Bowie/Crosby, Field Music - Singles Round-Up 22/11/10

Hayley Flynn 23/11/2010

To say it's been easy to bring you the round-up this week is a great big whopper of a lie, it's been a real struggle. There's so many releases I've wanted to cover and each one I strike from the short list pains me a little. Let's get on with it before I change my mind again.

I couldn't leave these guys off, I simply couldn't do it to them again. Field Music are a band I woefully and repeatedly neglect. I picked up a copy of Tones of the Town some years back and did little more than to put it back down again. Ok, maybe I listened once or twice (but twice is a massive exaggeration). Spotify has them down as a mix of the Beach Boys, The New Pornographers and The Futureheads, now I can kind of see where they're coming from but it's rather a broad and muddled range of comparison and there's far more of an 80s feel to them than that. This release, Measure, is quite a lofty tune. Grand strings, mathematical drums and loops and the perfect backdrop for some Bowie influenced vocals. Measure is indeed a finely crafted pop song and Field Music are a band I promise I'll try harder to acknowledge in future.

Now, I really do like Lykke Li, but there's always been the odd track that seems a little skewed and confused and that's initially what I thought of Get Some. Lykke Li is experimental and intelligent and that means a constantly evolving sound so this particular evolution is an important step for Li. Earlier this month this song became the most wanted MP3 online and I'm pretty blown away by that fact given that this is someone who doesn't seem to generate much discussion. Although I'm not a big fan of this particular release from the lovely Lykke it has been stuck in my head all afternoon and I can definitely see this garnering some more mainstream attention and pretty much guarantee that it'll be a belter of a live track (she's quite the performer and I'd highly recommend catching one of her 2011 gigs). So, I'm going to massively contradict myself now by telling you this isn't anything out of the ordinary and then draw comparison to two behemoths of popular music, so I apologise for that but if anything I'm capricious. Get Some is like Lady Gaga covering Beyonce's Crazy in Love. Cue most wanted MP3 online.

The Tough Love label have a very generous offering for us this week by way of a spilt 7”. That's two singles for one and who doesn't love a bargain? The A-side comes from Belfast's Girls Names and the AA side is all the way from San Francisco via Slumberland's Brilliant Colors. Brilliant. But wait, what's this? Ty Segall has recorded with them on this track? Yet more brilliance. Girls Names track reminds me a little of Black Tambourine and is the first track recorded as a three-piece, it's noisy and cyclical and has vocals brooding enough to avoid being too similar to its poppier peers. Conversely in both name and mood is Brilliant Colors with You Win. The sound here is a lighter version of Girls Names with the breezy female vocals and more up-tempo beat. You Win is a little like a sunny seaside photograph, perfect and pretty and needn't end its life being run through a blasted Hipstamatic. The Hipstamatic in question here being reverb - I really expected there to be much more fuzziness on this track so I'm surprised to hear a recording of such clarity and packed with substance. The record is limited to 600 copies worldwide and I recommend you bag yourself one.

Tiny witch house wonder Zola Jesus is next with Poor Animal. This release is strikingly similar to Sea Talk, in fact it sounds rather like a dance remix of it. Thankfully, I really loved Sea Talk so I'm rather enjoying Poor Animal. The bass-heavy drums that help Zola Jesus to sound so dark and heartfelt are missing on this one but as ever Danilova's vocals are impressive and she still has that pained sound like the sky is falling in on her. The track was produced by Chris Coady who has worked with TV on the Radio and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and you can tell. The formula's a good one though perhaps falls down by sounding so much cheerier than any of the tracks we previously heard on Stridulum II.

It feels strange to do a singles review for a band with fans as dedicated as The National's are. I mean, if you like them then chances are you already know all the tracks from High Violet like the back of you hand. Terrible Love is my least favourite track as it happens, though this release is the alternate version and presumably a hook for you to buy the new, extended version of the album. In my opinion this version is the superior one and I don't know why they ever decided to use the demo recording on an album that would, without doubt, be the most commercially sought after one to date. I can't quite put my finger what I dislike about this particular release, though when I say dislike I am talking comparatively. It just feels a bit sloppy on both versions and almost like it was rushed to get on the record. The alternate is a little tinny and a song I think best enjoyed live. The B-side to this track is piano piece You Were A Kindness - this sounds much more like the baritone Berninger we know and love and reminds me to keep on loving the dark sound of Brooklyn.

There's plenty of singles to get your teeth into this week, others which I have been enjoying include the Gorillaz Doncamatic and Twin Sister's All Around and Away we Go but I'm going to end this week on a nostalgic, and prematurely festive, note. This week sees the re-release of David Bowie and Bing Crosby's duet Little Drummer Boy and what's not to love about David Bowie popping over to a neighbours house to borrow the piano, mistaking Bing for the butler and singing a song in which the bulk of the lyrics are 'parumpapumpum'!? Watch the video and warm your heart a little.