Eugene McGuinness

Eugene McGuinness... Blackstuff Boy

The best of this week’s singles: Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, Eugene McGuinness and more!

Published on August 13th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams

This week’s singles contained some that were quite best; decidedly best; way best-er, it has to be said, than the ones that didn’t make the cut. They were much worst-er than these.

For those partial to a spot of bestism, plunge your chops into this lot…

Oh Land – “Renaissance Girls”

You can stick your Lady Gaga: *this* is a proper modern pop star, with proper star quality beyond ‘dressing like an oddball’.

Doesn’t sound like her forthcoming third album Wish Bone will be revisiting the siren-like musical rock pools of her first album, but that’s alright as long as she’s making chart-friendly music that actually has a brain.

If any 12-year-olds happen to be reading: please, please download this instead of the new Katy Perry single. kthnxbai.

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

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Bloc Party – “Ratchet”

Never really ‘got’ this lot, but gotta dig that disorientingly whirry guitar part that sounds like a dubstep synth or somesuch (thankfully, they refrain from shoehorning in a ‘wob wob wob’ breakdown section à la Muse).

Kele Okereke’s hipster-baiting stream of consciousness toes a fine line at first but lands firmly on the right side of ‘fun’ for us. There’s still something a bit sappingly ‘grey’ about Bloc Party’s overall sound, at least to our ears, but we shan’t quibble when they’re fleshing it out with such unusualness.

Another ace video, too. Something in the water this summer?

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

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The Sudden Death of Stars – “Goodbye”

More stellar psychedelia from Cornershop’s burgeoning Ample Play roster, this is so steeped in sunshine and glee that you may find yourself getting rather carried away.

Sit down while listening, lest you feel a sudden rush of energy and charge straight into a wall. You may break your nose, but you shall do so smiling.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Bloodflower – “Horizon”

Plenty to like about this brooding, melodically subtle digi-pop: it sounds like something that could have featured on Gaz Coombes’s brilliant Here Come the Bombs album of last year, and gets quirkier and more surprising as it goes on.

Bravo Bloodflower, whoever you are!

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Arctic Monkeys – “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”

Well, someone’s finally done it: made a good song and video about mobile phone courtship, that is.

Quite possibly because Arctic Monkeys have the self-awareness to realise they’re not being desperately clever by doing it, and as such actually deign to put a twist on it to elevate it beyond the reams of “hee hee, I mentioned texting, how modern and cool” twaddle we have to trudge through every week.

While the song itself may be a slow-burner, a brooding strut to follow the brooding stomp of previous single “Do I Wanna Know”, the video is superb entertainment. A surefire quail-earner.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – “Dark Water”

No, that’s not a typo, there are meant to be two Jr.s. And they’re a band, not just one bloke.

It’s delightful, sweet ‘n’ psych-tinged with a tangential streak that bodes well for a full album’s worth of listening.

Threatens to overload the cutesiness with whistling, glockenspiel and all manner of tweeness, but has the melodic sensibility and genuine heart to pull it off.

And another good video! Take note, Bullet For My Valentine et al: it’s no longer enough just to film yourselves ‘rawking out’ onstage as a crowd goes wild.

Tune in tomorrow for that particular monstrosity.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Elyas Khan – “Bells”

Lovely shuffly rhythm section propping this one up, lovely laid-back drawl to the vocal, lovely subtle melodic progression, psychedelic shower at its conclusion…that’s four counts of lovely, each of which merits its very own quail.

We likey. Who is this chap? We intend to find out.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Eugene McGuinness – “Fairlight”

Typically tremendous fare from an artist worthy of far greater exposure. This tears along with equal parts energy and restraint, casting a sublime menace with its fuzzy bass and yer man’s expertly judged vocal melody.

From odd-pop to psychedelic krautrock with seamless brilliance; Eugene McGuinness is a class act. Here’s hoping this heralds another album. Single of the week.

Rocksucker says: Four 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.