The Drums, Gem Club, Active Child
1. The Drums – ‘Money’
If there’s anyone better than The Drums at making music so deliriously sunny and upbeat whilst simultaneously chin-draggingly glum in the lyrics department, we’d like to buy them an orange Solero (then probably watch them throw it in the gravel in a strop and start crying). And so with guitarist Adam Kessler long over the horizon, the newly anointed trio return with a ditty just as appealingly bittersweet as ‘Book Of Stories’ or ‘Best Friend’. Featuring ping pong guitar lines that bounce around with the kinetic chaos of rubber balls hurled in a box, it sees our frontman moaning, wibble-voiced: “You hit me yesterday because I made you cry”, then to make up for it he wants to “buy you something, but I don’t have any money!”
Origami, baking flapjacks, ‘slave for a day’ – come on Jon, there are plenty of gratis gestures you could make… Anyway, as a first lick of second album ‘Portamento’, due this September, it hardly signals a musical about-turn – although apparently the new record will see them swap their former artifice for the more personal, plunging new desperately dark depths. But for now ‘Money’ is a distinct reminder that the world is an infinitely happier place with The Drums careering around in it – even if they don’t exactly seem to be enjoying themselves.
Jamie Fullerton, News Editor
2. Active Child – ‘Hanging On’
Last time NME saw Pat Grossi, he was throwing his keyboard off-stage at London’s Lexington when it packed up. Happily, the first track off his forthcoming debut is a calmer, if still desperately miserable number, like Tears For Fears covering an Aaliyah ballad. And breathe, Pat…
Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor
3. Gem Club – ‘Breakers’
Christopher Barnes and Kristen Drymala are making a name for themselves with their reflective, autumnal odes to the past. ‘Breakers’, the title track from their forthcoming debut, paints a wistful shadow through ghostly piano and cello, recalling the graceful, sepia disappointments of Perfume Genius.
Priya Elan, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
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4. Tennis – ‘Is It True?’ (Brenda Lee cover)
What’s good enough for Jimmy Page and Brenda Lee is good enough for dreamy Denver duo Tennis (and we mean ‘dreamy’ in a teen angst original-90210 kinda way). Their cover of the 1964 classic, complete with anguish-filled wails from singer Alaina Moore, is like, totally cute.
Abby Tayleure, writer
5. Dom – ‘Damn’
‘Damn’ is the most straight-up rocking Massachusetts mess-up Dom has released yet. In fact, so stuffed full of Valensi-esque mini riffs and deranged choruses about not caring for anything is it, that you get the distinct impression it’s the most goddamn fun he’s ever had too.
Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor
6. Wu Tang Clan – ‘Laced Cheeba’
“Wu Tang niggas call me the 36th Chamber”: 18 years on and the Clan are still peddling the same Shaolin shit, and amen to that. Fusing ‘Duel Of The Iron Mic’–style bass throbs with ‘Pit Full Of Snakes’-like snarl, this proves Glasto’s epic reminder of greatness wasn’t a one off.
Mike Williams, Deputy Editor
7. Bjork – ‘Mutual Core’
Of all the ‘Biophilia’ songs on YouTube, this volatile glory gets us particularly het up, sweeping big ideas about tectonic plates and chords and love’s power-politics into a fiery torrent of temper-tantrum beats. As any song containing the phrase “My Eurasian plate subsumed” would…
Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor
8. James Blake – ‘Pan’
After the blubstep tears from his disappointing debut album have dried, James Blake drops a new single on Hemlock that harks back to his beat-driven beginnings. Revealingly, there’s no vocal here – instead, ‘Pan’ is an icy, tight- snapping shower, with muted, ambient squawks in the background. More of this, please.
Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor
9. Mumford & Sons – ‘Home’
Debuted live on American radio, this latest preview of Mumfords’ second album suggests they’re not going to alter too much from the current template, but equally, that they’re not getting smaller any time soon. It’s a giant, earnest, rousing song… with excellent harmonies, of course.
Liam Cash, writer
10. Acid Glasses – ‘My Pale Garden’
If you’ve ever heard Bullion’s ‘Pet Sounds (In The Key Of Dee)’, where the producer mashes the Beach Boys with Dilla, then you’ll know where Acid Glasses comes from; joyous plunder-pop that emerges from dizzying swirls of fuzz. Think something of a kin to UMO and Mozart Parties.
Susana Pearl, writer
This article originally appeared in the July 16th issue of NME