1. Those Dancing Days – ‘Fuckarias’
You’d have to be a pretty dismal sourpuss not to like Those Dancing Days. The Swedish fivesome made a minor splash in 2008 with their hand-clapping, excitable, northern soul-influenced debut, ‘In Our Space Hero Suits’. Since then they’ve cut back on the girl-group shimmying and, on the strength of this first track from their second album, reinvented themselves as more of a full-pelt grrrl-synth-punk band. It suits them.
Top marks for the title – ‘Fuckarias’, which is either an impressively florid curse word, or a technical opera term denoting “foul-mouthed soprano”. Whatever it means, the song’s one of those back-off-buddy warnings aimed at a hapless suitor. “You made a monster, ready to strike”, snarls singer Linnea Jönsson. “You’re in my space, get out of my face”. If this douchebag leans in for a snog, he’ll get his tongue ripped off. After that the lyrics get a bit weird, as Jönsson lists this guy’s physical faults, most notably his “Mouth open wide, fake teeth falling out”. Fake teeth? She should aim her sights higher and stop hanging out with such total fuckarias.
[Luke Lewis, Deputy Editor, NME.COM]
2. REM – ‘Oh My Heart’
Ah, just the way we like our REM, as welcoming and warm as a Slanket. This mandolin and accordion-bedecked bit of gorgeousness, the third leak from their 15th album ‘Collapse Into Now’, is a soulful lament for New Orleans. Simple and lovely. Read more about their forthcoming new effort on p44.
[Duncan Gillespie, writer]
3. The Babies – ‘Wild I’
US lo-fi fans will slaver over this new side-project of Cassie from Vivian Girls and Kevin from Woods. No prizes for guessing they sound very Pavement, Slumber Party et al, but ‘Wild I’ shows off a rawness that’s all their own.
[Martin Robinson, Deputy Editor]
4. CEO – ‘Halo’
An indie schmindie cover of a Beyoncé hit (and one that’s been done on Glee)? But stop, this is more a spaced out re-imagining than a cover, complete with a phased rap outro that is gloriously over-the-top and plain glorious.
[Liam Cash, writer]
5. Boys Noize – ‘1010’
This kicks of BN’s brilliant comp of contemporary acid house, also featuring Erol Alkan, Joakim and former Uffie squeeze Feadz. Here, Alex Ridha takes acid staples of invasion beats, squelch and robotic tweets for a track that’s a blast of indescribable filth.
[Luke Turner, writer]
6. Anika – ‘Yang Yang’
Just when you thought the post-punk genre had been strip-mined for all potential inspiration, along comes Anika. She mixes hissing dub-hop bass, spidery drum snaps and electronic sirens on her cover of Yoko Ono’s ‘Yang Yang’, just one cut from her self-titled album due out across the world this month.
[John Doran, writer]
7. The Dears – ‘Blood’
If last year was all about Montrealians Arcade Fire, then The Dears kick 2011 off with a walk on the city’s noir side. Teeing up new LP ‘Degeneration Street’, ‘Blood’ is a collision of gnarly guitars and volatile vocals, suggesting that the Canadian indie citadel (Suuns’ home too) will dominate the next 12 months as well.
[Paul Stokes, Associate Editor]
8. Puro Instinct – ‘Stilyagi’
A sublime piece of skunky-shoegaze brilliance, ‘Stilyagi’ might have been given a suitably dour makeover by Ariel Pink, but it’s singer Piper who steals the show. And in a post-Warpaint/Best Coast world this’ll do just fine.
[Matt Wilkinson, News Reporter]
9. The Low Anthem – ‘Ghost Woman Blues’
Fuck, 2011 is depressing. If it’s not boo-hoos from Chapel Club, then it’s wrist-slit-gloom from White Lies. Lucky The Low Anthem are here to lighten our mood with this harrowing ballad of icy heartbreak. The world is a cold place, people.
[Mike Williams, Features Editor]
10. Dave ID – ‘Only Me I Can Save’
South London mystery man Dave casts a unique sonic spell. His EP ‘Gangs’ recalls early Tricky or recent TNP in the way it swirls together influences from dance, hip-hop and post-punk. Crisp, spacious Timbaland-ish production meets with a cold, Numan-esque soulfulness to create a dark delight.
[Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor]