HONGZA – ACCOLADES

Hongza is a British-Vietnamese indie-pop artist that’s been defined by his teenage years in the heart of the 2000’s. His new single ‘Accolades’ brings catchy lyricism, riotous guitar and honest songwriting to the genre. “I hate my self and I blame my friends”. 

In the single, Hongza expresses an endless, debilitating claustrophobia. It’s a detailed deconstruction on the struggles of lockdown living for Hongza. He touches upon the need for human contact, instead of Gen Z’s obsession with empty social media likes and comments.

Being in Lockdown is such a crazy experience, I had so much time that I was spending insane amounts of hours on my phone and making TikTok videos. I got caught in this mess where I thought my self-worth came from how many people commented on my videos & how many people followed me. Which is not true! I guess this is a lockdown to take care of your mental health & this track is a digital wellbeing anthem for me.” – Hongza

Sounds like: Cassia, Larkins, Judas

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WEEKLY GEMS 144

Hands Down – Too Late

Hands Down is a Swedish artist that took a year out from his work as a sound technician and producer to write an intimate body of work. His “Too Late” single is a softly sad pop track that talks about memories and relationships slowly fading away. The melody for the single has been repeating in Hands Down’s mind since his High School years. Only now has he had the courage to know exactly where it fits.

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Two Can – Your Only Option

Two Can is an Aussie indie-electronic producer that’s known for big collaborations with the likes of Major Laser, Jonas Blue and Rudimental. After deciding to go separate ways with his brother (originally the second member of Two Can), Myles took the project into his own hands. Recently, he has delivered the romantic focused “Your Only Option” single with Brandyn Burnette‘s soul-tinged vocals.

Sounds like: 2DEEP, Bella Renee

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Psyence – Dirty Gonzo

“Dirty Gonzo” is Psyence‘s penultimate single, before their “Reality or Design?” EP that’s coming later this month. The alternative rock single, released on Black Belt Recordings, boasts wild journeys with that one friend that owns the craziest stories. Psyence are old school friends that used their studio as a much-needed safe haven from the world last year. The result? The five tracks that will make up their new EP.

Sounds like: Honey, BathTub, The Blinders

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daste. – Hear With Me

daste. are an Australian trio working towards their debut album. Their latest musical segment, “here with me” calls upon the graceful vocals of DVNA. The couple sings delicately about staying emotionally and physically close to loved ones. The simplistic chords are exaggerated with an unbelievably slow tempo, bringing you ever so politely into the collective moment. “I need you here with me, I need you close”. 

Sounds like: Tungz, JVLY

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Solar Slides – The Other End

Solar Strides aim to lift spirits with their new single, “The Other End”. The indie-rock band deliver a lyrical reminder that asks you to reach out to the people you love. Of the single, the band say, “The first thing you hear in the song is the tune I hummed randomly whilst cooking one day. From there it was a case of finding lyrics that worked with both the structure of the melody and its apparent feeling of warmth.”

Sounds like: Gold Baby, St Jaspers

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Madsuis Ovanda – I Survived

Madsuis Ovanda are a Berlin-based duo that work within the dream-pop musical realm. The long-term friends have experienced critical success in their home-country with previous release, “Butter”.  New single, “I survived”, is an assertive message of unity. Riding above endless layers of analogue synths is an important message of strength and defiance, stating “there’s no room in here for you”.

Sounds like: Blood Orange, Maggie Rogers

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Amy Milner – Could’ve Been Right Now

Amy Milner is a Suffolk-based songwriter who delivers refined, heart-wrenching indie-pop. Her new single, “Could’ve Been Right Now”,  realises the deeper meaning of a relationship. The track is written in collaboration with Tim Larcbome, known predominently as Lana Del Ray and Halsey’s producer. Talking about the collaboration, Amy says, “This one’s for the people we’ve been missing. The ones who have left our lives pending to be changed for the better as soon as we can be reunited.”

Sounds like: Daughter, Oh Wonder

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WEEKLY GEMS 143

Kina – I’m Not Going Back

Kina is a platinum-selling producer that’s just released epic new single, ‘I’m Not Going Back’, with Nashville vocalist, Mokita. With prominent lo-fit elements, the track was born from a difficult, but inspirational time for Kina. Speaking of the single, Kina says, “I’m so happy with the final result simply because it completely represents my mood during that period of time.”

Sounds like: eli., Keshi

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KK Lewis – Good Enough

KK Lewis is the indie-soul artist behind the subdued, simplistic (but effective) vocals. Having grown up busking in Dublin, the Irish singer embraces a folk background with a rolling, gritty sound in the new single ‘Good Enough’. In the track, KK Lewis offers an abruptly honest take on our unprecedented times.

Sounds like: Joy Crookes, Biig Piig

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Webmoms – On My Way 

Webmoms have delivered a delicately soulful acoustic-pop track, ‘On My Way’. The delightful combination of sounds boasts aspirate harmonies and a prominent guitar hook. Webmoms comes from the cornish multi-talented musician named Karum Cooper. As a self-confessed music obsessive, his project looks to work with an array of musicians from around the world.

Sounds like: Facepaint, Milo Gore,  Elder Island

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Mass House – Temptations

Mass House’s new single, ‘Temptations’ is based around their experiences in the studio in central Bristol of ‘sheepish looking blokes scurrying in and out undetected’. The cheeky tale is told with an addictive, glitchy soundscape and tongue and cheek lyrical content. It’s a confident, funky single that talks of bad intentions and biting your tongue.

Sounds like: Tampa, George

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Emilia Tarrant – Honeymoon Phase

Emilia Tarrant is a young singer/songwriter from Winchester. After throwing herself into keys at the mere age of 12, the piano became her first love. Emilia notes that she sees songwriting as a form of diary writing, using it to divulge and understand life’s stresses. Her new single, ‘Honeymoon Phase’, looks at the blurry-eyed kind of love, and how this morphs and adapts after time.

Sounds like: Lily Beck, Grace Carter

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MAUD – ALONE TOGETHER

Maud is a Norwegian electro-pop producer that plays with dark, impulsive electronic sounds. Her newest single, ‘Alone Together’ is an exposed track that forces Maud to look at the vulnerable, deep thoughts surrounding isolation. The expanse of sound creates a slow, self-reflective narrative of loneliness and confusion. Maud asks many questions along her quiet journey of self-discovery… One being, should we be alone, in peaceful solitude, or find relief in being alone together?

When exploring this unusual circumstance and the feelings of comfort found when you know others are alone too, Maud states, “the last year we’ve all kind of been alone, but together in facing these strange times. I hope the song can give the listener a sense of togetherness”.

Sounds like: ARY, Emilie Nicolas

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Kiskadee – DOWN

kiskadee down

Jack Chown is a producer and composer based in London who has recently worked behind the scenes for artists such as Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Tycho Jones and BIIANCO.

He’s now given birth to his own project: Kiskadee.

Taken from his upcoming ‘UP__DOWN EP‘, debut single ‘DOWN’ is a mesmerizing instrumental piece full of trippy vibes and gorgeous layers of sounds. Fans of Jamie XX and Bonobo shouldn’t miss it !

The project began in early 2020 when I was gearing up for a creative trip to Iceland to collect sounds / visuals for this project. Covid hit and I was forced to rethink, instead reaching out to friends + musicians on social media; asking for them to send in voice-notes that reflected their experiences of lockdown and isolation.

I started flipping these sounds into beats and posted them onto instagram as I went. The instant feedback and back-and-forth from a growing community of fans/collaborators started to shape the sound of the project. After a while I set about cutting, combining and extending these posts into four tracks ready for release: the ‘UP__DOWN EP'” – He explains.

Sounds like: Jamie XX, Bonobo

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WEEKLY GEMS 142

 

Bonder – Gone in the Wild

There’s something about this new single from Bonander that’s reminiscent of Kate Bush. Perhaps, it’s a sense of wild, guttural freedom. Sometimes described as spellbinding, the new ‘Gone in the Wind’ single is an expressive piece of work that plays a big part in this artist’s feminist revolt.

Sounds like: Sara Parkman, Duvchi

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Vale – All Rise

Vale has created a track brimming with choral synths and his own, softly sweet, vocals. ‘All Rise’ builds slowly, starting with a slow, sensitive strength that leads to a thunderous, explosive representation of loneliness fear and patience. Of the track, Vale says, “loneliness in a time
where the entire planet was, if nothing else, communal in a shared isolation.”

Sounds like: Flume, Christian Cohle

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Tommy Lefroy – Northern Twins

Tommy Lefroy is made of two kindred spirits who bonded over endless days of songwriting obsessions and an innate need to story tell. Their beautifully intimate new single ‘Northern Towns’ holds an undeniable innocence whilst weaving a tale of intimate first love and hazy childhood memories. Their graceful vocals almost blend as one with their tight-knit harmonies softly riding over rising guitar riffs and driving percussion.

Sounds like:  Lucy Rose, Daughter, Fenne Lilly

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Gillian – Burnout

Gillian is a 16-year-old singer/songwriter based in Boston who focuses on topics of addiction, loneliness and relationship dissolution. Her first release of the year has come in the form of the piano-centric single ‘Burnout’. The track boasts her soulful, emotively stirring vocals, and insightful lyrics that show a doubtful scepticism in the young artist.

Sounds like:  Aprilann, Sloane

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Luin Mei – Yellow

Luan Mei‘s ‘Yellow’ single has been injected with lashings of steady electronic elements that build towards a hypnotic, deeply personal release. Tiiva has meticulously layered addictive, staccato vocals with a punchy execution onto contrastly elongated synths. In the single, Luan Mei’s indie-pop vocal lays down vital words surrounding queer love and self-discovery.

Sounds like:  Nouel, Jambo

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Keir – Paranoid

Keir is the Bristolian artist that plays with an alternative, emotive, sometimes rocky, musical landscape. ‘Paranoid’ is the epic new release that sees Keir delve into an unusual anthemic, choral space. With his vocals once again at the forefront, the track explores obsessive paranoia surrounding iconic love.

Sounds like: KLAN, Giant Rooks, Provinz

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Emma Elisabeth – Jellyfish

emma elisabeth jellyfish

Swedish songstress, writer and producer Emma Elisabeth has just released her brand-new EP “Something Borrowed, Something Blue”. Three delicious songs built upon a mix of indie-pop vibes, Americana textures and made unique by her gorgeous vocal.

Jellyfish‘ is the lead single and also our favorite of the lot. As Emma explains about it: “Valentine’s Day is basically the saddest holiday of the year. Until someone asks you on a date and takes you to the aquarium to go look at fish and jellyfish in the middle of the day and then give you a hand made card with paper hearts on it. I wanted to capture this feeling of being like 13 all over again and being all nervous about it. And truth is, the uncertainty is still there, no matter how old you get.

Listen to the whole EP here.

Sounds like: Lana Del Rey, Lucy Rose, Laurel, First Aid Kit, Susanne Sundfør

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ORMISTON – REBEL

Ormiston is a debut artist from Montreal, Canada. His first single (ahead of his very first album) is a feel-good injection named ‘Rebel’. It’s an upbeat track that hopes to bring joy into a difficult year. Having grown up in a bilingual, musical family, Ormiston always intended to take musical into a professional sphere.

Of the single, Ormiston says, “Rebel is a song about a turbulent relationship between two lovers. A passionate relationship bringing the best and sometimes the worst out of both individuals. With this first single, Ormiston explores the sound of coastal beach tones mixed with indie pop.”

Sounds like: Milk & Bone, Heartstreets

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LO – LOST IN A DREAM

LO is the Berlin-based producer that’s delivered leftfield-pop inspired single, ‘LOST IN A DREAM’. Ahead of his forthcoming album, ‘Night Owls’, LO has released this electronic, chaotic injection. After his critically acclaimed single ‘Blu’, LO has built on his amalgamation of bass music, future garage and ambient, atmospheric music.

Of the single, LO states, “LOST IN A DREAM is one of the tracks that made me decide to work on an album again. It has this raw electronic sound that really gave me a rush of excitement and inspired the whole sound of the album. The song talks about this bizarre inception-like feeling of weird dreams that you want to wake up from but can’t. Sometimes our inner self feels this same strange feeling about things in reality, whether it’s life plans, relationships, or even just existing. I tried to transport the feeling through this track, the conscious/subconscious state of being.”

Sounds like: slowbrew, Walking Ocean, Flume, Bon Iver

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WEEKLY GEMS 141

Jimmy Smash – Over

Jimmy Smash are the Norwegian duo behind slow indie effort, ‘Over’. Their soulful, alt-pop harmonies stand out after years of working tightly together. Because of this, the vocals seen in the ‘Over’ single hold an endearing vulnerable quality to them. Even though their musical roots and tastes can differ, the guys team up to bring both of their backgrounds into Jimmy Smash.

Sounds like: Patrick Breen, Ka2

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Bre Kennedy – The Hardest Part

Nashville-based singer/songwriter Bre Kennedy has teamed up with fellow Nashville artist, Hadley Kennary, for a new release ‘The Hardest Part’. It’s a soft, but sweetly painful indie-pop single around learning and eventually adapting to pain. The pair’s delicate, well-blended harmonies talk of getting lost in the past, being hurt and numbing your mind as a self-defence mechanism.

Sounds like: Sawyer, Mathew V, Liz Longley

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Julia Zahra – Indiana

Julia Zahra is a talented songstress that’s built up a solid following in her home country of Holland. As she’s started to garner attention internationally, Julia looks forward to her ‘Remedy’ album, releasing 5th of March. Her latest single from the album, ‘Indiana’, is a content, dream-like exploration that sees Julia wonder what her life could have looked like if she’d grown up instead with her birth parents.

Sounds like: Glen Faria, Jennie Lena

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1tbsp – In Europe, Kinda Sad

1tbsp is a completely new project from Australian electronic creative Maxwell Bryne (Golden Vessel). As he heads towards his EP, he releases the first slice of music that he’s been refining quietly for two years, ‘In Europe, Kinda Sad’. Inspired by both the Berlin club scene and making music with friends in Amsterdam, 1tbsp was born.

Sounds like: Ross From Friends, DJ Boring

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Paper Idol – Tightrope

Paper Idol has quite literally balanced electronic music with indie-pop in new single, ‘Tightrope’. The single is a somewhat comical take on the pain versus pleasure that relationships can bring. It’s a funky, precarious track that boasts catchy hooks and clever lyrical content. Paper Idol states that, “My music makes you want to dance, but has a deeper message”. 

Sounds like: Daniel Allan, Boon

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Sarpa Salpa – Another Life

Written, rehearsed and recorded in any moment they possibly could due to intermittent regional lockdowns, Sarpa Salpa grafted hard (like many bands) to bring out new music in 2021. Fresh single ‘Another Life’ features the head over heels kind of love and therefore the tunnel vision that comes in tow. Taken from their ‘Say Something’ EP, the single oozes continuous optimism in the face of (potentially) unrequited love.

Sounds like: Corella, The Zangwills

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