1. Foals – ‘Spanish Sahara’
You know Foals, right? Highbrow, twitchy Oxonian math-poppers? Well, prepare to unknow them. In the ‘Sea Within A Sea’ school of odd comebacks, this taste of new album ‘Total Life Forever’, out May 10, is inspired by Yannis’ lucid memory of seeing a dead dog floating in the sea. Parched, creepy vocals and barely-there guitar slowly build to a thrumming, huge chorus.
2. Broken Social Scene – ‘World Sick’
Fashion is fickle; time was, if you or a member of your extended family wasn’t in a Canadian Indie Supergroup, you weren’t shit. Now, the drum-and-fiddle bashing Canuck collective is about as in vogue as boot-cut jeans, but yet the world is a-thrum with the news of the new Broken Social Scene album, ‘Forgiveness Rock Record’. Why? Delicate-yet-heart-surging tracks such as this, the kind you’ll skip along the street to in a lovesick daze.
3. The New Pornographers – ‘Your Hands (Together)’
You wait months for a Canadian indie supergroup to come along and two arrive at once. It’s almost more Canadians than one Stereo dares to think aboot. This taster of new album ‘Together’ is a feistier and more rollicking offering than BSS’, finding the peddlers of smut cracking out Who-sized riffs and a glammy strut, and cracking them out well.
4. The Middle East – ‘Blood’
Acoustic guitars. The massed mights of punk, disco, synth-pop and metal haven’t been enough to consign their flimsy wooden bodies to music’s refuse skip. Songs like this daintily mournful offering, like a French fancy of sorrow, remind you why. Townsville, Australia’s Middle East are smart enough not to take a puritanical or po-faced approach to maudlin minimalism, though, throwing in jaunty whistles and bells just as despair looms.
5. Zola Jesus – ‘Night’
The pervasive, chilling influence of the late-’70s/early-’80s sounds collected on Angular Records’ cold wave compilation (reviewed p50) just seems to keep spreading. If you’ve room in your barren heart for the stern, synthy sounds of Cold Cave or HTRK or the gothy gloomscapes of Esben And The Witch, or if you just like lying in darkened rooms clutching machinery for comfort, this taster of US siren Nika Roza Danilova’s new EP ‘Stridulum’ is just for you.
6. We Have Band –‘Divisive’
Seems a while since we’ve heard from this minimal electro-funk trio, and thankfully, they haven’t lost the knack. The same bare-bones danceability that made ‘Oh!’ and ‘You Came Out’ dancefloor A-bombs is plastered all over this ritzy little belter. The chorus is made for thrashing your hair around to. If you have hair. Sorry if you don’t.
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7. Spirit Spine – ‘Crashers’
And so, the amorphous, possibly entirely nonexistent thing that is glo-fi continues to ripple listlessly through the bedrooms and blogs of the world. Spirit Spine is Indiana native Joseph Denny, who crafts woozy, shimmery, 100 per cent genre free-gems like this, his debut single. It sounds like David Byrne yelling for release from Animal Collective’s basement, but in a way that encourages Wicker Man-style hippy dancing.
8. Yes Giantess – ‘The Ruins’
This new-romantic-meets-emo single reminds us why we considered them for our Radar tour last year. They put the heart back into a genre that’s become too often a smirk-smirk irony fest, and much like Miike Snow, have a perfectly crafted way with a pop song to boot. Get this, plus a Baby Monster remix and their spry cover of La Roux’s immense ‘I’m Not Your Toy’ now.
9. Errors – ‘A Rumour In Africa’
On of the great injustices of our time is that every second kid you see in the street isn’t wearing an Errors T-shirt. Their taut, moody electronic-funk-post-whatever made ‘It’s Not Something, But It Is Like Whatever’ one of the underground albums, never mind debuts, of 2008. And their live shows are colossal. Second album ‘Come Down With Me’ meanders into post-rockier, more thoughtful climes, but you’d never know it from this antsy, whirling and weird composition.
10. Fists – ‘Weekend’
Punky rockabilly lo-fi fun with a noticeable Vaselines fixation for this five-piece who are making Nottingham exciting again. No, wait, Nottingham was never exciting, was it? Well, it is now, and this ‘Weekend’ (only their second single, gawd bless em) may be wet, but it’s in the best possible warm and schmindie way…