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After his heavily successful venture into soul and the mainstream market, Plan B (aka Ben Drew) is back with, ‘Ill Manors’, his new single.’Ill Manors’ is back to what we first loved Plan B for though, offensive, balls-out rap songs that should get nowhere near the Radio1 A list. It’s an indicator that Plan B has departed from the catchy toe-tapping choruses which saw him shoot to fame in his Strickland Banks era.
Gritty politically motivated lyrics are the order of the day as far as this tune goes: “Let’s all go on an urban safari/we might see some illegal migrants/Oi look there’s a chav/that means council housed and violet.” This opening epitomizes what this song is about, showing broken Britain in a way that only Plan B can. In my opinion, this song isn’t Plan B’s best. I really enjoyed his venture into soul with Strickland Banks; ‘Stay Too Long,’ ‘She Said’ and ‘The Recluse’ are all fantastic tracks showcasing the best bits of Plan B’s regalia. However on the back of what he achieved with Strickland it is without a doubt that this track will prove successful. Just not as successful as Ben may have expected.
‘Ill Manors’, the new single from Plan B, will be out on the 25th of March on Atlantic Records.
After their 2010 debut, Allo Darlin’ are back, with their breezy pop sensibilities, antipodean-influenced sound, and ukeleles. Teaser single ‘Capricornia’ turns the dial a little more upbeat than previous efforts, with more than a nod to the mainstream. Opening with shoegazey acoustic guitars, the bright, ’90s-shiny harmonised vocal of Elizabeth Morris is breezy as Margate sea-front, equally as adorned with primary colours, and as fluffy as seaside candy floss. Like the Cranberries on nitrous oxide, or a Belle and Sebastian with impeccable manners, this is music you can take home to have a cup of tea with your gran. There’s nothing fancy here, just some nice melodies, a few jangly guitars, and a song with a big grin on its face.
Allo Darlin’s star has been rising since their rapturous reception on last year’s music festival circuit: 2012 could be the year they break into the mainstream. Which eagerness could explain the reason why such a sunny track is being released in January: this lot just can’t wait to brighten up the doldrums of winter. Good on them.
‘Capricornia’, the latest single from Allo Darlin’, is out now on Fortuna Pop. Their next album ‘Europe’ is due out in April. The band are in the middle of a UK tour, stopping in Cardiff tonight.
By Luke Morton
on Thursday, 16th February 2012 at 12:00 pm
As much as we celebrated Valentine’s Day this week here at TGTF Towers, there’s also an opposite side. Not every relationship is built around fluffy cuddly toys or over-priced pieces of card with a soulless pre-printed message inside. Some couples are unfortunately fated to fail. Luckily then there’s a wealth of songs written about ‘the one who got away’, ‘the one you’ll always love’ and everyone’s favourite ‘the one who got a restraining order’.
One band dipping their toe into the murky waters of anti-love songs are Tom Williams and the Boat with their new single ‘My Bones’. The Tunbridge Wells sextet have created a 4-minute ambient opus of heartache that has all the ingredients of a huge stadium anthem…that fails to get off the ground.
As a song, it’s lyrically-focused and the music seems to be an after thought. The chorus line “Can you pick me up Mary and take me home / I love you from the marrow of my bones” has that Frank Turner-esque, folk rock spine-tingling element, but just doesn’t elevate itself high enough over the rest of the acoustic simplicity.
The mix of Leonard Cohen style ‘sort of talking’ vocals and slow, sombre backing music creates a heartfelt and emotive sound. Tom Williams and his crew, though, just can’t find the hook to drag us into their boat. The passion is there but it just doesn’t come across as strongly as it should. You’re left wanting more, but not in a good way.
‘My Bones’, Tom Williams and the Boat’s new single, is out the 27th of February on Moshi Moshi.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 14th February 2012 at 2:00 pm
Words by Tom Mughal
Despite looking like a Victorian cad, there’s nothing old-fashioned about King Charles. His trendy calypso guitar lines are reminiscent of Vampire Weekend coupled with his Jack Sparrow-esque look makes for a charming style. A style that’s put to perfectly good use in the new single from his upcoming album, both titled ‘LoveBlood.’
A short song, only just going over 2 and a half minutes, ‘LoveBlood’ is unbelievably catchy. You’ll find yourself chanting “I’ve got love in my blood..” for days on end. The track’s lyrics reflect the story behind them; written whilst recovering from brain trauma caused by nearly dying in a ski accident three years ago, it focuses on the classic theme of not taking your love for granted.
