20 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week (21/5/2014)

Morrissey - World Peace Is None Of Your Business
You spend years waiting for someone to write a decent protest song, only for it to arrive in the most peculiar fashion. 'World Peace Is None Of Your Business' just is Morrissey's most overtly political song ever, with not a single word wasted, and not a single intonation left unconsidered. "Each time you vote, you support the process" is the sucker punch, delivered three times in a row but - and here's why it's so great – sung in a way that's warmer and more inviting than anything he's done in years. A more than welcome return.

Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor

Lykke Li - No One Ever Loved
The Swedish singer-songwriter's recent third album, 'I Never Learn', sees her embrace big, crushing ballads and a seemingly bottomless pool of heartbreak. This track, taken from the soundtrack of The Fault In Our Stars, an equally cheery-sounding film about two lovers who meet at a cancer support group, is drawn from a similar place, built on plaintive pianos, pitch-bent strings and Li's mournful croon. The queen of tearjerkers strikes again.

Dan Stubbs, News Editor

Seoul - White Morning
Montreal quartet Seoul channel the kind of ethereal dream pop that suggests their 'White Morning' in question is less of a festive snow scene and more the kind that would soundtrack a dreamy ascension up to the pearly gates. All washed out vocals and delicately picked melodies, it dapples and flutters angelically before fading out into lightly crackling synth samples, gently slipping away in a sea of tranquil calm before the storm of godly judgement.

Lisa Wright, writer

Towns - Too Tired
Weston-super-Mare’s Towns have been dropping tunes like wildfire ahead of the release of their debut album ‘Get By’ on June 2. This latest offering, ‘Too Tired’, is a woozy showcase of the band’s bubbling cauldron of ‘90s sounds. It casts Towns as being like The Verve on a reverse career trajectory; their roots are in big-chorus Britpop but they find themselves in a whirl of tremolos resembling My Bloody Valentine’s shoegaze. It’s less Blur, more blurred, basically.

James Balmont, writer

Mac Miller - Friends (feat Schoolboy Q)
To procure Mac Miler's latest mixtape you have to first build your ideal deli sandwich online (at oldjewish.com). An interesting mechanism. One slab of beef and a handful of gherkins later, you can be listening to the standout highlight - 'Friends' featuring Schoolboy Q, a lazy, salivating, old-skool jazzy jam. Next up: Kasabian ask you to submit ideas for your dream pancake filling to get their new album. Maybe.

Greg Cochrane, Editor, NME.COM

Viet Cong - Oxygen Feed
Straddling punk, psychedelia and campfire folk, Viet Cong’s is a prickly and unpredictable sound. The Calgary four-piece spent most of 2013 honing it in guitarist Monty Munro’s tiny basement studio. Taken from a tour-only cassette set for vinyl reissue in June, the melody-driven ‘Oxygen Feed’ pairs hypnotic guitars with bleary, barroom atmosphere. That’s no surprise given Munro and drummer Mike Wallace both played in sadly defunct art-rock band Women. Viet Cong are a captivating new proposition.

Ben Homewood, writer

Rhodes - Morning
Considering he only discovered he could sing last year, Hitchin’s David Rhodes has been busy. He’s already sold out London’s Sebright Arms three times, released his debut EP and supported London Grammar, Laura Marling and Rufus Wainwright. ‘Morning’, from his second EP, is a troubadour power ballad that sees Rhodes try to wake a lover over subdued guitars, his voice swelling into a chorus of pounding drums and soaring harmonies. One for the comedown playlist.

Hazel Sheffield, writer

Get Hot - Party
Individually, Jakwob and FTSE both make smart electronic music. Throw them together in a room, however, and they'll come back with something altogether more hardcore. 'Party' is two minutes of machine-gun drums and howled vocals, as Jakwob (James Jacob) beats the shit out of a drum kit and FTSE (Sam Manville) lets his anger boil over. This band sounds like a wail of frustration for our times.

Kevin EG Perry, writer

Cheerleader - Perfect Vision
Joe Haller and Chris Duran used to be a duo from Connecticut who made slick and well-produced pop treats. Then they moved to Philadelphia, hired three more people to bulk out their sound and started writing songs like ‘Perfect Vision’: a big and joyful ‘sunny weekend’ synth-rock tune complete with some ever-so-slightly sub-Springsteen sentiments (“every fire must begin with a spark”). But hey, it’s hard to philosophise when you’re three hours into a pool party.

Tom Howard, Assistant Editor

Chance The Rapper - XXL Freestyle
Chicago’s Chance the Rapper hasn’t done much in the way of actual rapping since rocketing to hip-hop prominence last year with breakout mixtape ‘Acid Rap’. His latest freestyle, filmed to mark his inclusion in rap mag XXL’s annual Freshman Class list of ones to watch, sees him continue to rebel: in just 90 seconds, it mutates from husky blues singing to existential slam poetry, snorting at God’s “good sense of hubris”. Rapper, crooner, poet – under whatever guise, Chance is going places.

