Azealia Banks & Machinedrum – Barbie Shit/P-U-S-S-Y
With the festering corpses of Lil Mama and Kid Sister (rappers whose early promise suggested so much, but who ultimately burned out quicker than Wolf-Rayet stars) getting mouldy in our musical basement, we’ve been slow to give Azealia Banks props. Until now. If ‘212’, a schizoid diamond exploding with more jaw-to-the-floor personalities than Nicki Minaj, pushed her over the top then these two new tracks suggest that she’s got enough creative ammunition of be around for the long haul.
‘Barbie Shit’ takes 212’s oath (“Imma ruin you cunt”) and goes hell for leather in its pro-consumerism march, like an anti ‘Gucci Gucci’ with its hook “A bitch look plastic” via an old-school beat which appropriately resembles Lil Wayne’s ‘A Milli’ falling down the stairs. ‘P-U-S-S-Y’, meanwhile is a multifarious monster; hooking us with a stance that recalls Spank Rock’s dizzying ‘Bangers & Cash’ collaboration with Benny Blanco. It also slouches with the post-coital glamour of Lil’ Louis’ ‘French Kiss’, shines with a bit of dirty Chicago house and bends with a dancehall shimmer. Banks shoots her rhymes like lasers from her eyes; first playful (“been a freak since ’91”), then aggressive (“niggas like Pokemon – I gotta catch them all”), then back again. We’d expect nothing less from this former theatre student. Truly, a new star has landed.
Priya Elan, Assistant Editor, NME.com
Arcade Fire and Neil Young – Helpless
Neil Young’s heart-wrench lollop is pretty daunting to try and replicate full stop, let alone when the Big Man himself is on stage with you for it – as was the case for Arcade Fire at Young’s Bridge School Benefit show the other weekend. But they nailed it so exactly you half expect Neil to give Win his hat at the end of it.
Jamie Fullerton, Features Editor
The Dot – Right Way Wrong Way
It’s not 2002, so a hook-up between Mike Skinner and Robert Harvey of now-defunct proto new-ravers The Music is hardly hold-the-front-page material. But this is still pretty promising, nailing the reflective mood that The Streets tried and failed to capture on 2008’s ‘Everything Is Borrowed’.
Rick Martin, News Editor
Mozart Parties – Raining At The Crossroads
While MP’s first offering ‘Black Clouds’ was a sleepy and sad-eyed tale of bleakness, its follow up is an altogether more jaunty affair. The seductively trashy guitars and samba shuffle are sprightly and spiky, yet the Merok newbies still bring to mind ‘Rent’-era Pet Shop Boys. No bad thing at all.
Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor
Spector – Grey Shirt And Tie
There’s a swoonsome-but-shabby, eccentric English elegance to Spector beneath their puppyish riffs that wells up across in slower tracks like this, with its echoey haunted ballroom vibe, Pulpish plaintive keyboard motif and tolling bells (ask not for whom, for heaven’s sake).
Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor
Chairlift – Sidewalk Safari
They disappeared for a long time, but on this evidence Chairlift have lost none of their skill at crafting electronic fantasy-pop nuggets. ‘Sidewalk…’ is a tantalising first glimpse of an album which will, albeit late, confirm them to be easily the best band in Brooklyn.
Hamish MacBain, Assistant Editor
Charli XCX – Nuclear Seasons
Madame XCX takes her love of industrial noises and heavy synths and adds to it a bit of ’80s sparkle, buffing and polishing her previous MO (as evinced on ‘Stay Away’) until she can see her face in it. Marina fronting NiN impersonating Gwen Stefani, for those that like comparions.
Tim Chester, Deputy Editor, NME.COM
Errors – Earthscore
Virgins beware. Errors are back, and by the sound of the demon chants and Vangelis synths, they’ve started a deathcult and want to sacrifice your unsexed body to the gods of electro. New album, ‘Have Some Faith In Magic’, is out next January. If this is a marker, it’s even more twisted and brilliant than the last.
Mike Williams, Deputy Editor
The Black Keys – Lonely Boy
Filmed on a shoestring and featuring a Howard-from-the-Halifax-ads lookalike cutting some rug, it’s in the tradition of lolsome ‘crap dancing’ videos, along with Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’ and David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s ‘Dancing In The Street’. The track itself is OK too, a gloopy low-down blues workout that augurs well for the band’s upcoming seventh studio album ‘El Camino’.
Luke Lewis, Editor, NME.COM
Wild Flag – Winter Pair
This new song, premiered live recently, sounds less like Wild Flag’s usual biting jangle and more like an old Wipers track, a violent, rusted beast spewing out black smoke. “Let’s haunt this house!” Carrie screams like Jemina Pearl starring in a remake of The Exorcist, sounding far, far scarier than anything you witnessed at Halloween.
Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor
This article originally appeared in the November 5th issue of NME