This week’s “Single Play” is a bit late because, well, life got in the way. But that doesn’t taint the selections in the spotlight for this week. There’s a band from Australia whose modest goal of taking over the world is noted for the title of their, um, non-threatening single that’ll get them started. Another group in this week’s line up is from Kansas City. They don’t necessarily want to take over the world, but their music conjures up a few broody lads who grew out of the ashes of Joy Division. If all that is far too tame for you, you’ll get a chance to hear some gritty and unvarnished rock that’ll make you say “Thank you sir, may I have another?” Finally, if you’re just feeling stupid and ready to kick in some sheet rock while pounding a beer, the last group in this week’s “Single Play” could be a good soundtrack for that very activity.
The Rubens,” My Gun”
Three brothers from Australia start a band with the goal of being the best band in the world. They name themselves “The Rubens” — even though their last name is Margin. I’m sure in their quest to achieve super-duper star status, they’ve had to endure a kind of “Which one is Pink?” confusion with between the band’s name and the brothers’ surname. “Enough of the bio,” you may say, “What’s the song like?” Well, “My Gun” certainly has a Black Keys/The Stone Foxes kind of style going for them. But the song is also chock full of hooks, is very polished in the production department, and will most likely wind up being played on Alt Rock stations. There’s a brooding underbelly to “My Gun,” but not in an overwhelming “woe is me” kind of way. But hey, brooding and all, if this is the opening salvo on their way to world domination, I think we’re going to hear more from The Rubens in the future.
We Are Voices, “Fighting Fires”
The other day, I made a comment on a thread the Popdose writers were participating in, and it went something like this: “I thought the ’80s retro thing was over?” One listen to “Fighting Fires,” however, and it’s clear the ’80s are far from over. This single will conjure up early New Order, but We Are Voices are no knock-off band. The chorus wades ever-so-tastefully into the kind of anthem rock U2 are known for, but does so in a way that doesn’t overpower the rest of the song. “Fighting Fires” didn’t grab me right away, but after a few spins, I think you’ll appreciate the way the band is able to pay homage to their influences and carve out their own voice at the same time.
The Lost Souls Club, “Romeo”
These scruffy boys have been compared to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, but I don’t hear it on this lead single. I do hear a driving melody, a gritty attitude in the singing, and a kind of “four on the floor” rock that’ll have you cranking this in your car. I think what’s so appealing about “Romeo” is the no bullshit vibe of the song. Simply put, this song rocks. Moreover, it’s free from irony, emo posturing, and dilettantism. The Lost Souls Club look and sound like the real deal, so if you like your music with a healthy dose of dusky tones, then you’re going to want to dive into this song ASAP.
Lovable Rouges, “What a Night”
As Joel’s dad said to him in Risky Business, “Sometimes you just have to say ‘What the heck.’” And while the video to this song has very little in common with Risky Business, there is a “What the heck” attitude deeply embedded in it. Indeed, the video conjures up movies where reckless teens demolish a house during a party (See Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink). But in reality who does that? I guess if you’re a cheeky Brit band with the name like Lovable Rogues, you do! The song itself if just dopey fun that’ll make you wish you could trash your mom and dad’s house…and get away with it.