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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, August 10, 2018

IndieLondon gleefully checks out the cream of the week’s singles

You Me At Six, IOU

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: YOU ME AT SIXIOU: You Me At Six have dropped a fearless new track in IOU, taken from their new sixth studio album VI, out October 5 via AWAL. In keeping with the band’s prolific output and exciting evolution, IOU sees You Me At Six show off another side to their sound. R&B-tinged and with nods to the hip hop artists that the band collectively love, it’s a fresh and exciting approach that will keep both their casual followers and biggest of fans on their toes. Hence, the guitar sound is less pronounced, with the electronics and beats taking more centre stage. That’s not to say it’s the kind of thing Linkin Park would do; no, there’s a subtlety to the beats. Sure, they have a hip hop quality, but the guitar sound is retained, while the vocals are delivered in a non-rap form while still nodding to that style of delivery. There’s a slick, pop-rock chorus, too, that could well position You Me At Six to receive their biggest hit to date. And before the die-hards get too worried, the finale piles on the guitar sound to hit you with a boisterous outro that should delight the rock purists (and Muse fans out there too). It’s a damn fine piece of work… and not something we were necessarily expecting.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Twenty One Pilots, Levitate

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: TWENTY ONE PILOTSLEVITATE: The third single from Twenty One Pilots’ forthcoming new album, Trench, is the excellent Levitate. And it’s a departure from the heavier guitar sound of at least one of the former taster tracks. Rather, there’s a hip hop sensibility attached to this one… or even trip-hop. The mellower sound is introduced from the start, with a laidback electronic ambient sound. But the beats then drop and have the kind of slick, toe-tapping, cinematic splendour that a DJ Shadow production would be proud of. The vocals eventually begin and have a Beastie Boys kind of style. It’s a song that never drops any guitar licks, but one that sounds better and fresher for it. Levitate could be the best song Twenty One Pilots have dropped in a while. The accompanying video is similarly striking. Directed by long-time collaborator Andrew Donoho, Levitate is designed to conclude the three-part narrative first established in the official music video for Jumpsuit – the chart-topping first single from Trench, and then continued in the official music video for the LP’s second release, Nico And The Niners.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Palm Ghosts

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 2: PALM GHOSTSLOVE IN WINTER: Nashville-based outfit Palm Ghosts have announced Love in Winter as the new single off their Architecture album, out now via Ice Queen Records, for which they’ve unveiled a new video by created by fellow Nashville artist Nathan Morrow. “I thought a story of someone lost in the snow could be a cool animated short because I could utilize negative space in an interesting way. When Palm Ghosts contacted me about doing an animated video for their song Love in Winter, I found that it fit perfectly with this idea,” says Morrow. “The video obviously portrays a relationship but I decided to leave a lot of the details open ended. The most important thing for me was capturing the mood of the song. The video was animated digitally using traditional 2D animation techniques as well as rotoscoping (tracing over live action footage)”. The resulting video is as beautifully rendered as that description suggests and provides the single itself with a really compelling reason for listening. As a record itself, there are ’80s tinged electronics and beats, a nice mi x of gruff male vocals and sweet female ones, and an upbeat chorus that sounds like ’80s Cure mixed with Interpol. It’s an enticing mix, augmented by that video.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Lucy Mason

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 3: LUCY MASONOUT OF THE BLUE: Following the release of the first half of her debut album, dream-pop soloist Lucy Mason has shared her beautiful new video for Out Of The Blue. “Over the years things can change dramatically in friendships,” Lucy explains, “Some friends move away, some have their life turned upside down by illness or hardship and some even just disappear completely out of your life for no reason. Suddenly you realise how different things are, and wonder how and when that happened. Nostalgia can be heart-breaking but it’s essential for our appreciation of one another. Out Of The Blue is about all that change but it’s also about the best memories you have together.” The accompanying video therefore pieces together a selection of memories Mason has shared with those friends… and it’s both celebratory and somehow bittersweet. It also may well pause for you to reflect on your own past memories with friends, family and loved ones who may have moved away or moved on in some way. Heck, it may even prompt a video search of your own, or at least a trip down memory lane by revisiting some photos. And it may even compell you to get back in touch with someone. The song, meanwhile, is beautifully delivered in the dream pop style that Mason now champions as her own. Her dreamy vocals are accompanied by lush electronics and easy-going beats to create something as cinematic as the video demands and as laidback and thought-provoking as the lyrics suggest. It’s a delicious piece of work.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Sleephawk, Faker

