A version of this article originally appeared in the 4 April issue of NME
1. The Chapman Family - The Kids Are Not OK
A distorted howl of dissatisfaction from our Radar-touring friends in the north. “They say it’s alright, but I just don’t think so”, barks Kingsley Chapman through a splenetic hiss and fizz that sounds anything but content with the state of things. Not so much quiet/loud as loud/LOUD in structure, this is relentless and battering, like the ferocity of early Manics facing off the ranting fervour of The Teardrop Explodes in a Mary Chain netherworld. Only louder, and with more fuzz.
2. Ono Palindromes - Kitty Magic
Palindromes, as Adam Ant never sang, are nothing to be scared of, being numbers or words that read the same backwards as they do forwards. Exeter five-piece
OP have nothing to fear from such textual oddities, being as they are an awesome cocktail of the sour flavours of ’80s post punkers like PiL and Pere Ubu decorated with glacé cherries of grunge-pop.
3. Bombay Bicycle Club - Always Like This
Charming like a just-dumped boyfriend come to claim his black jumper back, the reappearance of BBC sticks some cash in the mouth of those gobby ‘good as Arctic Monkeys’ claims. Throwing an English light on US influences like Grizzly Bear, Bear Hands and The Spinto Band, their delicate, shuffling, layered sound is folksy, punky and poppy all at the same time, finding consistency only in its loveliness.
4. The Black Box Revelation - Love, Love Is On My Mind
The youngest, dumbest, full of cum-est Stooges-impersonating rock’n’roll imaginable, this Belgian duo make a lot of saucy racket. “She had dinner with me/Romantic candlelight, plastic tubes/The master bedroom wanted to be satisfied”, sleazes singer Jan Paternoster. If The Hives were a bit too cerebral for you, you’ll enjoy this thick-riffed Mittel-European muck.
5. Bloc Party - Signs (Armand Van Helden Remix)
Their new-old dance direction threw a few people, but rather than backtrack, the Bloc push ahead with a remix album that takes each track on ‘Intimacy’ and twists it to new rock-free magnitudes. First to be released is this reworking of the Björkish melancholy of ‘Signs’ by Armand Van Helden, the man who turned Tori Amos’ ‘Professional Widow’, into an international dance classic. Armand roughly wipes away
Kele’s tears with a wad of synths and propels him back on to the dancefloor with beats that sound like a herd of angry AT-AT walkers trampling indie kids underfoot.
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6. Middle Class Rut – 25 Years
Guitars that squall and claw like Siamese cats in a cauldron of pitch, rhythms so sawn-off and blunt our cochleas have splinters... this is the rawest, roughest racket we’ve heard in some time. More than a nod to noise gods Shellac, hints of the relentless attack of DFA 1979 or The Locust, but their sense for burying a solid tune beneath the searing racket makes them closer ruck buddies to The Mae Shi. Exhilarating, like running naked through a bee storm.
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7. Gallows - The Vulture (Act II)
Frank Carter offers gullet-stripping proof he can still deliver the vocal goods on this ambitious comeback, to be released on April 27. They may be suited and booted in the video (part of a four-song short film conceived by Frank), but the song is anything but respectable. An aggro metallic blast wave flashes around Frank’s snarl of “Live by the sword/Die for the Lord… If the horses won’t drink/Drown them in THE WATER!”
8. Silversun Pickups - There’s No Secrets This Year
Their sinuous bass, silvery guitars and seething vocals scream ‘grunge revival’ louder than plaid shirts in H&M. And with Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins and Chris Cornell all back in the game, the time is ripe for SP’s second album, ‘Swoon’. This single, a surging torrent of recklessly speeding drums and rough and sweet guitar washing around Brian Aubert’s oddly beautiful evil-child voice.
9. Isa & The Filthy Tongues - New Town Killers
Pure Edinburgh rock with ‘GOTH’ written right through the middle. Vocals are provided by Richard Jobson, formerly of Scottish punk legends The Skids, who also directed the film of the same name which the single soundtracks. With all the epic guitar of classic Bunnymen tempered by scuzzy Scottish scrapiness, tambourine fetish and charged boy-girl vocals, it’s sure to fire you up.
10. Sleepy Sun – New Age
Currently topping the What The Hell Is THIS On The NME Stereo? chart are this Santa Cruz gang, who possess the rumble of Grinderman, the freakiness of Amazing Baby and the psych hellishness of Black Mountain. Creepy and compulsive, with sun-fried guitars and harmonised vocals, this track is seven-and-a-half intense minutes. Catch them at ATP in May, but ’til then, check this out on our blogs. They might be singing about “the new age of science”, but it drips sultry witchcraft from every chord.
Download as a free MP3 from The Daily Download
Don't miss the new issue of NME, on sale from Wednesday 8 April, for the latest 10 Tracks You Have To Hear, featuring Manic Street Preachers, Camera Obscura and Delphic.
10 Tracks Archive
10 Tracks You Have To Hear - 30 April 2009 - includes Passion Pit, Vampire Weekend, The Big Pink
10 Tracks You Have To Hear - 23 March 2009 - includes The Dead Weather, Maximo Park, Asher Roth