The sounds rattling round the skulls of the NME staff this week
1. Kanye West – ‘Power’
Kanye West has done a very good job in recent times of making himself appear like a prize berk in a number of public forums and media. As a result there’s probably gazillions of people who are hoping that he falls flat on his face so hard when the ‘Good Ass Job’ album drops that he ends up needing his jaw wired again. On the evidence of ‘Power’, though, they’re going to have to wait a little longer to wallow in schadenfreude.
It may be about as subtle and understated as using Semtex to blow out a candle, and West seems constantly on-the-verge-of-but-not-quite-being ready to apologise for his recent buffoonery (“They can kiss my asshole,” he elucidates at one point, “I’m an asshole”) but musically he’s back in ‘Jesus Walks’ territory, with a hefty backing of rousing tribal chants, martial drums and an ever-swelling barrage of huge stabs of metal guitar. There are some very cute lines in there too (“They say I was the abomination of the Obama nation/well that’s a pretty bad way to start a conversation”) but it’s more about the feeling of force reassembling, of counter-attack, that sets the spine tingling. The album boasts some of hip-hop’s greatest producers of all time. Be afraid.
[Pete Cashmore, writer]
2. Shunda K – ‘Here I Am To Save The World’
Shunda K, one half of Florida’s most exciting gay Christian hip-hop duo Yo! Majesty, returns with a route-one electro bludgeon that will either have you krumping round your bedroom like a maniac, or idly wondering ‘Hang on, this is basically Basement Jaxx isn’t it?’, depending on your tolerance for Shunda’s tireless bragging.
[Luke Lewis, Deputy Editor, NME.COM]
3. Crocodiles – ‘Groove Is In The Heart/California Girls’
The San Diego duo¹s new James Ford-produced single ‘Sleep Forever’ is great. But their mash up of Dee-Lite’s ‘Groove Is In The Heart’ and The Beach Boys’ ‘California Girls’ on the flip is awesome. Fuck, fuse that bass riff with a Shed Seven B-side and it’d be better than most recorded music ever.
[James McMahon, Features Editor]
4. Bombay Bicycle Club – ‘Ivy & Gold’
Banjos, sweet harmonies, the stench of moonshine…BBC have made the bold and slightly mental decision to do an acoustic folk album, and this first taster from it requires a suitably cartoonish double-take. But after the initial shock of the nice, it turns out to be pretty good. Like a naughty Simon & Garfunkel finger-picking their noses.
[Martin Robinson, Deputy Editor]
5. 1,2,3 – ‘Confetti’
Lazy, snarly, gnarly scuzz-pop with a lurching nod of its greasy cap to the Pixies, a hint of MGMT’s polished pysch and a slighty countryish twang, beneath the nonchalant slacker cool there’s a fiendish eye for structure that suggests Pittsburgh newbies 1,2,3 know just what they’re about from the off.
Duncan Gillespie, writer
6. Smith Westerns – ‘Girl In Love’
Don a mini-skirt or grow your chest hair (according to gender) – The Smith Westerns want to take you back to the ‘60s with this psychedelic rocker. The shaggy-locked Chicago foursome provide all the distorted summery-pop you’ll ever need in one song.
[Abby Tayleure, writer]
7. Magnetic Man – ‘Mad’
Opening with synths that seem to tweak at your eyeballs, ‘Mad’ takes the saturated palette of much of Hyperdub’s current output and solders it to the steel-enforced swing that Benga and Skream do so well. Despite its mass it feels deceptively spry, the pinched melodies weaving throughout the leaden groove. Consider us officially excited.
[Louise Brailey, writer]
8. Dominique Young Unique – ‘War Talk’
Bored of MIA? Tired of waiting for Santigold’s return? Then meet Dominique Young Unique. “Get up on my block/And you’ll feel…this…glock” the Tampa rapper threatens on ‘War Talk’’s ace chorus, but in reality the 19-year-old is nothing more than a relentless ball of frantic, doe-eyed teen energy. No firebrands here – just big-time fun.
[Matt Wilkinson, News Reporter]
9. Crystal Castles – ‘Celestica (Thurston Moore Remix)’
A rare remix from the Sonic Youth helmsman’s ever done soothes the fevered brow of CC’s higher-than-the-sun trance triumph with some warmly wonky clanging guitar before flexing its formidable noise-dance muscles. Does what most half-arsed remixes never do, which is take a song somewhere totally different while also renewing your love for the original. Oh, and it’s utterly, utterly, amazing.
[Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor]
10. !!! – ‘AM/FM’
Just as the sun’s come out it’s time to cram back on to the dancefloor as !!! return with an exquisite series of feet-friendly oscillations. This free download leads the way with hip-shaking wobbliness, low strung bass and even a bit of a KLF ‘3am Eternal’ mysticism as it pings around the airwaves.
[Paul Stokes, Associate Editor]