20 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week (4/6/2014)
Short, sharp pop. That's what Merchandise frontman Carson Cox told NME the band's new full-length 'After The End' would sound like back in January, and 'Little Killer' more than backs it up. All major chords and a nagging, flamenco-inspired riff, the track is another move forward for the Floridians. They're a band who are never keen on staying static for too long, and this is the lightest, most conventional thing they've ever released. Bodes well for the album.
Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor
Having just provided foil for Damon Albarn on his ‘Everyday Robots’ album, Natasha Khan etches another collaborative notch into her microphone stand with this throwaway two-minute mood piece of spanglesome synths, airy sighing and general esoteric wibbliness. It’s the sort of thing that should soundtrack a slo-mo art film, so Kahn made one, largely of her dancing in her pants. Which, Lily Allen, is how you do it.
Mark Beaumont, writer
On their debut single ‘Slowburn’, Manchester’s Kult Country introduced themselves with some driving psych, underpinned by a motorik beat. For their second offering, they’re slowing things down and setting their sights on outer space. ‘Trembling Moon’ still offers up dappled psych riffs but there’s a blissful lethargy about them as frontman Yousif begs “don’t close your eyes” before seeking some self-assurance: “How was I for you?”
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
Warpaint have chosen to cover this song for the upcoming charity album 'Making Patterns Rhyme: A Tribute To Duran Duran', proceeds from which will go to Amnesty International. The original appears on 1982's 'Rio', but doesn't sound anywhere near as sparse or spectral as this, which could sit easily on the Californian foursome's last, rather downcast, self-titled record. Warpaint are not the first band to cover 'The Chauffeur', though – it has previously been done by artists as varied as Deftones and Sneaker Pimps.
JJ Dunning, writer
A minute of ‘God Level’ appears on Adidas’ World Cup advert over a montage of sporting badasses Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Dani Alves behaving majestically. Brilliantly, Kanye’s lyrics are so ambiguous they could maybe, just maybe, actually be about football. “You see sharks in the water/You don’t see murder like this, this often” he goes, like a man who can’t believe he’s just seen Real Madrid score three goals in 10 minutes to win the Champions League.
Tom Howard, Assistant Editor
Those who enjoy Grouper’s sparse slowcore folk will love the haunting sound of New Zealand brothers A Dead Forest Index. It’s “centred on themes of renewal and ancestry”, according to Adam and Sam Sherry, and its three languid minutes are led by strummed guitar and Adam’s mournful vocal. That Savages' Jehnny Beth is releasing this on her Pop Noire label is no surprise – both bands revel in dark minimalism.
Simon Jay Catling, writer
Lana Del Rey has always had the soured romance of the American Dream buzzing round her brain – the self-proclaimed "gangsta Nancy Sinatra" obsessed with a Great Gatsby-ish collage of money, sex and greed. But ‘Shades Of Cool’ comes on like that most British of institutions, James Bond: a dark and dangerous waltz that could have been scored by John Barry, with opulent, swooning strings as Lana moans, “I can’t break through your world”. She’ll break through yours, though.
Ben Hewitt, writer
A Fugazi-worthy blast of pissed-off punkoid clattering, 'Use Your Delusion' sees Greys frontman Shehzaad Jiwani gruffly hollering out his wishlist over a wall of thuggish riffs. "Wish I was born in New York/Wish I was born in LA/Wish I was born into the Royal Family", he offers, seemingly narked off that his band's from Toronto and not one of North America's more glamorous locales. If it means we can listen to more of their utterly urgent, raw rock’n’roll, we're hopping on the first flight to Canada.
Leonie Cooper, writer
Autobahn's Craig Johnson says 'Ulcer' is about "death anxiety, which I don't have any more”. The first track taken from the Leeds band's upcoming second EP '2' is tense and nasty. Autobahn stretch a krautrock beat, choppy guitars and Johnson's doomy vocal to the point of snapping, which they duly do during the crashing choruses. Dying might not worry them, but these punks sound just as disaffected and pissed off as their pals in Eagulls.
Ben Homewood, writer
Jaws may once have seemed like they were bringing up the tail end of the B-Town scene, but their sunny grunge numbers and hectic live shows over the past year have all but freed them of those shackles. With the announcement of their debut album comes this track of the same name, ‘Be Slowly’, full of jangling Dinosaur Jr chords and splashes of The Cure’s indie anthem ‘Just Like Heaven’. It’s their most summery track yet, and a sign of golden things to come.
