1. Ian Brown – Just Like You
Visitors to Brown’s website are greeted with the message “please be aware my BEST ALBUM YET is to be released on September 28”. That claim remains to be proved, but this doesn’t need bluster: a steady, shuffling beat is lifted up by gentle twinkles and old Brownie’s visions of “a windswept day… sunshine on my mind, rain upon my face”. Pulsar-bright.
2. The Big Pink – Dominos
Or, how to shake expectation off your shoulders with an irresistibly nonchalant shrug. The Big Pink have already shown us they can do noisy and luscious, but now they show us they can do choruses. Big, massive, amazing choruses. Vacant-stared model Valentine backs up with coos as Robbie Furze boasts how “These girls fall like dominos! DOMINOS!” and we don’t blame them – we were supine in an instant. Indie hit of the summer.
3. The Drums – Let’s Go Surfing
Many are the fools who have tried to replicate the harmonic heaven of The Beach Boys. But few have ever tried to copy their early ‘girls! Sun! Surf!’ lyrics. Enter Brooklyn’s The Drums, whose sweet innocence sullied only by a filthy bassline finds a moral middle ground between reprehensible Black Lips and the squeaky-clean Vampire Weekend. “Oh woman, I just wanna go surfing/Oh woman, I don’t care about nothing”. Quite.
4. Dot Allison featuring Peter Doherty – I Wanna Break Your Heart
Former singer with blissed-out rave-pop types One Dove, Dot Allison recast herself as a spectral psych-folk chanteuse with 2007’s ‘Exaltation Of Larks’. She also lent her ghostly tones to ‘Sheepskin Tearaway’ on Peter’s ‘Grace/Wastelands’ and here he returns the favour on this track from her forthcoming album ‘Room Seven And A Half’. It’s an odd chimera of a Babyshambles demo with Allison and her band working their magic over the top, Peter rambling in the background and Dot cooing over the top in a weird interplay. Strange, but it definitely works.
5. Memory Tapes – Bicycle
Remixes for the likes of YYYs and Britney brought New Jersey’s Dayve Hawk to blog fame, but it’s his own ghostly electro-pop with hints of DJ Shadow and a baggier Hot Chip that has us hooked. And not only us, but Faris Badwan, whose remix of this track is also on our blog. Magnetic and hypnotic, ‘Bicycle’ is filled with the promise of escape and romance. Even if he’s only got two wheels.
6. Why – The Blackest Purse
Crafters of one of the underground indie hip-hop hits of last year in ‘Alopecia’, Why? have taken a new direction for their follow-up ‘Eskimo Snow’. This track is relatively beat-free, romantic and lost in a slightly Broken Social Scene style, Yoni Wolf enquiring “Mom, am I failing or worse?”. No fail here: only epic win.
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7. Mini Viva – Left My Heart In Tokyo
So, just as the Sugababes return to fighting form, a new challenger enters. In the POW! corner are Xenomania’s bright young hopes punching well above their weight. Presiding over a rush of gutsy digital disco-pop that evokes the bustling neon thrill of city streets, Britt Love and Frankee Connolly are as sassy, tough and brilliant as the ’Babes in their prime. It’s so on.
8. Jemina Pearl featuring Iggy Pop – I Hate People
Now there’s a pairing made in heaven, and it’s exactly the goonish, pure-fun punk camp you’d expect from putting the perma-vomming former Be Your Own Pet singer and the leathery insurance salesman of your nightmares in a studio together. Oddly reminiscent of a punchier version of Ig’s duet with Debbie Harry ‘Well, Did You Evah!’, powered by the spirit of teenage tearaways The Runaways, it promises much, much silly fun from Jemina’s forthcoming solo album.
9. Kevin Devine – Brother’s Blood
Give any bearded man a guitar and he will emote until sunset; give Brooklynite Kevin Devine the same and he’ll carve the trite into the heartstopping. This gorgeous (and exclusive) rendition of the title track from his new Big Scary Monsters-released album was recorded in a record shop in Kingston – pity the punters who turned up to buy the new Jamie T and left drenched in Proper Big Feelings. Quietly staggering.
10. Delphic – This Momentary
Fresh from knocking our sweaty socks off at T In The Park, Manchester’s new brightest hopes are back with this follow-up to debut ‘Counterpoint’. A shade of indie-dance euphoria altogether darker, purer and less carnivalesque than Friendly Fires, it’s no less uplifting. More! Give us more!