Single Review – Chairlift – Ch-Ching

Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly are the Indie Pop duo Chairlift hailing from New York. Back in 2008 and 2011 they were an important cog in the Brooklyn Indie machine, but have not produced anything since Something four years ago. Today they’ve announced the release of their third album Moth January and a new single in ‘Ch-Ching’. This new single marks a change of direction in the four years since their last work and sees the duo try their hand Hip-Hop themed electronica with those moulded harmonies from Polachek that have since been popularized by HAIM. It’s a song that swings from it’s Hip-Hop inspired verses to the Pop melodies of the chorus and a fade out into a hazy electronic bridge. A song that remarkably pulls off the mixture of styles and genres with ease and sheds light an a wider talent that Chairlift might possess if they keep this up.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

It’s a cover up! Beyonce/The Horrors – Best Thing I Never Had

Back in 2011 Beyoncé had released her fourth studio album which was shockingly called Four. From a large allocation of seven singles released throughout the latter half of 2011 and into 2012 of twelve that made up the album; ‘Best Thing I Never Had’ was one the album’s more successful tracks. It achieved a number three slot in the U.K singles chart and the song even got herself to number one in South Korea. It’s your typical  21st century piano ballad which Beyoncé is probably Queen of. The cascading piano is joined by the muted thump of the percussion and the chorus is ushered in by a razor-like power guitar riff and led out by the urgency of a string section. Like a lot of her songs, it is designed to showcase her powerful vocal ability and she duly delivers in hitting every rise, fall and peak.

Later on in the year, Southend-on-Sea’s The Horrors had turned up at Maida Vale studios for their turn on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge with the band still promoting their third studio album with Skying. In 2014, bassist Rhys Webb had talked of his admiration for artists such as Beyoncé and perhaps he picked out this track to cover back in 2011. Their version opens with a subtle angle of Joshua Hayward’s trademark guitar shred which is then collected by the more rapid and purposeful percussion and bass line as they speed up the tempo of the song compared to the original. On top of this is the muted oscillations of Tom Cowan’s synths and all of which is anchored down by Faris with his quaking, deep lying vocal. As the song progresses the guitar screeches and the synths grate of them. Independent of the driving bass and percussion. This version is a little more aggressive and expansive. What this version lacks in melody it makes up for with inventiveness as you would expect from The Horrors.










Sunday Suggestion – Tycho – Ascension

Tycho is a producer from Sacramento, California and who also dabbles in photography and design. He has been producing ambient techno or ‘downtempo’ music for around a decade now with his debut album Sunrise Projector reaching it’s tenth year now. He’s had plenty of experience while remaining relatively obscure and mysterious; much like his music. His fourth effort Awake is set for release on March 18th from which he’s already released an intriguing title track. I want to look back at ‘Ascension’ from 2011. It is a very drawn out and washed out sounding track as you’d expect, with the muffled beat rotating the song steadily in the background as the lighter synths bounce off it, the shimmering synth sounds away from it. The beat is replicated by a bass line and a tune is cut out via a more immediate and sharper synth. As the songs progresses smoothly and gradually; you get the odd echoed vocal sound or light guitar strumming but it is all minimal and so it should be. It carves out it’s own cool and sleek path.

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Sunday Suggestion – Anna Calvi – Suzanne and I

Anna Calvi is an artist I’m very fond of. Her underwhelmed and reserved nature is something she totally sets aside when she’s making music. When she does she is bold, alluring and her softly spoken voice becomes a deep and powerful force. On top of all this she isn’t too bad with a guitar and with a composition of a song, applying classic methods and elements to what are conventional themes. This naturally gives her an excellent grasp of production techniques and manipulation too. Though her second album was a very worthy follow up to her first; I lean slightly towards her self titled debut from 2011. In particular, I lean towards the track ‘ Suzanne & I’ for it best showcases her skill. First off, she maximises standard instrumentals and pushes them to their full effect. Whether this is with the heavy and echoed percussion or the confident strikes of her guitar for a long and filling reverb, or even utilising her powerful vocal. She later counteracts this with natural spaced out moments, using the wailing backing vocals to pull away from the drama of the song and then manipulating them to drag back into it. Amongst all this, she also churns out a great melodic riff in the chorus and puts much of her vocal range on show. A great and dramatic track. An advert for musical aptitude and ability.

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Sunday Suggestion – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Alone On The Rope

Yes I am an very big fan of Noel Gallagher but lets make a few things clear. It does not mean I hate Blur. In fact I love Blur too. It does not mean I read the NME religiously. It doesn’t mean that I hail him as a godlike figure either. He’s just a guy from Burnage who came out of the 90’s a hell of a lot more respected and richer than he did when he entered. He has never been at the cutting edge of musical development and lyrically, his main strength is his relatable topic content rather than his imagination. However, he’s skilful when it comes to creating a song with instant hooks and easy melodies or taking styles of music and reinterpreting them by packing them full of sound until it can’t hold anymore for a feast for the ears or by picking up an acoustic guitar and just being sincere. HFB’s was a solid album and one that was proof that he could do just fine without the rest of Oasis. The sounds produced were a little more clear and produced more delicately rather than slapping on reverb (which I still love too). But a B-Side to one of the singles was the highlight for me and that was ‘Alone On The Rope’. He uses subtle echo and arranges the song to solemnly fill the space with his more considered and longing type of vocal. There are still plenty of elements there but each have a simple yet intricate part to play before being cast off into the space of the song. This really enhances the emotive lyrics and gives you a real sense of abandonment and loneliness amongst other things it can conjure up. I think it could have really worked to give a sense of greater depth to his debut solo album in a different dimension to song like ‘If I Had A Gun’ which was more obvious and straight up. Really a demonstration of Noel Gallagher at his best.

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