Single Reviews: Jessie Ware, Arctic Monkeys, Milky Chance, Alt-J, Rich Aucoin

JESSIE WARE

"Tough Love"

Jessie Ware started out as a backup vocalist before landing a guest spot on SBTRKT's "Right Thing to Do," which spotlighted a voice as smooth as silk sheets and previewed the British singer's remarkably mature 2012 debut, "Devotion." For "Tough Love," the first U.K. single from the 29-year-old's forthcoming follow-up on Interscope, the artist links up with production team BenZel, with whom she worked to cover Brownstone's 1994 R&B hit "If You Love Me." "Tough Love" adheres to a similar electro-soul aesthetic, with her falsetto's rounded edges curling around spacy synths and a heartbeat with Prince-inspired drum machines. The wide-open spaces and minimalist touches - a reverberating bass string, slight tremors at the end of every word - induce chills. -Harley Brown

ARCTIC MONKEYS

"Snap Out of It"

Interscope Records

The British band follows its biggest hit, "Do I Wanna Know," with a soulful sing­along fueled by clanging piano and lover's regret. Frontman Alex Turner was once a snarling garage punk, but he has evolved into a brooding teddy bear. "I want to grab both of your shoulders and shake," he sings through a wall of wispy falsetto, consoled only by his band's Beatles-esque stomp. Heartache suits him well. -Ryan Reed

MILKY CHANCE

"Stolen Dance"

Republic Records

Never mind the fact that it has been bubbling for nearly two years overseas: This midtempo, reggae-inflected foot-tapper from rising German duo Milky Chance feels tailor-made for U.S. radio. All acoustic guitars, hand claps and disaffected slacker croon, "Stolen Dance" is slinky and sexy enough to dance to without sacrificing that much-needed sense of cooler than thou. -Dan Hyman

ALT-J

"Hunger of the Pine"

Canvasback/Infectious Music

Alt-J's first sample of new album "This Is All Yours" strangely samples Miley Cyrus' "4x4" ("I'm a female rebel," she repeats) in its chorus. But aside from that bizarre detail, "Hunger of the Pine" is an enjoyably moody return. The yawning woodwinds and Joe Newman's languid vocals aim for a Talk Talk vibe, and that ethereal quirk fits these British indie rockers just fine. -Jason Lipshutz

RICH AUCOIN

"Want to Believe"

YEA Records

Indie-rock firecracker Rich Aucoin made one of the most slept-on albums of 2011 with his debut, "We're All Dying to Live," and "Want to Believe" is another twitchy mantra that deserves attention. The fuzzed-out guitar, jittery vocals and sinewy hooks are all staples of the Canadian singer-­songwriter, but "Want to Believe" refines Aucoin's expansive style into something more taut and radio ready. -Jason Lipshutz


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