Friends Electric, Blood Red Shoes - Singles Round-Up 29/11/2010

Sian Lower 02/12/2010

It's been a bit of a Marmite week in the singles world. I've either loved what I've listened to or banged my head against a wall. Fortunately (or unfortunately for you, dear reader!) I have been given the opportunity to vent these issues in GIITV's weekly singles round-up. All I ask is that you are gentle in your judgements - it is, after all, my first time (a thank you).

To start things off I would like to bring your attention to a fantastic wee four piece from Glasgow. Galleries' debut EP was released last year and now they're back with their new single Rocket Science, which is available for free download on their website . For a relatively unknown band, their sound is an established one. A self-described mix of epic indie/pop, Galleries have a strong vocal with a refreshing twist. The beat is lively and energetic, the tone optimistic and youthful. It's easy to note influences from Death Cab for Cutie and The National, but those with an indie ear could draw comparisons with Editors and Idlewild. Being a Scottish band, they have a very British vibe, which makes their music easily accessible to UK listeners and more interesting for overseas fans. Vocals are strong throughout and contrasts against an almost military-esque drum beat - they ultimately leave you wanting more as every sound crashes together towards the guitar-fest ending. From start to finish you're hooked. Their download also comes with two B-sides, Everything Continued and Rescue Plan - and it's all free! What's not to love?

A band already headed for great things is Little Fish. The Oxford duo were signed by songwriter/producer Linda Perry (Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani) who flew them to LA to produce their debut album Baffled And Beat, which is out now. Sweat N Shiver is their latest single. Released this week, it has an odd punk/rock/country feel, and this strange mix works. Lead vocals from Juju sound very similar to Sheryl Crow but the music is a few catchy guitar riffs against a sometimes flat drum beat. The lyrics begin abruptly in this track, you feel like you've just interrupted something. The sound is similar to Crow, but lyrics like cigarette burning on a cockroach wall could disillusion those of you out there with a penchant for country. The video for the track leaves a lot to be desired as it's very amateurish, a simple black and white number of the duo playing a gig. The vocals are often stronger than the music, which gives the listener the impression that they still have more to unleash. Very catchy and often grunge, Little Fish has something to offer.

Now: calling all Dirty Dancing fans. Black Eyed Peas released their single The Time (Dirty Bit) this week. For those of you who like the original Time of My Life by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes - be warned. It pretty much decapitates the original and throws its head to the pop culture of 2010. Fergie and Will.I.Am singing it doesn't quite do it justice. For those of you who didn't like it anyway, I think they managed to make it more irritating. Of course, The Time is only one part of the song, there is also the 'Dirty Bit'. Which, oddly enough, is also the catchy bit? It's a weird mix and I'm not sure it works but without 'The Time' segment, I like it. The video is typically B.E.P, very digital, a lot of pixelated images and weird and wonderful outfits. The layout of the song, music and vocals is very similar to previous hit Boom Boom Pow - it's a little bit dance and R'n'B with plenty synthesized Will.I.Am vocals to go round.

Save Yourself is also out this week, a debut offering from Hiatus (a.k.a. Cyrus Shahrad) and his first album Ghost Notes. Hiatus has managed to mix a love of DJing with electronica and Middle- Eastern inspired overtones to bring this spooky, melancholy track. Written during the break up of a six-year relationship the tone is expected, but it lifts continuously through the haunting female vocals. The video itself is eerie, composed of footage of social and political upheaval in Iran over the last century. It starts with a lullaby type tune, which instantly gives you goosebumps. Drums kick in and reel you into the soft melodies - it sounds very like Moby actually, but far more modern. It could almost be a 'summer chill-out' tune, if it wasn't such a sad one. The lullaby notes continue all the way through, even when the mood lifts. A really lovely piece of music and one you won't want to turn off.

Their fans include Noisettes and Ellie Goulding, and they've already done remixes for Kylie and Kelis. Now, Friends Electric have released Golden Blood, the follow-up to their first single Wall of Arms. The Welsh quartet describe themselves as 'electronic pop', and this track is electronic pop gold. Urgent keyboard tones against a beat begin. The vocals are then introduced which have an echo - the chorus has a harmony of singing and music - at the bridge, the music drops to compliment the singer. Golden Blood has such a catchy chorus, you won't sit still listening to this. This song would work well with any evening background: club, night-in or iPod - and it would pick you up at the crack of dawn the next morning all over again. It speeds up steadily and as the drums do the talking, the vocals explode. Brilliant piece of music and a respectable follow-up to their debut single. Unfortunately the video doesn't compliment the music well enough, it's described as “gritty” but it just comes off as cheap, but don't let this put you off - these guys are incredible.

And now, the end is near...

I have looked over various singles this week and I've only included the ones I feel have been worth mentioning, and none of those seem to have any good or interesting videos. Fear not, I have one left. Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell started their band Blood Red Shoes in late 2004, and their first album Box of Secrets was out in 2008. Their second album, Fire Like This, was released this year and their latest single Light It Up has a good track AND video, yay!

This track starts almost lazily, it teases you. Their sound is grungy pop-rock, with a guitar rhythm that sticks in your head and a chorus they physically just shout at you - the overall sound and general influence is unyielding and they don't let up until it seems that they, just like the listener, are exhausted by the energy they exert. The video is all wintery and filled with snow - very much like real life at the moment. Torches and flaming guitars at the ready...

The clear favourite for me this week, however, is Friends Electric's Golden Blood. This single has something specific about it, something special that grabs the listener and makes them pay attention. I'm not sure who this band's influences are and it's hard to tell from their music; Golden Blood has a very familiar yet very unique sound. There are a variety of music tastes out there and this surely caters to the majority - a must-have for your December playlist.