by Lucy Dearlove
I’d picked four of the six singles for this column when I realised there was a distinct theme going on: GIRLS. So I figured I might as well run with it, and here are some fabulous ladies singing for the second last week in November. There’s some gorgeous stuff out this week, but I have to admit I haven’t listened to any of these as many times as I’ve listened to 212 by Azealia Banks. You’re welcome.
It’s louche and sleepy in a way that isn’t summery, but perfect for bringing to hazy cold Autumn days. The vocals in this are soft and almost monotone, which holds back the dancing repetitive guitar melody and glockenspiel from being too saccharine. Dreamy.
OK, there’s a boy on this too, but he does just seem to be ‘for harmonies’ so I reckon it can still work for my theme. We’re also keeping it autumnal, guitars are fuzzy and even the video is full of hazy light, stray leaves and bare branches. The intro sounds a little like classic Ash, which in my opinion is never a bad thing. It’s quite a heartbreaking song, and while it’s wise to take ‘the hype’ with a pinch of salt, there’s something quite special going on with Big Deal I think.
The Duke Spirit
I’ve never quite ‘got’ it with the Duke Spirit. I always thought their songs were OK, but much of their USP seemed to hinge around having a pretty, husky voiced blonde girl with her legs out at the front. This always seemed a fairly flimsy premise to me, and anyway, Metric have pretty much got that covered as well as having great songs so I was never terribly interested. This is a really nice track though, sultry and scuzzy with a real catchy hook. I’ve also just remembered reading an interview with Leila Moss where she said that if she wasn’t a musician, the only thing she’d want to do would be driving a London cab, which also struck me as pretty cool.
There’s some great proper pop music around at the moment. Pop music for the discerning ear (read: it’s OK to admit you like.) If you discount the utterly ridiculous lyrics, (which to give them their dues, they do sing like they really mean. Whatever they do mean.) It basically takes the best things about good early 00s girl bands: close harmonies, smoky vocals, massive choruses, and marries them with some super cool modern production – there’s glitchy air horn type noises, sparse instrumentation, and a confidence in using silence to punctuate the music. And it’s on Moshi Moshi, so no-one can give you stick for liking commercial pop music. Win!
EMA is one of those artists who I enjoy immensely at the moment of listening, but who somehow slips my mind entirely until I’m reminded of her by an external source. I think Past Life Martyred Saints is a really good album, but I wouldn’t ever think to listen to it independently. This is more of the same, I suppose, good but not life changing. It’s actually the A side to this track, ‘Marked’ being released but I prefer this – the turn from Oakland rapper Mz’Gorjis is pretty awesome.
Egyptrixx feat Ohbijou
I guess this track is the sore thumb of the lot – here the female vocals are courtesy of a ‘feat’ from Canadian indie popsters Ohbijou, on a track by fellow Torontonian producer Egyptrixx. Instead of being a feature in their own right, the vocals form part of the instrumentation itself, which along with Egyptrixx’s characteristic Wall of Sound-esque reverb and distortion, makes for a pretty interesting listen.