Lanterns On The Lake, Field Music, Glissando, Edwyn Butler, Terry Venables - Singles Round-Up - 07/06/2010
Simon Jay Catling 10/06/2010
Hey readers. What do you call a 7” with wings attached to it? A sinGULL ahahah- oh come on it wasn't that bad.
The singles wing of God Is In The TV towers has been lying dormant over the last few weeks whilst I've done my level best to piss any chance of a University degree up the wall (made a pretty good stab at that too…) Bill and Rhian boldly took the reins for a bit and evidence of their tenure here still remains. Rhian's still here in fact, rocking back and forth silently under my desk, clutching an old copy of Kruger magazine close to her, unable to face the sunlight in wake of its demise. Sure, occasionally she'll dementedly bark out something like “IT'S ALL TRUE, PRINT PRESS IS DEAD!” But I don't really pay attention; too busy reading Coke Machine Glow, see. Poor, poor Rhian. Evidence of Bill remains too, a long time Manic Street Preachers fan, he wanted to prove he was '4Real' just like his old idol Richey James Edwards. However, the furthest he got to self-mutilation whilst here appears to be somewhat disfiguring a tub of Countrylife Butter, and he spelt 'Real' with two Es. Oh Bill.
So, as usual, it's up to your reluctant steed to return to the fold, and this week it's officially GIITTV <3's PR EMAILS WEEK. That's right, every single you'll see featured below has come fresh from my inbox from those dear, kind people: the public relations officers. I've not had to scout a single one of these out. Y'see, we do read everything you send us o' pushers of the zeitgeist, and why wouldn't we? Keep up the good sending I say!
Before we get to them though it's time for a one off special - the mighty WORLD CUP CORNER. That's right, the FA's insistence that there wasn't going to be an official World Cup song this year seems to have fallen on deaf ears, not least those of potato-faced mobster lookalike and ex-England manager Terry Venables. How many of you, given the chance, would vote for a former national coach to perform an Elvis Presley cover? No, didn't think so; never one to bow to public opinion though (he picked Darren Anderton all those times after all,) the gold necklace clad, cockney lilter has only gone and done just that, with 'If I Can Dream'. And it's really good. Seriously. NO OF COURSE IT'S NOT ferchrissake, in fact it's enough to make me want to support the mighty Honduras in the upcoming tournament (tell me you never bought David Suazo on Pro Evolution Soccer's Master League- of course you can't, you were blinded to his undoubted faults by his sheer pace down the flank.) Never ones to miss the chance to re-release 'Three Lions', Baddiel & Skinner haven't even bothered updating it this time round; it's a re-issue of the 1996 version, the lyrics “thirty years of hurt” now coming across more as delirious denial than despairing longing. At least Mark E. Smith's tried to do something original, but his incoherent snarling fails to disguise the piss poor efforts of 'England's Heartbeat,' try singing this in the stands lads… Finishing off this corner of pure misery is Stringfever's 'Forever England' featuring some bloke called Stuart Pendred. It's for charidee at least, but you might think a greater cause would have been to have kept this opera bawling off the airwaves. The John Barnes rap it ain't. We can't even get the songs right, so why bother even trying on the pitch (the two are, of course, completely related.)
SO! First out of the traps for singles not taking the utter lend are Clock Opera, who show bags of promise right from the off of 'A Piece Of String' by mangling up a sample of a mandolin. It's daintily-touched glitch all the way through in fact, and certainly isn't unpleasant, even if the chorus doesn't quite give the big pay off you were hoping for. Not bloody bad though, not bloody at all…
I don't know about you (well I probably do actually, you're reading a music site, ergo you probably download music illegally,) but I LOVE free stuff. Not things like finding a boulder in your bed that someone's subtly shoehorned under the covers for a whimsical prank, whilst you were taking a mid-afternoon soujourn. No, I mean like free EPs and the like. Manchester-based troubadour Edwyn Butler has just such a one. Self-titled it is, and as a debut it's remarkably promising; whilst the middle tracks are fairly standard, but for the fact they show Butler's diverse range in vocal dynamics over the top of stop-start acoustic pluckings, they're bookended by the monolithic 'Bird On A Wire' - a swirling hurricane of reverb and synth that attempts to submerge Butler's full-throated vocal - and 'Darkness,' a sweeping ballad of descending strings and looped vocals. It's here, by the way.
The Guardian described 'Walking On The Line' by Pony Pony Run Run as 'American yacht rock". Huh? Not sure about that; what they are is French, and strongly reminiscent of Phoenix, minus any of the vitality and verve. Booo (“I was saying Boo-u-” not now.) Pony Pony Run Run aren't shit by any means, but you'd probably find pages of identical stuff on Hype Machine, AND WHO'D WANT THAT?
In most other weeks, Field Music would comfortably take the award of 'Best North East Act of The Week'. They're beaten into second place here though, by whom we shall reveal later. 'Let's Write A Book' proves another fine slab of 70s prog and glam-indebted grooves, I'm even enjoying the wah pedal! I never enjoy the wah pedal! With a helter-skelter song structure and a bass line that implores, nay, COMMANDS you to strut, they're onto a winner. AND IT'S ALL ABOUT THE WINNING HERE, READERS.
UNKLE have been winning for a long time, they've won so hard in fact that they got used to it and settled into coffee table cinematics. They've shown glimpses of reaching past glories though, and 'Follow Me Down' featuring Sleepy Sun is a brooding cycle of harsh vocals, expansive sound and ponderous strings…cinematic then. But it's better, honestly it is, some edges have been sharpened, some depths explored. They're on the right track (also, LADS, the video's got norks galore in it- all err artistically shot I'm sure...)
So it's Glissando who come ruddy bloody close-but-no-cigar to the coveted (I sleep with it under my pillow, folks) 'Single Of The Week' award. 'The Long Lost' doesn't vastly alter the group's slow-building tumults of crescendo, but remains a stirring addition to their canon nonetheless. Fragile vocals find strength to fend off the cripplingly bleak strings in a tense, nervy duel; it's darkly beautiful stuff alright, and surely should be top of the pile, “what are you thinking you colossal dunderhead!?” Well, that was a bit uncalled for, frankly.
SINGLE OF THE WEEK
Lanterns On The Lake- Lungs Quicken
Yup, not only best North East band of the week, but best, like, WHOLE COUNTRY band of the week. Is it because I'm currently pining for my native North East more than ever at the moment, having had my deliciously Nothumbrian burr whittled away by three years of living with Irish folk and Southerners? Of course not, fools. It's because 'Lungs Quicken' is an absolute delicate delight of the a song: sleepy without ever being dreary, wandering without ever plodding. It instead lifts, and lifts, and lifts again (before subduing a bit at the end admittedly.) There's flecks of piano, strings that swoop towards the ground only to arch back upwards, and beautifully lone vocals that find collective support as the song goes on. Its excellent I tell you, just excellent; you have the doff of my cap Lanterns.
Lanterns On The Lake - Lungs Quicken by Lanterns on the Lake
Until next time readers, go forth and hug your nearest PR officer! I'll certainly be doing so to mine.
Tweet? Then give us a follow, why not @essjaycats we can talk in 140 characters about Charlie Brooker getting to engaged to Konnie Huq. No? Ok then.