Ladies and gentlemen, today is a good day. We have been neither raptured or apocalypsed (feel free to use this word), and the sun is officially shining in East Sussex, hub of new music and fashion. Even better, for the first time in memory, you have agreed with me in your choice for Single of the Week, with Lykke Li taking 45.4% of the vote, which I can only assume means that I have competition in my quest to marry her. I, however, remain confident. There's a proper mixed bag of releases this week, covering Gruff Rhys, Treetop Flyers, and my favourite new discovery Herman Dune. Have a read, and mourn the end of the football season with me.
Herman Dune - 'Tell Me Something I Don't Know'
Photobucket There is a very thin line between whimsical, sweet brilliance and painstakingly dull nonsense, but Herman Dune are sitting very, very firmly on the side of the first, with 'Tell Me Something I Don't Know' both cute and contemporary. This is very Beatles-y, but somehow honest and not contrived, whilst the quavering vocal means that hating this song would be very much akin to punching a kitten. The video features Jon Hamm and a blue yeti. Literally, I'm not sure what more you can ask for. It's a simple, summery ballad, and it's absolutely cracking.
Treetop Flyers - 'Things Will Change'
Readying themselves for an opening slot on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, courtesy of the Emerging Talent Competition, Treetop Flyers offer us the title track from their new four-song EP. It is becoming increasingly tough to stand out in the saturated folk market, and whilst 'Things Will Change' in fact serves as a warning that things are very much continuing along the same acoustic route, it is a nice enough romp through blurry summer memories. There is a pinch of Avett Brothers, and arguably Fleet Foxes, though this is a very, very lazy comparison. It only refers to the slightly harmonised chorus in fact. It all feels very safe, but why blame people for sticking to a tried and tested formula when the last vaguely original scene was dubstep and mkat. What a nightmare.
Talking Pictures - 'Mirrors'
Any regular readers of this feature will be aware of my poorly disguised disdain for synthed up indie pop, but after putting my preconceptions and snobbery aside for this track, it turns out I'm converted, and an very bad dancer. I have a strong faith in the theory that music as a whole is gradually amalgamating into one electronic mess, as electro and pop merge with drum'n'bass and disco. Thank fuck for 'Mirrors' then, proving that it's not all doom and gloom this side of the rapture, and represents the best that this blend can offer. The deeper bass marks this out as more than just a Wolfgang pretender, despite the uncanny resemblance of the vocals, and is ridiculously dancey. Remember when Filthy Dukes did some original stuff? Well, this is a lot better than that. I've got off my pretentious high-horse, and I'm now going to appreciate this indie-pop thing which I had been so vehemently against. If Harold Camping does turn out to be right, just not particularly good with his timing, then at least it'll have been fun.
Bibio - 'K Is For Kelson'
So it turns out that Stephen Wilkinson is a genius. Making a mockery of the 'multi-instrumentalist' moniker, playing everything from brandy glass to a chinese silk fan to a bermibau (no idea), Mr Wilkinson has written what I'd like to describe as an aural grin, a gorgeous, cheerful meander through every conceivable sound you can mesh together. It's just a crazy happy track about nothing in particular, with distorted, robot vocals and a childlike, hopping innocence to it, totally at odds with the mixed production.
Sparrow and the Workshop - 'Snakes In The Grass'
Though they've garnered many comparisons to Talking Heads, I can see more Pixies influences in the laconic, sly delivery of Jill O'Sullivan, driving Sparrow and the Workshop's demanding, dry sound of early-nineties ego rock. There's Pavement in there, a bit of Weezer, and even some Charlotte Hatherley in the imperious vocal. Plus, who really wants to complain about a video that is quite this nuts.
She's Hit- 'Shimmer Shimmer'
From the drag to the snarling drawl of the vocal, there's something equally enticing and unsettling to 'Shimmer Shimmer'. It's perhaps a shame that the Arctic Monkeys have returned so recently making very similar music, but this deserves a slither of your time, standing out from the three chord punk being rattled out left, right and centre currently. It's droning, garage surf pop etc, but fuck labels, this is a fun, ominous song that I've been humming all day.