The Strokes, Iceage, Tribes
The Strokes – ‘One Way Trigger’
The final five seconds of ‘One Way Trigger’ are proof that The Strokes still have a sense of humour. As the song winds down and Fab Moretti’s motorik drums are punctuated only by short stabs of keyboard, it sounds just like a chiptune rendition of the ‘Last Nite’ outro. Which is funny, because everything up to that point has taken glee in subverting the self-referential archetypes their last comeback single revelled in. First things first: there’s no escaping the fact that the central hook of ‘One Way Trigger’ sounds a bit like A-ha’s ‘Take On Me’ . What’ll really catch you off-guard, however, is Julian Casablancas’ voice, transformed from mumbled, sultry incoherence to a striking and surprisingly effective falsetto. This is the single’s big revelation, and it’s one that augurs well for an album on which The Strokes really need to shake things up a bit. Still, this is a bloody weird song to herald the band’s return – a mostly electronic track, the un-Strokesiness of which seems almost perverse on first listen. It certainly won’t grab you the way that ‘Under Cover Of Darkness’ did; but that song was hardly a faithful representation of ‘Angles’ and the same could well be true of ‘One Way Trigger’. As ever with this band, we’re left with more questions than answers.
The Knife – ‘Full Of Fire’
Back to not so much fill the cavernous void they left as tear at its walls with industrial jackhammer beats, itchily malevolent groans and rubberised skronks, Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer have clearly flushed operas about Darwin from their system. Bracing and brilliant.
Troumaca – ‘Clouds (Caresser Les Nuages)’
The B-Town band that thinks it’s OK to love Phoenix rather than Manic Street Preachers are back with another gem. ‘Clouds’, the second track taken from their debut EP for Brownswood Recordings (the third track on the player below), is a luxurious mix of glowing synths and Sam Baylis’ command to “Touch the clouds, just you and me”.
Disclosure Feat. AlunaGeorge – ‘White Noise’
“You just wanna keep me on repeat”, sings Aluna, and NME is happy to oblige. Disclosure utilise the sort of synths and bass that formed the basis of ’90s house/R&B (holler at K-Klass, long live Crystal Waters) but give it a twist, ensuring that the UK garage revival is well on its way. Bo selecta!
Iceage – ‘Ecstasy’
It’s been a miserable start to the year, so I went to see my doctor. “I’ll prescribe ‘Ecstasy’ from Iceage,” he said. “It’s a speed-fuelled blast of buzzsaw guitars and riotous vocals.” Any side-effects? “Only being fucking awesome. Turn that shit up.” PS: Save the NHS.
Kevin EG Perry
Syron – ‘Here’
Like Katy B, vocalist Daisy Russell is keeping things real. No sex in the air, or dreamy ‘California Gurls’ for her. Just a sweet, UK funky-tinged promise to always make time for her boo. Awww. It’s a pop kitchen-sink drama that somehow transforms wherever you are into the best south London club.
Blaenavon – ‘Into The Night’
This Hampshire trio may be so fresh-faced they make The Strypes look like The Rolling Stones, but their thing is much more musically world-weary. This single (backed with another new song, ‘Denim Patches’) is all atmospheric, echoey-but-not-U2-echoey guitar lines and singer Ben’s distinctive croak.
The Purist Feat. Danny Brown – ‘Jealousy’
UK producer The Purist’s beats and Danny Brown’s darting, theatrical flow is a match made in heaven. Add spooky, alien synth lines and a Notorious BIG sample and you’ve got a clear sign that: a) The Purist’s EP will be one to look out for; and b) Danny B should keep working with UK producers. Great stuff.
Tribes – ‘How The Other Half Live’
Tribes have always been a stadium-indie band in their own heads, and damn right too: judging by ‘How The Other Half Live’, their second album is going to be as O2-worthy as Jon Bon Jovi and a £7 lager in a plastic cup. It’s even got a gospel-style singer wailing over the outro.
Gabriel Bruce – ‘Cars Not Leaving’
Aside from giving Theo Hurts a run for his money as the suavest kid on the block, Bruce has been working up another goth-tinged banger. It’s a fist-shaking Springsteen romp complete with Bruce’s loin-trembling Nick Cave bass croon and a delirious ’80s sax solo that’ll leave you in tears (in a good way).