Tribes – ‘Halfway Home’
Tribes: spilling out of Camden bars with their ramshackle riffs, livers of 60-year-olds, snow-spangled nostrils and nipple-exposing rips in their clothes… The band whose early singles sounded as though they were recorded in a tin can, and whose debut album we thought would sound much the same… Nuh-uh, sonny Jim. They’ve only gone and made what we can only call a stadium rock record. Entitled ‘Baby’, it’s out in January, when there’ll be plenty of pontificating over whether Johnny Lloyd and co will end up going early Kings Of Leon (great) or Mona (absolutely cocking awful) with it. But for now there’s ‘Halfway Home’, a finger-picked, wistful preview, aflame with yearning vocals, that boldly strides along with the promise that Tribes might actually be much more than the janglin’, banglin’ good time boys they could have been. Mind you, that was a state of affairs already more than satisfactory in the first place.
It’s more REM than Razorlight, more ‘Only By The Night’ than yet another night in the Barfly, it’s just more: a-stir with effort and ambition, emotion and excitement. While it’s a bit too early to envisage scoffing candy floss at the O2 Arena while this one’s belted out from the stage, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Tribes are dreaming big big big. You get the impression it’s going to be rather fun joining in with the reverie, wherever they might end up.
Jamie Fullerton, Features Editor
Trash Talk – ‘Burn Alive’
Stop everything! Trash Talk have made a pop tune! OK, pop is stretching it, but sub-two-minute stabs of breakneck anger and fist-pumping revolution don’t get more accessible than this.
Mike Williams, Deputy Editor
DRC Music – ‘Hallo’
In between helming Dr Dee and reforming The Good, The Bad & The Queen, Damon Albarn’s somehow managed to “do Africa” again this year. So far, so worthy. But this is actually his best track in ages, a nagging Afro-pop stormer that more than keeps his quality/quantity ratio ticking over.
Rick Martin, News Editor
Nite Jewel – ‘She’s Always Watching You’
Once of the Italians Do It Better stable, Nite Jewel, aka Ramona Gonzalez, always had something more interesting to her than the posier end of the Italo house revival. This beguiling, Dirty Projectors-ish dreambeat ramble, dominated by her lazy, liquid voice, promises an intriguing second album.
Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor
Oh Land – ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’ (The National cover)
In a recent interview, Laura Marling said that she’d always imagined swapping National singer Matt Berninger’s rich tones for a female vocal. Oh Land’s Nanna clearly heard her plea – this cover transforms the triumphant, thick guitars of the original into a haze of icy glimmers, swapping slow-burning intensity for spine-chilling fragility.
Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor
REM – ‘Radio Free Europe’
Consider it salt in the wounds. Thirty years after the track was recorded, one of REM’s earliest demos surfaces to showcase a band on the brink: an act energetic and enthusiastic yet naive of the legacy they would leave behind and the spotlight they would be thrust into.
Anne T Donahue, writer
Drake – ‘Club Paradise’
Named after a daggy strip club in his native Toronto, here Drake lists the real names of its working girls while ruminating on how far he’s come. His trademark anxiety and self-doubt remain as he notes, “I feel awkward at this fashion week shit”. Alert Humblebrag!
Ailbhe Malone, writer
King Krule – ‘The Noose Of Jah City’
Zoo Kid, for legal reasons, is dead, but Archie Marshall is still alive and kicking. His intriguing croak anchors the lead track from his forthcoming ‘King Krule’ EP, rich and full against the sort of delicate atmospherics that made us pay attention in the first place.
Liam Cash, writer
Acid House Kings – ‘Heaven Knows I Miss Him Now’
Well, this is a thoroughly lovely bit of knock-kneed, softy indie pop. That Smiths-indebted song title (which was in itself doffing its cap to Sandie Shaw’s ‘Heaven Knows I’m Missing Him Now’) not indie enough for you? If you buy the single you also get a version sung by cult icon Dan Treacy.
Luke Lewis, Editor, NME.COM
Laura Marling – ‘Pray For Me’
This new track is yet another jaw-dropper, one which finds Marling in
a paranoid and desperate frame of mind as she visits the unmarked last resting place of her lost soul. Yet for all the moribund, serious-business subject matter, it still hums with her unmistakable spirit.
Priya Elan, Assistant Editor, NME.COM