Yuck – Soothe Me
In August NME spent two days in Seattle with Yuck. Alongside tales of poisoned dogs and trigger-happy policemen, the band grizzled away on such subjects as their slacker rock lineage, their fear of America, and their reluctance to answer dumb questions. At one point a documentary maker grabbed them for a chat about the threat of the internet for indie bands. Frontman Daniel Blumberg – DIY holiness pounding through his veins – yanked his shirt over his head and rocked awkwardly, moaning, “I can’t do this.” It was like a fuzzy rewind to 1990, watching Kurt at his insubordinate best. Yuck, it seems, are so indie it hurts.
Which makes it all the more weird to be repackaging their barely 10-month-old debut with a load of B-sides as an obvious cash-in on their new semi-fame. Worry not, though: it’s worth it for this, the one new tune on the record. Unsurprisingly, it’s no reinvention. Blumberg’s trademark whine carries beautifully across the downbeat slo-mo melody as guitars intertwine over a choral falsetto (a nod to a bigger, more heavily produced sound on the next record, possibly?). There’s a whiff of Blumberg’s glum side-project Oupa in the opening bars, but once you’ve banished those thoughts it’s a timely reminder of one of the year’s most brilliant debuts, and a peek at their exciting future.
Mike Williams, Deputy Editor
King Krule – Portrait In Black And Blue
As opening lines go, “Spastic gyrations in abbreviated bathing suits” is up there with the best of them, and the rest of this song is a similarly unique slice of suburban glimmer-pop that makes Archy Marshall the Spectrals in Burberry. And if his swimwear’s getting smaller, his profile’s just getting bigger.
Jamie Fullerton, Features Editor
Leila – (Disappointed Cloud) Anyway
Laptop prophet Leila Arab returns with a compelling collaboration with Mt Sims. A heartbroken ‘found voice’ spins in and out of synth tangles like a paper-thin Caribou or a coldwave Hot Chip, before the whole thing cracks to reveal a mass of wild circuitry within.
Priya Elan, Assistant Editor, NME.com
Tamaryn/Ford & Lopatin – Flying Dream
The 100th release on LA’s Mexican Summer label is a split seven-inch on which Ford & Lopatin produce this glitchily gliding dawn haze of a track by icy dreampoppin’ labelmates Tamaryn (plus a nice collab with Light Asylum on the flip).
Duncan Gillespie, writer
Tennis – Origins
Produced by Black Keys beanpole Patrick Carney, Tennis’ return is a tantalising taste of forthcoming album ‘Young And Old’. Despite being drenched in sublime Motown piano chops, it’s the fragility of Alaina Moore’s vocals that push it over the edge.
Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor
Foo Fighters/Joan Jett – Bad Reputation
Performed on US TV and live at NYC’s Madison Square Garden earlier this month, this version of Jett’s 1980 bubblegum punk gem heaps on some Dave Grohl shredding and grows a whole new set of stoner rock legs. It’s still kinda guilty pleasure territory – but definitely incendiary.
Rick Martin, News Editor
Lil B – The Realist Ever
Other enchantingly titled cuts like ‘I Got Aids’ and ‘Crabs N A Bucket’ are worthy of attention, but this is the best tune on ‘BasedGod Velli’, the latest mixtape by the man Pitchfork call “the tireless rap enigma”.
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Liam Cash, writer
Gonjasufi – Nikels And Dimes
‘A Sufi And A Killer’ was one of the most tweaked and brilliant records of 2010, the handiwork of yoga instructor Sumach Ecks and collaborators Flying Lotus and chums. His new record, ‘Muzzle’, drops in January next year. This sounds like a ghost haunting your brain in funky robotic trousers.
Alex Denney, writer
SALEM – Better Off Alone
Turn off your mobile and crack out the ketamine, for the slo-faced SALEM are back with a typically glacial and grandiose take on Alice Deejay’s 1999 chart-dance banger from new EP ‘I’m Still In The Night’, out now. The video features Gisele Bündchen, because witch house is so hot right now, babes.
Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor
Sharon Van Etten – Serpents
The first song from forthcoming album ‘Tramp’ is ravaged, propulsive, full of howling slide guitar and SVE witheringly invoking her darkest thoughts against a manipulative foe: “Serpents in my mind trying to forgive your crimes”. The bitterness suits her down to the ground.
Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor
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This article originally appeared in the November 26th issue of NME