Tag Archives: James Bay

Playlist: Bishop Ivy

Bishop Ivy

Bishop Ivy is the diverse and cinematic solo project of Ivy ( real name: Cam Crowley), that takes cues from a broad range of mainstream sounds, pulling together elements of alternative pop, rock, trap, and electronica.

Inspired by a life-changing move from Massachusetts to Texas while Ivy was still in high school, the ‘All Things Temporary’ EP roots itself in songs about change, innocence, and angst, exploring familiar themes from unfamiliar angles.

He’s put together a playlist for Indietronica, exploring these themes. Take a listen below.

Mitski – Nobody

I was introduced to Mitski by her Tiny Desk Concert—a stripped-down acoustic set filmed in the office of NPR—and was blown away by the control she has over her voice. Her singing is meticulous and gentle, especially in the verses of Nobody. I also love the piano chords and chaotic ending this builds to.

Clairo – Bags

I loved this change in sound coming from Clairo. Her songwriting pairs well with the more acoustic and indie instrumentation here. The manipulated and/or tuned pianos and guitars are gorgeous.

Snail Mail – Pristine

Snail Mail’s melodies and jangly guitar chords create the perfect shade of melancholy that I love to try to tackle in my own writing. I thought the way my friend Névé put it was fitting: “It’s like you just balled your eyes out, but now you’re done and you feel better.”

James Bay – Fade Out

I absolutely love James Bay’s second album. The combination of his gritty songwriting with more electronic production is refreshing and lively. This song, in particular, is what I listened to after being done with the SAT. I hated the SAT.

Kevin Abstract – Peach

One of my favorite songs of the year: The click-y percussion, acoustic guitar hits, and layered synth pads create a lovely atmosphere that Kevin Abstract, Dominic Fike, Joba, and Bearface all thrive upon.

Beach House – Silver Soul

Silver Soul is my go-to Beach House song. Their particular combination of ballad-writing and retro-sounding synthesizers and drum machines is definitely influential on my sound.

Billie Eilish – ilomilo

This track I think is one of the best examples of the forward-thinking production that is all over this record. The layered vocals in the chorus are ethereal, and each part of the minimalist beat stands out in its own eerie way.

Phoebe Bridgers – You Missed My Heart

The debut Phoebe Bridgers record has grown on me more and more since I first heard it around 2018. This track, in particular, stands out for its amazing lyrics. The imagery is so vivid and actually violent, greatly different from the soft melody and piano chords.

James Blake – Into The Red

James Blakes synthesis of traditional and electronic musical sounds is breathtaking in this song. The final chorus is one of the most tear-jerking pieces of music I think I have ever heard, ever.

Toro y Moi, Instupendo – 50-50

The mixing on 50-50 is great. Each element, from the boomy kick, to the reverb-y vocals that just spill all over the track, work well with each other and expand the futuristic sounding palette of sounds.

Flume, SOPHIE, KUČKA – Voices

I thought SOPHIE was just about perfect for an appearance on Flume’s glitchy, abrasive mixtape Hi This Is Flume. Her production is so particular I can make confident guesses as to which instruments came from her and which did not. The softness of her vocals plays well with the harshness of the instrumentals.

Bon Iver – 29 #Strafford APTS

My favorite example of Bon Iver’s relaxing songwriting paired with glitchy electronics. I saw them live while recovering from the flu specifically for this song. They did not play it. I threw up.

Frank Ocean – Moon River

Frank Ocean’s layered vocals that don’t exactly line up time-wise fit well with the darker take he has on this song. I also love the brooding, heavy guitars and the atmospheric outro.

Michael Andrew – YOU

Michael Andrew is a singer-songwriter I met in Los Angeles in 2018. I was blown away by his voice, and especially by his album atlasTELAMON. The production and writing really reminds of Julien Baker, in the best way possible.

Jacob Collier – Make Me Cry

As I expected it to be, Jacob Collier’s Tiny Desk performance was stellar. It introduced me to this tune. His jazzy chord changes and harmonies are perfect for the relaxing nature of this song.

Sounds like:

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Playlist: Mokita

Mokita

Nashville based multi-talent, Mokita is the one-stop-shop for sparky acoustic pop.

His new six-track EP, ‘4201’ is out now and whilst it’s powered by club engineering, it pleasantly switches up between R&B, pop and country, and all that’s inbetween.

Check out some of his influences below.

