1. Wolf Gang – Pieces Of You
Behold! Striding through a rosy new dawn comes a homegrown British artist that’s more than a match for the grand high poobahs of American weird-pop. Max McElligott sounds like he spent his formative years holed up in the trunk of a twisted old tree with only early Roxy Music and Byrne & Eno records to keep him warm. Throwing itself from branch to branch around the cavernous canopy of a lush sonic jungle, it’s somewhere between the sweet sass of suave post-punk poppers Orange Juice, ‘Remain In Light’-era Talking Heads and the old doyen of debonair himself, Bryan Ferry, by way of the multilayered pop of Of Montreal or Grizzly Bear. It’s AMAZING.
Download another Wolf Gang track from the Radar blog
2. Boy Crisis – Boy Crississippi
“Our name is Boy Crisis and we think you’re great”. Nice opening line and, yes, flattery will get you everywhere, you dapper rogues. This exclusive taster of MGMT’s sleazy little brothers’ forthcoming album typifies their silly, saucy brand of Prince-referencing high jinks (“Our breath smells like nipples and it’s not a coincidence”). They can’t fool us though – you can just tell by looking at them that they’re the sort of well brought up young men that always won the spelling bee.
Download as a free MP3 from The Daily Download
3. White Belt Yellow Tag – Tell Your Friends (It All Worked Out)
If you’re constantly torn between the heart and the mosh, you’ll be pleased to hear that these Yorkshire lads have found a way to unite the atmospheric solemnity of Elbow or Doves with the pop-rock rush of Dinosaur Pile-Up or Nine Black Alps. Heaving with hurt, portent and downhome Northern vocals, it’s the best of both worlds.
4. The Raveonettes – In And Out Of Control (demo)
They might be reliably retro of sound, but Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo are embracing new technologies like a polar bear embraces a leopard seal. They’re currently sharing demos for their fourth album with their fans via their Twitter account, as well as posting live in-the-studio videos and taking part in online chat sessions. This track has everything you want – after-hours twanging surfy guitar, Mary Chain fuzz, doomed romantic lyrics about “a starlight Bonnie And Clyde”, harmonies, menace, understated sex…
On Twitter.com/theraveonettes now
5. Katie Stelmanis – Believe Me
You’ll have first heard Katie Stelmanis’ name, and her eerie voice, through her guest vocals on Fucked Up’s ‘Common Chemistry’, but she’s no mere punk bit-player. This, her debut single, is darkly gothic folk-country, close in austere spirit to Chan Marshall or a Canuck Laura Marling. A paean to the complex, close relationship girls have with their mothers, its tense, low piano chords and Stelmanis’ rich, vibrato tones are as hauntingly beautiful as the woods at night.
Download as a free MP3 from the Radar blog
6. The Almighty Defenders – All My Loving
Bands are splicing together in ever more new and exciting mutations than flu viruses at the moment. Our favourite, though, is the King Khan And BBQ/Black Lips team-up The Almighty Defenders. NME was fortunate enough to catch them at the rather amazing North By Northeast festival in Toronto, where they played their first-ever show. Not a trace of a hiccup in this fantastic raw rockabilly raunch-fest, played in chorister’s gospel robes.
7. Mapei – Public Enemy
We first picked up on Rhode Island-born, Sweden-based rapper Mapei this time last year. Signed to Downtown, home of Spank Rock and Santigold, heavy, narcotic hip-hop with a sassy delivery that brings to mind the verbal slappings of Neneh Cherry or Ms Dynamite is her thing. This track, though, one of four on the ‘Cocoa Butter Diaries’ EP (out August 23), is nastier, dirtier and dancier than her usual territory, with a furious booty bass.
8. Hole – Nobody’s Daughter
Courtney Love her or loathe her, the peroxide queen of the ’90s was less a rock star and more a goddess/devil woman (delete as applicable) to a generation. Her partial reunion of Hole stays true to controversial form and in keeping with the self-determined nature of its title (also the title of the new album), this is a heavy, gothy, Cure-guitared grungy grind and made us excited enough to puke.
9. Humanzi – Bass Balls
“Ha! Are they still going?” we hear you laugh. Indeed they are, and they’re back with a gothy heaviness, howling about a “dark-haired girl in the corridor” over a careering Eighties Matchbox guitar line and a rumbling bass that sounds like Kasabian throwing shapes to The Cult in the best way possible.
10. Busta Rhymes Feat. Estelle – World Go Round
Of all the things we were expecting of the return of the Courvoisier-passing rapper, this was not it. A filthy electro-dance backing that sounds more like Britney, a silky guest vocal from Estelle: does Busta hit a pumping musical artery? Or will it be blood on the dancefloor?