Gorillaz, James Murphy, Andre 3000 – ‘DoYaThing’
Converse have laced together some impressive line-ups for their ‘Three Artists. One Song’ project over the years (such as Vampire Weekend, Kid Cudi and Best Coast in 2010). This though, has to be top of the pile, featuring the three weirdos you’d most like to gatecrash your party. With Blur back, Albarn’s on a creative roll, so Gorillaz are going about ‘quitting music’ as speedily as LCD Soundsystem did – ie, not very.
Nobody cares about that though, as this bit of robo-funk gets going, Albarn doing a more animated (ho!) version of his listless, drawling rap. Then LCD’s primary-coloured synths fizz and Murphy slips in a creepy, falsetto chorus. And then, an update from Planet Andre. “Wouldn’t it be nice if we were just normal people…?” he croons before a double-speed rap tumble of weird wordery, assuring us, “I’mma rock my pyjamas in the daytime, I promise” and inventing a new word (“Our days are revelatious”) before the track comes to an abrupt end. Our three funkateers may be failing at ‘normal people’ jazz, but when they do their thing so well, that’s cause for thanks.
Usher feat. Diplo – ‘Climax’
Like a well-groomed Lazarus coming back from the dead, Usher returns with his best song in absolutely years. Goodbye cringe factor, hello Diplo, subtle electronic nuances and an expectation-defying vocal performance which is more Prince falsetto than depth-free showman. The results are jaw dropping.
Carter Tutti Void – ‘V3’
This first taste of the collaboration between Chris and Cosey and Factory Floor’s Nik Void is as brilliantly diabolical as you’d imagine: an insidiously brutal wormhole sucking and slurping bass wobble and bitter scree into oblivion, and sounding masochistically sexual all the while.
Jessie Ware – ‘Running’
We wouldn’t recommend jogging to this track, but there’s definitely space for another kind of physical exercise (if you get what we mean), as Jess comes over all Sade, singing “I’m ready to lose it all”. She’s a different girl from the soft-spoken ‘Valentine’ of last year, and we like it.
Crocodiles – ‘Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9)’
These Cali art-punks may have been promising a poppier slant on their third album, but this first taster sees them lose none of their dark, smack-rock slink. With The Jesus And Mary Chain blasting back, there couldn’t be a better time to be peddling leather-clad fuzz-punk of this quality.
Reverend And The Makers – ‘Bassline’
Ruddy hell – the Reverend’s gone rave. An Example-sized slab of bosh, this is the soundtrack to Rev finally “rolling up the Che Guevara poster”, apparently and snorting a draught excluder-sized line of disco dust with it. Looks like he’s learned that having fun is… fun.
Burial – ‘Kindred’
Ah, the track that launched a thousand blogs of pseudo-scientific toss when it hit the internet last week. And quite frankly, all the highfaluting talk is justified: the EP’s title track is a 12-minute depth-charge that crackles and fizzes dangerously, imbued with the same knife-edge tension you feel when trekking across London at night.
Domo Genesis feat. Wiz Khalifa – ‘Ground Up’
When Odd Future release ‘OF Tape Vol 2’ in March, they’ll be bigger than ever. All they need is a dancefloor banger. Sadly, this isn’t it. Instead, OF’s biggest pot-head joins forces with fellow spliff-lover Wiz to serve up a G-funk throwback about weed and how things were, like, loads better back in the day, man. Pass the pipe.
Gaz Coombes – ‘Sub-Divider’
With Supergrass, Gaz did enough wonders over enough years to earn a free pass to drift into middle-aged solo dullardry, as so many do. How lovely, then, that his first strides sounds so exciting, ‘Sub-Divider’ making his beloved classic-rock stylings sound strange and otherworldly, and uncharacteristically sleek.
The Futureheads – ‘Acapella’ (Kelis cover)
The Futureheads covering Kelis in the style of a barbershop quartet is easily the funniest thing they’ve done since the ‘Hounds Of Love’ video. But it’s also strangely touching and – worryingly – soothing. Come December we’re gonna force them to do carol singing every night, until the entire nation’s won over…