1. Arctic Monkeys – ‘Brick By Brick’
If the Radiohead album was like a surprise party held for you, but where everyone decided to ignore you all night, then this was an actual nice surprise. Not just a new song by our old buddies Arctic Monkeys suddenly appearing on their website last Friday, but an Arctic Monkeys track that cuts straight to the jugular. For while ‘Humbug’ certainly had its moments, its songs were generally the dreaded ‘growers’, and if we’re honest, the instant rock’n’roll thrills we’d come to associate with the boys had turned into stoner-rock chin-stroking.
Not that they’ve completely abandoned the influence of Uncle Josh Homme: ‘Brick By Brick’ is full of QOTSA dirty guitars, fuzz solos and a devil-may-care attitude. The difference here is that fun has replaced over-analysis. This is a glammy stomp, with an early chorus, great low-register harmonies, and Alex Turner crowing, “I want to steal your soul… I want to rock’n’roll!” There’s little of the usual wordplay - which is entirely the point: this is a pure, physical rock track that’s about spontaneity, rather than method and meaning. Take note, Radiohead. And take note, others: as a taster of the album they’ve been making with James Ford in LA, it suggests exciting, fun things to come…
Martin Robinson, Deputy Editor
2. Wild Beasts – ‘Albatross’
Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner tangled the albatross, emblem of easy grace, in nets of guilt. Serene yet weighty, ‘Smother’’s first kiss glides in gently, Hayden admonishing “it’s my neck around which you hang… which way to turn when we’re lost?” amid a Talk Talk-ish sound-fog. Funny old birds Wild Beasts remain our guiding light.
Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor
3. TV On The Radio – ‘Will Do’
Dave Sitek has burst his Maximum Balloon and moonwalked back to his day job – TVOTR’s new album ‘Nine Types Of Light’ is on its way. Bad news: it’s not out until spring. Good news: this judder-rock nugget of a taster suggests it could be as stunning as ‘Dear Science’.
Jamie Fullerton, News Editor
4. All Smiles – ‘Sun, Number One’
To some, America’s ’90s indie-rock scene seemed merely a willy-waving exercise in excessive facial hair growth. Unleashing a schmoozy jam of My Morning Jacketed elegance, Jim Fairchild – aka ‘the clean-shaven one’ from Grandaddy – confirms the genre’s jewels weren’t all lost in Dave Berman’s beard. Music to shave to.
Jazz Monroe, writer
5. The Raveonettes – ‘War In Heaven’
With widescreen static, breathy vocals and dangerous guitars, the Danes have spat out the bubblegum pop and are tearing into horizon-filling rock, as
this ‘Raven In The Grave’ teaser shows. War never sounded so appealing.
Paul Stokes, Associate Editor
6. Alexander Tucker – ‘Dorwytch’
Best known for mangling his cello with pedals, Tucker’s new album sees him taking his most focused approach yet, creating eddying psychedelia that calls to mind thunderclouds building over an English meadow in the summer.
Luke Turner, writer
7. Hercules and Love Affair – ‘Shelter’ (The xx cover)
Fucking David Cameron, and his confession that The xx were his favourite mood-setters for “daytime cuddles” – no self-respecting youth could ever snog to them again. Thankfully, Hercules And Love Affair have restored their sexiness with this sweaty, sultry cover of ‘Shelter’.
Ben Hewitt, writer
8. Tune-Yards – ‘Gangsta’
Woe betide moving to Merrill Garbus’ ’hood if you don’t practise what you preach. Lambasting those who act gangsta but wouldn’t say boo to a Jehovah’s Witness, her voice evokes righteous danger you definitely wouldn’t want around your way…
Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor
9. The Strokes – ‘You’re So Right’
If ‘Under Cover Of Darkness’ was The Strokes sounding like The Strokes, this B-side sounds like it was beamed in from a different galaxy entirely, with a drum sound straight from a ZX Spectrum.
Luke Lewis, Editor, NME.COM
10. Metronomy – ‘The Look’
In 2008, it seemed I was the only person who thought ‘Nights Out’ was rubbish. Now? I’m converted. In keeping with the artwork for new album ‘The English Riviera’, this second taster is half The Eagles, half Stereolab and all amazing.
Hamish MacBain, Assistant Editor
This article originally appeared in the March 12th issue of NME
Subscribe here and get NME for £1 a week, or get this week's digital issue
This Week's Singles Reviewed - 14 March 2011