Ambient Light Singles Club: September 2022

Monthly Feature by Tim Gruar, Mark Derricutt and Doug Peters.

Can you believe it’s almost the run towards the end of the year? The good news is that we are nearly over the winter! And more good news, it’s your chance to get rid of that local councillor or mayor that you are always whinging about! Oh, yes, we are about to go into the cycle of local council elections. And… before you wax lyrical about what a boring topic, consider this: It’s councils that decide when and where live music gigs can set up, the license they can hold and the hours they can operate. Places like Auckland’s Kings Arms have lost out to the developers. The ‘Fringe Club’ in Wellington has closed, remade as a restaurant. Totara Street in Tauranga has taken a hit, Wunderbar in Lyttleton is on the brink, Smash Palace in Gisborne is also on shaky ground, to name but three. There are countless more that have fallen foul to civic decisions.

Yet, despite the last two years venues are crawling back. But they face the long, slow resurgence of customers, constant re-bookings and cancellations thanks to ongoing illness.

And what about our favourite streets, Cashel Street, Cuba Street, K’ Road being ‘repurposed’, and we lose more character, bars, clubs and record shops. Inner city apartments are sprawling everywhere, people are less tolerant of loud music, even in parks. The sword of Pericles hangs over them: Council regulation changes and re-zonings.

We are losing some of the character that makes our cities special – live music. And who knows what conspiracy theorists and NIMBY’s might be voted in unopposed if we don’t act? So, as the saying goes: If you don’t vote, then shut up and stop complaining! Do your civic duty. When those forms arrive in the post, read up on the candidates, go to the public meetings, troll the candidates on social media, check them out and return those voting papers on time. Even if you don’t care about libraries, swimming pools, recycling schemes or sewage pipes. Do it for the music!

Ok, enough attention on the poster children and billboard babies. Here we go with this month’s selection…

Singles Club

Fazerdaze – ‘Break!’

Fazerdaze performing live in support of The xx, Auckland New Zealand, 2017. Image by Doug Peters.
Fazerdaze – Photo by Doug Peters

‘Break!’ (the ep) was completed during a three-month-long lockdown while Amelia was living in solitude for the first time and directly in the aftermath of a nine-year-long relationship.

This is the stunning, revitalizing title track and its handy cam music video, evoking the song’s ‘90s grunge-inflected roots. The song follows recent single ‘Come Apart,’ which earned widespread acclaim as “simmering” and “acerbic” listen and marked an important reintroduction to an essential artist of our times.

Singles Club

Sushma Soma – Man

Sushma Soma
Sushma Soma – Photo by Amar Ramesh

Karnatic singer Sushma Soma’s debut album ‘Home’ provides a vivid and powerful statement on our treatment of the planet and our environment.

This song, ‘Man I’ is the first release from the album. Much of the album are songs of sorrow of how humans treat the planet, but also of the happiness that nature can bring. They are composed in raag Hamsadhwani, with syllables presented over a shifting rhythmic metre, common in the genre.

Singles Club

King’s X – All God’s Children

King's X

It’s been 14 years since King’s X released 2008’s XV, and the progressive rock/metal masters of harmony and melody are back with their 13th studio album: Three Sides of One.

The new single “All God’s Children” is everything and more that makes King’s X one of the best, underrated acts that should have found far bigger fame than they have. With Doug Pinnick’s driving bass (who celebrated his 72nd birthday shortly after the release), and Ty Tabor’s groove laden guitars, heartfelt leads and vocals, mixed with harmonies filled out by Jerry Gaskill (drums), we have a deeply moving, thought-provoking, sonically pleasing treat for the ears.

Singles Club

LASS – Metina (feat. Flavia Coelho)

LASS

LASS, (Lassana Sané) was born in Mbatal, a suburb of Dakar, Senegal. As the youngest of eight, he was immersed in music from day one. Influenced by his local sounds – Africando and Orchestra Baobab – and later by what he heard at the dance soirées his older brothers organised and the music of contemporaries like Xalam and Positive Black Soul.

Finally LASS is about to realise his dream with the release of his debut album, music that represents his own journey, from being a young African in France with something to prove. Flavia Coelho is the first single from that album ‘Bumayé’.

