Wednesday, September 10, 2014

10 songs you may have missed by artists staring moodily out of frame

A semi-regular round-up of songs I haven't quite managed to blog about over the last seven days. There are some exceptional tracks in this week's list, so if you're pushed for time concentrate on the first four and number 10.

1) One Direction - Fireproof
Oh my God, they've all gone Barlow.

Trailing their fourth album (it's called Four, giving you a rare glimpse of their shit hot creative process), Fireproof is a MOR guitar-led ballad that's guaranteed to make the Radio 2 mums swoon. Better than it sounds.

2) Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy
"Sometimes you have to step away from what you love in order to learn how to love it again," says Damien Rice, announcing his return after an eight-year hiatus.

Not much has changed in the interim - this Rick Rubin-produced track is acoustic rock with an undercurrent of menace - but that stunning voice is always welcome back onto the Discopop Towers' ghettoblaster.

Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy

3) Sinkane - How We Be
Coming soon from DFA Records, this has been on heavy rotation in the 6 Music playlist for a couple of weeks, but the official stream only popped up in the last few days.

Sinkane is a London-born, Sudanese-descended, New York-based musician, who's appeared on the liner notes for indie bands like Of Montreal and Yeasayer. But his solo material is altogether more funky - especially this track, which combines the languid grooves of Curtis Mayfield's Superfly soundtrack and a chiming Casio keyboard riff. Addictive.

4) Sam Smith ft A$AP Rocky - I'm Not The Only One
A simple remix, but an incredibly effective one.

5) Nick Gardner - Lose You
Right, so Nick Gardner is a new solo artist from Manchester who was snapped up by US record label Interscope (Gaga, Dr Dre, Lana Del Rey) on the strength of his YouTube covers.

That's hardly exceptional these days. But Nick seems to have pretty diverse tastes - having covered both The Smiths and Kelly Clarkson alongside the obligatory (inferior) version of Adele's Someone Like You.

Some of that filters into his songwriting, although this "buzz track" sounds a lot like his critic-proof labelmates Maroon 5 - who he just happens to be supporting on the UK leg of their tour. One to watch, if only for the intriguing echoes of Phil Collins in the intro.

6) SBTRKT ft Raury - Higher
The third track to appear from SBTRKT's forthcoming album Wonder When We Land isn't a patch on the epic Ezra Koenig collaboration New Dorp, New York - but the woozy, four in the morning paranoia of Higher is still an solid 7/10.

It features Raury, a young MC from Atlanta who only released his first mixtape a month ago. The music industry moves fast these days, huh?

7) La Roux - Kiss and Not Tell
Fun fact: If you call the Welsh phone number in La Roux's new video (see above), you can listen to her new single on your phone, just like we used to in the 1980s when British Telecom had a number you could dial to hear the Top 10 and subsequently be grounded because it cost £1 a minute, which was more than the cost of a 7" single making the whole endeavour redundant in the first place.

NB: The La Roux song isn't much cop.

8) Kleerup ft Susanne Sundfør - Let Me In
If you always felt Abba's Visitors album deserved a sequel, this song should help. Kleerup you should know from their frequent collaborations with Robyn; while Susanne Sundfør is "known" for her guest vocals on songs by M83 and Royksopp.

9) Kiesza - Giant In My Heart (live lounge)
Honestly, this is just worth it to see the keyboard player trying his hardest to recreate the "waow-doop-do-do-do-do-daow" hook. Bless his heart.

10) Seinabo Sey - Pistols At Dawn
Born in Gambia but living in Sweden, Seinabo Sey is one of my favourite new artists of the year. While every other soul singer thinks "dark" means "a bit upset", she goes in for the full-throated Nina Simone melodrama.

Her new single, Pistols at Dawn, is more restrained than the hard-hitting Hard Times, but there's a hint of menace bubbling just under the surface.

"Stand down or showdown, baby. Let’s get this done," she commands her lover, who has no doubt just wet his pants.

And that's your lot... Til next time, then!

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