Kings Of Leon, Belle & Sebastian, Vampire Weekend
The sounds rattling round the skulls of the NME staff this week
1. Kings Of Leon – ‘Radioactive’
Why is Caleb Followill clutching a small child in one hand and waving into a camera with the other, his cheesy grin warmly a-glow? No, it’s not Children In Need, but the bewildering video for Kings Of Leon’s new single, ‘Radioactive’. It’s a tasty sampler for the forthcoming LP, ‘Come Around Sundown’ – all pleasingly fuzzy guitar and radio-friendly choruses – and one which indicates that the Kings are determined to conquer the only four remaining stadiums on the planet they haven’t yet played in.
Thumbs up to the song, then, but what’s more perplexing is the video, which documents the Followills spreading the gift of song on a trip to an antiquated version of the Deep South – where they’re the only white people in the video. Yeah, our mouths taste a bit funny too… Highlights include the band joining the kids for a kickabout, teaching them how to fish (Jesus complex, anyone?) and Jared hammering out a ditty on the ol’ barn piano, even though THERE’S NO ACTUAL PIANO IN THE SONG. All of which begs the questions: how do they expect us to reconcile the hedonistic Kings with the philanthropic good-ol’-boy Followills? And why-oh-why did no-one in their entourage point out that this was a totally ridiculous idea? We’re as baffled as you are…
[Ben Hewitt, writer]
2. Belle & Sebastian – ‘Write About Love’
We’re fully reconciled to the fact that Stuart Murdoch will probably never pen another ‘Expectations’, but after the flabby operatics of God Help The Girl, it’s heartening that Belle & Sebastian’s first single in four years is bright, breezy chamber-pop that easily squares with the best of his post-millennial output.
[Gavin Haynes, writer]
3. Jam City – ‘Endgames Refix’
The lead track from Jam City’s debut 12-inch is so skull-shatteringly, heart-burstingly irrepressible it seems tragic to try to confine it to 50 words. It’s a tussle between euphoria and discipline in which the former’s vivid, surging synths overwhelm snares that strive to rein it in with grime’s guillotine bite.
[Kev Kharas, writer]
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4. Rihanna – ‘Only Girl (In The World)’
This is a big pounding house number about how well Rihanna wants to be treated by her man, and it’s hard to shake the image of it being the soundtrack to glassy-eyed Barbie girls shaking their fake boobs at footballers in Bijous. Still, it’s got a brilliant vocal.
[Martin Robinson, Deputy Editor]
5. Summer Camp – ‘Veronica Sawyer’
There’s a double dip on the way. It sounds sexual, but it’s much more depressing. What better time for nostalgia, and who better to deliver it than John Hughes-obsessed lovebirds Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley? Perfect.
[Mike Williams, writer]
6. Dizzee Rascal & Shakira – ‘Loca’
Yes, that is Spanish for ‘Bonkers’, and as the Diz sagely notes in his rude’n’roisterous rap, “that girl is a nutter”. Shakira’s barely hinged cat yowls and Dizzee’s home truths dovetail together on a sharp, sassy samba-pop flirtation that’s duty-bound to hump the life out of the airwaves. “Dance… or die” as the lady says.
[Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor]
7. Islet – ‘Ringerz’
Lawd, how far this lovely Welsh foursome have come since their debut EP. ‘Ringerz’ is a restrained beast, blessed with a tropical heartbeat and doleful chanting that dances a zingy footstomp atop your heart and tingles like the first time you heard ‘My Girls’.
[Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor]
8. Mona – ‘Listen To Your Love’
No more scratchy demos; Nashville’s new kings-in-waiting finally release their first single proper. With soaring melodies, hammerhead guitars and highway burning energy, this limited vinyl release creates the palpable sensation that this band might inspire a lot of devotion in the near future.
[Paul Stokes, Associate Editor]
9. Nadine – ‘Insatiable’
Someone took the Girls Aloud songstress shopping, gave her a really great, Aguilera-style singalong pop track that shows off her storming Irish vocals for her first solo single… and then got her to sign a deal with Tesco. Let’s glaze over the last bit, eh.
[Abby Tayleure, writer]
10. Vampire Weekend – ‘I’m Goin’ Down’
Vampire Weekend approach cover versions the right way, always giving the song a distinctive spin. Here’s their take on a lesser-known cut from ‘Born In The USA’. Predictably, they substitute brittle charm for The Boss’ brawn and even add a bit of ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’.
[Luke Lewis, Deputy Editor, NME.COM]