20 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week (27/8/2014)
‘Breakdown’ is the lead single from 'Cosmic Logic', Peaking Lights' fourth album, in which kraut percussion shuffles and Indra Dunis’ playful vocals take centre stage. Skewed sound effects and sampled synth melodies jostle for attention like a group of digital schoolchildren. It all makes for an animated re-introduction to the LA electronic duo’s addictive and experimental pop sound.
James Balmont, writer
Like nearly everything Only Real (aka west Londoner Niall Galvin) has done so far, new track ‘Pass The Pain’ is as vibrant, colourful and youthful as something off an ‘80s children’s TV show. “I spun the plan and I made it here in my underpants,” he raps over a rippling azure guitar line that brings a sunkissed edge to his inherently London sound. All signs point to his forthcoming debut album being equally fun and lush.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
You may know Cyril Hahn as the remix maestro responsible for a popular Destiny's Child 'Say My Name' rework. Since then, he’s moved into producing his own stuff and 'Open', a track from new EP 'Voices', suggests it's a smart swerve. Starting with a stabbing Moroder-esque bassline, washes of fellow PMR label-mate Ryan Ashley's vocals come crashing over his pop-house pulses. "For you to leave my heart wide open," he sings.
Lucy Jones, Deputy Editor, NME.COM
Send ‘Seven Nation Army’ on a spooky gallop into a solar system inhabited by blood-splattered rap ghouls and you’ve got ‘Cosplay’, the sinister new single from Flying Lotus’ cartoon MC alter ego, Captain Murphy. Steven Ellison has been delayed in releasing a full album under his Murphy guise because he reckons Kendrick Lamar “took all my beats” for his second record. On this evidence, it’ll be a malevolent jazz-rap trip to remember.
Al Horner, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
Katy B adds to her canon of indisputable pop bangers with this dancehall gem released just in time for the end of the summer. The song comes laced with misery though, as Katy realises her boyfriend isn't as committed to her any more as his BlackBerry flashes with messages from other girls. "Now I'm feeling all alone, you're in the bedroom on your phone", she sings.
David Renshaw, News Reporter
Electronic wunderkind Nicolas Jaar and multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington follow their exploratory ventures into dance-prog fusion on last year's 'Psychic' EP with a brooding disco stomper. Again, it calls on a disorientating multitude of genres – complete with the kind of tumbling bass intro that Nile Rogers would be proud of, drivetime guitar licks, whirring synths and a series of Robocop vocals.
Jenny Stevens, Deputy News Editor
Both 'Cut 4 Me' singer Kelela and Le1f are masters of the art of wrapping their words around supremely zoned-out chunks of sound. On ‘OICU’, producer P Morris is responsible for the disorientating electronics that the vocalists jump all over to enhance the wired atmosphere. “You lookin’ at me lusty now, I wanna see you now” he raps. “Boy, you should be smoking a blunt in the bed next to me” she sings. It’s almost too much fun to handle.
Tom Howard, Assistant Editor
The release of Caribou’s fifth album, also titled ‘Our Love’, is nearing closer with every waking moment, which for anybody who has been stuck in a loop of ‘Can’t Do Without You’ for most of the summer is excellent news. Canadian electro wizard Dan Snaith follows up that massive tune with this climactic ode to dancing lovers, which at 2:30 seconds descends into shape-pulling bass beats and a warm, lovey dovey rapture.
Eve Barlow, Deputy Editor
Alex Zhang Hungtai is known for taking a sledgehammer to conventional ideas regarding song structure. Accordingly, ‘Displaced’, the first track to appear from his ‘Stateless’ album due November, shows him in drone mode, agitated saxophones honking over a single synthesised chord while a viola, played by Italian composer Vittorio Demarin, carries a mournful melody. The result sounds like an elevator carrying a swarm of bees.
Hazel Sheffield, writer
How do you follow one of the blackest, bleakest records of recent times? For Brighton newcomer Vincent Vocoder Voice, whose eponymous debut last November was a shrieking night terror of an album fevered with twisted Paper Chase guitars and paranoid atmos, the answer was simple: plumb even deeper into the abyss of human darkness. 'You're Gonna Die Slow' from new EP 'Full Heart, Deaf Ears' paints vivid pictures of a contaminated world where "noroviruses bloom on the cashpoint keys" to a backdrop of violently dissonant piano. A difficult listen? Yes. But, in a week of ebola and panic, none more timely.
