This week’s new-music playlist includes some Halloween goth-shlock from Loverman, the uplifting kiddie-electro of Penguin Prison, and a “lightning bolt” of a track from Rihanna.
1. LCD Soundsystem – Bye Bye Bayou
Suicide and Alan Vega have inspired some brilliant covers recently, from Springsteen’s ‘Dream Baby Dream’ to the Klaxons’ ‘Sweetheart’. And now, the gods of synth-spookery bring us the long-lusted-for return of LCD Soundsystem on November 9. Tense and sexy, its moodily hypnotic, deep disco mooches around dub deep spaces, dragging the death-rattle country-punk of the original into nightclub shadows. Stuttering rotorblade beats flash overhead, James Murphy crooning “Helicopters flying a long way down south/To a secret-mission town in the USA”. New album in March: hooray!
2. Field Music – Each Time Is A New Time
Nobody does strange, skew-rhythmed English prog-pop like these guys, and we’ve missed the way their sweet and tricksy shifts keep us on our toes. This has an uncharacteristically raunchy blues feel, that kind of reminds us of White Denim, collapsing into sweet radio-poppy interludes. Gorgeous.
3. Penguin Prison – Animal Animal
Juddering and bleepy, this bouncy kiddie-electro treat imagines escape by turning into a dumb beast. “I don’t want to think about anything anymore” , pleads young New Yorker Chris Glover. I hear you, brother – we all need an ape hour every now and again. It’s a little bit George Michael, a teensy bit early MJ and a chunk of Passion Pit, and it will make you happy.
4. To My Boy – Us And The Wind
Former Radar favourites To My Boy are back with more winning eccentricity. But this time, it’s less oddball electro-pop, more sad-eyed folktronica. A demo taken from ‘The Habitable Zone’, a concept album due in 2010 about what happens when we suck the last bit of lifeblood out of Earth and have to go hunting the galaxy looking for a place to live, this is sweetly sombre and lovely.
5. Men – Big Fucker
There are many reasons to love Men. Firstly, they’re called Men. Secondly, they sound like gruff-punk titans Hot Water Music scuffling with Devo and have captured our hearts with their masculine facial hair and singalong anthemica. And thirdly, they wrote a pop tune so massive you could put a baguette under the crook of its arm and call it France… and then gave it such a radio-unfriendly name, the contrary buggers. Say it proud: we adore Men.
6. Rihanna – Russian Roulette
First things first, have you seen that single sleeve? Christ. We love a girl who thinks barbed wire and an eyepatch is suitable winterwear. Anyway, the song itself is a weird, weird business. Opening with squalling hair-metal guitar that fades into a dark world fashioned by dubstep producers Chase & Status, pulsing and squelching like the giant robot heart pulsing under Gotham City, it’s suddenly illuminated by a lightning bolt of a pop chorus. Rather than just another pop metaphor for a broken heart, it seems Rihanna is actually facing down some unknown oppressor. “He says close your eyes sometimes it helps/And then I get a scary thought that he’s here means he’s never lost…”. It’s like she’s Robert De Niro in The Deer Hunter, only with more bondage gear and a bigger forehead.
7. Silver Columns – Brow Beaten
No-one knows who Silver Columns are! Or what they look like! They don’t have a MySpace! Cripes, the enigma! All we have to base our love upon is this ridiculously hi-NRG falsetto romp, which sounds like the adrenaline whizzing through your body as someone batters you to death with a GameBoy loaded with Super Bronski Beat Brothers.
8. Rakim – Walk These Streets
If you read our Ian Brown and Jay-Z cover feature a few weeks back, you’ll remember the awesome twosome getting all in a mutual flutter over the work of true hip-hop legends Eric B & Rakim. Well, Rakim, who’s been flying solo since a messy split from his DJ partner in the ’90s, has a new album coming out (his first in 10 years). You can hear the influence he had on Jigga in this stone-cold classic hip-hop cut – that’s why they call him ‘the rapper’s rapper’.
9. Loverman – Crypt Tonight
Happy Halloween, children. For you intrepid trick-or-treaters, we have a sweet handful of goth-schlock as your reward. And indeed, it has about as much actual substance as an ill-gotten haul of sugary swag wolfed down by a fat child dressed as a witch, but by hell, we love it. The panto Nick Cave lyrics (“When God is gone, I am what’s left”, “You’ll know how it feels when I’m in your crypt tonight…” – oooh, pass me crucifix), the sleazy guitars, the big boomy-crash drum thunder… Awooooooo!
10. Maximo Park – A Cloud Of Mystery (Martyn’s Angel Of The North Mix)
You can’t help but love Maximo Park. All heart and big emotional choruses. Even so, and despite our love for last album ‘Quicken The Heart’, you wouldn’t think they were an act that lent themselves much to remixing. WRONG! New EP ‘12’, out Nov 16, features six reworkings, of which our favourite is the dismantling of this lovely, heartsore album track by intrepid dubstep/D&B Dutchman Martyn.