Want to know what tracks have been gently rodgering our tiny minds this week? Step right up…
A$AP Rocky – ‘Celebration’
By day, says A$AP Rocky, he hustles. By night, we learn, he celebrates. This leaves not a lot of time for things like sleeping, fielding calls from telemarketers and boxset marathons, but then if you were the 23-year-old Harlemite with the freshly inked $3m record contract and a reputation as the hottest shit on the New York streets, you’d be putting in overtime as well.
Since breakout tracks ‘Purple Swag’ and ‘Peso’ bounced across the blogosphere like flung jacks in late 2011, we’ve witnessed a slight change in focus. Those songs constituted a sort of assertion of hood credentials, a street-level picture that painted Rocky as constant feature of his Harlem neighbourhood, with its graffiti-sprayed shop hoardings, hallways thick with spliff smoke and bare-chested bodies congregating on street corners. He was a hustler, but Rocky doesn’t quite have the cut of a hardboiled gangsta; he’s a little too conscious of his status as a “pretty motherfucker” to grind that way. So ‘Celebration’ hits a different tack.
This is Rocky’s first party anthem, a whoosh of uplifting Jacuzzi synths and ticking trap beats atop which he lists his achievements with an easy charm. In short, an ‘In Da Club’ that doesn’t make you wish the human race had taken a little bit more care and attention while getting itself ready. Louis Pattison
The Van Doos – ‘Black It Out’
What Helmsley, North Yorkshire’s The Van Doos do is straight-ahead melodic guitar-pop with plenty of old-but-good tricks like simple, three-note riffs, and drawn out crescendos that lead to a chorus which goes, “Baby, something glorious is about to happen!” It’s about going out and getting hammered and forgetting about all the shit in your life. Obviously. Hamish MacBain
‘MNDR – #1 In Heaven’
It’s been quite the long gestation, but we’re overjoyed that MNDR are finally releasing their debut album later this year. ‘#1 In Heaven’ is all squelchy, Johnny Jewel-like keyboard lines, seesawing, disorientating rhythms and celestial harmonies from Deirdre Barlow’s celebrity looky-likey. Priya Elan
Tyler, The Creator – ‘Fuck This Election’
Not only does this dusted-off political tirade from 2008 sample Madvillain, it unashamedly rips off mainman MF Doom’s delivery too. Let’s not be too harsh, though – Tyler was a snotty 16-year-old at the time, which makes his deft wordplay, knowing drawl and fuck-you-Sarah-Palin diatribes all the more impressive. Mike Williams
Bruce Springsteen – ‘We Take Care Of Our Own’
The first single from Springsteen’s ‘angry’ 17th album ‘Wrecking Ball’ might be a kinda predictable four minutes of semi-socialist rhetoric, thunderclap percussion and hardcore heartland epic-osity, but hell, that doesn’t stop it from also being all kinds of incredible. Still very much The Boss. Leonie Cooper
Daniel Rossen – ‘Saint Nothing’
While we wait for Grizzly Bear’s fourth album, frontman Daniel Rossen (also of Department Of Eagles) has announced his debut solo EP. This first song from ‘Silent Hour/Golden Mile’ is all reverent piano chords and glowing woodwind, setting it apart from Grizzle Bizzle’s more filigreed arrangements. It’s proudly still, grand but intimate.
Cate Le Bon – ‘Puts Me To Work’
Out favourite South Wales siren is back soon with second album ‘CYRK’, and it’s easily the poppiest thing she’s ever done. Borrowing the jaunty jangle that Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci used to call their own, it’s an infinitely more fun ditty than a singer once branded “the Welsh Laura Marling” should really be making. Jamie Fullerton
Santigold – ‘Big Mouth’
Perhaps mindful of how much of a slouch she was in delivering, Santi’s thrown at her comeback not only the kitchen sink, but also vintage Missy Elliott, Nicola Roberts’ ‘Beat Of My Drum’, ‘Ray Of Light’-era Madonna, African kuduro fusion and, most startlingly of all, the theme from The X Files. It’s pretty bracing at first, but greatness ensues.Dan Martin
School Of Seven Bells – ‘Lafaye’
Back to prove that they’re more than just Chairlift-with-shoegazey-bits, New York’s SVIIB return with a track that’s as glacial, uplifting and refreshing as a summer dip in an Alpine stream. Shame the chorus just goes “la-la-la”, though. Come on guys, club together for a few more exciting syllables… Luke Lewis
Blood Red Shoes – ‘Cold’
Anyone with an aversion to drums should probably look away now, because this track is full of them: tom-toms tearing up the intro like a jackhammer through tarmac, cymbals slicing without remorse, and the brutal rampage of a bass drum on a mission. Speakers push the air indeed. Tim Chester
This article originally appeared in the January 28th issue of NME