20 Tracks You Have To Hear This Week (5/2/14)
Nine years into their career, Klaxons are doing the decent thing and releasing a third album. Pleasingly, this lead single from it bears little resemblance to their previous records. ‘No Other Time’ is, instead, a camp disco number made with London production duo Gorgon City that features Jamie Reynolds singing “there is no other time, no other place, no other day” like a man who truly understands the meaning of a lost weekend.
Tom Howard, Reviews Editor
The Australian psych doyens follow up the stomping slab of freaked-out glam rock of last record ‘Hobo Rocket’ with a new track set to feature on new surf film Spirit Of Akasha. It’s a tidal wave of bouncing arpeggios, careering guitar scapes and a ludicrously excessive outro. Frontman Nick Allbrook’s voice is barely a whisper underneath it all, but no matter. It’s Pond at their best – brain-bending, dumb, brilliant rock’n’roll.
Jenny Stevens, Deputy News Editor
If it wasn’t enough that we were treated to the first ever Damon solo single last week, this week he’s multiplying the anticipation for forthcoming record ‘Everyday Robots’ with this beautiful piano-led closer, featuring the deep vocals of Brian Eno. Eno sounds like he’s singing the opening gambit of Michael Jackson’s ‘Heal The World’, while Damon comes in for an immediately catchy chorus. All in all, a gorgeously promising sign for the album due in April.
Eve Barlow, Deputy Editor
Banks plays romantic mind games on new single ‘Brain’, easily her most accomplished track to date. “I can see you’re struggling/Boy don’t hurt your brain/Thinking what you’re gonna say cos everything’s a game,” she sings over a blown-out beat courtesy of producer Shlohmo. This epic modern balladry suits the LA based singer, 25-year-old Jillian Banks, and acts as the perfect teaser for her first UK headline tour in March.
David Renshaw, News Reporter
On ‘Righteous One’, a new taste of The Orwells’ oh-so eagerly awaited second album, the street-punk five-piece have created a tune that’s slinky, swampy and unreasonably sexy. A razor-edged trip into territory mainly mooched around by The Sonics, this is good music to do bad things to. “//It’s not nice to stare//,” shrieks frontman, Mario Cuomo but when you insist on putting out tracks as huge as this, it’s impossible not to.
Leonie Cooper, writer
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Accompanied by a high-definition video featuring beautiful young women, UV paint and oversized jewelry, Filipino newcomer Eyedress’ (aka Idris Vicuña) visual aesthetic is as hip as his ghostly synthpop. All hazy electronics, disillusioned girl/boy vocals and lines about time being “so temporary”, the follow-up to his debut EP ‘Supernatural’ could be the soundtrack to the Drive sequel, were it set on Shoreditch High Street. Subtly enchanting stuff.
Lisa Wright, writer
Within days of OutKast announcing they were playing every festival under the sun in 2014, one-half of the Atlanta hip-hop masters was reaffirming his solo credentials with this mash-up. Big Boi and electro duo Phantogram’s 2012 ode to the digital age has been merged with Sade’s 1988 single ‘Nothing Can Come Between Us’ to lazily funky effect by Organized Noize’s Ray Murray, and the results are as smooth as a Teflon tuxedo.
Matthew Horton, writer
“My head begins to crawl with hazy visions of a place I’ve never been before//,” sings Matt Stevenson on ‘Candy Flip’, his dreamy vocals floating in and out of focus. The first physical release from New York City’s Spires reflects those lyrics, opening with a sound like a warped sitar and hazy, swirling synths forming a blissed out ride into mind-bending, lysergic territory far from the five-piece’s Brooklyn base. Neo-psych at its transportive, heavenly best.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor, NME.COM
Elusive pianist/producer SOHN is one of those sensitive types who’s been tipped as the next James Blake. On ‘Tempest’, however, he isn’t ponying around with blubstep; he’s showing off his thoroughbred electronic soul. The unplugged version, recorded in Vienna, is accompanied by a video of him hooded and bearded, like a vagabond who’s stolen into a church to tinkle on the ivories and ask for forgiveness. His crystal-cut falsetto, cascading elegantly around the understated melody, is breathtaking.
Kate Hutchinson, writer
When Angel Haze leaked her debut album then started moaning when it didn’t sell very well, it seemed as if her career was going to be over before it had even begun. This might be a cover, recorded at BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Live Lounge, but there’s much skill in her one-woman Beyoncé and Jay Z impression – enough to remind everyone why they were so excited by Haze in the first place.
