Best Coast/Johnny Marr – In Your Sleep
Never let it be claimed that good things can’t occasionally come from marketing ventures. Former poet laureate Andrew Motion once said that the flower of art grows on a long stem out of muck, and it seems that Johnny Marr’s been doing some fine gardening with Ray-Ban. For his new project with the sunglasses crew, he picked out five things to inspire four bands to write a song. He chose a poem, written by him, a guitar piece that was both repetitive and evolving, an old map of Manhattan, a photograph of a boy and a girl filming each other and a quote from German philosopher Friedrich von Schiller: “Stay true to the dreams of your youth.” To stitch together these brain-scraps he assembled Tom Vek, Mona, Au Revoir Simone and Best Coast.
The latter are the snuggest fit – pop classicists with a rough edge and a romantic heart. What could be more Marr? Bethany Cosentino, hopeless sap that she is, mainly took inspiration from the photo, and the result is ‘In Your Sleep’. “You say we’re not in love, but I know you are from the way you walk”, she begins on this sleepy love song, rocked in a cradle of ghostly “oooh”s, tambourine and adoring guitar twangs. It’s all so lovely you might well need a pair of shades to hide the tears.
Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor
The Horrors – Best Thing I Never Had
Defying expectation has long been The Horrors’ manifesto, but this latest twist is shocking even by their standards, as Faris Badwan covers Beyoncé in the Live Lounge for Fearne Cotton. The result? Undoubtedly the greatest song psychedelic shoegaze never had.
Krissi Murison, Editor
Bleeding Knees Club – Teenage Girls
Alex Wall sounds like a cracky witch as he bleats about driving around, head-shaving and things being a “draaaag”. Hoisted to an ephemeral two-minute, three-chord garage-rock stomp, this sounds like every glue-sniffin’, floor wax-slippin’ memory that you’ve ever had.
Priya Elan, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
Frankie and the Heartstrings – Everybody Looks Better (In The Right Light)
After pilfering Britpop’s best tricks on their February debut ‘Hunger’, here F&TH look across the pond for inspiration – and bizarrely land at the Grease soundtrack. We defy you not to hum ‘Summer Nights’ to the “ah-ha” outro of this perfectly executed knockabout indie pop song.
Rick Martin, News Editor
T-Pain ft Wiz Khalifa + Lily Allen – 5 O’Clock
Put your pants back on: Lily Allen HAS NOT returned. Yes, that’s her chirping ‘Who’d Have Known’ above T-Pain’s autotuned bellow, but it’s a sample. A SAMPLE, FFS. Basically, T-Pain is a fucking liar. He’s also a global hit machine, and this is going to be massive.
Mike Williams, Deputy Editor
War Of Words – Battleground
In the tradition of Robyn and La Roux, War Of Words are the latest pop act that indie people approve of. Which is fitting, since La Roux’s Ben Langmaid writes their songs. Their debut recalls two great songs – Massive Attack’s ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ and Neneh Cherry’s ‘Buffalo Stance’ – and is pretty great itself, exhilarating and weirdly mournful.
Luke Lewis, Editor, NME.COM
Karen O – Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys
This is a late-’70s country song that was sung by Willie Nelson, and soundtracks a short video spot for Chipotle’s new American farming support organisation. However, this being Karen O, it’s all beautiful space-rock atmospherics and ambient piano rather than pedal steel and acoustics. And rather lovely it is too.
Liam Cash, writer
The Ting Tings – Hang It Up
We thought The Ting Tings had lost themselves in the clubs of Berlin envisaging new dance barriers for their loooooong-awaited new album – but if ‘Hang It Up’ is anything to go by they’ve actually been at home listening to ‘Walk This Way’ on repeat. They’ve gone rock, kind of, and it’s fun! Well, kind of.
Jamie Fullerton, Features Editor
Mazzy Star – Common Burn/Lay Myself Down
Time couldn’t be riper for the return of these ’90s dark psych-country romantics, what with that Gears Of War ad and Lana Del Rey swiping Hope Sandoval’s shtick. These two snippets, a swimming, reverby ballad and a love-drunk strum, already have us giddy.
Duncan Gillespie, writer
Grimes – Oblivion
Imagine Kraftwerk teaming up with Blondie for a rework of ‘Heart Of Glass’ and performing it several hundred leagues under the sea. That goes some way to explaining the brilliant otherworldliness of Grimes’ new single –celestially pie-eyed with Claire Boucher’s child-like “la la la”s, and feeling genuinely like a vision from the future.
Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor
This article originally appeared in the October 29th issue of NME