Lykke Li, Zola Jesus, Phoenix
The sounds rattling round the skulls of the NME staff this week
1. Lykke Li – ‘Get Some’
The song most people recall when they think of Sweden’s Lykke Li is ‘Little Bit’, from her 2008 debut album ‘Youth Novels’. Tense and claustrophobic, it perfectly captured that feeling of fancying someone so much, you think you might be going slightly nuts. Li played the role of the vulnerable, damaged lover, aching for someone unattainable.
There’s nothing remotely vulnerable or damaged about ‘Get Some’, the lead single from Li’s second album. From the thunderous Bo Diddley beat to the wildcat howls of the chorus, its confident, predatory, and in control. “Like a shotgun needs an outcome,” she sings, “I’m a prostitute, you gonna get some.”
That word looks shocking written down, but there’s something about the way Li rolls it round her mouth, in the manner of someone for whom English is slightly unfamiliar and exotic. She’s reclaiming the word, using it in the same way a male rapper might use “player”. Indeed, gender politics are at the heart of the song. There’s a line: “Just like a man, I’m a fortress.” It’s all about who gets to play the aggressor in a relationship. And it’s ridiculously, impossibly exhilarating
[Luke Lewis, Deputy Editor, NME.COM]
2. Zola Jesus – ‘Lightsick’
As simple in its beauty as ‘Maps’ or ‘Everybody Hurts’, on ‘Lightsick’ our fave reverb-lunged pop witch drapes her locks over piano as vulnerable and quivery as a mouse’s heartbeat.
[Jamie Fullerton, News Editor]
3. James Blake – ‘Limit To Your Love’
Mr Blake, a sometime architect of vacant, spacious basstrumentals, has become probably the most courted new British artist out there. Why? That voice. This cover of Feist at her most maudlin unveils his troubled-Head Boy tones and shows why he’s being touted as most likely to ‘do an xx’.
[Jaimie Hodgson, New Music Editor]
4. The Van Doos – ‘Tenterhooks’
The fifth birthday party celebrations are over, but before they’ve even cleared away the streamers Young & Lost Club have a new offering for us. Boasting choppy guitars and lung-bursting vocals that stretch as far as the horizon, Van Doos arrive with an anthem to shake-away those winter blues.
[Paul Stokes, Associate Editor]
5. The Duke Spirit – ‘Everybody’s Under Your Spell’
These cult heroes return with a glossy fur coat slung over the shoulders of their dirty blues-rock. Leila Moss’ rasp has a new smoothness, and with the band thundering beneath it, The Duke Spirit suddenly sound more confident and glamorous than ever before.
[Martin Robinson, Deputy Editor]
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6. Avey Tare – ‘Lucky 1’
Imagine Casiokids’ ‘Fot I Hose’ reinterpreted by Yeasayer. Now imagine the resulting MP3 squashed flat under the weight of a gigantic rolling pin and stretched to double its dimensions. Congratulations, you just envisaged the sound of Animal Collective man David Portner’s debut solo release.
[Tim Chester, Assistant Editor, NME.COM]
7. Deerhoof – ‘The Merry Barracks’
‘The Merry Barracks’ drones forward and hopscotches back, like the Beastie Boys remixing a lost psych-kraut fossil. So far, not your typical Deerhoof-spangled rainbow explosion. They’ve not grown up though – eventually a massive electronic squelch takes over, and Deerhoof ‘order’ is restored.
[Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor]
8. Prinzhorn Dance School – ‘Seed, Crop, Harvest’
The first single for a while from DFA-via-the-UK’s finest, and to start with – ridiculously off-kilter drums, clunking bass – it feels like you might have sneaked in on some erratic soundcheck. By the time the jagged riff enters, however, you’re mesmerised.
[Hamish MacBain, Assistant Editor]
9. Anika – ‘Yang Yang’
Meet Anika. She works as a political journalist-slash-music promoter and has got Portishead’s Geoff Barrow’s disco stick in overdrive mode. On ‘Yang Yang’, released on Barrow’s ace Invada label, she’s like a seriously pissed-off Nico shoehorning her way into a great, lost Ghostface Killah classic.
[Matt Wilkinson, News Reporter]
10. Phoenix – ‘Love Like A Sunset Part III’
You might have thought you’d heard the last of ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’, but lo, it is the fiery fowl that keeps on rising. In celebration of the French fancies’ Madison Square Garden date, the original ‘Love Like A Sunset’ diptych is trilogised by this dark, warm and squishy deep-trance remix. Good love comes in threes, after all.
[Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor]