Neon Neon Neon Neon… Quite frankly one of the coolest promo shots we’ve ever seen

The Best of This Week’s Singles: Michael Molloy, Pastels, Neon Neon and more!

Published on April 30th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams

The Best of This Week’s Singles, as hand-picked and reviewed by Rocksucker, is surely – and let’s be honest here – the true start of your week. Even more so than Monday; or, for our friends over the pond, Sunday. It’s when you’re at your happiest, kindest and most productive, which is testament to the endorphins-producing properties of a particularly strong batch of singles. On rare occasions they have also been known to account for outdoorphins.

Singles are also a great source of iron, vitamin D and whatever it is that makes your hair and nails look boss. Now, have yourselves a simultaneous earful of and butcher’s at the following…

Ground Pilots – “Castaway”

We loved previous single “A Billion Things” and this follow-up ramps up expectations for forthcoming debut album In the Way of the Oceans with a sublime rambler’s lilt somewhere between “Everybody’s Talkin'” and I Am Kloot.

And how do you make that even more sublime? That’s right: heaped vocal harmonies, pedal steel and a playful, ocean-based stop motion video. Deal resoundingly sealed, now bring on the LP!

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quaila quail

Janelle Monáe feat. Erykah Badu – “Q.U.E.E.N.”

Queen? More like a lady Prince, at least on the evidence of this wibbly synthed mini odyssey. Erykah Badu must surely collaborate with a different artist each day, but she continues to choose her collaborators wisely. This is retro yet fresh, poppy yet clever and furthermore there are some right old nifty lyrics in there. “The booty don’t lie”, indeed.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quaila quail

Lars and The Hands of Light – “Time To Glow”

It’s this week’s least judgable book cover, folks! Tradition dictates that a man in sunglasses, cap and vest swaggering attitudinally through a cheap-looking video should be ridiculed, if not reviled; allow the initial cynicism to subside, however, and you’ve got a glorious throwback on your hands.

Twiddly John Squire guitar, hazy yet colourful production, ace two-part harmonies and a big chiming koto* riff…you might find yourself blurting out a “…yeah…” of approval. Promising stuff from these Danes, as long as they’re willing to mix it up a bit elsewhere.

(*Or whatever it is. We shan’t pretend to know our traditional Japanese instruments.)

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

a quaila quaila quailhalf a quail

Michael Molloy and Alex Evans – “Rise & Fall”

18-year-old Liverpudlian Michael Molloy was one of three people killed in the coach crash on the way back from last year’s Bestival, and this is the last song he ever recorded. Even stripped of its tragic context, “Rise & Fall” would still be moving: it’s got gleaming guitars, acoustic melancholy that quests where so many others labour, and a soulful baritone of a lead vocal that is way, way beyond its years.

We’re not letting emotion getting the better of us when we say that this is excellent stuff. Help take it to number 1, why not, because goodness knows the world could use a good one.

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

a quaila quaila quaila quailhalf a quail

Neon Neon – “Hammer & Sickle”

You can check out our review of the album here, but we love Neon Neon so this demands inclusion irregardless. Great video too from Rob Schroeder, too.

Isolated from the album, “Hammer & Sickle” holds up rather splendidly indeed, even if it does mine melodic territory already covered by his excellence Gruff Rhys. It’s lodged itself firmly into our cerebral cortex, though, so we might just go the whole hog and throw an erotic banquet for our communist buddies.

Wanna come? It’s BYOB, but you have to share it.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quaila quail

The Pastels – “Check My Heart”

Blimey, look who’s back! It’s been sixteen years since their last album but this lightly fuzzy jangler sounds like they never left. Phrases like “original and best” are what spring to mind when holding this beaming, irrepressible melody up against the reams of decidedly flat-by-comparison imitators, and it comes across as if it was written in an impromptu fit of joy the moment that there sun came back out.

It is, indeed, liquid sunshine, and it comes with a lovely, cuddly video featuring an apparent cameo from Peter Schmeichel…

Peter Schmeichel lookalike

…and people drawing giant cocks on the pavement (as in the ground, not Malkmus and co.)…

The Pastels

See?

Gorgeous stuff, welcome return, all of that.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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The Staves – “Facing West”

Sailors, lock up your…er…selves: here be sirens! Those otherworldly harmonies elevate a sweet, understated strum into something really quite beguiling, and you get the impression there could be even better yet to come with a bit more lateral thinking applied to the music accompanying their stunning vocals.

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

a quaila quaila quailhalf a quail

Tune in tomorrow for The Worst of This Week’s Singles!

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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.