Klaxons, Arcade Fire, Camera Obscura, Gaslight Anthem
The sounds rattling round the skulls of the NME staff this week
1. Klaxons – ‘Flash Over’
Klaxons’ internet-streamed preview track from ‘Surfing The Void’ – a second album as long-awaited as the ritual beheading of Piers Morgan – is essentially a sonic Mars Attacks! “Myriads of silver discs… imaginations opening, inviting us on board” sing Jamie Reynolds and James Righton in their android octave harmonies, “Now we have become so un-alone”.
Yes, without a subtext or metaphor in sight, we are quite literally out in the Nevada desert waving down the alien mothership, expecting little more than the enslavement of our species or, if we’re lucky, a swift extinction. The bass sounds like a couple of mighty oaks have uprooted themselves and gone on a rampage around Tokyo, there’s raygun fire and the whole thing sounds like Blur’s ‘Jubilee’ has had a lyrical refit from Black Francis and been shot down the Doctor Who wormhole. It’ll knock you out for four days, give you terrifying dreams and leave you certain you’re crammed full of trackers and microchips. The comeback single ‘proper’ arrives next month, but this is as brilliant a sign as we need that Klaxons have emerged from their lengthy seclusion as fired-up and insane as ever.
[Mark Beaumont, writer]
2. Funeral Party – ‘NYC Moves To The Sound Of LA’
Not since The Rapture have we got our cowbell fix in such a feet-shifting, hip-swinging blast. Relentless rhythms, lacerating guitars and vocals that strut the tightrope between a young Mick Jagger and a happy sunshine singalong, Funeral Party’s head-spinning is the blueprint for what all indie discos should sound like.
[Paul Stokes, Associate Editor]
3. Arcade Fire – ‘Month Of May’
Of the two new Arcade Fire tracks that surfaced online recently, ‘Month Of May’ is the most promising. It’s only a snippet, but it sounds suspiciously like Win Butler’s been listening to a lot of QOTSA. OK, so he’s not singing about c-c-c-cocaine, but powered by a yammering, insistent riff, this is the closest Arcade Fire have ever come to gonzo-rock.
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[Luke Lewis, Deputy Editor, NME.COM]
4. Sleigh Bells – ‘Tell ’Em’
The opening tune from Sleigh Bells’ forthcoming ‘Treats’ LP is both pretty pulverizing and very, very pretty. Sort of sounding like Slayer, Crystal Castles and the theme tune from Noel’s House Party, a couple of spins affirms all the good stuff their label boss MIA has said about them.
[James McMahon, Features Editor]
5. Surfer Blood – ‘Swim’
If US indie-rock really is back at its pulsating best, then ‘Swim’ could be its clarion call. Waist-deep in reverb and harnessing the kind of one-chord guitar stutter that’s been missing from both sides of the Atlantic for too long, it’s at once frantic, wonky, exciting, dewy eyed and, oh yes, insanely catchy.
[Matt Wilkinson, News Reporter]
6. Camera Obscura – ‘The Nights Are Cold’
One of Britain’s most romantic bands tackle one of the most romantic songs by one of Britain’s most romantic songwriters, in the form of this Richard Hawley favourite (in return, Hawley remixes their own ‘The Sweetest Thing’ on the B-side). The result is just as you’d expect – crushingly beautiful. Sometimes it pays to be utterly predictable.
[Alan Woodhouse, Senior Sub-Editor]
7. Turzi – ‘Baltimore’
Turzi are a French band whose second album ‘B’ (no prizes for guessing the name of their first) features guest vocalists whose names begin with B. As such, there was only one man suited for this terrorist disco single about “Drug distribution…Civil disturbance”. Yep, Bobby G. It’s about The Wire, it sounds like ‘Swastika Eyes’, it’s amazing.
[Martin Robinson, Deputy Editor]
8. Foster The People – ‘Pumped Up Kicks’
Now that MGMT don’t like eels anymore, there’s space for another psych-pop Americana lot to make a bid for greatness: enter LA’s Foster The People. This sounds a bit like ‘Electric Feel’ with the relaxed demeanour of Vampire Weekend, the band stumbling across a chorus so catchy they do little but repeat it for over four minutes.
[Jamie Fullerton, News Editor]
9. Wooden Shjips – ‘Drunk Girls’
Perhaps fittingly for the weird world of James Murphy, the best remix of his recent ode to inebriation comes from a bunch of San Franciscan stoners wot can’t even spell right. On what is in fact a full-blown cover, the band best known for 20-minute baths of one-chord feedback have pulled off a lazy Velvets-esque treat.
[Tim Chester, Assistant Editor, NME.COM]
10. Gaslight Anthem – ‘Boxer’
Will the Springsteen comparisons ever end? Probably not, but the truth is that Brian Fallon’s lot are by now absolute masters of their trade, and thus the second taster song made available from ‘American Slang’ is
as familiar, comforting and evocative of the open highway as one might expect.
[Hamish MacBain, Assistant Editor]