Not that this is by any means a bad thing. Lines such as “take a picture before we’re old, we’ve never looked so beautiful”’ complement the upbeat, happy rhythm. After all, with music like this you wouldn’t really expect him to be singing his thoughts on the Arab-Israeli conflict.
X-Factor backstory aside, King Charles’ new single is an impressive one. Hopefully it will catch the attention of radio DJs ahead of his debut album release on 7th of May. If ‘LoveBlood’ and his previous singles are anything to go by then, this will most definitely be an album to look out for this year.
The next single from King Charles, ‘LoveBlood’, will be released on the 20th of February on Island.
By Luke Morton
on Friday, 10th February 2012 at 4:00 pm
You wouldn’t have thought it but Lostprophets have been together since 1997: that’s a whole 15 years! What’s even more remarkable is that they’re still loitering around the edges of mainstream success. Yes they’ve had big hits with ‘Last Train Home’ and ‘Rooftops’, but they’re still not headlining the O2. That said, 2012 could be the the year for the Pontypridd boyos.
With their fifth studio album ‘Weapons’ hitting the shelves in April, Lostprophets have released the first single to tease us with. Entitled ‘Bring ‘Em Down’, it’s (as the name suggests) an angsty ‘let’s stick it to the man, yeah’ ditty that lyrically speaking doesn’t add much to the already overflowing trough of faux social awareness. That said, it’s not the worst thing they’ve ever done.
There’s a general split between Lostprophets fans over which era was the best; the nu-metal/punk stage or the emotive stadium rock stage. Luckily for original fans, ‘Bring ‘Em Down’ harks back to 2003′s ‘Start Something’ with its punk edge and bouncy rhythms. The anthemic chorus (albeit not lyrical genius) is aimed solely at the festival crowd, which will no doubt be used to full effect when summer rolls around.
While the track is full of punk energy, Ian Watkins and his cohorts play things too safe. It needs to be ballsier and feature less cliché-ridden lyrics about beating the unnamed opposition. The big instrumental breakdown toward the end is begging for Watkins to go absolutely batshit and scream until blood comes out his ears, but we’re met with random electronic noises and a countdown from ten to zero before stopping.
In short ‘Bring ‘Em Down’ is not the band’s best work but it’s also not the worst. It blends the raw, energetic ethos of ‘Fakesoundofprogress’ with the ‘we really wish we were 30 Seconds To Mars‘ ideology of ‘Liberation Transmission’ and to an extent ‘The Betrayed’. But if the new album can improve on the single, Lostprophets may finally achieve what they’ve craved for the past decade and a half.
Lostprophets will be touring the UK starting the middle of April through to the beginning of March, shortly after the release of their next album, ‘Weapons’ (2 April).
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 24th January 2012 at 12:00 pm
It’s been 3 long years since New Zealand’s Ladyhawke (aka Pip Brown) released her self-titled debut album and we were dancing to the rhythms of ‘Paris is Burning’ and ‘My Delirium’. (Don’t lie. I know you were tapping your toes to those songs. Even in America I’ll hear one of these come on the PA while I’m trying on clothes in Express.) It’s been a long wait but we’ve now been assured by the lady herself that the new album ‘Anxiety’, to be released on 19 March, will be “is a more straight-up guitar record”. Frankly, for someone who liked the synthy dance goodness of her debut, this is the sort of comment that straight up terrifies me.
Yesterday evening, Zane Lowe premiered the new single as his Hottest Record in the World feature on Radio1. The ‘Black White and Blue’ of the title refers to celestial skies and isn’t an obvious play on America’s flag. Maybe it was because yesterday there was talk about how Noel Gallagher was going to receive NME’s Godlike Genius Award of 2012, but I’m hearing trippy echoes of Oasis in here. While the guitars are admirable, there is tapping and a lot of “oh noes” peppered in through the lacklustre melody, and there is a chilly, sci-fi vibe throughout with bleepy synths. I was keen on the glitchy Shortwave Set-like effects at the start, but I was disappointed with those rocket noises going off during the chorus. Both lyrically and instrumentally, it’s nothing special.
‘Black White and Blue’, the new single from Ladyhawke, will be released on the 20th of February. ‘Anxiety’, her second album, will be released in early March.