Merchandise – Green Lady
‘Green Lady’ slinks along with such grace, it should be wearing a ball gown and floral corsage. Coming on like Suede if they spent more time supping dirty martinis in Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont instead of moping about in south London petrol stations, this is grown-up guitar music complete with sky-scraping, soul-lifting riffs, and it’s still not even the best track on their new album.
Leonie Cooper, writer
Ex Hex – Beast
The new project of Mary Timony – formerly of riot grrrl supergroup Wild Flag – is the glammy, scuzzy, ramshackle sound of pure rock’n’roll. Opening with a squalling riff before falling into a ‘Roadrunner’ style two-chord jog, its ballsy simplicity is its key. The track’s called ‘Beast’, the album’s called ‘Rips’ and the band name sounds like they’re cursing every last bastard that spurned them: what more do you want?
Lisa Wright, writer
Johnny Marr – Easy Money
The tactic of recording in London so as to absorb and comment on its cash-obsessed culture has come up trumps for Johnny. Here, he comes on like a lost soul caught in a trap of sex, sleaze and dirty money, raging over itchy, scratchy and fidgety guitars. “I used to want it all/ And that’s money money” he sneers over an evil, corkscrew new wave riff.
Ben Hewitt, writer
Happyness – You Come To Kill Me?!
South London trio Happyness are back with another EP (‘Anything I Do Is All Right’ surfaces on 1 September) and its warning shot is this sexy two-minute slither that plants itself somewhere between Pavement and Ash while Benji Compston does his pin-sharp Jim Reid out of The Jesus & Mary Chain impression. Obvious influences, sure, but sickly synth strings and splurges of chainsaw guitar give Happyness their own slant and identity.
Matthew Horton, writer
Jessie Ware – Say You Love Me
Jessie Ware is sitting on potentially the biggest crossover album of the year with her forthcoming second record (due in October) This enormo-ballad, written in collaboration with Ed Sheeran, will help. “We’re running out of words to say, love is floating away,” Jessie sings, painstakingly detailing the futile efforts at giving it another shot. Get ready to be buying this for your mum at Christmas.
David Renshaw, News Reporter
Joey Bada$$ – Big Dusty
“Jazz puts my mind at ease and at peace,” Joey Bada$$ told NME while talking about his debut album ‘BADA$$’ back in 2013. ‘Big Dusty’, the first single, suggests he’s still in that place, turning away from the boom-bap of the Pro Era/Beast Coast collective to sultry instrumentals that recall Dilated Peoples. Images of great sharks, tidal waves and pizza dough combine to create something strange, paranoid and intriguing.
Lucy Jones, Deputy Editor, NME.com
Allo Darlin’ – Romance And Adventure
Anglo-Australians Allo Darlin’ are like the C86 Courtney Barnett, and this taster from third album ‘We Come From The Same Place’ adds beef to their superior melodic charms. Elizabeth Morris’ lyrics have taken a turn for the surreal too: ”I saw you in a prism/Reeling against realism,” she sings to some errant paramour where usually she’d be offering some boy round to watch cartoons and share whatever she’s rustled up from the Meet-Cute Cookbook that night.
Mark Beaumont, writer
Stevie Nicks – The Dealer
Back with a new solo album of old songs she wrote but never released, Stevie Nicks’ gossamer ‘The Dealer’ is an anguished throwback to Fleetwood Mac’s tumultuous ‘Tusk’ era. “I was the mistress of my fate, I was the card shark,” the singer laments over plaintive piano. “If I’d have looked a little ahead, I would’ve run away.” A lesson that nostalgia’s not always pretty.
Al Horner, Assistant Editor, NME.com
Bass Drum Of Death – Left For Dead
Life’s getting exciting for Mississippi garage rockers Bass Drum Of Death. As well as recruiting drummer Len Clark, whose skills sound thick and fat on the MC5 barrage of ‘Left For Dead’, founder John Barrett has also nabbed Unknown Mortal Orchestra bassist Jacob Portrait on production duties. Portrait’s finest contribution so far is the clank in the background that sounds like a mechanic using an exhaust pipe as a cowbell.
Tom Howard, Assistant Editor
BenZel & Stevie Neale – Wasted Love
According to their Soundcloud profile, BenZel are still two Japanese teenagers (Umi and Yoko) in New York on a foreign exchange programme. Umi and Yoko are in fact London producer Two Inch Punch and New York’s Benny Blanco, recently responsible for Jessie Ware’s ‘Tough Love’. This track is a total blinder, TIP’s signature bubbling beats gloriously elevated via dangerously catchy R&B hooks.
