Singles & Downloads
Why is there so much slickly produced, pretend-to-be-credible pop around these days? Newton Faulkner, Amy MacDonald, The Hoosiers, Sara Bareilles – the insipid list just keeps on getting longer. Eurgh, and here’s another one; the emotionless and utterly pedestrian Jack McManus with ‘You Don’t Think I Care’ (Polydor Records/UMRL) • You know whose fault this is don’t you? James Blunt. His success kickstarted the current major label scramble to spew out more and more of this bland singer/songwriter tosh, and here he is back with yet another predictable snoozefest of a single. The subject matter of ‘I Really Want You’ (Atlantic) is that the squawky-voiced one is keen on a lady but isn’t sure that she likes him back. Great. Not only does Blunt seem completely unable to ever sing about anything else, but he has planted the thought of him having pervy thoughts in my head and it makes me want to vomit. Pass me a bucket.
Elsewhere, ‘Wheels’ (Euphonius Records) •••• by Come On Gang! boasts blustery riffs and bewitching vocals which are a gentle reminder that there is still some creativity left in modern music, as is the magical, sea shanty-singalong of ‘I Woke Up Today’ (City Slang) ••• by Port O’Brien. Also worth a listen is Kid Canaveral’s gloriously ramshackle ‘Couldn’t Dance’ (Straight to Video) ••••, the tender folk of ‘Sweethearts In Disguise’ (Say Dirty/Lucky Number Nine) •••• by Zoey Van Goey and The State Broadcasters’ swoonsome, alt-country paean to teenage romance ‘Let’s Make T-Shirts’ (Electric Honey) ••••.
Soothing also are the rhythmic, skew-whiff pop of Albert Hammond Jr.’s ‘GfC’ (Rough Trade) ••••, the Rilo Kiley-esque ‘This Is Not A Test’ (Double Six) ••• by She & Him, White Denim’s scratchy, guttural and deranged stomper ‘All You Really Have To Do’ (Full Time Hobby) ••• and a typically top notch return from one of the best bands in the world right now The Hold Steady. ‘Sequestered In Memphis’ (Rough Trade) ••••• fizzes from start to finish as gruff vocals, thumping pianos, warm horns, hammonds and soaring choruses collide, so it comes in a close second for this issue’s Single of the Fortnight, just behind Metronomy’s spooky disco effort ‘Holiday’ (Because Music) •••••. The London-based sonic innovator reminds us that weirdness is alive and well in the world while serving up consistently killer tunes – what a guy.