The sounds rattling round the skulls of the NME staff this week
1. Surfer Blood – ‘I’m Not Ready’
‘Astro Coast’ has slowly but surely become one of the NME office’s most played albums of the year, getting us mucky, mardy lot all swoonsome with its classic indie-pop charm. It failed to set the wider world alight, but that was OK, Surfer Blood were destined to snuggle into a role as loveable obscurities on a tiny label, urviving on shortbread biscuits baked by kindly bloggers. Well, fuck that bunch of losers, ’cos Surfer Blood have just signed to Warners!
It’s all first-class coke-slave bumming from here on in, bitch. And fair dos, because they deserve to reach a bigger audience, as this new track shows. It’s got the usual S-Blood combination of defiant jauntiness and lyrical bite (they’re a geek’s fantasy, this lot), coming across like a cheekier Shins or Vampire Weekend with dirty underwear.
“You’re talking down to me, but nobody’s listening/Honestly, sooner or later they will find out what you’re made of”, warns frontman JP Pitts, in a hapless, almost-warning to someone. Expect their lyrics in their moneyed future to be more along the lines of, “Listen to me, I own you, don’t look me in the eye, worm, I’ll snort your sister for breakfast…”
[Martin Robinson, Deputy Editor]
2. Warpaint – ‘Undertow’
Los Angelinos Warpaint are impossibly cool, disillusioned and like, totally over their ex-boyfriends. And on ‘Undertow’, from forthcoming album ‘The Fool’, they show exactly how to follow their lead. Subdued and sarky, they sing, “What’s the matter, you hurt yourself?” As if they care.
[Ailbhe Malone, writer]
3. Howls – ‘Hammock’
He’s been ‘The Bard in Reebok Classics’, a live Shadow Puppet and now Stephen Fretwell returns as a crooner. His new band Howls’ debut single is a bewitching mix of twitching drums, surf guitars and smoky vocals.
[Paul Stokes, Associate Editor]
4. Tensnake – ‘Coma Cat’
Hamburg’s new disco-house don spells out over a pulsing, chiming seven-minute odyssey what exactly a club anthem should sound like in 2010. It’s funny watching dancefloor reactions to this track as revellers realise they haven’t felt this good in a club since 1997.
[Jaimie Hodgson, New Music Editor]
5. Marnie Stern – ‘Transparency Is The New Mystery’
Marnie Stern’s childlike vocals on this melodic tantrum could shatter glass and soothe like a lullaby at the same time. A rock’n’roll nursery rhyme over punky indie guitars from the quirky New Yorker.
[Abby Tayleure, writer]
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6. Fujiya & Miyagi – ‘Sixteen Shades Of Black And Blue’
Not that we want to glorify violence, but when F&M frontman David Best (alas, Miyagi isn’t his real name) growls, “I beat you black, I beat you blue” on the thrusting, Gainsbourg-meets-Stereolab first cut from forthcoming record, ‘Ventriloquizzing’, there’s something quite sexily wrong about it. The best kind of sexy, I think you’ll agree.
[Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor]
7. Owen Pallett – ‘A Man With No Ankles’
He’s long since dropped the Final Fantasy moniker, but Owen Pallett
still loves a geek-out. Every stroke of his violin bow, the multi-tracked harmonies; they’re all borderline OCD obsessive in their perfection, and clearly the work of a man who spends far too much time fiddling in his bedroom.
[Mike Williams, Features Editor]
8. Big Deal – ‘Locked Up’
“We don’t know how to put this but we’re kind of a big deal”, it says on the London Big Star devotees’ MySpace. Well, we’d all like to write our reviews. And if we were them we’d add “purveyors of lo-fi heartwrench harmonies par excellence”.
[Tim Chester, Assistant Editor, NME.COM]
9. Sufjan Stevens – ‘Too Much’
Sufjan’s new album ‘The Age Of Adz’ contains a dizzying sprawl of ideas. Some of the songs are as beautiful as anything he’s written. Other tracks, like ‘Too Much’, are more complex and mysterious, pitched somewhere between Björk’s ‘Homogenic’ and the glitchy abstraction of ‘Kid A’.
[Luke Lewis, Deputy Editor, NME.COM]
10. Wild Beasts – ‘Two Dancers (Oneohtrix Point Never White Knights Remix)’
The Lake District lovelies are to release a remix EP in early November. My pick is this tingling offering from Brooklyn ambient explorer Daniel Lopatin, in which Tom and Hayden’s voices hang suspended in a solar cloud of gorgeous.
[Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor]
This article originally appeared in the September 25 issue of NME