Starring Friendly Fires, The Flaming Lips, Kid Sister
1. Friendly Fires – Kiss Of Life
Well, if it isn’t our favourite Mercury-nominated, NME Awards Tour-smashing, samba-dancing home counties boys! Though not included on their debut, ‘Kiss Of Life’ keeps the same Latin disco-euphoria spirit going, with added angelic backing vox, urging chorus and tribal drums. The Friendly Fires carnival, it seems, has marched to its end and now stands, sequins glittering in the sun, at a crossroads. Which way next? The only way: up.
2. Lightspeed Champion – Heavy Purple
This free download, heralding the arrival of the crow-haired one’s new website, finds him-ably assisted by NY trio Chairlift-in contemplative mood. As the title suggests, there’s a strong element of Prince pastiche, but done with real soul rather than irony.
3. The Flaming Lips – Silver Trembling Hands
Wayne Coyne’s evolution into an elder statesman of psych-rock, riding a wave of goodwill in a giant plastic bubble, has obscured the fact that, at their best, the Lips were kind of scary. Sweet, yes, euphoric, yes, but too-euphoric in an oh-no-I’m-too-high-and-it’s-all-going-sideways kind of way. This track, from forthcoming album ‘Embryonic’, is all beautiful neurosis from within a whirlpool of psych-kraut reverb.
4. Rye Rye Feat MIA – Bang
Despite the name credit, MIA adds little to this track other than a laconic drawl of the title. Other than that, the spotlight is firmly on her flame-haired protégée rattling out sass like a filth-machine gun over some furiously stark beats (produced by Blaqstarr). The video, MIA’s directorial debut, features real dancers from the Baltimore club scene, and will probably make you too ashamed to ever dare step on a dancefloor again.
5. The Dodos – Fables
Harmonious, gently melancholy indie-pop in a Shins vein from our sugar-coated San Franciscan chums. “I don’t want to go in the fire”, sings Meric Long, and indeed, why would he? It’s burny, and it’s much nicer here where the melodies flow free.
6. Kylie Minoise – Neck Brace Art Appreciation Club
There’s a weird beauty hidden in this crypt of hiss, scree, noise and dark rumbling that passes for a song. It might not be apparent straight away, but lie on the floor and listen and, like a Magic Eye picture, all will become clear – you’ll shave your head and run away to join the circus.
7. Slimy – Womanizer
French pop star Sliimy is an oddity. Many will peg him as ‘the Mika its OK to like’, but they are wrong; our slithery friend is far less punchable. He looks like Prince, he sings like a girl, and his jazzy anti-folk take on Britney’s genius single has become the proverbial ‘YouTube sensation’. Well. If you’re born in a town called Saint-Etienne, pop stardom is surely written in your destiny.
8. Kid Sister – Right Hand High
“Hi, I’m Kid Sister/I’m stacking money, drinking all night” is Melissa Young’s introduction and, while it’s not the most sophisticated line we’ve ever heard, we’re definitely seduced. This ravey piece of dance-hop is pure fun to its bones, and needles our anticipation for her debut album ‘Ultraviolet’, at long last due out in October and featuring spots from Kanye West and Estelle. In fact, we may keep our right hands high ‘til then. Join us.
10. Monsters Of Folk – Say Please
This acoustic supergroup is a heavyweight lineup indeed. Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Bright Eyes’ Conor Obest and Mike Mogis, and M Ward are giving away this taster of their side-project’s forthcoming debut, and it’s as woozy as you’d expect.