Singles Club

Nicki Minaj – Super Freaky Girl

Nicki Minaj

Ok. We don’t need to say much about this very funky rip off/remix/rap-over of Rick James’ ‘Superfreak’. Clearly someone has deep pockets to pay the royalties for the reuse. The song is is also reminiscent of her previous hit “Anaconda,” which samples Sir Mix-a-Lot’s 1992 ‘Baby Got Back’.

The release is part of Minaj is campaign heading up her highly-anticipated fifth studio album. She took to Instagram, recently, to share a preview with her 200 million followers captioning the video: ✨ He want a F R EEEEEE A K #FreakyGirl 👅. Enough Said.

Singles Club

Machine Head – Nø Gøds, Nø Masters

Machine Head

Rob Flynn and the latest incarnation of Machine Head (Jared MacEachern, Matt Alston, Wacław Kiełtyka) return from the rather underwhelming 2018 Catharsis with a massive tour-de-force in “Of Kingdom And Crown” – loudly declaring there’s no need for Gods or Masters.

With early reviewers dubbing this “The Blackening II” in reference to 2007’s monumental album, I think it comes close, but nothing quite reaches the likes of Halo; it does however blow Catharsis far out of the water. Wacław “Vogg” Kiełtyka (ex Decapitated) brings fresh energy, and new chapter to Machine Head.

Singles Club

Arctic Monkeys – There better be a Mirrorball

Arctic Monkeys performing live in Auckland, New Zealand 2019. Image by Doug Peters.
Arctic Monkeys – Photo by Doug Peters

Alex Turner has returned back to Earth and he’s in a bit of a melancholy mood. So, we get this, the new single the lead single from Arctic Monkeys’ seventh album, ‘The Car’, due out in mid-October. It’s a little bit ‘lounge’ and a little bit ‘Bacharach’, too, opening with strings and harpsichord that will remind you just a little bit of the retro/space album ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’.

The new song leaves the ghosts and paranoia alone as Turner elegantly croons of yesterday and romance: “So can we please be absolute sure/That there’s a mirrorball for me/Oh, there’d better be a mirrorball for me.” And the strings sweep through and pick you up in its wake to raise the dramatic elements. Get used this new post-AM Arctic Monkeys, yearning, longing, a bit mystical and burning a torch or two.

Singles Club

Subwoolfer – Give That Wolf A Banana

Subwoolfer

OK. This did appear a couple of months ago but somehow slipped under the radar. But we are now rectifying that. This was Norway’s entry in this year’s European Song Contest. It’s a real classic. Think Daft Punk and that band the made ‘What did the Fox Say?’ (Editors note – Ylvis), with a smattering of Meatloaf on techno acid. Sexy minion dancers and Egyptian wolf helmets. What’s not to love?

Just like Daft Punk, they keep their real identities secret. After winning Melodi Grand Prix 2022, they were chosen to represent Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest 2022, playing their song ‘Give That Wolf a Banana’, which we present to you here. There must have been something in it – it went on to place in the Grand Final.

Singles Club

Grave Digger – King Of The Kings

Grave Digger

When it comes to long standing power metal acts, you can’t go far before encounter Germany’s Grave Digger. Founded some 42 years to an ever revolving lineup, the band has consistently released solid, quality material lead by founder Chris Boltendahl.

Whilst Grave Digger isn’t breaking any new ground musically, if you’re a fan of high energy, melodic metal – Symbol Of Eternity is a fun ride!

Singles Club

Lizzo – 2 Be Loved (Am I Ready)

Lizzo performing live at FOMO, Auckland New Zealand, 2020. Image by Doug Peters.
Lizzo – photo by Doug Peters

3x Grammy award-winning superstar, Lizzo has become a household name with over 5 billion global streams and a platinum selling debut album to date. And she’s back again with yet another super tasteful video, this time about a runaway bride.

This one follows on from her collab with Cardi B, ‘Rumours’, and is the first single from her new album ‘Special’. Not much we can say that the video doesn’t. It’s another blockbuster movie packed into a hot 3 minutes. So, enjoy the spectacle. Go Girl!

Singles Club

CKAY – You

CKay

This is the new single from Nigerian Superstar CKay, which will lead into his hotly anticipated debut album ‘SAD ROMANCE’ due on the 23rd of this month.

