Laura Marling, CSS, Big Talk
1. Laura Marling – ‘Night After Night’
In interviews about her second album, ‘I Speak Because I Can’, Laura Marling talked about “feeling the weight of womanhood” from beneath a crown of newly dyed dark hair. Short of daubing “I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME EMOTE!” across her forehead with a used tampon, there was no clearer way to signal that this was Serious Business, Marling pointedly distancing herself from the precocious waif who came to the fore through Myspace (and doesn’t that seem like an age ago?).
Despite being mooted for a September 2010 release, album three, ‘A Creature I Don’t Know’ (curiously, her third six-syllable album title), was finally announced last week. The first song taken from it, ‘Night After Night’, bears the lyric “I stand on the mountains and call people to hear”, but there’s no such obvious rabble-rousing at its heart. Instead, it heralds the arrival of Marling as an artist of potentially great longevity who’ll be defined by creative periods – her voice here has something of Leonard Cohen’s weary bruising about it, and the unnerving quasi-classical burr of her acoustic marks a step away from the traditional folk tropes she explored last time around. “It’s a fateful communion”, she states plaintively of the lack of answers for both parties in a crumbling relationship – but it’s a sacrament we’ll happily take.
Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor
2. CSS – ‘Hits Me Like A Rock’
Following Lovefoxxx’s turn on the Scream’s ‘I Love To Hurt (You Love To Be Hurt)’, Bobby G pops up to return the favour with some harmonies and a half-rap on this: a super-lite, breezy pop song that signals CSS’ return to the world of cartoon colourful.
Hamish MacBain, Assistant Editor
3. Rye Rye Ft Robyn – ‘Never Will Be Mine’
Taking the chorus of Robyn’s lovelorn ‘Be Mine!’, switching it up with Rye Rye’s Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes-styled flow, and what do we have? Something which invokes the mighty Santigold and Amanda Blank’s ‘A Love Song’. A fountain overflowing with pop gold, then.
Priya Elan, Associate Editor, NME.COM
4. Big Talk – ‘Getaways’
Big man, big song – Ronnie Killers steps from behind the kit for his first solo outing. The bourbon-lubed backroom bar guitar hardly signals a departure from his day job, admittedly, but a Big Ron-sized chorus proves there’s something even more joyously dirty’n’glam behind Brandon’s back than an embroidered tiger jacket.
Jamie Fullerton, News Editor
5. Summer Camp- ‘Nobody Knows You’
Featuring dirty synths paired with Elizabeth Sankey’s growling, distorted vocals, this new track by the duo, which they’re giving away gratis, sounds as grubby as PJ Harvey getting down at a sleazy ’80s clubnight. A sign of darker things to come from indie’s most loved summer-pop pair?
Abby Tayleure, writer
6. Radiohead – ‘Staircase’
The lyrics sound like they were scribbled on the back of a (biodegradable) serviette about 10 minutes ago, but who cares when Thom sounds like he’s actually having fun? Whatever Nigel Godrich is doling out in that basement of his has done the trick. This is Radiohead’s ‘Jazz Odyssey’, and we like it.
Mike Williams, Deputy Editor
7. Future Islands – ‘Before The Bridge’
Only Baltimore’s finest could conjure up moon-eyed missives like “If things had stayed the same, I would have carried you as far as the stars” and not sound like pathetic drips; instead, ‘Before The Bridge’ is a wistful ode to lost love that’s part ’80s New Romanticism, part Twin Peaks soundtrack.
Ben Hewitt, writer
8. Howler – ‘I Told You Once’
How exciting – the debut release from Minneapolis’ Howler, who signed to Rough Trade for big bucks. ‘I Told You Once’ is adorably shambolic, stupidly uplifting, and boasts an all-on-one-string surf-guitar riff so simple a koala could play it. Howler are the new Drums, basically. Colour us intrigued.
Luke Lewis, Editor, NME.COM
9. Cat’s Eyes – ‘The Crying Game’
Ah, what could fit more snugly with Faris’n’Rachel’s fixation with lovers’ tiffs than this mope-heavy ’60s melodrama classic? Faris is tamed by heartbreak, his imperious bellow muted to a velvet mumble as Ms Zeffira mans the Wurlitzer organ and oboe in the Mulholland Drive-indebted video.
Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor
10. Damon Albarn – ‘Apple Carts’
A gentle introduction to a convincingly beardy, doe-eyed Damon’s second opera, Dr Dee, Apple Carts is as luscious as it is melancholy. With this short, heart-flutteringly sweet snippet of otherworldly balladry, its creator’s position as one of England’s finest songwriters remains unchallenged.
Leonie Cooper, Deputy News Editor