Even though it’s our birthday, we thought it’d be fun to buck the trend and give our lovely readers a gift instead! All of the following tracks are available FREE for you to download.

So, while you’re reading what they’ve got to say in this issue, you can simultaneously check out their musical wares. It’s like gorging yourself on birthday cake, but without the sugar-rush headaches... sort of...

Passion Pit
‘Cuddle Fuddle’

What did you get your girlfriend for Valentine’s Day? Flowers? Chocolates? How about one of the best debut EPs to surface for several years, written as a dedication to her? Well, that’s what Michael Angelakos of Cambridge, Massachusetts, five-piece Passion Pit gave to his GF, forever leaving boyfriends across the world too much to live up to. This track, like all others on the aforementioned ‘Chunk Of Change’ EP and on the new album, ‘Manners’, is infectiously optimistic, geeky electro-pop, sung with endearingly tuneless abandon.

‘Chrome Rainbow’

ohn Goodman and Bill Murray must be livid, being cruelly overlooked by ‘the best new band in Britain’ who’ve plumped for Aykroyd as the standard-bearer in their name. They’ve also plumped for two drummers - controversial, but necessary to the frantic fight-pop sound of this Glaswegian six-piece. This B-side to single ‘Pink Sabbath’ is, in turns, tuneful and mental. American alt-rock influenced, punk-influenced, popinfluenced, fight on a Saturday night in Glasgow-influenced - it’s quite a collection of sounds for one band to carry so resplendently.

Hatcham Social
’In My Opinion

With nu-romantic floppy fringes, a celebrity following, a penchant for children's literature and former Klaxons drummer Finnigan Kidd all rolled into one indie package, New Cross’ Hatcham Social were sure to delight with this offering. Hatcham's concepts stem heavily from ’80s bands such as Orange Juice and Josef K, with this track being no exception. Lead singer Tobias’ pentatonic style of singing buzzes smoothly under the heavyset basslines and subtle yet irresistible electro undertones. It’s a song to get excited about, just don’t mess up your hair yeah?

Black Lips
’I’ll Be With You’

Southern belles they ain’t, Black Lips’ bluesy-rock comes straight out of a dirty garage somewhere in Atlanta. It’s rough, confrontational and fantastic. New album ‘200 Million Thousand’, released on Vice Records, has had the critics salivating over the raw, garage rock revival sound. There are nastier tracks on the album than this, but we like the stripped-back rock balladry on ‘I’ll Be With You’. It makes us think of a forgotten Velvet Underground cut from the early days.

Crystal Stilts
‘The Dazzled’ (Session Version)

Picture The Beach Boys singing at a funeral, complete with candles and the lingering repeated ringing of bells and you have the sound of Crystal Stilts on ‘The Dazzled’. Formed in New York in 2003, the gritty surroundings and busy lifestyles of America’s big city have taken their toll not only on the track but also on Brad Hargett’s melancholic vocal, which sits uncomfortably over the top. The track holds your hand, waiting uneasily for some form of answer which never seems to appear, adding to the dreamy, dystopian, offbeat feel. This song is one to float to but not one to smile about.

Gang Gang Dance
‘House Jam’ (Hot Chip Remix)

2008’s ‘St. Dymphna’ was a thrilling release from Manhattan’s Gang Gang Dance. Dance-y and exotic in equal measure, it was the perfect balance of live instrumentation and squeaking electronics, floating above the boggy weirdness of Black Dice or Animal Collective. On stand-out track ‘House Jam’, GGD singer Liz Bougatsos’ voice comes across like the crossing point between Karin from The Knife and Karen O from The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, lifting the track up from a thumping bedroom dance number to a stop-for-amoment thinker.

Prefuse 73
‘Preparation’s Kids Choir’

Superior, bouncy, instrumental hip-hop from sample master Guillermo Scott Herren. You’d think that maintaining four (maybe more) simultaneous musical projects would tire a musician out, but you weren’t reckoning on Scott Herren, the consistent saviour of avant hip-hop. This track comes from new LP ‘Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian’. It’s Prefuse’s first album recorded onto Ampex tape, rather than played through the digital MPC, though for the extra effort that tape requires the tracks have lost none of their awesome complexity.


No longer MF - just DOOM will do - the mysterious, masked Mr. DOOM is back with a new album and this little snippet of brilliance. An old school piano break backs up another virtuoso MC performance from the Stones Throw rapper. DOOM cooks some genuine brilliance out of a chaotic word mash. “Get a grip like Spalding / These walls is thin, feel genuine ballskin.” Not one to shy away from rudeness, we suspect he is referring to the scrotal regions, euphemistically, here. What they get away with nowadays…

‘Let Your Love Grow’

Moderat have done well out of Clash this issue. In fact, both of the Berlin-based electronic superstars who make up the Moderat moniker (Modeselektor and Apparat) have made it into our Top 50 albums of the last five years list, which you can find conveniently located in the middle of the magazine. This track was appended to Modeselektor’s most recent album, ‘Happy Birthday’, and it’s a corker. Guest vocals from Paul St. Hillaire add a reggae twist to a futuristic bassheavy dirge.

We Fell To Earth
‘Careful What You Wish For’

We Fell To Earth are Richard File and Wendy Rae Fowler. Though not from outer space, they are from somewhere close. They met at Joshua Tree; the parched town in the middle of California’s High Desert where so many fried musical brains have retreated to over the years to receive musical messages underneath the starry skies. This track has a slow, ethereal majesty about it, as though it were a communication from a higher plain - a little hint for the human race to be going on with.

Animal Kingdom

A stint supporting Snow Patrol might have had a wet flannel effect for a different band’s creativity, but it’s not done so badly for Animal Kingdom, who’ve shot up in popularity while holding on to all their song writing potential. Their songs are lyrically tender, slightly magical, minor key fables that it’s OK to cry to in your bedroom, sure. Real men cry, you know. At Clash we can often be seen silently weeping over our MacBooks. Animal Kingdom taught us how.

The Hours
‘Wall Of Sound’

They only want you when you're seventeen... no, not true. They want you when you've already cut your teeth playing with some of best bands of the last couple of decades (Pulp, Elastica, Black Grape, UNKLE) as The Hours' Antony Genn and Martin Slattery have. Then you can come back and make epic, emotional and disquieting rock songs like Elbow or the latter days of Pulp. In fact Jarvis is a big fan, as is Damien Hirst who has produced all the band's artwork including the cover for new album, 'See The Light' - a big bold record that will blow your ears off and blast your heart out.

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