The 20 songs on repeat in the NME office this week, including Metronomy, Nick Cave and Katy B
Metronomy’s much-awaited return finds Joe Mount and his band swapping pier-side piano for sultry backing vocals and laidback beats. “I’ve seen our stars and there’s nothing aligning”, laments Mount as his tale of doomed romance unfurls. Continuing the astral theme, the track will be available through an astronomy app called The Night Sky. Metronomy’s continued brilliance is literally written in the stars.
Lisa Wright, writer
James Mercer (him from The Shins) and Brian Burton (Gorillaz, Beck and Black Keys super-producer Danger Mouse) return for their first release in three years. An apt prequel to the rest of the album, ‘After The Disco’, the ghostly post-dancefloor groove is awash with eerie library sound effects from the deepest vaults of psychedelia. It’s all topped off with lush Bee Gees vocals for a dreamy pop finish. A late-night wonder for the ears.
Jenny Stevens, Deputy News Editor
When Sampha ‘collaborated’ with Drake earlier this year, what it really meant was that the producer sent the rapper a load of song ideas for him to pick out and sample. So the time has arrived for the Young Turks-signed artist to reclaim ‘Too Much’ from Drizzy with this full-length stunner. Stripped back to just piano and Sampha’s voice, all that’s left to do is stop and admire one of the year’s most overwhelming ballads.
David Renshaw, News Reporter
Brian DeGraw of Gang Gang Dance has shaken off the band and retreated from New York City to Woodstock to make a suitably dreamlike solo album, ‘SUM/ONE’. From it, ‘Flowers’ starts with shimmering synths before shifting, kaleidoscope-like, into darker territory. Vocals from CSS’ Lovefoxxx are so ethereal they could have been recorded through a cloud, while a pneumatic ticker at the end punctures the mood like an alarm clock after a deep sleep.
Hazel Sheffield, writer
Tucked away on the Japanese edition of ‘6 Feet Beneath The Moon’, this remained pretty much hidden until Archy Marshall started Facebooking about it. It’s as strong as anything else on the album, starting off as a doubt-fuelled lament to lost romance (complete with Archy living out all his inner Chet Baker fantasies) before turning a whole lot nastier midway through. Like all of his best work, it’s compelling because it’s so easy to relate to.
David Renshaw, News Reporter
The Killers have long stopped sounding like other bands – like all the biggest acts they’re now in the territory where they only really sound like themselves. ‘Just Another Girl’, one of the new tracks on their ‘Direct Hits’ best of, is exactly that – a perfect Killers song. It’s nothing groundbreaking and the lyrics don’t make a lot of sense, but this is the Las Vegas quartet doing what they do best.
Andy Welch, writer
Sign up for the newsletter
So far in Wolf Alice’s short existence, it’s been hard to tell which route they’re going to go down – the fragility of ‘White Leather’ or the revved-up riffs of ‘She’. This new song, aired at the group’s recent London show, hints at a bit of both, opening with Ellie Rowsell’s soft coos before ending with the frontwoman begging, “Love me, make me better or give me a reason to die for” over crashing cymbals and walls of fuzz.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
Noisy Brighton two-piece Royal Blood have been doing brisk business recently, completing a major UK tour and getting their first official single ‘Out Of The Black’ improbably playlisted on Radio 1. ‘Come On Over’ is its B-side – a less hooky and rougher blues cut pitched somewhere near Queens Of The Stone Age, The White Stripes and Lightning Bolt. Big riff plus low-slung thunder drums equals a right royal racket.
Phil Hebblethwaite, writer
“I wanna be your boyfriend/And I wanna be your girlfriend/And I wanna take you there and I wanna watch you do it”, states Lorely Rodriguez over faint thuds of thunder and hop-scotching synth lines. Her voice has the wooziness of Cocteau Twins, the childlike oddity of Grimes and the Scandipop of… well anything Scandipop. It might be impossible to touch the rainbow but ‘Realize You’ is such pastel heaven you’ll be dancing under those candy-coloured arches.
Eve Barlow, Deputy Editor
Glass Animals already seemed like a bunch of sexy swots, with previous single ‘Black Mambo’ hinting that they’d be the types to lead you ever so gently astray. But, of course, lust carries consequences. ‘Woozy’ finds them hooking up with Chicago teen rapper Jean Deaux for a pregnancy-scare freakout (“If you decide to keep it/I don’t know if I’mma stay”) and a chopped up, blissfully trippy waltz that comes on like a well-mannered Salem.
