Whilst 2019’s high watermark of singles shows no signs of abating, Getintothis’ Steven Doherty surveys the latest batch of them.
Single Of The Week
Priests – Good Time Charlie
Don’t let the ludicrous press shots that you may well have seen recently put you off these guys, this is a seriously glorious, just-short-of-three-minute pure pop song with the very different subject topic, the under-performing Tom Hanks film Charlie Wilson’s War (hence some of the song’s more unusual name shout-outs).
It’s catchy, with crashing drums and guitars everywhere, a catchier Hole. Lyrically really interesting, the opening line “Like all great pornography, the story is touching” is enough to attract your interest, and there’s so much going on within the short space of time to keep you captivated. Just when you think you’ve nailed it, it brings something out of left field.
The rapped backing vocals add a layer of B-52’s feel to the Breeders-esque proceedings, and the closing repetition of the coda “The Hollywood and entertaining kinds of pell-mell.” will stay your head for ages afterwards.
Catchy rock from the Washington D.C trio, don’t judge their book by the cover.
Sports Team – M5
Already decreed as Track of the Week recently on Radio 1, this is an unabashed attempt at hitting the mainstream by Sports Team.
Unashamedly commercial, almost Britpop, it chugs (quite fitting for a song about driving) quite nicely, never straying from its polite path. It seems to be a tune written just to play at festivals, all killer chorus and singalong verses.
Strangely, towards the end, it goes a bit Half Man Half Biscuit, mentioning Aldershot and shoe laces. All a bit tame but enjoyable nonetheless.
Vampire Weekend – Harmony Hall
One of the first two tracks trailering their forthcoming comeback album Father Of The Bride, Vampire Weekend locate their inner Primal Scream.
Ezra Koenig still sounds like a funked-up Paul Simon, but now has the variety in the sound to go with the vocal, to avoid it sounding like a budget Graceland.
They’re throwing everything at it instrumentally, piano solos abound, but the gospel vibe is the bedrock that the upbeat yet bleak chorus “I don’t wanna live like this, but I don’t wanna die.” is built on.
An interesting teaser of what is yet to come.
Clean Cut Kid – I Don’t Like You But I Love You
Speaking of Vampire Weekend, someone’s been listening to them whilst making their forthcoming second album Painwave, by the sounds of this first taste of it.
Whilst obviously influenced by VW, this has enough personality of it’s own, and it’s dual vocals add more of a pop element, enhancing the sound they made their own on their debut.
It leaves itself room to breathe, it’s quite a simple, but memorable number, that rewards repeated listens.
Erland Cooper – Haar
The first track taken from his second album Sule Skerry (out in May) and ahead of some UK dates, including a sold-out London Barbican show, Erland Cooper releases this grand, beautiful piano-led single.
Named after an Orkney (his childhood home) sea mist, this haunting, melodic, and at times, blistering piece of work evokes the sea, at times calm, at times thundering (he did indeed use recordings of actual storms).
SPINN – Is There Something That I Missed?
Fresh from their recent UK tour and the announcement of a massive homecoming date in December at O2 Academy Liverpool, SPINN have released this opening salvo, taken from their forthcoming in May self-titled debut album.
It has all the hallmarks of their jangly pop sensibilities, with it’s Johnny Marr-esque guitar riffs, bringing to mind a familiar sound that you can hear played on daytime radio alongside their soon to be peers such as The 1975 or Blossoms.
A hit in the making.
UTO – Synthesise
Well, this is just lovely.
All wonky ambient beats and ice-cool vocals to begin with. The weird nursery rhyme chorus soon gives way to a rapped section that never threatens to spoil the dreamy pop vibe underneath.
It gives the impression that there is nothing much going on, but everytime you listen to it, something different catches the ear.
UTO are a couple and duo from Paris and they are definitely a name to keep a sharp eye on if this is anything to go by.
Madonnatron – Sucker Punch
Coming from their long-awaited second album Musica Alla Puttanesca, which is released in May, this piece of guitar laden pop rock falls a touch short from their previously released material.
Maybe it is suffering from some over-production, but it never truly gets going.
It lacks a real purpose, not as raw, a bit too polished to be the smack in the face that it thinks it is.
Orville Peck – Turn To Hate
Orville’s a mysterious cowboy. Of course he is.
A crooner signed to Sub Pop, he comes from the Sia school of face-hiding, only photographed with what looks like a bead curtain over his face. So far, so zany.
Thankfully, this is a corking single. Whilst it has some country elements, it plays more like a poppy rock single, and whilst it does contain some unnecessary crooning, his voice at times takes your breath away with it’s power.
Helms Alee – Interachnid
The opening track to the band’s forthcoming sixth album Noctiluca, this is all riffs and drums.
Seattle’s Helms Alee, now into their year twelve of their existence have a distinctive sound, like a heavy Fleetwood Mac, or an evil Placebo.
This is a catchy, barnstormer that will work more as the album opener than a stand alone single. A band to be caught live by the sounds of it, it’s massive.
Steve Moore – Your Sentries Will Be Met With Force
This is taken from the upcoming five-track album, Beloved Exile, the first non-soundtrack album in over five years from New York prog-synth composer Steve Moore, co-founder of Zombi.
It’s haunting and melodic, it’s vocals Middle-Eastern in feel. This will also work best as part of an overall rather than standing alone, but as a new-age ambient preview to the longer form record, it works as well as it could.
Judah And The Lion (feat. Kacey Musgraves) – pictures
And now, this.
Something of a departure from the rest of the week’s releases, this would be an ideal song for a US teen rom-com to use as backing for the sequence where the kids have split up and are looking back.
It’s sounds like an American Idol version of Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want by The Smiths. It should be hideous, but there’s something about it that makes it quite endearing, in a saccharine kinda way.
Dave Fidler – Skylark
A frequent tour-mate of John Bramwell from I Am Kloot, Dave Fidler releases his first new stuff in over four years.
A big name on the Mancunian folk scene, Fidler is a master of his craft, with glorious harmonies ahoy.
He tours soon playing all over the UK in April and May to promote his upcoming long-player Songs For Aurora, and this summery lilt will be the perfect bridge from winter into spring.