Al Horner, Assistant Editor
With the school year just around the corner, Charli XCX is getting educators' backs up all over the country – "I don't wanna go to school/I just wanna break the rules… getting high and getting wrecked" is not new education secretary Nicky Morgan's latest policy brief. Still, it's a nihilist anthem that hits the right buttons, framing Charli's snotty rebellion in rave synths and twisted Nirvana guitar.
Matthew Horton, writer
The long-time-coming split seven-inch between Cardiff’s Joanna Gruesome and New York State’s Perfect Pussy – transatlantic kindred spirits, if ever there were two – looks set to be a banger. JG’s ‘Psykick Espionage’ might be their finest two-and-a-bit minutes to date, both poppier and punker than anything on their ‘Weird Sister’ album: the verses are hollered and bassline-driven, while the chorus is sung with textbook jangle-pop blitheness.
Noel Gardner, writer
"There's torture, and there's killing, and there's all my bad reviews..." sings Leonard Cohen on his new single, proving that even as he approaches his 80th birthday his sense of humour is still so dark you’d need the light of a thousand suns to see your own hands in it. Musically he employs the same halting style he’s often returned to since the ‘80s but, as ever with Laughing Len, this is all about the bleak wit of his poetry.
Kevin EG Perry, writer
King Tuff has said that 'Black Moon Spell' will "fuck you wickedly in the ear". As chat-up lines go, it's pretty forward, but hell, we'd definitely swipe right on this outrageously sexy tune. The title track from Kyle Thomas' forthcoming third album is a beastly mix of demonically fuzzed riffs, sleazin' glam rock vox, Calfornia basement blues and old school gospel, like The Black Keys before they sanded down their raw edges. Huge.
Leonie Cooper, writer
Up until now, teen urchins Ming City Rockers have flourished purely as a Brit concern – patronage from Palma Violets, gigs in every spit'n'sawdust venue the UK has to offer and songs that sound like the bastard son of Pete Doherty and Steve Jones. New track ‘Get Outta Your Head’ bucks that trend and crosses the Atlantic. It's got a touch of Kings Of Leon's early southern drawl about it, and shitloads of New York Dolls-style attitude.
Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor
Sinkane (aka former Yeasayer collaborator Ahmed Gallab) heads for the Amazon on his latest track, ‘New Name’ – at least that’s where you’ll think you are as jungle drums and barely there, tropical synth whirrs weave in and out of each other. Sinkane himself, meanwhile, pours his smooth, soulful vocals over the top of interjecting trumpets, layering things up until a glorious climax in which he sings “You want to hear it said out loud/A name that I don’t know”.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
Institute come from a dingy corner of Austin, Texas. Newly signed to New York label Sacred Bones, they've toured with Destruction Unit and released a seven inch on Katorga Works, the label responsible for Merchandise's early records. 'Salt', the title-track on their new EP due in October, is belligerent and exciting. Throaty vocals puncture a needly, repetitive punk riff and drums that land like bullets.
Ben Homewood, writer
Of all the odd things to happen at V Festival (in a year that saw ‘90s MOR specialists Embrace headline the Futures stage), The Killers’ cover of ‘Fancy’ was definitely the oddest. Taking to the piano, Brandon Flowers emotes Charli XCX’s ballsy, bratty lyrics like he’s singing ‘Candle In The Wind’ as drummer Ronnie Vanucci busts some serious interpretive dance shapes. WTF at its finest.
Lisa Wright, writer
YouTube offered me London Grammar's 'Sights' after I finished watching 'Anaconda', presumably aware that a lukewarm sluicing-down would be in order. The rapper's latest is candy-bright and kinetically deranged and takes the now-officially-one-year-old twerking rumpus further than anyone else dared, extolling ample arses and rim-jobs. Seems appropriate to return to one of Minaj's finest cusses: she just "shitted on 'em".
Laura Snapes, Features Editor
With Bloc Party on another hiatus, Kele is going solo again - and hitting the dancefloor. This taster from his forthcoming album 'Trick' is no Calvin Harris ladzbanger, though. It's a downtempo electro-house shuffle that begins with Kele spilling his insecurities over beats and synth squiggles before he pleads : "With your love I'm confident, help me get back to my home". The sound of a 3am crisis of faith, then - we've all been there.
Nick Levine, writer
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