Kurt Vile – ‘Life’s A Beach’
Eight months on from its release and we still can’t quite tear ourselves from the snuggly clutches of Philadephia mumbler Kurt Vile’s gorgeous fourth album ‘Smoke Ring For My Halo’. Honestly, it’s like a sickness – his sleepy, semi-stoned, grunge-toned ballads are as gorgeous as a stretch that cracks all your vertebrae, a lie-in that you know is going to get you in trouble, as sweetly satisfactory as just… letting it all go. So it’s much to our self-indulgent delight that he’s releasing ‘So Outta Reach’, an EP of polished-up off-cuts from the ‘Smoke Ring…’ sessions, reworked this summer with producer Jon Agnello.
It’ll be released as a limited 12-inch and also as part of a deluxe version of the album. Aptly and cutely enough, the cover features amazing photos, like the one above, of our dozy hero passed out at a party, his grinning mates posing and gurning next to him. Yet, for all his music’s seductive softness, Vile is no mere bumbling slacker; in his warm, woollen voice, there’s always the slightest hint of deferred trouble, as the neat pun of this song’s title exemplifies. All five tracks on the EP are winsome, worrywart winners (including a beautiful cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Downbound Train’) but this track is a particular favourite, a breezy, honey-drunk strum haunted by doleful harmonica. It sounds like falling down the rabbit hole between the sofa cushions during an unscheduled afternoon nap.
Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor
tUnE-yArDs – ‘Untitled’
Don’t know what to expect from Ms Garbus already? Best lay down this magazine, peer deep into your soul and fish out some profound justification for your continued existence on this Earth. Top marks, here, for this brand new bit of funky-hyper R&B jiggery-folkery, recorded at the Ukrainian Federation.
Jazz Monroe, writer
The Internet – ‘Love Song -1’
Proving she’s more than a gay/female foil to Tyler’s homophobic/sexist jibes, Syd Tha Kyd steps out of the Odd Future shadows. Not only is she a badass DJ and slick producer, but girl got pipes too. Sparse, restrained and bloody sexy, the reinvention of trip hop starts here.
Mike Williams, Deputy Editor
White Denim – ‘Hot Thought’
Just chucked up on their SoundCloud, Lord knows why this was left off ‘D’: a slinky white dub groove, with lovely touches of Hammond that’s better than half the tunes on there. Sorry, can’t believe I used the phrase “slinky white dub groove”. But you’ll see what I mean.
Hamish MacBain, Assistant Editor
Rostam – ‘Wood’
Those craving Vampire Weekend’s string-laden chamber-pop since ‘Contra’ geared down will be appeased by the solo cut keyboard player/production wiz Rostam’s put on his blog. It’s brilliantly ‘Contra’-goes-Eastern, like an off-cut from The Darjeeling Limited’s soundtrack.
Jamie Fullerton, Features Editor
Tom Waits – ‘Back In The Crowd’
Good old Tom Waits, 61 years old and still wheezing like a disheveled badger. The first track to emerge from ‘Bad As Me’ features flamenco guitar courtesy of the bloke from Los Lobos, and finds Waits growling typically acerbic lyrics such as “Aherrrgh, wurrrghh, huuuurgh”. It’s pretty good.
Luke Lewis, Editor, NME.COM
Kindness – ‘Cyan’
Stepping back into the soothing espadrilles of 2009, Kindness returns and it’s like he’s never been away. Airy keyboard lines move from soft and vertical to compressed and accordion-like, a bass two-steps to the beat, before building to a glistening climax, like a helium balloon ascending to the skies.
Priya Elan, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
Icona Pop – ‘Sun Goes Down’
Icona Pop’s first new material in aeons has a belting Numan beat, one of The Knocks transformed into a sad robot and Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo soaring, “I’ll be waiting for you ’til the sun goes down/No tidal wave could turn me around”. Pop: witness your future unfolding.
Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor
Fanzine – ‘Roman Holiday’
After quietly becoming one of the capital’s hottest prospects, it’s a joy to see them going from strength-to-strength on ‘Roman Holiday’. Weezer-esque melodies fuzz righteously, while singer Jock turns in a vocal line nicked straight out of Norman Blake’s back pocket.
Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor
Esben And The Witch – ‘Hexagons II (The Flight)’
Going by the sound of their new EP, Esben are shedding the epics of their debut for more fragile, electronica-boned beasts. Here, Rachel Davies’ voice hangs on a precipice over glitchy, gloaming vibes that make like ‘Spanish Sahara’’s psycho cousin, before she trills “So wild, so wild, so wild”. It suits them handsomely.
Susana Pearl, writer