Afternoon all, I hope you're as excited as me about Glastonbury, and what I've decided will be a sensational secret guest performance by Pulp on the Friday evening, to distract from the adrenalised bullshit drifting over from U2. Following on from the triumph of BeatyHeart last week, as they swept the competition aside and took a shade over 50% of the vote, followed some distance behind by the math-rock of Tall Ships and my personal favourite in Niki And The Dove. This week there is (as per usual) a blinding mix of stuff out, and I've picked what I feel are the best releases, from About Group to the opinion-splitting Grouplove, with Kitty, Daisy & Lewis thrown in for good measure. Have a listen then get voting at the bottom, and pray for Jarvis and record-breaking temperatures.


GROUPLOVE – 'Itchin On A Photograph'

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Being totally honest, I wasn't originally going to have this as Single Of The Week, with strong releases from Mono Stereo and Bellman to come, but the fact that I've been singing this all weekend after the first listen speaks volumes. This is just so damn catchy; forget any other reviewing jargon and trying to explain the song, or make comparisons, this is a song that is very easy to dance like an idiot and sing along to. Where 'Colours' was an urgent, frenetic bass driven song, performed at a high tempo with Jack White vocals, this is a better example of GROUPLOVE's overall sound, with a soaring vocal, and drop before the chorus built around insistent hand claps. This is a brilliant song, and whilst perhaps a tad narrow, it's your best possible example of immediate satisfaction without taking your trousers off.



Benjamin Francis Leftwich – 'Box Of Stones'

It is an absolute travesty that someone like Ed Sheeran is being lauded across the mainstream (whatever that is) for his vanilla folk, whilst the gorgeous voice of Benjamin Francis Leftwich is widely unknown to the thirteen year old girls swooning over the distinctly boring 'A Team'. With his debut album out in a fortnight and a mammoth tour announced for October, Leftwich is going to be a household name very soon, and this track will act as a perfect introduction to the uninitiated. It is your traditional 'man and his guitar' folk but, as always in this market, the voice is what stands out as special, a husky, dreamy timbre which drifts together as one beautiful sound. It is a whimsical, confident vocal, over meandering guitar picking, and having caught him at the Brudenell a couple of months ago I can testify to its romance, with a silly amount of people there on dates.



Mono Stereo – 'Girl, I Love You'

Mono Stereo - Girl, I Love You by Two Tap Digital

A psych-sixties classic, sounding fresh and busy for 2011. There are elements of surfer pop and trashy harmonies, but this Swedish act are very much a band looking to forge their own sound whilst tipping their hat to a medley of rock'n'roll influences. With the riff coming across all Minor Threat, before the swaggering arrogance of the chorus, the harmonised backing work sounds hugely contemporary despite the obvious comparisons. With an album slated for release in the next few months, and delivering more of the same thrash pop, without drifting into the dangerous realms of lo-fi, you should be getting excited to see Mono Stereo get bigger and bigger.



About Group – 'Don't Worry'

Conceived as the collective project of Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip, John Coxon, Charles Hayward, and Pat Thomas, About Group mark an innovative experiment in ideas of creativity and spontaneity, with each album recorded in a day following no previous practice or even knowledge of the tracks. Offering each musician the chance to improvise and act on impulse, 'Don't Worry' is just a brief glance at the wealth of talent on show in the group, which on its own merit is a lackadaisical, resigned lament to optimism, which comes across as a perfect break-up song whilst still lighting up the sky as a summer anthem. There are psychedelic elements to the sonics of the guitar, combined with the extensive cymbal work, but this is ultimately a fantastic pop song, with nuance and depth as a result of the experimental recording and undoubted originality of the group.



Bellman – 'The Curse'

Bellman - The Curse by lazyacrerecords

Sigur Ros, again. And this is not a criticism whatsoever. The opening picking and piano are from the 'epic' school of songwriting, and when the vocal kicks in it recalls Jonsi at his most fragile and insular. However, it is actually too crude to dismiss Bellman as mere copycats, as the track develops into a rising, furious chorus that at times threatens to take your breath away, retaining a direction and drive without losing its unpredictability. By the end of 'The Curse' you could be listening to a totally different track, as the song aurally chronicles a band throwing off the shackles of their background and influences to create a sound which slays the Sigur Ros dragon and hints at strong range of material to come.



Kitty, Daisy & Lewis – 'Messing With My Life'

After the critical acclaim of their sophomore album, 'Smoking In Heaven', The 405 favourites Kitty, Daisy & Lewis have returned with their second release from the record, 'Messing With My Life', and it is a roackabilly blinder. The harmonies of the chorus could have come straight from a late 90's pop song, but the squeaky, angular electric guitar and sheer vehemence of the vocal attacks retain the attitude and honesty we've come to associate with the act.