The sounds rattling round the skulls of the NME staff this week
1. Yuck – ‘Rubber’
Yuck’s one-band mission to bring back grunge from the sullen greasy pit it slumped into reaches a new level of red-eyed intensity with this seven-minute expression of beautiful ugliness. It burns as slowly as whale song, and is just about as decipherable – it sounds like the singer’s doing his vocal midway through a tracheotomy. Basically, it’s squalling heaviosity for the first five minutes, then it all kicks off with an achingly melodic gee-tar firework showstopper owing everything to ‘Gish’-era Smashing Pumpkins. Y’know, the cool early stage before Billy Corgan became a shit-nut bald asshole. Anyway, it basically sounds like Mogwai when they were good, or an enjoyable Ride, or Godspeed but not utterly atrociously cack, and as such it confirms Yuck as the most fun anti-star bunch of bad-haired weirdos this side of Banana Splits.
If Yuck don’t turn out to be the best band of 2011, don’t blame me, but on the evidence of ‘Rubber’, they’ve got the potential to transcend their Shoreditch court jester status and end up a band you can properly love. Maybe they even have something to say – not that you can tell…
[Martin Robinson, Deputy Editor]
2. Tennis – ‘Pigeon’
Like the way Best Coast combine girl-group melodies with lo-fi fuzz? Then you’ll adore Denver’s Tennis. Husband-and-wife Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley spent seven months sailing off Florida – then wrote a bunch of songs about it, including ‘Pigeon’. Languid indie escapism: how very 2010.
[Luke Lewis, Deputy Editor, NME.COM]
[Get It Here]
3. Duck Sauce – ‘Barbra Streisand’
What is it with New Yorkers and the name Barb(a)ra? We Are Scientists named an album after one and now DJs Armand Van Helden and A-Trak have a song named after the diva. Essentially paying tribute to the Big Apple, this addictive slice of electro-house ropes in city residents Santigold, Vampire Weekend, Pharrell and Kanye for a viral video to make Cee-Lo green.
[Paul Stokes, Associate Editor]
4. Japanese Voyeurs – ‘Smother Me’
Don your clompety boots and wear your underwear as outerwear: it’s the return of grrrl grunge. JV claim this track draws on the doomy likes of Melvins and Earth, but with Romily Alice’s babydoll vocals cooing evilly round crashing guitaralanches, we’re hearing Babes In Toyland, Hole and Queen Adreena. So sexy you’ll smother yourself.
[Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor]
5. Kanye West feat. Bon Iver – ‘Lost In The World’
Twitter fights with MC Hammer. Yawn. Thank fuck, then, for this tactically leaked cut featuring Bon
Iver’s Justin Vernon, which splices his Auto-Tuned-to-oblivion ‘The Woods’ with classic Kanye, a smooth beat, and a rare Gil Scott Heron skit that demands, “Who will survive in America?” One man certainly will.
[Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor]
6. First Aid Kit – ‘When I Grow Up’
Weepy memories and gut-wrenching regret flood the Fever Ray original, making the unfussy optimism of sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg’s cover sound as alien as mentor Karin Dreijer Andersson’s spooky synths. It’s the B-side to single ‘Ghost Town’, out on Wichita.
[Mike Williams, Features Editor]
7. Foals – ‘Wear & Tear’
Previously the vinyl B-side to ‘Miami’, ‘Wear & Tear’ is now galloping free on the internet. Recorded during the ‘Total Life Forever’ sessions, it’s a cousin to ‘Alabaster’ and serves as a winningly downbeat extra from one of the albums of the year.
[Jamie Fullerton, News Editor]
8. Archie Bronson Outfit – ‘Chunk (6th Borough Project Remix)’
An extended drum intro, one line laden with robotic echo and repeated endlessly… this is remix territory alright. Still, ABO lend themselves better than most to such jiggery-pokery, and this is anything but generic.
[Liam Cash, writer]
9. Museum of Bella Artes – ‘Watch The Glow’
With beats that crack like sugared glass, and synth plumes collected from the mist of an enchanted lake, here are the Next Big Scandi Happening. Further proof that Sweden is king of pastel-toned synth-pop perfection.
[Jaimie Hodgson, New Music Editor]
10. Jamie xx – ‘Far Nearer’
He’s got a new steel drum, has Jamie xx. And judging by this new solo tune, The xx’s background man is obsessed with it. But with the Mercury winners now set to bugger off into eternity to build their dream studio, it’ll do just fine as a tiding over gift.
[Matt Wilkinson, News Reporter]