Starring VV Brown, Little Boots And White Denim
1. VV Brown – Shark In The Water
Oh, don’t be fooled. She may look like some kind of computer-generated morphing of the slick futurism of Janelle Monae and the perfectly rouged ’50s stylings of Katy Perry, but Vanessa Brown is much, much better than a mere calculated pop concept. A homegrown songwriting sensation who’s had a hand in penning hits for Sugababes and the Pussycat Dolls (she doesn’t like to talk about it though – modest and that), she’s now her own woman. A full-throated, soulful pop anthem with the slightest touches of rockabilly sass, this shows chumps like Alexandra Burke up for the bloodless berks that they are. She’s definitely gonna need a bigger boat.
2. Pop Levi – Police Sign
Our favourite criminally underrated psychedelic glam popster is back with another sugar-rush uppercut of Supergrass-play-the-hits-of-Prince, flashing his moves like New York Dolls in strutting season. “Police sign… tell me when I give you mine” he trills like a desperate man. God and sexed-up fruit bats alone know what he’s on about but, whatever it is, we’ll have 12, please.
3. Acrylics – Molly’s Vertigo
Following in the airbrushed, soft-focus synth-pop footsteps of Ladyhawke and Chairlift (who they’re also mates with), this song lies in its bedroom looking up at posters of the Bangles, Stevie Nicks and Cyndi Lauper and dreams of being Molly Ringwald (though the Molly of the title is the doe-voiced singer of this NYC duo, one Ms Shea). Starry-eyed and slinky bass-ed, it’s teen heartache given pop form.
4. The Breeders – The Last Time
Undisputed empresses of all things unpretentious, grassroots and alt, Kim and Kelley Deal mark nearly 20 years of The Breeders, their curation of next week’s ATP festival and the recent Record Store Day festivities with the release of a digital EP (also on limited vinyl, hand-printed by the ladies themselves). All the tracks are gently gorgeous, but this collab with one-time Screaming Tree and Gutter Twin Mark Lanegan is a stonedly romantic jewel in the EP’s crown. And recorded in Kim Deal’s basement, no less. How DIY?
5. White Denim – Mirrored And Reverse
Moving on up the weird and winding road from their sweaty, hollering debut ‘Workout Holiday’, this is a stranger, subtler offering from the Texan trio that delves further into the dark psychic cobwebs that always hung about the back of their garage.
Free download from The Daily Download
6. Major Lazer featuring Santigold – Hold The Line
Diplo, Switch, Diplo, Switch, it’s all we ever bloody hear round these parts. Well, get ready to hear a lot more of it, DipSwitches. The men who redefined beats’ new dancehall project is a Marmaduke Duke-style alter ego, who, we’re assured, is “a Jamaican commando who lost his arm in the secret Zombie War of 1984. The US military rescued him and repurposed experimental lazers as prosthetic limbs”. Right. Plus! Rough’n’ready vocals from Mr Lexx and Santigold, mobile phone noises and whinnying horses. Win!
Free download via NME.COM/blogs
7. Plastic Little – La La Land
Produced along with Herve, or as the guys themselves put it, “Herve make a boat, Plastic Little gonna jump up in it/’Cos none of us can swim”, this is an underpant-obsessed slice of fat booty-bass fun. Starting off skittering and stammering, it soon gets loosened up, declaring “bartender, I’ll have a Purple Rain”. Even if you can half-imagine white guys in suits doing a ‘smacking that ass’ dance to it, you can’t deny its entirely brain-free power. We’re not entirely sure what “dig out the onion” means either, but we’re sure Alan Titchmarsh would be all flustered at the mere suggestion.
8. Little Boots – New In Town
Blackpool beatmistress Victoria Hesketh continues her fearless play for the title of ‘Queen Of Pop’ with this Jacko-referencing video. OK, the menacing choreographed shamblers that follow her around urban dystopia are, strictly speaking, tramps rather than Thriller-style zombies, but they look to us like they’d eat our brains as soon as take our spare change any day. Oh and the song, well… the first proper single from ‘Hands’ is saucier than a beach postcard and sharper than ground glass in your candyfloss. “I’ll show you a real good time” she purrs over a sunny smile of a synth line, and we don’t think she’s talking about a go on the penny falls machines.
Blog – Little Boots vs La Roux
Photo Gallery – Little Boots live in London
9. Enter Shikari – Juggernauts
We at NME are aficionados of the ludicrous. We positively revel in overreaching audacity. But even we were not prepared for the sheer, naked preposterousness of the Shikaris’ comeback. Elephantine in scale, charging-rhinoceros in temperament, the only way you could recreate it would be to keep Crystal Castles, Fucked Up, Atari Teenage Riot and Aphex Twin starving in a shipping container for a month, throwing in a cheese sandwich and then having Mike Skinner compere the ensuing carnage. “What the hell will happen now?” they scream over mercilessly crunching guitars and blast beats. Christ alone knows, but you have our attention.
10. Peggy Sue – Lover Gone
Proof that if you’ve got the voice, you don’t need much else other than an acoustic guitar, the odd drumbeat, sleighbells and a huge, crushing, world-ending heartbreak. “This song is not a love song, because our love’s gone/But the four letters of my name are still the first four of yours…” ache Rosa Rex and Katy Klaw in jazzy, folky tones that recall Florence, Marling and Regina Spektor.