Two For Tunesday: 12th July 2016

Two Door Cinema Club – Are We Ready (Wreck)

Returning with their first new material since 2012’s ‘Beacon’, Two Door Cinema Club are back with new track ‘Are We Ready (Wreck)’, which is lifted from the trio’s forthcoming third album ‘Gameshow’, out in October.

What’s most notable about Two Door’s return is just how big ‘Are We Ready (Wreck)’ sounds. Its children’s choir “nah-nah-nah”ing sounds like it was built for arenas, whilst its lopping bass and layered finale is as slick as the County Down boys have ever sounded. The accompanying video is a clever and sleek production, with the band paying homage to the track’s lyrics as they feature in clips for airlines, beer and pills. ‘Are We Ready (Wreck)’ might not be as instant as anything off the band’s debut LP ‘Tourist History’ but rest assured, when it clicks, it sounds as good as Two Door Cinema Club have ever sounded.

Tinie Tempah – Mamacita 

Tinie Tempah keeps momentum rolling following the success of ‘Girls Like’ with the next single from his forthcoming third album ‘Youth’, out in September. The Wizkid-featuring ‘Mamacita’ has a clear Latin influence whilst maintaining the London rapper’s signature sound.

The Latin influence on ‘Mamacita’ works well, with brass instruments featured throughout, played out in the background over Tempah’s signature wrapping. As with ‘Girls Like’, Tinie’s new track ‘Mamacita’ may not be instant, but you’ll be singing along in no time, especially with Wizkid (who recently featured on Drake’s huge #1 smash ‘One Dance) providing vocals on the track’s memorable chorus. It has every potential to dominate the airwaves all summer long.

 

 

 

 

Two For Tunesday: 5th July 2016

Bastille – Good Grief

London based Bastille seemingly came out of nowhere in 2013, bursting onto the scene with their debut LP ‘Bad Blood’ which in turn produced a string of hits, including ‘Of The Night’ and ‘Pompeii’. Following on from a lengthy world tour, Dan Smith and company are back with ‘Good Grief’, the first track to be taken from their up-and-coming second album ‘Wild World’.

Beginning with an excerpt from Weird Science, ‘Good Grief’ is an upbeat pop number that boasts a bouncy chorus to rival that of their biggest hits. “Every minute and every hour, I miss you, I miss you, I miss you,” Smith sings, on a track that will no doubt dominate airwaves and festival fields over the summer. ‘Good Grief’ is infectious from beginning to end and whilst the track is a slight departure from the band’s previous material, it’s distinctive enough to maintain the unique Bastille sound.

The Last Shadow Puppets – Miracle Aligner

The Last Shadow Puppets, the collaborative duo consisting of Alex Turner & Miles Kane, are set to release the swooning ‘Miracle Aligner’ as the next single from their second LP ‘Everything You’ve Come To Expect’.

The track is built on a simple melody and features Alex Turner’s soothing vocals, backed by a raucous drum beat and an infectious chorus. The second coming of The Last Shadow Puppets has been somewhat overshadowed by Turner and Kane’s derogatory comments towards women and as Turner croons “Get down on your knees, get down on your knees again,” it’s safe to say the duo aren’t helping themselves. That aside, it’s hard not to enjoy ‘Miracle Aligner’, especially alongside it’s accompanying video which features the duo dressed in their best dinner jackets whilst dancing in a elaborate ball room setting.

Football’s coming home?

With Euro 2016 kicking off in France in less than an hour, here are three of the best football songs of all time to get you in the mood.

Ant & Dec – We’re On The Ball

Everyone’s favourite Geordies Ant & Dec re-vitalised their music career in the early 2000’s to record a song for the 2002 World Cup, ’We’re On The Ball’. The extremely catchy number reflects upon England’s previous heartbreak in tournaments including Euro 96 as well as referencing that famous 5-1 thumping of Germany. As one might expect, there’s an extremely cheeky video to boot, including Ant & Dec’s impersonation of then manager Sven-Göran Eriksson.

David Baddiel, Frank Skinner, The Lightning Seeds – Three Lions (1996)

In 1996 comedy partners David Baddiel and Frank Skinner teamed up with The Lightning Seeds to record ‘Three Lions’. Referencing everyone from Bobby Moore to Gary Lineker, the song is a timeless classic that breeds optimism. Since its release in 1996, the song has been re-recorded and re-released numerous times, re-entering the top 40 alongside every major tournament but it’s the original track that remains the greatest football song of all time. Now to stop the 50 years of hurt…

New Order – World In Motion 

An electric house piano and an infamous John Barnes rap makes ‘World In Motion’ one of the most catchy football songs of all time. The track was also the soundtrack to England’s greatest footballing achievement since the 1996 World Cup and is also New Order’s only No.1 single. Barnes’ rap has gone down in history and has been re-created in various different forms over the years, most notably by James Corden and Mathew Horne in ‘Gavin & Stacey’.

