In 2008 Fleet Foxes wowed virtually everyone with their brand of harmony heavy folk pop on their self-titled debut album.
Now, finally, they return with its follow-up, Helplessness Blues. The 12-track LP isn't out until May, but its first song was unveiled this week. The track shares its name with the album and finds the band in expansive mood, mixing country rock, rustic folk and baroque pop tunes. And, of course, those lovely harmonies. Actually, it's also rather more chirpy than the title would suggest. Their label Bella Union is offering the track as a free download at ind.pn/hc9aaQ.
The Kills raise the blood pressure
I can't say I've ever really liked the Kills: I saw them support the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion about seven or eight years ago and it was particularly dull. Their whole swaggering dark rock'n'roll shtick always seemed pretty cartoonish. However, you can't argue with a good song and a good song they have in the shape of "Satellite", the first track to emerge from their April release, Blood Pressures. Their label Domino have put the song on Soundcloud, hear it at ind.pn/dIRtST. It's a chugging then stomping blues-rock number and it's rather addictive, with a great rousing, howling chorus from Alison Mosshart that's oddly reminiscent of "Fisherman" by the 1970s reggae group The Congos.
Cool Cave dwellers still prove scary
While I find The Kills' swagger hard to take, conversely I'm a complete sucker for the psychopathic outlaw rocker style that Nick Cave's Grinderman are sporting: the quartet may have a combined age of almost 200, but they still look like the coolest/scariest band you've ever seen. They have a new single out in March, the third to come from their well-received 2010 LP, Grinderman 2, Palaces of Montezuma – the track, also called "Palaces of Montezuma", comes with several remixes including one by occasional Cave collaborator Barry Adamson. This version is a rather fine sparse effort and its offered up as a stream for Independent readers at independent. co.uk/artsblog.
The Melbourne electro-pop band Cut Copy release their third album next week. The trio's new one is called Zonoscope and it's previewing at their site cutcopy.heroku.com. To hear it, however, you have to log in with your Twitter account and share a tweet about the record with the world, which is probably a reasonable enough transaction for free music these days. Although it does come with some confusing looking conditions and I'm neurotic, so it was not an offer I was willing to follow through on.