Damon Albarn, provider of one of the best of this week's singles Damon Albarn… Bot off the press

The best of this week’s singles: Beck, Damon Albarn, Rufus Wainwright and more!

Published on January 23rd, 2014 | Jonny Abrams

Welcome to our inaugural singles round-up of 2014! This week’s singles are plentiful, so we’ve had to split it into two parts – here’s the first of those, starring Damon Albarn, Beck, Neneh Cherry, Moderat, Dean Wareham, Kevin Drew, Tennis, Rufus Wainwright, Ava Luna and Marram…

SEE ALSO: The best of this week’s singles (part 2)

Buriers – “Lord Be Kind”

Formerly A Band of Buriers, these chaps have delighted us in the past with their ‘Leonard Cohen as ancient bard’ stylings and they aren’t about to stop now. Luscious mystical darkness illuminated by James P Honey’s unmistakably ‘incantation-y’ drawl.

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

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Damon Albarn – “Everyday Robots”

Rocksucker’s rabid anticipation goes out to Albarn’s forthcoming solo debut, the nature of which is merely hinted at by the surprising ‘found sounds’ rhythm section and stately piano ballad overhead.

It’s kind of like “Under the Western Freeway” produced by Matthew Herbert, punctuated by a twiddly string sample for extra added exoticness. An intriguing proposition, and probably closer to how we imagined the new Beck single might be.

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

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Dean Wareham – “Holding Pattern”

The former Galaxie 500 man releases a self-titled solo album on March 10th, and his deliciously laid-back vocal style still sounds fresh on this brass-enriched number, which even throws in a backwards-aping psych guitar solo for good measure.

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

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Kevin Drew – “Good Sex”

Arriving ‘hot on the heels’ of Brendan Canning’s lovely You Gots 2 Chill LP, fellow Broken Social Scene-ster Drew presents us with a graceful and cinematically arranged number reminiscent of Local Natives and/or something from Jim James’s solo album of last year.

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

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Rufus Wainwright – “Me and Liza”

Should of course be “Liza and I”, grammar fans. This is the only new track from Wainwright’s forthcoming greatest hits compilation, and is as ever distinguished by ingenious songwriting and consummate showmanship. Maybe not an instant classic, but then he’s done his fair share of those already.

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

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Ava Luna – “Daydream”

If Talking Heads had been more given to scratchy garage-rock, they’d have sounded approximately like this. Ridiculously cocksure in an appealingly playful way.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Beck – “Blue Moon”

Not what we were expecting after his more electronically minded last couple of singles, which presumably shall surface on an album other than the forthcoming Morning Phase, out February 24th.

This sounds like Beck revisiting the folkier side he bared on Mutations and Sea Change, although this is only due to the organic instrumentation – it’s actually quite a blissed-out little pop tune, even if it is “tired of being alone” and a “vagabond that no one sees”.

We could have a West Coast album on our hands, which Beck is easily a great enough songwriter to make worthwhile. Baited breath, then.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Moderat – “Last Time”

Shimmering, felty introspection rides one skittering-ass beat and has a nifty final say in response to their characteristically marvellous II album of last year.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Neneh Cherry – “Everything”

Produced by Four Tet, and as such sounds a wee bit unhinged. Could they be this year’s unlikely pairing success story? There’s even a touch of the Maxinquayes about it, dare we say.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Tennis – “100 Lovers”

Gorgeously breezy swagger of a tune, classic soul intertwined with indie-pop and a satisfying beat. It’s like a female-fronted TV Girl, which is to say it’s lush.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

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Marram feat. Jarvis Cocker & Margaret Bennett – “Falling from the Sky”

Sounds somehow like watching back over a euphoric night out on video tape, but the film gets scrambled and it bursts into flames, similar to those that engulfed Caribou’s Up in Flames LP as Manitoba.

And it’s got Jarvis! Single of the week.

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

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NOW: Check out part 2 of our round-up of the best 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.