Nikita, Orphan Boy - Singles Round-up, 04/10/2010

Luke Langlands 08/10/2010

Well folks, I hope you enjoyed 'summer' (also known as 'the hour where it doesn't rain' here in Edinburgh), because it is well and truly…officially…unequivocally, now Autumn. Put down that bottle of cider and take off those sunglasses, because you'll look like a twat, and wrap up during these dark nights with some exquisite new music to warm you up! There's a lovely mixture of new singles this week that I've been immersing myself in, and the elongated time I've took listening to each track this week is in no way connected to putting off learning shorthand for university (we're halfway through the module, and by the end should be hitting 100 words per minute - right now I'm probably managing about 8). Although it's devilishly difficult to get my head around, I can't help but make connections between the secret language of journalists, and to music as a whole - both are completely brilliant, and utterly addictive, yet when examined by an outsider, make absolutely no sense whatsoever. Once you 'get it', however, you'll never go back…

Believe it or not, Sunderland has a thriving music scene. The Futureheads, Field Music and We Beat The System are all recent artists that call the greatest city in the world their home (gotta love un-biased writing). Frankie And The Heartstrings also hail from Wearside, and release their new single 'Ungrateful' this week. Hotly tipped by many people to do very well, this is their first single to be released digitally. The best thing about the track is the authentic vocals - there's no mock American accent or weird wordings. It's just a genuine voice with genuine lyrics, which helps to create a certain grativas to the track and makes it feel more 'real' and legitimate. With just the right amount of indie, a decent helping of guitar solo, a dollop of Kings Of Leon dramatics and a sprinkling of The Futureheads (sorry lads, but you can't help but make the comparisons), the amalgamation is that of a really nice track for the world to first listen to FATHS. Although, one stumbling block may be the length of the song - it's over four minutes long. For an indie-pop song like this, it's like comparing the size of War And Peace to a newspaper pull-out. One notable point is just how much of a finished article the group appear already - they don't look or sound like a band just starting to break into the mainstream, but that of a highly-polished and confident outfit that you can't help but think will do well in the future.

Need help to wake up on a dark, murky morning to get to work on time? Then set your alarm clock to play Hyperthrust by Rustie - if this fusion of Prog-Rock, Dubstep, and Dance doesn't make you scream 'Good Morning Worrrrrrld!' at the top of your voice, then there is literally no point in you waking up at all. An immediate shock to the system, Hyperthrust has more layers than an onion…with deep psychological issues…that likes sitting in the dark listening to Antony And The Johnsons. It contains an unlimited plethora of samples, synths, basslines and head-bobbing, sweat-dripping, arms-waving goodness. This is the first track released from Rustie's (not to be confused with Rusko) new EP Sunburst, which is almost guaranteed to fly off the digital shelves by his beloved fans from all over the world. At just 2:20 it's merely a flash in the pan - a quick whip around the Glaswegian's dancing, beat-heavy mind. Any longer, and the track would have felt strung-out and had reached it's plateau much earlier on.

Talk To Angels are up next, with the best synth opening to a song in all of 2010 in 'Enemies Closer'. Continuing on the lines of Biffy Clyro, 30 Seconds To Mars and The Gaslight Anthem, you get a decent idea of the type of sound the group creates. It's a very solid piece with some surprisingly heavy guitar moments that helps shake-up what would otherwise been an 'expected' soundsphere. I'm normally a bit blasé about this type of music (Quick-singing-male-voice-while-guitar-thrashes-about-a-bit-and-we're-all-deep-and-interesting) but I really like 'Enemies Closer'. It feels a lot more complete and rounded than other similar stuff. There'll be a mass-market just waiting to fall in love with Talk To Angels. This era is the perfect moment for them to come into the music foray. Mickey Dale (from Embrace fame, who declared he was joining the band after seeing them play in his own recording studio for the first time) will also help get big coverage (not that I'm saying the band need it, but, it will help).

