Single File: Gordi, Catfish & The Bottlemen, FKA Twigs, Nicole Dollanganger It lives! Welcome to our second edition of Single File, which in case you missed last week’s entry, is our new column dedicated to the best (and sometimes not best, but mostly best) singles of the week, though we may be a bit biased towards Aussie artists. Evol Walks – ‘Without Me’ [Rock] 80s rock lives within the body of ‘Without Me’, that much is clear from the first listen. Evol Walks vocalist Leah Martin-Brown mixes the vocals of Axl Rose going off in well, the 80s with Pat Benatar in the midst of a fit of rage. The instrumentation, particularly the guitars, is like a nostalgic throwback to influential Aussie pub rock bands like Screaming Jets. Truly ‘Without Me’ is like a reincarnation of the great rockers of yesteryear, or at least their talent. Black Mountain – ‘Mothers of The Sun’ [Prog-Rock] Black Mountain walk the edges of genres with their 8 minute epic ‘Mothers of the Sun’. Sharing vocal duties between Stephen Mcbean and Amber Webber, the quintet tiptoe across the line between hard and prog-rock with spacy synths and ripping riffs. The two leads show a brilliant understanding of tone, their vocal duties seeming attached to these instruments as the song lumbers onwards through the daunting atmosphere it has created. Plus, there’s some speak of ancient unseen powers summoned from the cosmos by a secret society of druids, which as you know is key to creating the perfect prog song. Bears With Guns – ‘Let Go’ [Folk] While ‘Let Go’ is a good song, the name Bears With Guns is a grossly misleading title and call-out culture states this must be pointed out. On topic, this folk–rock ballad about pushing someone you care about to strive for a future of better days. The song is about as genuine as one can get without becoming a confessional while a strangely familiar twanging melody serves as a foundation. Meanwhile the piano chords stab through the listener’s heart as such a vulnerable piece would, resulting in something bound to leave you emotional for at least a moment. Vinten – ‘Creep’ [Folk] You ever seen a ghost? How about created one? Because Vinten’s newest single ‘Creep’ is probably the first case of creating a ghost without effectively killing somebody (Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s discography not withstanding). Beginning as a simple folk tune, ‘Creep’ soon spirals out of Vinten’s and your own control until you find yourself trapped in the centre of the maelstrom with only Vinten’s wailing voice to comfort. Finally he turns on you as well with the final searing lines of “Creep” that will leave you reeling. Colibrium – ‘Spinning on the Wheel’ [Progressive Metal] ‘Spinning On The Wheel’ is one of the more typical progressive metal songs this side of Karnivool, but there is potential hiding within these walls, specifically the bridge. The band lose the anti–materialistic lyrics and brooding instrumentation that have been built up for the entirety of the song is taken down for a surprisingly sunny and hopeful moment. That being said, the song still keeps up the momentum during its change. It’s an area within the genre that hasn’t really been treaded before, and it’ll be interesting seeing where Colibrium will take this sound in the future. Catfish and the Bottlemen – ‘Soundcheck’ [Britrock] There could be an entire sub-genre in britrock dedicated to “songs for girls I saw at a show” but ‘Soundcheck’ will go down as one of the cutest. With the typical Catfish and the Bottlemen switch up between grungy distorted guitar and twinkly, clear noodling combined with a The Killers meets Oasis vocal stylings, there’s this authentic feeling to the proceedings. It’s as if the song came about more because vocalist Ryan Mccann really wanted to tell the story of skipping soundcheck in order to have a rad journey with a girl he literally just met. It leaves you with this sense of whimsy like one of the shortest, most to the point rom-coms. Matthew Logan Vasquez – ‘Personal’ [Indie Rock] Rock has had a strange trend of avoiding brass sections (also woodwind but we’ll just focus on brass for now), but Matthew Logan Vasquez has decided to force the two back into the same room for ‘Personal’. The horn stabs and heartbeat paced drumwork conjures up images of the swing and big band era, something that Vasquez’s showman voice does little to dispel. But ‘Personal’ still keeps that rock edge, adding a sense of griminess to the normally clean cut sound. It’s a fresh way of looking at an old sound, and one that is a welcome change-up. Gordi – ‘Avant Gardener’ [Soul] In her distinctly Courtney Barnett way, the lyrics to breakout hit ‘Avant Gardener’ come off as matter of factly, as this is just something to accept in the world. Gordi’s reimagining of the track as a pained ballad allows for the slow realisation of just how messed the track actually is, from the sudden health issues stopping recovery from further health issues, to the fact that survival being the very last thing that crosses the narrator’s mind while they’re being rushed into hospital for a potentially life threatening dilemma. Combined with how stripped back and exposed the songstress’s version is, the haunting beauty of the original remains. It’s difficult covering a fan favourite like Barnett, but Gordi’s subversion does what is almost impossible and results in something that can stand on the same ground as the original. Beach Baby – ‘Sleeperhead’ [Garage Rock] ‘Sleeperhead’ is a bit of a strange track. It’s not like Beach Baby has created some sort of bizarre noise piece or a brutal experimental work with ‘Sleeperhead’, but the more you listen to the jangly garage tune, the more it seems to morph into something different than you heard when