20 tracks on repeat this week
Donald Glover’s wit, honesty and eye for a sharp beat have long since burned away any idea that he’s a hobbying actor. Second album ‘Because The Internet’, out next week, is one step ahead of rap’s next big thing, skewering expectations of class, race and gender clichés with light, deadly wit. Or as he puts it on this wonkily screwed track: “Don’t be mad ’cos I’m doing me better than you doing you”.
Emily Mackay, writer
Joshua Leary is one of 2013’s most curious success stories – the trainee infant school teacher from sleepy Cheshire town Ellesmere Port whose bedroom beats caught the attention of Kanye West and sparked a collaboration on ‘Yeezus’ (‘I’m In It’). From Leary’s upcoming ‘Waterfall’ EP, ‘Salt Carousel’ is a steely slab of industrial trap full of techno synths and boomy bass glitches.
Al Horner, writer
Friends singer Samantha Urbani is all over the new Blood Orange album ‘Cupid Deluxe’, so it’s only fair for Dev Hynes to return the favour. Solange’s ex-BFF produced this sensual slow jam, the Brooklyn band’s first slice of new material since 2012 debut ‘Manifest!’. With a gorgeous yearning vocal from Urbani and flecked with Hynes’ trademark slap bass, ‘The Way’ sounds a bit like Wilson Phillips crossed with a Prince ballad. Total ear candy.
Nick Levine, writer
On this highlight from the upcoming ‘Dreamzone’ EP, Fin Jaako conjures up a heady brew of goth-pop vocals, disco-psychedelia and a killer sax solo. The chugging beat and twinkling synths are lent darkness by Eino Kalevi’s voice, reminiscent of Ian McCulloch. He’s a part-time tram driver back in his home country, and ‘When You Walk Through Them All’ suggests that when he’s behind the wheel only he knows which way he’s heading.
David Renshaw, News Reporter
It’s a crying shame that Sky Ferreira’s debut ‘Night Time, My Time’ has had a US-only release this year – otherwise it surely would have made our Albums Of The Year list. If you can’t get enough of that record’s mix of sugary coos, neon-lit synths and nu-wave attitude, fear not. The singer has released a B-sides collection to accompany the record, and this choice cut keeps her basement-punk-disco-party going late into the night.
Eve Barlow, Deputy Editor
A song begging a girl not to leave them (originally penned by Leonard Cohen), from an album with sleeve art of a man shaving his tongue, suggests that the Park are still struggling with adulthood. But they are maturing musically. Full of Tindersticks strings, Human League synths and lounge atmospheres, ‘Lover…’ cements them as the discerning indie fan’s best revision soundtrack.
Mark Beaumont, writer
Busta Rhymes is back to give the guy in the sky a big ol’ high five for bestowing him with his many gifts. Lil Wayne and Kanye West forego their egos and play the hype men, ushering in Busta and the track’s best feature, Q-Tip, who returns to inject some criminally fast flow above the disco sample. Check out the video online to see them all totally dorking about.
Kate Hutchinson, writer
Once mysterious, now out in the open, CEO is Eric Berglund – formerly of Swedish duo The Tough Alliance – and he’s following up 2010 debut ‘White Magic’ with next year’s ‘Wonderland’. First single ‘Whorehouse’ is a Glitter Band stomp, galloping along like Battles’ ‘Atlas’ with a nursery-rhyme melody that sounds like Passion Pit Vs CBeebies. Which makes the chorus line of “Baby, I’m still lost inside a whorehouse” all the more bizarre.
Matthew Horton, writer
Beck recently debuted this song in the grand surroundings of LA’s Walt Disney Concert Hall. Donning his best Scott Walker fedora, the fittingly symphonic version of the song – taken from his imminent ‘Morning Phase’ album – is all mournful violins and soul-nudging cellos, laced with his outrageously sad croon. It’s so grown up that if you picked it apart at the seams, black coffee and half-solved Financial Times crosswords would spill out.
Leonie Cooper, writer
“Despite what you say, every dog has its day”, sings Circa Waves frontman Kieran Shudall. This ode to finding someone to settle down with – Shudall’s no good on his own, you see – is thrilling enough, but there’s evidence a-plenty that the Scousers have much more to offer. Coming on like ‘Is This It’-era Strokes fronted by The Vaccines’ Justin Young, ‘Good For Me’ manages to be more than the sum of its parts.
Andy Welch, writer
Two indie activists assembled a group of bands to create a benefit tape for Rachael’s Women’s Center, a Washington DC refuge that provides help to homeless women. The result features new music from the likes of Perfect Pussy, Potty Mouth, and Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis, whose ‘Saint Fret’ is a dank, creepy demo that’s as complex as Polvo and anxious as hell.
Laura Snapes, Features Editor
One of the great lost guitar bands of the ’90s, RFTC return to the UK this December and the shows aren’t to be missed. To celebrate, they’ve covered tracks by bands who hail from every city they call in on during the tour, including this one from Leeds cult heroes Red Lorry Yellow Lorry. Staying fairly faithful to the original, San Diego’s finest give it a twist of their own by laying down reams of Stooges-inspired sax.
Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor
Magistrates’ story is interesting. Much hyped around five years ago, they signed a number of record deals, recorded an album at Damon Albarn’s studio and then… nothing. Their debut never officially came out, and now the Essex band have regrouped and recorded this slinky number produced by Ben from Esser. While it may feel like discovering a lost record down the back of a chest of drawers, it’s good to have them back.
Greg Cochrane, Editor, NME.COM
Warm Brains is the solo project of ex-Test Icicle Rory Atwell, and ‘Crooked Etymology’ is a world away from the lo-fi ‘Leisure’-era-Blur clatter of his 2011 debut. It runs on delicately picked guitar lines, moderately melancholy moods,
and minimal girl/boy vocals. Introduced by a minute-long instrumental and closed by a wall of noise, it displays Atwell’s increasing skill with creating atmospheres.
Lisa Wright, writer
For fans of the iconic ’60s group, finding a previously unheard Velvets track is like finding a chocolate-coated unicorn’s horn. ‘…Young Man…’, recorded live at New York venue The Gymnasium on April 30, 1967 and appearing for the first time on the reissue of the group’s ‘White Light/White Heat’, is one such treasure. A fairly monotonous, bluesy number, in truth it adds little to the band’s canon. But, you know, better out than in.
Dan Stubbs, News Editor
West Coast indie/college-rock band Gardens & Villa have gone death disco, with Murphy’s former colleague, DFA man Tim Goldsworthy, on production duties. ‘Bullet Train’ is the first single from their new album ‘Dunes’, due next year, and it sounds like an interesting direction for them to go in. They’ve got more muscle, extra tautness and (look out!) a flute.
Phil Hebblethwaite, writer
The debut single from Limerick-born three-piece Sisters, ‘Hush Hush’ is a fizzing introduction to a band already pricking ears with their clattering lo-fi. Bassist Aoife’s backing vocals pierce through the layers of fuzz and frontman Niall’s commanding tones, shrilly singing, “You won’t let me see it with my eyes/Leave, I won’t cry” over sunshine-bright melodies that hide any sense of her anguish.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
The Boston-based singer-songwriter will release her new album on Sacred Bones in February, and in the meantime she’s put out a cut on charity compilation ‘You Be My Heart’. As ever, Nadler’s wispy vocals and hypnotic fingerpicking are at the song’s core, but there’s a wash of eerie harmonies and slide guitar that makes her confessional cry of “You don’t need me half as much as I need you” sound even more mournful.
Jenny Stevens, Deputy News Editor
Apart from double single ‘Triadzz’ and ‘Slasherr’ it’s been a lean time for Rustie fans since debut ‘Glass Swords’ was released in 2011. But Christmas just came early. ‘Boatsss’ is a surprise sonic comet written for a compilation called ‘Boats’ that’s being sold to raise money for children in southeast India. The sample of the Light Of Love Children’s Choir adds warmth, but mostly the track just boinks around like a grasshopper. The alchemist is back.
Lucy Jones, Deputy Editor, NME.COM
Here is a man who used to be a boxer, won’t reveal his real name, dropped out of Fine Arts at Goldsmiths College to make music and released debut single ‘Destructive Man’ six weeks ago. He’s now following it up by yearning like Morrissey and Dave Gahan over artillery-fire production of the Portishead ‘Machine Gun’ ilk. “Can I bring you home, just like many moons ago”, he asks like someone who already knows the answer is “no”.
Tom Howard, Reviews Editor