Review: May Alternative Tracklist


June is finally here and the weather has been strangely nice for the British summertime. However, before we get too carried away with what the exciting months ahead hold, come and take a quick look back over my pick of the best Alternative tracks to come out in May.

It was a pretty big month for Indie/Electro music, with new tracks from Portishead, Chemical Brothers and Crystal Castles, as well as new material from Arcade Fire finally hitting our ears! There have also been plenty of tracks from many a new band on the block, so you’d be daft not to check this out……

As far as the ‘big news’ tracks are concerned, here’s a select few that should definitely be dominating your playlists for weeks to come:

The Suburbs-Arcade Fire: Those of you who keep posted on OTU will know just how excited we’ve all been getting about the prospect of new Arcade Fire material. Well, it’s here now in the form of a double sided EP, and it most definitely does not disappoint. My pick of the two songs released being none other than the albums title track; perfectly paced, observant and understated with a track-long atmospheric transition into the kind of dark and mysterious vista that is so characteristic of their best work. Just awesome song-writing.

Swoon-The Chemical Brothers: The first single from upcoming album Further (out on the 14th of June), and it seems that Chemical Brothers have returned to making music that sounds more at home on the dancefloor. The track itself is as kooky as you’d imagine from the London duo, with the driving bassline and drum riffs giving it a certain ‘night out’ appeal. I’m not expecting the album to be as ‘dancy’ as Calvin Harris’ recent work but it will definitely be good for a few BIG sounding tracks. Video can be found here.

Chase The Tear-Portishead: It’s always interesting to hear the first track off an upcoming Portishead album; seeing as the trio of perception-benders always try to take you out of the musical ‘comfort zone’ with their debuting tracks. In the beginning, the song sounds like a remix of a Kraftwerk track- sounding direct and ambiguous. However, when twinned with the (makes you want to have sex with her voice) vocals from Beth Gibbons, the track has a strange kind of understated sense to it. Not music to necessarily pump you up, but has an invaluable and almost ambient quality to it. Definitely deserves its place in any playlist.

Holiday-Vampire Weekend: Needless to say, I absolutely adore this track. I can see this and a couple other songs from Contra becoming synonymous with the summer of 2010 simply due to their upbeat, sunny and lighthearted nature which has had me almost addicted to the track since I first heard it. The album overall lacked substance and depth in parts, it almost doesn’t matter though considering the quality of the albums singles. A must have for all Indie fans.

Miami-Foals: Not a great deal that I can say here that I haven’t in the album and video reviews. Just maybe that it’s a track that provides a great contrast in styles in what could be Indie album of the year. There will however be stiff competition…

Now for a few tracks that you may not have heard, as singles off upcoming albums or just epic tracks from albums out last month. Dig in an indulge:

Faster Than The Setting Sun-Fyfe Dangefield: Anticipation for Fyfe’s album Fly Yellow Moon was ignited when many people heard his cover of She’s Always A Woman, on the latest John Lewis advert. Faster Than The Setting Sun is my pick of the bunch from FYM (released in May), and as one of the heavier tracks on the album it’s style is mildly reminiscent of some of Coldplay, Elbow and Athlete’s work. This track is probably lined up as one of the next singles to be released from FYM, if it is then listen out for the acoustic version which will most likely be released on the EP, its pretty epic.

Hear Comes The Blackout…!-Stornoway: Beachcobers Windowsill; Stornoway’s debut album has received much critical acclaim for it’s downplayed, folk style and organic vocal nature. This track encapsulates the albums original sound, mixing raw acoustic tones with phasing electronic transpositions, Hear Comes The Blackout…! catches the ear in the way that only true ingenuity can.

Becoming A Jackal-Villagers: In a similar vein to that of Stornoway, Villagers are a band that truly reward an ear cute for attention to detail. Often writing music whereby depth isn’t represented physically through the songs instrumental sounds, but through the subtlety of implication and the landscapes that the music draws. This does make some of their tracks seem fairly inaccessible to begin with- but with time, if your this is what you take from your music, then you’ll connect with them on a  much deeper level.

Giving Up On Love-Slow Club: A short, punchy track which you could imagine on one of those ‘attempting to be contemporary’ mobile phone adverts. This shouldn’t detract from the song itself however, as its sound brilliantly encapsulates the sun-soaked, uplifting feeling of the summertime, deserving it’s place blaring through many a car window on a hot summers day.

Drunk Girls-LCD Soundsystem: As a song that sounds perfect for some kind of summer-evening student houseparty, you can probably see why I love it. James Murphy’s oscillating vocals chant rhythmically over a  funky bassline to create a pretty idiosyncratic sense to the track, characteristic of the kind of energy that LCD always brings to the table. The track is from their latest album This Is Happening, said to be their last ever production LP, and if so with ‘good-times’ tunes like Drunk Girls, this makes for a pretty awesome swan song.

Baptism-Crystal Castles: Without a doubt my favorite song from their latest album (Crystal Castles II), simply due to its intense, poundingly relentless energy. A track with the innate ability to get you pumped for a night out, with its heavy, almost R&B style beat with the high pitch vocals of Alice Glass making it the perfect dancefloor tune. I can’t really say to much else, apart from DOWNLOAD THIS.

Nice Guys-We Are Scientists: Having already posted the video for this track on the site last week, there isn’t a great deal else to add, apart from maybe to reiterate that if you have a summer indie playlist of any description, this simply has to make it on there.

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