Zachary Cole Smith has overcome a multitude of problems to make this intensely powerful album
10 Tracks You Have To Hear This Week (7/04/12)
Liars, Regina Spektor, Beck
Having been lucky enough to have an early peek at two Liars albums now, I can still feel the skull-rattling shock delivered when ‘Scissor’, the first track to be released from ‘Sisterworld’, suddenly maimed the brain with brutal noise, having lulled it with sparse beginnings. This, the lead-off track from its follow-up, is a very different kind of comeback. Instead of slapping you into attention, it beguiles, subtly shifting in mood and texture, krautrock rhythms and textures oscillating round Angus Andrew’s softly haunted voice as he intones, “I’m running out beyond life”. Not the first time Liars have painted in subtle colours, but unlike the unsettling ambiences of yore, the mood here is lush, almost… soothing.
Teaser videos posted on their website (Andrew stumbling about a studio in a harness, mic-ed up books, mysterious poltergeist activity backed by various tones, bloops and samples) suggest their work on the new record, due out June 4, has been an experimental riot, with Andrew and guitarist Aaron Hemphill having locked themselves away in a remote mountain cabin to write. Their cabin fever leads to our delirious dream, as the track flows smoothly to a climax of odd beauty, the drums picking up the pace through a cloud of fizzing, whirring synths. I can’t wait for more surprises.
Azealia Banks X Diplo - 'Fuck Up The Fun'
Internet-ass bitches beware, Azealia has a few things to say to you – and most of them begin with “fuck”. Across tight snare raps and a Diplo-produced rhythm Banks delivers her fastest, filthiest missive yet. And if you bitches are still on Myspace, heaven help you.
Membrain - 'Airic'
Pushing further into the glitch-hymn underbelly, the Membrain project finds Grimes and Cop Car Bonfire’s Tim Lafontaine slicing at your cerebral cortex with gleeful precision. ‘Airic’ is like Burial remixing ‘Visions’, as hazily warped and difficultly beautiful as you’d expect that to sound.
Regina Spektor - 'Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)'
Her new album, ‘What We Saw From The Cheap Seats’, has been produced by Mike Elizondo, who is the guy Dr Dre calls whenever he needs a pop hit. Here he’s assisted Regina in a similar way, layering on calypso drums and trumpets on a tune that figuratively screams ‘SUMMER SMASH’.
DZ Deathrays - 'Dollar Chills'
The only chills you’ll be getting from this one are the kind that occur when you’ve been up for 72 hours straight, still determinedly keeping the party alive. Full of dirty basslines and skronky guitars, this is like Pulled Apart By Horses covering Does It Offend You, Yeah? or the cast of Skins vomiting on your brain. In a good way.
Japandroids - 'The House That Heaven Built'
Japandroid’s debut, ‘Post-Nothing’, made not only visceral rock but the whole world feel simple, fun, primal and goofy, and the early signs are that nothing has changed in the three years they’ve been away. Packed with grotty riffs and drunken “whoa whoas”, this is piss-drenched garage at its best.
Jai Paul - 'Jasmine'
It has been more than two years sine we heard from XL's one-to-watch Jai Paul, but the follow-up to his debut single 'BTSTU' (sampled by both Beyonce and Drake) doesn't disappoint. 'Jasmine' is built around a beautifully cascading guitar line, with Jai's Prince-esque croon - one of the lushest vocals you'll hear all year - sending it skyhigh.
Beck - 'Looking For A Sign'
Written for the soundtrack to new film Jeff Who Lives At Home, this grizzled acoustic lament suggests Beck has been listening to a shedload of Neil Young recently. If it’s a primer for his long-awaited 11th album, it could well signal a return to the gorgeous melancholia of 2002’s ‘Sea Change’ – which is not a bad move at all.
The Streets - 'Weak Become Heroes' (King Krule remix)
It’s 10 years since The Streets’ debut album came out and to celebrate, Archy Marshall has given ‘Weak Become Heroes’ a woozy remix, complete with a barely audible rap of his own. It’s OK, but has this track really aged that well? The idea of a life-changing ecstasy epiphany in 2012 just seems so… old hat.
Dirty Projectors - 'Gun Has No Trigger'
Dave Longstreth and his coven of singers return with a few choice words for folk in power. Played out over a slow groove, D-Lo preaches that victory belongs to those who look outside the window at the bristling, impotent population. “The crowd will yell, but the gun has no trigger”, he hiccups, as the bass ricochets faster.
This article originally appeared in the April 7th issue of NME
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