The inaugural Singles Club of 2014 finds Getintothis’ Chris Burgess rekindling a teenage romance, finding out what it takes to be a man and being scared by gangs of Brazilian women.
Pixies: Blue Eyed Hexe – Single of the Week
I was hoping for some great music in 2014, and the first week of the year hasn’t disappointed one bit!
While I haven’t been enamoured by some of more recent output, I’m glad to say that this is more like classic Pixies than a lot of their post-reformation work. Blue Eyed Hexe is a riot from start to amazing finish.
There really is no better sound in rock than Black Francis’ wail over a wall of sound. It’s as legendary as Hendrix’s guitar or Bonham’s drums. It takes me right back to my misspent youth.
This is a great return to form. The Python-esque video fits in perfectly and the rest of EP-2 follows in similar fashion.
There’s a Glastonbury-shaped hole in their tour schedule too, I notice…
Opening with white noise and containing lyrical references to Soviet-era Russia and the Berlin Wall, this isn’t your usual pop fare.
Portland’s Erika M. Anderson provides us with a fuzzy, distorted piece of brilliance from her upcoming album The Future’s Void.
It’s a bit like listening to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs through a broken robot. In a really good way.
Pontiak: Lack Lustre Rush
Here’s a sludgy, dirty swirl of good old-fashioned riffs and feedback for you.
Pontiak are three brothers, hailing from a farm in Virginia, deep into civil war battle country – not the first place you’d associate with music like this.
Heavy yet melodic, with ghostly vocals floated over the chaos beneath, this is more than decent.
The video doesn’t have much going for it though, unless you’ve ever wondered what Robin Gibb would look like after taking psychotropic drugs.
Cass McCombs: Big Wheel
This is a stomping song from the nomadic Californian McCoombs, with the (almost) title track from his new album Big Wheel and Others.
McCoombs insightfully questions the very notions of masculinity on this track, sounding mischievous as he does so.
“Be a man” he sings – it’s not all about big rigs, driving bulldozers ‘sticking to your guns’. Some of it involves getting up early, apparently. Who knew?
Stay Positive: Shill/Cerebral Bore
Stay Positive (London-based producer Matt Farthing) has teamed up with Skrillex’s OWSLA label to premiere two new house tracks.
There’s something defiantly old-school warehouse rave about these two songs. Shill is the less extravagant of the two, while Cerebral Bore manages to pound along gathering all in its wake. Neither track really compares to any current house music trend, and are all the better for it.
Jon Hopkins: Collider
A sexy, sleazy track from one of the highlight albums of last year, Collider pulses along insistently, rising and falling before intensifying to a climactic techno finish. There’s a lot to admire about Hopkin’s approach to production.
This would have been single of the week if not for the Pixies’ return. It was a very close run thing indeed.
Pearls Negras: Biggie Apple Mixtape
This girl-gang are literally the voice of the slums of Rio, aggressively rapping over frenetic beats and doom-laden basslines.
Their lyrics, in Portuguese, express their lives and the city they live in, as a direct contrast to the typically misogynistic society around them.
To be honest I can’t understand a word they’re saying, but I know enough not to mess with them.
Sam Smith: Nirvana (Until The Ribbon Breaks Re-Imagination)
Nice, floaty sounds from this remix of Sam Smith’s Nirvana, taken from his debut EP. There’s a lot to like about this collaboration, with Smith’s vocals sounding almost as soulful as the original song.
Warning: This video has some slightly rudey parts to it, but is well worth watching just to see the world’s longest sofa and a lonely referee.
Nick Mulvey: Nitrous
Recently named as one of the BBC Sound of 2014 poll nominations, Mulvey has a big year ahead of him.
Formerly a member of the much underappreciated Portico Quartet, it’s refreshing to see him tipped as one to watch.
Nitrous is an upbeat, happy-go-lucky tune, with choppy guitars and a nod to Olive’s dance classic You’re Not Alone at the end.
Mulvey plays Liverpool Central Library on Sunday March 9.
Albert Hammond, Jr.: Rude Customer
Albert Junior, as you may know, is the guitar player from The Strokes.
This is glorious and just shy of ramshackle, evoking that band at their very best. Rude Customer is a confident, rhythmic track that builds to a truly magnificent closing guitar solo.
Cymbals: Winter ’98
Winter ’98 is a wondrous and weaving tune, with bright sparks of guitar and synth battling supremely against some of the best drums I’ve heard in a while. It’s a blissful song, but perhaps more suited to dancing in the sun than during the cold winter months.
I’d just turned eighteen in the Winter of 1998, so I was probably in the pub talking about the Pixies to anyone who’d listen.