1. Muse – ‘Prague’
The B-side to the title track of ‘The Resistance’ is a crushingly heavy, half-speed cover of late-’80s/early-’90s indie-rockers Mega City Four… refreshingly un-pomp and with not one bit of ludicrous falsetto, it’s a welcome contrast for Matt and the boys.
2. Crocodiles – ‘Neon Jesus’
When they’re not too busy checking the reflection in their shades to see if Jim and William Reid would approve, San Diegans Crocodiles make the sort of self-consciously stylized, retro smack-rock that makes us weak at the knees. The first new material since last year’s fabulous ‘Summer Of Hate’ album maintains their usual level of slinky, dead-eyed and fuzzy cool.
3. Janelle Monae – ‘Tightrope’
The aliens who’d taken control of Janelle Monáe’s Twitter have decided it’s time to return her from her intergalactic sojourn. While up there she’s been working on insane cuts like this, an uncontainable, high energy James Brown-indebted funk featuring OutKast’s Big Boi, where she sings “you either follow or you lead”. There’s no question of which she’s doing.
4. Local Natives – ‘Airplanes’
Former Radar tourers Local Natives’ new single takes the heartache indie mantle of Cold War Kids and throws it down on a puddle so you can walk over it without getting your feet wet, because gosh darn it, they love you that much. This sweet-voiced, folk-rocky stand-out from their debut album swoops and soars like a Red Arrow. A Red Arrow of loooooove.
5. The Tallest Man On Earth – ‘King Of Spain’
The real tallest man on earth is called Bao Xishun, a herdsman from Mongolia. He was once called in by vets to remove shards of plastic from the stomach of some hapless dolphins. The fake Tallest Man On Earth is from Sweden and has never medically assisted any porpoises, but does knock out raw and stirring Dylan-indebted folk-pop such as this.
6. Bombay Bicycle Club – ‘Jewel’
This new B-side cements our love for the increasingly fantastic BBC and hints at the delights to come on their acoustic album (see p10), sure to melt the heart of any Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy or Bon Iver fan with its understated grace.
7. Tall Ships – ‘Books’
Not just maritime by moniker, this Falmouth trio set sail upon this crazy sea we call the music industry with their self-titled debut EP out on March 15. This track is a perfect example of their combination of slow-building post-rock structures with invigorating post-hardcore synthery.
8. Gaggle – ‘I Hear Flies’
Booze: the curse of the modern woman. No-one knows this better than Gaggle – with 20+ members, the cost of a round must be almost as much as that of releasing a single. Intoxicatingly brassy and beatalicious, this frank evocation of high-functioning alcoholism is unapologetically in your face. Check out their debut video too…
9. Tinie Tempah – ‘Pass Out’
Thought the US had all the exciting new hip-hop? WRONG WRONG WRONG. Tinie’s Parlophone debut is dark, glossy and tremendously exciting. If you’re bored of grime stars ‘going pop’, get your ears around this.
10. Expatriate – ‘Blackbird’
Widescreen and doomy in the manner of White Lies or Editors, these Berlin-based Aussies (expat by name, etc) have made the perfect soundtrack to that bit at the end of the film where the troubled hero has a sudden epiphany and sprints headlong to the airport at the last minute to declare his love before the object of his affections escapes forever.