1. Magnetic Man - 'Karma Crazy'
Womp! Here it is. Dubstep’s crossover moment. Magnetic Man’s last single, ‘I Need Air’, went Top 10 after being A-listed by Radio 1. Now the buzz has reached hysteria-level with the release-to-radio of ‘Karma Crazy’, a track from their debut album. Next stop: main stage at V, right? Not quite. In reality, dubstep’s mainstream potential only goes so far. MM will not be tapping their laptops behind Brucie on Strictly Come Dancing any time soon. Neither Skream nor Benga will be popping up on Celebrity Come Dine With Me. Even so, it’s easy to see that this album will be huge, since it exudes all the arena-quaking exhilaration of Pendulum, without the cheese.
‘Karma…’ is a moodier beast than ‘I Need Air’, featuring stabbing strings, cavernous drums, and, yes, bass bin-exploding levels of womp. It is the absolute polar opposite of chillwave, and the perfect soundtrack to staggering around a laser-lit dancefloor with massive pupils. They make for unlikely chart stars, then – but MM deserve respect for making this genre palatable even to people like me, who previously would have rather chiselled their own hip bones off than attend a dubstep night.
[Luke Lewis, Deputy Editor, NME.COM]
2. Manic Street Preachers - '(It’s Not War) Just The End Of Love'
With soaring strings and a jumbo chorus, the lead single from ‘Postcards From A Young Man’ makes good on the Manics’ promise of “one last shot at mass communication”. Yes, there’s nostalgia (‘Everything Must Go’ is a clear touchstone) but also an unmistakable sense of vitality and urgency. A good shot.
[Hamish MacBain, Assistant Editor]
3. Grinderman - 'Heathen Child'
This ‘Grinderman 2’ taster is more surreal and filthy than usual. It depicts Nick Cave and his dirty old men gazing at a girl in a bathtub and provides a slow, brooding soundtrack to her blasphemous fantasies, which explodes with groaning guitars and pulsating organs. Great band, bad babysitters.
[Martin Robinson, Deputy Editor]
4. Paul Smith - 'North Atlantic Drift'
Maximo Park’s frontman is going solo. Wirier and more urgent than the Park’s triumphal last album, ‘North Atlantic Drift’ recalls ‘The Bends’-era Radiohead in its alternately spiky and elated evocation of a relationship’s rockier moments.
[Duncan Gillespie, writer]
5. These New Puritans - 'Hologram (Salem Remix)'
Ditching the plinky piano and needy vocals of the original in favour of apocalyptic love story synths and slow rapping about Stockholm Syndrome and gurning, drag kings Salem inject a dose of doom into TNP’s baroque pop stylings. Uneasy listening at its finest.
[Mike Williams, writer]
6. Swans - 'Eden Prison'
Years ago NYC no wavers Swans were on tour with The Birthday Party and their behaviour was so bad that support act Butthole Surfers asked to be taken off the bill. The drugs may have gone but the horror remains on their first new material in 14 years, enough to make even Nick Cave shit in his tiny lavender-scented panties.
[John Doran, writer]
7. MEN - 'Credit Card Babie$'
The lyrics to Le Tigre offshoot MEN’s newie outline “places to stick up poles”, an assertion that they’re going to “fuck my best” and the inclusion of something that’s either a “loop hole” or a “lube hole” – we’re not sure which. Luckily the, er, ‘whole’ camply fantastic dance-pop thing is as enjoyable as the prospect of CSS doing the closing credits for Eurotrash.
[Jamie Fullerton, News Editor]
8. Sleep∞Over - 'La Rose'
The infinity sign in the middle of Austin, Texas trio SLEEP∞OVER’s name indicates how long band members Stefanie, Christa and Sarah want to be your friend. Consider ‘La Rose’ your invitation to a slumber party in a house haunted by Elizabeth Fraser’s gloaming tones, full of dusty organs and languid drums that arrest the passing of time. Spellbinding stuff.
[Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor]
9. The Count & Sinden Featuring Mystery Jets - 'After Dark'
Ever wondered what Mystery Jets would sound like if their home island was Ibiza and not Eel Pie? Well wonder no more thanks to The Count & Sinden, who put Blaine and co in touch with their inner Balearic soundsystem with this euphoric mix of smooth synths, hot and heavy vocals and some awfully funky bongos. Dance moves will need to be learned.
[Paul Stokes, Associate Editor]
10. of Montreal featuring Solange - 'Sex Karma'
And so the Knowles family love-in with American indie’s weirdocracy continues... Performed live on the US show Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, this highlight from the forthcoming ‘False Priest’ finds Kevin Barnes’ white-Prince shtick slightly less creepy than usual and Beyoncé’s lil sis getting her freak on in every sense, while zombie-faced weirdoes chat and drink milk in the back of shot. Plus, “You look like a playground to me, playa” just provided us with this summer’s chat-up line.
[Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor]