Sleigh Bells, School Of Seven Bells, Tobacco feat. Beck, Beyonce
1. Sleigh Bells – ‘Tell ’Em’
MIA has signed Brooklyn synth-punk duo Sleigh Bells to her NEET label and proclaimed their forthcoming debut “the epitome of how kids are feeling in America”. It’s easy to see why she’s a fan – like her, Sleigh Bells yank discordant sounds together, adding just enough melody to sweeten the pill.
What makes their latest track so immense is the interplay between Alexis Krauss’ chattering, girl-group-y vocals, and the volcanic distortion underneath – it’s so needle-in-the-red, you may want to check your speakers haven’t melted.
Maya Arulpragasam’s claims about her protegés’ articulate disaffection are a bit harder to verify, not least because of Krauss’ enunciation.
You assume she’s railing against conformity and oppression – but who knows, it
could be about Pineapple Dance Studios.
Still, who cares when the end result is this thrilling? After three minutes, you’re left agape that something can be so anthemic and so ragged at the same time. [Luke Lewis, Deputy Editor, NME.com]
2. School of Seven Bells – ‘Babelonia’
With cheekbones cocked and fringes buffed, School Of Seven Bells return with a free download, ahead of their second album, which showcases a confident upgrading of their shoegaze into, well, a slightly dancier shoegaze. It’s the spooked underbelly of MBV’s ‘Soon’, less about E, more about ‘Eeeks’. [Martin Robinson, Deputy Editor]
3. Richard James – ‘When You See Me (In The Pouring Rain)’
Ex-Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci man RJ’s June-bound album ‘We Went Riding’ is set to prove that you can make amazing modern folk music even if you’re not the third cousin of some Mumford & Sons triangle player or other. This is the lead single, and its gorgeously wilting violin hook will make your heart melt into your rib cage.
[Jamie Fullerton, News Editor]
4. Wild Palms – ‘Deep Dive’
They’ve been a sleeper hit on MP3 blogs for a few months but, now signed to Björk’s label One Little Indian, Wild Palms are finally gracing some seven-inch vinyl. With its staccato guitar and booming vocals ‘Deep Dive’ comes from the Joy Division school, but with a carnival heart and its funked-up post-punk makes us want to dance. A lot. [Paul Stokes, Assistant Editor]
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5. Tobacco feat. Beck – ‘Fresh Hex’
Black Moth Super Rainbow frontman Tom Fec puffs out some strange smoke signals under the name Tobacco, and Beck proves the perfect collaborator for this warped and woozy psych-pop hip-hop fever-dream, from the forthcoming ‘Maniac Meat’ album. [Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor]
6. Pure Ecstacy – ‘Voices’
Part of Austin, Texas’ skulking clique of art-rock hedonists, this trio’s debut seven-inch is as enveloping a blanket of dirge as you’ll find anywhere this year. Imagine stuffing your munchies-stretched stomach with as much Mexican food as you can, only to find that every object you’ve ever come into contact with has morphed into beams of light. That’s this. [Jaimie Hodgson, Radar Editor]
7. Everything Everything – ‘Schoolin’ ’
Fresh from slaying audiences on the NME Radar Tour, Everything Everything’s first offering from their forthcoming debut has them in confident mood. With a delicate, hypnotic take on the helium harmonies they’ve become synonymous with, it’s also
a tantalising taster of what’s to come. [Matt Wilkinson, News Reporter]
8. Active Child – ‘She Was A Vision’
Calling forth the spirit of Vangelis is a brave act by anyone’s standards. But if you squint your ears during LA man Pat Grossi’s lethargic opus there it is: triumphant ‘Chariots’ piano chords rising from the synth swirls, freefalling harps and operatic croons like a beautiful apparition. Special stuff. [Tim Chester, Assistant Editor, NME.com]
9. Woods – ‘Suffering Season’
With each release offered forth, this Brooklyn band continue to provide comfort to those still struggling to exist in a world that no longer contains Elliott Smith. This new cut from the forthcoming ‘At Echo Lake’ is very yummy, very scrummy and almost Spectoresque on the choruses. [James McMahon, Features Editor]
10. Beyonce Knowles – ‘Why Don’t You Love Me’
Forget everything you think you know about Beyonce. Sasha Fierce is gone, the ‘survivor’ is no more. Now we’re left with BB Homemaker. Backed by funk-pop beats, she wails with bunny boiler aplomb, “Why don’t you love me?”, proving she’s just as messed-up as the rest of us. She just looks better. [Ash Dosanjh, Assistant Reviews Editor]