Andy Welch, writer
A prolific outsider with a taste for the eccentric, Eels frontman E is basically melancholy slacker rock’s answer to Kanye West – so much so, in fact, it’s a disappointment he didn’t call the group’s upcoming 11th studio album ‘Eezus’ instead of its given title, ‘The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett’. New track ‘Agatha Chang’ is a gritty ode to an estranged lover with shades of Scott Walker that suggests, no matter its title, the group’s incoming LP shouldn’t be missed.
Al Horner, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
“Although wanting a chicken, the man, hungry today, must eat the egg,” starts the title track from Willis Earl Beal’s new album. “It was time for a new heat rash//,” the spoken word intro continues, reminiscent of Ginsberg and other NY beat poets. “Tumbleweeds! All over the fucking place,” intones the voice, getting wilder and wilder as the swirling plucks and drones beneath tangle. Beal’s spine-pricking voice finally appears, a calming presence in this boldly experimental jewel.
Lucy Jones, Deputy Editor, NME.COM
It’s a cover of a ballad from 1959, which originally appeared in the film Sleeping Beauty, and has now been turned cobwebs-and-eyeline gothic for new Disney film, Maleficent. Who better to tackle it than Lana Del Rey, whose shadowy elegance suits the track perfectly. Her take on ‘Once Upon A Dream’ is as darkly pantomime as you’d expect, like a showtune filtered through Tim Burton’s brain, and suggests that the upcoming ‘Ultraviolence’ will be enjoyably daft.
Ben Hewitt, writer
The grunge revival slouches on apace, frontman Kristian Bell screaming through lank hair into the mic while attempting violent congress with his guitar on this sludgy no-fi garage squall. With heavy undertones of ‘60s blues-rock, MC5, Sabbath and The White Stripes, it sounds like the band have recorded it in a dank hole in the ground. An undead Yeah Yeah Yeahs trying to suck each other’s rotted brains out through their noses, basically. Cracking.
Mark Beaumont, writer
Early lo-fi recordings have earned this four piece a reputation as the British Parquet Courts, but there’s a load more melody and pathos to these Cardiff-based beta-males. ‘Insane Parties’ opens with two guitars circling one another while frontman Jac Jones, whose lyrics borrow from the Cocker school of social commentary, reassures all the lonely, reclusive freshers in the world: “If you go out and get drunk in a Native American headdress then you’re a cunt.”
Hazel Sheffield, writer
Giving the Bob Marley original a reggae-disco makeover with Chic-like guitar and MIA’s shotgun sounds, production duo NASA’s collaboration with Karen O is further proof, following 2011’s version of Led Zep’s ‘Immigrant Song’, that she’d be a kick-ass person to do karaoke with. The languid reggae vocal seems to come naturally to Karen; should we expect to find her rocking blonde dreadlocks next time Yeah Yeah Yeahs return?
Dan Stubbs, News Editor
Meet Ben Asbury: 23 years old, from Atlanta, and the latest signing to New York’s esteemed Captured Tracks, having sent his demo to the label in a handmade silkscreen package. This taster from his forthcoming self-titled long-player as Axxa/Abraxas romps along on a haywire garage-punk riff, but listen close, because there’s intriguing intricacies here: a bubbling synthesizer base, and an undercurrent of dreamy introspection that recalls Elephant 6’s experiments in collegiate psychedelic pop.
Louis Pattison, writer
Indiana’s Freddie Gibbs and LA’s Madlib have teamed up to make a collaborative album, ‘Pinata’, due out in March. Danny Brown and Raekwon feature elsewhere on the record but on this cut they’re joined by Odd Future’s Domo Genesis and Earl Sweatshirt. Backed up by a shuffling lounge music accompaniment, it moves along languidly as Gibbs drops stinging lines like “I only think of you on two occasions/That’s when I’m drunk or when I’m blazing up.”
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
The music of Canadian indie savant Chad VanGaalen has often swayed between blown-out industrial-indebted pop and tenderly picked acoustic numbers; almost an urban versus natural dichotomy. The first single from his forthcoming fifth album, ‘Shrine Dust’, combines the two: the psychedelic lurch of ‘Where Are You’ hits like a wave full of gravel and glitter, mucky as the city and sparkling as the sea, and destined to appeal to fans of Menomena.
Laura Snapes, Features Editor
Depending on how you look at it, David Lynch’s second solo album ‘The Big Dream’, released last July, is either the gift that keeps on giving or the cow he can’t stop milking. In November, a bonus track called ‘Bad The John Boy’ emerged and here’s another. Taken from the new, slightly unnecessary super deluxe edition of the album, it’s a decent slice of typically moody, twisted blues as Lynch offers words on pain, light and longing.
Phil Hebblethwaite, writer