maandag 9 november 2020

11 Singles

Singles keep reaching in ua droves, so we of WoNoBlog decided to put some more attention to them in 2020. In a way singles are a thing of the past. The youth of today does not buy singles in droves any more. Physical cd singles are exceptions and yes, there are some vinyl 45s but for outrageous prices like €15 a piece. The hitsingles of old are a thing of the past. I also notice that artists are pre-releasing songs of upcoming albums in a high sequence, as announcements only; nothing more than that. Here there is still an old-fashioned notion, by viewing a single as a single entity, with its own sleeve, as such interesting, deserving its own spot. So, having stated this position, what do we have in store for you this week?

Tally-Ho. Psychedelic Porn Crumpets

I'm quite certain that I liked crumpets, but it must be decades ago eating them last. Most likely Down Under visiting family. What I do know for certain, is that they were not psychedelic nor porn related. So in the crumpets sense only, it's no coincidence for me that the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets are from Down Under. The band releases the second single of it February 2021 announced new album. Tally-Ho is an energetic affair. The single is full of energy, with an ever forward moving drive. Guitar riffs fly around my ears, a bouncing rhythm suggests a fast runner trying to break a record. Not an energy I associate with psychedelia. The music itself has a pop element, nicely painted over by a (garage) rock approach. The vocal melody and the oohs and aahs do give that pop feel away quite nicely. When in the solo's the band is fully released, the psych side escapes. Tally-Ho is for fans of 90s Britpop who like a garage rock makeover to be loud and proud.

Tougher. Dale Crover

Solo albums of drummers? Can anyone name one that is truly worth while listening to? I can't, so I was challenged when I read the announcement of Dale Crover's second album 'Rat-A-Tat-Tat!' and the single Tougher. I had no clue what to expect. The jazz rock of Alphonse Mouzon, Billy Cobham and Bill Bruford one of my then friends played endlessly in the late 70s, still rings in my ears.Tougher has nothing to do with the prowess of complex drumming patterns disguised as a composition. Crover is best known for his work with Melvins. It is no surprise that his solo work is alternative rock. Tougher is a two minute thirty, loud exercise and in part fitting well with 'Tally-Ho!', though much tighter. When the song goes off, the lid is really off. The singing is distorted and mixed into the whole of the song, not standing out. The lead guitar is a monster, the drumming in a full Dave Grohl form of firmness and loudness. Tougher is not an easy song with all the directions it takes but is a song that deserves notice from fans of grunge and loud alternative rock in general.

Doctor Says. Midnight Sister

Doctor Says is a totally different song. It has a dreamy element and the mix is much more spacious that I notice extra because of what is not in the mix. The song has air and a sense of lightness. The duo Midnight Sister presents that lightness as if it does not cost an effort to create. The song makes its points quite easily by throwing in the drums behind it all and to silence it fully as well. The singing may get some getting used of, as the dark, hoarse female voice is not what you hear every day. I find it makes Doctor Says stand out. The song contains a piano that reminds me of the piano on Bowie's 'Station To Station' (played by the E Street Band's Roy Bittan). The instrument really adds a different atmosphere to whole. At this point in time I can't tell if I'd like a whole album by Midnight Sister but Doctor Says certainly invites me to give it the benefit of the doubt. If I'm turned off, it will be because of the singing. Certainly not the music or so is my guess at this point in time. As the duo has two voices, who knows?

Party Time. EUT

Following a radical intro of a few seconds only Dutch alternative rock band EUT is off in its new, fast striding single. I'll be clear from the start. The single doesn't convince me fully, immediately. This has two reasons. Party Time has a radical streak that is repeated over and over in the song that sort of belies the pop element the song has as well. That pop element touches on what at least one million U.S. based female fronted alternative rock/punk(y) bands release, often of sub-optimal quality. EUT hovers around these qualifications while at the same managing to have a touch that makes it stand out. The band dares to be far more alternative, while showing it is able to write an instantly memorable song. Just listen to the part starting with "I like the idea of you". Simply well done. The guitar is off into nice territories regularly as well. And then there are the other parts of the song, as if the band merged three songs or more into one. So perhaps it just takes more time to get used to, as there are parts I certainly do like.

Ain't Nice. Viagra Boys

Do coincidences exist? In one email two singles were brought to my attention. 'Tally-Ho' and 'Ain't Nice'. Playing 'Tally-Ho' on Spotify to give it a go, the song that started next, all by itself, was Ain't Nice, so I was introduced to both songs in one go. Not totally logical, as they are quite different but who knows what algorithms know about me and my emails, right? A scary thought? The only answer to that is yes.

Viagra Boys is a band from Stockholm and listening to the band's singer I was already thinking about The Hives, The Plan and Mando Diao. So it is safe to say that I've noticed a Swedish way of singing alternative rock / post punk songs. A rough voice, moving towards shouting leads the band forward. Ain't Nice is a song with a fairly normal rhythm. It is the accents on the keyboards that set it apart immediately. There's an 80s quality to one of the keyboards, setting the song further apart from regular post punk songs like Ain't Nice. Taking it all in, Ain't Nice is not something for everyday use but certainly a nice (yes) alternative dance hit. Dance like 'The Safety Dance', folks. Approach it like you would a Rivella.

