Booker T.

Booker T.... By the Book

The Best of This Week’s Singles: Booker T., Balthazar, Electric Guest and more!

Published on June 4th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams

The best of this week’s singles? Well, we’re not going to give you the worst, are we? No, that’s for tomorrow.

In the meantime, here are the good ‘uns…

Balthazar – “Sinking Ship”

The latest single to be taken from the old-sounding young Belgians’ wonderful recent album Rats, “Sinking Ship” – notice the motif? – is a lyrical, Leonardcoheny, Tindersticksy, smokily nocturnal treat.

We can’t attest to it sounding anything like a ginger kid brushing his teeth, but then that just makes for another layer to Balthazar’s sophisticated web of intrigue. Hazard, Fellaini, Benteke and now this? Chic alors, Belgium!

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Booker T. feat. Gary Clark Jr. – “Austin City Blues”

The Grammy-winning soul hero releases his new album Sound the Alarm on August 12th, and this taster, featuring the guitar work of Gary Clark Jr., goes down a treat; it’s an almost absurdly easy-going sway, lulled into sunny sweet spots by a good old fashioned organ and an enduring love of the game. A delicious instrumental jam to pop on your summer playlist.

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

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Disclosure – “When a Fire Starts to Burn”

That’s video of the week sewn up, then. Funkiest exorcisms ever!

Ace tune, too: bass throbs, beat pounds and clicks, there’s pupil-dilating acid-house synth and a vocal rallying cry renewing energy levels at every turn…basically, if you spy Disclosure on your festival lineup, whip out a biro and get circling, ticking or whatever it is that you do.

The only drawback is that our MC/evangelist preacher never segues from the titular refrain into “…there’s a lesson you must learn / Something something, then you’ll see / You’ll avoid catastrophe / D’oh!” Er, if you can call that a drawback.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Electric Guest – “This Head I Hold”

Initial impression: how many bandwagons can this LA bunch jump on in one go? Shuffling, groovy R&B/soul Winehouse-pop, you know the kind. As it goes on, the more their melodic ingenuity shines through, not to mention a pleasing degree of eccentricity that winds up manifesting itself by switching completely unexpectedly into a synth-swept love story, one that resolves itself in a way that made us burst out laughing (with it, not at it).

Proof that style and substance needn’t always be separate entities. Fair play, Electric Guest. Fair play.

Rocksucker says: Four out of Five!

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Jon Hopkins – “Open Eye Signal”

Subtly shifting, gradually building, eight-minute slow-burner of a rubbery electronic groove that visually follows some kid skateboarding through the kind of suburbia that conceivably has featured in many a Pitchfork-approved video.

It’s hypnotic stuff if you allow it to be, and doubtless does wonderful things should you find yourself ‘under the influence’, but if you’re looking for a quick fix of something energising then you’d best skip to the last couple of minutes, synaesthetically loaded as they are with juggled funky house beats.

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

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Outfit – “I Want What’s Best”

If Hot Chip were more inclined to indulge the air of psychedelic menace that reared its head on the likes of “One Life Stand”, they might sound like this. Alternatively, think of a disco Dutch Uncles.

You know what, that’s doing this Liverpool quintet a disservice; “I Want What’s Best” strikes an instantly arresting balance between funky, sinister and melodic, one that mightn’t go anywhere particularly unexpected but nevertheless delivers instant gratification. Consider our interest piqued.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Portugal. The Man – “Purple Yellow Red & Blue”

MGMT meets Har Mar Superstar? Albeit, mercifully, 75%-25% in the former’s favour. As we learned with Darwin Deez, don’t judge a hipster by his appearance; this is good stuff with a welcome dose originality about its bounding psych-shuffle. Creepy video, too; ooh, and some very nice applications of swiped slide guitar at the end.

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

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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.