you first listened to it. The grungy guitars mixed with clear melody and reverberated voice should conjure up images of Boys Don’t Cry era The Cure, ‘Sleeperhead’ weirdly splits from this into something that sounds like a cut from a mid–career Alkaline Trio. It’s not a bad thing, since both of these bands are legendary, but it is certainly a weird experience. Huntly – ‘Sunday Sheets’ [Electro-Soul] Huntly vocalist Elly Scrine immediately hooks into your mind with this sensual neo–soul offering. Between her commanding tone and her accent, it’s difficult not to. But to speak only of ‘Sunday Sheets’ vocals would be a criminal overlooking of whwat makes ‘Sunday Sheets’ such an earworm. The programming deployed during the track punctuates the desiring tone fabulously, while acting simultaneously entrancing and danceable. Meanwhile duel vocals employed during the final chorus slither down your back like a snake. These elements swirl together to create something truly magical. Elizabeth Rose + Remi – ‘Playing With Fire’ [Electro-Pop/Hip Hop] Elizabeth Rose has as a hell of a new album planned if ‘Playing with Fire’ is anything to show for it. Showcasing her powerful pipes, she tears into those that have wronged her over a sinister backing of electro–pop and moody strings. Halfway into her assault she is joined by reinforcements in the form of Remi, busting out an effortless verse with the force of a loaded gun. Explosive and firey, ‘Playing With Fire’ is the perfect taste of things to come. Nicole Dollanganger – ‘Have You Seen Me?’ [Pop/Black Metal/???] After spending too long as one of the gems hiding in the Bandcamp archives, Nicole Dollanganger has found a home on Grimes’s new label and with that home comes a new voice. Her first LP Curdled Milk demonstrated to the world that she is one of the few artists out there not just capable of making beautiful music but horrifying music, the kind that fills you with unease it doesn’t leave for months. ‘Have You Seen Me?’ does not bring an end to this but rather focuses it, introducing black metal inspired guitarwork and a backdrop of thunder striking an anvil over, and over, and over. Whatever she has planned only Dollanganger knows, but it sounds like the follow–up to 2014s Natural Born Losers is going to be a waking nightmare. And we cannot wait. Mossy – ‘Electric Chair’ [Electro Pop] When you see a movie that’s set in the future and everything is strangely polished and streamlined, know that the music they are listening to is probably ‘Electric Chair’. The piece is still incredibly dense, but has a refined and, well, streamlined feeling towards it. The vocal effects create this slightly alien feeling to Mossy’s words, not too intense but still defined enough to keep you on edge and still listening. But despite this, it’s still has this pop feeling like at some point, once the feeling of looking through in the future wears off, you’ll still want to return to ‘Electric Chair’. FKA Twigs – ‘Good To Love’ [Neo-Soul] ‘Good To Love’ is a complete turnabout from FKA Twigs’s first LP. Whereas tracks like ‘Two Weeks’ and ‘Video Girl’ were fairly forward with its production, ‘Good To Love’ takes a more subtle path, flourishing during the occasional vocal harmony or resounding piano chord. The track is a barer than a tree with its bark torn off, most of it consisting of a dulled piano sparkling in the background and Twigs trademark fearless and emotional lyrics on art and sex. It’s definitely a new sound but it’s still the same FKA. Bleached – ‘Wednesday Night Melody’ [Garage Rock] So we’re calling tis early, Bleached may have created the catchiest song of the year. The stomping riff and chanting chorus have a way of sticking to the inside of your skull for days, which will eventually come out with some awkward air guitar are shower mirror karaoke. Meanwhile, the song has this feeling to it to it as if it’s been taken directly out of the 70s guitar rock scene. The result is something that is sure to cause issues as you listen along in public, since most folk frown upon random air guitar intervals while walking down the street. Sofia Härdig – ‘Sitting Still’ [Post-Punk] Starting as if you were at the edge of the eye of a hurricane, your immediate reaction is blind and severe panic, unlike Sofia Härdig. Instead, she wails with a full sense of control of the situation surrounding, her voice full of power as the kind of surf tinged cyclone continues onwards. It’s obvious that the Scandinavian songwriter finds joy in the bleaker things in music, such as Nick Cave or 1994 Nine Inch Nails, but it takes true skill to translate these influences while simultaneously making them your own. The Manor – ‘Don’t Like Going Places’ [Hip-Hop] Even if you don’t know what is meant by a routine similar to Pauline Bayliss, it’s pretty easy to relate to the Manor’s ‘Don’t like Going Places’. A relaxed jam about not particularly wanting to leave your home town and how nothing can really pull you out of that thinking, the trio add a touch of defensiveness to their verses that adds some authenticity along with their lazed flow. The airy hook along with the eerie as hell production creates a fantastic example of where British hip–hop flourishes. Wax Witches – ‘Morning Flowers’ [Post-Punk] It may be a bit sacrilege to relate Burger Records distorted singer–songwriter to John ‘Farnsy’ Farnham but here we are. The new taste of his third album Memory Painting, ‘Morning Flowers’ emulates what it is titled after fairly well, the fuzzy guitars lulling one into a daze like you’ve just woken up in a sunbeam. But come the chorus the reverb and fuzz mix something distinctly Fransy–esque that simply cannot be ignored. Hell, see for yourself. Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.