20 Tracks You Have To Hear This Week (22/1/14)
The party never ends for touring rock bands in the illegal download era, even when maybe they kinda want it to. If they stop, they’re broke. Canada’s Mac DeMarco is cooler than a frozen margarita but even he finds this knackering, and he assesses the damage on this first taste of his third album ‘Salad Days’. It’s like a scuzzier version of John Lennon’s ‘Watching The Wheels’, and is brilliantly and painfully honest. He’s paid the cost, now he’s the boss.
Kevin EG Perry, writer
Jordan Gatesmith warned that his band’s second album, ‘World Of Joy’, would be heavy with “bratty rock’n’roll”. Sure enough, our first snippet is both a marvelously warm and nostalgic amble of Replacements-ish ’80s punk balladry, and a manifesto of extreme petulance. Gatesmith couldn’t sound more adorably surly and stroppy as he advises on all the things you totally don’t have to do because, like, YOU NEVER ASKED TO BE BORN.
Emily Mackay, writer
This beautiful and melodic pop gem was recorded with Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij for the new Girls soundtrack. Rostam’s production techniques carry over from VW’s last album ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’ with big drums and a few ‘Step’-like vocal effects, but really ‘Completely Not Me’ is all about Lewis’ crystal clear voice. Keep an ear out for it in the third season of Lena Dunham’s TV show.
David Renshaw, News Reporter
Paul Draper, one half of The Anchoress, is best known as the erstwhile frontman of Mansun, a band with enough lingering cult appeal to warrant a 2014 fan convention. Catherine AD, loosely gothic solo artist and the Anchoress (Draper’s her co-writer) can’t quite claim such notoriety, but the first taste of this new guise ushers in a whole new audience. Imperious vocals top a piano-led song that’s equal parts prog and pop, oddball and accessible.
Noel Gardner, writer
This is David Brewis from Field Music’s dubiously named solo project, and it’s rather lovely. Freebie download ‘Between The Suburbs’ is an idea of what to expect from the Sunderland man’s second album ‘Old Fears’, out in April. With its fluttering synths and cuter-than-kittens falsetto, it’s like Sugababes and Metronomy rubbing up against each other behind the local Co-Op.
Kate Hutchinson, writer
Jack White and Alison Mosshart’s band continue the drip-drip of new material ahead of the release of a new album in 2015. Last month gave us the deliciously dirgy ‘Open Up (That’s Enough)’, and now this gut-punching number. White and Mosshart trade vocal calls, and his maniac croon is a match for her guttural falsetto. Hip grinding guitars, sludgy bass riffs, earthquake drums and cackling laughter – exactly what you want from this lot.
Jenny Stevens, Deputy News Editor
On the opening track from their imminent fourth album, Baltimore synth pop trio Future Islands keep their dreamy sound in tact on a song that’s more upbeat than anything on 2011’s ‘On The Water’ record. ‘Seasons’ sounds a little like Elton John singing Daft Punk’s ‘Fragments Of Time’, and boasts pleasingly poetic lyrics about the passing of time, and love slipping through your fingers.
Andy Welch, writer
So Los Angeles is all glorious sunshine, palm trees fluttering in the Pacific breeze and the happiest, hottest people in America blissfully chugging kale smoothies, right? Wrong. Shit gets gloomy in California too. Echo Park’s NO respond to life’s lower ebbs by creating a dazzling sort of doom, and splicing together gothic funk guitars, a soul-shuddering baritone vox and the kind of grubby melancholy Interpol excel at.
Leonie Cooper, writer
Iggy Azalea’s on the offensive again on her first new track this year, and the singer from Mullumbimby in Australia is full of charm with lines like “you look like Miss Piggy, we like ‘where the hell is Kermit?”. She’s never been one to err on the side of decency, and her brash bars that are strung out over producer Bro Safari’s offensively peaky bass monster will raise eyebrows at every turn.
Hayley Avron, writer
South London’s Fat White Family were so broke and hungry when recording songs to follow up their celebrated debut album, ‘Champagne Holocaust’, they sent out an SOS on Facebook for Chinese food. Also on their minds were leather, sport socks and a warm sweater, as this excellent track makes clear. Very Cramps-like and extremely funny, ‘Touch The Leather’ is thicker sounding than the stuff on their album, but still loose and trashy.
