20 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week (7/5/2014)
“Do you wanna get high with me, girl?/Do you wanna get stoned?” asks Public Access TV frontman John Eatherly on ‘Middle Child’, only the second track to be revealed by this New York trio. With this track’s roughed up, slowed down glam riffs and aura of effortless seduction, they’ve created something like the easy listening pop gems Smith Westerns //used// to write. Big things surely await.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
Sharon Van Etten’s songs deal with finding wonder in the mundane and wringing beauty from banality. They are tales of every day love, complete with dirty washing and all. “I do your dishes but I shit in your bathroom,” she sings on this second single from her soul-bleeding new album ‘Are We There’. The work of a modern-day master.
Jenny Stevens, Deputy News Editor
Jon Hopkins has reworked one of the most intricate tracks on his Mercury Prize-nominated album ‘Immunity’. The original ‘We Disappear’ is a paranoid racket that opens with the sound of Hopkins unlocking his door after getting home from a rave. This version is softer, with Lulu James’ celestial vocals complementing the bassy, squelchy techno.
Lucy Jones, Deputy Editor, NME.COM
With their love of garish neons and shame-free rushes of emotion, Coldplay have been EDM superstars in disguise for a while now. In that respect, drafting in Avicii – one of the heavyweights of the genre – to produce this song sort of makes sense. It’s a BPM overload that should break the band out of their lucrative but comfortable dad rock suburb. It’ll be divisive, but that’s Coldplay all over.
David Renshaw, News Reporter
Chicago rapper Vic Mensa had a giant 2013, with a major role on pal Chance The Rapper’s ‘Acid Rap’ mixtape, his own ‘Innanetape’ mixtape and some time on tour with Disclosure. The story goes that it was Guy and Howard Lawrence who inspired Mensa to rattle out the gently warped house music of ‘Down On My Luck’, a track about dancing away the bad times: “Why you listen to ‘em? Hands up, middle finger to ‘em? Fuck that, get down…”
Tom Howard, Assistant Editor
Molly Rankin of Toronto band Alvvays says she takes her lyrical inspiration from The Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt, a man who has essentially made a career of writing songs about unrequited love. This is probably why ‘Archie, Marry Me’ finds her begging someone with “contempt for matrimony” to tie the knot. The music is glorious, too, with Belly guitars and Camera Obscura jangles beneath Rankin’s silvery pleading, leaving barely a pause to breathe.
Hazel Sheffield, writer
Perfect Pussy’s cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Candy’s Room’ doesn’t seem so reverential at first – there’s little semblance of his twinkling triumph left behind. But although the song’s loveliest lyrics (“Close your eyes/Let them melt, let them fire, let them burn/Cause in the darkness there’ll be hidden worlds that shine”) are barely audible, Meredith Graves and her bandmates capture the wildness of that transcendent, overwhelming intimacy in their glinting celestial squall.
Laura Snapes, Features Editor
If you’ve ever had a mild interest in Elbow but been deterred by the fact that you’re under 45, then rejoice! ‘Together Now’’s opening moments build with a youthful take on Garvey-esque epic melancholy, before inviting in the ghost of Arcade Fire circa 2004. Morphing into a headrush of delicate female harmonies and sparkling keyboard parts, Thumpers’ latest might wear its influences firmly on its sleeve, but at least they’re good ones.
Lisa Wright, writer
On the title track of her debut LP, due in September, Jillian Banks offers cold contempt. The object of her ire is ambiguous, but opening line “She gave it all, you gave her shit” begins a resounding four-minute telling off. Deploying high-pitched harmonies, electronics and drawling echo around Banks’ classy vocal, long-time collaborator Lil Silva provides a thrilling but nervy R&B backing. As the beats fall ominously around her, Banks revels in the tension.
Ben Homewood, writer
In the wait for La Roux’s new album to be released, it may just fall to Greenwich Village’s Phantogram to give us our electro-pop fix. Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter have released a clutch of indietronic albums on the lighter side of shoegaze, but ‘Fall In Love’ finds them at their most catchy – and accomplished – yet. Barthel’s almost lost in the computerised wash, her sensual vocals surrendering to a synthy throb that’ll swamp you too.
