Singles Round-Up 27/02/2012

halWelcome! Come one, come all! Do I see a ray of sunshine peeking through the clouds? I do!? – I declare winter officially OVER! It’s March this week and the crap weather is hopefully behind us. Let’s hope this week’s new singles don’t give us the cold shoulder…

Safari have released Doubt this week. It would be easy to flitter away the track as being something that would have been just one brick taken from the Great Wall of Indie in the early 2000’s. However, Doubt has subtle differences – a heavy, enticing drum beat drives the single with thumping tones, rather than the expected tin-pot bish-bash noises (those are the proper terms), whilst both guitars compliment vocals that are never drowned out. The drawn-out repeated guitar at the opening sounds wonderful, and introduces the listener to an excellent chorus that boasts deep-water guitar and chopping percussion. It’s hard not to catch on to Safari’s sound, although a nice bridge in the middle would have been nice, as just as the listener is beginning to appreciate the song – it’s over! Doubt faintly gets more and more frantic as the track continues – but it is not a dramatic change; it’s barely noted – rather, it is a small burst of energy towards the end of the track that works very well…somewhat reminiscent of the passive attitude of much of our modern era.

With a name like Sisterland, you’ve got to be decent – I mean, come on! The opening track to new EP Dirty White sounds a little similar to Safari, but if they were more inspired by Joy Division and Sonic Youth. The EP is a lovely commune of endless tunnel-wall reverb, dirty bass and cascading, disjointed ambience. Sisterland have selected some of the finer moments of the last few musical-overdriven decades, and turned them into something characteristically modern that sounds very 2012. The finest track on the EP, Milk & Honey, is left towards the end – with slightly more muffled vocals and crunchier guitar than the previous three,with it left almost as a reminder of “do not forget us, listener”. After taking great influences from musical periods that probably had much more of the listener’s attention, Sisterland leave their audience with a glorious bloody nose that they won’t forget and will cherish.

Despite the MENTAL head-banging movements at the start of the video, Scholars have released Bad For Business. Despite tongue being firmly in cheek, this single is the perfect two and a half minutes rant for the disenfranchised, the discredited and the frustrated. Bemoaning jobsworths and managers who were bullied as children, Scholars champion the low-level worker and their plight in this generation of often cruel one-upmanship. With some excellent sentiment in their pumped-out lyrics, there’s a substance in Scholars that is hard to find in bands – they don’t (overly) scream and there’s no novelty or marked attempt to stand out – Bad For Business is just a proper, angry rant placed within excellent musical form. The stripped-down A-B-A song structure is wonderfully pure and enhances the track – unlike other bands they haven’t tried to be zany and add a 30 second flute solo in the middle. Having a single so ideally pure as Bad For Business is brilliant.

After a six year hiatus Hal have re-emerged with new EP Down In The Valley. Sounding like a whirlwind mixture between Scissor Sisters, Dresden Dolls and the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Hal have given us a radio-friendly EP that readers of Grazia and lovers of left-field music will appreciate alike.  The lead track is perfect for this time of the year – full of hope and optimism, yet with just enough cold bite to remind you that we do not live in a perfect world. The chorus is excellent and listeners will struggle not to smile. Bass-driven Why Do You Come Here grooves into your heart alongside the rolling percussion, which demand you do your best James Brown dance moves. Motorcars is a romantic, warm piece that immediately brings up visions of old-fashioned, black and white movies from a bygone era. Dramatic, exuberant and at times ridiculously over the top, Down In The Valley is a fervent journey from start to finish that excitable listeners will take glee in owning.

On the back of releasing their debut album, Tennis have given us the party-sun-reverb brilliance of Origins.  Sounding like a sunny beach-surf track that’s been run over by a disaffected alternative rock lover in a monster truck, the piece is summer-sway cool whilst holding on to just enough alienated, unconventional style. The constant sax loop bounces off the surfer-guitar perfectly, with the vocals providing a wall of icy-cold neutrality to gladly cool off the listener. With overly bare verses that risk having the vocals lose their prevalence, the repeated single chord of the piano works excellently as a vice to hold together the fragile notes before rumbling drums snatch at the delicate pieces just before they crash. Listeners will delight in Origins and its ability to sound wholly different to anything else, yet still feel reassuringly similar.

Huw Stephens and Steve Lamacq call themselves fans – and they’re rarely wrong! Tom Williams and The Boat have continued their knack of brooding sounds and laments of jilted love with My Bones. With fantastic opening lyrics the heavy, gloomy tone of the vocals compliments the melancholic melody fantastically. With the violin allowed free-reign to warble and quietly shed tears in the background, thumping drums yet again take precedence, along with frustrated, angered guitar that moans and groans better than any poet ever could. My Bones sees Tom Williams and The Boat truly mature into a snarling and wonderfully pissed off collective.

Well, what can I say?! This is genuinely one of the strongest round-ups God Is In The TV has EVER had. Normally you might get one or two quality tracks amongst a muddled array of…well, shite. However, this time every single track could be our single of the week. Alas, only one may win it! And that winner is Hal. Down In The Valley verges between wild, schizophrenic and ecstatic ideals, whilst making you dance like an idiot.

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.