There seems to be a constant parade of arty indie rock bands getting pushed on music blogs, and in the case of the Southern Californian guitars/drums duo No Age in the pages of 'The New Yorker'. Sometimes it's hard to keep up and No Age had thus far passed me by, but on the basis of their new EP 'Losing Feeling', I will be jumping right into their back catalogue which includes last year's highly regarded, debut, full-length album 'Nouns'. The pair, Randy Randall and Dean Spunt, deal in the experimental end of rock, with layers of beautiful noise, lots of fuzzy guitars and hazy vocals. The new four-track EP isn't released until 6 October, when it comes out on 12-inch vinyl and in digital format – there will be no CD version. In the meantime, their record label, Sub Pop, is streaming it online now – you have to register with the site (it's free) but that's about it: subpop.com. I heartily recommend a listen.
Folk rocks on
Following Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn, Emmy the Great, Noah and the Whale and so on, it feels like we've reached saturation point with English alt-folk bands. But there's still more of them coming through: Skinny Lister is one such band; they reside in south London and their debut single "Plough & Orion" comes out on 24 August. While I'm sceptical about the plethora of bands brandishing ukeles and kooky names, I have to say I rather like the single. It's really quite lovely – if we ever get enough sun this summer to spend a day relaxing in the park until late evening, this would be a nice tune to soundtrack the occasion. Hear the track and others at myspace.com/skinnylister.
Pricked up my ears
I've been avoiding the film adaptation of 'The Time Travelers Wife', mainly because it looks like a schlocky tear-jerker, but also because its promotional poster seems to be on the side of every single London bus. My ears pricked up though upon hearing that Broken Social Scene have a cameo in it as a wedding band and that they cover Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" for the film – hear their slowed down take at tinyurl.com/mcmmgf.
Harmonising nations and melodies
Smokey Angle Shades are a London-based, five-piece knocking out enjoyable rock'n'roll. The band are like an advertisement for the EU, with members from England, Northern Ireland, Germany and Italy. They formed last year from the embers of the 747s who released an album a while back on Island. Hear a bunch of their country rocking tunes and Beatlesesque harmonies on their Myspace, tinyurl.com/nb7tpu, and we've also got two of their songs at independent.co.uk/lryan.
Tang of the past
I'm no hip-hop expert but I think the consensus is that the output of various members of Wu-Tang over the last few years hasn't been the most satisfying. Anticipation is rising however for Raekwon's new album 'Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II'. A new track from the record has emerged with guest vocals from fellow Wu-Tang members Method Man, Ghostace and Inspectah Deck. Called "House of Flying Daggers", it's pretty addictive with round after round of aggressive rhymes landing on top of a synth-led beat produced by J Dilla. Download it at tinyurl.com/ mz6sbx. To refresh you on Wu-Tang's heyday, check out this remake of the collective's "Da History of Chessboxin'" video from 1993, recreated in lego for no apparent reason – vimeo. com/545 2385.