Interpol – All The Rage Back Home
“I keep falling, maybe half the time” sighs Paul Banks over distant chants on Interpol’s first cut from their fifth album, ‘El Pintor’. ‘All The Rage Back Home’ is as dark as you’d expect from the New Yorkers, Daniel Kessler’s shrill guitar lines piercing through the gloom and whipping up a sense of urgency. Banks might feel like he’s about to take a tumble, but this points to ‘El Pintor’ being the band’s best effort in years.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
King Tuff – Eyes Of The Muse
After the hook-filled stadium lo-fi of King Tuff’s second album, comes ‘Eyes Of The Muse’. Initially, Kyle Thomas’ guitar twinkles under soppy lyrics (“There is no other, when I am with her/I always love her, I always miss her”), but not for long. The hairy loon behind King Tuff is soon writhing atop the insatiable riff that dominates the first song from new album ‘Black Moon Spell’ like a moustachioed ’70s porn star.
Ben Homewood, writer
The Growlers – Big Toe
With ‘Big Toe’, Californian psych rockers The Growlers pit surf guitars against suicidal misery. Singer Brooks Nielsen is driven to the point of chucking himself off a bridge by a quite terrible-sounding woman who can “hex like a crow”. Glumly noting that “the grace of her face is a terrible waste” because “behind it’s something awful”, we leave him at 2:35, “looking down at the old cold river”. A marvellous surf-goth cliffhanger.
JJ Dunning, writer
A Sunny Day In Glasgow – In Love With Useless
Subtitled ‘The Timeless Geometry In The Tradition Of Passing’, this new track from the Philadelphia collective’s fourth album ‘Sea When Absent’ is as heroically dense and bewildering as its name. What starts off as a shoegazey swirl soon takes on layers of synth, hellfire beats, industrial bass and jagged guitar splurts, while Jen Goma yells prettily about “antipsychotics”. If that sounds like one brainfuck too far, it actually ends up rather soothing.
Matthew Horton, writer
Velour – The Tower
Julio Bashmore is the poster boy for the ongoing house revival. Here he teams up with fellow Bristol-dweller Hyetal on, to use the technical terminology, an absolute banger. Four stabbing chords form the bedrock, while pulsing synths and a “//woo-hoo//” vocal sample provide the hands-in-the-air vibes. And that’s pretty much it. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity, though: there’s a master at work here.
Chris Cottingham, writer
Wet – Move Me
Brooklyn trio Wet know that the real soundtrack to the panicky buzz of love and lust isn’t all bubblegum riffs and adrenalin-shot guitars: it’s slow and scary, like a cold, icy hand squeezing your heart and making it hard for you to breathe. That’s what makes ‘Move Me’ so pitch-perfect: a moody slowjam that walks the slinky, sensual tightrope between devotion and obsession, with singer Kelly Zutrau coming on like a gloomy and decadent lost soul.
Ben Hewitt, writer
Lunice – Can’t Wait To
The other half to Hudson Mohawke’s TNGHT project, Lunice follows up on the pair’s promise to focus on their own solo material this year with the first track from his debut album, rumoured for release by the end of 2014. ‘Can’t Wait To’ doesn’t veer too far from the Canadian producer’s work with HudMo, marrying chopped and screwed vocals with heavy bass and dance-floor friendly beats, all while maintaining an infectious sense of fun.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
Haim – My Song 5 (feat. A$AP Ferg)
What did Haim’s ‘My Song 5’ need but we didn’t know it? A verse from A$AP Ferg, of course! The hip-hop upstart from Harlem turns out to be a perfect match for the LA sisters on the angriest track off ‘Days Are Gone’. “Honey pie, don’t front like you goody two shoes”, Ferg rhymes over the gnarly squelch of the bridge, before the ladies come back with, “Honey, I’m not your honey pie”.
SZA – Mood Ring
R&B singer-songwriter SZA was so anxious before she opened for Coldplay last year, she didn’t sleep for two and a half days. After she got offstage, she duly got leathered on Chris Martin’s champagne and wrote this glistening, otherwordly new track. It’s produced by Felix Snow, who worked on SZA’s recent album ‘Z’, and appears on DJ Kitty Cash’s new mixtape ‘Love The Free Vol II’, which also features a collaboration with Dev Hynes.
Phil Hebblethwaite, writer
Bat For Lashes – Skin Song
Something’s stirring in the world of Natasha Khan. Following a soundtrack collaboration with Jon Hopkins last year, here’s a brand new solo track that creeps and crawls through three minutes of muted, melancholy synths, scattergun percussion and echoing vocals. The song is part of a project inspired by human organs that’ll also see releases by Ghostpoet and Goldie. This one’s about skin, but it’s massive chorus is all heart.
