State thought singles were dead but nobody seems to have told the music industry. Before we flog the singles off to friends and family, we had a listen.
This Week: Ladyhawke, Sam Sparro, Def Leppard, Sharleen Spiteri, Beth Rowley featuring Duke Special, Richer than Astronauts and Jack Johnson.
Single of the Week: Ladyhawke – Paris is Burning (Modular)
First off, we have to admit we got confused between two artists. Let us explain and all will become clear. Ladyhawke is a an electro-pop lady from New Zealand while Ladyhawk are a boring rock fivesome from Vancouver. Naturally, there was no great inclination to listen in when we thought it was the latter. Once State realised our mistake we put the CD in.
‘Paris is Burning’ turns out to be a rather sublime dance-pop track. Being released on Modular gives you a clue as to the type of tune this is as their roster includes the likes of The Presets, Van She and Cut Copy (who also remix the tune here). Distinctive Euro-pop synths and funky bass dominate while LadyHawke (as that is her name) provides the sultry vocals.
Jack Johnson – Sleep Through the Static (Brushfire Records)
State wonders if the typical clichÃ© of a Jack Johnson fan is true – namely that they are all surfers. Obviously, Johnson was one himself so perhaps this idea came from Johnson being the kind of guy that hassled other surfers “to listen to my CD” while waiting for some waves. So as not to hurt the guy’s feelings, the innocent victim tells Jack the CD is “awesome” and feeling sorry for him, offers to buy the album off him. Multiply that by a tens of thousands and you see the sham in full effect with the release of Johnson’s fourth album. Can’t we stop this? [Myspace]
Def Leppard – C’mon C’mon (Mercury)
We know our Editor Phil loves a bit of the Lepp, but wait until he hears this! You expect aging rockers to stick to what they are good at. In the case of Def Leppard, it’s still Hi-NRG stadium rock with hilarious lyrics. It sounds like Status Quo jamming with Duran Duran fronted by Elliot with the cheesiest rock lyrics going. Sample – “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose / Give back the spark, Come light the fuse / Yeah (Yeah) Yeah (Yeah) / Everybody everywhere“. Brownie points for this gem however – “Hold me close and I’ll make everything come true / Just let the man in me / meet the woman in you“. Fucking Genius. [Listen]
Sam Sparro – 21st Century Life (Island)
Watching Sparro do his thing on BBC’s Glastonbury coverage wasn’t the most impressive thing State has ever seen. His songs are catchy and sculpted but he acts like a drama school graduate moulded for stardom. Every movement is calculated for the camera and he ended up being an annoying twat. Having said that, this isn’t the worst pop single we’ve heard and the album Black and Gold has been received rather well critically. Unfortunately for Sparro, this song sounds like Phats & Smalls’ – “Turn Around”. [Myspace]
Sharleen Spiteri – All The Times I Cried (Mercury)
Hey… Hold on there a second! Spiteri who liked to annoy the crap out of 95% of the sane world as a part of Texas returns with a solo record entitled Melody. It sounds like someone has been listening to Amy Winehouse or more specifically Mark Ronson productions as the tune is all burping brass and emotional strings. In fairness to Spiteri she has dabbled in ’60s sounds before but never so blantantly similar to other artists as here. Fact: ‘All The Times I Cried’ rocked straight into number 47 in the UK charts last week. [Official Site]
Beth Rowley – Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground featuring Duke Special (Universal)
Taken from Rowley’s recently released Little Dreamer album, this single comes with two other tracks from the album – ‘So Sublime’ and ‘Oh My Life’. ‘Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground’ is a minimal folk ballad with Rowley and Duke Special forming an impressive singing partnership; Rowley is sweet and lilting while Duke’s Belfast accent gives the song some distinct character. A very sweet old-fashioned song is the result. [Myspace]
Richer than Astronauts – Special Needs (Self-released)
Former member of Jubilee Allstars, Niall McCormack now plays organ with Dublin’s Richer Than Astronauts or RTA as their sleeve has them. On ‘Special Needs’, the singer sounds like Mumblin’ Deaf Ro stretched beyond his range and possibly with a bad cold. It’s not pleasant for the most part and just sounds like he’s trying to be kerrr-azzy. ‘Battle’ is a 2 minute organ jam with equally strangulated vocals. It fares better though as it’s based on a nice organ hook. [Myspace]