Two For Tunesday: 7th June 2016

Clean Bandit feat. Louisa Johnson – Tears

After almost a year out of the spotlight, Clean Bandit are back with the first single to be taken from their as-yet-untitled second studio LP, and have enlisted the help of most recent X Factor winner Louisa Johnson on guest vocals.

What’s most striking about ‘Tears’ is its structure. The track is multi-layered and a minute in, completely changes direction. Clean Bandit’s production is slick and innovative but it’s Johnson’s vocals that really take the limelight. It’s a resounding comeback that has every potential to be one of the songs of the summer.

A band’s second album is often dubbed their most difficult, especially if they’ve enjoyed success with the predecessor. It would appear, based on ‘Tears’ alone, that Clean Bandit look set to dispel this theory, as they have managed to evolve their sound effortlessly, whilst not losing complete track of their identity. With ‘Tears’ already a top ten hit and growing in airplay, it would appear that Clean Bandit have a very bright summer ahead.

Mumford & Sons feat. Babba Maii – There Will Be Time

Mumford & Sons are a funny one. Their first two albums drew widespread critical acclaim and even propelled the band to a headline Glastonbury slot, despite sounding extremely similar and at times mundane. It was last year’s ‘Wilder Mind’ album that grabbed my attention though, a breath of fresh air and an album that ditched the banjos in favour of a more guitar driven sound. Following a recent tour of South Africa, the band are gearing up to release new EP ‘Johannesburg’, and from it comes first single ‘There Will Be Time’.

‘There Will Be Time’ begins with Senegalese artist Babba Maii with an introduction that doesn’t sound too dissimilar to that of ‘Circle of Life’, before the distinctive vocals of Marcus Mumford take centre stage. The song builds before a rousing finale, a typical Mumford & Sons singalong chorus. Whilst ‘There Will Be Time’ is soulful and enjoyable and benefits well from its clear African influence (mainly thanks to its feature from Babba Maii), it’s far too reminiscent of the band’s early work for my liking.

Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

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With every new Radiohead release comes huge expectation. ‘OK Computer’, adored by critics and fans alike, helped define a generation of guitar music back in the 90s. Almost a decade later, the pay what you want album ‘In Rainbows’, which was described by Time Magazine as “easily the most important release in the recent history of the music business”, helped win over a whole new generation of fans and remains a personal favourite of mine to this day. Whilst its follow up album, 2011’s ‘The King of Limbs’, was distinctively average by comparison, a new album always brings an air of excitement.

In a career spanning almost a quarter of a century, the Oxfordshire band are in a luxurious position in which they can afford to do what they want and be able to get away with it. For example, just a few weeks ago they deleted their entire internet history, with profile pictures and avatars fading to white before disappearing completely (an ode to Kid A’s ‘How To Disappear Completely) sending the internet into a frenzy. Shortly after, some fans received a leaflet through the post with the words “Burn the witch, we know where you live” embroiled on them. The internet began to talk and rumours of an imminent 9th studio album were rife. Just days later, Radiohead released ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ to the world.

Drawing parallels to ‘In Rainbows’, ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ is built around a number of songs that have been part of the band’s live catalogue for years. Lead single and album opener ‘Burn The Witch’ dates back to recording sessions for the band’s 2003 album ‘Hail To The Thief’. The track is bold and brash with dazzling strings and a chorus that just begs to be chanted back at frontman Thom Yorke and co across the band’s intense touring schedule this summer. The pairing of ‘Decks Dark’ and ‘Desert Island Disk’ complement one another well, the former being one of the record’s stand out moments, what with its haunting gospel choir and Yorke’s compelling vocals. “There’s a spacecraft blocking out the sky,” he sings, creating a haunting image along the way.

‘Glass Eyes’ is a beautiful acoustic number whilst ‘Present Tense’, also an album highlight, has evolved dramatically following its appearances in Yorke’s recent solo repertoire. ‘Ful Stop’ is a mesmerising example of just how versatile Radiohead can be, building throughout as Yorke’s vocals reach an almighty crescendo, whilst on ‘Identikit’ he sings “Broken hearts, make it rain”, potentially alluding to the break down of his 23 year relationship. ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief’ is compelling, if only for its dramatic string conclusion.

