Singles and downloads
Let’s get any hating out the way first. The Pussycat Dolls claim ‘When I Grow Up’ (Interscope) * is a tongue-in-cheek look at attention-seekin', dollar-sniffin', 'boobie' flashin' wannabes, but if there's a punchline to their melody-free joke, the girls sure are keeping it well hidden. Liverpool electro poppers Ladytron show how to rock a moody 80s beat, iced over with simple, New Wave synths on ‘Runaway’ (Nettwerk) ***, while Metronomy deliver another itchy disco hit with ‘Heartbreaker’ (Because) ***, a bit more straightforward than their previous electronic treats, about a boy fed up with his friend being messed around by his girlfriend.
Edinburgh hip hop crew, Capitol 1212 keep things strictly old school, with bouncy soulful hooks and cut and paste samples of Jack Nicholson in The Departed on their ‘Raw and Disorder EP’ (Kool Kat) ***, while at the other end of the Central Belt and the musical spectrum, Glasgow's Felt Tips give Belle and Sebastian’s work a country makeover in ‘Lifeskills’ (Cloudberry) ***, backed up with a jingly, diddly sing-along 'My Girlfriend Tried to Run Me Over' on the B-side. Taken from their debut album, Glasvegas’ ‘Daddy’s Gone’ (Columbia) ****is a sweet and sour burst of reverb, intense guitars and dark lyrics about an absent dad, and hopefully a taster of more epic, melancholy vintage rock still to come.
There are glimpses of post-rock magnificence and blissful, eerie electronica on Swimming’s ‘Primary EP’ (Izumi) ***, but sadly, they dilute the celestial soundscapes too much with grungey detours, and try covering too many musical bases. Speaking of post-rock magnificence, the mighty Mogwai return with ‘Batcat’ (Wall of Sound) ****, five and a half minutes of heavy, treacle-thick post-rock noise, swelling and growling along in the run-up to their album, The Hawk is Howling out later this month. But winning Single of the Fortnight by a beardy whisker, Bon Iver’s soulful falsetto, accompanied by uncharacteristically upbeat horns on ‘For Emma’ (Jagjaguwar) ****, proves you don't need to spend a snowy winter hiding out in a log cabin in Wisconsin to get full-body shivers. Beautiful, open-heart stuff.