Crystal Castles, Frank Ocean, Charli XCX
Crystal Castles – ‘Wrath Of God’
What’s eating Crystal Castles? The Canadian duo’s last album ‘II’ was bleak, what with it being recorded in an unheated church in Iceland and having a pale goth child gurning by a grave on the cover. But it’s going to look and sound like cuddling puppies in comparison to the imminent ‘III’. Singer Alice Glass has explained it’s about oppression, the bad things that have happened to their friends and how the state of the world has made her want to become a vigilante. Producer and pedal man Ethan Kath has emphasised the record’s rawness, and told NME about decamping to a bunker in Warsaw to make the album, and recording songs in one take to make them more unpredictable. For the cover they’ve taken an image from photographer Samuel Aranda’s shocking documentation of a protest in Yemen. It’s intense. And the musical signs are ominous too: I was down the front at Reading Festival when the spaced-out drop of ‘Wrath Of God’ hit. It triggered a huge release of frustration in the crowd. I was pushed to the ground at the first stab of noise, then punched in the head, and deafened by Alice’s desperate screams. Yes, there’s still a whiff of ‘fashion goth’ to CC. But that won’t matter by the time ‘III’ comes out on November 5. Crystal Castles are determined to take you down with them.
Deap Vally – ‘End Of The World’
Reasons why Deap Vally are amazing: 1) they look like Eddie and Patsy doing Thelma & Louise; 2) they cuss hecklers with the line ‘Get a vagina!’; 3) they rock harder than a Karen O-fronted Led Zep. ‘End Of The World’ is a lung-screeching, apocalyptic guitar strut so brain-frying you won’t have even noticed Armageddon by the end of it.
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Frank Ocean – ‘Blue Whale’
He released one of the albums of 2012, a buzzworthy mixtape in 2011, and some guy put together a collection of 64 tracks he recorded as Lonny Breaux. Still the Frank Ocean machine keeps churning. On this new mellow jam, Ocean gives his soulful falsetto a rest as he raps over a leisurely melody like he’s pondering life on a sunset beach. S’all good.
Lana Del Rey – ‘Ride’
Don’t let the “My pussy tastes like Pepsi Cola” lyric be the only thing you know about ‘Ride’. Rey’s warbling sounds good, particularly in the catchy chorus and the high notes she hits in an artful middle-eight. A classic example of her sugar-coated sorrow.
Charli XCX – ‘So Far Away’
Charli XCX guns for the title of the UK’s finest Tumblrwave export (it exists – deal with it) with a new video. Cut-up shots of Disney Princesses and loads of psychedelic GIFs accompany half-spoken lines like “looking for badboys, motherfucker” and glitch-pop beats. Probably shouldn’t like it, but kind of do.
Rhye – ‘The Fall’
We’re guessing this isn’t a tribute to the works of Mark E Smith, and it doesn’t sound like a lament for Eve biting the apple – but whatever this LA duo are singing about, we like it. Their disco-tinged, Jessie Ware-without-the-trying-so-hard, new soul toys listlessly with the softest of piano vamps and is easy as Sunday morning.
Rihanna – ‘Diamonds’
The unremarkable nature of Ri Ri’s comeback may be its greatest strength. After taking the EDM and aggressive sex marketing as far as they could go with ‘Talk That Talk’, this slow-down in pace recalls the more innocent days of ‘Umbrella’. It has ‘stealth grower’ written all over it.
Robert Smith – ‘Witchcraft’
Blimey: when all else fails for our Bob, maybe he can reinvent himself as a lounge lizard, charging big bucks and serenading the old folks with some gothic razzamatazz. Here, ‘Ole Heavily Made-Up Eyes’ channels his inner Frank Sinatra for a splendidly big-band, high-camp piece of tomfoolery for Tim Burton’s brand new Frankenweenie flick.
Mumford & Sons – ‘Tesselate’ (Alt-J Cover)
Alt-J’s campaign to take over the world gets another dose of rocket fuel, as Mumford & Sons cover this spooky-lovely cut from the album (‘An Awesome Wave’) it’s becoming socially unacceptable to do anything but love. It’s better than anything on ‘Babel’, too.
Doldrums – ‘She’s The Wave’
Canadian electro-glitch-bass person Alrick Woodhead is chums with Grimes and makes Aphex Twins’s scary moments sound soothing. Here, he drops three minutes of scorching and fairly-difficult-to-listen-to noise that’s brilliant if you’ve got loads of happy thoughts in your brain that you wanna kill DEAD forever. We all have those moments, right? Right.