Singles Review: Owen, Hey Sholay, Wampire, Black Moth, Witch Hunt, Olof Arnalds, Wax Fang, The Crimea

Greetings, readers who appreciated the nods to the classic G.I. Joe* cartoon in G.I. Joe Retaliation!  Welcome to another edition of our “reviewing releases late again” single reviews column.

In honour to our recent re-obsession with Sigur Ros( ), we are nicknaming our reviewers after each track. If this doesn’t make sense, then you xylo no fi lo, you so, so no filo.

Ah, singles, right:

Owen – Bad Blood

The very lovely Mike Kinsella is back (babe, we missed you!) with his typically intricate and powerful sort of flashy pop that is as deceptive as a sneaky ninja stealing your jam-filled doughnuts (darn it!). ‘Bad blood’ starts very peppy, then goes into a moody, morose interlude that segues into a very lovely mini-solo. Can’t wait for the new Owen album, L’ami de peuple (out this June on Polyvinyl Records.) – Orestes “Vaka” P. Xistos

Hey Sholay – WDYRWMTB

Hy, ths s vr gdd! The lovely Hey Sholay are back with another dreamy track, ‘WDYRWMTB’ or ‘who do you really want me to be’ for the ones listening the lyrics. A dark pop song with pleasing aural treasures and abundant good vibes (love the trippy bit in the climax), it’s a prime cut as a single for their new album, Cloud, Castle, ______ , out on Fierce Panda Records (June). – Sam “Fyrsta” J. Valdés López

Wampire – Trains

Out of the Polyvinyl oven comes this summery groove by Wampire, who seem to be getting a meteorical ascent as of late. All good so far, as ‘Trains’ seems to be pushing towards escape velocity ( which is Vesc = √(2gR), if you need it) with its pleasing tempo and slightly spaced-out vocals. –Orestes “Samskeyti” P. Xistos


Black Moth – Savage Dancer / Tree of Woe

The criminally underrated Black Moth are back with this brand new single (out now on Too Pure Singles), with two equally potent tracks that will be a square meal for those starving for riffs. ‘Savage Dancer’ is upfront the one with the most attitude (and faster pace), a combination of slow grooves for the headbanging/nodding enthusiast and enough overdrive to vitamin up a guitarist who was feeling under the weather.

‘Tree of woe’ might be the b-side but somehow feels like the stronger track in this release (and that’s a difficult decision to make.) A slow pace burns like incense to create a doom-laden atmosphere, one which is swiftly dispersed with Black Moth swathing the fog with their hard rock antics. The solo is quite rewarding. –Sam “Njósnavélin” J. Valdés López

Witch Hunt – Crawl / Polly (demo) / I’m finding it harder to be a gentleman

Witch Hunt know a devil called deception and this can be summed up by how loud their quiet music is. Wrapped up in a lovely (and macabre) poster, this single contains three tracks. ‘Crawl’ is a creepy jaunt through an abandoned region of your head, where dreams and memories can no longer be distinguished from each other. Great Gothic atmosphere to this subtle track that delivers a swift assault to your paunch.

‘Polly’ is less polished (it’s a demo) but whatever it lacks in audio quality (I didn’t notice much) more than makes up with the sheer likeability of the track. Seedy and infectious, ‘Polly’ seems to speak of acceptance after willingly gazing to the abyss for far too long. That last vocal, Jebus almighty, that’s an impressive fall.

There’s a surprise in this single and if you haven’t heard it, I’m sorry but I’m spoiling it: Witch Hunt have covered The White Stripes ‘I’m finding it harder to be a gentleman’. This is not a “Bruce Willis was dead all along!” sort of surprise, but more of a “Bruce Willis was a superhero all along!” I like the original and albeit this changes not much from Jack White‘s groovy ditty, it’s a lovely homage. – Orestes “Álafoss” P. Xistos
Ólöf Arnalds – German Fields

Magic. Pure magic. That’s all I can say about this track by the always stunning Ólöf Arnalds, who manages to synthesise a stunning track out of basic musical genes. ‘German Fields’ has this urgency that raises heartbeats, even if this is nowhere near to speed metal. Do you feel this year’s Spring wasn’t refreshing enough and vivid? Listen to this and close your eyes and enjoy the green landscapes suddenly appearing. -Sam “E-bow” J. Valdés López

Wax Fang – The blonde leading the blonde

Wax Fang blister their way through the unforgiving deserts and bring out this anthemic and catchy track called ‘The blonde leading the blonde’, which feels like the bridge before a chorus, then does a quick twist, switching gears to easy going normality and then twisting again, offering a lovely chorus. It’s as feel good as they come, even if it lyrically feels like a harsh critique. Oh, well, if it is, then it’s a welcomed critique. Rockin’ out. – Orestes “Dauðalagið” P. Xistos

The Crimea – Last Plane out of Saigon

Who wants a Gibson? Vermouth, Gin and an onion. Why the elegant choice of drink? Well, because of Mad Men and because of The Crimea‘s new single (free download!), ‘Last Plane out of Saigon’. This fashionably appealing track has that upscale, velvet like texture that The Crimea has always manufactured out of thin air. Two steps from becoming full Chamber Pop loveliness, ‘Last plane out of Saigon’ is a good omen for whatever they plan to release (it’d better be soon, I’m going to overplay this fucker…)- Sam “Popplagið” J. Valdés López

*Yes, it’s Action Man for you lovely Brits. And that’s that. Thanks for reading us.

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