Tribes – Himalaya
We’ve been hammering Tribes’ fine and forthcoming debut ‘Baby’ in the office of late, and the part where everyone sort of goes a bit quiet and starts swaying in their chairs and humming along in a toneless and broken fashion is usually this track. It’s a keystone of their live show as well, and it’s easy to see why.
A mountain-moving cry from the heart and the depths of the Valley Of Well And Truly Dumped, it finds Johnny Lloyd lost in the high passes of heartbreak before being slowly guided back to the reverb-shimmered light of day by loyal sonic Sherpa and guitarist Dan White.
Johnny’s unashamedly full-on vocal recalls prime era Borrell, though the languid, fuck-it-she’s-gone-let’s-hit-the-offy verses are subtler than that, with the sort of slowly unfurling melodies and slinky basslines that made ‘Suck It And See’ so compulsive.
The chorus, though, is just massive. Raw riffs that wouldn’t sit out of place on Radiohead’s ‘The Bends’ and chorused, magnetically singalong-able “woah oh oh” backing vocals scale the peaks of pain and passion, as Johnny howls “does it move you, the state I’m in?” from the roof of the world, ice-picking his cold jilter right in the soul.
Y’know what? It does, and it’d be a hard heart that wouldn’t relent; making a mountain out a molehill never sounded so headily high.
Duncan Gillespie, writer
Marina & The Diamonds – Starring Role
We may never understand the wig’n’Stargate combo of ‘Radioactive’, but ‘Starring Role’ shows that whatever this Electra Heart palaver is all about, Marina’s still at the core of it – along with some fiendish cad who’s clearly been doing her wrong. This cut is a classy step forward from ‘The Family Jewels’ and ace to boot.
Ailbhe Malone, writer
Dexters – Start To Run
From the riots-referencing opening line – “Let’s go loot this city dry tonight!” – to the final power chord, this is brash, guitar anthemia of an extremely high quality, brought to you by five upstarts who live in Hoxton but musically couldn’t be any further away from it.
Hamish Macbain, Assistant Editor
The 2 Bears – Work
Every day is a ’90s house rave for The 2 Bears (who we’re going to stop referring to as the beardy one from Hot Chip and his mate from now on), and, in the absence of a new Hot Chip album, their new fist-pumper ‘Work’ is the E’d up jogging tune we’ve been waiting for since ‘One Life Stand’ fizzled out.
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Jamie Fullerton, Features Editor
Mwahaha ft Merrill Garbus – Love
Like romance novels of yore, we listen as Oakland trio Mwahaha and their neighbour, Tune-Yards’ Merrill, merge to conceive a wonderchild made of deep synths, tribal cries and sweet, sweet beats. They found love, everybody, so tell Rihanna to stop bragging.
Anne T Donahue, writer
Milk Music – Beyond Living
Hailing from the epicentre of grunge, this Olympia, Washington trio are without doubt the most exciting new guitar band we’ve heard in ages. Their EP ‘Beyond Living’ is released in the UK soon – and its pulverising title track is a slice of big-time fun with one of the best choruses all year. Altogether now: “I WENT DOWN TO MYYYYYYY ROOOOOOOOOM!!!”
Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor
Iggy Pop – Initials BB (Serge Gainsbourg cover)
When he’s not flogging insurance with that irritating puppet sidekick, Iggy’s developing something of an obsession with all things French. Following on from 2009’s jazzy ‘Préliminaires’ LP, here he husks his way through this lounge pop Gainsbourg cover like he’s been singing in the language of love all his life.
Rick Martin, News Editor
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Theme Park – Ghosts
Frolicky London foursome Theme Park are releasing their justly celebrated ‘Milk’ as a limited seven-inch on Monday. They’ve been compared to Talking Heads, not unjustly, but B-side ‘Ghosts’ suggests they’re also fond of late Orange Juice and ’80s chart pop like Curiosity Killed The Cat or Prefab Sprout. Pastel-tone-tastic.
Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor
of Montreal – Wintered Debts
We know Kevin Barnes has got major split-personality issues (his alter ego is a glam dick-swinger called Georgie Fruit, FFS), but this is new territory, sweeping between Anton Newcombe deadbeat gloom, George Harrison dream harmonies and Elton John foot-stomping over 7:33 of schizophrenic (p)opera. Give the man a cake, he’s a genius.
Mike Williams, Deputy Editor
James Blake – Curbside
Ditching the sultry vocal caresses of his eponymous debut, JB’s return is heralded instead with tough beats, glitchy drones and some bad-ass samples courtesy of Quasimoto’s ‘Return Of The Loop Digga’. It’ll bother zero mainstream charts, but it’ll keep the purists happy.
Lisa Wright, writer
This article originally appeared in the December 3rd issue of NME