On her third album, the former Nickelodeon star sheds the cute popstar image, adopting a message of empowerment that rings true
10 Tracks You Have To Hear This Week (08/05/2013)
The sounds on repeat in the NME office this week, including These New Puritans, Beady Eye and A$AP Ferg
These New Puritans - 'Fragment Two'
He’s a dab hand when it comes to twisting melons, is our Jack Barnett. And at smashing them, too: for These New Puritans’ eerie 2010 LP ‘Hidden’ – a worthy recipient of NME’s Album Of The Year gong – he took a sledgehammer to pieces of fleshy fruit covered in cream crackers in order to ape the sound of a skull being smashed into smithereens. He’s not renowned for being Southend’s sternest and strangest mind-bending auteur for naught, you know. But as far as we know, no foodstuffs were harmed during the making of follow-up ‘Field Of Reeds’ (out this June). And judging by this first taster, Jack’s marching on sparser, more intimate climes, too. Gone are the discombobulating sounds that populated ‘Hidden’ to be replaced by something mellow, melancholy and disconcertingly simple. Which is exactly what makes it so bloody creepy: like being plunged into a kid’s dark, dank nightmare, it’s underpinned by disarming, nursery rhyme-like piano and brooding trills of bassoon, paving the way for Jack to get all moody and mournful. “Crushed glass by the train line” he sighs, hinting at some nefarious nighttime terrors. “There is something there… something is there”. Even without a sledgehammer, Jack’s a dangerous foe.
Ben Hewitt, writer
Black Lips - 'Cruising'
“Keep the wheel straight, don’t go over the line… Easy on the gas so the rubber don’t burn”. What is this – wild-ass rock’n’roll or a driving test around Stevenage? Thankfully, on this cut for Adult Swim’s Street Records label, their garage-punk engine is still revving off the dial.
Mark Beaumont, writer
Beady Eye- 'Second Bite Of The Apple'
“Tickle my feet with the NME”, sings Liam in this brass-parping, shaker-shuffling second track to be revealed from ‘BE’. Liam, we’re only too happy to oblige – pop round the office any time, we’ll tickle under your armpits too. (Disclaimer: it’s possible he’s saying “Tickle my feet with the enemy”, but that makes even less sense).
Dan Stubbs, News Editor
Clams Casino - 'Bookfiend'
Mr cloud rap Clams Casino is so distinctive in his production style that any release following his two mixtapes ‘Instrumentals’ and ‘Instrumentals 2’) sounds like history repeating itself. So thankfully DOOM is here to rap over his glitchy beats about his unique standpoint on Netflix: “Gets the chicks to the bed”.
Eve Barlow, Deputy Editor
Pet Shop Boys - 'Axis'
Good evening. Hammering, glossy Euro-disco for sir? Don’t mind if I do. The first taste of the Pet Shop Boys’ Stuart Price-produced new album is just as disreputably banging as you might expect, spinning your head round its axis of amyl with a ferocious robo-house mid-section.
Emily Mackay, writer
Waxahatchee - 'Swan Dive'
Katie Crutchfield’s way with a simmering melody and a snarky lyric is a breath of fresh air at present – she’s a master of singing tunes with zero pretension and a whole lotta feeling. ‘Swan Dive’ – all timid guitars and sad, battle-weary vocals – might just be the best thing she’s released yet.
Danielle Reed, writer
Atoms For Peace - 'Magic Beanz'
This little bonus from Thom Yorke’s supergroup (please don’t hit me) sounds like a nightmare in a folk club, with our creepy hero singing through a funnel over fizzing, clattering beats, eerie synths and lithe acoustic guitar. It
will set your teeth nicely on edge, if he’s left you with any.
Matthew Horton, writer
A$AP Ferg - 'Persian Wine'
Hey dude, I don’t know whether it’s all this cough syrup I keep swigging but everything seems to be moving slowly today. Like reeeeeaaaalllyy slooooooowlly. Hey, here’s A$AP Ferg, and he’s preaching! Preaching without all the starry fireworks of his main man Rocky, but sometimes you don’t need that. Sometimes sloooooooow and steeeeeeeadddy win the race.
Kevin EG Perry, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
Zomby - 'Soliloquy'
On which the masked producer provides a snippet with a whole lot of bass from his upcoming 33-track super-mega-album. If you like music that makes the world ending sound like an event that’ll be beautiful and terrifying in equal measure, you will dig.
Tom Howard, Reviews Editor
Earl Sweatshirt - 'Untitled'
Earl Sweatshirt’s star continues to rise with this new track that has, at live shows, featured pre-recorded rhymes from RZA. “I’ll fuck the freckles off your face, bitch”, he raps over a sloping beat. Despite the morally – and anatomically – dubious lyrics, it’s another appetite-whetter for his debut album, ‘Doris’.
Lucy Jones, Deputy Editor, NME.COM
A smarter and more mature film than the first Bad Neighbours, albeit one that still loves a good dick joke
A satisfying return to Verve form that’s also a churning maelstrom of death, riots, revolution, terrorism and two-faced politicians
Oscar Scheller’s been compared to Blur and Elastica, and that sounds about right
Medium-sized guests and the vibey sounds of tropical house combine on an album that's not quite euphoric