking around.

First up we have Robots by Manchester-based (via the Ukraine and Belarus) Rubika. With no stereotypes intended, it is very European sounding electronica (which isn’t a bad thing at all!) but it’s certainly not cheesy in the slightest. The track sounds like CSS being pushed into an Eastern Europe rave accompanied by a Mancurian friend. It would be very easy to dismiss Robots after the first listen, but after a while you begin to realise that the originally plain soundscape embodies a great deal of depth and intrigue. The lyrics lament a world full of similarities and monotony, along with the primitive and natural desire to dance and embrace music. The chorus is excellent and delightfully addictive (due in no small part to the Ukranian accent, which only adds to the song…it wouldn’t have worked half as well if we had to listen to a British singer). You can tell how the North-West of England has also influenced Rubika, with the melancholic beauty of the area helping to scratch off some of the ‘cartoon’ feel of the track. There’s not enough of this style of electronica out in clubs and bars – Robots is addictively fun and harks back to a synth style that sadly lost its way a long time ago.


And now for something completely different, as we have WATERS (apparently the caps-lock is VERY important…) with the dirty-distortion orgy For The One. Fans of The Pixies will immediately feel right at home, as the grunge-ridden loveliness of the track bathes the listener in beautiful snarl and bite whilst still exuding an overall upbeat and wholly optimistic composition. Producer John Congleton has definitely left his stamp, with his previous work (including The Walkman) certainly relating to this new single by WATER. The track sees Van Pierszalowski dream of a steady, mundane life whilst embracing jealousy and lust.  It’s a wonderfully bare and raw track, with the multi-instrumental and million-layered modern releases battered against the wall and stripped back to vocals/guitar/bass/drums. The outcome being that For The One shows the listener frustration and passionate emotion wrapped in a beautiful feeling of nativity. Lots of people will snort that the grunge road has been mopedly travelled many times before (and recently by the likes of Yuck) but this style will never become stale and boring whilst artists like WATERS are still injecting new life into it.

WATERS – For The One by cityslang

After earlier complaining about a lack of passion in some summer releases, I am delighted to have listened to Home & Dry by The Silver Seas. This is REAL pop music, incorporating the hazy dreams of The Mamas and Papas and the punch of Fleetwood Mac along with some of the modern-day sting of Travis. If Home & Dry was a food it would be organic honey – sweet and sickly but with no hidden nasties and a gorgeous addition to anyone’s lifestyle. The track kicks off with a lovely acoustic guitar introduction and atmospheric vocals – luckily, this doesn’t get boring and the listener is saved by deep, heavy bass-drums and crinkle-cut snare. There’s a bit of a fad at the minute for accordions, banjos, trumpets and the kitchen sink to be thrown into pop folk songs lately, and it’s nice to see The Silver Seas keep things much more simple and conservative – anything else and the overall sound and feel of the piece would have been completely lost. An excellent single to incite a lot of excitement for a addictively moreish band, The Silver Seas are reminding us what it means to listen to really good pop music.

The Silver Seas – ‘Home & Dry’ by The Lights Label

Cloud Seeding release Ink Jar this week. A beautifully melodramatic and brooding affair throughout, the piece is rather reminiscent of Warpaint when they wake up on the wrong side of the bed, or perhaps second-time Mercury winner PJ Harvey. The vocals and harmonies are lush, as well as the frustrated, looming guitar during the verse. Ink Jar personifies the exasperated mindset of the 21st century – fragile and brittle, yet exciting and can bite. Give me this over British ‘Nu-Folk’ any day of the week…this feels much more ‘real’ and genuine. At just over three-minutes long it’s the standard package for a single (any longer and it would have become stale and perhaps a little boring), and should prove a real treat for those that manage to seek it out. Cloud Seedings transport the listener into a different world and mindset – a fog is bellowed through the ears and into the mind, and we can escape everything. Even for just a little while, we don’t have to listen to ‘let’s get drunk/party/be young and reckless’ songs.

This is shaping up to be one of the best round-ups for a very long time. To carry on the trend, we now have Rocketeer with Leave Me. (I’m going to be a hypocrite after talking about Cloud Seeding’s new single, but it’s just a PROPER rock song. You can’t help but stomp your foot and get your head a’bobbing! Held-back vocals that don’t need to scream and shout all the time perforate the listener during a simple (but very effective) chorus whilst the dancefloor/front room fills with dancers. We’ve seen it all before, but when it’s done well, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Leave Me brings more than enough to the table to constitute being released as a single, and in short, is an old-fashioned rock song that is simply very bloody fun. One very interesting point about the track is the dark nature of the lyrics when compared to the upbeat music it accompanies – this will stop the single from becoming monotonous in the future.

Upon listening to Summer Camp’s Better Off Without You I genuinely thought it was a cover off an old eighties song (I’m not being sarcastic…sarcasm doesn’t work well in print so I wouldn’t bother). And sounding like an eighties song doesn’t have to be a bad thing at all, as luckily Better Off Without You takes inspiration from the good eighties music, instead of the limitless shite that was offered in that decade. This single is twinkly power-pop wrapped up in sugar cubes and dipped into chocolate, with the bubbly composition playing off the excitable and exuberant singing of Elizabeth Sankey. Better Off Without You achieves the pop music pinnacle of being cutesy enough for the casual listener, whilst still pouting a lip of anger and annoyance. The bridge evens-out and slices the track nicely in half – which was needed lest the single become a bit flash-in-the-pan.

Christ, this has been a good one. I normally find it hard to choose between one or two for single of the week, but this time all of the singles were in with a shout. However, only one VERY lucky artist may achieve this coveted prize of loveliness. The single of the week is going to The Silver Seas. It is so so so so so so so nice to see that we seem to be escaping the ‘indie’ sound – slowly, but surely…

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.