Alanis Morissette Alanis Morissette… Whoop de ****ing doo! (Img: Sony Music)

This Week’s Singles: Johnny Marr, Primal Scream, Space, GBV, Kylie, Alanis, Sinéad and several others!

Published on February 22nd, 2013 | Jonny Abrams

Singles! By the bucketload! Yay!

Or nay? Read on, readers…

Alanis Morissette – “Receive”

A classic case of Should Have Stopped After the First Album, Alanis is back for what is presumably another easy payday, and she has less to say than ever before. Huzzah!

Hello everyone, thanks for coming out today. Have you all washed behind your ears? Good, then let’s administer the first quailing…

Rocksucker says: One Quail out of Five!

a quail

Andy Grammer – “Keep Your Head Up”

“Woah oh oh oh! Eh eh eh eh eh!” Is this guy a pop singer or a Jimmy Savile tribute act? Either way, he’s sodding awful. Truly, truly horrid, in fact, in a way that Maroon 5 must’ve thought they had the monopoly on.

“Keep your head up” is decent advice, but if you happen to be listening to Andy Grammer then Rocksucker requests that you also keep your music down. 

If this song was a pizza, it would be really, really rubbish pizza.

Rocksucker says: Half a Quail out of Five!

half a quail

Avital Raz – “Oh, Isabel”

Another good ‘un from Southampton-based label Sotones, this “acid-folk” songstress from Jerusalem comes across like a more unhinged version of her labelmate Anja McCloskey. It’s utterly bewitching, not to mention blessed with lines like “And she made lipstick marks on mirrors / And she hid chocolate in a drawer” – and all with a splendidly creepy, Bagpuss-like video. Bravo!

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

a quaila quaila quaila quailhalf a quail

Du Tonc – “Darkness”

Steady beat interspersed with nice rolling drum fills, sullenly light ‘n’ airy vocal, huffing chirrups of synth keeping the groove popping really rather satisfyingly: all this and more builds slowly into something that could almost have been made by Ian Broudie when he went kind of disco, and for that we commend it.

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

a quaila quaila quailhalf a quail

Fat White Family – “Cream of the Young”

Jez? Super Hans? Is that you?

What a great band name and horrible song title that is, with quite possibly the creepiest/looniest video since Psychologist’s “Propeller”. Good song, too: like a cross between Clinic and most-recent-vintage Flaming Lips.

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

a quaila quaila quailhalf a quail

Fleur – “Turn the Lights On”

…and the music off. 

Arf!

Okay, there’s much worse this week, but it’s still a poor man’s Kosheen.

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

a quailhalf a quail

Ground Pilots – “A Billion Things”

This debut single is a shuffly strum pitched somewhere between The La’s and The Beta Band, which is a good place to be, is it not? “Your love is worth a billion things I can’t even think of” sings yer man assuredly and characterfully, nailing centre stage on a group dynamic that manages to conjure soulfulness without having to resort to any unpleasant emoting. Got to love those “aye ya ya ya!” backing vocals, too.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quaila quail

Guided By Voices – “Flunky Minnows”

The verse melody sounds sufficiently like “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” as to come very close to derailing the whole thing, which barely scrapes home anyway as a ‘Guided By Voices/Robert Pollard by numbers’ kind of deal. That’s still better than most bands, but Pollard and the rest of the ‘classic-era GBV’ crew turned in enough strong material over the course of 2012’s three LPs to hope for better than this.

Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quail

Jessica Wright feat. Mann – “Dominoes”

Shut up, you stupid girl.

Harsh? Really? Have a listen to the song yourself and see what words leap immediately to your mind, then.

There you go.

Rocksucker says: Have a Dead Quail!

a dead quail

Johnny Marr – “Upstarts”

It’s bog average, isn’t it? Come on, it is. Not saying that’s not a shame, but come on…apart from that syncopated guitar solo, it’s resoundingly nothing special. It’s a neat trick and its repetition actually maintains interest levels until the end, but the song around it is pretty ordinary fare.

