Benga, Alt-J, No Doubt
Benga – ‘Pour Your Love’
If you’re worried that music has no myth any more, too few characters and not enough gob, then look to Benga. To some he’s merely Mr Magnetic Man, but to others he’s one of the best known faces to come out of the homeofdubstep™ – aka Big Apple in Croydon – after swaggering in one day and declaring he could DJ better than shop-regular Hatcha. Since then – and he started young – he’s been a regular at seminal night FWD>>, toured the world from south London to Sydney, crowdsurfed on the London Eye and made a much-loved bass-heavy album (2008’s ‘Diary Of An Afro Warrior’). He’ll release ‘Chapter 2’ in October, taking his ‘Katy On A Mission’ template and working with guest vocalists including Bebe Black and P Money to make more fwd-looking takes on chart pop. Next single ‘Pour Your Love’ is a gut-tugging rumbling beat he’s played around with over the years, but Swedish vocalist Marlene, trilling “[i]pour your love alllll over meeeee[/i]” (hmm, sounds a little messy) on top of the song’s WUB. In July, Benga told [i]NME[/i]: “I’ve been seen to say that dubstep is the music of our generation, but that’s now changed. I don’t want to be any part of dubstep any more.” Meaning: he wants to push boundaries and look ahead to the next big musical movement. Will you be joining him?
Torches – ‘Silent Film’
Is there anything better to dispel the gloom than a great bloody WHOMP of glistening guitars and sky-burst choruses? “[i]Cut to the final scene/Does it make your heart beat any faster?[/i]” howls Torches’ Charlie Drinkwater with his cannonball-thud of a vocal atop swirling, treacle-rich orchestration akin to a giddier I Like Trains. Just what the doctor ordered.
Cate Le Bon – ‘What is Worse’
Smoke-voiced psychonaut Cate is about to release ‘CYRK II’, an EP of tracks that didn’t make her recent album. A peek at the velvety rich offcuts therein here, as a bare, grungy slow strum picks up pace to become something equal parts sweet and wrong.
Alt-J – ‘Fitzpleasure (The Internet Remix)’
Odd Future crewmembers The Internet add to their growing remix cataloguewith this slinky affair, swapping the bass dirge of the original with an after-hours piano-led soul groove and some healthy synth licks at the end. Brilliant stuff.
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Arthur Beatrice – ‘Charity’
London newbies Arthur Beatrice’s fondness for wallowing proudly in their own self-pity continues on the wry, sprightly ‘Charity’. “[i]Let them all suffer for you[/i]” croon singers Orlando and Ella, sounding not unlike Wild Beasts at their most eyes-wide-open. It’s an intriguing hint of what to expect on next year’s debut album.
The Chemical Brothers – ‘Theme For Velodrome’
Here’s a thing about the Olympics. It’s basically moved artists that usually write about songs about love or parties to switch their artistic focus to things like jumping and defeating other countries. Take this from The Chemical Brothers, which is basically a pinging dance track about men chasing each other on tiny bikes wearing super-tight clothes.
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Waka Flocka Flame – ‘Rooster In My Rari (TNGHT Remix)’
The original version is as brash and tough as his best work, the reworking by Hudson Mohawke and Lunice makes it five times BETTER. Maintaining Waka’s swaggering tone and meshing it with block-heavy beats and a stormy electro backdrop, this will sound amazing on 99.999 per cent of all dancefloors.
Kendrick Lamar – ‘Swimming Pools (Drank)’
Deep. Dark. Heavy. Bassy. Tackling the perils of having a drinking problem (“some people wanna kill their sorrows”). Yeah, it’s refreshing hearing a US rapper on the cusp of superstardom (Dr Dre is FULLY behind him) tackling real-life problems in a ‘hey, I’m just sayin’’ kind of way. The album’s out in October. It’s gonna be big.
Flying Lotus – ‘Btwn Frnds’
His new album, ‘Until The Quiet Comes’, ain’t due til October, but jazzed-out LA beatsmith FlyLo pre-empts it with this cut for the Adult Swim Singles series. A J Dilla-ish froth of smooth keys and dusty drums, it gets a spike in the arm thanks to the presence of Odd Future, Earl, Tyler and co splashing around like sharks in its creamy, liquid tides.
No Doubt – ‘Settle Down’
Seven years in to making their new album and Gwen Stefani and her men have reassuringly not evolved one iota from last time round. ‘Settle Down’ is another zingy exercise in fluoro-ska with a dancehall twist to make those of us who like that sort of thing feel like the last decade never happened. Ooh!
This article originally appeared in the July 28th issue of NME