A Song For The Drunk And The Broken Hearted. Passenger

It's already quite some years ago when Passenger entered the world's charts with his song 'Let Her Go'. Since I've lost track of singer Michael Rosenberg who is the singer-songwriter behind the moniker Passenger. Recently I was alerted to a new single being released so, I decided to take a listen. It makes such a nice change from the previous songs. It is the kind of pop song that thousands of singer-songwriters have released before him and will release after him. A nice tempo, a nice story that is sung with an oh so pleasant melody. The acoustic guitar keeps up the rhythm helped by the drums. An electric guitar plays some nice accents and solo notes, while the suspended notes fly round, creating those relatively simple but oh so nice melodies. The ooh-oohs bring Steve Harley's 'Make Me Smile' to mind immediately. In short the kind of song that is so good to listen to every once in a while, without stirring up great fires within me.

Golden Birds (Early Morning Version). Easy

30 Years ago Easy, a Swedish band, released its first album, 'Magic Seed'. In 2020 the band released a new album, 'Radical Innocence' of which Golden Birds (Early Morning version) is one of the singles. If a nice sugary song is to your liking, this single of the band Easy certainly qualifies. I don't know whether the song 'Easy' is the reason for the band's name. If so it is the right choice listening to Golden Birds ate least, my introduction to the band. Some songs are just not dangerous and this is one. Sung with a soft tone and strings brought in for a solo and accompaniment. On the other side firm drumming and a lead guitar that is not afraid of playing all over the song can be noted as well, suggesting the Faith No More 'Easy' and not the original version by The Commodores. This does give two sides to the song, but not enough to change my first impression. Don't get me wrong Golden Birds has nothing to do with those sugar coated rock ballads of the early 80s like Foreigner's 'Waiting For A Girl Like You'. No, Golden Birds is a pop song with sugary elements. Am I a great fan? No, but this certainly is nice to listen to. It is certainly good to follow that lead guitar through the song to find out what is doing.

Shooting Star. I Am A Rocketship

Not so long ago I Am A Rocketship found its way to this blog and already the band returns with its first single to an upcoming record to be called 'Orange'. Shooting Star is a timid affair. Starting with spoken word to be followed by an intro like 'Eternal Flame's. Soon after the drums and bass kick in, making the song much heavier than the soft and delicate The Bangles' number 1 hit. Eric Weissinger takes the lead in this song that at heart is a campfire kind of acoustic guitar affair. Partner in crime L.E. Kippner sings beautiful background vocals with her nice, soft voice. Now Shooting Star was the name of an E.P. by Cliff Richard and the Shadows around 1966 with songs from or based on the 'Thunderbirds' series. It was the first single I remember getting. An impact like that the 2020 single with the same title can never achieve, but this is a nice ballad with some beautiful sounds on it. Certainly worth a listen or more.

Rendezvous. ViVii

ViVii is also from Sweden and the second single from an upcoming album. The song can be called a synthpop song but next to that it has an extremley beautiful dreamlike quality to it. So to call it dreampop is fair as well. The soft way of singing between the male and female singers of the band works really well in this context. No beauty and the beast here, this is aiming for beauty the whole of the way. The electronic rhythm certainly has lent some from the standard set by French synthduo Air. It is the level of playfulness ViVii adds to the whole that sets it apart and makes me like, at least this song, Rendezvous better than e.g. 'Sexy Boy'. When I'm in listening mode, not in dancing or party mode. Rendezvous takes me on a musical trip in the singing and the synth sounds that meander like a brook in a forest. Slowly trickling down, trying to cut corners in the forest bed. Does beauty in synthpop exist? I have doubted it quite often, but can now wholeheartedly write: yes it does.

We Want War (Drums). These New Puritans

It's impossible to know (the music of) every band or artist. This is also the case for These New Puritans. Despite the announcement of the 10 year celebration of it's album 'Hidden', to me the band and album are totally new. To add to the celebrations a single was released, digitally only, and what can I say? The addition of drums between brackets is totally the right word to use. This song is all about rhythm (patterns) and not much else, besides a some minimal electronic sounds. Add some electronic rhythm to it and you have We Want War (Drums). In other words a totally esoteric affair. As this has nothing to do with a song in the traditional sense. It also has nothing to do with a form of dance. It is an outing in rhythm. You know enough, except that it is one of the strangest singles I know. And that is saying something, having my experience in music of decades. Even Lauri Anderson's 'Oh, Superman' holds more melody and that is saying something.

Run Away. Sivert Høyem

Sivert Høyem came into my life just after the turn of the millennium as singer of Madrugada with that beautiful debut album of the band containing the great, beautiful 'Electric'. Madrugada lays behind us for known reasons and Høyem with more and less artistic success has kept the flame burning. Run Away is the single leading up to a mini album to be released in the coming months. It is the kind of ballad he's so good at. In the first notes I find myself falling for the single. Høyem's dark voice leads the way in a song that, strangely enough, I suddenly imagine Frank Sinatra singing as well. It is the way that Run Away is arranged, the slow piano, the slide guitar, the solid, unrushed rhythm section of course make the song a Madrugada/Sivert Høyem single and not a Sinatra one. It's just that my mind is telling me this, is what strikes me. Run Away is simply stunning. The  only comment I can make, is that it's a bit of a shame of the ending. That could have been imagined better. The rest? A great, beautiful song.


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