Words: Saam Das
There's still a month to go but I must have listened to at least 500 singles this year. Conversely, I've listened to about 15 albums. People have told me I'm doing it the wrong way round - yet I love the single as an artform. Three minutes of perfection is much more likely than an hour of perfection. Although November hasn't been quite as stellar, here's ten of the best singles out now.
Paper Crows - 'When Friends Survive' (14th)
Finally out on 12" vinyl on Pete Tong's resurrected FFRR label, I said this was a bit like "Paper Crows gone Europop" when I first heard the track in September. Worth its spot in this single list for its rollicking intro alone. SINGLE OF THE MONTH.
The Revival Hour - 'Hold Back' (21st)
The Revival Hour is the new project from John-Mark Lapham of The Earlies and DM Stith, and this is their debut single. I can't say I'm overly familiar with either of the two's previous work but this is quite special, dripping with breathtaking, melodramatic soul. SINGLE OF THE MONTH (RUNNER UP).
Goodluck Jonathan - 'The Future's Got No Love For Us' (28th)
Naming yourself after the Nigerian president is an interesting decision. By interesting, I mean highly questionable. Their latest single is much less questionable however. We enjoy the odd foray into a more hardcore sound and this nicely eases us into things before the heavy riffs are unleashed.
Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny - 'Liliputt' (14th)
We saw Beth Jeans Houghton play at Field Day 2009. She's come a long way since then and we've found her work particularly charming since her deal with Mute - see 'Dodecahedron'. This new single offers a more operatic style while retaining her older rockabilly-esque sensibilities.
King Charles - 'Bam Bam' (28th)
The video to this song has over 200,000 views. Considering how underrated this man's been for the last couple of years, someone will have to explain that to me. Especially as this arguably King Charles' weakest single yet - consult my favourite track of 2009, 'Love Lust', for comparison. But I suppose it's also his least pretentious single, fully embracing the pop hooks. Check out recent free download 'Ivory Road' too.
Giovanna - 'Out In Bold' (28th)
Speaking of King Charles, the debut single from one Giovanna Marshall shares its home at mi7 Records. It's a strong start to her career - a minimalist, dark take on R'n'B with hints of dubstep and trip-hop. Giovanna's striking vocals layered on top will give rise to comparisons to The xx, which may not be entirely appropriate, yet a similarly positive critical reception would surely be welcomed here.
Benjamin Francis Leftwich - 'Shine' (7th)
Back in October, I wrote some nice things about this heartwarming single. It's basically like being giving a big ole hug. Which you kinda need these days, simply to keep warm. Brr.
We Are Augustines - 'Book Of James' (7th)
Learning about the context of a band almost always gives us a greater understanding. When you discover that 'Book Of James' is about the suicide of the brother of the band's main songwriter, who had already lost his mother in a similar manner, it's hard not to feel more affected by what is already an affecting song. It's that weary vocal and the juxtaposition between melancholia and a tinge of hopefulness.
Savoir Adore - 'Dreamers' (11th)
There's a definite tinge of The Smiths here, especially in the male vocal. Which is hard for me to enjoy as I have a massive dislike of Morrissey and all the idiotic things he says on a regular basis. Thankfully, there's also some lovely female vocals and dreamy synth-pop. Download below and purchase from Neon Gold.
Swound! - 'In My Head' (28th)
Strong Weezer vibes on this single by a band comprising of four brothers from the Isle Of Man, who have now escaped to Nottingham. Their other material that I've heard is much less indebted to Weezer, which I feel is a bit of a shame really. But regardless, this is good stuff.
ALSO WORTH CHECKING OUT:
7th: Francois & The Atlas Mountains - 'Piscine' // Stay+ - 'Fever' // Jessie Grace - 'KOV2' //
14th: The History Of Apple Pie - 'Mallory' // Crowns - 'Kissing Gates' // When Saints Go Machine - 'Parix' // MNEK - 'If Truth Be Told' // Kathleen Edwards - 'Sidecar' // The Lightness Of Being - 'Refute'
21st: Breton - 'Edward The Confessor' // Erin K & Tash - 'Coins' // Bos Angeles - 'Days Of Youth' // Worship - 'House Of Glass' // Being There - 'The Radio' // The Savage Nomads – 'What The Angel Said'
28th: Binary - 'Prisoner' // Young British Artists - 'Everything In Front Of You' // Other Lives - 'Old Statues' // Kites - Brother // The Static Jacks - 'Into The Sun' // The Wind-Up Birds - 'Working Christmas Day' (all funds go to Barnardo's)
Click for previous monthly singles review round ups.