The Strokes, Suede, Kurt Vile
The Strokes – ‘All The Time’
The fifth Strokes album, ‘Comedown Machine’, landed in the NME office the other day, heralding the beginning of arguments about whether it’s a scintillating return to form
or another tossed-off contractual obligation (I’m leaning towards the former). One thing everyone can agree on, however, is that it’s so ’80s-sounding it conjures up images of Julian Casablancas in leg-warmers every note of the way. It makes ‘All The Time’ – the second song from the album, following the quite brilliantly A-ha-alike ‘One Way Trigger’ – something of a curveball. Not in the sense that it sees them exploring new dimensions in dubstep or whatnot, but because in comparison to the ’80s overload elsewhere, it’s so classically Strokes-y it could have been cribbed from ‘Is This It’, rather than sounding like something that should soundtrack a 1984 pool party in the garden of a Los Angeles villa. Is this a good thing? Most certainly. The Strokes on cruise control is still better than The Strokes parked up. There are even greater thrills to be had when the album comes out in March, including the funniest song the band have done since Julian started hanging out with American frat-boy comedians The Lonely Island. ‘All The Time’, and that leg-warmers image, will do nicely until then.
Haim – ‘Falling’
There’s a predicament with Haim: every time they release a new song it requires a reassessment of the Top Five Haim Songs. ‘Falling’ is definitely up there, with funky basslines and vocal hooks befitting ’90s R&B groups. They need a fourth Haim to shimmy in the back. So girls, when can I join?
Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats – ‘Poison Apple’
Easily the UK’s most elusive band, Uncle Acid finally rear their beautifully deranged heads with the first track from a new album. Their last one, ‘Blood Lust’, contained a song called ‘I’m Here To Kill You’ and was overflowing with psychotic Sabbath-style anthems. ‘Poison Apple’ raises the bar even higher.
The Underachievers – ‘Gold Soul Theory’
On which the Beast Coast duo stake their claim as the most exciting hip-hop act of 2013. Issa Dash and Ak exchange verses over a beat reminiscent of those created by their Brainfeeder label boss Flying Lotus. Grab their latest tape ‘Indigoism’ now. Brag about how you were on it early later.
Suede – ‘It Starts And Ends With You’
Suede’s first proper single in 10 years packs a decade’s worth of lost hooks into four rushing minutes. Snake-hipped Brett Anderson’s bittersweet lyrics might be as hopelessly infatuated as any smitten teenager’s, but this is smart, grown-up pop music – not in a boring way, in an ‘adult movie’ way.
Kevin EG Perry
Drake – ‘Started From The Bottom’
Has Drake been driven MAAD by sometime collaborator Kendrick Lamar? ‘Started From The Bottom’ has more than a touch of KL’s sound, riding an addictive, insistent loop to chart his remarkable rise from humble beginnings. Humble? Drake? Whatever, this is about pals keeping together “through the money and the fame”.
Lust For Youth – ‘Chasing The Light’
Swedish producer Hannes Norrvide’s latest effort is a far cry from his earlier drone-orientated recordings – this time it’s like a synth/punk/noise/disco combustion. Sauntering in like Depeche Mode, it’s all shouty post-punk vocals meets shrill synths.
!!! – ‘Slyd’
One of New York’s finest party bands return with the kind of tune that had people calling them a party band in the first place. Nic Offer’s put his sex-whisper singing to one side to make room for a load of chopped-up vocals that let you get on with your wild-ass dancing, ’cos you sure as hell can’t sing along to it.
Kurt Vile – ‘Wakin On A Pretty Day’
Life moves pretty fast, right? Not for Kurt Vile. The unhurried (almost) title track to his new album ‘Wakin On A Pretty Daze’ finds the slacker hero ambling dreamily along for nine minutes of dreamy strum-rock. Hit the snooze button and play again.
James Blake – ‘Retrograde’
The first single from JB’s second album ‘Overgrown’ is weightier, bassier and more confident than anything on his debut and shows he CAN do original songs. The line “Ignore everybody else, we’re alone now” could be from one of R Kelly’s slickest songs. Forget blubstep, James Blake has decided to bring sexy back.