Single-Play

Single Play (Week of 3/18/13)

Single-Play

This week, it seems the “Single Play” spotlight has cast a wider beam on a group of artists whose names may not be familiar — but that shouldn’t stop you from clicking the music player and having a listen.

Slim Jenkins
“It’s Your Voodoo Working,” Slim Jenkins

A more gravelly cover version of the Charles Sheffield R&B song from 1961. It has that instant likability factor because the sound is so damn familiar. Slim Jenkins bill themselves as a gritty, yet smooth, swing and blues band from San Francisco. Yeah, listening to Slim Jenkins’ music you may think it’s the late ‘90s again when Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Cherry Poppin’ Daddies where all the rage. But everything old (and, with regards to this song…very old) is new again, and Slim Jenkins have certainly realized that people in their 30s and 40s love to dance…even if it’s to a kind of neo-swing that was popular almost 20 years ago.

“Pata Pata,” Lorraine Klassen

Another cover song! Jesus, what’s up with that? Well, if you’re Lorraine Klassen, you might as well cover one that was a big hit by Miriam Makaba – the South African singer who was a family friend of Klassen, and who also sang on Paul Simon’s Graceland album. “Pata Pata” was recorded in the late ‘50s, but actually went to #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967. Have a look at the video and you can see why this song has the kids in the audience dancing. “Pata Pata” is a prime example of the universal appeal of music.

“Surf Trem,” Charles Howl

What do I know about the UK group, Charles Howl? Well, beyond the fact that their biography is pretty vague (i.e., “Six musicians, recording album. Or do you want some fantastic fairytale biography?”), there’s not much to say other than “Surf Trem” is a strange mixture of jangly guitar, sci-fi synth, and monotone vocals that, well, works for me. It’s one of those songs that’ll perfectly compliment a drive where you’ve got the speakers cranked, the windows open and you just don’t give a crap about what’s next.

“Sex,” The 1975

Another UK band? Yep. The 1975 have a sound that’s more 1985, and on “Sex” you can certainly hear echoes of U2, The Alarm, and The Waterboys with a more contemporary vocal phrasing from lead singer, Matthew Healy. This song has many of things you’d expect from an anthemic single: soaring guitars and a big chorus. But underneath the thick retro sound are Healy’s lyrics — which detail the downside of being someone’s sex buddy when other, non-hormonal, feelings develop. Ah, you can take the boy out of high school, but you can’t take high school out of the boy…[Update: the album version is different from this EP version -- which I like better]