20 Tracks You Have To Hear This Week (19/2/14)
‘Meet The Foetus/Oh Joy’ is the long-awaited comeback track from cult rocker Brody Dalle, ex of The Distillers and Spinerette, now solo and backed here by her pals, Warpaint’s Emily Kokal and Garbage’s Shirley Manson. Combining Manson’s sultry-sexy thing with Dalle’s melodic rock thing and culminating in a shredded coda perfect for gig chant-alongs, this is the gutter-punk queen all grown up.
Dan Stubbs, News Editor
Jungle’s first songs – ‘Platoon’ and ‘The Heat’ – have such a classic confidence about them that it feels like they’ve been sharply slinking around dancefloors for bygones. As ridiculous as this may seem, this tight new blast of funk from the west London duo is actually EVEN BETTER. Precisely three minutes of throbbing Quincy Jones-style basslines and cool-as-a-cat disco vocals about being “too busy earnin’”, this track will have you begging to hit the clubs once you’ve clocked off work. Make it Friday now.
Eve Barlow, Deputy Editor
As befits Wild Beasts’ new less-is-more approach, the latest track to be drip fed from their new album ‘Present Tense’ is all sparse percussion, picked guitars and the odd wub of synth. It shows the Beasts at their most restrained and evocative, Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming intoning breathily about a “godless” dream state, halfway between asleep and awake. If such a thing exists, this is how it must sound.
Hazel Sheffield, writer
Freshly signed to Double Denim (the label behind Outfit and Empress Of’s early releases), Cornwall duo Hockeysmith provide a taster of their forthcoming EP with this huge slice of raw power. ‘But Blood’ sees Annie and Georgie Hockeysmith combine heavy guitars with weighty electronic production, the sisters giving both elements a cracked yet epic sound that remains compelling throughout. A forceful and impressive step up from one of the UK’s most unique new bands.
David Renshaw, News Reporter
Do you often find yourself craving to head out into the nearest desert with a rucksack full of peyote to scour the deepest, darkest depths of your soul for a fortnight? Then, for escapist fantasy purposes alone, you need Howling Bells’ return in your lugholes. The first track to be taken from an as-yet-untitled new album, ‘Slowburn’ is a moody, magnificent slab of gnarly coyote rock, with frontwoman Juanita Stein doling out advice about taking your time over romance.
Mark Beaumont, writer
Japanese quartet Bo Ningen previously showed interest in early 20-century avant-garde art movement Dada when they performed a “sonic simultaneous poem” with Savages last May, an event typical of the era that featured various poems being recited simultaneously in different languages. ‘DaDaDa’, a song whose title riffs on the movement and is the first taste of the band’s third album, is equally indecipherable and disorientating as Taigan Kawebe’s vocals squeal and howl over four minutes of crushing psych-rock.
Tom Howard, Reviews Editor
Nicki Minaj is back in 2014 with her third album, ‘The Pink Print’, and ‘Lookin Ass Nigga’ is her first taste of new material. In it, the Queens rapper launches a brutal takedown of voyeurism in rap, delivered at breakneck pace over spooky trap noises. Standing in a monochrome desert firing slow-motion guns in the accompanying video, it’s at once an essay on the male gaze and the best Tarantino film never made.
Al Horner, Assistant Reviews Editor, NME.com
Regardless of the title, there’s nothing small about this track from the Brighton duo. Seemingly made of solid riff, it’s simple but incredibly effective. Royal Blood have been labelled a British Audioslave, and this hard-riffing beast hammers that point home, although the sinister lyrics (“Love on my fingers, lust on my tongue”) puts them closer to Queens Of The Stone Age. When Ben Thatcher and Mike Kerr support Arctic Monkeys this summer, this tune will make the ground shake.
Andy Welch, writer
‘Artifice’ is the latest cut from Sohn’s debut album ‘Tremors’, out in April. It’s much poppier and sunnier than his previous work, with a chorus that unexpectedly bounces with pop fizz. “Somebody better let me know my name”, the mysterious musician sings. The Vienna-based enigma recently told NME that writing his new album brought about a personality change. From the sound of ‘Artifice’, ‘Tremors’ will have a newfound openness that’s well worth checking out.
Lucy Jones, Deputy Editor, NME.com
You’ll rarely find Liverpudlian likely lads Circa Waves mentioned without a quick reference to The Strokes – and it’s no different here. But while ‘Stuck In My Teeth’ plinks and plonks and bounces around in latter-day Strokesy style, there’s a manic touch of Los Campesinos! here too. Still, it’s not all about impeccable influences. “I’m a little too young with not enough time”, confesses Keiran Shuddall, and it’s his youthful brio that makes this so addictive.
