Caught in the net: 'Ambling Alp' – a new peak

Click to follow

In recent years there has been a wealth of David Byrne-inspired US bands, such as TV on the Radio, Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective, MGMT and Vampire Weekend fusing experimentation, art-rock, a head for great pop tunes, and the occasional African musical inflection. Though in the case of the Vampire Weekend the influence is more Paul Simon than Mr Byrne. Yeasayer (left) are another band that can be lobbed into this grouping, though they haven't quite recieved the same amount of acclaim or notice, despite their 2007 debut album 'All Hour Cymbals' being well received and containing at least one perfect pop song in "2080". Now they return with their second album 'Odd Blood', released on 10 February. The first single from it is "Ambling Alp". It doesn't drastically alter their style from previous efforts, but has a more stripped-back, electro feel. While not scaling the heights of "2080", the song is worth a listen nonetheless (and on repeat listens it grew on me), and it's a free download from Yeasayer's website –

Drone worship

Earlier in the decade, everyone who was anyone was going for the new-wave punk-funk sound. Last year, you had to flex your Afrobeat credentials at every turn. This year, traces of the big sound of Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, with clanging and droning guitars facing off, can be found down lots of avenues. The Big Pink and the Horrors have gone this way to good effect, and Chapel Club are a new band following the path, too. The London five-piece are unsigned (though rumour has it not for long), but two of their fine early efforts are on, and two more can be found on Hype Machine at

They've got a fuzzbox and they use it

"Blissed out" and "buzzsaw" are words the Dum Dum Girls (below) use to describe themselves on MySpace. They are also an accurate description of their cover of the Rolling Stones' beautiful 1965 song "Play with Fire". The LA band's version keeps the downbeat feel, but amps up the fuzzy guitars. It's difficult to match the Stones' stately and spare melancholy, but the Girls make a decent stab of it. Hear it at

Domino effect bounces out Kasabian

Much as I'm enjoying the shoegazey/eclectro-rocky ways of The Big Pink and their excellent debut album, I have previously mentioned my fear of a Kasabian influence on the band's single "Dominos". It's a good song, but still, Kasabian... Anyway, Switch has remixed the song and there's not a whiff of them in sight; instead the track is full full of beats, blips and random siren-like noises. Download it from Mad Decent at

This is world music

Ahead of the climate change confab in Copenhagen next month, environmental campaigners have set up Hopenhagen (see what they did there?) to influence new thinking in solving the problems caused by climate change. But if I'm honest, I'm here for the music. Hopenhagen has put together an ad campaign involving the brilliant avant-garde/new-music organisation and group Bang on a Can. The first ad, "Water Shortages", features "Believing", a dramatic composition by Julia Wolfe, a BoaC founder. "Carbon Emissions" uses snippets of a lovely plinking percussive piece, "So-Called Laws of Nature", composed by David Lang, a fellow BoaC founder. See both at