20 Tracks You Have To Hear This Week (29/1/14)
One of the biggest grime tunes of the past few months is finally getting an official release via PMR (Disclosure, Jessie Ware). Although a veteran of the scene, Meridian Dan will release his debut album later this year. Here, he recruits JME and Big H for a frenetic burst of energy, all three bigging up their vehicle credentials over a chrome-plated beat. Don't bet against this track following Dizzee and Wiley into the Top 40.
David Renshaw, News Reporter
Bauhaus' original version of 'Bela Lugosi's Dead' – named for the actor famous for playing Count Dracula – creeps along in nine minutes of Cramps-like psychobilly weirdness. In Chvrches’ hands, the sound is somewhere between Eurythmics and the synth theme from John Carpenter's 'Halloween', but candy coated by Lauren Mayberry's sugar-drop vocals. Find it on the soundtrack to forthcoming movie Vampire Academy, which by rights should be full of the sound of Hollywood flogging a dead horse.
Dan Stubbs, News Editor
Tweens are a three-piece from Cincinnati, Ohio and this bubblegum punk single announces their arrival by bursting all over your eardrums like Karen O fronting the Ramones. It’s a righteous din with a pop sheen, as if Phil Spector had produced Be Your Own Pet. Excellently named frontwoman Bridget Battles exhorts her lover to be less sweet. She keeps saying she wants me to be mean, but I can't - they're totally fucking rad.
Kevin EG Perry, writer
Output has never been an issue for Rose Keeler-Schäffeler aka Keel Her, who somehow found time to post a new track to SoundCloud every day for several months. ‘Roswell’ reinforces her position as the new queen of lo-fi, a low-key beauty that encapsulates her style; a central idea doused in fuzz and echo with beach-pop melodies, drawling vocals and a guitar line you’ll snag your tights on. It’s low on complexity but big on emotion.
Hayley Avron, writer
“We RATKING… Canal! Canal!” This is the sound of Ratking’s return. You’ll recall the XL-signed, teenage New York rap crew –consisting of Patrick 'Wiki' Morales, MC Hak and Sporting Life – from 2012’s opinion-splitting ‘Wiki93’ EP; a spare, aggressive collection of rowdy raps over Clams Casino-aping trap beats, with titles like ‘Piece Of Shit’. On ‘Canal’ the laidback assault continues: “Open your eyes, wake up, when the city gets loud,” whines Wiki until you’re irate and ready to rage.
Eve Barlow, Deputy Editor
Mississippi’s two-piece Bass Drum Of Death are for fans of the ‘Nuggets’ compilation and the current crop of Californian garage artists, like Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees and White Fence. This new single, released to tie-in with their US tour, follows their second album from 2013 and features a very early Kinks-like riff with frontman John Barrett singing: “Anytime you look you’ll see me tryin’, every time I look you’ll see me dyin’.” Everything OK, pal?
Phil Hebblethwaite, writer
Snotty Cleveland post-hardcore punks Cloud Nothings are down to a trio now with guitarist Joe Boyer taking his leave, but this stormer from their upcoming third album ‘Here And Nowhere Else’ is no less of a raw garage-rock assault. From a churning lo-fi verse to a flying, buzzing, singalong chorus, 'I'm Not Part Of Me' hurtles by and imagines a world where Dinosaur Jr really did win the alt.rock wars.
Matthew Horton, writer
The latest preview of what to expect from Leamington Spa duo Beck Wood and John Ridgard’s debut album ‘Soft Friday’, ‘Cast A Shadow’ struts as hard as The Kills’ finest work, pausing only to inject some mind-bending psychedelic motifs. “You make me move like I gotta/You make me move I wanna,” sings Wood, all sultry over Ridgard’s paisley-flecked garage riffs. Sexy, smoky and totally enthralling, it’s got us counting down the days til their LP arrives.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
As if Drenge frontman Eoin Loveless wasn’t busy enough touring the world with his brother and bandmate Rory, Blood Red Shoes have roped him in to feature on the B-side for their latest single ‘An Animal’, meaning Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell can take a bit of a breather. Loveless’ almost-spoken vocal suits the ballsy riff-and-drum combination, while the lyrics, with streets turning to ice and all manner of sub-zero pleasures, is suitably menacing.
Andy Welch, writer
Quincy Hanley's third LP and his major label debut, 'Oxymoron', is one of the most eagerly anticipated hip-hop albums of the year. Here’s the latest cut, an old school ‘90s edged, Alchemist-produced, piano-soul sampling mood-rap banger. Following Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy is well on his way to being the next rapper from the Black Hippy group to go global, especially if this sludgy, atmospheric slab of awesome is anything to go by.