Al Horner, Assistant Editor, NME.COM

Anna Calvi - Papi Pacify
Anna Calvi has a new covers EP out in July. The first taste is her rendition of FKA Twigs' unsettling 'Papi Pacify', which'll sit among reworks of tracks by David Bowie, Suicide, Connan Mockasin and more. If this one's anything to go by, it'll be a must-hear: Calvi's version is soulful and emotionally intense, replacing minimal electronics with lush strings and bluesy guitar and culminating in a lurching breakdown.

Lucy Jones, Deputy Editor, NME.COM

Fucked Up - Sun Glass
Fucked Up choose to begin 'Sun Glass' with 10 seconds of gentle acoustic strumming. But fear not, the Canadian hardcore band have not gone all Ed Sheeran on us. In fact, this latest cut from forthcoming album 'Glass Boys' packs all of the usual heavyweight punch we have come to expect. That it is also cut through with a summery, almost pop refrain from bassist Sandy Miranda is merely an added bonus.

David Renshaw, News Reporter

Manic Street Preachers - Europa Geht Durch Mich
If anyone's going to make a disco marching anthem featuring a guest appearance from a German film star (Nina Hoss) that references Kraftwerk, Neu! and various other bits of 20th century modernist art, it's Manic Street Preachers. A real shake up from the largely acoustic 'Rewind The Film', the trio sound fully engaged as a robotic beat pounds on relentlessly and James Dean Bradfield chants away about "European dreams and European screams". Age cannot dull them, the Manics are as vital as ever.

Andy Welch, writer

Poliça - Raw Exit
Taken from the deluxe reissue of last year's 'Shulamith' album - and soon available to pick up on these shores as part of a special 10" four track EP - 'Raw Exit' is a skittering, jittering asylum funker that sees Channy Leaneagh cooing sinisterly, "Who's ready to die alone?". Despite the singer's moody message, there's something strangely comforting about the squelchy edges and reggae riffs that rattle all around her.

Leonie Cooper, writer

Nick Cave - Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built For Two)
This song is part of visual artist Mark Ryden's new exhibit in Los Angeles – the Californian 'pop surrealist' has got a host of musicians ranging from Katy Perry to Tyler, The Creator to reinterpret 1892 ditty 'Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built For Two)'. Nick Cave's rendition is an eerie plink-plonk of merry-go-round organs and his throaty vocal. However, the video, which features the weird alien embryos floating around in a black abyss that appear on a recent batch of Bad Seeds merch, is the real highlight.

Jenny Stevens, Deputy News Editor

Cymbals Eat Guitars - Jackson
Cymbals Eat Guitars' calling card is a crash of violent triumph, whether sincerely meant or scathingly spat. It's the latter on the first song from the Staten Islanders' third album, which attacks the futility of getting back to normal after a friend's death, whether through anti-anxiety drugs or forced-smile trips to fairgrounds. The sensations here are transcendent and overflowing – weightlessness, "a delirious kiss" - but shifted off their axes into a heartbreaking seasickness.

Laura Snapes, Features Editor

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - As Always
Since their acclaimed self-titled 2005 debut, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have seen diminishing returns – and members. Only singer/songwriter Alec Ounsworth and drummer Sean Greenhalgh remain from the original line-up, but don’t write them off. Taken from their June 3-released fourth album, ‘As Always’ is impressive. “I’m too weak to fake it,” it begins, before building into a track of quite some drama and intrigue. Epic, but contemplative and openhearted, it deserves to put them back on the map.

Phil Hebblethwaite, writer

Lxury - Playground
Already a name to drop, Lxury – aka Croydon whippersnapper Andy Smith – has now got a debut EP to show off as well. 'Playground''s lead title track is a manic shot of sunshine that shimmers into view like The Avalanches' 'Since I Left You' before mixing breathless beats, dub, and childlike "la la la la"s to make a cute little curio. Dance to it at your peril. You're better off grinning along to its flowery sweetness.

Matthew Horton, writer

Sinead Harnett - No Other Way
Most of London singer Sinead Harnett’s previous output has seen her jumping on other people’s tracks, elbowing her way into mixes with Disclosure, Rudimental and Ryan Hemsworth along the way. ‘No Other Way’ is her second single all of her own and boasts the slink of AlunaGeorge, oozing over sleepy beats and Harnett’s caramel vocals. “Let me be your therapy,” she softly instructs at one point and, with a track this comforting and cool, it’s hard to refuse.

Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor

Kurt Vile - Albuquerque
Kurt Vile was once introduced to Neil Young, telling him, "I rip you off, just a little bit." The Philadelphian recently paid tribute to his hero more overtly, performing this cover of 'Albuquerque', from the classic 1975 album 'Tonight's The Night', on the Australian equivalent of Never Mind The Buzzcocks. Vile's version is respectfully true to the sleepy original, and features vocals from Phoebe Baker of Melbourne pop band Alpine. Neil can't mind a tribute when it's this good.

JJ Dunning, writer

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