Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Splashh, Atoms for Peace
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – ‘Swim and Sleep’
We’ve all wondered which animal superpower we’d want if and when some sort of fiendish Doctor Moreau character enslaved us and spliced man and beast together to create a mutant abomination both less and more than human, haven’t we? Perhaps you’ve always harboured a secret desire for the speed of the cheetah, the libido of the bonobo monkey or the soft, lustrous hide of the alpaca. What UMO’s slacker-in-chief Ruban Nielson wants is the ability to swim and sleep simultaneously, like a shark does. He wants it so much he’s written a song about it. It’s a shimmering slice of gently psychedelic pop that bodes well for his band’s second album, which they’re recording right now in Portland. A laconic daydream, it’s safe to say it won’t be soundtracking any pounding gym workouts. This is the sort of song that you sink into. It’s all wrapped up well within three minutes, and coupled with the jangly Byrds guitar lines and the hallucinatory air of Ariel Pink’s last record, seems like it’s being broadcast from a simpler, sunnier age. Sharks have to swim while they sleep because if they stop moving forward they’ll die. The same could be said of bands, but on this evidence Unknown Mortal Orchestra are in no danger of that.
Kevin EG Perry
Atoms For Peace – ‘Default’
‘Default’ is Atoms For Peace’s best track to date. It speeds forward on a ‘Lotus Flower’-esque beat and a typically electronic ostinato motif. The key change into the chorus is unexpected and when the song blooms, even critics of Thom Yorke’s experimental direction will find it hard not to melt.
Mac Demarco – ‘Freaking Out The Neighborhood’
Hands-down the weirdest musician on this page, Mac’s insistence on sounding like a bona fide Yank madman throughout the latent funk strut of ‘…Neighborhood’ is enough to cement his burgeoning reputation as the Ariel Pink with tunes. Better still is the news there’s an entire album of songs this great to follow.
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PushaT, Raekwon & Joell Ortiz- ‘Tick, Tock’
Taken from the soundtrack to RZA’s directorial debut The Man With The Iron Fists, this is the Wu-Tang sound
at its creepy, paranoid best, with an ever-present ticking clock providing a Hitchcock-sized feeling of suspense. The film’s trailer, meanwhile, features a man having his eyeball punched out of his head.
Missy Elliot – ‘9th Inning’
“You newcomers better sit back and take note”, spits Misdemeanor, as aggressive pianos circle and the blood rises on this, the ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ of hip-hop comebacks. Everyone else ‘in VIP’ can clear off. Even after all this time, even still working with Timbaland, she still owns this thing.
Churches – ‘The Mother We Share’
These new Glaswegian synthpoppers broke through with ‘Lies’, a track with all the heft and sheen of Hurts’ most upbeat moments, but with a more everyday sort of drama, reminiscent of forgotten ’90s crew The Lanterns. Now this stellar belter adds a chirupping, skippy joy, like making snow-angels in space.
Egyptian Hip Hop – ‘Yoro Diallo’
So you heard last month’s comeback tune ‘SYH’ and you liked it. Now what? ‘Yoro Diallo’ – the first proper single from the Mancunian quartet’s new album ‘Good Don’t Sleep’ – is what. And ain’t it dreamy. Slow, pretty, delicate, mentions of “clouds” and “skies”, an irresistible float. Plenty to be excited about.
Death Grips – ‘@deathgripz’
The experimental Californians leave their usual spleen-spitting at the club door for the banging party rap ‘@deathgripz’ (their Twitter moniker, obvs). “Can I break it down?” spits MC Ride over scattered samples and some seriously grinding drum riffs. Our retort? Hell yes.
Gabriel Bruce – ‘Perfect Weather’
Just brilliant – and preposterously ambitious – new single from 2012’s finest should-be pop star. Starts off sounding like one of the crooner ones off Iggy’s ‘The Idiot’, but then explodes into this whiteboy-soul chorus, then morphs into a super-histrionic Bunnymen thing. He HAS to become famous.