Bowie… You may have heard (Img: David Shankbone)

Singles Clubbed: Bowie, Factory Floor, We Were Evergreen, Matsuki Ayumu, Beat Mark, Dodson & Fogg, Teleman

Published on January 11th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams

2013’s singles-clubbing begins right here, folks! The main offenders seem to be holding off for now, so it’s with a certain amount of relief that we bring you an uncharacteristically strong batch to start you off with…

*Puts club away*

Beat Mark – “Breeezing!”

Though this first single from the Parisian quartet’s forthcoming Howls of Joy album isn’t released until 27th January, there’s so little going on this week that we might as well review it now; because, you know, we can do that.

The first thing to note here is that Beat Mark have been signed to Cornershop’s Ample Play label, which is as good a guarantee of satisfaction as you’ll get in these days of [insert rant about everything that’s wrong with the music industry]; the second thing to note is that they’re being championed by John Peel’s son Tom Ravenscroft, so it’s nice to see the next generation staking his reputation on the unknown…

…especially since “Breeezing!” (yes, three E’s!) is such a blast of sunnily disposed fuzz-bliss, complete with early Pixies backing vocals and boogie-woogie-gone-wrong guitar. From another angle, it could be The Stone Roses’ “Mersey Paradise” hijacked by the Muppet Babies, which for those who aren’t sure is a ringing endorsement on our part. This is more fun than you can shake a French stick at, not to mention a tantalising precursor to the aforementioned album, due 18th February. Tjinder Singh and co. only gone an’ done it again, in’t they? Speaking of which, click here to check out the Cornership remix of “Food” by The Lovely Eggs.

Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!

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David Bowie – “Where Are We Now?”

You may have heard about this one: first new material for a decade, 66th birthday, Tony Visconti, yadda yadda yadda. Point of order: Rocksucker thought “Little Wonder” was a corker. Perhaps you’ll take this review more or less seriously in light of this fact.

“Where Are We Now?” is affectingly fragile, a withered and expressionless Bowieface crooning sporadically and almost unrecognisably over a gracefully windswept ballad that one could lazily pitch somewhere in between Johnny Cash’s version of “Hurt” and The Beatles’ sort-of-posthumous “Real Love”. “A man lost in time” is a classic Bowie article, “just walking the dead” a classic Bowie metaphor, lyrical references to Berlin a link back to classic Bowie himself, so it’s down to the somnambulent pace and gleaming, stately chord progressions to evidence where the man himself is now; that is, a sort of All Things Must Pass by way of the more downcast Bowie of yore, mourning the loss of the intervening decades with a wistful glance out of the window from his rocking chair, a leather-bound volume and a glass of brandy by his side, all that sort of business.

Parent album The Next Day is pencilled in for an 11th March release, so be sure to check back in closer to the time to read our prattlings on that. In the meantime, let’s proceed with caution…

Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!

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Dodson and Fogg – “The Leaves They Fall”

Rocksucker loved Chris Wade’s star-studded psychedelic folk album of last year, and now he’s back with more autumnal contemplation, this time featuring the honey tones of Alison O’Donnell from Irish prog-folk legends Mellow Candle. “The Leaves They Fall” boasts one of the most gently divine choruses you’ll hear all year, a lightly discordant jangle capable of stopping you dead in your tracks with sheer wonder, so it’s only to be hoped that another Dodson and Fogg LP is on the horizon [edit: we just read the press release and there is indeed; titled Derring do, since you ask]. 

Fans of Nick Drake and/or Candidate, apply within.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Factory Floor – “Fall Back”

Click here to stream this on SoundCloud

They may have made their name as an electrifying live act but there’s plenty to like about this London troupe on record too; check out this pounding, wibbling electronic oddity, topped off with a breathily spoken female vocal that would cast the whole thing on a catwalk, as long as that catwalk was under attack from Space Invaders (and possibly Simian Mobile Disco, too). 

Nice to see our nation’s full-backs getting the recognition their thankless marking jobs and overlapping runs deserve. Am I right, guys?

Guys?

Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!

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Matsuki Ayumu – “The Blues of the Solar System” / “Ether Rocket No9”

Click here to stream “The Blues of the Solar System” on SoundCloud

Click here to stream “Ether Rocket No9” on SoundCloud

This Japanese chap has become very dear to Rocksucker very quickly; his One Billion Year Record LP came 2nd in our Top 100 Albums of 2012 list, so consider it praise when we say that either of these double A-side singles could have graced its future-pop excellence. His new album The Story of Your Life is out on 4th March and suffice it to say we are rather excited. 

Click here to read a bit more about why we love Matsuki Ayumu so much, and for goodness’s sake recommend One Billion Year Record to all your friends as long as:

a) They have good taste

and

b) You’ve always secretly longed for them to consider you their musical guru and/or spirit guide

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Teleman – “Cristina”

First off, kudos for making a few dots go a long way in the video. Produced by legendary former Suede/McAlmont and Butler guitarist Bernard Butler, “Cristina” is a welcoming, plinky and faintly Spinto Band-ish introduction to this melodic London three-piece, who have charmed us sufficiently into making a mental note. 

Hopefully the album won’t all be as restrained and laid-back as this, but either way don’t they do it well?

Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!

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We Were Evergreen – “Leeway”

The French trio became quite the word-of-mouth sensation over the course of last year, so much so that Rocksucker couldn’t even get into their recent Jazz Cafe show for all the hordes, and this is the best thing we’ve heard from them to date; luscious harmonies (as usual), a gloopy synth loop, some Beatles-y chord progressions and a swinging backing chant of what sounds like “Dunga” but probably has nothing to do with the former Brazil captain. Oh, and another charming video.

We Were Evergreen are set to make their debut album this year, so be sure to catch them at London’s Village Underground on 6th March for a sneak preview of what they’ve got up their sleeves; and, while you’re at it, have a read of our entertaining interview with the band from last year

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Bye bye, everybody!

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About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.