Matthew Horton, writer
After teaming up with dance newcomers Gorgon City on their comeback track ‘There Is No Other Time’, Klaxons enlist the help of a more established producer in The Chemical Brothers’ Tom Rowlands. The result is less day-glo euphoria and more off-kilter experimentalism. Whirring sound effects zoom in and out of the sinister march as Jamie Reynolds declares “We are the children of the sun/We came to be and to become/Awakening as one”.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
Following the seedy lurch of first single ‘Boys In The Wood’ (replete with utterly twisted, booze, drugs and piss-filled video), you’d be forgiven for thinking that Black Lips had outdone even themselves in their travels to the dark abyss for forthcoming album ‘Underneath The Rainbow’. ‘Justice After All’, however, adds a more playful, rootsy bounce to their blues-rock backbone. All fuzzy guitar twangs and rants about being stopped by the police, it’s gleefully disrespectable, as only the Lips know how to be.
Lisa Wright, writer
‘Hold The Line’ is the first in a series of instrumental tracks being served as a precursor to SBTRKT’s second album. On this taster, the tribal-masked producer returns to his sonic roots. Starting with a chatter of background noise, the beats skitter and fall like water droplets as ghostly synths cascade and break into a plane of subtle glitch. No Sampha, no soul – just perfectly engineered electronic emotion.
Hayley Avron, writer
Kelis’ move away from the EDM R&B of 2010’s ‘Flesh Tone’ to something closer to Solange’s work with Dev Hynes continues afoot with this second song to be released from her forthcoming Dave Sitek-produced sixth album, ‘Food’. Like ‘Jerk Ribs’ before it, ‘Rumble’ is underplayed, analogue soul, with live horns and organic drums. Middle-class R&B? Maybe, but it sounds wonderful, and this being Kelis, there’s bite, too: “I ain’t no secretary, nobody’s maître d’”.
Phil Hebblethwaite, writer
Laura Marling’s rich seam of songwriting is still yielding fabulous gems, judging by this new number performed live for the E-Town web show. All we can do is shiver as her fatally beguiling fingerpicking and calmly authoritative voice unwind a perfectly beautiful, subtle portrait of a woman caught suddenly unawares by love, then struck right between the eyes by a post-spat epiphany: “I was doing fine without this/But now I can’t walk alone”.
Emily Mackay, writer
The first track to be taken from Mr Bright Eyes’ upcoming new solo album ‘Upside Down Mountain’ will be released as a special Record Store Day seven-inch next month. Produced by LA folkster Jonathan Wilson, it shares the dry charm and twang of another of J-Wo’s country-flavoured collaborators, Father John Misty. “Sometimes I get mistaken for this actor/And I guess that I can see it from the side”, sighs Conor. Just which Hollywood A-lister is he singing about, we wonder…
Leonie Cooper, writer
One of 2011’s most slept-on records was the gorgeous debut by A Winged Victory For The Sullen, a new collaboration between Stars Of The Lid’s Adam Wiltzie and composer Dustin O’Halloran. The self-titled record comprised seven songs of ambient-classical, a soothing tonic for twilit hours. They return in April with a 12-inch single, ‘Atomos VII’, which unravels like William Basinski’s ‘Disintegration Loops’ in reverse: burning from warm embers to a triumphant climax of violins and burring cello.
Laura Snapes, Features Editor
Following last year’s lovelorn and personal ‘Crawling Up The Stairs’ LP, Austin’s Pure X have now seemingly decided to indulge their inner Connan Mockasin (albeit without the giggle-sampling oddities). Like a lost cut from the New Zealander’s recent ‘Caramel’ album, ‘Starlight’ is all cooing harmonies, rippling guitar chimes and lyrics about never letting you go. Valentine’s Day may have passed, but ‘Starlight’ is the eyelash-fluttering sound of seduction distilled.
Lisa Wright, writer
Esben & The Witch recently announced a PledgeMusic campaign to record their third LP with Steve Albini; before that, though, there’s a potentially mighty split release with recent tour mates Thought Forms. Featuring pounding drums and a charged industrial atmosphere, the trio’s first teaser from the record gives a rousing rush. After the tom-heavy intro melts away, Rachel Davies’ vocal emerges from the foreboding silence, only for the whole thing to return and engulf her.
Simon Jay Catling, writer