Welcome to a new feature on NME.COM (you’ll also find a print version in the mag each week). It’s a chance for you to hear – and in many cases, download – the tracks we’re currently getting excited about.
As always, you can share your own current favourite tracks by posting a comment below, preferably with a link so everyone else can hear it.
1. The Dead Weather – Hang You From The Heavens
Love a duck! Just three weeks after The White Stripes made their live return, Jack White unveils a new project! You might wonder whether The Kills’ Alison Mosshart is getting sick of being in “Kate Moss’ boyfriend’s band”, and her collaboration with White (on drums), QOTSA auxiliary guitarist Dean Fertita and Raconteurs bassist Jack Lawrence certainly throbs with pent-up energies. White’s camp blues swagger and the gritted-teeth sexiness of The Kills meets the lo-fi rut of early PJ Harvey and the cocky snarl of Boss Hog, as Alison growls “I’d like to grab you by the hair/And drag you to the devil”. No dragging needed, ma’am.
2. Maximo Park – Wraithlike
Do you like scissor-kicks? Bowler hats? Unnecessarily abstruse lyrics? Holy God, so do we. Surely all three will abound with the return of Newcastle’s artiest sons. But wait – what’s this? “A song that finally you can understand”, snarls Paul Smith sarcastically, before launching into an angry, spirited number with surly guitars and air-raid synths that finds the Park sounding as visceral as they have done in, like, ever.
What do you think of ‘Wraithlike’? Let us know on the Video Blog.
3. St Vincent – The Strangers
Think you’ve met some mixed-up girls? Polly ‘I’m well dark, me’ Scattergood’s got nothing on Annie Clark. A former associate of The Polyphonic Spree, she treats genre boundaries like God treats your plans. ‘The Strangers’ starts off all fairy-tale prog-pop, before dropping sharply through a trap-door of psychotic distorted guitar, only to end with a heavenly choir as if nothing had happened.
Download St Vincent, ‘The Strangers’ as a free MP3 from Stereogum.
4. Cursive – From The Hips
The hip blogosphere thrums to the beat of plaid-clad, lo-fi American indie but once in a blue moon. Now is that lunar event; the first beardy taste of Cursive’s new album ‘Mama, I’m Swollen’ has started tunnelling through the ear canals of the faithful. “I’m at my best when I’m at my worst” croons Tim Kasher gorgeously over a vulnerable shimmer of guitar that rumbles into life like Archers Of Loaf making DIY Bright Eyes videos and playing them at the IMAX. Do not listen if you’re feeling even slightly tender; you will weep.
5. Art Brut – Alcoholics Unanimous
Few people are better than Eddie Argos for giving you that ‘thank Christ I’m not the only one’ feeling. Having tackled unhealthy obsessions with past loves, mental breakdown and impotence, now he goes for the demon drink. Barking “Bring me tea! Bring me coffee!” over guitars that prod like a police siren cutting through a hangover, with fractious back-and-forth vocals (“Last night we tried to warn him! It took me ages to get dressed this morning”), it even sounds a bit like a guilty morning-after, only 86 times as fun.
Video interview: the making of ‘Alcoholics Unanimous’.
6. The Rumble Strips – London
Surely one of the big missed breakthroughs of 2007, The Rumble Strips couldn’t have found a better home for their whistle-ready, wistful rockabilly-soul-pop than radio parp-maestro Mark Ronson. His work with the foursome, now signed to his Allido label, adds space and depth and fancy old strings to this perfectly melancholy-sweet pop song about long-distance love in the capital.
Download The Rumble Strips, ‘London’ as a free MP3
7. Asher Roth – I Love College
Kanye West’s in-between status as a middle-class, college drop-out rapper with a Black Panther father is endearing and interesting. Asher Roth’s wholly middle-class, insider’s celebration of keg parties, girls and white, middle-class American life generally being uncomplex and awesome – like the musical equivalent of ‘American Pie’ – should be hateful. But so stonedly relaxed, self-aware and unapologetic is ‘I Love College’ that it’s kind of hard to argue with. Particularly with rap chops like this boy has. Originally based around a sample from Weezer’s ‘Say It Ain’t So’, Asher had to remix the track when Rivers Cuomo refused to clear it, even after being offered 100 per cent of the publishing. Jealous much, Rivers?
Read about Jaimie Hodgson’s encounter with Asher Roth (and his mum and dad) on the Radar Blog.
8. Sebastien Tellier – Kilometer (A-Trak remix)
Sleazing up all over your ears like some hormone-and-cocktail crazed drunkard on the night bus, Paris’ lord of the dancefloor is back, claiming “Baby you’ll like me/Touching my body” over sleazy Donna Summer orgasm coos, Miami Vice keys and a bassline that twangs like G-string elastic. It’s really not seemly. The A-Trak remix adds Cerrone-style disco strings and extra indecently rutting oomph.
Download as a free MP3 from the Daily Download blog.
9. Grizzly Bear – Cheerleader
With the breakthrough of Animal Collective, it feels like the year for American weirdo music, and Grizzly Bear could be next to have their paws on the prize. Their new album ‘Veckatimest’ has been the buzz of the blogs for weeks and, when it finally leaked, even the low-quality rips flashed across the internet faster than Britney’s crotch. The band professed to be “bummed” and the tracks were swiftly taken down. Realising the strength of public hunger for new Bear honey, though, they’ve now released this album cut. Spectral, folksy chamber-pop which sounds marvellously like a tired old hobo being heralded into heaven.
Download as a free MP3 from the Daily Download blog.
10. Chew Lips – Solo
Bouncing out on Kitsuné – the label that brought you Klaxons and La Roux – like an overexcited puppy, this effervescent new wave synth-pop has LCD Soundsystem’s New Order-influenced guitars, Ladyhawke’s compulsive pop choruses and the addictive bleeps of Crystal Castles. Recent Radar stars the ’Lips are a London trio with a sense for a pop tune like your mama’s got a sense for pie.
Download a free remix of ‘Solo’ from the Daily Download blog.