Singles for the week starting 28 May!
Public Service Broadcasting are going to W*A*R! in this week's singles, while Alt-J introduce their almightly 'trip-folk' and The Savage Nomads deliver a five star EP....
Public Service Broadcasting
The War Room EP
(Test Card Recordings)
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Here's something you don't get every day. Public Service Broadcasting have been granted access to British propaganda films from the World War 2 era, and they've sampled them, slapped echo on them, and whacked then in the middle of a digitally groovy post rock epic! Zoiks Scooby.
Luckily this two piece are smart and propulsive enough to give this idea legs. 'If War Should Come' shows off their dance chops, but also feeds emotionally off the narrative of the samples - as we're first told: "No one in this country wants war!" to a tentative and nervous build up, then blown away by a climactic guitar hailstorm, which pulls away to reveal the melancholy revelation; "I have to tell you now, this country is at war."
From here we're thrown into the atmosphere of the Blitz ("Soon the nightly battle of London will be on") to the broadly sci-fi breakbeats of 'London Can Take It', while 'Spitfire' feels almost like Orbital with glam rock hooks. Later, 'Waltz For George' depicts the weary soldiers staggering away from the beaches and boats from whence they fought. I'm not usually one for history lessons, but this EP is a dramatic juxtaposition - and it's genuinely moving. Propaganda or not, this has been a successful mission.
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Bluesy vocals, grinding dub and possibly even glockenspiels? Damn these guys are cool. Leeds posse Alt-J’s debut single ‘Breezeblocks’ is an exciting precursor to their upcoming album ‘An Awesome Wave’, and it breaks out with one of the most original sounds I’ve heard all year. Lo-fi but intricately layered, ‘Breezeblocks’ is a dark, strangely haunting piece which perfectly exemplifies the band’s self categorisation as ‘trip-folk’.
Mesmerising from the opening note, Alt-J are fresh, humbly experimental and undoubtedly ones to watch as their album makes its arrival.
New Street Adventure
Say It Like You Mean It EP
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Soul music is easier said than done, and not everyone is Curtis Mayfield. A fine line exists between the seminal and the summer wedding band. So hearing New Street Adventure take on the genre, complete with their Laarn-don accents, it’s easy to dismiss them as Hard Fi with trumpets, and neither do they help their cause when they start banging on about the London Riots. Fortunately, it does eventually click: ‘Foolish Once More’ and the latter tracks here wouldn’t be out of place in the early hours of a Northern Soul night. Give it a chance and you’ll be happily swaying home on your Vesper.
The Savage Nomads
Tension In The Middle
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Remember that idea for a band you had? The one where you meticulously listed a mix of hand-picked reference points from your impeccable record collection, in the hope that you could somehow create the third way and forge a musical revolution? It didn’t work, did it? Unless, of course, you happen to be The Savage Nomads. It seems that mixing astute UK hip hop rhymes, art punk hooks and cascading musical soundscapes of Mogwai is this year’s peanut butter and jam. Tension in the middle – and a sigh of relief all round.
Are We Gonna Work It Out
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Bedroom producers are ten-a-penny these days with increasing numbers of musicians having such a singular vision that they feel the need to take complete control. The resulting problem is songs that feel incomplete or in need of input from another mind.
'Are We Gonna Work It Out' by Sweet Lights, aka Shai Halperin, is one such song. A glitzy pop bauble with nice textures and some glam guitar work, it sadly lacks a memorable hook and as such takes several plays to make an impact. Nice, if a bit ephemeral.