1). SEA PINKS – Yr Horoscope
Northern Ireland just can’t stop churning out great bands. Ash, General Fiasco, Fighting With Wire, the list is endless. Now add the literate pop of Sea Pinks to that list. Beginning with a chugging indie riff reminiscent of The Housemartins, this blink-and-you’ll-miss it slice of delicious rock makes horoscopes much more fun than Mystic Meg.
2). DIIV – Out of Mind
The prodigal son has returned. Zachary Cole Smith, ‘Cole’ to his friends, returned after a four-year absence for new record Is the Is Are, which has a darker undercurrent than his debut Oshin. ‘Out of Mind’ is the opening track, which builds from a crackle of feedback into Cole’s irresistible, chorus-inflected riffs. It’s good to have him back.
3). TELEGRAM – Godiva’s Here
Telegram are the latest band to be touted as ‘the next big thing’, and upon listening, it’s hard to disagree with their shamelessly catchy tunes and bravado. ‘Godiva’s Here’ changes tack from a thunderous intro into a reflective chorus.
4). PUBLIC ACCESS TV – On Location
Currently supporting Spanish garage rockers Hinds on their UK tour, four-piece Public Access TV will hopefully be giving the shiny, up-tempo strut of ‘On Location’ an airing. The band have already garnered plaudits for their previous single ‘In Love and Alone’, but ‘On Location’ takes their bright rock and knocks it out the park.
5). ULRIKA SPACEK – Beta Male
Despite having a band name that sounds like a Swedish astronaut, Ulrika Spacek are certainly ones to watch. ‘Beta Male’ begins with reverb-drenched feedback before a taut, distorted bassline and haunting guitar motif creep into view. The song continues to build, blending Black Rebel Motorcycle Club with My Bloody Valentine.
6). PRIMAL SCREAM ft SKY FERREIRA – Where the Light Gets In
Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie, like The Charlatans before him, continues to keep his relevance alive well into the 21st century, despite staggeringly getting ever close to age 60. ‘Where the Light Gets In’ is embellished with a fantastic guest spot from Sky Ferreira, who’s hazy guitar strums and fervent call-backs give this dance-inflected number real purpose.
7). DAY WAVE – Gone
Beginning with a trademark dream pop riff, ‘Gone’ piles on the shimmering effects until it sounds like a long-lost ‘80s offcut, particularly the soothing, Drums-esque vocals.
8). TRAVIS – 3 Miles High
Aw, Travis. Love or loathe them, they have the sweetness of a boy who never once asks for a shag after giving you a lift home. ‘3 Miles High’, from their upcoming album Everything At Once, is a breezy, Beatles-esque acoustic number with wistful melodies and Fran Healy’s breathy sigh.
9). PJ HARVEY – The Wheel
After the critical acclaim of Let England Shake, PJ Harvey is finally back with this taster from her forthcoming album. ‘The Wheel’ is a lo-fi crunch, recalling the splintered grooves of Uh Huh Her, with the catchy refrain of “I’ve heard there was 28,000.” It bodes well for the new album.
10). TWIN PEAKS – Walk to the One You Love
It may be another ‘70s-style riff to add to the list of ‘Get It On’ pilferers, but at least here it’s subtle – ‘Walk to the One You Love’ has strong sax beats behind the funky guitars, and is made stronger with the vocals of Cadien Lake James.
11). I KNOW LEOPARD – Perfect Picture
I Know Leopard have been around for quite some time, and have achieved notable success in their native Australia. Whether or not it will cross over into England remains to be seen, but the hushed boy-girl harmonies and delicate dream pop of ‘Perfect Picture’ deserve some recognition.
12). KULA SHAKER – Infinite Sun
And this month’s unlikely comeback heroes are…yes, Kula Shaker have been ploughing a spiritually-rewarding, but hardly lucrative, furrow since reforming in 2007, but their new album K 2.0 really does feel like a comeback. ‘Infinite Sun’ contains Crispian Mills’ usual brand of kooky sitars, religious lyrics and a pounding chorus.
13). YUCK – Cannonball
It’s brave to name a song ‘Cannonball’, especially when you’ve got the likes of The Breeders and, erm, Damien Rice to compete with, but Yuck take the mantle and run with it with this sludgy slice of grunge pop. They’re still living in the flannel-flecked ‘90s, and we love them all the more for it.
14). JAKE BUGG – On My One
Jake Bugg loves a moan, so it’s no surprise to hear that his new single – his first in nearly three years – is a curmudgeonly gripe about touring and being betrayed by God. Luckily, Bugg can back up these gripes with strong melodies, and this moody shuffle sounds like a long-lost La’s outtake.
15). RICHARD ASHCROFT – This Is How it Feels
‘Mad Richard’ may have mellowed as the years have progressed, but he still knows how to achieve notable bombast. ‘This Is How It Feels’ is his first offering since that disastrous weird rap record, and it seems he’s relocated the string-drenched, solemn rock that made Alone With Everybody such a compelling record.