The Big Pink – ‘Stay Gold’
Nothing’s ever as it seems with The Big Pink. You might take that song title as a reference to a skating film or a clothing brand. But it’s also a phrase meaning “keep true to yourself” or “preserve your innocence” that crops up in SE Hinton’s classic alienated youth novel The Outsiders, derived from the Robert Frost poem Nothing Gold Can Stay.
You shouldn’t underestimate them, you see. It doesn’t really matter whether you think Milo and Robbie are awful scenesters or posers or dreadful depraved bastards or whatever. All that matters is the songs, which have always kept a wide-eyed innocence at their heart under the noise and leather.
The Pink’s singer might recently have graced the pages of Hello! standing next to Otis Ferry and been described as “man-about-town Robbie Furze”, but when this first track (produced by Paul Epworth and mixed by Alan Moulder) from his and Milo Cordell’s second album opens with an elegiac, sweet bit of synth and he howls “A time to love a time to cry/And beat the darkness into light”, you’ll swallow your sniggers. ‘Future This’, the duo’s follow-up to debut ‘A Brief History Of Love’, is due out in January 2012, and from the off, it’s clear they haven’t lost their alchemical knack of mixing melancholy melody, triumphal choruses and dark, shunting rhythms into something that can’t be tarnished.
[Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor]
Los Campesinos! – ‘By Your Hand’
Underpinned by an ‘AM 180’-ish videogame swirl and cheery playground chorus, the title of LC!’s forthcoming fourth record, ‘Hello Sadness’, seems something of a misnomer in comparison to this chipper ode to ejaculation. Proof? That title, and a prime bit of ambitious sleaze from Gareth: “We were kissing for hours with her hands in my trousers…”
[Susana Pearl, writer]
Kurt Vile – ‘The Creature’
Our hero stands in the shadows. A waterfall of plucked guitars flows, a flamenco rhythm pounds. He’s contemplating another stop-start relationship. The despondency of his vocal fits his fairweather situation. Right now it’s all about this moment, which hangs deliciously in the air.
[Priya Elan, Assistant Editor, NME.COM]
Jack White – ‘You Know That I Know’ (Hank Williams cover)
Redeeming himself for his Insane Clown Posse-related moment of madness, Jack White unleashes the hard drinkin’ cowboy inside on this ‘lost’ Hank Williams number. Mainlining vintage Nashville complete with perfect pedal steel sighs, White’s quavering vocals have rarely sounded more at home.
[Leonie Cooper, Deputy News Editor]
Kele Okereke ft Lucy Taylor – ‘What Did I Do?’
The next phase of Kele’s discotronic empowerment is to step away from the mic and draft in a generic diva for a hi-NRG torch song. The lead track from October EP ‘The Hunter’ is a gigantic house banger, channelling Gatecrasher as much as bloggy electronica, and smelling unashamedly of poppers.
[Dan Martin, writer ]
The Field – ‘Then It’s White’
Another swinging hypnotist’s watch of a track from the Kompakt wunderkind, this cut from forthcoming LP ‘Looping State Of Mind’ compresses all the compulsive repetition of his previous into just under eight minutes and adds Fridge-esque vocal touches for perhaps his dreamiest outing yet.
[Tim Chester, Deputy Editor, NME.COM]
Pengu!ns – ‘Hate Male’
Debut single from Zak Starkey’s band: you’re thinking classic rock in line with his Oasis/The Who antics, right? Totally wrong. Also in Pengu!ns is a girl called Sshh, who’s the opposite of her name, screeching about hating suits over a gloriously teenage mess of in-yer-face electro-rock.
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[Hamish MacBain, Assistant Editor]
Braids – ‘Peach Wedding’
The Canadian four-piece return sounding as harmonious as ever for their side of a forthcoming split seven-inch release with Purity Ring, but there’s some suitably impressive changes afoot too. Dropping Big Pink-style rhythms alongside chopped’n’distorted guitars, it’s an altogether impressive gear change.
[Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor]
Trophy Wife – ‘Wolf’
Maybe it’s just because we discovered them last autumn, but there’s something about Oxford’s Blessing Force that’s perfectly suited to frosty climes. Taken from Trophy Wife’s forthcoming ‘Bruxism’ EP, the Yannis-produced ‘Wolf’ is a shivery clatter of quickening steps, chilling drones and disconnected lyrics: “Now I know this is not my home.”
[Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor]
Yuck – ‘Cousin Corona’
In the week that Daniel Blumberg releases a collection of soppy piano ballads under his Oupa alias, Yuck announce the reissue of their belting debut, with a raft of fun extras. Sounding like an ‘In Utero’ offcut, this orgy of bass and feedback is the pick of the bunch. [Mike Williams, Deputy Editor]