SINGLE OF THE WEEK
Radiohead – ‘Nude’ (XL)
Everyone owns it already, but nevertheless: this week’s pick of the singles pile is a no-brainer decision, a standalone cut of the very highest calibre. ‘Nude’ is simply gorgeous, soured only slightly by the urge to utter “… coming soon to E4” come its climax. Or maybe that’s just me. A haunting number that’s been knocking about in various states since the time of Radiohead’s highest-charting single ever, 1997’s ‘Paranoid Android’, ‘Nude’ does slightly echo the eeriness that informed so much of that year’s OK Computer (although it’s no ‘cut off’ as suggested elsewhere). Yet it’s not weighed down by tension, by dread; instead, its flourishes and sweeps are glorious to hear, and Thom Yorke's vocal performance finds him at his affecting best. While much of the band’s post-millennium material has worn cold shoulders, electronica its immediate impression, this is a timely sign that Radiohead are as human of heart as any allegedly emotionally-engaging act out there, if not more so.
ALSO OUT TODAY
The Kooks – ‘Always Where I Need To Be’ (Virgin)
Would The Kooks be half the crap-act they’re presently accepted to be without Luke Pritchard’s truly abysmal atonal vocals ruining every so-so jangle-rock hit of theirs? Quite probably. If the seasiders’ next video doesn’t depict the bleating frontman being publicly keelhauled off Brighton pier then we’ll be out of ideas as to why he sounds like this.
Video: ‘Always Where I Need To Be’
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New Adventures – ‘How I Got My Devil Back (Part One)’ (Faded Grandeur)
Stray Snow Patrol fans – take a note of this name. New Adventures have arenas in their sights already, as this is soaring indie-rock schlock at its most overblown and ‘epic’. Someone, somewhere, is hearing this and crying tears of muddled joy and despair, pencilling it in for their first dance. Someone, reviewing this, is cursing Gary Lightbody and company for ever writing ‘Chasing Cars’.
Turbowölf – ‘Bite Me Like A Dog’/‘Power’ (X Recordings)
Is: if Enter Shikari wanted to be Motley Crue rather than a faint shadow of Refused. Turbowölf will almost certainly equal a lot of fun to 14 year olds – and there are far worse things that teenagers of the nation could be listening to – but to anyone who’s old enough to have passed their test and written off their first car, it’s all pretty tired and desperate sounding despite its screaming histrionics.
Crystal Castles – ‘Courtship Dating’ (Last Gang)
The moment ‘AYO Technology’ went whatever they’re calling post-nu-rave electronica down at The Griffin and Old Blue. Crystal Castles are super-hot right now, no doubt – although haven’t they been since ‘Alice Practice’? – but ‘Courtship Dating’ fills its two-minutes-forty with chirped yelps spilling lyrical nonsense and b-movie damsel-in-distress screams that are as engaging as the BBC 3 ’Enders repeat when you’ve watched it once already.
Video: ‘Courtship Dating’
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My Sad Captains – ‘All Hat And No Plans’ (White Heat)
A slice of indie-pop loveliness from Londoners who possibly wish they’d met at some cool stateside college and geeked out in the corner of the lunch-hall over Pavement b-sides and country-rock along the lines of Lambchop and Calexico. That they didn’t, and subsequently sign a massive deal with Sub Pop or some similarly super-cool label, is to our benefit as now we can pick up this limited 7” and be all ‘told you so’ a year from now when My Sad Captains are lauded as highly as any of the aforementioned. A great little release deserving a wide audience.
Anyzli Jones – ‘Had Enuff’ (Vertigo)
London-born but Jamaica-raised, there’s something about Aynzli Jones’ smoky soul-hop that’s reassuringly familiar – like a Massive Attack album track that only made a real impact once the appeal of the singles had waned – but ‘Had Enuff’ isn’t absolutely a song to rave about without the context of further material. Neat beats and an atmospheric drone combine to head-nodding effect, and the oddly-monikered MC twists lyrical well (he featured on Moby’s recent ‘Alice’ single, too), but this effort’s almost certainly setting up something much better next time out.
Video: ‘Had Enuff’
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The Accidental – ‘Wolves’ (Full Time Hobby)
Tunng spin-off that sounds, strangely enough, a lot like Tunng, albeit without the more experimental edges. So, if you’re a folk traditionalist intrigued by the London collective but cautious of their out-there flights of eccentric fancy, this is for you. Slightly macabre, slightly melancholic, but ultimately strangely uplifting, The Accidental could well eclipse the commercial successes of their parent outfit on this form.
