Singles for the week starting 16 April!
We've got top tunes dropping out of the skies this week from The Cribs, Herman Dune, Stephen Malkmus, Beth Jeans Houghton and more!
Come On, Be A No-One
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First they told us to ‘Shoot the Poets’; then they told us to ‘Ignore the Ignorant’. And now? Now they’re telling us to ‘Be A No-One’. You could be forgiven for thinking that it’s all a bit bleak over at Cribs HQ, but behind the title of their latest effort (which could, admittedly, be the new motto for the slacker generation) lies a single that’s an absolute joy to listen to.
Were loath to use the term ‘anthem’ here because it seems a touch trite, but ‘Come On, Be A No-One’ has all the hallmarks of an instant classic – and one that’ll have people screaming along at live shows, at that.
Its success as a song owes everything to brilliant arrangement. The verses lull you into a false sense of security, dropping the thundering guitar and allowing the rhythm section to come to the fore. But then comes the blindside: a melange of grungy guitars and biting feedback that usher in a chorus that kicks like a mule.
There’s been the odd wobble in the years since their debut, but when The Cribs do what they do well – as exhibited on ‘Come On, Be A No-One’ – they’re utterly untouchable. It’s great to have you back, boys.
Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks
Stick Figures In Love
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Malkmus' latest album ‘Mirror Traffic’ is widely regarded as being one of his finest post-Pavement LPs, and on the strength of 'Stick Figures In Love' it’s easy to see why.
Studio chatter is left in and the instantly recognisable vocals drawl over a memorable electric guitar hook. But more than being just the Stephen show, the Jicks backing is excellent with a nimble bassline, fuzzy rhythm guitar and spacious drumming all given the expert production treatment from Beck. A fine addition to any summer day.
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Following the success of the critically acclaimed album debut album ‘Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen’, Casiokids are back with ‘Kaskaden’. Already established as a live favourite, it’s a joyous four minutes of infectious synth-pop from the eccentric Norwegian indie popsters. Featuring a repetitive bass line with echoes of the Dr Who theme and a subtle oriental flavour, the song not only kept me listening without any vocals but even managed to get me shuffling around in my listening chair – and that is some achievement!
Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny
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The fourth single to be taken from their debut album ‘Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose’, ‘Atlas’ is a frenetic little ditty that tells us the story of two people comparing previous travels; “Dissecting the atlas for places for we’ve been/Your list is longer but you’ve got more years on me” sings Beth in her trademark high pitched voice, backed by her band’s somewhat deeper harmonies. As you would expect from the queen of anti-folk it’s an odd little number, but fun at the same time – and as an advert for the album it pretty much does the job.
Monument Park EP
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The freewheeling American, yet actually European, Herman Dune are an unlikely pair who have quietly carved out a vibrant career over the last decade. ‘Monument Park’ is taken from 2011’s ‘Strange Moosic’ LP and is backed with four new cuts of well written, quality folk-pop.
‘Shadow of a Doubt’ is one highlight with a swagger in David-Ivar’s delivery similar to a Loaded-era Lou Reed. ‘Blessing and a Curse’ is a more sobering affair and sounds like a theme tune to a Clint Eastwood western. As with the Black Keys, worthy success can still come through persistence and on this evidence Herman Dune could be next.
Betty Wang/ Friends Of Friends
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Double A-Sides seem to be a dying breed in this age of excessive mp3 downloading, so it’s refreshing to see to Hospitality roll out a fine example of one here.
Dealing lyrically with an unfortunately named woman who refused to change her ways, ‘Betty Wang’ is a bittersweet super-catchy summery number straight-out of back catalogue of Sarah Records.
Things get more inspired on ‘Friends Of Friends’ when squeaks of brass, a groovy breakdown and evolving tempo shifts congeal to concoct an infectious melody. If “LET’S BE CATCHY!” is Hospitality’s battle cry, then they may have won the war.