Singles & Downloads
The Cult are back! Raaaaaaaaar, let’s party like it’s 1987! Actually, let’s not bother, because Ian Astbury and co’s latest comeback, ‘Dirty Little Rockstar’ (Roadrunner) •• is a lacklustre rehash of their Stones and AC/DC roots, except creakier in the knees than first time round. Moulding similar influences into a fresher rollock are Kiwi pups The Checks. ‘What You Heard’ (Fulltime Hobby) ••• is a hilariously unreconstructed strutting blues wail, yet somehow also unerringly poppy – a bit like The Datsuns with more hair gel.
What do you think ‘Alcohol’ (Sub Pop) ••• by CSS is all about? Mmmmm, alcohol. Anyway, it’s a suitably shambling little nugget of Brazilian nu-disco funk silliness, which doesn’t really go anywhere, and certainly doesn’t match the band’s live charms, but is reasonably diverting all the same.
Gravenhurst launch straight in with feedback and attitude reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine giving Hüsker Dü a bloody nose. ‘Hollow Men’ (Warp) •••• shows only one facet of the rock-folk-dance-indie eclecticism of Nick Talbot’s band, but it’s a tasty taster for the forthcoming fourth album, right enough.
If there was an award for Artwork of the Fortnight, it would go to The New Pornographers. The front cover of ‘Myriad Harbour’ (Matador) ••• features a spaceman offering up red high heels and panties to a naked cavewoman who’s about to club him with a big rock. What’s that about, eh? The song itself is equally idiosyncratic, with singalong chants, winding guitar lines and rough rhythms falling over each other in a gleeful pile.
But for actual music, there’s only one contender for Single of the Fortnight, and that’s Ida Maria. You wouldn’t expect a 23-year-old lass from rural Norway to turn in a piece of punk-rock majesty that sounds like a truly unhinged version of vintage Stooges, but that’s exactly what debut single ‘Oh My God’ (Nesna) ••••• is. Packed full of aggressive charisma and frightening energy, it’s matched by B-side ‘We’re All Going to Hell’, a glorious drunken sea-shanty which sounds like Maria is channelling Joplin and Björk, while also tapping into something utterly primal from the bowels of the earth. She’s scary, frankly, but undeniably brilliant.