The sounds rattling round the skulls of the NME staff this week...
1. Lil Wayne - 'How To Love'
Dodgy reinvention alert… Lil Wayne, he of the tattooed face, metal teeth, codeine slur, self-inflicted gunshot wounds, serious criminal record, fuck-everyone lyrics, dodgy Christian worldview and heaving back-catalogue of heavy, aggressive and offensive hip-hop has found his soft side. Yep, the latest track to drop from Weezy’s upcoming ‘Tha Carter IV’ is a slow, slick and very sickly ballad. He sings the whole thing. He doesn’t rap a single line. He’s 100 per cent serious. Someone call a doctor.
Worry not, though, it’s all a ruse to get laid. I’ve seen through it and, bless him, you’ve got to admire him for it. He came out of prison feeling a bit lonely and angry, then dropped the hard-to-ignore ‘6 Foot 7 Foot’ (questionable lyric alert: “Never met the bitch but I fuck her like I missed her”). Then he let his sexual frustration hit needle-in-the-red levels on the paint-by-numbers ‘John’, where he goes from talking about calling his girl collect from jail to saying he’s a bit like, um, John Lennon. Now, rather than lock himself away in his room masturbating, he’s hatched a plan to bring love back into his life by whispering – or rather wheezing – sweet nothings over Detail’s super slo-mo beat. And you know what, I bet it works. The man is a genius. Either that or this is the lamest thing the guy’s ever done. You decide.
Mike Williams, Deputy Editor
2. Beirut - 'East Harlem'
Having previously borrowed the sounds of Eastern Europe, France and Mexico, wandering soul Zac Condon turns an eye to his native US for album three. The accordion and wine-softened horns of ‘East Harlem’ recall the neighbourhood’s old Italian population rather than its modern Hispanic one, and Condon’s voice is full of weatherworn charm.
Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor
3. SCUM - 'Amber Hands'
Thomas Cohen and his cohorts did well to wait for the dark musical tide that deluged east London in 2009 to ebb. Now on Mute, they’ve emerged, Horrors-like, from their gothy chrysalis a more kaleidoscopic crew, with wisps of Loop, Spiritualized and the like gracing this opiated, opalescent swirl.
Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor
4. I Like Trains - 'Flood'
Last month’s Day Of Reckoning may have passed, but that hasn’t stopped ILT carrying on where their doom-laden album ‘He Who Saw The Deep’ left off. “With the rain came the guilt/With
the guilt came the blame”, murmurs Guy Bannister, viewing the apocalypse from a swoonsome vantage point.
Ben Hewitt, writer
5. Baxter Dury - 'Claire'
Lifted from forthcoming album ‘Happy Soup’, Dury returns with this bittersweet gem of a track. A snapshot of urban living that Mike Skinner would be proud of, but slowed to a Sunday afternoon pace, ‘Claire’ beams with sunshine pop, yet bristles with love’s dark side.
Paul Stokes, Associate Editor
6. Deerhunter - 'Cool (Pylon cover)'
Set to be released as a DFA 7-inch next month, this Pylon cover, recorded live at NYC’s Market Hotel, sees noise-rockers Deerhunter channel Mark E Smith singing into a pillow while guitars are strummed manically in the background.
Abby Tayleure, Festivals Editor, NME.COM
7. Jonny Greenwood - 'Doghouse'
Clocking in at half an hour, the Radiohead man’s orchestral piece, as performed by a 55-piece orchestra, is a thing of lush beauty. And, of course, it sounds like ‘Creep’ when played after the tuneless ‘The King Of Limbs’.
Jamie Fullerton, Acting Features Editor
8. Kimbra - 'Settle Down'
On which the New Zealand-via-Australia songstress serves up a nice homely lasagne of layered electronics, leapfrogging vocals that can’t decide if they want to be jazz or power pop, stately piano flourishes, Boy 8-Bit synth snippets, cascading strings and lyrics about holing up with him indoors and turning all domesticated.
Tim Chester, Deputy Editor, NME.COM
9. The Weekend - 'Rolling Stone'
The heat from The Weeknd’s ‘House Of Balloons’ album – self-released in March – is still being felt, but that’s not stopping the Toronto-based Drake affiliate from unleashing a shedload of new material on us. This one’s the pick of the bunch, with his soaring vocals doing their thang over lush, almost Damon Albarn-esque acoustic guitars.
Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor
10. Sharon Van Etten - 'She Drives Me Crazy (Fine Young Cannibals cover)'
The Onion AV Club impress yet again with their Undercover video series of genius cover versions. The National collaborator and Brooklyn-based chanteuse Sharon Van Etten heads up a bleakly gothic, slow-burning rendering of Brummie soul-poppers Fine Young Cannibals’ 1989 global smash. Ever so slightly terrifying, but all the better for it.
Leonie Cooper, Deputy News Editor
This article originally appeared in the June 11th issue of NME
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