20 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week (12/3/2014)
“Love me deep until you can’t/Even though it hurts, even though it scars,” begs Lykke Li on this emotional first taste from her third album ‘I Never Learn’. Where the likes of ‘Dance Dance’ and ‘I Follow Rivers’ have seen her skipping between lively beats and synth motifs, here the Swedish singer strips things back to skeletal levels. It’s just her and an acoustic guitar, and all the more devastating for it.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
Lorde first hinted at a collaboration with Son Lux when she threw a version of mechanized noir soul ballad ‘Easy’ into her homecoming gig in New Zealand at the start of the year. Now the track sees a proper release on the ‘Alternate Worlds’ EP of four revamped songs from Son Lux’s ‘Lanterns’. “Pull out your heart to make being alone easy,” she purrs, like she’d do it without dropping her gaze or breaking a sweat. Chilling.
Hazel Sheffield, writer
“People lie, people love, people go/ But beauty lies in every soul,” swoons Future Islands frontman William Cashion on the latest cut from forthcoming album ‘Singles’ (a confident title if ever there was one). Laced over shimmering, Twin Shadow-esque guitars and liquid basslines, the 4AD-signed Baltimore trio ooze doe-eyed emotion from every pore – from Cashion’s fragile, cracked croon to the group’s knack for a cutely catchy couplet. Heartwarming stuff.
Lisa Wright, writer
Lord Flacko is A$AP Rocky in production mode. This tripped-out gem from his ‘Beauty N Da Beast: Slowed Down Sessions (Chapter 1)’ mixtape has shades of DJ Shadow in his ’90s prime. Half speed, unintelligible vocals drift over a creeping beat that never gets out of first gear while luxe strings waft in the background. The sonic equivalent of a pure skunk blunt, without the bother of having to skin up.
Chris Cottingham, writer
‘Better In Leather’, the debut track from Cerebral Ballzy’s upcoming, Dave Sitek-produced second album, ‘Jaded & Faded’, came out in November. Don’t imagine, though, that they don’t live their lives in some crazed hurry; this new B-side by the Brooklyn punk band rattles past at alarming pace and in quick-sharp time. A balls-to-the-wall hardcore banger clocking in at just over a minute, it’s certainly speedy, but it doesn’t wobble.
Phil Hebblethwaite, writer
David Brewis of Sunderland’s Field Music has taken his own sweet time over second School Of Language album ‘Old Fears’ (out 7 April), and it shows. ‘Dress Up’ is lovingly realised – a playful slice of jerky, glitchy falsetto soul with squashy synth bass straight out of Hot Chip territory, that sounds like the sort of thing Pharrell might make if he thought he was Warp R&B maestro Jamie Lidell and not, say, Bruno Mars.
Matthew Horton, writer
London-based producer Dauwd continues his move away from the UK bass sound and toward the outer edges of house and techno on ‘Lydia’, his first release on the prestigious Kompakt label. Daft Punk style synths glisten in the background as a metronomic beat ticks away sweetly, providing a backdrop for the track to build and build in a rigid but stylish fashion, which suggests he will feel right at home on his new label.
David Renshaw, News Reporter
Fresh from releasing their entire back catalogue online for free, De La Soul have put out the first track from a new mixtape ‘Smell The DAISY’ that reworks De La Soul tracks over J Dilla beats. It’s an almighty tribute to the peerless producer who passed away in 2006. Completely different from the clownish big-beat of original ‘Plug Tunin’, ‘Dilla Plugged In’ melts over Dilla’s jittering beats, James Brown samples and smooth keys. Pure magic.
Lucy Jones, Deputy Editor, NME.COM
Known mostly for being part of Skrillex’s gang as much as his own Niagara Falls-sized dubstep drops, for his launch into the spotlight Porter Robinson has produced something altogether more subtle here. It starts with wind chimes, followed by a warm breeze of synths and strings which fan out like stars appearing across a desert night sky. Think of it as the rising producer’s take on Sigur Rós’ ‘Hoppipolla’.
Greg Cochrane, Editor, NME.COM
The audience laughter during Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming’s impromptu cover of Miley Cyrus’ hammer-licking mega ballad is the only part of this that grates. It may be uncomfortable for some to accept that ‘Wrecking Ball’ is a ginormous, impeccably-constructed pop song whichever way you slice it, but it’s downright irrefutable once you’ve watched Wild Beasts’ take, which is fuelled by tender harmonising and soft acoustics. A convincing pitch for a guest appearance when Miley’s ‘Bangerz’ tour hits these shores…
Eve Barlow, Deputy Editor
Mac has been living hard on the road these last few years so this languid entreaty to take things slowly, and to go home, seems to be aimed as much at himself as at the titular brother. There’s a lot of party music out there, but this is the direct opposite: end of the night music. This song will take you by the shoulders and guide you to bed when you feel the crash coming.
