1. Marina And The Diamonds - I Am Not A Robot (The Aspirins For My Children Remix)
This oddly named remixer may be a part-time comedian under the name Damien Slash, but there’s nothing funny about his reworking of the heartsore lead track from Marina’s forthcoming ‘The Crown Jewels’ EP. The original’s open-hearted emotions (“You’ve been acting awful tough lately/Smoking a lot of cigarettes lately”) are sublimated into space-pop heaven, crystal-voiced goddess Marina taking a spin on her pop chariot through dubsteppy galaxies before tripping onto a light fantastic of shimmery ethereal Europop.
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2. Discovery - Orange Shirt
So it turns out that Vampire Weekend meeting Ra Ra Riot sounds like Usher meets Passion Pit, kind of like when you eat a pineapple jelly bean and a cola one at the same time and it tastes of steak and kidney pie. Rostam Batmanglij and Wes Miles’ voyage turns up some peculiar territories, marked by rills of bleep and fuzz. This track is a highlight of their forthcoming ‘LP’, mixing cryptic commands to “sleep on the train to Tokyo/Google yourself when you get home” and promises to “leave before your mother wakes up in the morning”. Oh, you!
3. Faith No More – Reunited
Taking a sharp funk-metal pin to the inflated reverence of the annual round of festival reunions, FNM’s Mike Patton hobbled onstage at Download with an old-man cane, wryly emoting through a piss-takey rendition of Peaches & Herb’s schmooze-soul ‘classic’ with an admirably straight face. Oddly affecting. And now they’re playing Reading as well!
4. She Keeps Bees – Gimmie
Now, we know the comparison PJ Harvey’ is thrown at anyone in possession of both a guitar and a uterus more often than eggs at Nick Griffin, but it’s really there this time. The stripped-down and sexy (“work me like my back ain’t got no bone”) growls of this bumbler-fancying NY couple recall not only the Harv’s raw ‘4-Track Demos’ period but early, pre-croon Cat Power. Surly and sultry.
5. The Knife - Colouring Pigeons
The electro-tribal lullabies of Fever Ray were enough to sate our Knife hunger for a while, but just as the pangs of longing for the Swedish minimalist wizards grew too strong, we found this snatch of the music for their forthcoming opera – really – about Darwin, ‘Tomorrow, In A Year’. Unmistakably Knife, but starker and more naturalistic, with hints of Oriental Noh theatre, and clipped, spare, female vocals over a seductive drumbeat. Stick that in your Così Fan Tutte and smoke it, Albarn.
6. Amanda Blank - Might Like You Better
Sister in smut to MIA, Santigold and Spank Rock, Amanda Mallory might look like butter wouldn’t melt, but it’s more likely to boil. We’ve yoinked the lead single from her forthcoming debut album, ‘I Love You’, produced by XXXChange, Diplo and Dave Sitek. So if you suddenly feel like you’re choking in a fog of trendy name-dropping, let Amanda’s frank love-song-of-sorts, based around a lyrical steal from new wavers’ Romeo Void’s ‘Never Say Never’, clear the air. “Ride me/Try me/Watch me finish/I’d like you better if you get up in it”. Oh Mandy, can’t we just go to the pictures or something?
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7. Girls - Hellhole Ratrace
Ah, but they’re not. They’re actually BOYS! Two of them! And, to further their deception, this is no evocation of the harum-scarum pace of city life, but a sweet, palm-fringed, bell-dappled psych-pop lament. “I don’t want to cry my whole life through/I wanna do some laughing too”, sighs sensitive San Francisco guy Christopher Owens, sounding like Amazing Baby might if they stopped trying to be so clever and hard and just had a nice relaxing cry into their Afghan waistcoats.
8. Crystal Fighters - Xtatic Truth
Strangely South American-sounding electro shimmer, like feather-headdressed Mayan dancers performing strange whirling rites on Jupiter’s moons. London-based and Basque of heritage, Crystal Fighters’ Kitsune debut owes more than a trick to Gang Gang Dance, but is lent a more banging edge by way of Buraka Som Sistema and Sash’s ‘Ecuador!’. OK, maybe not that last one. But it’s really good.
9. That Fucking Tank - Awesome Magnet
Any band who have called an album ‘Day Of Death By Bono Adrenalin Shock’ is pretty awesome in our book. TFT’s riffs rattle around in a punishing yet pleasuring way on this exclusive offcut from the sessions for their forthcoming ‘Tanknology’ LP.
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10. Band Of Skulls – Fires
Though they’ve clearly stayed at the Hotel Yorba, these young Southampton pretenders are no mere blues apologists. The low, bassy rumble of this track from debut ‘Baby Darling Doll Face Honey’ suggests there’s grungy iron behind the ‘White Blood Cells’ references, and the smoky harmonies go down like whiskey with a spine-shiver chaser.