Phil Hebblethwaite, writer
‘Vulpicide’ – the act of killing a fox – is the least Morrissey-friendly track title I’ve seen for a while, but the Walter brothers don’t seem to be gunning for woodland creatures. “We’ve been through all of this before / You’re mine, not his, and I love you more,” growls frontman William over stormy guitars and relentless drums. This is The Family Rain on killer sleazy form.
Lisa Wright, writer
This first morsel from third album ‘Atlas’ – due in March – finds the New Jersey surf-poppers tacking a skiffly shuffle onto lush guitar lines that owe something to the soft psych of The Boo Radleys’ ‘Wish I Was Skinny’. ‘Talking Backwards’ feels like it could float off in the breeze, but it’s anchored by a pervasive sadness in the lyrics about the realisation that a long-distance relationship isn’t going to work out. Real Estate are getting lovelier.
Matthew Horton, writer
On debut single ‘More Or Less Equal’, London quartet LSA displayed Strokes-indebted intent. ‘No Good Man’ dishes out more of the same, with frontman Will White is reminiscing on summer nights spent finding “waistlines to hold” and doling out advice to “focus on something”. It feels like it could fall apart at any moment, but that just makes it more exciting.
Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor
Angel Olsen writes about the human condition with a rare intensity. “I feel so lonesome I could cry, but instead I’ll pass the time” starts ‘Hi-Five’, a track from the Missouri-born singer’s new album ‘Burn Your Fire For No Witness’, released next month. As the country rock rhythms and dirty guitars fade, Olsen sings “are you lonely too?” before the track’s final throes burst with warmth and drift to the bittersweet pay-off: “I’m stuck with you”.
Lucy Jones, Deputy Editor, NME.com
The Brighton newcomers take the drunken guitars of Mac DeMarco and mash them with a bitchy and aggressive howl. ‘Shallow’ thrives on account of its eeriness – the bits where it all goes quiet before they sing about “breaking the sun” and a girl who “looks insane”. It’s as rough, raw and fresh as anything else on this list.
Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor
You can detect ‘70s post-punk band Killing Joke’s fingerprints all over Eagulls’ new single ‘Possessed’, as it has the same relentless rumble as KJ’s classic track ‘80s’. But it’s also lifted by a bunch of scraping and soaring fuzz, and a coarse-as-they-come vocal from singer George Mitchell. Like everything else on the Leeds band’s forthcoming self-titled debut album, out in March, it’s not the nods to the past that stand out, but how they twist them into something sinewy, snarling and new.
Ben Hewitt, writer
‘Mess On A Mission’, the first glimpse of Liars’ seventh studio album ‘Mess’, finds the twisted Krautrockers barking “facts are facts and fiction’s fiction” over bleeping 16-bit synths, cold beats and spooling noise, like the soundtrack to an arcade game set in a grim dystopian future. With violent shades of cyber-punk and a huge chorus, it’s mean and menacing in a way that only the Brooklyn-based trio can manage.
Al Horner, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
The lead track to be taken from their first EP ‘Mam’, due in spring, ‘TV’ finds Blur-aping Brummies Superfood channeling Britpop nostalgia with rattling tambourines, screaming Graham Coxon guitars and frontman Dom Ganderton yelling about his addiction to the box. Unlike Blur, there’s no coffee with this TV, just enough hooks to hang your entire wardrobe on. 2014 will be big for this lot.
Hazel Sheffield, writer
The headline news about ‘Plastic Soul’ is that it comes with a video that cost a mere $5,000 to film. In it, singer Claire L Evans stands in a room with a colourful wall and sings “hey the world is old, but I am young and dumb and ride for free” over beats from Jona Bechtolt that are slightly too slow to dance to. But that’s YACHT, creators of electronic music that’s delivered with the simplicity, innocence and glee of a child reading a nursery rhyme. Tom Howard, Reviews Editor
Tom Howard, Reviews Editor
Fittingly, the waveform for Perfect Pussy’s ‘Driver’ looks a lot like a jagged cricket bat, a makeshift weapon to bludgeon and gash. The track swaps the enveloping warmth of the bands previous track ‘I’ and its radically positive perspective on cheating friends and lovers for a more erratic assault that plunders the tone of heartland rock and stitches it to hardcore. The only intelligible part of Meredith Graves’ lyrics? “I got everything I wanted while I DIE”.
Laura Snapes, Features Editor