Ben Hewitt, writer
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds debuted new track ‘Give Us A Kiss’ at a London show recently. “Childhood days in a shimmering haze/Give us a kiss/In the blue room you whispered into the music/In the field underneath the thorn bush/Give us a kiss”, incants Cave over spectral piano chords. As he spins his typically vivid imagery, the song changes direction and a xylophonic instrument chimes in. Dreamy.
Lucy Jones, Deputy Editor, NME.COM
San Fran neo-hippies Thao & The Get Down Stay Down are treating us to a new EP featuring Troggs and Yo La Tengo covers along with this title track, a warm Ben Folds-y stomp that comes on like a marching mariachi band in slippers. Thao Nguyen breathily implores us to “Look alive!/It’s just human troubles in the modern times” as her band slips into a jazzy vaudeville freakout, dismissing our cares with wiggly trumpets.
Matthew Horton, writer
An ethereal electronic departure from Deftones’ usual assault of razor riffs and banshee screams, Chino Moreno revels in ghosting echoes and distortion-slathered synths on the spooky ‘Bitches Brew’, the first glimpse of his side-project Crosses’ debut album. With menacing guitars courtesy of former Far man Shaun Lopez, a surging krautrock groove and breathy sex-dripped vocals about wolves in the ether, it’s dark and vampy, like a rave-up in Dracula’s crypt.
Al Horner, writer
Berlin-based producer George Fitzgerald has the approval of UK dance’s current kings Disclosure after they included his ‘Every Inch’ track on their BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix earlier this year. His take on house music is darker than the brothers Lawrence’s chart-topping efforts though, as shown on new cut ‘Magnetic’. He pitch-shifts his vocals down into a creepy baritone that rumbles over industrial-tinged bass throbs, casting an ominous shadow.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
Angel Olsen’s 2012 album, ‘Half Way Home’, had a transcendent quality, the Missouri singer’s vocals whooping around acoustic songs that confronted abandonment with optimism. But on her Jagjaguwar debut (due February) she turns to scuffed punk, her astonishing voice obscured as if reverberating through dirty water. It’s crude and uninhibited, the perfect storm to accompany her frustration: “I don’t know anything!” she stomps. “But I love you”.
Laura Snapes, Features Editor
‘Erosion’ is taken from the London dance-poppers forthcoming album ‘The Age Of Fracture’ (due in January), named after a book by Princeton clever clogs Daniel T Rodgers and – wait for it – “addresses the fragmentation of ideas towards the end of the last century”. Brain melt! Luckily, the track is a lot simpler, as it traces over a melodic bassline and colours in the space with emotive bedroom electronics.
Kate Hutchinson, writer
Though they’d have been well within their rights to, BBC have not spent their time out of the spotlight sitting in Crouch End pubs. Instead, they’ve been patchworking together their fourth album in almost as many years. ‘Carry Me’ is the first single, a majestic clunk-crunker that sees them reaching for Foals-style experimentation, with Jack Steadman taking inspiration from treks in India, Turkey and Japan to create a widescreen rendering of textured glitch rock.
Leonie Cooper, writer
The headliners of 2013’s Monster NME Radar Tour drop another track from their upcoming, Dave Sitek-produced LP ‘Jaded And Faded’, due early next year on Julian Casablancas’ Cult Records. True to its name, ‘Better In Leather’ finds Ballzy scuzzing up their snotty hardcore with notes of NYC punk, its two minutes of breathless chorusing and gutter romance – directed at a girl who is both “so bad” and “so rad” – thrashed out with Ramones-like brevity.
Louis Pattison, writer
Dum Dum Girls’ last album ‘Only In Dreams’ proved they weren’t as single-track as their name implies, via bittersweet songs about the death of singer Dee Dee’s mother. Named in homage to an Iggy Pop song, Dum Dum Girls have morphed into something that has more in common with The Bangles and Pat Benatar than straight-down-the-line punk, as the throbbing ’80s drums on this new single attest. This is how a throwaway band can grow up in style.
Dan Stubbs, News Editor
Plank are a trio from Manchester, and the title of their new single is an amusing combination of the words ‘aphid’ and ‘fidelity’, which conjures nice images of tiny little greenflies getting married and being faithful to each other for eternity. This odd but ultimately heartwarming situation is enhanced by the fuzzy, vocal-free Kraftwerk-on-a-bouncy-castle electronica going on in the song itself. Also present: some excellent drumming.
Tom Howard, Reviews Editor