20 Tracks You Have To Hear This Week (27/11/2013)
The latest from producer Dan Carey’s Speedy Wunderground project – in which bands (and Dan) cut a tune in a day – is this pulsating beast. It sounds like the darker, gnarlier cousin of the group’s last single ‘Solemn Skies’, and at almost seven minutes in length, is the band’s most epic moment yet. If they’re this good after just 24 hours, imagine what a few months in the studio will do for them.
Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor
Fresh off tour with These New Puritans and Factory Floor, one-man band William Doyle has scribbled on the line with Stolen Recordings, who’ll be releasing his Foals-punning long-player ‘Total Strife Forever’ in the new year. Here’s a glimpse in the shape of ‘Dripping Down’. It commences as a heartbroken electronic chorale, but as Doyle really pours his heart out, things lift skywards on wings of glimmering synth and a whole lot of hectic rim-shot percussion.
Louis Pattison, writer
Independent label Black Butter are doing an excellent job – they find the crème de la crème of new UK dance talent, and continue the inroads made by acts such as Disclosure and Rudimental – two bands who have taken British house and garage music to the top of the charts. This massive belter of jelly-wobbling bass and slinky soul from the Butter-signed north London duo will have everything, including your eyes, clapping along to its big, buxom beats.
Eve Barlow, Deputy Editor
Berlin-based Brit Planningtorock, aka Jam Rostron, has said her new album ‘All Love’s Legal’, out in February, will concern “transnational gender equality”. “Fall in love with whoever you want to” was the message of ‘Welcome’, which she posted online in October. On ‘Human Drama’ her vocal is pitch-shifted down and over a sparse production she sings: “Gender’s just a lie”. Direct, effective and an early indication she might top her excellent 2011 album ‘W’.
Phil Hebblethwaite, writer
This year’s Danny Brown album, ‘Old’, was full of production so oversized it sounded like hip-hop made by people who dream in neon. On ‘Sweeney Song’ –
a track made for the upcoming comp ‘Classic Drug References Vol. 1’ – with LA producer MNDSGN, things are roughed up a little, and the beats have a hint of the hissy scratch that’s all over MF Doom and Madlib’s ‘Madvillainy’ album. Even Danny Brown needs to kick back every now and then.
Tom Howard, Reviews Editor
Mid-set at Jay Z’s recent gigs, Jigga went offstage while Big Timba rocked out gently behind a control deck of keyboards. This was one of the tracks he played, now peppered with features – though Jay Z’s clocks in at a meagre 17 words. “What cha know bout me?/Not a motherfucking thing”, heaves Timbaland. We know nothing more but we’re intrigued.
Greg Cochrane, Editor, NME.COM
This is Solange Knowles at her finest, and in possession of that same fresh honesty that characterised Whitney Houston in her prime. ‘Cash In’ isn’t just an ambitious and rousing slice of neo-soul, or a touching paean to fiscal freedom (“Take your money to the bank/Tell ’em we gonna throw it all away”), it also marks a bold step on Solange’s path because it’s taken from the compilation ‘Saint Heron’, the first release on her own label, Saint Records.
Hayley Avron, writer
“'Savage' is about a friendship, its mysteries and its moments of excitement, and the way drugs played into all of it,” explains Majical Cloudz’s Devon Welsh, posting the recorded version of this non-album track online. LSD and alcohol swirl together with bitterness and regret in a bruised speedball of beauty typical of the Canadian duo’s ability to deliver the most devastating gut punch with the tiniest effort. The perfect soundtrack to the end of a torrid bromance.
David Renshaw, News Reporter
The first completely new cut to be taken from debut album ‘Sun Structures’ finds Kettering’s most glamorous in typically kaleidoscopic form. Underpinned by bassist Tom Warmsley’s clipped pace-keeping, but with enough harmonic flourishes to keep any hint of severity at bay, ‘Mesmerise’ is another solid bullet in Temples’ increasingly formidable arsenal. Though the band may rob from the past, they’re presently in a league of their own.
Lisa Wright, writer
‘Voices’ is a desolate wreck of soul music pieced together from Finnish producer Tommi Koskinen’s fractured ice-cave glitches, and singer Hanna Toivonen ladling her hugely impressive trained jazz vocals into the barren gaps. It’s all down to The xx that we take this kind of minimalist-electro Jazz Café fare seriously at the moment, of course, but let’s enjoy the decade’s brief cocktail happy hour while it lasts.
