Firstly we'll deal with the formalities, and congratulations are due for Scala and Kolacny Brothers who celebrated the announcement of their Sunday lunch slot at Latitude, following in the footsteps of Tom Jones and Thom Yorke, by taking 58.71% of your public vote. Boy Mandeville trailed in second, on just over 26%, with The Lucid Dream even further back in third. To be honest, 'Use Somebody' never looked like being caught. Well done, bully for you etc, but let's move swiftly onto the singles released today, the 6th of June. And what a choice. I'm being totally genuine for once, with absolutely no sarcasm, in stating that I think this is the most consistently strong set of releases we've had this year, at least in my memory. There is the long-awaited return of Emmy The Great, the latest effort from Cults, and the debut release from the anthemic Club Smith, which just about takes the crown for my Single Of The Week. There's also new tracks from The Bees and Thomas Tantrum, amongst others. Have a bloody good listen, then a bloody good vote at the bottom, and let me know what you reckon.


Club Smith – 'No Friend Of Mine'

Photobucket

Now, Club Smith are a band who've been around Leeds and York for a while, so you may be surprised to discover that this is actually their first official physical release, out on Front Wall Records, and off the back of the wealth of coverage from Tom Robinson and Steve Lamacq over at the lovely BBC, I'd put my neck on the line and suggest that this is only the start of something big. Steering away from the three chord punk pretenders doing the rounds at the moment, 'No Friend Of Mine' is a brash and brooding anthem, building to the chanted chorus over the dark, ominous guitar hook which has become their live trademark. There are obvious comparisons to The Sunshine Underground, with both acts making dizzy, careering hits based around a genuinely impressive vocal range (no pretentious indie monotony here), but for my money there is a longevity to this track, with further nuances discovered on repeat listening, as opposed to the arguably narrow Sunshine Underground. The track is refreshingly cathartic in fact, leaving a distinct yearning to thrash about the sitting room or hit the postman, whichever comes easiest.



Emmy The Great - 'Iris'

And just when I'd finally settled on Club Smith as my favourite track of the week, I had another listen to 'Iris', which I'd like to recommend as possibly the most complete folk song ever. The first official release from her sophomore record Virtue, there is an optimism and lustre to the track, with the increasingly clean production that has correlated with Emmy's progression working an absolute dream here. As somebody who still listens regularly to the old demos of '24' and 'MIA', there is still the classic witticism and personality here that has come to define the artist, whilst there is a renewed confidence and depth which can only bode well for the new album, due this time next week. There is a simple, rumbling bass line throughout, with a militaristic drum exaggerating a sense of urgency that builds a tension to the eventual release of the chorus. That said, the song is more cyclical than this might suggest, as each verse builds to a crescendo which is only released by the next verse. Replete with shimmering harp, this is a confident and beautiful song, which leaves the new album with a hell of a lot to live up to.



Cults - 'Abducted'

Having spent all week listening to the album, the only surprise here is that this isn't my Single Of The Week. Like I said, very strong week, otherwise potentially any one of these tracks could have come out top. This is a bolder, synthesised effort from the lovely Cults, developing from the earlier xylophone fragility of 'Oh My God' and 'Go Outside' to embrace driving keyboard and drumming. The dual vocal is still incredibly pertinent, marking this band out in my opinion as much more than just a flash in the pan. They avoid the ridiculous synth-pop movement, but are steadfastly not your basic guitar band. The mystique built up around the release was undoubtedly smart marketing, but they needed the songs to deliver on the hype, and in 'Abducted' they have a desperate, disparate cry to an oppressive, unrequited love which should serve as a glittering two fingers to their critics.



Sons & Daughters – 'Breaking Fun'

Firstly, a disclaimer- if you're expecting 'Gilt Complex' or 'Darling', this is not a track for you. 'Breaking Fun' is the perhaps illogical development of the jagged punk by which Sons & Daughters made their name, opening on a minimalist, Parisien whine, before breaking into vaguely shoegaze ground. It's nonetheless enjoyable, but definitely a surprise from the predictable, shouty angst which garnered such a following. There is an underground club vibe to the introduction, before the distinctive vocal kicks, but you've already heard enough; this is a band in transition, successfully addressing a different sound, and hints at a lot more shocks to come on the new album. This is sparse, stripped back, and approaching electronic, but I'm excited to hear more.



The Bees – 'Go Where You Wanna Go'

This is a cover of the The Mamas & The Papas' 1965 track of the same name, and though instantly recognisable, The Bees have put enough of their own stamp on it to make it worthwhile. Basically, this was originally a very good track, and it is now a track contemporised and ready to be used in adverts (I'm sure I recognise it from some product or other). The video is all arty and hip, by which I mean decidedly grainy, but this merely encourages the time warp journey back to the sixties that the track inspires. Easy, lush listening.



Thomas Tantrum – 'Hot Hot Summer'

Released to perfectly conclude with an unfortunate change in the weather, 'Hot Hot Summer' takes the warbling riches of their last single 'Sleep', and adds aspects of The Joy Formidable, to create a slow burner (whay, hello summer pun) that demonstrates the breadth of sound that the band have at their finger tips when they decide to step away from the piano of previous releases. The layered vocals give a hugely professional sheen, with the polished development suggesting a band who are ready to uproot their twee credentials to have a genuine go at cracking the mainstream, without selling out their personality.



Dananananakroyd – 'Muscle Memory'

Classic shouty indie guitar music, and though you've heard it all before, it is surprisingly refreshing. There is lots of suggestions of The Cribs in there whilst offering Scottish accents, creating a track that is indefinably upbeat and optimistic. A proper, rollicking feel-good crash of sound.