New tracks from Iceage, Pusha T and Albert Hammond Jnr
Written by a 20-year-old Sinéad O’Connor as the opening track of her 1987 debut album ‘The Lion And The Cobra’, ‘Jackie’ tells the tale of a distressed woman whose lover has been lost at sea. Danish punks Iceage obviously saw something in it that they share with the Irish songwriter beyond shaved heads and prodigous talent, adding Viking angst to the original’s raw emotion.
Kevin EG Perry, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
In which the Texan wildcats go gonzo-glam-rock. Sounds naff? Not at all. Sure, it’s a departure from their loveably scrappy 2008 garage-rock debut ‘Workout Holiday’, but as they put it themselves: “I know you think it’s easy to change/But it’s a symptom of age”. This is White Denim embracing fun as they get older. The kind of fun that only comes with a fridge full of cold beer, a paddling pool and ‘The Best Of Thin Lizzy’.
Greg Cochrane, Editor, NME.COM
Julio Bashmore was responsible for the dancier moments on last year’s Jessie Ware album ‘Devotion’, and is calling in a favour from the London singer to get her soulful vocals on his latest club banger. “I’m hot for you, what you gonna do?” she asks over a glossy and golden beat that pushes Bashmore’s sound to its most mainstream point yet, hinting at major crossover potential for his debut album in 2014.
David Renshaw, News Reporter
Pusha T, one half of underground heroes Clipse, reckons he’s made the greatest hip-hop album of the year with his solo debut ‘My Name Is My Name’. It’s no empty frontin’. Apparently produced by Joaquin Phoenix (although the Walk The Line actor fervently denies this), lead track ‘King Push’ finds the rapper claiming to be at the top of his game over narcoleptic trap beats and pitched-up soul samples. It’s hard to argue.
Lucy Jones, Deputy Editor, NME.COM
Halo’s debut album ‘Quarantine’ was all about the Brooklyn musician moving away from the traditional dance music of her previous EPs and into a world of ambient techno. ‘Ainnome’, the first track from Halo’s upcoming ‘Chance Of Rain’ record, sees her go deeper into that world with seven supremely layered minutes of popping little basslines and synths that rattle along like a train riding along tracks made of marshmallows.
Tom Howard, Reviews Editor
This starts off a cappella, before thunderous dub bass, proggy synths and walloping beats threaten to overpower William Doyle’s lovelorn lyrics about “looking for someone” and such like. There’s a touch of James Blake in the mix of depth-charge sonics and near-choral vocals, and plenty of Spiritualized’s ‘I Think I’m In Love’ as Doyle plays call-and-response with himself. Enjoyably strange.
Matthew Horton, writer
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“It’s all just the sa-a-ame”, wails Albert Hammond Jr. “You’re afraid to co-exist but you want to, want to.” This first single from the guitarist’s solo EP ‘AHJ’ sees him awkwardly searching for meaning in an encounter with a waiter, while Strokes-y guitars and motorik beats play out underneath. It’s a short burst of anxiety that makes a lot more sense when you recall Hammond Jr’s recent confessions about drug abuse and subsequent rehabilitation.
Eve Barlow, Deputy Editor
On his eagerly awaited new album ‘Confection’, beardy Parisian electro-maestro Sébastien Tellier returns to his romantic roots after a foray into dance-pop with Daft Punk back on 2008’s ‘Sexuality’. This is a galloping piano jaunt complete with breathy vocals and the trademark cinematic orchestration that’s seen Tellier’s forlorn pop soundtrack films from Amelie to Lost In Translation. C’est magnifique.
Jenny Stevens, Deputy News Editor
New York City’s Skaters prep the UK for this autumn’s Deap Vally support slots with this piledriving squall. “Here come the cops… I got nowhere to run”, they begin, like Supergrass’ ‘Caught By The Fuzz’ two decades later but with added charges of breaking and entering and being too cool for their own damn good. Exactly the kind of thing you want to bump into in a dark alley.
Leonie Cooper, writer
Glitchy, brash and likely to induce a migraine in anyone trying to make a radio edit. Harlem kin Akhet and Azealia Banks team up for this bolshy number, and Yung Rapunxel’s brief moment on the mic is, of course, the highlight. Atop a rudimentary dance track, the increasingly aggressive hook leads into Banks’ vicious flow, laying waste to
any young pretenders out there who might want a slice of her pie.
