Abel Tesfaye's dark, twisted album is at odds with the glossy pop world he's been thrust into
10 Tracks You Have To Hear This Week (17/03/12)
Miles Kane, Beach House, Odd Future
‘First Of My Kind’, the lead song from Miles Kane’s new EP (released on vinyl for Record Store Day on April 21, and officially the following day), marks uncharted territory for Mr Kane – not least because he’s never actually got past the debut album point with any of his other acts. If there’s one thing we never thought we’d say about the lady-lovin’ Miles (his flirt trajectory at the NME Awards made for astonishing viewing), it’s that he seems to have learned a thing or two about commitment. And secondly, while The Last Shadow Puppets’ album was flamboyant in its own sumptuous strings-led way, here Miles ratchets up the bombast with amounts of brass so heady it makes Mark Ronson’s ‘Version’ album sound minimal.
Is this change of tack a good thing? Absolutely. This is still Miles as we know and love him – but now there seems to be more of him. His powerful Lennon-licked vocals bluster with reinvigorated force; the creepy Scott Walker-ish rhythms tip-toe towards the gates of ‘Bond theme pastiche’ but thankfully stay the right side of them. We’ll call his wordplay, erm, classic rather than cliché (he notes that an object of affection is “as cold as ice” at least once), and that’s fine: Miles is becoming more of a class act with each cheeky guylinered wink.
Beach House - 'Myth'
The teen dream is over: the Baltimore duo have been promising a more nightmarish, death-themed fourth album in the form of ‘Bloom’. But while this first taster is a darker shade than anything on its predecessor, it’s also the most sky-scrapingly euphoric thing they’ve produced to date. Magnificent.
Bobby Womack - 'Please Forgive My Heart'
Two years after enlisting his rasping vocal for Gorillaz’ ‘Stylo’, Damon Albarn further assists Bobby Womack’s comeback by co-producing ‘The Bravest Man In The Universe’, the soul man’s first album in 18 years. This lead track is no ‘Across 110th Street’, but at least proves Womack’s extraordinary vocal power is undiminished at age 68.
Sharon Van Etten - 'Life Of His Own'
This B-side to new single ‘Leonard’ is disarmingly simple – the softest strumming and barely there, elegantly still strings dovetailing as she sings of her desire for a man who will “shine every light, and make everyone else around me dim”. It’s heartbreaking – particularly when you remember the cretin that inspired her beautiful new album, ‘Tramp’.
Odd Future - 'NY (Ned Flander)'
This fidgeting, floating track from the collective’s forthcoming ‘OF Tape Vol 2’ sees Tyler and Hodgy do an old-skool sounding back’n’forth, over a creepy Danny Elfman piano figure – which suggests that Syd Tha Kyd’s paw prints have been all over this number.
Simian Mobile Disco - 'Seraphim'
SMD’s ‘Delicacies’ was one of the finest treats 2010 had to offer, and by the sound of ‘Seraphim’, the unworldly bangers won’t be abating anytime soon. The first taster from the duo’s forthcoming new album ‘Unpatterns’ is a masterclass in bass-heavy thwomping and sexy synth-pop. Consider our appetite well and truly whetted…
Emily Kokal - 'Hymn'
Fret not! Emily’s not abandoning the Warpaint eyrie; she just happened to appear at LA’s Dilettante Records and play this new track. Whether ‘Hymn’ will appear on Warpaint’s second album, we don’t know – but what’s certain is that her cries of “yesterday” over naked, eddying guitar recall early Cat Power, and clocking in at six minutes, it’s a total “sing like no-one’s watching” moment.
Burial & Four Tet - 'Nova'
Hot on the heels of Burial’s excellent ‘Kindred’ comes a new collaboration with Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet. Burial’s shunting drums and sad-angel warbles are present and correct, but Hebden brings a glitchy, melodic sensibility that pokes early-morning sunbeams through the nocturnal gloom.
THEESatisfaction - 'Enchantruss'
Another teaser from this Seattle duo’s Sub Pop debut, which twists obtuse synth squelches, off kilter beats and creepily treated vocals into something very special indeed. Loads of extra points for rhyming “Orson Welles” with “divorce myself” and “Archie Bunk” with “skunk”.
Bradford Cox - 'My Sharona (The Knack cover)'
“It’s not like fucking Lana Del Rey carved an upside down cross on her cheek and defecated onstage…” So said Cox (aka Atlas Sound) after his onstage ‘incident’ in Minneapolis recently. His crime? Responding to a heckler demanding a cover of ‘My Sharona’ by bastardising the track… for an hour.
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Oxford's finest flit between gnarly rock and frustrating slickness on an often-brilliant fourth album