Oh well. Sad face.

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

a quaila quailhalf a quail

Just Handshakes – “London Bound”

The summoning of that early-’90s combination of shoegaze guitars, sweetly probing bass and even sweeter female vocal…well, it’s back en vogue, all that stuff, and in the right hands – specifically those that have the nous to mould some distinct stylings rather than outright plagiarise – it can still sound gorgeous. 

Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quail

Kate Nash – “3am”

This song is zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sorry, we tried.

Rocksucker says: One Quail out of Five!

a quail

Kerogen – “Broken Wing”

Starts off all baroque “Sugar Plum Fairy” plucked strings and sprinkles of glowing synth glowworms, then drops into a tripped-out slow dub skank that really hits the spot. Colourful stuff, good work.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quaila quail

Kings of the City – “Please Tell Me”

A lilting swing, a lovely walking bass line,a slight Western feel, harmonies, rap sections, an ace growly  lead vocal: there’s so much good stuff crammed into this and it all sounds so seamlessly integrated together, unlike so many attempts at ‘crossover’. This just sounds like disparate influences coming together naturally as opposed to being forced, which is rarer than it ought to be in these days of “yeah, just stick a beat on that”.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quaila quail

Kylie Minogue & múm – “Whistle at the Rain”

From the Jack & Diane soundtrack, whatever Jack & Diane is. (Googles it) Oh, okay.

We’re inclined to give a wee bit more credit to múm than to Kylie for how lovely this twinkly little number sounds, unless of course Kylie was struck by lightning and is now an avant garde electronic producer. Stranger things have happened.

Come to think of it, they probably haven’t. Nevertheless…

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

a quaila quaila quailhalf a quail

Little Mix – “Change Your Life”

Erm…
……
*sigh*

Wait…
……
…no…
……

…Hang on!!…
…yip…
……
…hmmm…
……
…yeah.

This sucks donkey balls.

Rocksucker says: One Quail out of Five!

a quail

Miss 600 – “Hello”

Sounds like Nina bloody Simone compared to Little Mix. Unremarkable came-third-in-X-Factor-or-something sort of vocal, but brownie points for the swaggering skank beat and enlivening applications of brass.

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

a quaila quailhalf a quail

Night Engine – “Seventeen” 

Is the singer a product of Josh Homme and Peter Serafinowicz walking into the machine out of The Fly? Anyway, Rocksucker was so close to dismissing this as run-of-the-mill synth-pop/indie disco, but give it time to settle and some very astute songwriting moves become so abundantly clear that you can’t believe it took you however many seconds or minutes them. There are even touches of Blur and SFA in there. Hats off, a cracking debut single.

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

a quaila quaila quaila quailhalf a quail

One Direction – “One Way or Another”

Not going to embed the video for this one, not even going to listen to it again after seeing these idiot children butchering it on last night’s tragically un-nuked BRIT Awards. 

One Direction are Satan’s most cunning disguise to date.

Rocksucker says: Quail Massacre!!

A quail massacre

Oh the humanity (quaility?)!

Pick a Piper feat. John Schmersal – “All Her Colours”

Caribou drummer Brad Weber and Enon/Brainiac/fellow live Caribou man Schmersal team up on a number that takes Caribou’s maximalist aesthestic and invests it into sweetly brooding, Postal-Service-reminding-of electro-pop. Another strong single in what’s actually turned out to be a pretty good week for ’em. We look forward to hearing more from Weber.

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

a quaila quaila quailhalf a quail

Primal Scream – “2013”

By now you could probably draw up some kind of Bobby Gillespie drinking game, so reassuringly familiar are the lyrical concerns here (“21st century slaves”, “underclass”, “television propaganda”, that sort of thing) but at the same time there’s no great indication of what direction the forthcoming More Light album might go in. The busy mix of “2013” probably bears more comparison with the primo psychedelia of Vanishing Point than the euphoria of Screamadelica or monstrous electro of XTRMNTR – it shuffles along all cool like, throwing in a sax line like some sinister Madness, and at least it’s clear they’re not in sub-Rolling Stones mode. 

