20 Tracks You Have To Hear This Week (16/10/2013)
A friend described last week's Later… With Jools Holland performance as "like watching George Formby murdering an Arctic Monkeys B-side". Harsh maybe, but not inaccurate. What rescues 'Slumville Sunrise' is Bugg's gritty charm and endearing dedication to make sure you feel the song, straining on every line like he's gasping for air. It's quick, catchy, and the Shane Meadows-directed video will make it even more memorable.
Mike Williams, Editor
Vampire Weekend bassist Chris Baio has been quietly pursuing a sideline as a DJ/producer for around 18 months now. His second single as Baio - see what he did there? - is a lot tougher than last year's 'Sunburn Modern'. The sub bass drone is an echo of Detroit techno icon Kevin Saunderson, while the squelching synths and fragmented vocals are bang on the retro house dancefloor trend.
Chris Cottingham, writer
Accompanied by a video starring Aimee Mann, J Mascis and Sharon Van Etten's take on '70s troubadour John Denver's 'Prisoners' sees fuzz-rock guitars replace the rootsy acoustics of the original. Dinosaur Jr mainman Mascis takes centre stage, splicing wailing solos into Denver's tale of a wage-slave life in the sticks. But it's Van Etten whose contribution makes this so special - her backing vocals haunt this like a sad, sombre ghost.
Al Horner, writer
It's no surprise to hear Chance The Rapper pop up on his mate Vic Mensa's new mixtape 'Innanetape'. Its melding of post-Kanye, soul-infused hip-hop, a harder rap attack and moments of a '90s-era free-and-breeziness has drawn comparisons to Chance's 'Acid Rap' mixtape (on which Mensa guested). On the smooth-sung, fast-spat 'Lovely Day', he's Mensa by name, smart by nature.
Emily Mackay, writer
"Put the knife under the hood/If you find it send it straight to Hollywood", drawls Lady Gaga, making you think 'Aura', the latest track to be lifted from forthcoming album 'Artpop', is going to be some kind of Shirley Bassey James Bond anthem with shades of Ennio Morricone. Then it all goes wild, with crunchy EDM beats blaring out and Gaga asking if we want to see her naked. Of course.
Lucy Jones, Deputy Editor, NME.COM
Recent Radar stars Jungle continue their assault with this hypnotic serving of late-night drama. If The xx ever decided to swap their all-black get-ups for a bit of fluoro print and had an intense evening out on the rave with Yannis Philippakis at his moodiest, they'd most likely all be losing their collective shit to this bleak banger. At once seductive and a little bit mean, this is the sound of London in 2013 - and it's glorious.
Leonie Cooper, writer
Just the breather that's needed after the excitement of the Haim sisters' chart tussle with Justin Timberlake. 'Edge', co-penned with producer and songwriter George Lewis Jr, aka Twin Shadow, is an altogether mellower tonic than you'll find on most of their debut album 'Days Are Gone'. Still underpinned by Este's '80s bass grooves, it's a song about longing. "I was always running/Always hurt", pines Danielle. Sit back, and drink it in.
Greg Cochrane, Editor, NME.COM
'Queen County (4 Women)' lifts the break from Bob James' 'Take Me To The Mardi Gras', pitches it way down and adds keys and two guest rhymers to create soul and bite. It's the standout offering from the excellent new EP/mixtape 'And That's Your Time' ahead of an album proper, due next year on Sub Pop. Erykah Badu: watch your back.
Phil Hebblethwaite, writer
Two years since Wild Flag released their sublime debut, alas, there are no signs of a follow-up. But excitingly, Mary Timony has a new band just as direct as WF (and her previous groups, Autoclave and Helium). Ex Hex are Timony, Laura Harris and Betsy White, who snuck a song on Bandcamp last week - all classic rock licks and Timony calling with trademark supercilious breathiness for someone to goddamn be straight with her.
Laura Snapes, Features Editor
As played for the first time by Damon Albarn when he was a guest DJ on Radio 2. Left over from the sessions for Gorillaz's 2010 album 'Plastic Beach', 'Whirlwind' features the Lebanese National Symphony Orchestra and is 101 seconds of minor-key classical music. Strings squeak above the clutter of percussion, giving the piece a sad eeriness. It makes you wonder what else Albarn's got hidden in that drawer marked 'unreleased'.
