Dan Condon: Sick Tunes, May 20, 2012

20 May 2012 | 1:18 pm | Dan Condon

Baroness - the new Helmet or next Nickelback? Then get from Guided By Voices to Azealia Banks to Hall & Oates in six simple steps...

Hi everybody. How are you? I'm well.

There's a new Guided By Voices 7” single out now, but, confusingly, it's not really new at all. The A-side is Class Clown Spots A UFO, which has apparently been kicking around for over 20 years. Anyway, I'll let the train spotters debate that shit in the comments below, the rest of us can just click away and enjoy the devastating slice of Bob Pollard genius that the song is. It's all sweet and sunny and it just makes you feel warm inside, unless you're one of those people who hates pop music in which case you should be on a far more obscure blog than this one.

The good people at Rolling Stone have the song up for download. Click here and you'll have it for life. The new GBV album of the same name is out next month.

If you read a lot of music blogs then you've probably heard Pond doing Smokey Robinson's Tears Of A Clown by now. Of course, if you're like me, you probably shied away from it just in case it sucked and you began to harbor ill-feeling towards this generally quite wonderful West Australian ensemble. Well, after deliberating for a while, I held my breath and clicked play when it was sent to me and I was incredibly impressed with the way the band have tackled the iconic tune. They haven't tried to make it too weird or too fucked up, it's just a trashy, fun and faithful rendition of a true classic.

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This seems a good place to put the new single from Brisbane's friendliest man Jeremy Neale. He's spent the past couple of years writing pop songs that are just bizarre; at first they just sound a little bit raw – sonically, emotionally, musically, whatever – but in practically no time you're completely and utterly won over. There's a certain charm and honesty within his solo work that is awfully endearing and Darlin' continues on that trend. It's just that, this time, there's saxophone. Classic '50s pop mixed with '80s new romanticism goes some way to explaining it, but dedicating a couple of minutes to hearing it yourself is a far better way to understand what he brings to the table.

Okay, I'm impressing no one by posting this Azealia Banks song because it's already been heard by everyone with ears and a broadband connection by this stage. If you just so happened to have missed it (how?) then I'm gonna come out and say that it doesn't quite make my jaw drop like it did when I first heard the ferocious 212 but it still proves that Azealia is one of the better MCs kicking around right now. The Hudson Mohawke and Nick Hook production is nice and inventive as well – part-cinematic, part-tropicale and it has served its purpose in making us very hungry for her 1991 EP, which will be out digitally on Tuesday 29 May.

Looking back, 2010 was a pretty good year for indie and garage rock and Jaill were one of those bands who really made their mark that year, their That's How We Burn album was one of the standouts and next month they follow it up with their third longplayer Traps. The first song to rear its little musical head from said record is called Perfect Ten and it's another slack and cruisy sonic voyage that doesn't outlast its welcome but keeps you interested for its short duration. The new record is out through Sub Pop, Tuesday 12 June in the States, I'm guessing Australia will get it not long before/after that.

Want something a little darker? A little heavier? Well, the new Baroness song Take My Bones Away is nowhere near as dark or heavy than I was expecting; they're really cleaned things up and I honestly cannot figure out whether they've nailed it or completely lost their freakin' minds. At times it sounds like one of the best heavy rock songs we've heard in years, at others it just sounds like they're heading a little too far down the dreaded “modern rock” path. In a couple of months I'll have figured out whether they're the new Helmet or the new Nickelback, jury is out for now, I'm afraid.

Finally, if you're stuck at your desk and you don't know what to listen to and you think everything I've posted sucks (it's cool, I didn't write them) then maybe you'd like to suss out Pop Etc.'s recent mix tapes? They're packed full of righteous vintage pop and, while it's a cute and probably relatively effective promotional tool, it has stopped me listening to their new single because I ran out of time and, frankly, they're gonna come off second best after Ace Of Base and Tears For Fears, aren't they? I'm sure it's fine though.

As always, you can email or tweet me your/your boyfriend's band's songs. Thanks for those who have sent them in, if I haven't published them it doesn't necessarily mean I think they're shit. Just sayin'.

Have a nice week.