Kevin EG Perry, writer
Sadly not a Haddaway cover but a new track by funk alien Janelle Monae for the Rio 2 soundtrack. Usually one for cosmic R&B weirdness and songs about messianic robots, this is the straightest thing Monáe’s ever released and underlines her potential to be just as big as Beyoncé. It sees her hotfooting it across the Copacabana with sun-licked guitars, a hip-swinging samba’n’breaks rhythm and some big-lung action as she ponders matters of the heart. Irresistibly uplifting.
Kate Hutchinson, writer
Since they released their debut in 2006, Beach House have specialised in crafting atmospheric music with often stunning results. How to build on that? Move to sounds from another planet, of course, which is what they’ve done here. ‘Saturn Song’ is an out of this world leap on from their ethereal aesthetic that features recordings, or electromagnetic fluctuations, from Voyager 1 and 2’s deep-space probes. Haunting AND scientific. What a combination.
Andy Welch, writer
If Thomas Sanders’ balletic high-pitched voice, the vocal equivalent of a dainty high-wire acrobat, is an unmistakable throwback to his days as frontman of lost indie heroes Pete & The Pirates, his new motorik-pop band Teleman give it a spacious new canvas on which to trace its artful arcs. In this wonderful Bernard Butler-produced waft of ‘saxwave’, his wistful, waltzing melody adorns laps of hazy phase and sunset saxophone to create an idyllic riverboat picnic scene that reaches a hallucinogenic climax so euphoric that the scones must be coated with peyote jam.
Mark Beaumont, writer
When NME visited Amazing Snakeheads in their Glasgow studio this week, the trio revealed that their album was recorded exclusively at night. Fittingly, ‘Here It Comes Again’ has the kind of gnawing paranoia you get when marching around the wrong part of town under cover of darkness, its throbbing bass and stabs of guitar building to a screaming climax. Dangerous, brutal and thrilling.
Dan Stubbs, News Editor
Toronto’s Odonis Odonis retain their penchant for creating foreboding landscapes on ‘Angus Mountain,’ although this murky number, which builds from the bottom up, leaves behind the Big Black comparisons of old and heads towards something far sleeker. Driven by stuttering electronic percussion and vocalist Dean Tzenos’ repeated lyrical motif of “she never loved you anyway,” there’s a warm, consolatory message somewhere within this glinting coat of armour, a human heart amidst its vast shell.
Simon Jay Catling, writer
In ‘Shut Up’, from Seattle trio Posse’s second album, ‘Soft Opening’, singer Paul Wittman-Todd wearily looks forward to no longer having to deal with other people’s shit and getting a moment’s peace to himself, finally. He tells the story like Lou Reed after a long day, but ‘Shut Up’ really sings when his mind is left to wander, illustrated by one of the most affective guitar solos in recent memory; forlorn and questing, like Yo La Tengo taking on Television.
Laura Snapes, Features Editor
As fizzing Technicolour pop highs go, this first track from London newcomer Meanwhile is as good as it gets for us mere mortals who’ll never get to huff laughing gas with Prince backstage at a Gorillaz gig. ‘Luvletta’ may be driven by a powering electro-funk bassline and lined with sugar rush synths, but it’s Tom Andrews’ contorting falsetto that really kidnaps your attention, wailing “I’m on my way” like a mad man late for the party of the century.
Al Horner, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
Jessie Ware and Disclosure labelmate Javeon continues his bid to become the PMR label’s next big star with this slice of club cool. “Leave me drunk in a way that’s hard to explain/I’m intoxicated,” he sighs about the object of his desires over subtle, shimmering melodies and laidback beats. Javeon’s not the only one who’s love-drunk – this latest cut has got us feeling tipsy too.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
It’s no understatement to say that former Girls frontman Christopher Owens is one of the most criminally underrated songwriters of our generation – the man is a modern day Burt Bacharach. His latest solo track is a wash of languid Americana beefed up with a roof-raising gospel choir that would be ridiculous if it wasn’t so utterly brilliant and backed by the biggest, dumbest ‘Purple Rain’ style guitar solo this writer has heard this year. Pure genius.
Jenny Stevens, Deputy News Editor
Jenny Stevens, Deputy News Editor