Mark Beaumont, writer
Internet geeks have their uses, and unearthing this new music from The xx’s prime beat-maker is one. Tucked away uncredited in a mix made by Spanish producer Pional, online detectives found out that it was the same song debuted by Jamie over the summer at his band’s Night + Day festivals. It’s a sublime six-minute shuffle with cooing vocals draping themselves over airy blips and midnight melodies.
Leonie Cooper, writer
Chet Faker, if that is his real name (it definitely isn’t), has been blessed with a bluesy, soulful voice that’s anything but fake. After fellow Australian Flume collaborated with him on ‘Left Alone’ earlier this year, the pair have now reunited to put out a three-track EP called ‘Lockjaw’. ‘Drop The Game’ is the pick of
the songs, as Chet preaches about the virtues of slowing down and chilling out over Flume’s layered, languid beats.
Kevin EG Perry, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
San Jose experimenter Jamie Stewart’s latest dose of aural menace collides death-ray synths, no-fi electronic dirge and operatic wails. It’s pretty out-there, but what did you expect from a musician whose new album is a mediation on death inspired by a Japanese porno? Stewart releases a Nina Simone covers record next month, but if ‘Stupid In The Dark’ is anything to go by it’ll be February’s ‘Angel Guts: Red Classroom’ that really has fans feelin’ good.
Al Horner, writer
A complete retooling of Depeche Mode’s 1990 perv-pop classic, with synths jettisoned in favour of a chunky guitar attack, ghostly echoing wails and a tremolo shimmer that takes the song into the desert-blues territory the Mode were trying to annexe. Bath’s swaggering The Family Rain reaffirm their already pretty impressive rocking credentials here, bolstering their armoury with rolling tattoos of drums and a riff of such pleasing girth you could wear it as a belt.
Matthew Horton, writer
While they write their first album for XL Recordings, NY rap crew Ratking drop ‘100’ to remind us that they’re still here and still the most exciting new rap group around. Textured raps from Patrick ‘Wiki’ Morales and MC Hak ride on sleek, bass-driven beats from Sporting Life and Ramon. The dissonance is unsettling but you keep coming back for more. “Keeping it hundred” – indeed, if they’re talking
about percentage of brilliance.
Lucy Jones, Deputy Editor, NME.COM
Rose Keeler-Schäffeler has been impressing for a while and looks set to continue to do so on her forthcoming debut album ‘Critical Heights’. This isn’t so much like being socked right between the eyes with her brilliance as affectionately tickled by it, the lo-fi guitar lines layered under the Brighton-based musician’s sugary vocals and simple drum clatters forming something charmingly ramshackle.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
According to singer Sam Smith, the Disclosure duo were “dribbling with happiness” when they managed to lure Chic legend Nile Rodgers into their studio for a collaboration. But there’s nothing slobbering or sloppy about ‘Together’: it’s a two-minute masterclass in seductive slink that marries Disclosure’s naughty, stuttering beat with a Rodgers guitar riff that’s so languidly funky it’s essentially an aural aphrodisiac.
Ben Hewitt, writer
Mogwai’s recent experience soundtracking classy-’cos-it’s-French zombie show The Returned may have rubbed off on their new album. This early taste conjures a similarly dreamy mood to their dappled-light TV work, with slow, pulsing synths and vocodered vocals. The album title, ‘Rave Tapes’, suggests the rest may not be quite so calming. Expect to get more of a taste of it as they close the curtains on ATP this weekend.
Dan Stubbs, News Editor
According to Twitter, Katy B has been staying in a fair bit recently in order to steam her vocal cords – a tactic that’s certainly paying off if her new single ‘Crying For No Reason’ is anything to go by. It’s an absoloute belter, with Katy licking her wounds after walking away from someone who needed her while piano chords and dramatic synths fill in the mix. Add a kick drum and you’ve got a power ballad fit
for a Rinse FM princess.
Hazel Sheffield, writer
Van Dyke Parks has been teasing ‘I’m History’ at live shows for a while, but finally released it last week to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President John F Kennedy’s assassination. Parks’ older brother was killed in Vietnam the same year. Both events resonated deeply on his debut solo album, 1968’s ‘Song Cycle’ – and they still do: “History’s filled with regret and it ain’t over yet”, Parks sings over romantic, hiccupping strings and oboes.
Laura Snapes, Features Editor
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