Iceage, Alunageorge, Theme Park
Iceage – ‘Coalition’
In many of their recent live shows, Iceage have closed the set with a song called ‘You’re Nothing’. On it, frontman
Elias Bender Rønnenfelt screams “You’re nothing! Nothing! You’re nothing! ” as his hot spit lands on what is (usually) a pit of knotted limbs and sweaty faces. It might not be a traditional way to endear yourself to the crowd, but for the Danish quartet it’s been working since the beginning. Their debut album, 2010’s ‘New Brigade’, is still a shock to the system – a 20-minute barrage of frozen, hammering noise that’s as passionate as it is disaffected. This mentality also seeps into their live shows, and the band often disdainfully stare at the front row as if to say “you’re not bleeding hard enough”, rather than gushing, falsely, “we’re just so glad to be here”. Which brings us to album two, called ‘You’re Nothing’ and due on Matador in February. It’s unclear whether Iceage are familiar with the failings of our ConDem government, but ‘Coalition’ is a fitting two-minute rage at excess. Elias howls while Dan, Jakob and Johan play fast and loud to the point where your chest starts to hurt. The drums roll like a call to arms, the guitars just wail. Elias has told NME the album is harder, more insistent but also more sensitive. This is the former.
Hurts – ‘Miracle’
‘Miracle’ is a grand statement, like going into a job interview and answering the question ‘Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?’ with ‘As your boss’. It’s a tiny bit Coldplay, but that’s cool because they’ve given that stadium-rock sound a lick of dark pop gloss.
Kevin EG Perry
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The Men – ‘Electric’
Shaking away the January cobwebs with juddering guitars and flailing cymbals, Brooklyn’s The Men tease the release of the follow-up to last year’s ‘Open Your Heart’ LP with this solid blast of 1990s-indebted clatter-pop. The sound of an ATP-friendly, snakebite-sodden circle pit, and all the more glorious for it.
Alunageorge – ‘Diver’
Taken from the duo’s forthcoming album ‘Body Music’, ‘Diver’ is seductive pop warped by the production skills of the man they call George. The Aluna half hogs the limelight here though – cooing like a seductive chipmunk (believe it), she adds an irresistible sheen that should see even more people fall under their spell in 2013.
Pulp – ‘After You’
In a result that can only be described as ‘unsurprising’, Pulp’s tune with ex-LCD Soundsystem leader James Murphy is brilliant. ‘After You’ sees them get their classic D-I-S-C-O on while Jarv sleazes on about parties in Hackney, supermarkets and nudity. It makes you think they should stop mucking about and make an album together already.
Azealia Banks – ‘BBD’
Azealia Banks still hasn’t released her album but she was quickest off the starting block this year with ‘BBD’. She tweeted: “It’s Trap, but it’s Rave. It’s Banjee, but still a lil classy”, which translates as producers Apple Juice Kid and Sup Doodle providing a “witch-hop” beat and monster bass beneath Azealia’s give-a-fuck nonchalant flow.
The History Of Apple Pie – ‘See You’
One of the best cuts from the Londoners’ debut album (out next month), ‘See You’ is a distillation of everything we love about them. Buzzsaw guitars lead the way (courtesy of ‘the new Coxon’, Jerome Watson), leaving singer Stephanie Min’s sugary sweet vocals to do the rest.
Miles Kane – ‘First Of My Kind’
When Miles went solo he said he wanted his debut album to sound “sleazy”. On this, the first song from his second, the guitars buzz like foot-long vibrators and the whole thing’s more rampant than an ex-con’s first post-release sex session. Quite the, ahem, comeback.
Theme Park – ‘Tonight’
Theme Park return, sounding ready to take on the world with this new single. Letting Friendly Fires’ Ed Macfarlane loose on production, ‘Tonight’ shows a darker side to the north Londoners while still holding on to those Hawaiian shirts and echoes of the glimmering tropicalia they’ve been doing so well since their first demos.
Chloe Howl – ‘No Strings’
‘No Strings’ has the electropop bassline of Foster The People’s ‘Pumped Up Kicks’, the cockney sing-talk of Kate Nash and the “fuck you” ’tude (Howl tells a noncommittal bloke she hopes she has his twins) of Katy B. That’s a mighty fine start from Sony’s latest signing, who seems to have come out of nowhere.