James Balmont, writer
A bolt from the blue courtesy of US band Avi Buffalo, who released their first and only album in 2010 and promptly disappeared off the face of the planet. Finally, a second album beckons and 'So What' eradicates four long years of waiting with lead singer Avi Zahner-Isenberg chanting the title in melodic loops as the song builds and builds.
David Renshaw, News Reporter
This was the first track on the La Roux album sampler that arrived in the NME office back in March. The moment the tropical beats, addictive chorus and Chic-style guitar lines of this new single came over our stereo, the only words worth uttering were – fuck, is that… LA ROUX?! Move over, Daft Punk. Humans are back on the disco mic.
Eve Barlow, Deputy Editor
Grand Rapids crew La Dispute leave behind their usual articulate, story-driven post-hardcore for the raw brawn of Nirvana with this cover version. Frontman Jordan Dreyer doesn't growl with quite the same menace as Cobain, instead reciting Kurt's tale of abuse in the suburbs with sad, listless melancholy over grainy, angular guitars. Recorded in Nirvana’s native Seattle for Chicago website the AV Club’s Pioneering series, it’s a simple, sombre tribute – just the way it should be.
Al Horner, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
The first official single from Raekwon’s forthcoming new album ‘FILA’ (‘Fly International Luxurious Art’) is a staggeringly confident and effective slab of New York hip-hop, only mildly troubled by the chronic use of AutoTune on Akon’s chorus. No, it’s not about the videogame of the same name; it’s a “renegade salute” to what Rae called “all the male and female soldiers in the field” in a tweet when he released the song online. Are you ready for the massacre?
Phil Hebblethwaite, writer
The year's most mystery-drenched new band may come from south London, but 'Time' evokes the mean streets of 1970s New York, sounding like the theme from a long-lost blaxploitation movie thanks to a strutting beat, lurching funk bassline and high-pitched vocals. It's more proof that Jungle stand quite apart from any other new act of 2014 –and further promise that their self-titled, forthcoming debut album will be utterly unmissable.
Dan Stubbs, News Editor
The opening of ‘Always Boys’, which sees Alice Costelloe singing mournfully over acoustic guitars about a boy who left her, recalls Big Deal’s quieter early days. But two albums down the line and back with a new EP, this is Big Deal fully grown: after less than a minute, cymbals crash in and a grungy mash of guitars propels Costelloe out of breakup gloom. “Always boys that play guitar”, she sings triumphantly.
Hazel Sheffield, writer
It's been two years since Twin Shadow, aka George Lewis Jr, gave us a new album, but here he is teaming up with D'Angelo Lacy again – they both featured on Wrestlers' 'Say Anything' earlier this year. While Canadian duo Zeds Dead might normally specialise in low-IQ, fratboy EDM, Lewis' characteristically slick and soulful vocal elevates this track. A nice stopgap until the third Twin Shadow album.
Andy Welch, writer
The fact that London band LSA’s name stands for Love Stays Alive suggests they’ve got some faith in romance. However, this latest offering sounds like there may be some doubt creeping into their worldview. “I said I’d wait for you to open your eyes before I go running off with someone else/But it’s taken you so long, I’m tired of being alone”, sighs Will White over a suitably urgent guitar hook. They might be losing hope but this will give you plenty of belief in LSA.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
On this collaboration with jazzy Canadians BadBadNotGood, Ghostface Killah sounds gruff and dangerous. His aggressive bars ("//My Glock's fat, after the gun smoke//") loom like storm clouds over the bouncy jazz backing. Danny Brown's counter is perfectly timed, his childish gurgle provoking a cartoonish rap-off. The Detroit funnyman steals the song with a rant about a lady blocking his view of the telly: "Move yo' big ass, my favourite part on".
Ben Homewood, writer
The six-minute title track from PS I Love You's upcoming third album sounds like it's been shoved through a BBC Sound Effects Library, specifically the aisle marked "Lasers And Stuff". It begins with frontman Paul Saulnier sounding less like he's playing a guitar and more like he's guiding a tractor beam. Then comes an army of harmonies on the chorus and a noodling prog-rock outro. The Ontario two-piece sound weirder than ever before.
JJ Dunning, writer
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