You've eaten far too much chocolate, you're quite possibly hungover, and The Borrowers is currently on television. What a total win. I don't think I've ever known a better time for a round-up of The 405's Singles of the Week, and there have been some pretty good times. Ah, nostalgic flashback etc. After a strong start from The Heartbreaks last week, Rowdy Superstar won your vote for the best release with 'Get Your Shizzit Riiight', and The View fortunately only collected three votes; a decent week all round. For your delectation this time we have tracks from Purity Ring, Kentish Fire and The Leisure Society, as well as a free download from Gazelle Twin. Can't say fairer than that.
Purity Ring - 'Ungirthed'
Photobucket Exclusive of the comedy name, this is a fantastic example of the diversity and creativity that continues to thrive in the increasingly derivative alt pop scene. Starting as glitchy, chopped vocal samples, before Megan James's vocal weaves itself over the bass and electronica harmonies, the result is a very special track, different to pretty much everything else that is currently pretending to pass as acceptable music. The only vague comparison I can think of is Messy Sparkles and their dreamy, summery vibes that combine an accessibility and hum-along aspect whilst retaining a mystique and some kind of haunting vocal aura. Before the track finishes you'll be trying to sing it back, getting all out of tune and embarrassed, before trying twice as hard to nail it again five minutes later.
SebastiAn - 'Embody'
Courtesy of Ed Banger Records, home of Justice and Uffie, comes more Parisien hip-hop dance funk banana electro whatever it's defined as, in the guise of SebastiAn. The vocal is a distant and strained afterthought to the predictable, though no less entertaining, house synths which have come to define the scene. There is a somewhat unnecessary piano line popping up every now and then in an attempt to ruin the track, but it is the alternating slap bass that rescues the track, as without it the single seems to stumble along without any obvious agenda. The bass infects 'Embody' with the funky, dance edge which has come to epitomize the sound, and justify the predictability which the genre has become marked by.
The Stepkids - 'Shadows On Behalf'
Following the successful return of Toro Y Moi earlier this year, it appears that chill-wave as a genre, and not merely a passing, localised fad, grows ever stronger, with 'Shadows On Behalf' taking all the groove components- porno bass, ranging synths and laconic vocals- and crafting a majestic track to soundtrack the approaching summer. The track shimmers and dances along of its own accord, with the erratic drums, and break down at the close hinting at the underlying intelligence of a song which could be ignored as derivative.
Kentish Fire - 'So Unpredictable'
Very very catchy. Very catchy indeed. This is repetitive and narrow, frankly it should be a right pain in the arse, but instead it's brilliant. It is anything but unpredictable, repeating the same chorus over and over, with the boy/girl vocals corresponding to the guitar solo which will just go round and round and round and round inside your head. Though there's potential for it to get very annoying relatively quickly, it is impossibly fun and frenetic, taking indie staples and rewriting them for the teenybopping generation as they drink cider in the woods and discover glow sticks.
The Leisure Society- 'This Phantom Life'
It's only bloody Mark Heap from Spaced and Green Wing! And the song's not too bad either. It's very much like something from musical, with the piano and the strings, and it is a little bit basic, but it is perfectly harmless and nice enough. Plus, Mark Heap! I think I'm going to go as far as describing the track as a ditty, it does have a certain country jaunt to it, and retains a summer theme without getting all rainbows and romance about it.
Gazelle Twin - 'I Am Shell I Am Bone'
Think Esben and the Witch, but with autotuned vocals, and even more doom. I know- more. Totally at odds with the rest of our singles, Gazelle Twin, aka Elizabeth Walling, creates gloomy, sonorous soundscapes that both terrify and inspire, with particular emphasis on trying to be quite ominous. Whatever happened to the simple ballad?