My Chemical Romance, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Antony and the Johnsons feat. Bjork
The sounds rattling round the skulls of the NME staff this week
1. My Chemical Romance – ‘Na Na Na’
In which the former Black Parade, aka the Fabulous Killjoys, aka the children of the carburettor, screech into town in a souped-up Mustang, soaked in diesel and spunk, and declare righteous war on all that is average in a heroic bid to save rock’n’roll. Fabulous hardly covers it.
My Chemical Romance were planning a stripped-down back-to-basics rock album. Brilliantly, they didn’t have it in them.
The first cut from ‘Danger Days’ sure does channel old fashioned blue collar American rock, as promised, but theirs is a day-glo comic book rendering of New Jersey, and ‘Na Na Na’ folds in garage rock with the histrionic musical theatre that’s always been their stock-in-trade. But these are no times to be fannying about in conceptual dreamscapes pretending to have cancer; this is a song rooted in the here and now, with the most simple pop song refrain rebooted as nothing less than a generational call to arms. Somewhere among these opposites of a flurry of ideas and no meaning at all will lie the point. We’ll get to that with the album. For now, this just rocks really hard. And 2010 just got interesting.
[Dan Martin, writer]
2. Cymbals Eat Guitars – ‘Wavelengths’
Spare a thought for the poor bastards in Staten Island’s Cymbals Eat Guitars. Their debut record ‘Why There Are Mountains’ was so applauded that all they could possibly do now is epically disappoint, right? Oh, ye of little faith. ‘Wavelengths’ is a boozy, desperate love song that quashes any notions of a band aiming anywhere but up.
[Mike Williams, Features Editor]
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3. James Blake – ‘Klavierwerke’
London post-dubstep wunderkind James Blake caused an international stir with his last EP, ‘CMYK’, and his new one, of which this is the title track, is a bit of a belter too. With a sharp, shattered rhythm cloaked in aquatic thrums and clicks and semi-submerged vocals, it’s unsettlingly compulsive.
[Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor]
[Buy it here]
4. The Mariner’s Children – ‘It Carved Your Name Into The Ground’
Mount your guard, Communion; there’s another family of folky hotshots snapping at your ragged heels. Hailing from Brighton’s Wilkommen Collective are The Mariner’s Children’s first release roars with the hot-headed intensity of Arcade Fire, made brittle with tumultuous rage and regret.
[Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor]
5. Trophy Wife – ‘Microlite’
Yannis Philippakis used to storm the rehearsal rooms of Oxford’s Trophy Wife and beg them to turn that racket down, but their debut single is more soothing than a whole beaker of Nightnurse: a heady mix of shimmering guitars and gossamer-weaved melodies that make for a perfect remedy of hazy dream-pop.
[Ben Hewitt, writer]
6. Salem – ‘Asia (OoOoOO Remix)’
We’ve all done it. Said to ourselves, “I’ll just have a quick bong before doing the housework.” And next thing you know you’re face down on the kitchen floor, hugging the Dyson. This remix, which evokes Vangelis standing atop a giant, evil, brass pyramid, has a similar effect.
[John Doran, writer]
7. Anna Calvi – ‘Jezebel’
The voice of 2010 strides boldly into the fray with this storming cover of the ’50s biblical tirade. Comparisons to Jeff Buckley will undoubtedly endure, but ‘Jezebel’ suggests she’s capable of pulling off something truly special.
[Matt Wilkinson, News Reporter]
8. Johnny Flynn & Laura Marling – ‘The Water’
On this gentle sailor’s lament, Johnny and Laura submit themselves to the ebb and flow of the river : “The water come drown me, I’m done” they chirrup, as strumming rhythms lap a watery waltz. Enough to make the toughest pirate cry.
[Abby Tayleure, writer]
9. Antony & the Johnsons featuring Bjork – ‘Fletta’
Having duetted on Björk’s ‘Dull Flame Of Desire’, this perfect pair reconvene for the standout track from Anthony’s forthcoming ‘Swanlights’ album. And it’s a beautiful little snowglobe of a song, backed by piano and sung in Icelandic.
[Luke Lewis, Deputy Editor, NME.com]
10. Johnny Marr – ‘Tendency To Be Free’
Johnny Marr’s solo efforts often get overlooked, but that should change with this stonking cover for homeless charity Centrepoint. Swaggering, stylish, and boasting a sloganeering delivery infused by standing so close to the Jarmans, it’s a joy to hear the master cut loose.
[Paul Stokes, Associate Editor]
[Buy it here]