20 Tracks You Have To Hear This Week (30/4/2014)

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20 Tracks You Have To Hear This Week (30/4/2014)


20 Tracks You Have To Hear This Week (30/4/2014)
FKA Twigs – Give Up
FKA Twigs could be the most hyped new artist of the last year – and for good reason. The R&B experimentalist – real name Tahliah Barnett – has fashioned a sound that’s avant garde and unmistakeably hers. ‘Give Up’, debuted recently at her first New York gig, is a longing, glitchy ballad that finds Barnett’s breathy vocals recalling Janet Jackson in parts.

Lucy Jones, Deputy Editor, NME.COM

Manic Street Preachers – Walk Me To The Bridge
The one-album ‘acoustic’ diversion is over, replaced with – if this first taste of forthcoming new album ‘Futurology’ is indicative – synth-propelled ’80s power rock. Conspiracy theorists are already speculating whether the “bridge” is the Severn Bridge, near where Richey Manic’s car was discovered, especially for the lines: “We smile at this ugly world/It never really suited you”. What is clear is this: the fire is back in their bellies.

Dan Stubbs, News Editor

Lykke Li (feat A$AP Rocky) – No Rest For The Wicked
One of the highlights from Lykke’s third album gets a retooling courtesy of a few bars from A$AP Rocky. What is a sky-wide orchestral heartbreak song on ‘I Never Learn’ takes a sideways step into a minimal dub breakdown mid-song, with the Harlem drawler rhyming: “wiki me” with “Lykke Li”. Then back in comes the Swedish singer, all angelic. Like A$AP’s previous dalliances with the likes of Lana Del Rey, it somehow works.

Greg Cochrane, Editor, NME.COM

Jamie xx – Girl
In his own mild-mannered way, the studious production whizz behind The xx brings sexy back. Unlike the sparse, more sedate beats of last month’s single ‘Sleep Sound’, ‘Girl’ feels like sweet, sticky and oh-so-naughty honey being drizzled in your ear: shimmering gossamer synths, a splash of rolling percussion, and the greatest, grooviest bassline of 2014 thus far. It’s always the quiet ones you need to keep an eye on.

Ben Hewitt, writer

Pharoahe Monch – Get Down
Released for Record Store Day in the US, this track finds the typically creative New York rapper in laid-back form. That’s not to say his rhymes lack punch – Monch’s reputation as one of hip-hop’s more intelligent wordsmiths remains intact. Among references to R Kelly and “ice grills”, he places himself as the vaccine to a “game that is diseased and poisoned.” Eclectic, refreshing and hugely enjoyable.

Andy Welch, writer

White Lung – Snake Jaw
Ahead of the release of their third LP ‘Deep Fantasy’, Canadian punks White Lung drop this relentless B-side to ‘Drown With The Monster’. Beyond ‘Snake Jaw”s barrage of snares is a post-hardcore onslaught against the cultural expectations of the female body image, as ferociously expelled by the vociferous Mish Way. With flecks of The Distillers and Hole’s ‘Live Through This’ behind it, ‘Snake Jaw’ is a poisonous bite for the punk feminist cause.

James Balmont, writer

Trash Talk – Cloudkicker
‘No Peace’, Trash Talk’s upcoming fifth album features cameos from King Krule and Ratking’s Wiki. Also aboard is hip-hop producer Alchemist, who is currently working as Eminem’s DJ. But LA’s most disaffected are withholding any dope-heavy beats for now. ‘Cloudkicker’ offers violent, convulsing hardcore, dragged along by Lee Spielman rabidly screaming, “I just wanted the sky”. As ever, he sounds like a crazed reprobate taking a running jump off the top of a car park.

Ben Homewood, writer

Alexis Taylor – Without A Crutch (2)
Hot Chip never had harmonica solos. No, Alexis Taylor’s second solo album’s shaping up to be much more like his jazz-folk side-project About Group – slower, reflective, more organic. ‘Without A Crutch (2)’ la-la-las into view with plucky banjo and lolloping, easy beats, and sounds both rich and delicate in its unassuming way. Taylor’s responsible for every note too, from his quivering voice to that harmonica solo. Bodes well for the full length, titled ‘Await Barbarians’, in June.

Matthew Horton, writer

Courtney Love – You Know My Name
She’s back. Raging like a ramped-up, wrong-speed ‘Live Through This’-era version of herself. Re-treading a few familiar lyrical tropes (the song is essentially a self-aggrandising personality overview, just in case we’d lost sight of her cultural import) on this flipside to ‘Wedding Day’, Courtney may well have found her form again. No room here for an essay on the pros and cons of Courtney minus Eric, Patty and Melissa but that guttural growl is every bit as powerful now as it was in 1994.

Hayley Avron, writer

Kasabian – Explodes
In which Kasabian’s Tom Meighan jumps into the crystal depths of a hotel swimming pool in a state of paranoid insomnia to be confronted with the sight of his own ghost, who tells him: “you’d rather die on your feet than live a life on your knees”. An existential tale of rock’n’roll excess, soundracked by an instrumental menagerie of spooky synths and pummeling drums.

