Los Angeles punk crew hit a sweet spot between hedonism and poignancy on a multi-layered second album
10 Tracks You Have To Hear This Week (25/11/09)
Vampire Weekend, The Bravery, The Maccabees
1. Vampire Weekend – 'Cousins'
Thrashy and bratty in the mode of ‘A-Punk’, this first proper single from ‘Contra’ is a fun-packed, bell-ringing, yelpy and scratchy riot with the rhythmic structure of a baby horse learning to walk in rollerskates. The video’s pretty ace too, featuring Ezra and the boys careering down bunting-strewn backstreets on luggage trolleys as ticker-tape rains down.
2. The Bravery - 'Slow Poison'
Not content with penning songs that make Colombian pop princess Shakira sound like some rabid, sex-mad vixen, Sam Endicott has emerged from New York’s darkened, dank crevices after what seems like an eternity to regroup his indie synth outfit The Bravery. But rather than hankering back to the electro sleaze of ‘An Honest Mistake’ the first track to be lifted from the quintet’s third studio album is a gloomy, overcoat-wearing indie anthem, like a bequiffed bad-boy version of White Lies, soulfully blissful and emotionally charged. Brave indeed.
3. Doom – 'Gazzillion Ear (Thom Yorke Remix)'
The artist formerly known as MF DOOM, aka hip-hop supremo Daniel Dumile, gets the treatment from the Radiohead frontman. Yorke’s falsetto-prone vocal seems to glide effortlessly over ‘Gazzillion Ear’’s menacing rhythms; quite the feat considering that the original’s sturdy beats were provided by the much-missed legendary producer J Dilla and were in no need of fixing.
4. Wolf Gang – 'The King And All Of His Men (Gaggle Remix)'
The sprightly and dandyish second single from our favourite new romantic enigma comes with a host of remixes, not least this crunching, Soulwax-ish ravaging from the good ladies of Gaggle. Poor boy never stood a chance.
5. Chew Lips - 'Slick'
There’s something compulsive about Chew Lips’ minimal, perfect electro pop, like Tetris or pistachio nuts. If Tigs and the boys have more hooks like this and the awesome ‘Solo’ tucked away on their debut album, we’re going to be masticating our own faces in sheer excitement.
6. Pascal Babare – 'Ceremony'
Normally we’re in favour of people staying as far away from Joy Division covers as possible. It’s just silly, like standing next to someone much hotter than you. Young Aussie oddball Pascal Babare has forced us into a climbdown with this sweet cover of the moment the dark northern overlords became New Order following Ian Curtis’ death. For such a heavy song, he makes it sound floaty light.
7. Beach House - 'Norway'
Grizzly Bear’s best buds, this Maryland duo specialise in warm, woozy dreampop to sink into in the same kind of vein as The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart or Asobi Seksu. Victoria Legrand’s smokey swoop of a voice could tame lions to contentedly purring kittens, and this sun-dappled gem suggests forthcoming third album ‘Teen Dream’ will be no less brilliant than the preceding two.
8. Bicycle Thieves - 'Stop To Start'
You might not be able to trust Liverpool lads Bicycle Thieves with your two-wheeled conveyance, but if you’re after someone to reignite your interest in the thrills of straight-up indie rock’n’roll, you’re in safe hands. There’s something of Editors (when they weren’t rubbish) in their moody atmospherics, but they’re a much rougher-edged type of Penny Farthing-nicker.
9. Kurran And The Wolfnotes - 'Whatabitch'
Country-flecked indie with a melancholy jangle, sir? Right this way please… They’re named after the howling noise a guitar makes if you hit it too hard, but there’s nothing dissonant about KATW. This lovely, Decembrists-ish single means they’re sure to be vying with Mumford and Noah for the soft hearts of folk kids.
10. The Maccabees/Roots Manuva – 'No Kind Words'
The long-rumoured collaboration is finally here, and it’s everything we could have hoped for. All south London boys, The Maccabees and Manuva are a scarily perfect fit, Roots’ wily, wry words twisting around the tense post-punk of this longtime NME Stereo favourite.
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