The Vaccines – ‘Tiger Blood’
Obviously, musical lore doth dictate that you’re not allowed to step foot inside Albert Hammond Jr’s upstate New York studio unless you’re prepared to tighten the guitar strings to snapping point and help him relive those halcyon, better days of ‘Is This It’. And so it is with the AHJ-produced B-side of The Vaccines’ new single, which couldn’t really sound much more like The Strokes if it grew a shaggy ’fro and started using the trust fund to woo Agyness Deyn. Is this a good thing? Hell yeah.
With its sped-up ‘Marquee Moon’-icy riffs and wallpaper-peeling lo-fi shudder, it’s clear who dominated proceedings on ‘Tiger Blood’. (Clue: not Justin and co.) However, they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and, given that The Vaccines clearly learned their trade from The Strokes, this track confirms a brilliant kind of passing of the torch, and proves the London boys’ unwavering commitment to the kind of quickfire rollick’n’roll that they’re doing better than any other debut-toting British band right now. ‘Tiger Blood’ is just one of the increasingly large number of reasons why they’re not just going to survive the first-year hype maelstrom – and their upcoming biggest tour to date – but use it to catapult themselves into a place where they’re sharing more than a mixing booth with The Strokes – perhaps a legacy too.
Jamie Fullerton, Features Editor
St Vincent – ‘She Is Beyond Good And Evil’
“I hold you like a gun”, Annie Clark drawls with evil smoulder on this scorched, itching cover of the Bristolian post-punkers’ late-’70s classic. Stamping like a mule in the live video, she tears at her guitar with the force of someone trying to rip their own skin off – despite having stepped out of hers long ago.
Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor
Justice – ‘Canon’
The apex of sublime, too-big-to-fail ridiculousness on the monolithic bosh-beasts’ second album, ‘Canon’ lures you in with a medieval-themed restaurant interlude, only to then splurge its huge, dirty, proggy, armour-plated synth riffs all over your banquet.
Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor
Kate Bush – ‘Wild Man’
In a song about monsters rolling in the Himalayan mountains (obvs), KB gives us her most atmospheric, piercingly Bushian track for years. Appropriately enough, it’s a complex, spirited and deeply satisfying hymn to the shadow of a myth that reveals more of itself on each subsequent listen, like the lady herself.
Priya Elan, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
Lana Del Rey – ‘Video Games (Jamie Woon remix)’
Whatever you may think of Mr Woon, he knows his way round a remix. And this unapologetic restructure of summer 2011’s most exalted emergence takes it to a new dimension altogether, messing with the pitch, rhythm and overall ambience of the original like a deranged toddler, to striking effect.
Tim Chester, Deputy Editor, NME.COM
In times of branded ‘Unknown Pleasures’ capes (CAPES!), primary rays of murk are a rare commodity. Enter Suuns – overcoat lurkers orbiting Canadian dancefloors like they’re bleeding funk instead of strutting it. This asthmatic new single, stalked by eagling krautrock guitars, sounds like Bradford Cox bemoaning unexpected abduction by space aliens.
Jazz Monroe, writer
Arctic Monkeys – ‘Evil Twin’
The Monkeys have come full circle, going all ‘Whatever People…’ musically and lyrically with this spiky B-side tale of break-up woe. Hankies at the ready – it’s uneasy listening for those still mourning the end of the Alexa fairytale with lyrics like: “There’s not somewhere I need to be/It’s just your looks aren’t what I need…”
Rick Martin, News Editor
Paramore – ‘Renegade’
Hooray, Paramore have a singles club! Boo, it’s a vehicle for three pre-Xmas tracks. (Their bezzie mate God vetoed the original idea of a fan circle-crank trading nudey Hayley pics.) This, the first, is standard cheery pop-punk, sounding like Therapy?’s ‘Screamager’ and a deranged X Factor audition in one. And it works, bless ’em.
Mike Williams, Deputy Editor
Jack White – ‘Love Is Blindness’
The final song on U2’s ‘Achtung Baby’ is also the dreariest. But White has jolted life into this cover, turning in one of his most electrifying vocal performances ever. “LAV IS BLAAANDNESS”, he shrieks, with all the high-pitched, apocalyptic blues hysteria of Robert Plant catching his wang in his zipper.
Luke Lewis, Editor, NME.COM
Iceage – ‘IIIIIIII’
The Japanese album bonus track from ‘New Brigade’ is the most traditionally punk thing the Danish oiks have ever done. A short, frantic blast of disobedience, it kinda sounds like it’s crawled out of some disused wastebin from Kings Road in 1979.
Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor