MIA, Mac DeMarco, Lana Del Rey And More: This Week’s 20 Most Essential New Tracks

MIA, Mac DeMarco, Lana Del Rey And More: This Week's 20 Most Essential New Tracks

20 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week (20/5/2015)

MIA – Platforms

MIA’s always been someone who’s at her best when her back’s against the wall. It’s little surprise, then, that as her ding-dong with ex-boyfriend Diplo rumbles on, she’s shrugged off the snark and casually tossed out a belter instead. Over a brittle, broken beat she drawls “Guns keep it fun”, defiantly daring anyone to come and have a go if they think they’re hard enough. There shouldn’t be many takers.

Ben Hewitt, writer

Sunflower Bean – I Hear Voices

On their first trip to the UK last week, NYC trio Sunflower Bean blew minds with their psych mania. ‘I Hear Voices’ is the first sign of new material since their ‘Show Me Your Seven Secrets’ EP was released Stateside at the start of the year. “Sometimes your joke is a fact/Most times your jokes are just bad,” spits bassist Julia Cumming over spinning riffs that are as hypnotic as the vocal back-and-forth between her and guitarist Nick Kivlen.

Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor

The Maccabees – Spit It Out

Studio hell suits The Maccabees well. ‘Given To The Wild’ saw them shake up and break down their writing process, leading to a period lost in sound. This time around, they took two-and-a-half years to nail the direction for ‘Marks To Prove It’. The master-craftsmen dynamics honed on this latest taster, the rougher, more expressive range of Orlando’s voice, the eerie quiet passages and huge, sky-soaring releases, suggest that not a minute was wasted.

Emily Mackay, writer

Shaun Ryder – Close The Dam

Big year for Shaun Ryder – Black Grape and Happy Mondays shows and, as he told NME recently, he went native in the Amazon jungle for a new documentary series. Yup, imagine that. Also, this: a belter of a solo song he’s releasing with his initials, SWR, splashed on the cover. Pitched closer to Black Grape than the Mondays, it’s a monstrous slab of punk-funk about someone cutting the drugs with something nasty at a pool party. Ah, the memories.

Phil Hebblethwaite

Gwenno – Patriarchaeth

Formerly of The Pipettes, Welsh singer-songwriter Gwenno has recently emerged spinning feminist yarns in Welsh and Cornish over fairy-dust synths and kraut-pop rhythms. True to type, ‘Patriarchaeth’ – the lead track from her debut album ‘Y Dydd Olaf’ – smuggles a message (the chorus translates as “Patriarchy, and your soul is under siege”) beneath melodies cushy enough to stuff a pillow with.

Jazz Monroe, writer

Birdskulls – Good Enough

Birdskulls should be familiar to anyone who’s been keeping a close eye on the DIY scene encompassing peers Bloody Knees and Nai Harvest. Like the former, Birdskulls have a knack of taking the mundane parts of life and turning them into rousing, riff-heavy tunes. ‘Good Enough’, the first track from debut album ‘Trickle’ (due on Dog Knights Production later this year), is no different. Jack Pulman drawls over sludgy riffs that’ll keep you buoyant all night long.


Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor

Oscar – Beautiful Words

London-based bedroom producer Oscar Scheller announces his debut EP on Wichita Recordings with the release of title track ‘Beautiful Words’, and it’s a song that lives up to it’s romantic name. A lo-fi mixture of skewed string samples, bustling drums and shimmering guitar chords supplement Oscar’s distinctive baritone vocals for three-and-a-half minutes of pure, heavy-hearted indie pop.

James Bentley, writer

Albert Hammond Jr – Born Slippy

Just a few days after The Strokes returned to the live stage with a headline set at Atlanta’s Shaky Knees festival, guitarist Albert Hammond Jr announced his new solo album, ‘Momentary Masters’. ‘Born Slippy’ – not a cover of Underworld’s mid-’90s epic – is the first track to be taken from it. This tropically tinged cut is reminiscent of early Vampire Weekend, and suggests he’s still got plenty of ideas away from the New York heroes.


Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor

Muse – Mercy

We’ve had the huge riffer (‘Psycho’) and the alt-popper (‘Dead Inside’), so the time could hardly be riper for Matt, Chris and Dom to unveil the piano stomper. Played for the first time at the I Heart Radio Theater in New York on May 9, ‘Mercy’ is sort of a combo of ‘Bliss’ from 2001’s ‘Origin Of Symmetry’ (the keyboard wobbles) and ‘Glorious’, the bonus track from 2006’s ‘Black Holes And Revelations’ (Bellamy’s vocal hysteria). Expect handclaps at gigs.


Tom Howard, Assistant Editor

Mac DeMarco – The Way You’d Love Her

Last year, Mac DeMarco moved out of his shitty Brooklyn digs and into a bigger suburban house in Far Rockaway, Queens. He recorded upcoming mini-album ‘Another One’ there, and, if this sweetly melodic first tidbit is anything to go by, he’s much happier than he was while making ‘Salad Days’. Mac’s not doing anything drastically different on ‘The Way You’d Love Her’, but there’s a chilled-ness to it that suggests he’s found a bit of peace.


Ben Homewood, Reviews Editor

Tinie Tempah – Not Letting Go

Two years after ‘Demonstration’, south London rapper Tinie Tempah is back with R Kelly-referencing, Jess Glynne-featuring new single ‘Not Letting Go’. “Remix to the ignition in the back of the Jeep,” he raps over bubbling, summery beats before reminiscing about “Playing R Kelly, I believe I can fly” with his ladyfriend. Glynne’s chorus, meanwhile, offers a soaring extra dimension to Tinie’s lovestruck verses.

Rhian Daly, Assistant Reviews Editor

Lana Del Rey – Serial Killer

An early version of ‘Serial Killer’ leaked way back in 2012, but it took until earlier this month for LDR to break out a live version. It’s still a mystery as to whether the track – a typically sultry coming together of languid strings and terse, glitchy beats – will feature on her in-the-works third album. Either way, seeing as it features Lana not just in thrall to a bad boy, but a homicidal maniac, we suggest she starts seriously rethinking her OKCupid matches.


Leonie Cooper, writer

Vangoffey – Race Of Life

While his erstwhile Supergrass bandmate Gaz Coombes is tackling fatherhood on his new album, Danny Goffey – as Vangoffey – is getting a little more, um, biological on the matter. Here he fondly reminisces on his golden minutes as a sperm shot out of his “old man’s gun” and beating his millions of testicle-escaping brethren (“murderers, thieves and bankers, MPs and wannabe gangsters”) to the grand prize of becoming a human. Seminal.


Mark Beaumont, writer

Metric – The Shade

“A canopy of trees bears witness to the breeze, I’m falling like a feather,” sings Emily Haines on Metric’s first new music in three years. It’s a gorgeous electro-pop heart-melter right out of the Chvrches school of schmaltz. Lou Reed guested on their last outing, 2012’s ‘Synthetica’, but ‘The Shade’ proves they’re just as confident without the aid of art-rock luminaries, charming their way through four minutes of big hooks and longing for eternal love.


Al Horner, Assistant Editor, NME.COM

Prince – Baltimore

Written in tribute to black American Freddie Gray, who died in police custody last month after being arrested in Baltimore, Prince’s newest offering has shades of Sly Stone. Featherlight backing vocals, funky guitar and threadbare drums leave plenty of space for the lyrics, which also mention Michael Brown, the teenager who died in Ferguson last year, before a buzzing solo and chants of “If there ain’t no justice then there ain’t no peace”.

Ben Homewood, Reviews Editor

Gwilym Gold – Triumph

Gwilym Gold’s latest comes on like a more polite Death Grips, with fast-paced drums and a looped riff building a platform from which Gold introduces himself ominously: “You never see me, your ass is mine now.” As the song progresses it becomes increasingly claustrophobic and tense. This is the most direct thing Gold has put his name to and is just a taste of the diverse and lush world he’s created on forthcoming second album ‘A Paradise’.

David Renshaw, Acting Deputy News Editor

Sharon Van Etten – Remembering Mountains

Last year’s Dylan tribute ‘New Basement Tapes’ seems to have instigated a new trend of musicians covering unreleased songs by their heroes. Now comes an album featuring unheard songs penned by late Oklahoma folk singer Karen Dalton. Sharon Van Etten’s take is of utmost intrigue. Delicate yet assertive, it perfectly balances the warmth of Van Etten’s vocals with Dalton’s meandering verse.

Luke Morgan Britton, writer

Leftfield – Bilocation (feat. Channy Leaneagh)

The latest taster from Leftfield’s first album since 1999’s ‘Rhythm And Stealth’ is markedly more restrained than March’s ‘Universal Everything’. Featuring siren vocals from Poliça’s Channy Leaneagh, ‘Bilocation’ inhabits a murky corner of the club. Away from the euphoria of the main dancefloor, its isolated blips and bleeps hammer away, creating an absorbing and slightly uncomfortable listen.

Ben Homewood, Reviews Editor

Sleaford Mods – No One’s Bothered

The über-productive Sleaford Mods return with new album ‘Key Markets’ in July with frontman Jason Williamson saying the record touches on “’the delusion of grandeur and the pointlessness of government politics”, which seems pretty apt right now. ‘No Ones Bothered’ is a psychobilly rattler in which Williamson barks lines like “alienation, no one’s bothered” over a simple bass riff. An ominous look ahead to the next five years.

David Renshaw, Acting Deputy News Editor

Fews – Ills

This track from Swedish-American quartet Fews is the 12th release in producer Dan Carey’s Speedy Wunderground singles series. Like previous efforts from Telegram, Childhood and Toy, ‘Ills’ was recorded in one 24-hour session in Carey’s Streatham studio. Judging by its eight intense minutes, both band and producer must have been dribbling wrecks by the time they’d cut the record. ‘Ills’ is from Diiv’s school of loose, simple psychedelia.

Ben Homewood, Reviews Editor