Hole, Darwin Deez, Stornoway
1. Hole – ‘Skinny Little Bitch’
We love her when she’s angry, and this, the strongest of the new songs Courtney’s been playing live, is a nasty, rancorous little number in the best Hole tradition. A snake-eyed rawk riff chopping through La Love’s unworthy opponents like butter as she snarls “Oh you would be oh, so dumb to fuck with me”. Delicious.
2. You Say Party! We Say Die! – ‘There Is XXXX (Within My Heart)’
The Vancouver dance-punkers are back, yes indeed, and they’ve scrubbed up pretty nice. Not the scrappy shouters of yore, they’ve got a glossy dark disco makeover akin to the recent glorious second coming of New Young Pony Club. The four-letter word of the title might not be the one you think. Becky Ninkovic is lovesick and miserable, but she’s dancing through the pain in this slow-building, Blondie-ish belter.
3. Crystal Antlers – ‘Dead Horses’
If you like your music sounding like it comes from down a well constructed from bricks of hash (think Amazing Baby, Sleepy Sun, Wooden Shjips) and you don’t already know Californian crackers Crystal Antlers, you are missing out, hippy child. If you’re already feeling their vibe, this narcotic but playful slice of warm psych-rock is sweeeeeeeet, dude.
4. Kid Sister – ‘Dreaming Days (Jakwob Remix)’
It’s been a while since Chicago’s Melisa Young charmed us with the winningly goofy and totally banging ‘Pro Nails’, so it’s with some delight that we learned her debut ‘Ultraviolet’ is finally getting its talons into the UK at the start of May this year. This uncharacteristically low-key moment on an album so ridiculously wired we had to tranquiliser-dart it before we could even get it on the stereo gets a nicely menacing dubstep working from a man who, if he can’t spell his name, knows his way round a remix.
5. Breakage Feat Burial – ‘Vial’
Breakage continues his dubstep renaissance by hauling Burial out of his reclusive creative headspace to work his elegiac dystopian magic. ‘Vial’ plays out like a typical ‘Untrue’ cut, with its 2-step shuffle and thwack paired with a decaying, spectral sample, leaving plenty of space for Breakage to slip in a slab of snaking sub-bass that sits on your chest cavity until your internal organs dribble out your nose.
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6. Darwin Deez –‘Radar Detector’
This is one of those songs that has wormed its way into our hearts by being so monumentally annoying that we couldn’t help but give it our attention. Also, Darwin’s reedy-voice and sun-dappled Strokesian daydream rock makes us think, in its neurotic and sentimental way, of a less whiny US incarnation of Lightspeed Champion.
7. The Crookes – ‘Bloodshot Days’
This Sheffield bunch are really rather lovely, and their slight rockabilly swagger will swivel its hips and jingle its prodigious jangles in the direction of fans of Frankie & The Heartstrings, Vincent Vincent And The Villains or The Rumble Strips.
8. Esben and the Witch – ‘Lucia, At the Precipice’
If the karmic balance of the music world is to be kept intact, for every 500 bands that write a song about falling in love with a girl with shiny hair, there must be at least one band like Esben And The Witch. Here they concoct a debut single about James Joyce’s unfortunate daughter, a schizophrenic with a failed dance career who ended her days in an asylum.
9. Stornoway – ‘I Saw You Blink’
“Are you the one I’ve been waiting for?”, ask our puppyish protagonists. A question fraught with risk; there’s only two answers, and you really don’t want one of them. However, if you’re one of the ever-growing legion for whom Noah & The Whale, Laura Marling and Mumford & Sons are the triple-headed deity of a new lovelorn and strumming world order, the boys with the trembling folky hearts must just be the band you’ve dreamed of.
10. UNKLE – ‘Natural Selection’
After the slightly underwhelming last album, signs are good for the new record from UNKLE, the dance-rock collaboration mavens who ruled the ’90s. They’ve taken a swerve in a dark, psychy direction, drawing in collaborators such as Sleepy Sun, Mark Lanegan and, on this meaty, hypnotic number, The Black Angels.