The best tracks out this week, including Arctic Monkeys, Azealia Banks and Diplo
Earl Sweatshirt Feat. Vince Staples And Casey Veggies – ‘Hive’
Three years after his debut mixtape, ‘Earl’, two years after US magazine Complex found him at the Coral Reef Academy for troubled youths in Samoa and one year since he returned home to LA, Earl Sweatshirt is finally set to release new album ‘Doris’ next month. Thebe Neruda Kgositsile has spoken about how, in the early days of Odd Future, he was in competition with Tyler, The Creator to do the most “outlandish shit” – whether it was with lyrics about rape and cannibalism or with gross-out videos. But he’s also spoken about how he’s done a lot of growing up recently, and spent time honing his craft. Just like ‘Chum’, the first track from ‘Doris’ that was revealed in November, ‘Hive’ is gloomy but full of strong poetry, with Sweatshirt slowly and sadly drawling about coming “from a city that’s recession-hit” and talking about being as “dirty as the fucking sky that you praying to”. Big-name guests on the album include Frank Ocean and the US chart-topping Mac Miller, but the guests on ‘Hive’ are lower-key: early OF member Casey Veggies is great on the hook, and Long Beach rapper Vince Staples provides a deep verse. All in all, it’s a brilliantly haunting hip-hop track that you’ll want to loop over and over and over.
Siân Rowe, Assistant Reviews Editor
Yuck – ‘Rebirth’
The appropriately named first taste of where Yuck are heading to now that Daniel Blumberg’s left the band. On ‘Rebirth’ remaining band members Max Bloom, Mariko Doi and Johnny Rogoff sound less grungey than on their self-titled 2011 debut album – soft and clean, like a sharper take on Real Estate. Delightful.
Rhian Daly, writer
Arctic Monkeys – ‘2013’
A newie that won’t be on ‘AM’, ‘2013’ sees Alex Turner bemoaning social media over a fuzzy White Stripes riff: “As for Instagram and Twitter, she got caught in both lassoes”, then chirping up to offer a lifeline: “So baby take a walk with me”. As ever, he’s a randy alternative to the trappings of modern life.
Tom Howard, Reviews Editor
Mazzy Star – ‘California’
Hope Sandoval – the American singer-songwriter with a voice like biting into a soft, gooey Starbar – lies in a hammock beside a glistening brook while cute birds and woodland creatures strum acoustic guitars around her, dreaming of floating glacially to California to hear “bells ringing in the square’’, as if South Central is a bit like Sicily. What’s not to love?
Mark Beaumont, writer
Azealia Banks – ‘Venus’ (Ibiza Edition)
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Paul Oakenfold persuades Azealia to leave her ego at the door on this old-school trance banger named after the Roman goddess of sexuality. So when you find yourself on a dancefloor in Ibiza, Magaluf or Stockport trying
to catch the eye of some neon-clad beauty, a toga would be a strong look.
Kevin EG Perry, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
The Weeknd – ‘Belong To The World’
The one that’s got Geoff Barrow in a tizz. Whether it samples Portishead’s ‘Machine Gun’ or not – and the man otherwise known as Abel Tesfaye insists not – the metallic judder propels the most dynamic Weeknd track yet,
with a proper chorus and Tesfaye declaring, “It’s something I relate to/Your gift of nonchalance”.
Matthew Horton, writer
The Naked And Famous – ‘Hearts Like Ours’
Their track ‘Young Blood’ may have been ubiquitous on TV trailers a few years back, but it didn’t quite manage to make the second part of this New Zealand band’s name come true. The epic, wide-eyed and unashamedly massive ‘Hearts Like Ours’ should set them up as masters of next year’s festivals though. Teen movie synth-rock at its finest.
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Dan Stubbs, News Editor
Moon King – ‘Only Child’
This taster from Toronto duo Moon King’s forthcoming full-length album ‘Obsession II’ comes on all softly scuzzy with brat-yelped vocals and big blooms of fuzz, just like Sleigh Bells fighting their way out of a big ball of cotton wool. An image for the ages.
Ben Hewitt, writer
Diplo – ‘Crown’
Diplo released this track for free to celebrate a million people following him on Twitter. And to think they say that music is cheapened in the digital age. It’s a weird one – a mighty mash of bass, trap, dubstep, trance and R&B. EDM gone mad. It’ll be huge.
Phil Hebblethwaite, writer
Johnny Marr – ‘The It-Switch’
This B-side from Marr’s current single ‘New Town Velocity’ could easily have made the final cut on his debut solo LP ‘The Messenger’. Laced with the ex-Smiths man’s trademark guitar licks and Bobby Gillespie-style vocals, ‘The It-Switch’ is spine-tingling.
Damian Jones, writer