The Scream are due another major statement by now. Fingers crossed we get it in May.

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

a quaila quaila quailhalf a quail

San Cisco – “Wild Things”

Nice shuffling beat that takes on boy/girl vocals and a selection of lightly eccentric touches – this is good stuff from the Australians, reminding a wee bit of a cross between WHY? and Tame Impala with a delightfully slack yet engaging chorus. Londoners: catch these guys at the Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen on 6th, March!

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quaila quail

Silent Sleep – “You Can Colour Me In”

This song is so sweet, almost insufferably so, that trashing it would feel akin to kicking a puppy in the face. Just as well. then, that it’s got a snuggly kind of warmth to it, and just enough charm to avoid nauseating.

Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quail

Sinéad O’Connor – “4th and Vine”

Blimey, it’s a Sinéad O’Connor Bhangra! This may not be earth-shattering stuff, but it’s fun, groovy and tastefully done, which frankly puts it in a different stratosphere to some of this week’s other singles. Props also for rhyming ‘wuss’ with ‘serious’.

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

a quaila quaila quailhalf a quail

Space – “Frightened Horses”

Opens with creepy circus keyboard amidst some introductory crackling, like a vault being crowbarred open for those magnificent Space chaps to come crawling out with an absolute beast of a comeback single that no doubt the world at large will choose to ignore, because it’s not 1996 any more and uniquely imaginative chart hits just aren’t allowed anymore.

Back when they were, Space were in their element, planting odd-pop classics like “Female of the Species”, “Neighbourhood”, “Avenging Angels” and “The Ballad of Tom Jones” in the top 20 like a wayward cop sprinkling cocaine on a key suspect. “Frightened Horses” welds some of the best bits of the band’s old sound – Thomas Scott’s cracked-yet-consummate showmanship, Franny Griffiths’s distinct sci-fi keys – to those provided by the uniformly ace new members, resulting in something that’s at once totally commanding and a whole heap of fun. 

Roll on the album Attack of the Mutant 50 Ft Kebab (yes, seriously) and London show on 7th March!

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

a quaila quaila quaila quailhalf a quail

Sweet Baboo – “Let’s Go Swimming Wild”

The kind of sweet and innocently playful Indie Thing that should prove popular before it winds up on a phone advert and everyone starts hating it. This is nice enough and earns brownie points for the swinging brass in the chorus, but it’s essentially a slightly more colourful Athlete.

Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quail

The Aprons – “Sound Stain”

Starts out all ‘doomy Mogwai’, then finds the Tel Aviv songstresses in a magical woodlands clearing, lulling crystal deers in then fleeing alongside them as hunters open fire. A choice cut from their beguiling debut album Sound Stains, and worlds away from the guff that infested those BRIT Awards the other night. Yes, this has become quite the stellar week for singles, folks!

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quaila quail

Three Blind Wolves – “In Here Somewhere”

If Future Islands, Modest Mouse and Gomez got together, they might end up sounding a bit like this. Consider that a commendation.

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

a quaila quaila quailhalf a quail

Two Door Cinema Club – “Next Year”

Perhaps the standout track of last year’s Beacon album, but so anaemic an outing that was that this actual attempt at writing a song worthy of the name was comfortably enough to ‘scoop’ that dubious accolade. Still, “Next Year” is quite nice, like a (much) less aggravating Killers.

Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quail

Tyler James feat. Kano – “Worry About You”

“I worry about you, babe / When your phone’s not on” – oh be quiet, the pair of you. At least this has a decent stab at an imaginative chord/melody progression, but James ruins it with his inane warbling. Kano delivers the illest rap to do with being worried about someone not texting back that we’ve heard, gosh, all week, but it’s not quite enough to save it.

Ah nuts, we found ourselves humming it within moments of it finishing. Still…

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

a quailhalf a quail

See you next week, everybody!

Artists: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.