Jake Bugg, Dog Is Dead, Patrick Wolf
Jake Bugg – ‘Two Fingers’
Watch TV this Saturday evening, and chances are you’ll see a scruffy teenager looking for a break by doing their best Ed Sheeran impression for Gary Barlow. That’s cool, that’s fine, that’s… whatever. But, y’know, fuck those guys. Because Jake Bugg’s like them, except he’s doing Dylan, Turner, Gallagher and Skelly instead. ‘Two Fingers’, like his last single ‘Lightning Bolt’, sounds like it was recorded 50 years ago, and not by a 19-year-old from Clifton in Nottingham. It covers good times becoming bad times. Longs for the days when he’d “skin up up a fat one and hide from the feds” in the blissful stoned nothingness of being a teenager, when all there is to do is toke, eat crisps and doze in a park. What happened? What changed? There are clues throughout ‘Two Fingers’, hidden among the jauntiness of the song’s mighty chorus and the wire-brush-on-snare-drum shuffle that sits behind it. Here’s one: “Down in the kitchen drinking White Lightning/He’s with my momma, they’re yelling and fighting”. So it’s time to “Kiss goodbye to every little ounce of pain” and “Hold two fingers up to yesterday”. This is a song about growing up, moving out, leaving stuff you don’t need behind. Is ‘Two Fingers’ about Bugg? No idea. But telling good stories has nothing to do with the truth.
Converge – ‘Aimless Arrow’
The first taste of the hardcore veterans’ new album ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’ proves they’ve lost none of their fury and firepower. ‘Aimless Arrow’ is a Molotov cocktail of raw sludge and math-rock riffage, all smashed together to make a bludgeoning battle cry. Bring on the album! RAWRRRR.
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Tops – ‘Diamond Look’
Remember Tops from our We Love Canada special? No? Well, a) You suck, and b) Check this song out, their new seven-inch. In the spirit of Sade’s ‘Smooth Operator’, it tells the story of a dashing man. It’s backed by spangly synths, disco guitars and a stick-in-your-head chorus full of “woaahh-oooh”s, and we love it.
Dog Is Dead – ‘Talk Through The Night’
Funnily enough, this Nottinghamshire crew actually do a fine line in puppyish vivacity. Here it’s all springy rhythms and exuberant choruses, threaded through with Bombay Bicycle Club-style emotion and topped off by singer Rob Milton’s warm, rueful voice.
Patrick Wolf – ‘Overture (Rework)’
For his 10-year ‘jubilee’ (his words) album ‘Sundark And Riverlight’, Wolfie has reworked a bunch of songs that he reckons have grown with him and his voice. So here, the industrial clank of the opener from ‘The Magic Position’ is reinvented with harps, woodwind and the wizened wisdom of a man who is all of 29 years old.
The Babies – ‘Moonlight Mile’
Not a cover of the Rolling Stones song, but two-and-a-half minutes of damn hot four-chord punk-folk that they would have been proud of. It’s a taster for the second album from what started as a side-project for him out of Woods and her out of Vivian Girls, but which has now become a priority – as it should be.
Daughn Gibson – ‘Reach Into The Fire’
The Elvis-style vocals may be a little out of fashion, but Gibson’s booming baritone is artfully spiced up by samples from other inventive Sub Pop signings Shabazz Palaces and Tiny Vipers. There’s even a snazzy horn to finish things off. Country music + samples = intriguing.
Calvin Harris feat. Florence – ‘Sweet Nothing’
Calvin Harris will cower in the shadow of just how good ‘We Found Love’ is FOREVER, but there’s nowt wrong with this new single. “You’re giving me such sweet lovin’” booms Florence, ditching her usual fairy theatrics to go dance diva. Calv, as ever, proves he’s master of laser synths, jump-around drums and parpy fart-fart noises.
Peace – ‘Bloodshake’
Brummie boys Peace make indie-disco like it’s 1998, but their strong songwriting means ‘Bloodshake’ is much more than a nostalgia trip. “You vibe so hard”, singer Harrison Koisser rasps, with no sense of irony, over jagged riffs and a hook so banging they’ll be peeling us off the club ceiling.
Crystal Castles – ‘Wrath Of God’
The latest new one from Ethan and Alice is sedate and calm, like an afternoon spent browsing bookshops and stroking cats, or… ah fuck it, who are we kidding! This was easily the most pulverising thing we heard at Reading, not least because halfway through it boils over into mind-melting fuzz and static bliss.