Dear Everyone, this week I am all a-brood. You see, having awoken - larkside - to the iPhone’s pure evil (but oh my Gawd, super-effective) ‘dog bark’ alarm clock, my brain has become quite the sleeve tugger. It is such a pest; it might as well be wearing a mackintosh and no pants.
So, here I am trying to think about the task ahead (listen to twenty singles, find some way to contextualise same). And my brain will not comply however many seconds I give it. Worse still, it is all my fault, because I have gone out of my way to give it The Old One Two this week.
You see, I spent half of it in my new adopted city, trolloping around doing a lot of Hello-my-name-is-Wendy-I-am-new-here-and-not-mental-do-you-want-to-either-a)-give-me-a-job-or-b)-be-my-friend. And I spent the other half brushing up sexily against the past. And that was a bit Oh-London-I-know-why-I-left-you-but-visiting-is-like-meeting-an-old-beau-for-a-coffee, both-delightful-and-awfuls, all-at-once.
What I am saying here, is that this week I am all confusement. Also, it was grim as you like outside when I started this. And because my brain is a pest, it is going:
Brian: 6am, Wendy! SIX A-EM!
Me: I know what time it is, you dog. Is this why we saw fit to put the alarm clock in ANOTHER ROOM - so I have to get out of bed and traipse down a corridor, in order to turn it off?
Brian: It worked though. You have to hadmit, it worked. [beat] Ooh look, lightning! Here, Wendy, were there any super heroes who got their powers from lightning strikes?
Me: Why are you thinking about super heroes, when we are meant to be thinking about singles?
Brian: You know how it is, I like to keep you on your toes.
Let us try to begin with Everything Everything, who some of you will know I have an enormous pash on. They are re-releasing My Keys, Your Boyfriend – or as they will insist on having it, ‘MY KZ, YR BF’ - because they are modern like that. I suppose all I need to tell you is that it is an intricate, puzzling pop record that contains the line ‘It’s like the A4 paper taking over the guillotine’. And that this, of course, is a thrilling image - especially when you like analogies that contain animated inanimates like what I do. Here they are in all their many-faceted magnificence:
I mean, I very nearly gave this Single of the Week for a second time (my original review is here), and it probably is SOTW in my head. But there are others here very deserving and I shan’t ignore them, I am a fair woman.
One such band are Deerhunter, and it is their turn to step up to the podium and have medals put over their heads by attractive air hostess types with white shoes on. They are Single of the Week, really. And when I listen to their offering, which is called ‘Revival', I write down:
but also dense
their speakers are busted, yes, good
something about how Deerhunter are ‘The Monkees’ except INDIER
[Note to self: Wiki an obscuro band to use as a reference here]
But of course, the main thing to say is that when I listen to 'Revival', I grin. And though I expect it is parlous to reveal that I say things out loud to no one when I am writing this column; I am telling you anyway, I do it a lot.
[I really do mean literally no one here, I talk to my laptop and really have given up caring what people think, it’s hactually all very freeing, do try it.]
So, I say ‘Oh YES’ out loud, and I put my hands in the air, and I hit my thighs in time with all Deerhunter’s wonderful rumbles. And not just because I am the sort of person who is still prone to wild over-excitement, despite my advanced years. I also feel we should take a moment to linger upon Deerhunter’s wondair names. Which for the unknowing, are:
Bradford Cox [dashing commander of a Northshire rowing team?]
Lockett Pundt [keycutter cousin of Wackford Squeers?]
Joshua Fauver [sea-faring trapper of errant fish?]
Moses Archuleta [you do this one?]
You know, if the following (and above) men are really called Kevin, Dave, Rodney and Philip, I will be very disappointed:
That, people of the Internet, is what I call Good Wooze.
Now then, even though the Beach Boys once wrote a song especially for me, I often receive songs with girls’ names as their title and get a bit jealous because I am spoilt. I wonder who these girls are, and I am desperate to know how they feel when they hear these songs. But I also want to know if said songs are fair or representative of their subjects. I mean, Lord only knows, going out with a musician must be ten kinds of vex, so I try to take the lady perspective, advocate that I am.
Anyway, so it is with Freelance Whales - who still have the worst name in indie but who also have a song called ‘Hannah’. And it is a song sewn together with the twinkliest of thread, it is a joy. It’s also not a million miles from the gloriously uplifting ‘Generator 2nd Floor’ which came out heaps of days ago and is free here. And though I know far too many people who find anything uplifting or warm totally dread (they only like it Dark), I am not one of them, I find myself uncynical. What about you, though:
In any case, dear old Hannah is a lucky, lucky thing because her song is a propulsive, clattery joy, not least because Judah Dadone [Lore! The names this week!] is blessed with the sort of transatlantic accent I am particularly fond of; he has a softness of tone that lends his music a very appealing kindness. The cynics won’t stand for his Beach Voice, see, but I lap this stuff up like a thirsty kitten; it’s all over my whiskers.