Al Horner, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
Death From Above 1979 – Trainwreck 1979
After exclusively revealing details of their first album in 10 years to NME earlier this year, DFA 1979 hit us with the low-slung, super-confident first single. ‘Trainwreck 1979’ doesn’t boast the fast-paced riffs you might expect, but when drummer Sebastien Grainger sings “The story never ends as long as we have blood and guts”, the intention is clear. Death From Above 1979 are dead. Long live Death From Above 1979.
David Renshaw, News Reporter
Chris Martin & Cat Power – Wish I Was Here
Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Cat Power have teamed up to record the title song for cheeseball Zach Braff’s new film Wish I Was Here, the spiritual follow-up to Garden State. It’s got a whiff of Ben Folds Five’s ‘Brick’ about it and less of Cat Power’s unsettling grit. But she’s still got one of the greatest voices around and even Martin in sap mode can’t take away from that.
Lucy Jones, Deputy Editor, NME.COM
The Vines – Metal Zone
On page 13, Craig Nicholls tells us his band’s new double album is a return to their rock’n’roll origins following the electronic diversion of ‘Future Primitive’. ‘Metal Zone’ proves his point, beginning with a throbbing rock intro, Nirvana-like guitars, squiddly solos, raw screaming and lyrics that end, abruptly, with the words “Now I wish you were dead”. Not quite in the metal zone, then, but on the bus to Grungeville at least.
Dan Stubbs, News Editor
Twin Peaks – I Found A New Way
The first proper taste of the Chicago band’s new album ‘Wild Onion’ is the closest a bunch of Yanks have come to channelling The Kinks’ knack for writing perfect garage rock (‘Shangri-La’, ‘This Time Tomorrow’, ‘Victoria’) in years. Singer Cadien Lake James barks his way through proceedings knowing full well it’s what he was born to do, while the rest of the band sound positively riled underneath him. Best of all, it sounds effortless.
Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor
The History Of Apple Pie – Shake (feat. Gary Jarman)
Following the trajectory of their indie heroes Blur, London quintet The History of Apple Pie have emerged from the more laidback lollop of some of their debut with a sassy direct hit – their own personal ‘Popscene’, if you will. Featuring Cribs man Gary Jarman’s inimitable Wakefield drawl, it’s all punchy guitar stabs, giddily infectious chorus and audible confidence. Modern life sounds good from here.
Lisa Wright, writer
Childhood – As I Am
As debut album ‘Lacuna’ nears release, Childhood are sounding more and more like a band to fall head over heels in love with. ‘As I Am’ is a pastel-coloured swirl of gauzy romance and harmonies, built upon a sensational chorus of hypnotic, yearning falsetto. Ben Romans-Hopcraft’s vocal is a dizzy, psychedelic kiss when he coos a spellbinding refrain: “So tell me what you wanna do, and take me as I am”.
James Bentley, writer
Jenny Lewis – The Voyager
The title track from the Laurel Canyon-dwelling ex-Rilo Kiley frontwoman could be a deep cut from her 2008 LP ‘Acid Tongue’. “When it finally hit me, I did not cry/’Cos I was at the 7/11 flicking through the New York Times” she reflects, alongside a familiar lazy chugging of acoustic guitar. If you can get past this ballad’s heavy strings and searching lyrics without shedding a tear, then congratulations, you’re just as jaded as she is.
Eve Barlow, Deputy Editor
Demob Happy – Suffer You
Brighton band Demob Happy were one of the highlights of this year’s Great Escape festival, hosting their own sweat-drenched secret party at their café HQ. ‘Suffer You’ is their first piece of new music since then and has frontman Matt Marcantonio yowling “You take my body but you won’t take my mind” over scrappy, grunge-kissed riffs that evoke a dirtier first-album-era Kings Of Leon.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
Bad Sounds – Living Alone
“Nothing appeals to me/ I feel like living alone”, trill new London duo Bad Sounds like a pair of miffed students who’ve had enough of sharing the communal shower. Far from a miserable rant, however, ‘Living Alone’ is the kind of falsetto-laden, indie-disco earworm that comes on like how Mystery Jets’ new album might sound if they suddenly got completely obsessed with Jungle. Bad Sounds in your ears, make you feel alright…
Lisa Wright, writer
Ex Hex – Don’t Wanna Lose
Chances are you’ll know Mary Timony best from her stint in Wild Flag, alongside two-thirds of Sleater-Kinney. Before that, she spent much of the ‘90s fronting Boston’s marginal but great Helium. With Wild Flag having quietly disbanded, Ex Hex finds Timony the centre of attention again. ‘Don’t Wanna Lose’ precedes the trio’s debut album ‘Rips’, due in October and an accurate title if this garage-meets-glam-meets-Television belter is any indication.