Chapel Club, Philip Selway, Asher Roth
1. Chapel Club – ‘The Shore’
I know, I know, I too am seriously close to grabbing the next dour-arsed Ian Curtis impersonator that comes moping and droning out of the major labels’ Fritzl-style torture dungeon for pale’n’toneless streaks of piss, and dangling them off the top of Manchester’s greyest municipal edifice and seeing how much they sodding well hate life then. But just as you’re stocking up on meat-hooks, along come Chapel Club, breathing new life into the current wave of miserablist noir pop thanks to a penchant for Kitchens Of Distinction seascapes and the fact that Lewis Bowman can actually, like, sing. It’s almost as if we’ve endured that third Editors album in order to get to this.
“You liar, you coward, you snake” Bowman intones – the suave bastard offspring of Nick Cave, Scott Walker, Julian Cope and him from out of The National – while his band make noises like Scandinavian mountain ranges falling into the ocean. Or Sigur Ros being ripped into a million molecules by the flippant gravitational pulse of a black hole. Or sperm whales having a rather marvellous shag.
References to “blood on the water“, Biblical characters and the use of the word “tessellate” suggest we’re dealing with that much maligned creature, the poetically inclined, quasi-religious goth, but ‘The Shore’ is so absorbing you’re willing to suffer any amount of mosaic reinterpretations of The Outsider to remain in its company.
Like an incoming storm, it begins with a gentle lapping of waves and a chill sense of foreboding before a distant-thunder drumbeat propels Bowman through louche tales of wasted youth – “aimless train ride“s, “the best hours of our lives” spend “In flower markets, on balconies“. From this torpid pool of wistful inertia it builds to a high-peaked squall of a crescendo, Bowman crowing “Golden-shadowed one, you are your own god” like a Narnian Devendra Banhard. These still waters run deep, rise high and rock hard.
[Mark Beaumont, writer]
2. Devlin – ‘Brainwashed’
“They never knew what my name was but now you’re being brainwashed“, sings 21-year-old Devlin in his first single roper, the perfect accompaniment to his gritty rise to grime fame. A beat and synth-filled, in-your-face taste of the forthcoming album ‘Bud, Sweat & Beers’ from the Dagenham spitter.
[Abby Tayleure, writer]
3. Frankie & the Heartstrings – ‘Needle In the Camel’s Eye’
If you can’t glam up for your birthday, when can you? Celebrating Wichita’s 10th anniversary, Frankie and co get their stomp on with a cover of Brian Eno’s classic. Don’t worry, no spandex implosions here, as the Sunderlanders infuse the ‘Here Come The Warm Jets’ cut with a pumping electro soul.
[Paul Stokes, Associate Editor]
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4. Philip Selway – ‘By Some Miracle’
Perhaps the only drummer to have his own Japanese fan club, Radiohead’s Phil’Ip’ Selway’s nice guy image conceals a turbulent soul, if this track is anything to go by. A cobwebby acoustic number with a Wicker Man feel, it’s fairly obviously a song about depression (“There’s a black dog down in the basement…snapping at my heels“). Then again, he’s in Radiohead: what did you expect, ‘Agadoo’?
[Luke Lewis, Deputy Editor, NME.com]
5. Hesta Prynn – ‘Can We Go Wrong’
Formerly the MC with female rap group Northern State, New Yorker Hesta Prynn here takes a foray into electro-pop. Static beats skitter under a Santigold-style vocal, with a riff that The Strokes would kill for. Miss it at your peril.
[Ailbhe Malone, writer]
6. PVT – ‘Window’
They may have lost their vowels (following a dispute with shockingly awful US emo band Pivot) but they haven’t lost their growl. ‘Window’ is more exciting than the name would suggest, a porthole into new record ‘Church With No Magic’ of such math-rock majesty it demonstrates business as usual from the Aussie three.
[Tim Chester, Assistant Editor, NME.com]
7. Cee-Lo Green – ‘No One’s Gonna Love You’
The roundest, shiniest sex-crazed soul sensation to bellow his walrus-lust across the radiowaves in recent years is back with a new album this autumn, ‘Cee-Lo Green Is The Lady Killer’. First single from it is this Band Of Horses cover, produced by Paul Epworth. Retaining the original’s melancholic grace but clothing it in a dark cloak of flashing bleeps and warped, abyssal bass, it’s gorgeous.
[Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor]
8. The Kills – ‘Pale Blue Eyes’
Yep, it’s true – The Kills cover a Velvets classic for a Levi’s viral campaign. But…wait! Because while Alison Mosshart stays true to the original here, it’s Mr Moss’ reworking of the solo that impresses most – reminding us that, actually, he does still have a day job and he’s a star employee when he wants to be.
[Matt Wilkinson, News Reporter]
9. Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly – ‘Collapsing Cities’
Ah, you knew someone was missing from the 2010 party, didn’t you? Well, heartsore and righteous Sam Duckworth is back, and this time, he’d brought beats, courtesy of original jungle legend Shy Fx. While it ain’t the bleedomg edge of aqua-crunk, the warmly old-school sounds perfectly complement Sam’s too-long-gone urgent croon.
10. Asher Roth – ‘Grind’
“Change I can feel it, Mr President it’s all going to be OK…” Asher Roth’s ode to Obama seems a bit late given that America’s currently sitting under three inches of spilt oil, but this is still a sweet little song with a nice old-skool feel and smiley singalong parts. Unusual coming from such an obvious bad-ass gangsta as Asher.