Bo Ningen & Savages, California X, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Bo Ningen & Savages – ‘Nichijyou’
It’s not hard to imagine the thought process behind this battle. In one corner there’s Japanese psych-rockers Bo Ningen, consistently one of the world’s most WTF-amazing live bands, who’ve had a good 2012 on the back of their experimental (emphasis on the ‘mental’) second album ‘Line The Wall’. In the other corner, Savages’ Jehnny Beth, 2012’s greatest frontwoman, whose band began the year as one of the UK’s best-kept secrets but are ending it giving people the chills Stateside and beyond with their stony stage presence, which is only slightly less intimidating than the intense punky racket they make. This rework of Bo Ningen’s ‘Nichijyou’ (named after a manga comedy FYI) makes the most of the two voices. “So! If you can use your imagination and see beyond the problems of your life” bites the ever-slick Jehnny over a guitar chug before Ningen’s Taigen hits back, spitting quickly over the top in Japanese. “You might feel something, you might feel nothing at the same time” Jehnny speak-sings coolly after. The whole track starts to stutter and wobble before reaching a screeching peak. It’s one of the weirdest things you’ll hear this week, and they didn’t even need to put jingle bells on it.
Metz – ‘Dirty Shirt’
Taking no rest after their breakthrough year, Canada’s Metz are back already with new single ‘Dirty Shirt’ – and lo and behold they’ve pulled an Alt-J on us and gone all folk-dubstep. Only kidding. This is the same loud, nasty, gnarled and brutal Metz we’ve fallen so hard for. Music for breaking bones.
Jai Paul – ‘Flip Out’
Whether he intended it or not, you won’t hear any complaints when something by Jai Paul appears online. This latest track – a strange chug not quite as good as ‘Jasmine’ – was leaked following news that Jai will be appearing on the new album from OutKast legend Big Boi. Stop being a tease, JP, GIVE US YOUR ALBUM!
Angel Haze & Rudimental – ‘Hell Could Freeze’
She runs New York, they run Hackney – together, could they run the world? Well, maybe not quite, but this is still ice cool. More understated than Rudimental’s previous pop production, it’s built around a housey piano riff and Angel sings hooks as easily as she drops rhymes.
Kevin EG Perry
Big Deal – ‘Teradactol’
Wow, hold the front page! A band whose new stuff actually is as “totally different” as they think it is. Out goes the will-they-won’t-they are-they-aren’t-they dream-pop of ‘Lights Out’, in comes a kind of ‘Darklands’-era Mary Chain Big Music. I can’t wait to hear more.
California X – ‘Pond Rot’
These Yanks first came to our attention with their truly shit-kicking debut single ‘Sucker’ earlier this year. Now they’re back with a prime cut from their forthcoming debut album. Where ‘Sucker’ pulverised, ‘Pond Rot’ grooves – a slow, stoned barnstormer with guitars that would make J Mascis proud.
Suuns – ‘Edie’s Dream’
Previously more fidgety-sounding than Ian Curtis with a swarm of ants in his Y-fronts, Canada’s Suuns are back with a laid-back head-wash of a song in ‘Edie’s Dream’. It’s as relaxing as Radiohead’s ‘Amnesiac’ pumped through a health spa’s massage-room speakers.
Le1F – ‘Soda’
Minimal production and maximum oddness from NYC rapper Le1F and his knob-twiddling buddy, Boody. Not much in the universe sounds like this right now, and ‘Soda’ is all beats like bubbles popping underwater paired with Le1F’s lazy and barely-there drawl. The result is nothing short of super freaky.
Nicolas Jaar & Theatre Roosevelt – ‘The Ego’
I don’t give a shit about the apparent political implications of Jaar releasing this on the US’ Black Friday, because ‘The Ego’ is the finest-sounding track he’s released so far. Poetic raps provided by Theatre Roosevelt, broom-beats and belly-smulching dub, all laced with four, simple ascending notes. An insatiable mix.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – ‘We No Who U R’
Rejoice, readers, for the long-awaited new Nick Cave album will soon be upon us. This first teaser is a more industrial take on a ballad, complete with clanging keys and Warren Ellis’ warped strings, which give an eerie backdrop to Nick’s post-apocalyptic rasps.