The Beast from the East has hit the British shores hard, but we here at The Panoptic aren't ready to be shown up by a sprinkling of snow. Single of the Week is fighting back against the cold. This week, we're bringing you a fascinating range of songs. From Welsh pop to South Korean/French fusion, we've got some real treats for you.
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Samuel Spencer, ‘Eus Keus?’ by Gwenno
Think of Welsh pop and you probably have imagine Charlotte Church in her Cheeky Vimto phase or Tom Jones, with his full shag pile of chest hair on show. However, there’s a whole strain of offbeat, dreamy Welsh language pop well worth your time, going as far back as Gorkys Zygotic Mynci and continuing to today with Gwenno, formerly of curio throwbacks The Pippettes, whose new album has just dropped. The best track on it is ‘Eus Keus?’. No, I don’t know what it means, but when a track floats and shimmers like this, who cares? Gwenno is a (Brecon) beacon of light, a lost Cocteau Twin, an artist making deliberately obscure gems.
Brooklyn Jones, ‘Goodbye Kisses’ by Joe Hertz feat. Pip Millet
Joe Hertz is someone I’ve written about before and is a serious up-and-comer in the production and song-writing world. I was lucky enough to get to see a live performance of this track at his album launch at the Bermondsey Social Club with Pip Millet. Millet’s voice is truly extraordinary. Her tone has a sultry smoky quality which is balanced by a strength not easily achieved. Hertz’s production perfectly complements the cadence and tone of her voice. Also, that chorus is honestly perfect for a jam session. This is one to put on your playlist, and Millet and Hertz are ones to keep your eye on. I have no doubt their careers are on a trajectory to skyrocket very soon.
Will Bostock, ‘The Prophecy’ by S.O.N.S
Shin-Okubo One Night Stand is a new 12” offering from S.O.N.S. Described by someone on YouTube as a ‘grade A+ vibe merchant from the cosmos’, S.O.N.S’ previous 12” vinyl EP sold out within hours. Based on their past work it’s not hard to guess that this EP will live up to the reputation of those before it. I mean, a musical and heritage mix of French and South Korean can only result in good thing. The French government describes its relations with South Korea as “excellent” (Wikipedia). Relations aside, the teaser track from One Night Stand, ‘The Prophecy’, is a cosmic wonder. YouTube aficionados really get to the crux don’t they. Sounds of tinkling wind chimes and Martian panpipes meet on a wooded pathway and just generally have a nice time for 17 minutes. The great thing is, we don’t know what the other six tracks will have to say for themselves. We can only wait with baited breath.
Sidrah Zubair, ‘Make Me Feel’ by Janelle Monáe
You know of those songs that give you goosebumps within the first 30 seconds of listening to it? Well, this latest release by Miss Monáe does exactly that, especially when her vocals—a delectable combination of sultry whispers and harmonies—start enticing you further into the tune. The 80s influences of the artist are clear within the song, especially through the funky, tongue-in-cheek, guitars and synths during the chorus. The video is no different, and the homage to Prince jumps out through the strong, colourful visuals. Let’s not forget the lyrics either. There’s been some speculation that lines such as ‘Baby don’t make me spell it out for you’ could be hinting at Monáe’s bisexuality and the video seems to back this notion up. Either way, this song will surely be hitting up the clubs in no time, although there will probably be a lot of sexually-charged dancing going on. We advise going at your own risk.
Freddie Metherell, ‘Our Girl’ by Our Girl
Our Girl are a Brighton band that are making dents in the London’s grunge scene, supporting The Magic Gang on their current tour. This self titled release was the first song that the trio wrote together and proved to be the inspiration for their band name. An amalgamation of fuzzy guitars and hooks aplenty, this song is right up my street. The constructed sound is impressively balanced, due in part to the influence of Bill Ryder-Jones (founding member of The Coral) in the production. The release of their EP Normally in 2016, really captured my imagination. I think this new song shows that hype was not misplaced. Securing a slot at this years SXSW and releasing songs like this, they won’t be playing as the support act for The Magic Gang for too much longer.
Image: Bad Boy / WEA