The Seal Cub Clubbing Club – ‘May EP’ (Boon(e) Recordings)
Shriek-along indie-rock played fast and tight, but weirdly lacking anything nearing a catchy hook, this comeback EP (of sorts) by the still-excellently-named The Seal Cub Clubbing Club fizzes and spits colours of fun without really encouraging its audience to join in the party the band’s so obviously having. That’s the title track, anyway; ‘Tin Drum’ is a change of pace and mood comparable slightly with this week’s overall winner, albeit without the glossy production. So, something lovely, something peculiarly listless: a package to take a chance on if you’ve pocket change to spare.
Future Loop Foundation – ‘Sunshine Philosophy EP’ (Just Music)
Led by Rob da Bank and Chris Coco’s remix of the titular track, this brief EP presents three songs as a taster of Future Loop Foundation’s forthcoming The Fading Room album. It’s a patchwork of vocal samples, acoustic guitar pickings and woozy Orb-like beats. Pleasant, easy going, nice. Could do with a cool cocktail and a sun-kissed balcony to make it that bit more special, mind. The album could be one to treasure.
Sam Sparro – ‘Black And Gold’ (Island)
One of those too-cool singles you desperately want to hate because of the pre-play hype, but unlike Crystal Castles’ senseless bleating, similarly hawt sort Sam Sparro plays it straight with a clear and soulful vocal and backing beats undemanding but impossible to not tap a foot or two to. Much like the below-reviewed Bumblebeez this is modern funk where the f-word isn’t to be laughed at – accessible and effortlessly memorable, even if the lyrics aren’t up to all that much (fish, apes, stuff). A star in the making? If he tidies the select shortcomings, sure.
Video: ‘Black And Gold’
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Bumblebeez – ‘Rio’ (Modular)
Bump-dem-humps breakdown bopper ‘Rio’ follows last year’s ‘Dr Love’ in reminding UK ears that Aussie duo Bumblebeez do party-hop cuts better than most. It’s completely stupid, all fart sounds and mean-little lyrics, but a blast nonetheless. New Young Pony Club might be higher of Modular label profile, but no doubt the Mercury nominees wish they could dish out delectable pop-funk ditties like this. Nice couple of remixes by Etienne de Crecy, too.
Jim Noir – ‘What U Gonna Do’ (My Dad)
Pleasant-enough Beatles-y jangle-pop with propulsive percussion that keeps the interest from fully wandering and some neat retro organ licks that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a Doors record. Jim Noir isn’t re-writing any rule books, but by sticking to the letter of existing texts he’s never to make a dull record. Just never an especially fascinating one, either, as ‘What U Gonna Do’ is a perfect example of.
Ungdomskulen – ‘Modern Drummer’ (Ever)
Sharp-edged Scandinavian rock with glam overtones – ‘Modern Drummer’ is (close to) four minutes of hyperactive bombast that’ll be lapped up by unfussy head-bangers but will equal a headache for anyone with sensitive lug-holes. Not that Norwegian trio Ungdomskulen care for the sensitive souls out there: this is foot-to-the-floor stuff that’ll either click or be cast aside in favour of something rather more restrained.
Camille – ‘Gospel With No Lord’ (Virgin/Charisma)
A poor French child tortured by Rolf Harris into impersonating wacky pop hits of yesteryear – Bush, Björk et cetera, through a Gallic filter. Distinctive for sure, but excruciatingly so – like having all your teeth filled without anaesthetic while you’re made to watch a video of your parents having sex and/or Battlefield Earth.
Video: ‘Gospel With No Lord’
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Tapes ‘n Tapes – ‘Hang Them All’ (XL)
Dave Fridmann comes in, but still Tapes ‘n Tapes sound exactly like Tapes ‘n Tapes – magnificent or meh depending on your tolerance for South By buzz acts that actually make good on their potential. Me, I like ‘em, and I like this. But it’s no alarms, no surprises; a safe comeback that’ll tick fanboy boxes easy enough.
The Draytones – ‘Turn It Down’ (1965)
Acceptably jolly retro-swaggering by a band that’s not exactly from the four corners of the world, as stated in the press release, but certainly of an unusual make-up: The Draytones’ singer Gabriel Boccazzi hails from Argentina, while t’other two come from London and Grimsby. Style-wise, though, this is the swingin’ ‘60s of our capital city all over. Nothing to really criticise – everything’s pulled-off well – but ‘Turn It Down’ is hardly attention-grabbing either.
Roni Size – ‘Don’t Hold Back’ (Mercury)
Still rolling, but is he Reprazenting? New Forms came and went so very long ago, and on this form it’s no wonder Roni Size is (sort of) re-issuing his catalogue classic this year – ‘Don’t Hold Back’ could’ve done with not holding back a little more. A limp return.
Video: ‘Don’t Hold Back’ (live)
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Other singles are out this week too, but we’ve only so much time. Thanks.