Ariel Pink, Marina & The Diamonds, The Big Pink, Metric, Young British Artists - Singles Round-Up 26/04/2010

Simon Jay Catling 29/04/2010

Brace yourself all, this column's about to show some continuity…such was the success of Rhian Daly's incendiary stand-in stint LAST WEEK (there it is!) that when the announcement was made that I'd be returning to singles shepherding duties this week, mass protests were seen outside GIITTV towers. As I peered out of a window smeared in brown stuff (it wasn't mud) I saw protest banners, pitchforks and burning effigies of myself- and that was just the mob organised by our editor Bill Cummings. Like punch-drunk veteran boxer Evander Holyfield though, I never know when to quit- and this column comes after a week spent drowning out the sounds of offensive chants, screams and gunshots. Truly, the singles column this week has been put together with the most iron of wills.

Disappointing it is then to report that whilst I'm standing steadfastly in the face of hostility, one of the Beeb's Sounds of 2010 is pouring her heart out in a simpering demeanour. Irritatingly for me though, I quite enjoy Marina & The Diamonds 'I'm Not A Robot' (679). I know, I'm confused myself; "Rhian wouldn't stand for this" I hear you cry, and maybe she wouldn't. But I think when watching Maria strut her stuff on Jools Holland t'other week it became quickly apparent that, unlike her Sound List peer , she does in fact possess - as we'd say up North - "a canny set of pipes," and coupled with a pretty noggin-ingraining chorus that seems to balloon to thrice the grandeur by it's final time round, it's actually, y'know, ok. Next week, a tearful Marina confesses that she's not, in fact, a 16th century Archduke.

Metric have got a bit annoying recently, namely by appearing on Spotify inbetween every other song to advertise the re-release of their second album Fantasies. It's a shame they've riled me so as I'm quite the fan of Emily Haines et als' sharp blasts of expanded garage rock; 'Gold Guns Girls' (Warner) is another fine addition to their canon, but DID YOU KNOW THEY'RE RE-RELEASING FANTASIES? I do- a thousand times over (insert "dude, just get a premium account" comment here.)

Keeping it in firmly in the garage are Manchester's Young British Artists with double A-side 'Lived In Skin/Million Miles'(Red Deer Club). In fact, let's make this the Manchester paragraph shall we; the grizzly Northwest has fashioned three new releases this week, this probably being the best of them. 'Million Miles' probably shades it's partner by dint of possessing a little more finesse and restraint in its attempts to hurtle breathlessly towards the finish line though, it has to be said, both show grand potential. YBA narrowly muscle out Plank! whose self-titled EP (Akoustic Anarkhy) impresses with a gung-ho approach to kraut rock that's a refreshing change from the usual po-faced demeanour adopted by most dealing with the genre (hi, The Horrors.) Right at the bottom of the barrel, but probably likely to be the most successful are The Courteeners ('Take Over The World', Polydor.) Credit though to Liam Fray for his knowing self-mockery when claiming "I've never written a cliché and I probably never will"…what, he was being serious? Oh…

Elsewhere, Best Coast are the latest in a recent conveyor belt of lo-fi surfy chillwave (?) - can someone please tell me what chillwave is? I've not a clue. There's not much distinguishable between them and the likes of Dum Dum Girls. Does that matter? Not really. 'Something In The Way' (Post Present) is bright and breezy, doesn't outstay its welcome and leaves a smile on the face. Fine. By. Me. In murkier territories meanwhile, 'Right Hook' Robbie Furze and 'Macho Man' Milo Cordell, aka new wrestling stable but previous shoegazers The Big Pink take a break from beating up their fans to release another single that adds further credence to 'Velvet' being one helluva lucky shot. 'Tonight' (4AD) initially sounds impressive, but then sounds like the dying embers of Britpop; and you know who came out of that, readers. Gay Dad. So yes, less of this sort of thing please- that said I don't want a glass chucked at my noggin either so let me praise 'Velvet' a bit more. It's really good y'know.

Let's not fuss ourselves with the also rans though, not when it's time for the GOD IS IN THE TV ZINE SINGLE OF THE WEEK. This prestigious accolade has thus far changed precisely no one's life, though it does make it a bit easier for me to categorically state what 'the best' of this week was. And this week it was…

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti- Round And Round (4AD)

Ok, so this has been floating around since March, but it's finally got a physical release and so it should so says I. Why? Because it's a sensually warm haze of a track that allows you to immerse yourself in its ambient froth without ever feeling too sleepy. In fact, this is also eminently danceable- which makes for quite a spectacle at Ariel Pink's shows I should imagine, what with half his audience flat on their backs and the others drifting around in a vague groove. Me? I'd probably be stood at the back scratching my beard. But then, I've got a beard, it's my right.

Time to run, I think they've broken the door down- till next week! (perhaps)