Zachary Cole Smith has overcome a multitude of problems to make this intensely powerful album
10 Tracks You Have To Hear This Week (19/10/09)
Burial, Comanechi, Memory Tapes, Har Mar Superstar
Oh, how we want you, Akiko Matsuura. Coolest girl in all the world and crazy as a bag of badgers to boot, Akiko’s not only drummer in The Big Pink, but also leader of this fantastic thrashy grunge-noise-pop outfit. Their debut ‘Crime Of Love’ will be out on MySpace soon, and let us tell you if you like guitars, girls, noise, gratuitous rage, gratuitous joy and FUN FUN FUN are you in for one hell of a treat. We’re scrawling their names over all our possessions in marker pen even as you read this.
2. Darkstar – Aidy’s Girl Is A Computer
The track that ‘AYO Technology’ could have been, ‘Aidy’s Girl…’ extends that surprisingly large lineage of songs celebrating the love between one man and his laptop. Clutching ironic 2-step skip and moaning robots to their stylishly engorged 8-bits, London duo Darkstar articulate the sadness of the situation with unnerving accuracy.
3. Boy of Girl – Hot Chocolate Boy
Soft, warm and bleepy, this bedtime treat from the London duo formerly known as Moon Unit is like being gently pelted with a thousand tiny marshmallows by smiling cherubim. Hints of Saint Etienne and Stereolab, it’s delicate, cool and classy angel-delighting synthery.
4. Memory Tapes – Green Knight
Halt! Who goes there? Forsooth, ’tis icily cool bedroom popster Sir Dave Hawk, aka Memory Tapes, trying his gallant hand at dank, fizzed funk ditties. Surprisingly he has shown himself up to be quite the swordsman of slowed pop soul with a keen glitch-synth edge. Victory is assured, and the knob-twiddling geek rides triumphant with this sleaze-free electro gem that’s sure to win him the heart of many a fair maiden and ferocious dragon alike.
Download a free Memory Tapes track
5. Ellie Goulding – Under The Sheets
We haven’t been as excited about a pop artist since La Roux, but where Elly Jackson keeps one foot firmly in the ’80s, her near-namesake is very much a modern girl. This swishy, breezy thing is equal parts ethereal and earthy: Ellie’s peculiar, fragile vocal (hints of Cocteau Twins’ Liz Fraser) aches with a heart that counterpoints the sharp, dancefloor-driven Xenomanic rhythms.
Download it here
6. Fenech-Soler - Lies
So what if summer’s over and you’re being plagued by seasonal affected disorder and feeling a bit on the mardy side of life. It’s time for NME to get all Mr Motivator on your arse and get you dancing to the sound of a very different beat. And they don’t get more hi-NRG than this Friendly Fires-esque electro-pop stomper from a quartet that are so criminally young they probably weren’t even around in the ’80s when people actually used terms like hi-NRG. We’ll get our own coat, thanks.
7. Burial - Fostercare
Burial’s back, apparently. Back from where? To come back, you’ve gotta go away first, and if this is anything to go by, London producer Will Bevan still haunts the same grey, midnight stairwells; hood up, eyes red, overheard heartbreak clattering at him off the concrete. And thank fuck for that – your ears should bow skywards every day in reverence of Bevan’s martyrdom, the first track he’s made on his own since 2007’s ‘Untrue’ torn from Hyperdub’s fifth anniversary comp ‘5’.
8. Har Mar Superstar feat. Adam Green – Never My Love
It’s the most simple of ideas that have an enduring effect on the body and soul. Sticking a bit of cheese between two slices of bread. Inspired. Drinking five litres of Irn-Bru to quench an insufferable hangover. Ingenious. And now this. The pairing of two such outrageous minds as Har Mar and the former Moldy Peach for the soundtrack to Drew Barrymore’s movie Whip It seems so obvious it’s a wonder that the duo haven’t come together to produce a slick, Beach Boys-esque pop number sooner. Simply sublime.
9. Egyptian Hip Hop – Rad Pitt
Much like Florida’s Black Kids before them (who were neither kids nor black), Egyptian Hip Hop are in the naughty game of telling massive porkies, principally because they are neither from the land of Pharaohs or make the kind of NWA racket that will make you blush. The truth we can reveal about the simperingly sweet electro indie pop of this Mancunian four-piece is that it will swell your heart in the way the best of Kubichek!’s work does, while simultaneously making you want to dance like Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club.
10. HTRK – Disco
Only the hardiest souls dare hang out with HTRK. "Here we are at a shiny disco… let’s go", intones Jonnine Standish over funereal knocking and abrasive electro-industrial textures. But when you consider that your average shopping centre danceteria is full of grown men making ironic "shapes" (spit spit) while trying to cop off with inebriated girls in tottery shoes, a dark night in the company of these icy Australians is an enticingly fearsome prospect. Dance, dour, wherever you may be.
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