The sounds rattling round the skulls of the NME staff this week
1. Cults - 'You Know What I Mean'
There’s many a pretty gewgaw scattered around the floor of the internet like a trail of musical breadcrumbs. It’s all too easy to go astray and end up cooking your ears in some hipster witch’s oven. Cults, though, are fast proving themselves more than a mere confection of sugar and sepia to stuff down your blog, digest and never think of again. With all the ghostly prom-night, Lynchian doo-wop elegance of Summer Camp or Cat’s Eyes’ quietest moments, this breaks suddenly through Hipstamatic reverb with a vibrantly thumping and focused chorus in which Madeline Follin’s voice reaches out and grabs you by the ventricles with the force of real hurt.
It’s that tangible, vulnerable vitality (“Please come and save me/Tell me what’s wrong with my brain ’cos I seem to have lost it” frets Madeline) that raises this NYC film student duo above lesser washed-out romantics. It’s presumably also what fired Columbia Records to sign up Madeline and Brian Oblivion for their forthcoming debut (produced by Vampire Weekend cohort Shane Stoneback). Taken from those sessions, the waltzing loveliness of this song (which at a heartbeat over two-and-a-half minutes knows the power of fleeting infatuation) has us ready to cast caution to the wind and run off into the woods with them. This could be the start of something quite unhealthy. Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor
2. Thurston Moore - 'Benediction'
Thurston’s turned drippy in his dotage. “Whisper I love you a thousand times”, he purrs over swooning strings on this first – and rather lovely – taster of his forthcoming Beck-produced solo LP, ‘Demolished Thoughts’. Ben Hewitt, writer
3. Friendly Fires - 'Live Those Days Tonight'
New album ‘Pala’ may be named for a fictional utopia fuelled by psychonautic drug use, tantric sex and slogan-squawking parrots, but eschews Klaxons-style mysticism in favour of dancefloor immanence. Duncan Gillespie, writer
4. The Wrens - 'As I’ve Known'
After nigh-on a decade spent following up ‘The Meadowlands’, you’d think these languorous New Jerseyites might’ve dusted off their production cobwebs. But while this could’ve been recorded in a wellington boot, its lush harmonies are snug as your nan’s fluffiest slippers. Jazz Monroe, writer
5. Hodgy Beats feat. Casey Veggies - 'Less'
Don’t leg it when you hear the sleazy flute loop, this isn’t the renaissance of twatty jazz enthusiasts St Germain.
It is, rather, Odd Future’s second son, proving that there’s life in hip-hop beyond his bandmate Tyler. Sarky, aggro and droll, it’s another reason why OFWGKTA rule the roost. Mike Williams, Features Editor
6. Tall Ships - 'Plate Tectonics'
Math-rock threesome Tall Ships have definitely channeled the nautical leanings of their adopted Cornwall hometown into the sea shanty-style rounds that ring through ‘Plate Tectonics’. Known for their live shows where members play two instruments at the same time, their sea legs are stronger than most. Abby Tayleure, writer
7. Atari Teenage Riot - 'Blood In My Eyes'
This returning single, intended to raise awareness of the victims of human trafficking, sounds like hell in a handcart; a punishing, fiery industrial monster. Luke Turner, writer
8. Bill Callahan - 'Baby’s Breath'
What a delightful bit of maudlin from one of Americana’s most identifiable voices. The gentle twang of ‘Baby’s Breath’ starts off a tale of a hasty marriage that eventually crumbles beneath the ruinous groan of feedback. Susana Pearl, writer
9. Waka Flocka Flame - 'Trained To Go'
Hip-hop’s most divisive new figure is equally popular with white nerds and aficionados and loathed by anyone who hankers after consciousness. This prime crack-addled fug lashes out with unintelligible but infectious mumbled sloganeering. Jaimie Hodgson, New Music Editor
10. Jens Lekman - 'Waiting For Kirsten'
On this new song Jens admits to his quest to woo Kirsten Dunst when she visited his Swedish hometown. After all, “What’s a suburban potato chips factory boy like me supposed to do when Kirsten comes to my home town except obsessively stalk her all night?” Well, quite. Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor