The Killers, Suede, Haim
The Killers – ‘Runaway’
Well, it’s good to know they’re not fucking about. Four years after ‘Day & Age’ saw them dip their toe into dancier waters, The Killers make their grand return with the Killersiest comeback single you could ever hope to hear. And frankly, it’s come not a moment too soon. See, one of the great fallacies of The Killers’ career is that 2006’s ‘Sam’s Town’ wasn’t their best album. If ‘Day & Age’ was a stylistic reaction to the unjust critical kicking their second record took, then ‘Runaway’ is the sound of the band re-embracing their inner Springsteen – haters be damned.
It takes a little time to get there – the chorus doesn’t properly kick in for almost two minutes – but you know just where this one is headed from the opening line onwards: “[i]Blonde hair blowin’ in the summer wind/Blue-eyed girl playing in the sand[/i]”. And when that chorus finally does arrive? Hoo, boy. Amid a crescendo of windmilling, Townshend-esque guitars, Brandon’s tale of a dustbowl romance gone wrong transcends cliché, and instead enraptures you with the pure clench-fisted, bulgy-veined elation of it all. True, it’s unlikely to satisfy those aforementioned haters, but that’s their loss – this is pure Americanadrama as it’s meant to be done. Altogether now: “[i]I knew it when I met you, I’m not gonna let you ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun…[/i]”
Haim – ‘Honey And I/The Wire’ (Live at Daytrotter)
The Haim dames may have a ribald anecdote or two – witness last week’s NME interview, in which they bawdily enthused about grinding down phalluses to stubs – but they’re sweetness itself on record. These live sessions, with their giant spoonfuls of sun-blazed harmonies and butter-wouldn’t-melt vocals, are a reminder of what makes them so great.
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TNGHT – ‘Higher Ground’
The second emission from this new partnership between Scottish ooze-R&B beatsmith Hudson Mohawke and Montreal B-boy Lunice, ‘Higher Ground’ is – ’scuse our technical terminology – a certified banger: a hard synthesis of dancehall clatter, rude horn blasts and synths that zoom upwards like surface-to-air missiles.
Ariel Pink – ‘Only In My Dreams’
Get your Bermudas on, because Ariel Pink is back with some serious surf-pop action. The second track from the lo-fi king’s new album ‘Mature Themes’ is a sun-kissed affair, with just enough disembodied “ahhs” and off-kilter harmonies to make this brilliantly trippy and, in his words, “retro-licious”.
Suede – ‘For The Strangers’
It’s fun here in the mid-’90s. Roses: back; Blur: new songs; Suede: making good on threats of new material. It’s sparking an alternative timeline in which everything post-‘Coming Up’ never happened. Played at this year’s Hop Farm festival, this is a lush and chiming paean, probably to love affairs that will never be.
Ellie Goulding feat Tinie Tempah – ‘Hanging On (Active Child Cover)’
She covered Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ like a hiccupping kitten at the royal wedding, but this is more La Roux going for the kill (a good thing) than monarchy-pleasing waft. Another cover, yes, but with Tinie Tempah angstily snapping, “[i]I don’t even know this fucking woman in my bed[/i]”. What do you think of THAT, K Middy?
Kelis feat Skream – ‘Distance’
Kelis, having boshed with Calvin Harris and David Guetta, is finally getting to meet the man who makes dubstep divas. The fruit is sleek as silk but snaps and clicks with a held tension, releasing into a chorus as spacious and stellar as Magnetic Man’s ‘I Need Air’.
Bloc Party – ‘Octopus’
Ah, the great return – and this time beyond the standard-issue Bloc punk-funk there’s a Russell riff that kind of is Daft Punk’s ‘Aerodynamic’ hook. No bad thing. But do Bloc Party mean anything any more? This song firmly, definitely says, er… maybe, if there are a few on the new album stronger than this. We’ll see…
Kanye West feat Pusha T – ‘New God Flow’
Kanye’s forthcoming ‘GOOD’ compilation has to satisfy a lot of ears, and judging by this cut it’s certainly going to. Pusha T goes toe-to-toe with his boss in cockiness, proclaiming “[i]I believe there’s a god above me, I’m just the god of everything else[/i]” before threatening to piss on someone with Grand Marnier.
Pond – ‘Slow (Kylie Minogue cover)’
Yup, it’s Oz’s finest doing Kylie’s 2003 supermassive smash hit. It’s actually pretty faithful until all hell breaks loose three-quarters of the way through and they all go totally apeshit. Sounds like they now have about 15 Big Muff pedals, through which they channel pure, unbridled Stooges-riffage.
This article originally appeared in the July 14th issue of NME