Crystal Castles, Girls, Fever Ray
The sounds rattling round the skulls of the NME staff this week
1. Crystal Castles ft Robert Smith – ‘Not In Love’
When Crystal Castles’ Ethan Kath met John Lydon, he asked him to spit on his hand. When he met The Cure’s Robert Smith, however, it looks like he asked him to record a vocal. And while ‘Crystal Castles featuring Johnny Rotten’ is the kind of phrase we’d sell our souls to a butter company to see rendered real, we can forgive Ethan for his lust for punk god saliva over career opportunities on this occasion, namely because he’s made a good job of this hook-up.
‘Not In Love’, as you should know, is from the buzzy comedown half of Crystal Castles’ second album, but the non-Smith version is actually one of its weaker moments. However, now it seems weirdly suited to Robert’s yearny yelping, compared to the Alice Glass squeal of the original (itself a cover of a track by Canadian new wave band Platinum Blonde). Still, what we really want to know is, when they did first meet, presumably at the NME Big Gig two years ago, why didn’t they ask bill-sharers White Lies to get in on the deliciously noir collaboration action too, eh?
[Jamie Fullerton, News Editor]
2. Esben & the Witch – ‘Warpath’
Goth cooings echo during the indie witching hour for the perfect post-Halloween track. Chilling guitars and unsettling vocals reach a crescendo as the Brighton three-piece dance round a fire made out of Scouting For Girls records.
[Abby Tayleure, writer]
3. Wild Palms – ‘To The Lighthouse’ (Team Ghost remix)
As grandiose and melancholic as befits a song that nods to a Virginia Woolf novel, this new single showcases an expansive, romantic new sound for WP that hints at the sonic ambition of Wild Beasts. Ex-M83 crew Team Ghost add an oomph.
[Duncan Gillespie, writer]
4. Girls – ‘Heartbreaker’
Girls’ most polished, refined and tender moment yet. “I’m not quite as beautiful as when you’re next to me,” sings Chris Owens. Music’s no way near as good when Girls aren’t around.
[Matt Wilkinson, News Reporter]
5. These New Puritans vs Main Attrakionz – ‘3,000’
Just when you thought TNP could get no cooler, they go and cough this up. A hulking beast of a reworking, roping in Bay Area’s coolest new rap marauders Main Attraktionz to slur, spit and gurgle their way over the bad-boy baroque beats.
[Jaimie Hodgson, New Music Editor]
6. The View – ‘Sunday’
Ambient synths, a driving motorik beat… The View have gone Krautrock! The only true View things about it are Kyle’s burr, and the massive robot-Celtic chorus. It’s amazing. Kyle tells us about it on p10. [Martin Robinson, Deputy Editor]
7. Fever Ray – ‘Stranger Than Kindness’
Alongside Factory Floor’s ‘Lying’ and Void Vision’s ‘In 20 Years’, Ray’s take on Bad Seeds’ ‘Stranger Than Kindness’ is a highlight of Rough Trade Shops’ ‘Synth Wave Ten’ comp. Against coffin-knocker beats and narcoleptic eddies, Karin Dreijer Andersson leads Cave to a boggy doom.
[Luke Turner, writer]
8. Miles Kane – ‘Inhaler’
No longer a Rascal and ready to dispel any coattail-rider accusations, the quirky psychedelia of Kane’s debut explodes with buzzing bass and a raw vocal.
[Paul Stokes, Associate Editor]
9. Tapes ’N Tapes – ‘Freak Out’
While 2006 debut ‘The Loon’ made people want to punch a donkey and shout ‘Yeehaw!’, this is the Minneapolis foursome’s return to big form with a Coral-esque riot of rattle and bang.
[Mike Williams, Features Editor]
10. Frightened Rabbit ft Craig Finn – ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’
An idea so wrongly conceived it approaches genius, this gruffly manlove-y rendition of the Elton John/Kiki Dee 1976 UK singles chart-topper pairs Scotland’s heartsore rockers with The Hold Steady’s poet of smalltown America, and is… quite something.
[Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor]