1. SCUM – Warsaw
Not a Joy Division cover, but the first of a series of download tracks called ‘Signals’, written and recorded in various cities around Europe. Sure the Polish Tourist Board won’t be thanking SCUM for sonically rendering their capital city as a claustrophobic nightmare of art-noise doom, but if you like extreme journeys to the edge of sanity – and who doesn’t? – then you’ll go mad for this.
2. Regina Spektor – Laughing With
Regina’s new album, ‘Far’, is out next month after a three-year break and this MySpace taster sounds gorgeous, but cuts like a knife, with a bitter refrain of “No-one laughs at God in the hospital”. However, she’s at pains to point out in the chorus that “God can be funny at a cocktail party”, which shows the kind of upwardly mobile social circles she’s moving in these days.
3. The Phantom Band – The Howling
“Slip your fingers under the noose” The Phantom Band intone, “what was flesh is dust again” before people start wailing like they’re hitting themselves in the knackers with the Old Testament. Yet, as sombre as this Glaswegian sextet are, there’s a real poppy melody at work here too, and a riff reminiscent of the Velvets’ ‘What Goes On’, which makes ‘The Howling’ an oddly jaunty stroll through death fear.
4. The Field – The More That I Do (Foals Remix)
Axel Willner, aka The Field, was bathed in praise for the sweet, urgent electronica of his 2007 ‘From Here We Go Sublime’ album, and from the sounds of follow-up ‘Yesterday And Today’, he’ll be in an Olympic-sized pool of the stuff shortly. With similarities to the warm, minimal techno of someone like Ellen Allien but also a toasty, Balearic bliss that hints at Lo Fi Fnk, it’s understated and intense all at the same time. This hypnotic album highlight is the field on which Foals fly their balloons called love (sorry), adding a delicious touch of nerdy math-boy tension.
Free MP3 from The Daily Download
5. Dinosaur Jr – Over It
An utterly gorgeous summer tune that hints at great things for new album ‘Farm’. It reminds you that, in Dinosaur Jr’s hands, grunge could be about girls and awkwardness, as well as smack and foetuses. This sounds like The Lemonheads having their faces squeezed off against a 50-foot wall of spinning guitars.
Video – watch J Mascis’ live acoustic set, recorded for NME radio
6. Magic Magic – Sleepy Lion
This gentle, nuzzling track is very much the kind to let sleeping lions lie, or gently pluck thorns from their paws. This Boston four-piece recall the stately, sad-eyed indie of Cold War Kids or Grandaddy charmed by the haunted strangeness of Grizzly Bear, with an easy, graceful charm that beguiles rather than dazzles.
7. We Have Band – You Came Out
Owing more than a touch to the post-punk minimal beats of ESG on tracks such as
‘Erase You’, former record company drones-turned-maverick-pop-minxes WHB’s
early track, complete with studio chatter, adds a warm, modern thrum that James
Murphy might stroke his five-o-clock shadow to. The cheeky, artless vocals of Dede WP also bring to mind Tom Tom Club’s ‘Wordy Rappinghood’. So guileless do they sound, even whistling innocently over lightly layered, liquid guitar, you almost wouldn’t notice the use of the term “turkey-basted”. Almost. Mucky pups.
8. Florence And The Machine – Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)
Oh Florence, you’ve changed. What once was girlish glee, now is all pagan-robed, harp-strung maturity. The lyrical tale of bunny-turned-lion here is matched by the huuuge step up in production values. Flossy’s gone glossy, and anyone who swooned to the decorously ethereal warblings of Bat For Lashes will need to get the smelling salts. All dolled up and mainstream-bound, can our girl hold true to the gutsy spirit of ‘Kiss With A Fist’ with the weird sisters of Kate Bush, Stevie Nicks and, er, Enya as her guides? Or is she just growing up gorgeously? We shall see…
9. Middx – Got Me Going
Bedroom pop in the grand British tradition of strange men in strange rooms making the strangest of noises, this is a fizzy little bit of indie-dancey hip-hop-soul bizarreness. With a galloping beat, a sweet soul sample and a radiant glitchiness reminiscent of The Avalanches or The Go! Team at their best. But who is this masked man? Only three people know Middx’s identity, and we ain’t one of them.
10. Wave Machines – I Go I Go I Go
Do you like squelching? Synths? Sunshine? Well, open wide for a slice of joy pie: this radiant, bouncing beachball of a song is just your flavour. Sharing the same suntan lotion as Magistrates and Friendly Fires, it’s got a hint of dancey hard edge (it’s mixed by MIA associate Lexx), but hides it under a big fat grin.