Singles Round-Up 07/11/11


Dennis Hopper Choppers1

I wonder if any readers are undergoing the itchy-face-hellfire of Movember like myself this month? At the moment I resemble more someone who’s just lazy and can’t be bothered to shave – but give it a few weeks and a glorious ginger ‘tache shall emerge. At least I’ll have something to fiddle with when I’m listening to great music (hang on, that sounds wrong…) We had a bit of a damp squib in the last round-up (why’s it ‘squib’ and not ‘squid’?! ‘Squid’ makes much more sense…like Joey Tribbiani’s ‘Moo point’); so let’s all hope for a nicer Autumnal harvest this time.

Dennis Hopper Choppers is giving us the spaghetti-western soundtrack-alike [we’re trademarking that word –ed] Girl Walked Out Of Town this week. The brainchild of a Lone Ranger Englishman, there’s something delightfully absorbing and intricate about this track. It’s the sound of Nick Cave and Ron Sexsmith having a whiskey-filled saloon shoot-out with radio-friendly outlaws. And everyone is wearing iPods. And holding coffee from Starbucks. Girl Walked Out Of Town is oozed in enough cool for blues fans, but accessible enough for the mainstream to be a contender for a big hit. Daunting rhythm guitar drives the song throughout, with interjecting overdriven lead spliced on top – adding a menacing bite that goes hand-in-hand with hypnotic keyboards that would nestle happily in a track by The Doors. The track’s depth is limitless – each play yields an extra little something for the listener, be it a brief note here or accentuated buzz there. With so much going on in three and a half minutes Girl Walked Out Of Town isn’t just a single, but an entire event within itself.

We now have the pleasure to look at Ana Lola Roman’s new release, No Architect. With heavy electro-drums dominating the track, Roman’s brittle but powerful voice is allowed free-reign to dance and cavort with limitless freedom. Similar to Little Dragon, the track bemoans dystopian lifestyles whilst achieving an uplifting, upbeat feeling that is quintessential for this era’s adoration with electro-led power-pop. The music itself is minimalist in nature and perhaps a little forgettable, but when fused with Ana’s icy, avant-guarde vocals the track is suddenly interesting and not boring. With plenty reverb and added effects to keep the spacey feel thriving, the vocals still retain enough humility to ensure that the lyrics are readily absorbed by the listener. La Roux fans will cry with uttermost glee when they first listen to No Architect, but if Ana Lola Roman is to bring us a full album we may need added intrigue within the music itself (nevertheless, this track is very good).

No Architect (Radio Edit) by AnaLolaRoman

It would be incredibly easy to dismiss the sound of Ringo Deathstarr as a Generation X-throwback that’s jumping on the recent grunge revival bandwagon, helped in no small way with the twenty-year anniversary of Nevermind. Luckily I’m not going to (I guess I just sort of did) – because I love this style of music, and it deserves to never die. Along with the likes of Yuck and Warpaint, Ringo’s new EP Shadow is helping to bite limp-wristed indie shite on the arse whilst going down swinging. It’s reinvented grunge that looks more at home today than it ever would in the Nineties. The lead track possesses 21st century anxieties that epitomises the sybaritic attitudes of our ‘there’s an app for that’ lifestyle. Shadow is primal and emotive – there’s no fiddly plastic bits, no Wi-Fi, no shortcuts….just the beautiful basics. The four tracks deviate little from each other but still have enough individuality for the EP not to become boring. The male/female vocals help incalculably in immersing the listener into Ringo Deathstarr’s sound, as it adds a hint of vulnerability to what would have otherwise been an impregnable wall. The final track, Just You, is a nice change of pace that would make the criminally underrated Frausdots proud. Excellent. Excellent. Excellent.

