Tom Vek, Black Lips, Fixers
1. Tom Vek – ‘A Chore’
So, after six years supposedly spent in the basement, the clattery, shuffly, geeky great hope of 2005 that never quite was returns, having successfully reached Kevin Shields-levels of recluse-kudos. There are even Facebook groups dedicated to finding out what the hell he’s been up to…
Aren’t we getting a touch carried away here? Well, probably – if Londoner Vek had followed the much-hyped wonder career path mapped out for him by convention, he’d probably just have been dropped after his cheaply recorded middling third album limped to Number 149 in the charts one Sunday. But while absence has now certainly bulked Vek’s suddenly whopping profile a tad beyond that which his promising debut album ‘We Have Sound’ ever warranted (at the time of writing, he’s been trending on Twitter for two days), it’s hard not to get excited by ‘A Chore’.
If it’s possible to pick up where you left off after six years then that’s what he’s done here – the enigmatic bin-lid smash drums skim over waves of ‘ah-that’s-why-we-liked-him-so-much’ quiver-quake vocals to suggest he’s been putting the 3,153,600 minutes (or thereabouts) he’s been away from the public to good use. Admittedly, he’s probably spent as much time toying with PlayStation pads as he has with FX pedals, but this unlikely return is still sounding as welcome as that of a heavy-coughing, will-wielding millionaire aunt.
Jamie Fullerton, News Editor
2. Black Lips – ‘Modern Art’
Sounds like the boys are returning to core business after the dark detours of ‘200 Million Thousand’. And since Black Lips’ core business is surly garage snarling, shagging, sweet-ass twanging and getting royally fried, that’s good news all round, except for your daughters’ honour.
Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor
3. The Van Doos – ‘Is This The One?’
Exploding from twitching guitars, the London/Yorkshire three-piece unleash an epic of CinemaScope proportions. ‘Is This The One?’ boasts the driving expanse of a nascent Bunnymen steered by Coral-like innovation and an air-punching, anthemic chorus to make football
Paul Stokes, Associate Editor
4. Castrolava – ‘Señorita’
One minute, 22 seconds of noise-hop brilliance from one of Leeds’ finest. Taken from the Brew/Dance To The Radio split EP for Record Store Day, it was supposedly written to “honour the Royal Wedding” – though we’re not sure it’ll be the happy couple’s first dance.
Abby Tayleure, Festivals Editor, NME.COM
5. 2:54 – ‘Cold Front’
In which London’s most salacious she-devils up the ante and set the dial to freeze-fest. More intense than anything we’ve heard from them before, ‘Cold Front’ is the perfect antidote to all this lamo summer sheen that’s been killing the nation’s cool of late.
Matt Wilkinson, News Reporter
6. Lady Gaga – ‘Judas’
After the love-yourself-discoballs of last single ‘Born This Way’, ‘Judas’ summons RedOne to bring back ‘Bad Romance’ Gaga and her industrial pop hooks. In the process she may have coined 2011’s best pop putdown in “If you don’t like it, wear an ear condom”. You heard: ear condom.
Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor
7. Kate Bush – ‘Deeper Understanding’
Dame Kate has rebooted her 1989 ode to spending your night in front of a screen rather than talking to humans. “As the people grow colder, I turn to my computer”, she still coos softly – only now, there’s harmonica, vocoders and cold splinters of sound dragging it into the 21st century.
Ben Hewitt, writer
8. Beastie Boys – ‘Make Some Noise’
It’s the first serving from ‘Hot Sauce Committee Part Two’, left to simmer while Adam Yauch received treatment for cancer. And it’s a goodie, a funk stew drizzled in melted-cheese Money Mark keys, with the MC trio reasserting their rap eminence. Party for your right to fight, indeed.
Louis Pattison, writer
9. Rolo Tomassi – ‘Titanomachia’
So Titanomachia was a massive ruck between the gods in Greek mythology, and this suitably epic six-minuter contains more fun than Ray Harryhausen’s shed. Flitting between brooding military jazz and murderous screaming, the closing section will blow your Achilles off. Wow.
Martin Robinson, Deputy Editor
10. Fixers – ‘Crystals’
The best track of the four on their forthcoming EP, ‘Crystals’ is an ecstatic future-freakbeat monster that mentions Haight-Ashbury with the requisite amount of sarcasm, and sounds like how all those over-the-top reviews promised ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’ would.
Hamish MacBain, Assistant Editor