Radiohead Tour Auckland

It is the album’s closing moment that is perhaps its most defining moment, a studio version of the iconic ‘True Love Waits’. The song has been a staple of the band’s live shows for years and dates back to as early as 1995. As Yorke softly sings “I’ll drown my beliefs”, over a haunting piano, shivers are sent down the spine. An iconic moment that concludes ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ in the most fitting of ways.

Radiohead’s 9th studio LP is an incredible body of work that only affirms their status as one of the greatest bands of our generation. Their versatility and attention to detail shine massively on an album that benefits from multiple listens, discovering new intricate details along the way. Whilst ‘The King of Limbs’ felt disjointed in many ways, mainly due to all its experimenting, ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ feels like the whole band have contributed in their own unique way. For many fans, the inclusion of ‘True Love Waits’ as the album’s finale has raised many questions. It is their 100th LP song after all, which has led people to question what the future holds for the band. Is this Radiohead’s swan song? Is this their final goodbye? One certainly hopes not, but if it is to be, then what an incredible way to bow out in a way that only Radiohead can.

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The Strokes – Future Present Past EP

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The Strokes are arguably defined by their groundbreaking debut album ‘Is This It’. ‘Room On Fire’ was a worthy follow up, but by the time 2006’s ‘First Impressions of Earth’ came round, the band had begun to go off the boil somewhat. A hiatus soon followed, and rumours of infighting and discontent have marred the band ever since. Comeback album ‘Angles’ certainly had its moments, mainly the excellent ‘Undercover of Darkness’ but by the time fifth album ‘Comedown Machine’ was released in 2013, the band refused to tour or promote the album, almost disregarding their own work.

Three years later and The Strokes have reunited for a new EP, the aptly titled ‘Future Present Past’, which coincides with a handful of live dates the band have lined up across the summer. The new EP consists of three new tracks, ‘Drag Queen’, ‘Oblivius’ and ‘Threat of Joy’, along with a remix of ‘Oblivius’ by drummer Fabrizio Moretti. ‘Oblivius’ is very much The Strokes by numbers, and wouldn’t sound out of place on ‘Is This It’, what with its futuristic guitars and frontman Julian Casablancas’ iconic vocals. ‘Drag Queen’ is very much a Strokes song for the modern age. Its electronic guitars are reminiscent of New Order whilst you can also draw comparisons to Casablancas’ most recent solo LP, 2014’s ‘Tyranny’, thanks to its isolated and distorted vocals. Final song ‘Threat of Joy’ is also a throwback to the group’s early days, not sounding too dissimilar to the likes of ‘When It Started’ and ‘Someday’.

There is no doubt that the New York based quintet’s ability to write a great collection of songs remains and whilst musically ‘Future Present Past’ is very good, it would appear that The Strokes’ publicised dysfunctional relationships with one another are now spilling over into their music. Whilst there are no concrete plans to follow up this EP with a full length studio album, when asked the question about plans for a new LP in a recent interview, Casablancas replied “if the collective will can be summoned and caroused”. Not necessarily the definitive  answer Strokes fans were hoping for, but a glimmer of hope, at least, that the band can one day put their differences aside and make an album that challenges the legendary ‘Is This It’. We can all dare to dream, can’t we?

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Two For Tunesday: 1st March

Richard Ashcroft – This Is How It Feels

Frontman of The Verve, Richard Ashcroft is back with the first single from his forthcoming 5th studio album entitled ‘These People’, which hits shelves in May.

‘This Is How It Feels’ is Richard Ashcroft’s first new music in over 6 years and has already received approval from former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher who tweeted: “Ashcroft gives power get up you bunch of lazy tarts”. ‘This Is How It Feels’ channels the spirit of The Verve but lacks in conviction. At over 5 minutes in length, the track is too long and lacks staying power. It’s a far cry from Ashcroft’s best solo work, 2007’s ‘Keys To The World’ and is unlikely to win The Verve frontman any new fans. A disappointing return.

Tinie Tempah – Girls Like

Following on from his recent mixtape ‘Junkfood’, Tinie Tempah is back with ‘Girls Like’, the second offering from his forthcoming third studio album, which is due for release later this year.

This commercial offering perfectly combines Tempah’s mix of rap and catchy hooks, this time provided by Sweedish singer Zara Larsson. It’s another slice of radio friendly music that is bound to dominate the airwaves over the coming weeks. One can only wonder however, how long Tinie Tempah can churn out this formula before it becomes tiresome.