Jenny Stevens, Deputy News Editor

Blessa – Unfurl
Sheffield’s Blessa offer up the Wild Nothing-esque first taste of new EP ‘Love Is An Evol Word’, due out in June. Reworked from a 2013 demo, Hookworms’ MJ produced this three-and-a-half-minute cut of shimmering, literate pop in which singer Olivia Neller hints at turmoil within as she sings, “Since you went away, I’ve been in the dark, I can hear your voice, I can hear your breath over the rocks.”

David Renshaw, News Reporter

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – She’s On It
“There’s no confusion/In her conclusion/She wants to waste her time/With the Blues Explosion,” howl TJSBE on their lyrically-adapted cover of the Beastie Boys’ 1985 hit. It might be an unexpected choice for the old-school troupe – and its reasonably true-to-the-original vocal might up that feeling even more – but by 2:25, when a needling guitar solo rips into a final, feral freak-out, it all makes sense.

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion / She’s On It – Jack The Ripper from Patrick McCarthy Aka Patsy Crime on Vimeo.

Lisa Wright, writer

Happyness – Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste The Same
Happyness come from the suburbs of south London, but you’d never guess it from their sunny Cali slacker rock. Killer new single ‘Great Minds…’ doesn’t hang around, packing into a lean two minutes a knockout array of Pavement-y 90s US college radio hooks, cooed vocals and irreverent lyrical curios (“you always look so ill/You ate my birthday cake/You’re Jesus and you don’t know”). As they’d say in the trio’s spiritual Californian homeland – gnarly, man.

Al Horner, Assistant Editor, NME.COM

The Magic Gang – She Won’t Ghost
The latest track from Brighton’s The Magic Gang is a steady strum through Weezer-esque indie rock, driven by the quartet’s mob vocals and united sense of longing. “At night I want to say that I don’t know/Just what to say when she won’t go”, they sigh about a ghost hanging around their house, unwanted. They might be tongue-tied in front of the spectre but on record they sparkle with an innate confidence.

Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor

Protomartyr – Down On The Street
Detroit’s best new band stay faithful to The Stooges’ classic but inject enough of their own venom into this cover to end up with something that more than does the original justice. Really, it’s all about the way guitarist Greg Ahee plays it – restrained at first, before losing it on the chorus. By the end, he’s smashing his instrument on the ground in pure unadulterated anger.

Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor

Röyksopp & Robyn – Monument
As a way of introducing ‘Do It Again’, Röyksopp and Robyn’s May 26-released mini album, a minute-long snippet of its opening track, ‘Monument’, was posted online. Even at that length, the song was intriguing. The real thing, which is 10 minutes long, is astounding – a ruminative journey of a track full of left turns and mystery, which Robyn describes as being “about space in time and defining oneself”, “like a dream” and “a meditation”.

Phil Hebblethwaite, writer

The 2 Bears – Angel (Touch Me)

The 2 Bears’ first album, 2012’s ‘Be Strong’, was all about putting a big fat chunk of fun back into house music. The music Joe Goddard from Hot Chip and his pal Raf Rundell was pure good times, and songs like ‘Bear Hug’ were genuinely hilarious. ‘Angel (Touch Me)’, which features Goddard’s Hot Chip chum Alexis Taylor, is low on the gags but big on warmth, reassurance and joyful handclaps.

Tom Howard, Assistant Editor

Torres (feat Sharon Van Etten & The War On Drugs) – New Skin
A new skin sounds like the lightest costume you could hope to wear, free of any old emotional stretches and scars. But on this new song, recorded for Weathervane’s Shaking Through sessions, Mackenzie Scott weighs hers down with the pressure of new beginnings, hoping for understanding after a defiant fall from grace. Aided by Sharon Van Etten and The War On Drugs, her weary voice turns wrathful over melancholy country-tinged backing that crests like a stormy sea.

Laura Snapes, Features Editor

Theo Verney – Sound Machine
Brighton’s Theo Verney is not just another slacker with a four-track. While ‘Sound Machine’ begins and ends with a growling riff that owes a great debt to Black Sabbath’s guitarist Tony Iommi, in the middle it’s a mini odyssey that includes a lurching, nearly-reggae beat and the line “//I’ll fuck it all, go for second best instead//”. He should do better than that, ‘Sound Machine’ proves he’s better than scores of other shabby garage rock troupes.

JJ Dunning, writer

Jack White – Lazaretto
Third Man’s head honcho recently recorded this track live in store as part of his mission to make the world’s fastest record for Record Store Day. Now White’s shared the studio version of ‘Lazaretto’ and it’s proof that his influence still reigns over new music, drawing a neat link between himself and Brighton noisemakers Royal Blood as he spits “They put me down in a lazaretto/Born rotten, bored rotten” over riffs high in attitude and soaked in blues.

Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor