Glasser, Bjork, Carl Barat
The sounds rattling round the skulls of the NME staff this week
1. Glasser – ‘Home’
Release the bats – female-fronted goth is having a moment right now. There’s Zola Jesus, whose current album is so gloomy and reverb-drenched it summons images of Siouxsie Sioux zombie-walking down a wind tunnel. And now here’s Glasser, aka LA-based singer-songwriter Cameron Mesirow, who is a profoundly 2010 type of goth, in that she’s signed to True Panther, doesn’t wear black, and you wouldn’t be mortally embarrassed to take her records to the counter of Rough Trade East.
So well disguised is her gothicness, you might not even notice at all. At first, the glassily ambient ‘Home’ – from her debut album ‘Ring’ – makes you think of Chairlift or School Of Seven Bells. But break the surface and, yep, it’s goth alright. The lyrics sound like they were cribbed from a cobwebbed grimoire, and seem to describe some spooky apocalypse (“The clouds are dust…”)
The whole thing is steeped in that Bat For Lashes, in-the-forest-at-night feel, and makes you think of witchy women in whooshy skirts, making some kind of sinister pagan offering to a wicker owl. Something like that, anyway. But it’s not heavy-handed, it’s beautifully subtle. The production is so spacious and precise, every element counts: the xylophone, the windchimes, the rolling thunder, all of it layered and latticed like a dark chocolate Viennetta.
[Luke Lewis, Deputy Editor, NME.com]
2. Frankie & The Heartstrings – ‘Ungrateful’
This is Frankie’s best song so far. It’s direct, svelte, features a guitar line that sounds like Johnny Marr impersonating Roxy Music, rhymes “invest” with “chest” and contains enough hooks for about six singles. It was recorded with Edwyn Collins, and you can tell. In a good way.
[Hamish MacBain, Assistant Editor]
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3. She & Him – ‘Fools Rush In’
Take one classic from the 1940s. Stir the soothing vocals and charm of Zooey Deschanel. Add a generous splash of M Ward’s breezy guitar. Shake gently with calypso vibes and serve with electricity of a one-take studio session and – bingo! – you’ve got yourself the ultimate soundtrack for cocktail drinking.
[Paul Stokes, Associate Editor]
4. Bjork – ‘The Comet Song’
The Moomins was the most terrifying TV show ever, seemingly created by an evil genius intent on destroying society by shredding the minds of its children. Now they’ve made a film version, for which Björk’s done this insanely eerie song. It’d be kinder to encase a child in a concrete tomb than subject it to this.
[Martin Robinson, Deputy Editor]
5. Carl Barat – ‘Run With The Boys’
Carlos’ solo debut single may have been overshadowed by a reunion, but this taster for his October-bound album, with its sun-through-cloud brass parps, has, brilliantly, bobbed up sounding all S Club 7. Aren’t they due a reunion too?
[Jamie Fullerton, News Editor]
6. Kisses – ‘People Can Do The Most Amazing Things (Saint Etienne Remix)’
If the sublime original of this song was made for reclining around azure rooftop pools supping cocktails, then Saint Etienne’s sophisticated, moody remix is for when the Mai Tais have been downed and secret passions inflamed.
Jesse Kivel’s gorgeous forlornness becomes infatuation-charged longing on this minimal ode to dark desperations.
[Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor]
7. James Yuill – ‘First In Line (Lissvik remix)’
With their Tipp-Ex white teeth, textbook English and ace knitware, Swedes rule. Dan Lissvik is Swedish, and capable of whipping Yuill’s folktronica into a full-on Balearic soundscape complete with Casio demo button intro.
[Mike Williams, writer]
8. Small Black – ‘Photojournalist’
The best chillwave is that which doesn’t get so chilled that it forgets to bring the tunes. Small Black may be washed in that warm, twinkly fuzz that envelops the internet like a sea-fog, but lurking through the mist are the strong bones of proper Talk Talk-meets-Junior Boys synth-pop. Debut album on the way, hurrah!
[Duncan Gillespie, writer]
9. Jay Bells – ‘Dirt On Your Crown’
Mash-ups! Remember them? When they work, they really work, and it’s long since proven that Jay-Z plus anything = ace. Especially if you add Sleigh Bells. All six songs stitched up here by DJ O-Face are sexy, but this chimera of ‘Dirt Off Your Shoulder’ and ‘Crown On The Ground’ is a BEAST.
[Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor]
10. Beach House – ‘White Moon’
Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally return with a live EP featuring this ace newie. With ‘White Moon’ we get a swirling, four- note keyboard piece that’s straight out of a Hitchcock dream, and Byrds-esque jangly guitars fumbling their way through a swoonsome production Bacharach would be proud of.
[Matt Wilkinson, writer]