Salt Ashes – Girls

Salt Ashes

There’s no hidden agenda with Salt Ashes.

Her new single, ‘Girls’ – written with Born Stranger – is a dark disco infused song to empower woman, and one that can be listened to both at home in your pjs or in the club.

Speaking on the track, Salt Ashes explains,

“‘Girls’ is about a situation that I’m sure many can relate to; when someone makes an assumption that you want more than just friendship based on their interpretation of how you act or dress. The track is about breaking the stereotypes of people who want to express themselves and their
sexuality freely without the “slut shaming” or being told that they’re “asking for it”. I’d hope for the song to inspire confidence within people to stick to their decisions with who they want to be… I wanted the photo shoot to build on that with a strong message by trying to mess with stereotypes and ‘seeing with the eyes of the other person’ before making assumptions or judgements. The track was produced by Tom Fuller, and I co-wrote it with Born Stranger who are a band I performed with last year, after having experienced that exact situation for the millionth time.”

Sounds like: Tove Lo, I BREAK HORSES, Kate Boy, Kylie

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Playlist: Austel

Austel

London artist Austel creates highly emotive music, so we thought it would be worth asking her to put together a playlist for us of the same! The result is below, and includes her brand new single ‘Crows’.

Crows – Austel

Our debut single, which we’re very excited to be able to share with the world.

Love Me In Whatever Way – James Blake

I had this album on repeat for months after it came out. I love the recurring vocal riff and building tension in the first half of this track. The drop is immense – that saw bass synth riff… so good.

‘Tell me when I have to go / And then love me there’

The End – Daughter

This track embodies everything I love about Daughter – Elena’s cutting lyrics, their trademark washes of guitar and ever-evolving sections and poignant vocal chants.

‘Let’s spend the future talking about the past’

Dry and Dusty – Fever Ray

I’m a big fan of the self-titled Fever Ray record and Karin Dreijer’s androgynous vocal style. On ‘Dry and Dusty’, she combines her tribal voice with developing synth motifs and simple percussion, conjuring a surreal, dream-like mood.

‘I am a capsule of energy’

Sugar Pill – The Japanese House

This track opens with delicate, melancholic piano chords but soon evolves – introducing Amber Bain’s washes of vocoder-treated vocals, glitchy beats and expansive synths.

‘You can use my ribcage as a pillow’

Hazmat Suits – Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein

I went through a stage of being a bit obsessed by the Stranger Things soundtrack – it’s so hypnotic. The bass synth glide on ‘Hazmat Suits’ is huge and hits me in the stomach every time.

Form By Firelight – Jon Hopkins

Jon Hopkins’ Immunity is a huge sonic influence on us; it has so much life amongst all the electronic sounds. It’s just brilliant.

This Mess We’re In – PJ Harvey

One of my favourite songs of all time, on one of my favourite albums of all time. The addition of Thom Yorke’s ghostly vocals are a dream collaboration.

‘I have seen the sunrise over the river, the freeway / Reminding of this mess we’re in’

Outlier – Bonobo

Bonobo’s music has a great driving, energetic feel to it. Adam and I were both obsessed with Migration when it came out. The track ‘Outlier’ builds really strongly adding layer after layer. Tracks like this really influenced the Austel production process.

Sleaze – Klangstof

One of my more recent discoveries – I love the expansive space Klangstof create with those pulsing synths and soaring hooks.

‘The tide needs a night to set up and collide’

Europe Is Lost – Kate Tempest

Kate Tempest is one of the most powerful performers of our time – the rising tension and cutting message of this track is profoundly resonant, and a haunting reflection of the days we’re living in.

‘We have learned nothing from history / The people are dead in their lifetimes’

Silhouettes (I, II & III) – Floating Points

Adam’s a big Floating Points fan. ‘Silhouettes (I, II & III)’ has this amazing string part in the middle section which is a wonderful merger of electronic and acoustic instrumentation.

The Eraser – Thom Yorke

This whole record is incredible, another one of my favourites. The opening title track is Thom Yorke at his best – trademark moody piano chords, glitchy rhythms and those beautiful, haunting vocals.

‘You know the answer so why do you ask?’

Teardrop – Massive Attack

‘Teardrop’ was my entry ticket into trip hop. Elizabeth Fraser is one of the greatest singers of all time and this track perfectly exhibits how much power you can create with moments of fragility and dynamic range.

‘Water is my eye / Most faithful mirror’

Sounds like: Kllo, IDER

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Weekly Gems 37

Ben Khan – 2000 Angels

Ben Khan

Big news. Ben Khan returns with the announcement of his debut album (hurrah!) and a self-directed dystopian video for spine-tingling new single ‘2000 Angels’.

The album – set for release in the summer – was produced alongside Flood (PJ Harvey, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails) and mixed by Spike Stent (Björk, Frank Ocean), with Ben playing every instrument on the record.

Always with a creative hands-on approach, Ben also plans to launch his new interactive website, The Foundation, which offers an insight into the richness and depth of the album’s story.

Sounds like: Leo Kalyan, Twin Shadow, Jai Paul, JUNGLE, Disclosure, Prince, Blood Orange, Harts, Oyinda, Shy Girls

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OTR – Close Feat Kai Straw

OTR - Close Feat Kai Straw

OTR manages to get the chilled but tense vibe just right with his latest single, ‘Close’, which includes the soulful vocals by Kai Straw.

The 25-year old aerospace engineer-turned-producer uses his mathematical mind as a key component when it comes to his music, producing off-kilter melodies and electronic sounds.

Sounds like: Hotel Garuda, Gryffin, ODESZA, Petit Biscuit, Porter Robinson

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NAVA – Ritual

NAVA

NAVA is the highly energetic project of Persian songwriter Nava Golchini and three other Italian musicians. Visually, NAVA is a mix of horror and fashion inspired by the works of visionary designer Gareth Pugh.

The debut single ‘Ritual’ gives us a glimpse into the NAVA world – full of electro arrangements, tribal instruments and dark metropolitan landscapes.

‘Ritual’ is out now on Factory Flaws.

Sounds like: Nimmo

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Betablock3r – Make You Happy

Betablock3r

It could be 2014 again, and boy it feels good! During your visit, expect luscious vocals, addictive synth drops and and nu-disco undertone. All this, courtesy of Betablock3r and the new single ‘Make You Happy’.

It is the first single off their debut EP Monolith, out now.

Sounds like: Goldroom, Chromeo, RAC, Nightdrive

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Tanners – Holy Water

Tanners

It wouldn’t be a decent weekly gems feature without some pop in there. This week Tanners is the chosen one.

Tanners is the moniker of New York City-based songwriter and producer Tanner Peterson. Leading the way for women in creative music tech, Tanners has also spoken at TEDxTeen.

Inspired by her childhood love for the beach, ‘Holy Water’ celebrates the beauty and electricity born from allowing yourself to be completely vulnerable and enveloped by the ocean. “It’s a thank you song to the ocean for teaching me to embrace vulnerability,” Tanners says of the track.

Sounds like: Shura, Monogem, Ronika, Jessie Ware

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Young Sierra – Next To You

Young Sierra - Next To You

Meet emerging alt-pop trio Young Sierra, who were born from a school friendship, and bonded “over a shared love of low bit-rate Drake mp3s, eighties pop and hot-sauce”.

They have the kind of frantic energy of Arcade Fire and the cheeky nature of The 1975. Naughty.

Sounds like: Arcade Fire, Electric Youth, The 1975, Night Panther, Bad Sounds

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Francis Novotny – The Wire

Francis Novotny

Sonic production leads the way for Francis Novotny‘s new single ‘The Wire’.

It’s a brooding, electro-soul song by the Swedish multi-instrumentalist that is extremely reminiscent of Jack Garratt or Asgeir, and captures that addictive quality of a nonetheless-toxic relationship, and the feeling (says Francis) “when a person leaves you hanging on without answers – and you know you should get out of it – but you keep winding back towards them.”

It’s out now on Black Butter Records.

Sounds like: Jack Garratt, Asgeir

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Dead Sea – Know Where

Dead Sea

Dead Sea is a four-piece French band who craft dreamy and magnetic post-pop songs.

Their new release, ‘Know Where’, does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s hypnotic and joyfully melancholic.

They’ve just been on tour with Slowdive and they will support Editors next April.

Sounds like: Beach House, Slowdive

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Two Legs – Don’t Tell

Two Legs

One thing we are certain about is our dislike towards uncertainty, and it seems UK artist Two Legs feels the same.

His wistful dance single ‘Don’t Tell’ is the first of three releases this year, and has a “give a fuck” mentality that we love.

Sounds like: SAMA, Moderat, Tycho, Joe Goddard

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KUZO – Monsoon

Kuzo

Los Angeles-based duo KUZO are back with their new single, ‘Monsoon’.

Blissful and cool as ever, KUZO once again deliver a combination of emotionally driven blends of sound and sultry tones.

Sounds like: VÉRITÉ, Noosa, EZA, Paperwhite

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7Chariot – Danger In Me

7Chariot

We are super excited about the new signing to 0E0E (pronounced: naughty naughty) called 7Chariot (aka Nashville based 20 year old Claire Wilkinson).

‘Danger In Me’ is understated, yet ambitious pop at its best, and the lyrics are something we can all relate to.

Sounds like: Mallrat, Grimes, Lorde, Sylvan Esso, MØ

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The Rare Occasions – Mercy Mercy

The Rare Occasions

It’s not often we see decent indie rock coming out of the US, and we wouldn’t blame you for thinking this foursome going by the name of The Rare Occasions is British.

Their new single ‘Mercy Mercy’ is pure garage rock – rough around the edges, but fully refreshing to see due to the saturated market of pristine pop tunes.

Sounds like: YONAKA, Arctic Monkeys

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Suzi Island – Show Me The Way

Suzi Island

Young Brighton duo Suzi Island debuts ‘Show Me The Way’, a breezy and catchy indie pop number.

These two have already managed to get some decent names onboard, including Pete from The Vaccines, who produced the song. They are definitely on our watch list for 2018.

Sounds like: Nothing But Thieves, Sundara Karma

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Glassio – Back For More

Glassio

NYC-based duo Glassio share ‘Back For More’, a song for anytime of the day!

Built on an orchestral-electronic backbone that nods to the likes of Massive Attack and Air, the pining, heartsick anthem is a penned love letter to a paramour after a strained relationship has come to a close.

Sounds like: Hot Chip, Metronomy, Foals, Jagwar Ma, Rüfüs, Flume, Odesza, Bob Moses, Glass Animals, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs

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Playlist: POLO

POLO

POLO is an exciting new band comprised of Luke Lount, Kat McHugh and Daniel Edgell.

The trio base themselves out of “a total dive” town in Leeds, and use this rough’n’ready surrounding as inspiration for their music, which is full of heart and substance.

We asked POLO to put together a few of their favourite songs, and here they are!

Porches – Country

A song written like no other.

Baloji – Soleil de Volt

Got this on repeat at the moment… There are so many hooks throughout and there’s heaps of energy and life in the recording. Probably the funkiest song of the year so far

Patrice Rushen – Remind me

The slowest of slow jams.

Phoria – Red

Sonic bliss! These guys are super talented, and seem to always hit you right in the feels with their song writing ability.

Young Fathers – In My View

LOVE LOVE LOVE the sound young fathers are putting out at the moment. They’re nailing it for me with experimental lyrics through rap and spoken word and combining that with a big bodyshaking production. Also well worth a youtube for the music vid.

Olympia – Smoke Signals

A party favourite for the band. Feel good, fun and really damn catchy.

SZA – The Weekend

We all absolutely love SZA and this is just one of the many bangers from her amazing debut.

Amandla Sternberg – Let Me Stay Baby

Silky, smooth, sexy. A feast for the soul and ears.

Nils Frahm – Sunson

Beautiful and serene from start to finish. We had the pleasure of seeing him live recently and it was breathtaking.

Jon Hopkins – Emerald Rush

1 word: Cathartic.

Catch them live on one of their UK tour dates.

Sounds like: Kudu Blue, Jinka

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Colouring – Time

Colouring by Grace O'Neill

London boys Colouring hit us unexpectedly with new single ‘Time’.

A slick and steady piano beat begins before frontman Jack Kenworthy’s heavenly vocals kick in, soon to be followed by some seriously addictive pop harmonies.

Just. Take. A. Listen. Now.

‘Time’ is the first single to come from Colouring’s debut album expected later this year on Interscope/Polydor.

Sounds like: Youngr, Ten Fé, Bruce Springsteen, Honne, The Japanese House, RÜFÜS, LANY, The 1975, Phoenix, Draper

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Captain Kidd – LIMIT

Captain Kidd by Grant Jones

Psychedelic pop infused four-piece, Captain Kidd once again showcase their songwriting capabilities with ‘LIMIT’.

Speaking of the track, they explain

“Limit” is our most collaborative effort as a band yet. We bounced a ton of ideas off each other and really stuck to our decision to not overthink anything, but rather let the song develop naturally as those ideas poured out. We had fun with this one. We were watching 007 Casino Royale and thought, “hey let’s write a James Bond dance song.””

Sounds like: RÜFÜS, SAMA, Glass Animals

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Weekly Gems 35

TESHA – Dreams

TESHA

Brooklyn-based TESHA shares her mesmerising new single, ‘Dreams’.

TESHA effortlessly displays breathless vocal whispers with imaginary Japanese strings and a steady electronic backbeat.

Listen below.

Sounds like: Björk, FKA Twigs, Lykke Li, Joanna Newsom

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LUMINAR – Stand Down

Luminar

Dutch production duo LUMINAR shares ‘Stand Down’,

A slow starter, but bare with it, as ‘Stand Down’ does build and burn into a stream of dream pop with spacious synths and drums.

Sounds like: VÉRITÉ, Sigur Rós, London Grammar

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Nina June – Out to Sea

Nina June - Out To Sea

Finding artistic inspiration during a 700 mile solitary walk through France and Spain, while listening to the film music of Thomas Newman (American Beauty) and Michael Nyman (The Piano), as well as the ethereal pop of Rhye and Zero 7, Nina June has created the cinematic pop song, ‘Out To Sea’.

Listen below.

Nina June’s album BON VOYAGE is out today.

Sounds like: Rhye, Seinabo Sey

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Superheart – After Midnight

Superheart - After Midnight

Superheart‘s new single ‘After Midnight’ has a serious sense of nostalgia to it, despite us not hearing it before today.

It reminds us a little of the music from The Beach soundtrack thanks to its warming vocals and subtly powerful tropical licks.

Sounds like: Brian Eno, Sugar Ray

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Joshua Worden – Tennessee

Joshua Worden

Adorned in flowers and a “no sweat” approach in his press shot, Joshua Worden oozes an effortlessly cool approach to his music.

Joshua’s new single release ‘Tennessee’ is both raw and organic, yet electronic and processed, and we’re not the slightest bit confused…in fact we can’t get enough of his nonchalant vibe.

Sounds like: The Strokes, James Blake, Toro y Moi, Jamie Woon, Sufjan Stevens, Tame Impala

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Retro Kid – Retro Kid (RK Version)

Retro Kid

So it turns out you can make music from literally anywhere, including a studio with equipment sitting on ironing boards!

Usually one for more indietronica stuff, the bedroom producer Retro Kid has pulled this one out the bag for his DJ set, which is to be aired on BBC Introducing’s Big Bangers weekend on 29 March.

The track takes influence from the many late nights in Copenhagen and was largely produced with a headache the day after.

Sounds like: Röyksopp, Jungle, Hot Chip, Little Dragon

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JINKA – Countdown Forever

JINKA

Berlin-based artist JINKA shares the experimental and rather sporadic ‘Countdown Forever’, full of plonky synth sounds.

Speaking about the track, JINKA states,

“Countdown Forever is about an illusional state of infinite hedonistic experience. The title is paradoxical. But just because something is paradoxical it doesn’t mean you can’t explore the idea of it. I think, what I generally do when I’m writing is that I try to take a different perspective on the mundane, dip crude reality into some sort of surreal glossing, romanticize it without smoothening the contours.”

Sounds like: Kate Boy, I BREAK HORSES

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Jenaux – Give It Up

Jenaux - Give It Up

Jenaux is giving us some serious Duke Dumont vibes with his new single ‘Give It Up’.

Usually one for a remix, the NYC-based producer has turned his tricks to writing solo material. Lead by a strong bassline and funky vocal harmonies, ‘Give It Up’ gives us disco-licking good vibes and proves this is the right direction for Jenaux.

Sounds like: Duke Dumont, Gorillaz, Justice

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SHE Major – Not The Same

SHE Major

Don’t ever underestimate Belgium resident SHE Major as she returns with her most radio-ready track to date, ‘Not The Same’.

This girl makes bold pop gems and the proof is in the pudding, having already garnered huge online support from blogs.

SHE Major explains, “Not the same is a song about playing tricky mind games, about hurting each other just to see if he or she still cares. It’s about egos and insecurities and the damage both can do to one another.”

Sounds like: Banks

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