Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Mykki Blanco, Jaws
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – ‘Sacrilege’
“It’s extremely lo-fi,” flamboyant singer Karen O recently said of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ imminent fourth album, ‘Mosquito’. So you might expect the first single taken from it to be reminiscent of their tinny, chaotic beginnings, especially as she’s made a big deal about the “shitty drum machine” and “shitty sampled keyboard” they used to make it. Turns out that what ‘Sacrilege’ actually sounds like is a massive surprise. It’s not lo-fi, but it’s not a completely new-look version of the band either. There’s still Karen’s trademark yelp as she exclaims “In our bed!” before every chorus, and Nick Zinner is back working his incredible guitar wizardry, letting improvised-sounding riffs twist and turn under his leader’s polished sighs about “falling for a guy” with a “halo round his head”. It’s stripped back, sure, but only in the sense that a lot of what’s happening in the track feels a lot more subtle than you’d expect. So far, so Yeah Yeah Yeahs. And then the gospel choir hits, backing up Ms O’s demure cries. It takes the band to their most spiritual and unexpected climax ever. Forget what Karen’s saying about the album for now (bands love to have a laugh), this track is New York City’s finest art-punks returning with a pop. And boy, is it good.
Mykki Blanco – ‘Feeling Special’
Blanco previews his ‘Betty Rubble: The Initiation’ EP with a minimal cut produced by San Francisco’s Matrixxman. There’s no Flintstones references here though, just an Alice-like trip into Blanco’s own wonderland. “Follow, follow, follow, me down the rabbit hole”, she rumbles over a lean beat. “Shit so deep I’m feeling special”.
Marnie Stern – ‘Nothing Is Easy’
The bubbly noise brat and shredder extraordinaire has smoothed the edges of her giddy racket on new album ‘The Chronicles Of Marnia’, so (ironically) it sounds a bit less like a lion and a witch humping in a wardrobe. No less fun, though, as the flashy, twinkling licks and tumbling rhythms prove.
Sunless ’97 – ‘Aurora’
There are lots of brilliant things called ‘Aurora’. The northern lights, obviously. Aurora, Illinois, hometown of Wayne from Wayne’s World. Excellent. Now there’s also this sweet synthy gem, as blissful as its first namesake and as chilled out as the second. Mellow house for when you’re done partying on.
Kevin EG Perry
Fainting By Numbers – ‘A Stone In The Ground’
If Joe Goddard brings the fun to Hot Chip, it’s Alexis Taylor who has the brains. The bespectacled one’s latest project sees him team up with Kompakt’s techno don Justus Köhncke for some delicate, romantic bleeps and pulses designed to move your prefrontal cortex in the same way Hot Chip move your feet. Downbeat but delicious.
Woman’s Hour – ‘To The End’
Woman’s Hour is probably not the sexiest band name ever, given that it’s the title of a Radio 4 programme. Then again, ‘To The End’ is the latest electro slow jam to aim at the gloomy ambience trademarked by The xx, who recently soundtracked a teen sex scene in EastEnders. Whatever turns you on, I guess.
Lulu James – ‘Closer’
The 21-year-old Lulu James joins the breed of UK acts breathing new life into classic sounds on this new single. The synths run a similar pattern to the best remix of Candi Staton’s ‘You Got The Love’ (the one by The Source, obviously) but her vocals re-inject soul not heard since that ’90s heyday of UK dance.
Born Ruffians – ‘Needle’
The new track by these Canadian quirkballs starts out like Fleet Foxes (cosmic lyrics and all), then goes a bit reggae, then sounds like Sting jamming with ‘Graceland’-era Paul Simon. And despite this, you’ll want to hear it again.
Jaws – ‘Friend Like You’
At this rate, with so many brilliant Brummie bands doing the rounds, they’re gonna need a bigger B-Town. Jaws’ atmospherics and sweetly lazy melodies are more deliciously dazed than Peace, though just as summery and joy-inducing. Here they’re reminiscent of the poppiest Cure moments with a shoegazey stoner snuggliness.