It’s Friday! And that means Singles of the Week. So, here are our favourite recently released singles, from the musically varied Panoptic team – enjoy and let us know what you’ve been listening to! You can listen to our Spotify playlist, and follow us, here.

EJ Oakley, ‘Double Feature’ by The Orwells

Admittedly this is a pretty old one, dating back to February, but it is without a doubt one of my favourite songs of the year, and The Orwells’ best song to date. Clocking in at seven minutes long, with an insidious earworm of a rolling bass riff that was composed off the idea of chain mail being sent back and forth, ‘Double Feature’ tells a story of small-town teenage antics, and how growing up and calming down may lead to a brilliant yet oddly unsettling future. Frontman Mario Cuomo’s lyrics are as sparse as usual, but here, their simplicity only serves to drive home the point. “Now he’s got a man to wake him up,” Cuomo sings, only to flip the script when he next says, “now he’s in an alley throwing up. Now he’s gone six months of the year, now he’s got irrational fears…” There are flipsides to every seemingly perfect facet of a life, and The Orwells gracefully address that on ‘Double Feature’ without breaking the surface; abandoning the otherwise in-your-face mentality that pervades all their other material. And if you’re still not convinced, just listen to it for that sweet, sweet bass riff.

Freddie Metherell, ‘Wallowa Lake Monster’ by Sufjan Stevens

Since Illinois swept the world music scene over ten years ago, the dulcet tones of Sufjan Stevens have consistently poured out of my speakers. ‘Wallowa Lake Monster’ is the first single from the new album that is set to be released later this month. This newest gem follows the album Carrie & Lowell that tackled the life and death of his late mother. The single was left off the album two years ago, but while it wasn’t deemed fitting at the time, this poignant track is certainly not a melodic castoff. An arpeggiated guitar whirls softly as Stevens recalls memories from his turbulent childhood. Effortlessly, references of local folklore and Dungeons & Dragons are mixed into his tales. This seamlessly builds until booming brass, complimented by an angelic chorus, elevates the listener to these referenced mythical lands.

Brooklyn Jones, ‘Only When We’re Naked’ by Zak Abel

Zak Abel has blessed us not just with a European tour, but also with his new album Only When We’re Naked (released 8th October 2017). His sound combines a sublimely soulful voice with rhythms that will make you bop up and down. This new album is just as lyrical as his 2015 album One Hand on the Future, however these tunes verge more towards pop than electro-soul. ‘Only When We’re Naked’, the title single of the album, is the perfect song to get you in the mood for the weekend, and I will personally be listening to it several times a day.

Clare Clarke, ‘Not My Ex’ by Jessie J

Jessie J’s new single ‘Not My Ex’ is a stripped back emotional rollercoaster: making you think about that bad ex, fresh loves, and the people we become through our mixed experiences. Her vocals and lyrics are so raw that it’s difficult not to enjoy this simple declaration of love, and if you want an added treat have a watch of her emotional music video which was released earlier this week. It’s the second single from her upcoming album R.O.S.E., and despite its subject it is a surprisingly upbeat and refreshing representation of relationships not as a cure or end all type deal, but an exciting journey. Here’s to hoping the rest of the album is just as good!

Image: Sufjan Stevens in 2006, taken by Joe Lencioni

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