20 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week (28/1/2015)

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20 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week (28/1/2015)


20 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week (28/1/2015)
Drenge – We Can Do What We Want
Their faces might still be fresher than most, but new single ‘We Can Do What We Want’ sees Eoin and Rory Loveless return sounding revved up. “Balaclava on my boyfriend’s head/Like he said, we’ve got to get away from the way we’ve been bred”, snarls Eoin over a riff that rumbles like thunder before veering wildly into blues chaos. With their second album due this year, Drenge sound full of free-spirited rebellion.

Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Do The Get Down
2015 sees a welcome return for filthy rock’n’roll veterans The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and, on this clattering comeback, they cause a commotion that’s hard to resist. Funked-up guitars zap distortion over a shuffling drum track, as Spencer feistily yelps “Can you dig it!?/Are you ready!?”. The New Yorkers’ 10th album ‘Freedom Tower – No Wave Dance Party 2015’ is due in March, and promises to be full of “grit and terror and love”.

James Bentley, writer

Frank Ocean – At Your Best (You Are Love)
Released to mark what would have been Aaliyah’s 36th birthday, Frank Ocean’s cover of this seductive slow jam – originally by The Isley Brothers but featured on the late R&B star’s 1994 album ‘Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number’ – is as alluring as you’d expect. Stripping the song to sparse keys and a cripplingly tender falsetto vocal, the ‘Channel Orange’ singer expertly captures the warm, gooey sentiment of Aaliyah’s version without over-egging it. A perfect tribute.
Al Horner, Assistant Editor, NME.COM

Toro Y Moi – Empty Nesters
Last year, with the debut album from his Les Sins side-project, Chaz Bundick indulged a taste for floorfillers. Now, though, the South Carolina musician is back under his Toro Y Moi guise and ‘Empty Nesters’ is a charming return. A lo-fi intro of melodic jangle gives way to something funkier and more psychedelic. Skillfully spinning genres like plates, Bundick sings “Let’s make another hit for the teens”. He’s making it look easy.
David Renshaw, News Reporter

Mew – Satellites
Danish psych dreamers Mew are back with their follow-up to 2009’s acclaimed ‘No More Stories…’, hooking up with US rock producer Michael Beinhorn for the first time in a decade. There’s no looking back though, as ‘Satellites’ – the first song from forthcoming sixth album ‘+-‘ – finds them sounding bigger and bolder than before. Growing from flutters of guitar and washes of synth, it surges to a peak of arms-outstretched euphoria.


Matthew Horton, writer

Circa Waves – Be My Baby
Covering what is perhaps the finest pop song ever laid to tape is a challenge that Liverpool’s Circa Waves blaze through with startling ease. Coming on like The Monkees had they lived in a grubby, fag-end strewn Manhattan flatshare in the heady days of 2001, their take on The Ronettes’ girl group classic is a ramshackle triumph. That there’s over 50 years between this cover and the original is only proof of the tune’s glorious timelessness.

Leonie Cooper, writer

Modest Mouse – Coyotes
Modest Mouse continue the slow burn to the release of their first album in eight years (out in March) with this waltz of acoustic guitars and rattling tambourines. The main attraction here is the video – in which a real live coyote climbs aboard a tram and goes for a ride. It’s reportedly inspired by a real coyote who snatched Portland headlines for similar trickery in 2002.

Hazel Sheffield, writer

Kate Tempest – Bad Place For A Good Time
Following last year’s Mercury-nominated debut solo album, ‘Everybody Down’, is this haunting new single from Kate Tempest. The stripped-back, piano-led track continues in the same confident vein we’re now used to, and sees the south London poet brooding about finding a place – both physical and emotional – where she can enjoy a good time. “When we’re out for a couple we don’t want no trouble but trouble wants us,” she rhymes.

Nadia Khomami, Acting News Reporter

Marching Church – Hungry For Love
“I pictured me in a comfortable armchair, adorned in a golden robe, leading a band while a girl kept pouring me champagne.” That, according to Iceage frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, is the inspiration behind the first album from his Marching Church project. This single is as weirdly decadent as that sounds. Whispered Spanish phrases precede Elias’ wanton grunts and groans, which are accompanied by chattering cymbals and atonal guitars.

Ben Homewood, Reviews Editor

Fake Laugh – Dopey Head
Sad at its core but with a spry spring in its step, the B-side to London pop scruff Fake Laugh’s dreamy single ‘Kinda Girl’ sounds more like it was written on a walk through cobbled Parisian streets than in grubby east London. “How could you take my love away?” asks Kamran Khan over gently noodling guitars that underpin his resigned tone impressively. You couldn’t even raise a fake laugh to this, let alone a real one.

Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor

Lonelady – Bunkerpop
Following October’s ‘Groove It Out’, ‘Bunkerpop’ is an urgent second taste of Lonelady’s debut album, due on Warp next month. Fidgeting around a taut post-punk rhythm for six minutes, it also finds space for clean, melodic guitar lines and flourishes of funk and disco that recall Arthur Russell’s work as Dinosaur L. But the overriding atmosphere is one of gritty Manchester groove that shows Lonelady is fully in tune with her city’s sound.

Ben Homewood, Reviews Editor

Bruising – Can’t You Feel
The first two volumes of London-via-Leeds label Beech Coma’s compilations have thrown up a host of exciting new talent, including Teen Brains and Sulky Boy. The third instalment, available to download in March, promises more of the same. This track from new Leeds duo Bruising could be the pick of the bunch, a sugar rush of noisy Pixies guitars and singer Naomi Baguely’s soft, sweet and addictive vocals.

Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor

Laura Marling – False Hope
“Is it still OK that I don’t know how to be alone? Would it be OK if I just came home tonight?” sings Laura Marling on this anthem for introverts. Written about feeling alienated by city life, ‘False Hope’ has shades of PJ Harvey’s sneer and a forensic storytelling eye. Twisting and turning through intricate guitar lines that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat, it suggests new album ‘Short Movie’ will be a career high.

Lucy Jones, Deputy Editor, NME.COM

Torres – Strange Hellos
“How can you ever know anyone anyway?“ asks the brutal first single from Torres’ second LP. It’s written about someone named Heather, whose mother has Alzheimer’s. Mackenzie Scott is sorry and all, but her sympathy doesn’t supersede her seething hatred for Heather’s evident betrayal, which ‘Strange Hellos’ renders terrifyingly: lurching from horror-film creep into a ravaging sea of riffs and piercing electronic screams.

Laura Snapes, Features Editor

Lil Wayne (feat. Drake) – Used To
Your boy Weezy is really, really sorry for the wait for his delayed 11th album, ‘Tha Carter V’ (a consequence of a beef between him and the boss of Cash Money Records, Birdman). So much so that he’s released a second ‘Sorry For The Wait’ mixtape. Key track: ‘Used To’, an original featuring Drake that finds the two superstars sparring over a super-minimal, rumbling WondaGurl beat.


Phil Hebblethwaite, writer

Arca – Sheep
Arca contributed twisted production to Björk’s rush-released new album ‘Vulnicura’, but ‘Sheep’ shows he’s keeping his weirdest stuff for himself. This 17-minute freakout opens with bleats from sheep that sound like they’re floating in space. There’s a clanging techno beat a few minutes later, but the Venezuelan producer smothers it with eerie snatches of vocals and melody. At the end, it sounds like he’s setting fire to a church choir.

Ben Homewood, Reviews Editor

Tobias Jesso Jr – How Could You Babe
One of the fruits of LA newcomer Tobias Jesso Jr’s recording sessions with former Girls man Chet ‘JR’ White, ‘How Could You Babe?’ is also one of his most affecting songs. Filled with the kind of longing for a lost love that only the truly brokenhearted can muster, it’s that rare thing in music: a song that’s from the heart, but not cheesy. White’s added strings and ’60s-ish accompaniment raise it to even higher levels of beauty.

Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor

Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian At Best
The Courtney Barnett of ‘Avant Gardener’ was such a slacker that she made the breathless panic of an anxiety attack sound half-lidded and woozy. It’s all change on this preview from the Melbourne singer’s new album. Barnett’s traded her laconic drawl for something sharper, too, sounding more scathing than ever as she sarcastically spits: “Tell me I’m exceptional/I promise to exploit you”.
Ben Hewitt, writer

Bob Dylan – Stay With Me
Bob Dylan recording an album of Frank Sinatra covers doesn’t scream “It’s 2015, welcome to the future”, but this taste of the upcoming ‘Shadows In The Night’ record is evidence of one musical icon masterfully bending the back catalogue of another’s to his own will. A raspy vocal and moody slide guitars bring Ol’ Blue Eyes’ 1964 single firmly into Dylan’s world, piquing interest in what the rest of the album will bring.
Ben Homewood, Reviews Editor

Caught On Tape – Full Bleed
Now a resident of Stoke Newington, north-east London, Thurston Moore may have left Sonic Youth behind, but not his avant-garde spirit: this new track as Caught On Tape is a thunderstorm of doomy, dirgey chords, with flashes of squealing guitar cutting through like lightning bolts. Sure, it sounds at times like a band falling into a vat of concrete, but you don’t expect Moore’s work to aim for ‘All About That Bass’ levels of catchiness.

Dan Stubbs, News Editor