Lady Gaga, The Kills, Alpines
1. Lady Gaga – Born This Way
When Lady Gaga recorded ‘Bad Romance’ she simply had a couple of Number Ones in need of a follow-up. Two years later she’d marked her territory as the most important pop star of a generation and the pressure was on. Her response, to be performed in public for the first time this week, is ‘Born This Way’: a bold, instantly iconic event song, but also the sound of Lady Gaga going back to basics. This is no ‘Bad Romance Part II’ – it’s brand new ground for Gaga, with soaring vocals, rock solid melodies and an addictive, subtle momentum. Less subtle is the song’s message. ‘Born This Way’ specifically references race and sexuality.
Here’s a fearless equality anthem that makes someone like Katy Perry, firing cream out of her tits and banging on about fireworks, seem a little disingenuous. In keeping with this spirit of directness, ‘Born This Way’ is proud to showcase its history. It takes its title from Carl Bean’s legendary ’70s disco anthem, for example, while the production is not without its nods to Madonna in her late-’80s Imperial phase. Pop rarely hits the mark when it sets its trajectory to ‘significant’, but ‘Born This Way’ is a landmark Gaga release– and there are even dizzier highs to come on the album…
Peter Robinson, writer
2. The Kills – Satellite
Fabulous – Alison Mosshart’s stopped throwing her hair around with Jack White (whose diary’s looking increasingly empty…) and is back with Jamie Hince. Judging by this lurcher – our first taste of new album ‘Blood Pressures’ – the pair are still making music as consistently dirty as a Glastonbury teepee on Sunday.
Jamie Fullerton, News Editor
Dimbleby & Capper – Let You Go
Crashing onto the scene like a Star Destroyer into Weston-Super-Mare, Laura Bettinson’s avant-pop is the Terminator to Ellie Goulding’s Bagpuss. Her debut single rivals Factory Floor for abrasive futurism, but its chorus blooms into Technicolor.
Jazz Monroe, writer
Hunx And His Punx – Lovers’ Lane
Oakland’s gayrage crew give the girl-group Ramones routine the sleaze it deserves. This taste of debut ‘Too Young To Love’ is all Johnny Thunders sneer and John Waters kitsch, teen trash and yearning heart.
Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor
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Alpines – Drive
Glacial. Desolate. Widescreen. Expect these words and more to be bandied about willy-nilly over the next 12 months as the world begins to catch up to London’s Alpines – a frosty duo who dub themselves “night pop”.
Tim Chester, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
Rainbow Arabia – Without You
Newly signed to Kompakt, this LA-based duo sound like Siouxsie Sioux mucking about with a Kaoss pad in the kitchen while Karin Dreijer Andersson hangs out the washing. Along with the rain-dance beat, you’re onto a winner.
Ailbhe Malone, writer
David’s Lyre – In Arms
Who knew brass, woodwind and piano could work so well with a skittering drum machine? Well, maybe Radiohead, and Florence, and this spooky electro-folk song sits quite nicely between the two.
Martin Robinson, Deputy Editor
Factory Floor – R E A L L O V E (Optimo Remix)
The seven minutes of dawn euphoria that make up this remix by Scottish electro priests Optimo act as a sermon from a glowing book of Truth that dispels the heretic notion that Factory Floor are nu-goth doomsayers.
Luke Turner, writer
Ghostpoet – Survive It
Micachu collaborator and rapper releases album ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam’ this week. ‘Survive It’ – a reflection on life turning from “happy times to happy slaps” – tips the hat to Gil Scott-Heron and his sound.
Abby Tayleure, writer
Low – Try To Sleep
While this isn’t quite aflame with the joys of getting your cat stoned, for indie’s most enduring couple – the sombre Alan and Mimi (and Steve) – this song from their ninth album feels practically festive: with its twinkling xylophones and sleepy reverence, it would perfectly suit hallowed vestries.
Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor
This article originally appeared in the February 12th issue of NME