20 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week (23/7/2014)
After releasing his second album ‘Kings & Queens’ in 2009, Jamie T made like another indie disappearing act, Tom Vek, and vanished off the face of the earth. Five years later and he’s back with a third album on the way. First taste ‘Don’t You Find’ is a reggae-tinged softy that’s as lyrically open as always but delivered with a new glossy sheen. An understated but sublime return.
Lucy Jones, Deputy Editor, NME.COM
When she’s not playing drums with a huge grin on her face for the likes of Juce or Kate Tempest, Georgia Barnes makes top club-centric pop music. ‘Digits’ is the latest track from her upcoming debut EP and sees the rising star urging her love interest to forget about WhatsApp and Twitter DMs and just give her a call. “These digits are bridges, so ring it/When you need it”, she coos over a synth-heavy beat weirdly reminiscent of a slowed down and strung out take on DMX’s rap banger ‘X Gon’ Give It To Ya’.
David Renshaw, News Reporter
If you ever wanted a band to do a trolley-dash, it’s Leeds’ Menace Beach. That’s because on ‘Lowtalkin” – the flipside to new single ‘Tennis Court’ – they manage to fit in a walloping chorus, a bunch of hazy riffs and a Dinosaur Jr-style guitar solo into just 100 seconds of super-charged, free and fuzzy garage-rock. It’s a delicious, dizzying feat.
Greg Cochrane, Editor, NME.COM
Heavenly Records’ latest signings fit perfectly into the label’s stable of dreamy, head-in-the-clouds indie. ‘All I Want’ is a summer-ready swirl of shoegaze guitars and Lea Emmery’s cider-splashed, semi-sneering vocals. Like Dinosaur Jr in board shorts or My Bloody Valentine going bonkers at a pick-your-own strawberry patch, there’s an endearingly tough raggedness to these Londoners’ sunshine swaying and self-built wall of fuzz-pop.
Leonie Cooper, writer
You could never say Eagulls were as technically gifted as The Stone Roses, but on this cover of their early swansong they’re every bit as passionate. More sludgy than shimmering, it’s all about the way singer George Mitchell twists his vocals – he’s closer to Shaun Ryder than Ian Brown in all honesty, but that doesn’t matter one bit when he belts out that final, glorious “ADOOOOOOOOORRRREDDD!” and the band clatter about behind him haphazardly. Job well and truly done.
Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor
Long Beach’s Cold War Kids come up with a blinder every couple of years and this is 2014’s candidate, a preview of their as-yet-untitled fifth album, due in October. ‘All This Could Be Yours’ is a nagging, sneering swipe at a coward, all bluesy piano, ringing guitar and bovver-boy beats, a thrilling three-minute stomp. That it sounds a bit like The Killers trying to cover Avicii’s ‘You Make Me’ only improves it. Somehow.
Matthew Horton, writer
The Seattle singer returns with this beautifully bruised take from his forthcoming new album, ‘Too Bright’. Moving away from the deeply personal piano ballads that formed most of 2012’s ‘Put Your Back N 2 It’, this is a punch-in-the-guts stomper with noodly synth lines, swaggering bass riffs and throaty vocal “huh”s before the rousing salvo: “No family is safe when I sashay”. Clear the dancefloors.
Jenny Stevens, Deputy News Editor
DIIV’s debut album, 2012’s ‘Oshin’, was for the most part an exercise in loose and dreamy indie-rock that loved, smothered and hugged the listener. But one song towards the end, called ‘Doused’, was different: menacing, intricate krautrock. And these are the traits that can be heard in the untitled track that Zachary Cole Smith’s band debuted at the Williamsburg Hall Of Music on Thursday, July 10. Loud, propulsive, overwhelming: it’s good shit.
Tom Howard, Assistant Editor
‘Bigger Party’ is Speedy Ortiz’s catchiest since ‘Taylor Swift’, and has an equally humdinging chorus/A+ life philosophy. On the latter Sadie Dupuis had “too many boyfriends to see you tonight”. ‘Bigger Party’ adds insult to injury: “I’m sorry for the time that I made out with all your friends/I’m really a shithead”. She’s enjoyably slackjawed and devoid of contrition, tormenting whatever loser from within Speedy’s menacing monolith of rumbling bass and knife-edge fretboard harmonics.
Laura Snapes, Features Editor
Austra’s doom-laden disco might seem a strange bedfellow for the pastel pomp of ’80s kings Duran Duran (who originally penned this track), but here Katie Stelmanis and co attempt to wring every drip of emotion from a song previously more suited to a late-night Cinzano at a Majorcan beach bar. “Such a lonely place/This room without your face”, coos Katie like the saddest girl on the dancefloor. Someone get the woman a drink.