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 4: SLEEPHAWKFAKER: The second single from London-based artist Sleephawk, Faker, is taken from his upcoming EP release Glass. Sleephawk is the brainchild of Hackney-based artist Matt Wright and is a new audio visual project that is raising eyebrows across the UK. The video for the track is a 16-Bit computer game led visual which stuns in intricacies as a work of art and as a construction by one man with one computer and hours of hours work. The video tells the story of a character who ends up in the wrong game and can’t escape so has to find his own way to play. Matt Describes the creative process by saying: “I love video games and really wanted to capture that nostalgia of the early megadrive games. I created the video by scanning my drawings into Photoshop, colouring the frames and then piecing them together on After Effects into character gifs I could move around. The protagonist was the hardest, as I wanted him to move as more of a cartoon than a video game hero. I didn’t count the hours but it definitely took a few months, with a couple of 12 hour shifts to finish off.” The video is, indeed, stunning. As for the record itself, it’s described as an intimate exploration of belonging and place through delicate acoustics, a haunting intense vocal delivery and layer upon layer of atmosphere building histrionics with an Alt-J esque drumline its beating heart. Matt describes the track as being about Imposter Syndrome and explains its born from an honest place, plotting the desperation in which humanity can be led to punish itself with a longing to be better than itself. In this instance, Sleephawk uses his art as a way of releasing some of that modern pressure. And while the track may be more of an acquired taste given that Alt-J-inspired alternative sensibility, it’s still worthy of getting noticed and boasts a stunning video to recommend it further.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Marsicans

MARSICANSPOP-UPS (SUNNY AT THE WEEKEND): Having recently released their infectious new single Pop-Ups (Sunny At The Weekend), Marsicans now unveil the video. Commenting on what to expect, singer and guitarist James Newbigging said: “We wanted to recreate the annoying nature of pop-up ads blocking the parts of websites that you want to see. Our guitarist Oli animated the video and put in a few hidden surprises along the way.” The track itself is a soaring indie-pop anthem that aims to provide the perfect companion to the hot summer. Its got breezy guitar riffs, a soaring chorus that’s tailor-made for singing-along with, and an upbeat sensibility that looks set to make it tailor-made for becoming a live favourite at whatever festival it gets played. You’ll be smiling in next to no time, while nodding your head in appreciation – particularly given the spectacularly sunny nature of this year’s summer. It could well be the soundtrack to so many happy memories.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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RuthAnne

RUTHANNELIQUID: Following her debut singles The Vow and Take My Place, RuthAnne now moves into RnB/Soul territory with new track Liquid. Designed to take a well deserved pot shot at social media and the type of bullying that can result, this finds RuthAnne delivering some hard-hitting and thought-provoking lyrics over a moody back-beat and some sultry yet powerfully moody vocals. Lyrically, this drops lines like “all of this perception… can we wash it all away?”, thereby confronting a relevant social issue and asking questions, while making you think. It should kickstart a debate. Instrumentally, the song combines melodic guitar riffs and deep rhythmical beats, which work well in underlining RuthAnne’s soulful vocals. Produced by MJ&iRoK (Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube), and Cadenza (Jorja Smith, MIA), RuthAnne wanted to release something closer to the artists she was inspired by, which include soulful RnB and hip hop artists Lauryn Hill and Amy Winehouse. It’s a successful offering that should win RuthAnne even more fans.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Sit Down

SIT DOWNMOTHERSHIP: Brighton-based doomsters Sit Down follow their debut EP with the release of their new video, Mothership. Filmed entirely on VHS by the band themselves during an American road-trip down the famous Route 66, the visuals recall the likes of found footage films like Cloverfield while paying beautiful homage to counterculture masterpiece Easy Rider. Accompanying these striking visuals is a suitably doom-laden, end-of-the-world heralding track. The guitars are ominous and crunchingly bleak, the drums pounding and relentless… and the vocals suitably apocalyptic [if that’s a thing that vocals can be!] with a hint of glam. Hence, while the heavy foreboding inherent throughout the song may not appeal far beyond those who frequent the Download Festival or read Kerrang! magazine, there’s plenty here for those that do. And those guitars, once unleashed in solo form, have a certain impressiveness to them. Inspired by their love of all things sci-fi, Sit Down recently celebrated the release of their EP, Cheap Luxe, by hosting a UFO-themed launch party at Brighton’s Green Door Store, where they announced plans to travel to Roswell, New Mexico – the site of the alleged 1947 space crash and holy grail for UFO enthusiasts the world over – where they filmed the video. A strong visual representation for a band with one foot planted firmly in the glam-rock theatrics of the ’70s while the other sits in more modern contemporary production, exploring heavy desert-blues and gritty art rock.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Wstrn, Sharna

WSTRNSHARNA: Platinum selling West-London collective WSTRN are back with their new single Sharna. With vocal duties stemming from band members Louis-Rei and Haile, Sharna sees the collective attempting to retain their experimental sound, thereby drawing on soul, pop and hip-hop. But while the smooth groove female vocals have a seductive, late-night kind of appeal, the male rapped ones sounds flat and threaten to derail the track whenever they are given centre stage. Hence, while half of the track has a classy R’n‘B quality with elements of Sade thrown in, the more generic rap element has a droll, far more generic vibe. Fortunately, the song does place more of an emphasis on the former, rather than the latter, but it’s a hit-and-miss record on the whole. Currently in the studio working on their next project, the MOBO Award Winning group – who to date have notched up over 200 million global streams – have had demand from some of the hottest producers over recent months and recently collaborated with R&B songstress Mabel for the remix of her Top 10 hit, Fine Line.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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