Tom Howard, Reviews Editor
Four Tet's Kieran Hebden took advantage of his Rinse FM set to play a previously unreleased collaboration with Burial. It's everything you'd want and expect from their meeting of minds: dark and brooding, but with a soulful vocal line and a beat that makes you want to dance, even if it's in the shadows. "I hope someone's recording this for YouTube," said Hebden mischievously when he dropped it. Thank the gods of music that somebody was.
Kevin Perry, Assistant Ed, NME.COM
Following up the bone-ticklingly fun 'Batches & Cookies' (2013's answer to Kreayshawn's 'Gucci Gucci'), new single 'WERK Part II' sees the Minneapolis singer-rapper playfully announcing herself ("Bubububububu-big gurl/T-t-t-t-t-t-t-this is my world") over skittering trap beats and bold yapping. Lizzo brings colossal attitude to her audacious raps, and her album 'Lizzobangers' is coming soon. Move over, Miley Cyrus.
Eve Barlow, Deputy Editor
The B-side to Eagulls' single 'Nerve Endings' does not, like the A-side, come with a video filled with decaying brain matter. So the Leeds band's Killing Joke cover has to be uncompromising in different ways. Their take on the post-punk track ups the tempo, throws in effects pedals and adds George Mitchell's dead-eyed bark to the nihilistic foundation. It's dark, but weirdly danceable.
Lisa Wright, writer
Taken from their imminent new EP 'Five Spanish Songs', the latest track from Canadian musician Dan Bejar's prolific Destroyer is a thumping slab of glam rock that couldn't be more different to the romantic soft rock of the band's 2011 album 'Kaputt'. 'El Riot' was written by Spanish musician Antonio Luque of the band Sr Chinarro, because, as Bejar says, "The English language seemed spent, despicable, not easily singable."
Jenny Stevens, Deputy News Editor
Sparse and subtle beats are laid slow and steady under Rosie Lowe's emotional vocal in this piano-led track from her soon-to-be-released debut EP, 'Right Thing'. Benefiting from the dual production expertise of The Invisible's Dave Okumu and Kwes, Lowe is stepping out from the guest vocal shadow (she was on Lil Silva's 'No Doubt') and going it alone. Thick with emotion and heavy with soul, this classy lament makes for a beguiling solo debut.
Hayley Avron, writer
On page 16 of this week's NME, Toy reveal that an in-studio smoke machine and a single laser helped them achieve a suitably psychedelic mood when recording new album 'Join The Dots', and the chugging, eight-minute title track suggests all dimensions of time and space collapsed in that small south London room. Built for long, dark nights, the album is due in December.
Dan Stubbs, News Editor
Dapper Parisian Gesaffelstein is like techno's Patrick Bateman: he looks like a Davidoff model but his beats are menacing and as razor-sharp as his designer suits. 'Hate Or Glory' does brutal minimalism well, with its drum machine hammering out an ode to industrial dance, a screamy sample that's straight out of a Dario Argento horror film, and squelchy bleeps channelling early-'90s Detroit. In short, it's like dancing in a nightmare.
Kate Hutchinson, writer
They've come a long way since they were 2007's 'International Tweexcore Underground'. The indie purists have gained a bit of muscle and it shows in a galloping Duane Eddy-ish guitar riff, a seesawing earworm chorus and less yelping from Gareth. He comes up with a killer phrase instead - "A heart of stone/Rind so tough it's crazy/That's why they call me the avocado, baby" - before everything descends into a mess of woah-ohs and splintering drums.
Matthew Horton, writer
The only new track on Australian producer Harley Streten's deluxe reissue of his debut album opens with dramatic piano tinkles, and is far more classical than you'd expect from one used to orchestrating heaving dancefloors. Womps and synths return things to familiar territory, before American rapper Stalley throws us deep into a drama where the key scenes are a bizarre mix of being misunderstood and feeling like Tom Cruise.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
London's best new band whip up another dose of glittery wonder on 'Under The Night Time', the B-side to debut single 'Follow'. Less immediate than its flip side, this track instead displays Telegram's ability to veer off the pop road and down the muddy banks of sonic swirls with a stunning Led Zep-style intro. Check them out on tour with Temples this month for an unmissable double-header of psych magic.
David Renshaw, News Reporter
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