Lisa Wright, writer
“I’m drunk, I’m giving up/I’m afraid I’ve become stuck”, sings Bloody Knees’ frontman Bradley Griffiths with a sigh. His solution? “Try to push it from my mind” by joining up with his bandmates and bashing out some searing riffs, getting lost in a cloud of pop-punk escapism. There’s plenty more to lose yourself in on the way too as the Cambridge group prepare to release their upcoming EP ‘Stitches’ (out August 25).
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
After last year’s grizzled acoustic covers album ‘Imitations’ you’d be forgiven for thinking that Mark Lanegan was starting to turn grey, but this hypnotic new track is proof that the grunge godfather can still lay down an anthem. With hypnotic, kraut-influenced drums and the ever-identifiable production wizardry of fellow Queens Of The Stone Age collaborator Alain Johannes, ‘Sad Lover’ is instantly infectious, recalling Primal Scream’s ‘Country Girl’ through its melodic guitars.
James Bentley, writer
Listen to the first 10 seconds of ‘A Friend’ and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d chanced upon some boggy swamp where broken synths go to putter out and die. Persevere, however, and beats straight out of The Rapture’s ‘House Of Jealous Lovers’ will lead you into a full on tropical-tinged dancefloor banger literally born for parties at sweaty summer sunset. More cowbell!
Lisa Wright, writer
Burn them! Burn them! For The Wytches’ latest has clearly been created by dark, twisted sorcery: it’s a dingy, dank and psych-tinged stomper that’s high on the fumes of some strange potion made up of The Horrors’ old hair and Pixies’ sweat and tears. And Kristian Bell’s throat-tearing vocal? That sounds scarily non-human, too. Cross yourself and get ready, then, for debut album ‘Annabel Dream Reader’, which will be released on August 25.
Ben Hewitt, writer
It’s not been an easy ride for Weezer fans the last decade or so – in 2009 a rap–rock collaboration with Lil Wayne sparked a campaign from fans offering Rivers Cuomo and co $10 million to break up. No wonder, then, that this new single sees them turning back the clock – singing about “rocking out like it’s ’94”, the year of their brilliant ‘Blue Album’ – with crunching power chords and punch-the-air drums. An emphatic return to form.
Al Horner, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
German efficiency, as any Brazilian football fan will tell you, is very much the coming thing. Bear in Heaven might hail from Brooklyn, but this taut, metronomic krautrock cut from their incoming fourth LP hits its marks with the ruthlessness of a Munich holidaymaker at the hotel pool. Coming after last month’s ‘Time Between’, our appetite for ‘Time Is Over One Day Old’ is thoroughly whetted.
Barry Nicolson, writer
Lead singer Carson Cox runs towards a camera looking like Antonio Banderas in The Mask Of Zorro in the video for their latest Smiths-indebted jangly anthem. It’s ironic, because Merchandise could be a new generation’s indie heroes… if only someone knew. Thing is, barely anyone has heard of Florida’s best-kept-secret, despite us writing about them at every opportunity. Perhaps it’s just that, like most masked crusaders, they’re not looking for credit.
Eve Barlow, Deputy Editor
Fans of Arthur Beatrice and London Grammar’s stately pop will immediately recognise a kindred spirit in the shape of London band Vaults. ‘Lifespan’ is only the third song to emerge from the trio, but it hints strongly at a band who have the whiff of big things ahead. They’re keeping their identities frustratingly quiet right now, but whoever it is singing, “You took what you wanted to take and yet you never wanted nothing from me,” has a mightily impressive voice. Better get used to hearing it.
David Renshaw, News Reporter
On his second solo album ‘Mars’, Sinkane (aka Ahmed Gallab) stepped out of the shadow of those he’s previously collaborated with (Yeasayer, Caribou, Of Montreal) to provide a record that skipped from krautrock to funk. ‘How We Be’, taken from his imminent third LP ‘Mean Love’ focuses more on the latter, a slinky bassline rumbling beneath his cool falsetto coos. “Our eyes crease more than our mouths these days”, he observes, but with this lithe cut, the aging process sounds pretty good from here.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
That Brighton trio Esben & The Witch left Matador and managed to raise enough money on Pledge Music to record their upcoming third LP with Steve Albini in Chicago was a coup. Tellingly, it’s called ‘A New Nature’, and this second track from it is flush with confidence and adventure – a song about a storm that’s very PJ Harvey-like and both pastoral and gothic, calming and fierce.
Phil Hebblethwaite, writer