Ringo Deathstarr – Shadow by Vinyl Junkie Recordings

After releasing the pop-perfect Better Off Without You, Summer Camp have continued their ceaseless campaign on making genuinely good pop music this week with Down. Sickly-sweet on the outside, the single is bound with frustrated, defeatist lyrics that go wonderfully beyond the norm for ‘fun’ tracks like this one. It’s perhaps not as captivating as their previous releases, but that’s more indicative of how good they’ve been so far. Elizabeth Sankey’s vocals are infectious – they flourish amongst enthusiastic music that encapsulates the nervous energy of teenage optimism. At less than two and a half minutes the piece packs a lot of punch, but ultimately the lyrics perhaps deserved a wider scale of music to accompany them. A lot of hope and expectation has been pinned on Summer Camp’s debut album (released last week). Down is probably the weakest track on the album, meaning that in the long run, the duo has absolutely nothing to worry about – they’ve just got a lot to live up to after such an explosion of interest.

When a band describes themselves as: “Brian Wilson with the all the sunshine and pastoralism sucked out and a vial of danger injected” it gets you a little bit excited. That’s exactly what Cave Birds have done for their release of Some Lightning Thrill this week. Contrary to the constant barrage of “LISTEN TO MY BAND THEY WILL MAKE YOU CRY TEARS OF SALTY JOY” we at GIITV are normally blasted with, Cave Birds have been practically reclusive. The result is curiosity in a band we genuinely know very little about and eardrums that are completely open to anything. Some Lightning Thrill thankfully lives up to the hype and more. In what begins as a slow, hulking beast, we’re quickly blasted into the cosmos with driving drums and a pool of musical depth. The pitch-black swagger of Some Lightning Thrill swallows up and spits out any sanguine emotion, with the track concentrating on the darker side of love and loss. The track isn’t boring for a single second – every time the verse trails off slightly, the chorus switches up a gear and slaps the listener right in the face. It’s perhaps reminiscent of Kasabian if Tom Meighan and Co. were locked in a dark, padded cell for a month.

Aussie Washington has released Holy Moses this week. The video gives the idea that she’s somewhat ‘doing a Gaga’ with her backing dancers, as they look an awful lot like the meat-clad Queen of Pop’s. However in terms of music Washington has more in common with Gwen Stefani’s instantly recognisable vocal talents (massive compliment), which would explain why Holy Moses almost sound like a No Doubt B-Side. The track itself is generally forgettable, with the kazoo in the intro sounding more like bad distortion than anything intentional. The percussion does sound nice and interesting however, but overall it’s a track that will probably pass and be forgotten quickly (even the kazoo solo can’t save it). The vocals do their best to prop the track up and make it entertain the listener, as Megan Washington is a good singer (live as well as on record). Ultimately this makes Holy Moses all the more disappointing and frustrating.

The word ‘Uplifting’ is hardly expected lexicon to describe a song dealing with suicide. Yet somehow We Are Augustines manage just that with Book Of James – a eulogy to singer Billy McCarthy’s deceased brother. The track is bittersweet and poignant, but never overly sentimental. A feeling of the future is embraced in the sound, whilst acknowledging the past. It would have been very easy for WAA to create something less charismatic and more…well…depressing, but they haven’t – they’ve took the harder route and their track is much richer because of it. The music itself isn’t incredible, as the verses are slightly bulky and don’t flow well. There’s also a little too much going on at the same time in the background, making it hard to distinguish between sounds. But it doesn’t even matter. Book Of James is affirming of the resilience of the human spirit when tragedy and adversary towers above it, and our ability to knock it down with the splendour of art.

Well! This has certainly been a much more abundant round-up than last week’s. The start of November has brought us some truly wonderful music in what’s been probably the strongest round-up I’ve ever had the pleasure to cover for our wonderful website. Now comes the VERY hard part – deciding who is worthy of single of the week. Genuinely it’s taken me ages to decide between Dennis Hopper Chopper, Ringo Deathstarr, Cave Birds and We Are Augustines. I’m giving it to Dennis… not only is it a silver-tongued lick of spaghetti-Western glory, but it’s different and interesting. There’s nothing else around like it right now – and in 2011 that’s very exciting.

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.