The Maccabees – Pelican
In their most recent NME interview, The Maccabees enthused that playing the sort of massive gigs that Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian do would be something that they’d be “totally up for”. This is a good thing because – and make no mistake about this whatsoever – 2012 is going to be their year, and the point at which they step assuredly into The Big League.
In the same way that, prior to second album ‘Wall Of Arms’, ‘No Kind Words’ indicated that here was a cult concern making a giant leap into the realm of Bands To Be Taken Seriously, as a first taste of forthcoming third album ‘Given To The Wild’, ‘Pelican’ marks a step into the Take Very, Very Seriously stage. It is the sound, unmistakably, of The Maccabees we all know and love, but it’s more strident, adventurous and instinctive. Nimble guitar lines, svelte, lissom rhythms, a tear-beckoning, beautiful vocal… so many bands in recent times have attempted to retool themselves for arenas by turning up the reverb and borrowing a Bono chorus. One of the most exciting things about ‘Pelican’ is that, yes, it sounds suited to larger rooms, but it’s also like a completely natural step forward. It sounds like the best young guitar band in Britain at the absolute peak of their powers. 2012 is going to be emotional.
Hamish MacBain, Assistant Editor
Factory Floor – Two Different Ways
It’s Factory Floor’s first release for New York label DFA – and oh my, did they choose a corker to get things started. ‘Two Different Ways’ is a less feral beast than some of the London trio’s previous cuts but, with Nik Colk’s icy vocals, neuron-frying synths and nods to Chicago house played out over nearly 10 minutes of noisy bliss, it’s a behemoth of a track nonetheless.
Ben Hewitt, writer
Seye Adelekan – White Noise
Recognise that surname? Seye is Gbenga from Metronomy’s bro and, going by his debut songs, wicked rhythmic ways run in the family. Here, Seye picks up where Katy B’s ‘On A Mission’ left off, crooning saucily about putting “my cigarette inside your paper cup” on a night out over frenzied tribal beats, like Fela Kuti for the Rinse generation.
Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor
Drake ft. Rihanna – Take Care
Producer Jamie xx completes the dream team on this epic anthem of emo-hop taken from Drake’s delayed ‘Take Care’ album. Like the negative to ‘What’s My Name’s’ full-colour Polaroid, Drake twists hip-hop’s macho bravado 360 degrees on this chilling, housey ode to love and togetherness.
Priya Elan, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
Gross Magic – Yesterdays
Brighton boy Sam McGarrigle nails a perfect sweet spot between grungy grind and woozy, Ariel Pink-style psych-pop. This extract from a split seven-inch with Novella, The History Of Apple Pie and Echo Lake on Marshall Teller Records is his gnarliest work yet, reminiscent of early, scary Mercury Rev.
Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor
Rostam – Don’t Let It Get To You
Rostam’s latest solo foray – away from Vampire Weekend – mines a little Latin American flavour and nicks the chugging drumbeat from Paul Simon’s ‘The Obvious Child’. Without Ezra yelping over the top, the whole thing’s prettier, calmer and more blurred-around-the-edges. Less an ice-cold horchata, more a warming winter tumbler of mulled wine.
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Luke Lewis, Editor, NME.COM
The Big Pink – Hit The Ground (Superman)
Early signs for the new album from the now-clean-living Big Pink are promising. Following ‘Stay Gold’, this second excerpt hits with almost as many soaring, big beat melodies – who needs a drug intake so high that sniffer dogs keel over when they walk within 50 yards of the band members, eh?
Jamie Fullerton, Features Editor
Howler – Back Of Your Neck
These Minneapolis teens better have broad shoulders, given they’ve already been charged with kick-starting that long-mooted rock’n’roll revival next year. Thankfully, this turbo-charged rocket from their forthcoming debut LP sounds so bloody massive it’s already pretty inevitable that they’ll pull it off.
Rick Martin, News Editor
Laura Marling – I Was An Eagle
Of all the new material currently getting road tested at Laura’s live dates, this missive raises our hopes highest for the fourth album – a beautiful yet barbed dispatch to a former flame that insists “I will not be a victim of romance/I will not be a victim of circumstance”.
Tim Chester, Deputy Editor, NME.COM
Pulled Apart By Horses – V.E.N.O.M.
As an opening salvo from the Leeds noise mongers’ new LP ‘Tough Love’, ‘VENOM’ certainly feels like a statement of intent. Surprisingly raw and outstandingly heavy, it builds to a crushing metal outro that nods to vintage Motörhead. PABH are back with a mighty wallop.
Tom Goodwyn, writer