It’s an intimate look into the heart and soul of our very own Africa’s Boyfriend, the album explores key themes of love, heartbreak and toxic romance. Drawing from R&B, Afrobeat and Amapiano ‘you’ is both a vulnerable and bold declaration of love and sees CKay telling the story of infatuation and pursuit.

Singles Club

David Guetta x Bebe Rexha – ‘I’m Good (Blue)’

David Guetta x Bebe Rexha

Everone’s favourite overplayed DJ David Guetta and vocalist Bebe Rexha join forces on this remix of an old fav by Eiffel 65. If it sounds to you like Alvin Chipmunk had a hand in making it then you won’t be alone.

Rexha and Guetta first began working on this song five years ago, and after generating this serious online buzz it is finally now ready for an official release. It’s bound to be a hugely annoying tiktok earworm. Cure hundreds of dance clips and ringtone copies. If you needed a good reason to avoid social media for about 2 months, then this is it!

Singles Club

Blind Guardian – Architects Of Doom

Blind Guardian

Blind Guardian return after 7 years with The God Machine. Helmed by Hansi Kürsch’s distinctive voice and harmonies, we’re presented with 9 short new chapters (and by short, I mean 51 minutes of 6-7 minute songs) of high intensity metal, huge vocal choruses, and an unrelenting build up that ends far too soon.

Singles Club

Suicide Silence – You Must Die

Suicide Silence

With the notion of things ending too soon, Suicide Silence are back with a single, with a casual tidbit of knowledge – YOU WILL DIE ALONE!

Whilst still full of minor elements of gore – the video hilariously contains zombified band members with walking sticks – and that alone is worthy of watching.

The single drops as they announce the followup release to 2020’s Become The Hunter, with “Remember… You Must Die” slated for early 2023.

Singles Club

IA – Te Aho Tapu

Māori Music Award finalists, IA, (pronounced: ‘e-ah’) have just released their new song ‘Te Aho Tapu’ as part of Waiata Anthems Week 2022. The trio, based in the mighty Waikato are known for bringing taonga pūoro into the modern music realm. This track, ‘Te Aho Tapu’ is a velvety R&B track composed using Ngūru (traditional Māori flute).

This waiata marks the first single release from IA’s forthcoming debut e.p. ‘The Art Of’, due out in January 2023. The e.p will encompass a total of six waiata, all inspired by one of the following Toi Māori artforms; Whakairo, Tā moko, Raranga, Kapa Haka, Tāonga Pūoro and Mau Rākau.

Singles Club

Yungblud – Tissues

Yungblud performing live in Auckland, New Zealand 2022. Photo by Doug Peters.
Yungblud – photo by Doug Peters

Internationally acclaimed, multiple-award winning UK musician Yungblud has just released his highly anticipated self-titled third studio album ‘Yungblud’, following on from popular ‘The Funeral’, ‘Don’t Feel Like Feeling Sad Today’ and ‘Memories ft. Willow’.

This his latest ‘Tissues’, accompanied by a grungy bar singer snarler of video shot in London and directed by Charlie Sarsfield. It’s a more dance orientated track “It’s happiness and it’s euphoria and it’s letting the fuck go,” he says in his press release. This infectious new track features a sample of The Cure’s ‘Close To Me’, which was personally approved by the band’s lead singer Robert Smith.

Singles Club

Dying Fetus – Compulsion For Cruelty

Long-running death metal act Dying Fetus are back with a new single “Compulsion For Cruelty” to coincide with recent touring, whilst the band has been in the studio working on a follow up to 2017’s Wrong One To Fuck With, there’s yet to be any album announcements, or indication that Compulsion will appear on the release.

If blast beats, riffs, lead sweeps, and heavy grunts are your thing, have some compassion for the Fetus, but feed your compulsion for cruelty!

Singles Club

So, whanau, there we have it. The eighth Singles Club for the year. We’ve tried to add a bit of everything. But, as is the way, we always seem to miss something, so we’d be keen to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Have you heard a new track this month that needs to be bought to our attention? Tell us all about it in the comments below, and we’ll see you all with another instalment next month!

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