Muse – United States Of Eurasia
We’re so done with describing Muse as MASSIVE! or OUTRAGEOUS!, but, really, even by their standards, this is ridiculously over-the-top. Unlocked piece-by-piece from USB sticks held by ‘agents’ in six cities around the globe (yeah, we know), this first taster from ‘The Resistance’ begins as a piano’n’strings affair, before exploding into a multi-tracked Matt Bellamy exclaiming ‘EURASIAAAA!’ in a ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’-style over and over. Makes ‘Knights Of Cydonia’ sound like Bon Iver. In a good way.
On Ununitedeurasia.muse.mu now
Malcolm Middleton – Zero
Ex-Arab Strap man Malcolm is a walking compendium of every Scottish stereotype. He’s ginger, pale, he drinks too much. He’s also possibly the most miserable, guilt-ridden bastard that ever lived. But, playing true to Caledonian form, he’s also really fucking funny. This song, however, abandons his usual wry lyrical twists in favour of a simple, upbeat declaration that pairs his driving folk-rock with Casio keys and unabashed emotion.
Pastels/Tenniscoats – Vivid Youth
The Pastels, cardiganned overlords of the C86 scene, are a Glasgow institution. Long inspired by underground Japanese pop, their new album is a collaboration with Tenniscoats. Like Isobel Campbell singing for Stereolab, it’s a sepia-tinted piece of sophisticated sentimentality.
Hope Sandoval And The Warm Inventions – Blanchard
It’s been an eight-year wait for the return of Hope Sandoval’s project with My Bloody Valentine drummer Colm O’Ciosoig, but it’s been worth it. This first single from comeback album, ‘Through The Devil Softly’, has immersed us once more in Hope’s world of bleak folk, gothic country and lush psychedelia.
Lemonade – Big Weekend
As hedonistic as going to sleep sexually sated in a bathtub full of chocolate raisins and cocaine, the debut single from this Brooklyn three-piece sounds more like the rush of your 23rd wind on an eight-day-bender than a ‘Big Weekend’. Latin rhythms and ravey synths find a middle ground between the tribal delirium of Gang Gang Dance and the good-times disco-funk of Friendly Fires.
Japandroids – Wet Hair
The most surprising thing about this teenage energy-rush of a track is that all this joyous racket is made by just two people. Vancouver duo Brian King and David Prowse have been turning heads in North America with their fuzzy, yearning garage-rock, somewhere between Titus Andronicus and Dinosaur Jr, and their debut album proper ‘Post-Nothing’ is due out over here next month – get involved now.
On NME.COM/mp3blog now
Theoretical Girl – Red Mist
We’ve waited for the forthcoming album from Southend-born Theoretical Girl for many a lonesome day. From the time we first saw her in tiny venues playing to a backing track we were hooked. Totally individual, she combines classical training with a love of post-punk and folk – it’s minimal, moody and glamorous. ‘Red Mist’, a needle-guitared paean to rage, is a taster of the joys to come.
Biffy Clyro – That Golden Rule
Selling up without selling out – it’s a tricky one. Here the Biff are audibly making their play for the big time. Hitting radio with the impact of a comet to a continent full of stupid dopey fucking dinosaurs, the lead-off single from their forthcoming album has one foot in the stadium and one foot in the asylum. All the grit and brimstone of early Foo Fighters, but with spanners in the commercial works in the form of awkward stabs of strings and glitchy rhythms. “I’m looking for a reason to secure a forward motion”, sings Simon Neil. Sounds like you’ve found it, Neily boy.
Charlotte Hatherley – White
When Ash’s fringe-flicking guitar heroine left the band in January 2006, it became clear who the real punk-pop genius in the ranks was. Her solo albums ‘Grey Will Fade’ and ‘The Deep Blue’ were underrated gems and it looks like the third, ‘New Worlds’ (bar, hopefully, the ‘underrated’ bit) will stay true to form. White’s jagged Wire-y guitars are smoothed by Hatherley’s smoky-sweet voice and a lush, “ooh”-laden chorus.
MPHO – Box N Locks
Mongrel guest singer Mpho sticks a tuneful two fingers up to the pigeonholing of black artists with this defiant pop tune, crowing “bet you didn’t know that I could do this too” over a smart, bright chart missile Rihanna would adore. Sassed up, taking no prisoners and based on a sample of new wave classic ‘Echo Beach’ by Martha And The Muffins, it’s (groan) box-fresh.