Well, I don't know about you, but the first place I look for new trip-hop tracks generally isn't Poland. But, to well and truly prove me wrong, here is Nikita with 'Tonight'. The first fifteen seconds remind me of a weird mixture between 'The Groove Is In The Heart', and 'Ride On Time' by Black Box. With vocals that sound like a Greek siren and music not too dissimilar to Goldfrapp, it's no surprise Nikita (real name Pati Yang) is a huge influence in Polish electronica circles, so much so that she underwent a tour with Depeche Mode. 'Tonight' sounds fresh and new, whilst still harking back to old-school dance tracks from the eighties and nineties - the perfect combination. 'This is the brave new world, follow me, and look into the fire' is the siren's call, which shall be dutifully taken up by many more worldwide disciples after this release. Even the lyrics directly hint that this is something innovative and wholly different to anything else around at the minute, which it certainly is. It's instantly catchy and gets right in your head with no effort whatsoever. It's a winner, all right. It's also BEGGING to be remixed into a heavy dance/trance track (I've got everything - EVERYTHING crossed for that to happen.)

A song that's certainly set to rouse emotions for many people is 'Some Frontier' by Orphan Boy. Accompanied by a brilliant video, the Cleethorpes trio (who 'got the fuck out and moved to Manchester) have released a track that concentrate on the families and loved ones of soldiers who are battling in far-flung lands: 'We lost out boy in Sarajevo, he took his chances…in Argentina, in Kandahar, and no one knows…' it's powerful and emotional, with very catchy lyrics - after a couple plays you'll know the lyrics off the top of your head. 'Some Frontier' is a sure-fire to be a live favourite, and is begging for the chorus to be bellowed out by a crowd of fans. The sound is simplistic and compliments the feel of the piece very nicely - if it were overly complicated the message of the song would be lost in a quagmire ('Giggidy-Giddy', Family Guy fans) of noise that wouldn't do the band any justice.

Released this week is Nadine Khouri's lo-fi, slow-swinging, body-swaying 'Rouge'. Sung at a mere whisper, Khouri intoxicatingly recounts the ideals of modern-day relationships being bathed in apathy. It feels as if 'Rouge' is sung just for you (yes, YOU!), with Khouri's quiet, sultry breath almost felt on your cheek. It's dark and melancholy, whilst still keeping a feeling of optimism and joyous effrontery. The rolling, deep percussion could very well be lifted from a Tom Waits track, whilst the riding, reverberating guitar feeling like a PJ Harvey moment. 'Everybody here lost their heart somewhere…but they feel better this way' - the idea that indifference is almost a Godsend…that not caring is a release from the asphyxiation of reliability and dependence on other people. Despite the somewhat passive meanings included in 'Rouge', the track also somewhat manages to hold a wry, snarling smile behind the bluesly sound.

Being called Steve Lamacq's 'new favourite band' is definitely something not to be taken lightly. But with good reason, Films Of Colour are snowballing into a very well known British band. 'Actions', their latest single, is the perfect representation of commercial radio pop-rock. Describing themselves as 'the light to the shades…the dark to the brightness', the band are either trying to say they want to please everyone, or that they are easily accessible to anyone regardless of the listener's musical taste - take whichever stance you prefer. 'Actions' is a very well made, well produced, and well pitched pop song. It's not breaking boundaries, nor will it win an Ivor Novello award, but if you want a solid song that's fun and non-abrasive, then Films Of Colour's latest release is perfect. Honestly, I don't mean any of that in a bad way - music NEEDS groups like this…instead of Jedward or whatever next force-feeding us bile on the radio, it's groups like this that should be on mainstream radios and television.

Well, quite an eclectic bunch of singles jostling for the top spot this week. I'm sure right now all six of our contenders are biting their nails nervously to see who's won (and luckily, none of these artists have a visa running out, so I won't be biased, helloooo X Factor). But, to be honest it's been down to just two songs this time round, and it's going to Nikita aka Pati Yang, aka Patrycja Grzymałkiewicz and her brilliant trip-hop, electric, dancing-like-a-loon-in-your-bedroom track 'Tonight'. It's hypnotic and magnetic, and sounds like the future. Honorable mention goes to Orphan Boy, who very nearly got it (any other week, and they probably would have).