Matthew Horton, writer
The rugged hardcore foundations of Toronto’s Fucked Up turned into looming epic rock edifices on their last two albums. ‘Glass Boys’, their first full-length since 2011, finds them returning to their earlier sound; ‘Led By Hand’ bolsters its barrel-chested punk vigour with a guest showing from Dinosaur Jr frontman J Mascis. His contribution is actually substantial, too: a trademark gnarly rawk solo and the endlessly croaked refrain “Follow you around…”
Noel Gardner, writer
“We don’t need no premonitions,” breathes Blythe Pepino over moody synths that ebb and swell until they’re eclipsed by urgent violins. We don’t mind no double negatives round here, not since we couldn’t get no satisfaction, so we’ll let Vaults have that. We’ll focus instead on how this follow-up to the blog-seducing ‘Cry No More’ could make the Hereford band this year’s London Grammar.
Kevin EG Perry, writer
Walloping together pretty-pretty vocals courtesy of Amelia Meath and whompy-whompy electronics from Nicholas Sanborn, the follow-up to Sylvan Esso’s devastating ‘Coffee’ is as just as massive a tune, but more fitting for a Friday night freakout than a Sunday morning comedown. The lush video for ‘Play It Right’ also continues the duo’s dedication to a spot-on dance routine. The simply-shot, disco-lit promo sees Meath in shiny leggings and ABBA-chiffon leading the charge with some superlative shimmying.
Leonie Cooper, writer
Brilliantly raucous Brisbane two-piece DZ Deathrays return in the summer with their new album ‘Black Rat’. ‘Reflective Skull’ is the second taste of it and begins with a beat seemingly taken directly from Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Fix Up Look Sharp’ (which is itself a sample of Billy Squier’s ‘The Big Beat’). What follows is less ‘Boy In Da Corner’, the duo coating their wild drumming with distorted guitars and lyrics about a girl with “diamond eyes”. She sounds dangerous, as do these Aussies.
Andy Welch, writer
Braids recently posted ‘Deep Running’ on YouTube, calling it an “outtake” from last year’s ‘Flourish // Perish’ album. It sounds halfway between that record’s electronic direction and their more live-sounding 2011 debut ‘Native Speaker’. Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s histrionic vocals add very human tension as she laments “You thought I was the one”, while mechanical drones and bleeps creep around her. It’s part human, part machine.
Simon Jay Catling, writer
Cerebral Ballzy have always //looked// like the kind of band who belonged on the front of magazine covers. In truth, they never quite matched that image with their music. ‘Lonely As America’ changes things. It’s melodic as fuck, and it’s the first thing they’ve written that thinks about what the chorus should sound like, rather than what the best lyric about fucking/chundering/skating should be. Shocked? You should be.
Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor
The cover of The Roots’ imminent 11th studio album features a scary collage of stone faces staring out at you from the record sleeve. New single ‘Tomorrow’ takes a similarly (if less eerie) jigsaw approach, piecing together cheery piano pop, Miguel-ish R&B croons courtesy of guesting singer Raheem DeVaughn and a load of self-help book optimism. It’s a simple ride up until the three-minute mark, when it opens out into a neo-soul groove before collapsing into a wonderfully dissonant coda.
Al Horner, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
Things are bubbling nicely for Circa Waves. An opening slot on the NME Awards Tour with Austin, Texas has pre-faced a summer where they’ll play Every Single Festival. Ripe-timing for them to drop ‘Know One’, a Tokyo Police Club meets The Strokes live favourite that’s built for tent-wide clapalongs. Don’t say we didn’t give you notice.
Greg Cochrane, Editor, NME.COM
‘Want It’ is the sound of Kelela upping the ante. With minimal production by DJ Dahi and honeyed slowjam vocals, it’s like the ‘Cut 4 Me’ R&B singer has taken the most tuneful deep cuts from Janet Jackson’s ‘Velvet Rope’ and entwined them with FKA Twigs’ glitchier tendencies. Those glitches bring an edginess, too, allowing the tune to go in any one of 10 directions. All of them heavenly.
Eve Barlow, Deputy Editor
The Antlers’ fourth album, 2011’s ‘Burst Apart’, showed the Brooklyn trio taking their stylish melancholy to a higher level. ‘Hotel’ is the second song to appear from their upcoming fifth record, ‘Familiars’, and further embellishes the theme. It boasts a guitar sound resembling the one used on Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Albatross’, and could therefore soundtrack any number of adverts featuring slowly rotating desserts from the Marks & Spencer range. This is not a backhanded compliment, and shows The Antlers are still on the up.
JJ Dunning, writer