1. THE CRIBS – We Were Aborted
First announced on NME.COM, this free download (too much abortion and masturbation for the radio, you see) finds them as raw and serrated and rough-edged as ever, but with a formidable, manly weight behind them. Shifting and switching beneath you like a bucking, punking bronco, it gores any doubters with fierce, uncompromising, unflashy guitar-work and furious vocals. ‘Ignore The Ignorant’, indeed: The Cribs are back to take their crown.
2. ARCTIC MONKEYS – Crying Lightning
We knew back in January, when we singled it out as the best of the four new songs the Monkeys debuted at Big Day Out in New Zealand, that ‘Crying Lightning’ was a keeper. And it seems the boys agree with us, making it the first taste of their minty and refreshing ‘Humbug’. We imagine that if you did cry lightning, the effect on your tear ducts would be roughly the same as the one that this song has on your ears.
On their MySpace now.
3. SOULSAVERS FEAT BONNIE ‘PRINCE’ BILLY – Sunrise
Soulsavers’ third album is yet another multi-name pile-up, studded as it is with the likes of Mike Patton, Mark Lanegan and Jason Pierce. It’s preceded by a single featuring non-album songs, like this lush cover of Lanegan’s ‘Sunrise’, which sees Will Oldham take to bluesy brooding like a duck to rye whiskey.
4. DAN AUERBACH -Heartbroken, In Disrepair
At time of writing, it’s hot enough to boil a lobster in the sweat of our brows, so we feel a resonance with the sweaty, desert-hazed blues-rock of this solo offering from The Black Keys’ singer. It’s biblical in its lusty intent, like ‘To Bring You My Love’-era PJ Harvey circling Kings Of Leon at their filthiest, with gritty guitars shimmering over bedrock-hard drums and Dan’s wildcat yowl. Cold shower?
5. FLEET FOXES – Blue Spotted Tail
The international hunger for the cooings of Robin Pecknold and his band of West Coast fingerpickers represents something of a modern-day gold rush. So when they debuted a new song on a BBC 6Music session, it flashed across the internet like light glinting off nuggets in a pan. “Floating in the vacuum, not a purpose, not a one/Why in the night sky are the lights on?”, trills Robin, the sound of a soul in exile and a woolly hat.
On the Peenko blog now
6. PRESTON – Dressed To Kill
A proviso, and warning of sorts: these tracks… most of them you have to hear because they’re great. Some of them, you just have to hear so we can prove to you we’re not making this shit up. This is one of those. Mr Preston ‘How dare you say that about my Chantelle!’ Ordinary Boy is back, recast as tattooed boy-band pin-up (Look! On the right!). Now, he’s not the first to ravage the wonderful, minimal riff from Siouxsie And The Banshees’ ‘Happy House’ (see also Capella’s actually-quite-brilliant ’90s rave tune ‘U Got 2 Know’) but after this, we think it’s safe to say he’ll be the last.
On NME TV now
7. KOKO VON NAPOO – June
Now, we know this lot are French, but we are going to do our best not to indulge in cheap jokes, crude national stereotypes or terrible puns. They, and we, are better than that. Toupie (yes, Toupie), Renarde, Kokoboy and Kiddo are the sound of loud, skinny-limbed youth, smoking Gauloises round the back of les sheds de la bicyclette. DAMN IT! Somewhere between the new wave pop of Altered Images and the yelpy experimentalism of The Slits, it’s a rough-diamond bit of electro-pop, dancing in circles round a swirling disco synth.
On NME Radio now
8. MARIACHI EL BRONX – I Would Die 4 U
What’s even more fun than punk daddies The Bronx? Easy – punk daddies The Bronx playing Mexican love music as Mariachi El Bronx. But what could be even more fun than Mariachi El Bronx? We’ll tell you – Mariachi El Bronx doing a Prince cover! Part of the rather excellent US mag Spin’s tribute album ‘Purplish Rain’, this take on Mr Rogers Nelson’s brittle electro classic is romantic, funky, hysterical and brilliant. Even if it does fill us with the strange urge to wave at passing strangers and say, “Could we have two more Margaritas, please?”
On The Hype Machine now
9. NOAH AND THE WHALE – The First Days Of Spring
Unseasonal? Just wait until you hear it. Starting off with a funereal mockery of the classic ‘Be My Baby’ drumbeat, it melts into an ache of haunted strings and a forlorn guitar line. Charlie Fink’s voice is a lot less affected than of old, and the track sports a Spiritualized-tinged grandiose beauty. “There’s a hope in every new seed and every flower that grows upon the earth” intones Charlie. Mortality, the death of love, the eternal cycle of the seasons. That shit.
On MySpace now
10. GOLDHEART ASSEMBLY – So Long St Christopher
Hark, what heavenly choirs do we hear? Is this the afterlife? Did we finally fall asleep in the bath? No, we’re not dead, it’s just a London six-piece doing a fine job of keeping the UK end up in the competitive field of radiant pysch-folk, but with a less beardy take than a certain Seattle bunch also on this page.
On MySpace now