Rather like The Everythings, Fan Death are also giving an old single another turn about the terraces of pop. Even if it has been nearly two years since ‘Veronica’s Veil’ first got pushed out of the nest, its sequined wings flapping. Look here, it has some very good disco strings on it:
But sadly we can’t spend too long dawdling about on a lit dancefloor, because 4AD have gone all bounteous, munificent. The second of their offerings is Efterklang’s ‘Raincoats’, which sounds like this:
Now, because - like most music fans - I am full of pointless and vague prejudice that has so long been embedded, I now have no idea where I got it from, I never expect to like bands who have ‘klang’ in their name. Luckily this is not true of Efterklang and their ‘Raincoats’. Some delightfully electric, chiming strums provide the framework here, before muted and grey bass drums join the party. And then it goes all snippeted vocal collage, but also a bit tribal. It is lovely, but you have listened to it now, so you should know that.
Whereas Rumer's ‘Slow’ (Atlantic) is essentially an unreleased Carpenters single, and it is on a MAJOR so do get over yourselves, because it is one for The Lovers. It also very wine bar, but still I found it the tiniest bit affecting. As I say, it might just be me being all wrung out again, but there is something strangely touching about pop records this syrupy:
...especially when they are released into a cynical, modern landscape like the one we inhabit. Or have I gone mental? The video's awful, I can discern that much.
Next are Mirrors, whose rather delightful ‘Look At Me’ came out heaps and aeons ago. And although I do not really read the music press because I do not wish to be swayed by same, it is a bit weird that more people have not jumped on Mirrors' train. Especially when it is such a good one, it is a Pulse Express with carriages made out of good synths and a conductor made of yearn. ‘Ways To An End’ is their new one, and it is out on Skint and sounds like this:
...and I like it, I think it is impressive. And I say that even though I am all too aware that The Meeja have long since decided synth pop is ‘over’ - as if music has to fall into a specific window of time, or it misses its chance entirely.
This idea about music having a ‘place’ or perch is rubbish by the way, you find what you find when you find it. Mirrors are a cut above, they may even be what I want to Hurts to sound like, if Hurts were as good as their troubling overpromise.
Apropos of artists that come with a huge dollop of expectation, Rosanna’s ‘Waterfall’ begins with Stately Drums Of Import. Said drums are very like those on one of my top five sauce-pop re-rubs, 'Romance V.3' (scroll to 0:31 here). Which is bad, because there’s no way it can be as good as ‘Romance V.3’, things almost never are and it's not strictly relevant. And of course, 'Waterfall' comes with what I hate to refer to as pedigree, because it is the first thing to be released on Popjustice Hi-Fi. As you might expect, it is accompanied by a thoroughly readable press release (a lighthouse in a sea of spaff, let me tell you) and a marvellous videothing that looks like this:
My problem is that Rosanna says ‘yewwwwww’ rather than ‘you’, and though I realise this is like dismissing a man because he has large elbows/the wrong kind of shoelace/badly stitched lapels, these things matter to one; it is a modern abomination my old ears reject like a misspelt love letter. It’s still good, of course.
Meanwhile, Paul Menel ‘Twenty One’ (here, which I found myself writing about it before I realised it had been sent to me in error) sounds like Tears for Fears. And I never liked them - they were the dreadest, bleatiest, most earnest fog-horns my younger ears were ever subjected to. Menel has also seen fit to employ an abysmal brass section. And there’s no excuse for that, I want to send him off to Brass Class with The Walkmen, who are the Best at Brass. I mean, have you heard ‘Stranded’, it is enough to make one come over all Monae because it has what I call classy brass all over it. And I should know because I once played my euphonium in the Albert Bloody Hall - which, of course, automatically makes me interesting. I have no idea why I was sent this, what with me having AMAZING MUSICAL RANGE and favouritising both TOKiMONSTA and Timber Timbre within the past month.
Lastly, though you can’t take away the magnificence of The Strange Death of Liberal England’s marvellous name, sadly I do not feel quite so well disposed to their single, ‘Rising Sea’. Which goes something a little like this:
This is probably a personal taste issue, and I suspect this single will find its people even if I am not one of them.
[You: Like you hope you find your brain again?]
[Me: Something like that, yes.]
Here are some other things that are out this week. Listen well, everyone.
No Age ‘Glitter’ (Sub Pop)
If this single was the Shipping Forecast, it would almost certainly be ‘squally showers’.
Spring Offensive 'The First Of Many Dreams About Monsters' (Self-release, and free here)
Spring Offensive sent me FOUR photos of a darling bunny rabbit along with their single and are therefore automatically brilliant. I didn't even ask them to. THIS IS HOW TO DO IT.
The Holidays ‘Golden Sky’ (Passport Label)
Came in a brown paper bag, like it was porn. It's not porn.
Stornoway - 'Watching Birds' (4AD)
Bit of a departure for them, give it a go. It's got a kazoo on it. No? Oh, suit yourself.
UNKLE - 'The Answer' (Surrender All)
UNKLE have two short films for their/his latest, which is all quite art of them slash him. More on their inordinately swizzy site, here.
Wendy is on Twitter, here, when she should, by rights, be 'asleep'.