Eve Barlow, Deputy Editor
Trust Fund – Reading The Wrappers
This is the best song yet from Bristol’s Ellis Jones, who has a Waxahatchee-like knack for intimate understatement. It starts comically – parents anxiously eating sweets in the car, trying to ignore their kid curled up on the ground outside – but quickly becomes heartbreaking: he escapes to the beach, throwing “every pebble into the sea” to try and get over the insurmountable bereavement that floored him in the first place.
Laura Snapes, Features Editor
Twin Shadow – Locked and Loaded
Twin Shadow, aka George Lewis Jr, popped a new song, ‘To The Top’, online in April. To hear another one, you don’t half have to chug through a whole load of unfunny crap. Recently, he was a guest on a Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast and over an hour in he plays ‘Locked And Loaded’ acoustically. It’s a luscious, worried, late-night lament that might yet end up with the power-pop dressing of ‘To The Top’.
Phil Hebblethwaite, writer
Kindness – World Restart
The campaign for Kindness’ 2012 debut ‘World You Need A Change Of Mind’ created one of the all-time greatest gulfs between massive weight of hype and pitiful lack of sales. Undeterred, Adam Bainbridge’s new track aims not to brush history under the carpet but reference it directly – it’s a funk jam titled ‘World Restart’. And, post-Jungle, Kindness’ acid-jazzy, white Prince schtick may find its audience yet.
Dan Stubbs, News Editor
YOU – Volvic
Elliott Williams (aka YOU) hails from the musical hotbed of Manchester but, instead of mirroring the drab, rain-soaked stereotype of northern England, he’s tipping things on their head. ‘Volvic’ is a beach-ready synth-pop gem, evoking New Order in a blissful state of euphoria or Hurts after they’ve been put through a tropical filter. The perfect soundtrack to the last throes of summer.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
The 2 Bears – Money Man
Joe Goddard and Raf Rundell released their debut album ‘Be Strong’ in 2012 – a banger-filled homage to big beat and piano house. This track, from their forthcoming follow-up ‘The Night Is Young’, is a change of direction, rooted in dub and reggae rather than electronica. Thanks to Stylo G’s verses and a sweet refrain about the eponymous money man, it’s no less ready for the floor, though.
Andy Welch, writer
Early Ghost – Everything Goes With It
Brighton’s Early Ghost might be slightly late to the psych party, but their stripped back take on all things swirly and ’60s inspired is refreshing in its restraint. There might be six members in the band, but this is intimate music, with hushed harmonies and subtle Hammond organs that suggest the song might have been recorded in a thin-walled flatshare within earshot of grumpy neighbours.
Leonie Cooper, writer
Wampire – Wizard Staff
Eric Phipps claims that after extensive touring in 2013 he had built up so much creative energy that it was transforming him into a “Kafka-esque insomniac musical novelist”. Turns out it’s worked wonders for the Portland outfit. ‘Wizard Staff’, the first song released from second album ‘Bazaar’, takes the band’s kitsch, fantasy sound and transforms it into an opium den of Roxy Music saxophones, sleepy synths and glittery guitar sparks.
James Bentley, writer
Lust – Looking Glass
Newbie trio Lust might hail from Sweden, but their icy detachment is about as far away from cutesy Scandi-pop as you can get. Hypnotic basslines ripple under thick layers of heady, reverb-soaked shoegaze guitars as Anna Haara Kristoferson, Moa Papillon and Andrea Muller harmonise like the kind of nonchalant sirens who, once they’ve drawn you onto the rocks, couldn’t be fucked to give you the time of day.
Lisa Wright, writer
Curxes – Valkyrie
Curxes describe their music as “blitz-pop” and ‘Valkyrie’ is their justification. In just three minutes, Macaulay Hopwood and Roberta Fidora batter the senses with an onslaught of rattling, synthetic beats, shrill synth lines and Fidora’s swooping vocals. It’s part Sleigh Bells, part Chvrches, completely batshit ADHD electro-pop that’s as focused on big hooks as it is kitchen sink experimentation.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
Team Me – Blind As Night
Norway’s premier gang-pop band Team Me have a tendency to bury their best songs deep in EPs like diamonds in a snowdrift – check out magnificent forgotten 2011 B-side ‘Me And The Mountain’. True to form, double A-side single ‘Blind As Night’ is an intriguing slab of icy, Kate Bush-esque, string-stalked prog pop, but ‘The All Time High’ is the euphoric killer, resembling The Polyphonic Spree base-jumping off an erupting Krakatoa.