Alt-J, Black Keys, Pitbull
NME’s Tom Howard reviews the latest single releases
[b]Alt-J – ‘Breezeblocks'[/b]
When Joe Newman’s “[i]Please don’t go/I love you so[/i]” starts, it seems harmless. But with the promise to “[i]hold her down with soggy clothes and breezeblocks[/i]” it becomes as sinister as a welcoming smile from Jools Holland. This is brought to life in a video that’s a cross between Coldplay’s ‘The Scientist’ (it’s in reverse), Radiohead’s ‘Just’ (it’ll take hours to dissect) and an EastEnders plotline (jealous lover turns murderer – but which lover?). A delicate, macabre triumph.
[b]The Black Keys – ‘Dead And Gone'[/b]
At a time when economies are disintegrating willy nilly and no-one has a bloody clue who’s going to win The Apprentice, it’s easy to see why The Black Keys have become 2012’s New Massive Band. Their plodding blues-rock is just so damn reassuring. They make rock music. It is good. You should listen to it.
[b]Pitbull – ‘Back In Time'[/b]
Assuming Men In Black III In 3D’s gonna be the cinematic event of like, May, it seems odd to be wheeling out guest rapper extraordinaire Armando Christian Perez for the themetune. Will Smith’s song for the first MIB was a genuine party banger, and briefly made him the world’s best person. Pitbull lacks Smith’s charm – favouring the cruise ship bodyguard look – and ‘Back In Time’ is all squeaks and cheesy club nods when really what you want is ALIENS.
[b]School Of Seven Bells – ‘The Night'[/b]
Benjamin Curtis and Alejandra Deheza do everything right. This song, right here, has a nice vocal, decent bassline, speedy drumming, ‘atmospherics’ that absolutely do reference the period of the day the track’s title refers to and yet… there’s nothing to say. Nice. It’s nice. Like having a shower and a massive sandwich at 3pm on a Saturday. Really bloody nice.
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[b]Japandroids – ‘The House That Heaven Built'[/b]
The fuzz. The garage. The rock. The obvious influence of Springsteen’s America. The “oh oh oh oh” followed by the “oh oh oh”. The ripped Levi’s. The Cons. The ink. The drum rolls. The punk. The pop. The breaking the speed limit. The unwashed jeans. The greasy hair. The rabble rousing “and if they try to slow you down/Tell them all to go to hell”. Yeah, this rules.
[b]Here We Go Magic – ‘How Do I Know'[/b]
Falling in love with robots is something you, me and everyone are gonna have to deal with as time and technology progress. Luckily Brooklyn’s Here We Go Magic have addressed this and answered the question “[i]how on Earth will I dispose of my unwanted robot lover?[/i]” in the video for this super breezy indie-pop, which suggests leaving it at a disused petrol station. So that’s one less thing to worry about.
This article originally appeared in the May 19th issue of NME