Leonie Cooper, writer
Fast rising NY rapper Markel Scott, aka Bishop Nehru, hops on a deliciously chilled Disclosure production for this new single, effortlessly spitting rhymes about “aiming for the top, non-stop” over choppy codeine-slowed synths and a boom bap beat. It’s a different collaboration that hip-hop heads are truly excited for – Nehru’s long-awaited album with rap veteran MF Doom – but in the meantime this is a brilliant three minutes of new school rap flavour.
Al Horner, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
The former Sonic Youther is really settling into his new patch in Stoke Newington, if this solo single is anything to go by. A spunky proto-punk rabble-rouser that sees Thurston spitting lyrics about sabotage, revolutionary politics and “wildcat strikes”, it’s a sort of abstract social history about the Angry Brigade, a bunch of left-wing urban guerillas who operated out of east London in the early ‘70s. Ends with the words: “We may have to use a toy grenade!”
Louis Pattison, writer
Unless you count 2003 rough cuts EP ‘Democrazy’, ‘Everyday Robots’ is the first material from the ridiculously prolific songwriter to simply be credited to Damon Albarn. It is, thankfully, everything you’d want from an artist who’s always resolutely resisted pigeonholing. Peppered with samples and underpinned by hip-hop beats and an eerie string motif, it may seem experimental, but strip it back and it’s an ‘Under the Westway’-esque piano lament as gorgeous as anything Albarn's ever written.
Lisa Wright, writer
Get the bunting out because Beck is back with an album in February, six years since his last. If the first single from it is anything to go by, he hasn’t cheered up much in the interim. “I’m so tired of being alone,” he sings in ‘Blue Moon’ over a mandolin and drums pounding like a slowly beating heart. The cooing bridge even features what sounds like an oboe, rocking out. Whatever helps, I guess.
Hazel Sheffield, writer
If you thought Disclosure were already big, this is the moment they go nuclear. During the US tour the Lawrence brothers hit the studio with R&B legend Mary J Blige to collaborate on a new version of 'F For You'. Along with a super cool video of Howard, Guy and Blige outlined in the trademark Disclosure scribble it pushes the ‘90s house sound to another level – and predictably the top of the US charts.
Lucy Jones, Deputy Editor, NME.COM
Some of FAMY share another band with ex-members of WU LYF, but there’s none of Los Porcos’ disco grooves on ‘Donkey’. In fact, the Londoners seem to offer their own take on the departed Mancunians’ heavy pop. Reverb dials are turned up full, while the pounding drum rhythms sound like they’ve been dropped in a cave, vocals battling for attention amidst their clanging tumult. There are hooks among this though, lifting it from mere bedlam.
Simon Jay Catling, writer
LA-based Kassia Conway might be an unknown entity in the UK right now but expect all that to change over the course of 2014. ‘Big Talk’ introduces the bleach blonde singer as an East Coast take on Karen O, loaded with the same bold and colourful sense of fun and give-a-fuck attitude but with a way sunnier disposition. It’s electro-tinged, indie-friendly pop with its lip slightly curled and should, by rights, send Conway stratospheric.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
Jenn Wasner is a shapeshifter: a sweet UK-G-influenced warbler as Dungeonesse, singer of groove-heavy torch songs as Flock Of Dimes, and conjurer of lugubrious magic with Wye Oak, her main gig with Andy Stack. The Baltimore band have also had an overhaul for their fourth studio album (due later this year): 'The Tower' sounds like the dream of Arthur Russell and Kate Bush collaborating, a baroque-formal synth two-step where Wasner confronts "the fear of dying incomplete".
Laura Snapes, Features Editor
There’s always been something naughtily scuzzy about Breton: an eagerness to undercut their arch art-rock with helter-skelter beats and eschew the polite airs-and-graces of Alt J et al. ‘S Four’, the first taster from the London four-piece’s upcoming ‘War Room Stories’, is no different: it’s a slow-burning little thing which starts off poised and pristine before a heavy WHOMP and jittery drums take hold, darting to and fro over a collision of skittering noise.
Ben Hewitt, writer
In which the Godmother of New York punk takes on Rihanna's hot-eyed mega-ballad from her last album 'Unapologetic' in some wobbly YouTube footage a New York gig at the end of last year. The result is a starker, rawer, take on the original – peppered with Smith's typical self-lacerating humour as she declares she's "nervous" midway through. She needn't have been – it's better than any of the covers she put to record on her 2007 album '12' and evokes the devastatingly poignant heartbreak of 'Pissing In A River'.
Jenny Stevens, Deputy News Editor
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