1. Magic Wands – Black Magic (Crystal Fighters Remix)
Now, we at NME know a natty buy-one-get-one-free offer when we see one, and the kind we like best is when the cost of the first item is NOTHING AT ALL. So, two exciting new bands (covering both the Magic and Crystal spectrums of trendy band names) for the price of one here: slinky NYPC-style synth-poppers Magic Wands get digitally ravaged by the formidable Crystal Fighters in a Gang Gang Dance style tribal-dance baile-funk witches sabbat. Hoodoo? You do.
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2. Defend Moscow – Die Tonight
Who says pop has to be lyrically trivial and throwaway? This London-based multinational five-piece take more from The Human League than just portentous delivery and icy synths. They also draw on Phil Oakey and their heroes the Pet Shop Boys’ sly knack of shoehorning political ideas into glam, fringe-flicking pop perfection. This seductively bassy boy-girl extravaganza, with hints of late New Order, tells the tale of the last thoughts of a couple doomed to die in a nuclear holocaust. Woo! Perfect for cowering underneath an entirely inadequate shelter made of desks. Or just giving up and dancing on top.
3. Eminem & Jay-Z – Renegade (Live)
You wouldn’t think a party for a game in which you pretend to DJ deserved any better special guests than say, Sasha. But staying in clearly IS the new going out, and the RSI crew got a double-hit of rap titanhood at the DJ Hero launch in LA. If you hated Eminem’s new album, remind yourself of the good old days as Hova segues from his set into Em’s with this track from 2001’s ‘The Blueprint’. Now that’s relapsing done right.
4. Violens – Doomed (MGMT Remix)
New York; you love it, but it’s bringing you down? Had all the ’80s you can stomach? Gagging at so-hot-right-now bands? Take respite: no blog-approved saucy synth-pop or (yawn) Italo-disco for these (yes) NY cultural renovators, but the jangly, sweet sounds of Aztec Camera, Prefab Sprout and The Blue Nile, tinged with the radio-fellating harmonies of The Zombies and the psychic scope of Love. MGMT add an extra (third) dimension of twinkly space and an extra shunting, faintly tribal bounce.
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5. Pearl Jam – Got Some (Live)
There was a time when Pearl Jam were five miserable old trouts in lumberjack shirts harping on about some kid called Jeremy. But with age it seems Eddie Vedder and chums have grown out of their self-pitying grunge hovel and matured into formidable Boss-esque raucous rockers, judging by this outtake from new album ‘Backspacer’, unveiled live on The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien. “Got some if you need it” wails Vedder – some of what exactly we’re not sure, but judging by his current portly disposition, we’re hoping it’s pies. Mmm, pies.
6. Don Diablo and Example – Hooligans
Harsh synths, a simple, braggadocio rap… it’s hard not to see this effort from man-of-the moment Diablo and Example as ‘Bonkers? I’ll show you Bonkers’. If its refrain of “we came, we saw, we killed the crowd” isn’t quite as winning as Dizzee and Armand’s effort, it makes up for it with intensity and – oh yes – KLAXONS!
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7. Oasis – Man of Misery
Music has the power to unite both the hater of unlicensed pointy shoes, and those who’re never out of their winklepickers. Everyone loves a chunky riffalong, right? On the day their enormogigs got underway, trainee tailor Liam Gallagher released this track (intercut with chat about parkas, but you can make it out) complete with ‘Ticket To Ride’ references, come-and-have-a-go riffs and White Album-era Lennon snarl. perfect for aggressively ironing your polo shirts to.
8. Simian Mobile Disco – Audacity of Huge
The mercury rises, the city grows muggier, and thoughts turn towards nights under canvas. Yes, festival season is lapping at our toes already, and the UK’s premier dance overlords SMD are itching to make the dance tents their bitch. This teaser of their collaboration-heaving second album ‘Temporary Pleasure’ features perhaps their most incongruous vocalist of all: Yeasayer’s Chris Keating. The sensitive blogger’s choice ditches the spectral Afropop in favour of a randy, surreal romp, apparently backed by a man squeezing an angry toad. “I got a bag of Bill Murray/Damien Hirst telephone….” So far, so weird: but there’s a heart beneath the psychedelic fronting, as Chris wails: “So why don’t I get you?” Naw! Never mind, mate! Have it!
9. Swimming – Panthalassa
Thrumming, krauty alt.rock that knows the value of thrill. Nottingham five-piece Swimming dig the tunnel between the oddball dancey thrills of Clor and the gothic power-pop dungeons of The Cult via the mile-a-minute thrills of ¡Forward, Russia!. This track, named after the ocean that encircled the Earth’s original single landmass Pangea (that’s a lot of swimming), is less an ocean of sound than an exhilarating cliff-top dive into the depths.
10. The Radio Dept – David
One-time darlings of the cooler-than-thou indie set, but none the less awesome for that, Sweden’s The Radio Dept have been absent a long time. This track is typically shoegazy, star-kissed and soothing, but less laidback than we’ve known them before, with a hint of hypnotic handclaps, tiny, subtle synth stabs and rump-shaking rhythm, and then – out of nowhere – a guitar solo! Chaps, we wouldn’t have thought it possible of you.