Bat For Lashes, The Black Keys, Kanye West
Bat For Lashes – ‘Marilyn’
From David Bowie to Jay-Z, Grinderman to Nicki Minaj, Distillers to Def Leppard, the list of artists who have written about Marilyn Monroe is long and diverse. Bat For Lashes is the latest addition. The fear? Writing songs about the world’s most famous blonde is now hackneyed, dull or, worse, as hammy as that Brit-film My Week With Marilyn. But don’t panic: this is much richer than a simple eulogy. The lyrics follow Natasha Khan’s personal transformation, as she wistfully sings “play the part”. She’s “turning into Marilyn” and asks the actress to give up a bit of her classy noir-ish allure. Translation: Natasha’s ditched the pendants, dream-catchers and glittery slap for something more mature. Upcoming album ‘The Haunted Man’, she seems to say, is more complicated than the “token mysticism” (as she’s called it) of 2009’s ‘Two Suns’. Musically, things are more sophisticated too. There are THREE different drumbeats, and strings mix with frantic beeps. Celestial backing vocals, yoo-hoos and echoing howls bolster the starry subject matter. Sometimes, it’s not a good thing when an artist loses their rawness, grows up and starts focusing on songwriting as a ‘craft’. Here, though, it’s clear the evolution of her simple, soulful writing is the focus, without all the shamanic paraphernalia of the past.
Fidlar – ‘Cheap Beer’
This LA lot embody the art of kicking back, especially with this new single and a chorus that’s just “I! DRINK! CHEAP! BEER! SO! WHAT! FUCK! YOU!” over a killer guitar chug. The debut LP is due in early 2013. Expect it to be light on social commentary, high on PARTY.
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The Black Keys – ‘Little Black Submarines’
This ‘El Camino’ cracker has just been given the steamy, Nashville speakeasy-set video treatment by legendary rock snapper Danny Clinch. With an arena tour set for this December, this is the only way you’ll ever get to see blues brothers Dan’n’Pat play a venue this tiny, so embrace it.
Disclosure – ‘Latch Master’
Radar favourites Howard and Guy Lawrence’s new cut sounds, bizarrely, like Will Young guesting on a sparkly, radio-friendly Chicago house tune for 80 seconds or so. Then it takes a turn for the weird, and flits back and forth between these two vibes until the end. Somehow straddles being spectacularly cheesy and amazingly danceable.
Rachel Zeffira – ‘Break The Spell’
Her from Cat’s Eyes’ first song, ‘The Deserters’, was a thing of majestic beauty. ‘Break The Spell’ pushes things forward: it sounds like orchestral gothica that’s been laced with post-punk disco moves courtesy of The Slits’ rhythm section.
Kanye West feat Jay-Z and Big Sean – ‘Clique’
The first track from Kanye’s upcoming GOOD Music album, ‘Cruel Summer’ – and it’s good. Like, ‘Watch The Throne’ good. Things kick off with Ye’s new protégé Big Sean before Jay-Z barrels in with a typically bravura verse. But it’s Kanye who just keeps getting better, letting his egomania run rampant: “I’m way too black to burn from sun rays/So I just meditate at home in Pompeii/About about how I could build a new Rome in a day”.
Deptford Goth – ‘Life After Defo’
Been dumped? Then find solace in the music of this south London sadface. These quivering electronics and thunderclap drums are for days spent wandering around feeling as lonely as a discarded Chicken Cottage wrapper, for sulking on buses, for staring morosely at couples who still enjoy the taste of each others’ tongues.
Paul Banks – ‘The Base’
The world didn’t realise it needed a second solo album from the singer out of Interpol. The world clearly doesn’t know what’s good for it. This takes the same stylish goth template as his band, adds Hammond and jagged, funky guitar lines and comes out sounding like the awesome post-industrial disco at the end of the world. Smashing.
2:54 – ‘Killer’ (Adamski cover)
London’s surliest sisters do for Adamski’s ‘Killer’ what Christopher Nolan did for Batman: make it as dark as Satan’s stool sample. Unlike most 2:54 tracks, this one has a bit of texture, ending with a gloom-pop breakdown and a big, beaty drop. Wonder which one is the “solitary sister”?