Gorillaz, Marina, Joanna Newsom
1. Gorillaz feat. Mos Def and Bobby Womack – ‘Stylo’
Beefed-up from the cute demo that Damon aired last spring, this has become a glossy, growling beast, muscular and mischievous. Mos Def mutters low in the mix, then Damon’s fey falsetto flashes through a disco-lit throb reminiscent of both Neon Neon’s sleazy-euphoric underworld and the pulsing insistence of LCD’s ‘Get Innocuous!’, before the raw, diamond-sharp flare of soul legend Bobby Womack’s voice cuts through it like a lighthouse through dark. “That’s what I’m talking about”, notes Mos Def, astutely.
2. Blood Red Shoes– ‘Light It Up’
The noisy Brighton duo’s second album is, we are pleased to tell you, proving to be a bit of a corker. This insanely punchy, grungey cut, with wistful, melodic verses tipping into a world of crunch and stomp, is one of the standouts. Good thing it’s their new single, then.
3. Marina & The Diamonds– ‘Hollywood’
Continuing to pirouette along the knife-edge between mind-melting irritation and maverick pop thrills, Marina here turns her quirky pen on, y’know, vapid LA culture and that. The baroque mannerisms of that voice will stick in your head like it or not, and only a serious grouch could stay groundbound when that chorus takes off.
4. Two Door Cinema Club – ‘Costume Party’
This new freebie from the Northern Irish boys is sweet and edgy, all twitchy Foals rhythms and addictive Phoenix glimmers. As irresistible as a rolling down a grassy hill.
5. Dirty Projectors– ‘Ascending Melody’
Much like a synchronised swimming display from a tangle of octopuses in a pool of pimp juice, there’s no way this should work – it’s got way too many tentacles flailing at a hundred different speeds. The DP ladies’ vocals are even more extra-terrestrial than when we last heard them on the ‘Temecula Sunrise’ EP, spraying fountains of nonsensical joy about Dave Longstreth’s bungeeing warble. Deliciously obnoxious, particularly during the indulgent Brooklynite tribal meditation halfway through.
6. Retribution Gospel Choir –‘Hide It Away’
Fronted by Alan Sparhawk (he of Low fame), Retribution Gospel Choir enlisted the production skills of Matt Beckley, best known for his work with Paris Hilton, post-breakdown Britney and Avril Lavigne for their second record. Luckily though, they’ve clung tight to their powerful riffs and Sparhawk’s bleak condemnations, with a measure of stadium grandiosity for good measure.
7. Fucked Up – ‘Cranking To Sonic Youth’
Here at NME, we love Sonic Youth. We also love Fucked Up. So what seems to be an incipient war of words between the two promises chuckles aplenty. After Kim Gordon called her labelmates ‘dude core’, Jonah Falco and Ben Cook of Fucked Up and photographer Ben Rayner wrote this hilarious diss track. ‘Cranking’ is crying and wanking at the same time, by the way.
8. Joanna Newsom – ‘Easy’
Since ‘Ys’ came along and rewrote everything we thought we knew about music, the hunt for clues about its follow-up has been a holy grail of speculation, until a quirky little doodle entitled ‘Have One On Me’ popped up online depicting Joanna revealing a small boy from beneath her skirts. It’s since transpired that the phrase is the title of A TRIPLE ALBUM out at the end of February, and ‘Easy’ (filmed here at a recent gig in Sydney) is one of the first sneak peeks from it. You can thank us later.
9. of Montreal – ‘Enemy Gene’
We’re thoroughly stoked about Of Montreal’s newie (tentatively titled ‘False Priest’), apparently featuring the two doyennes of future R&B, Janelle Monáe and Solange, and a song with the hook “your pussy is a star”. This new clip is a far less bombastic affair than all that – a very hirsute Barnes alone with a piano, ruminating on romantic genetic defects – though by the time the album rolls around, don’t be surprised if it’s jazzed-up to the nines with unicorns and prog-tinged jams.
10. Active Child – ‘Voice Of An Old Friend (Summer Camp Bedford Falls Remix)’
Not one, but two of our biggest new crushes have teamed up for this incredible reworking of former Radar love Active Child’s divine new single, making us feel more spoilt than a bratty oik on Christmas morn. Summer Camp blow away AC’s efflorescent harp explosions and use their sweet siren call to drag the original’s languid OMD stylings to the bottom of a lake, adding cute samples and amping up the ’80s kick while they’re down there. More please!