Submarine beats! Laconic vocals! Dave Friedman! It can only be the Flaming Lips… It’s not! Incredible! Steve Harrison reveals his favourite new band!!!
MGMT: Time to Pretend – Single of the Week
From the opening salvo of this sharp, sassy blast of uplifting pop, MGMT lift the lid on their masterplan – to drive you crazy with infectious, melodic hooks and insidious lyrics. It’s a plan that works brilliantly.
Time to Pretend is a cross between Bright Eyes and the Flaming Lips (no surpise, given that the Lips’ Dave Friedman is at the helm), an uplifting combination of hypnotic submarine beats and laconic vocal delivery.
The lyrics are so sharp every copy should come with a free Elastoplast, and the angular rhythms are the perfect backing.
It’s certaintly an achievement to keep the ever-reliable Richard Hawley off the coveted Single of the Week spot …
Richard Hawley: Valentine
Another killer track off the Lady’s Bridge album, this slice of Fred Neill baritone and sumptuous, surging guitar comes with the added bonus of the instrumental Sheffield on the Sea and an acoustic version of Run River Run – the enhanced version also comes with a video of the title track.
As ever, the quality of the songwriting, performance and production is flawless, as Hawley’s lament for lost love and times past tugs at the heartstrings without inducing you to reach for the sickbag. Masterly.
The Kills: Cheap and Cheerful
“You’re boring baby when you’re straight” intones The Kills’ Alison Mosshart over Jamie Hince‘s infectiously modulated bass line. Thank heavens, then, that this gothic cross between Blanche and The White Stripes is interestingly twisted.
Following their wonderfully demented appearance on Jools Holland’s Later, this US/UK duo are destined for great things.
Vashti Bunyan: Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind
After years of undeserved obscurity (lifted thanks to the success of Just Another Diamond Day), this lost gem from the spiritual forbear of alt.folk, Was originally released in 1965. Bearing a Jagger/Richards songwriting credit, this astonishing relic is an ethereal performace from (literally) another era.
Aficionados of Devandra Banhart will find this irresistable.
Mystery Jets with Laura Marling: Young Love
The swaggering, guitar-drenched melody and haunting vocal is a happy union between Vic Chesnutt and Prefab Sprout.
While some may dimsiss the vocals as mannered, those of us reared on the sound of Postcard records will find it a joy.
Metros: Education Pt 2
Jaunty, jangly pop with more than a hint of Supergrass – a catchy sound underpinned by a hint of aggression. Sweeps you along in the rush, although once it’s over it doesn’t repay repeated listens.
Cut Off Your Hands: Oh Girl
This is intelligently-crafted, delicately delivered soulful pop, only marginally let down by the lightweight lyrics.
My mother used to tell me that if you can’t say anything nice, then say nothing at all. ‘Nuff said.