Hayley Avron, writer
The grumpy one from DFA 1979 has always been a tough sell without the moustachioed genius of Jesse F Keeler convulsing beside him like a permanently erect dog. Fortunately it seems like the band’s brief comeback last year might have had a positive effect on Grainger, who returns to solo duties with this uplifting electro/indie effort that sits somewhere in a weird limbo between early Killers and Ronnie Vannucci’s Big Talk side project.
Mike Williams, Editor
Usually found making weirdo synth-pop with Gang Gang Dance, Brian DeGraw’s got himself a new moniker, moved out of New York and into a studio in Woodstock, called W0rmB1n, which gives you a clue as to where this project is going. A barrage of schizoid electronica occasionally softened by soulful and slightly warped coos, ‘Bricks’ ends with a robotic voice announcing, “You’ve got to be able to see the light in your head”. Batshit.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
Breton managed to keep their dancier desires under wraps on last year’s debut album ‘Other People’s Problems’. No more. ‘Got Well Soon’ belongs in the club, and is a glinting mechanical beast full of DFA-style jerks and synth squelches that skulk ominously around Roman Rappak’s drawling vocal. The result is a more brooding sound for Breton, and it suits them well.
Simon Jay Catling, writer
‘Serum’ is one of a series of recordings Matador’s Kurt Vile made with Violators bandmate Robert Robinson back in the early ’00s, exhumed now for upcoming retrospective EP ‘Jamaica Plain’. There’s little hint of the freaky psych that characterised the early Violators stuff; instead, we find them crafting a lysergic lullaby akin to a chilled-out Spacemen 3 that sees back-porch Americana
lifted up on vaporous cosmic synths.
Louis Pattison, writer
Having written his upcoming debut album between stints working for a bailiff and in a call-centre, 24-year-old James Page is probably used to being on the wrong side of the British public’s affections. That may well be about to change for the London raconteur whose ‘I Lost Myself’ is a washy triumph of tremolo guitars, Massive Attack pianos and crisp electro beats, produced by Alt-J collaborator Charlie Andrews. Lush.
Al Horner, writer
In September, Odd Future offshoot The Internet put out second album ‘Feel Good’. Later this month another one, Mellowhigh, will release their self-titled debut. OF are still finding time for the day job though, on this loping rap track featuring a verse apiece from Tyler, The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Hodgy Beats and Domo Genesis. It’s Tyler who steals the show with his boast that his motor has a “paint job that’s flatter than Miley Cyrus’ ass”.
Nick Levine, writer
One side of a special seven-inch single available at forthcoming live dates, between-albums track ‘Had It All’ still sounds like the work of a band who’ve only ever listened to the ‘Nuggets’ compilation and The Velvet Underground’s back catalogue. Here we have bongos, hi-hats, a languid guitar line and a vocal sneer that would make Lou Reed back off nervously. It’s always 1966 in Allah-Las’ particular corner of California.
Dan Stubbs, News Editor
The Family Rain might not seem a particularly Beatlesy band on the face of it, but the latest taster from their forthcoming debut album has them living out their inner George Martin fantasies. Cue a load of great backing vocals, backwards guitar nicked straight off ‘Revolver’ and the same drums-to-the-fore approach that’s served Tame Impala and Pond so well. That it’s also catchy as fuck helps matters too.
Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor
The mystical numerology that made us all think ‘Reflektor’ was sucking us into Kill List 2: That Baffling Death Cult Goes To Canada; the Roman Coppola video with cameos from Bono, Ben Stiller and Michael Cera; the rabbit costumes and papier-mâché heads. Everything about Arcade Fire’s comeback is as colourful as this disco-calypso shuffle that suddenly becomes a carnival frenzy four minutes in, as though someone’s spiked the Lilt with PCP.
Mark Beaumont, writer
Robe For Juda
With Halloween nearly upon us, it seems only right that The Wytches should unleash their darkest, most black-hearted spell yet. Singer Kristian Bell’s sneering vocal moves from an embittered cackle to a full-on broken shriek as he muses on a man who’s “bound to die”. And the track’s final two minutes are full of the kind of cacophonous doom that makes you suspect there’ll never be any light at the end of any tunnels ever again.
Lisa Wright, writer