‘Elevate’ – St. Lucia

This is has been one my favorites since it came out in 2012. One of my favorite albums as well. I love the 80’s undertones w/ the roto toms in the transitions. The wavy chorus-y guitars make me feel like I’m on a cloud.

‘All Day All Night’ – Moon Taxi

This song has been a staple in my running playlists. Its the perfect tempo for a morning jog and it just gets you bobbin your head. I’ve been a fan of this band ever since I saw them play live when I was in college.

‘You Never Need Nobody’ – The Lone Bellow

One of my favorite bands in college. The three part harmonies are so tight and perfect. I’ve seen them live and their vocals are even better in person. Zach Williams, the lead singer, has one of my favorite voices in the world. This song blends folk with pop melodies so well.

‘Find Yourself’ – Great Good Fine Ok

I’ve always loved Great Good Fine Ok ’s production and melody choices. I love the sparseness in the production. This band has taught me a lot about how making smart production choices can make a song feel so big without needing a bunch of elements. This chorus is infectious.

‘Hide and Seek’ – Imogen Heap

I know this is a well known song and sure most people are familiar with it, but hearing this song for the first time made realize the power of simplicity. This is the one of the most beautiful melody compositions I’ve ever heard, and I love that its slightly messy and airy. The breathiness of the vocals and the white noise just makes its feel so organic.

‘Settle Down’ – The 1975

This guitar and arpeggiated synth in the intro just immediately hooks you. I love the repetitiveness of the melodies and how they follow a lot of the guitar lines. The syncopated pocket of the chorus melody just makes me wanna dance.

‘Blu’ – Jon Bellion

Several things get me on this one. I love that the pre chorus almost happens in between 2 verses . Its unpredictable just like all of his songs, which is why I love him. The chorus has its own vibe and just feels so airy and warm matched with a beautiful falsetto melody. Also love the tempo slow down before the chorus

‘Need the Sun to Break’ – James Bay

This album really changed my life in college. Still one of my favorites. One of my favorite songs of the last 10 years. The chorus melody just feels classic .

‘When a Heart Breaks’ – Ben Rector

As a piano player, any song that can be driven by just a piano I’m all in. Just a great song. It has the folky feel but the melodies are just so infectious.

‘Industry’ – Jon McLaughlin

This album taught me so much about how to write songs on piano. I remember learning this whole album on piano when I was in college. To this day this is still one of my favorite piano riffs to play.

‘Ocean’ – Martin Garrix, Khalid

The soundtrack feel of this song is what hooks me. Khalid’s voice is so listenable and the minimal production is so well placed. Just a great vibe.

Sounds like: EXES, Handsome Ghost, joan, FRND

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Great Mountain Fire – Look UP

Great Mountain Fire

Belgium pop band Great Mountain Fire their shares new single ‘Look Up’.

Comprised of childhood friends, their music echoes of Daft Punk. Tinged with groovy beats, ‘Look Up’ is a fresh, sunny indie pop tune.

Sounds like: Breakbot, Goldroom, Daft Punk, Mirage Club

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0171 – SMTHN RL

0171

0171 is Hackney duo Joe Bedell-Brill and Georgie Hoare.

Creating a beautiful clash of raw and honest music, the nostaglic dark pop duo shares their sophomore single, ‘SMTHN RL’. It explores a yearning for real experiences and real intimacy in a world where you can often feel distant from each other, and from your own life.

Their debut EP is out on 17 May.

Sounds like: Kllo, Kudu Blue, The xx, Myo

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Tropic Harbour – Calm

Tropic Harbour

Canadian artist Tropic Harbour today releases his ‘Calm’ EP.

Not disimilar to his former releases, the lead single continues to serenade the listener, and gives further gravitas to the beat-maker’s own unique take on the chillwave sound.

Sounds like: Summer Heart, DIIV, Jessy Lanza

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Joey Landreth – Cryin’

Joey Landreth

Meet Juno award winning guitarist Joey Landreth.

Also one half of the esteemed roots band The Bros. Landreth, Joey takes a more emotional approach to his solo material, creating a bold and versatile sound that explodes with energy while also remaining captivating throughout.

Listen to ‘Cryin” below, with its James Bay vibes.

Sounds like: James Bay, Hozier

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ORIION – Siren Call

ORIION

If you’re a fan of anything pop, there’s something for everyone in ORIION‘s latest, ‘Siren Call’.

His self-described ‘nostalgia pop’, walks the line from the 80s up to the modern day, with a one-a-kind vocal delivery that really conveys the lovesick motivations.

Sounds like: Zayn

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Manatee Commune – Growing Pains

Manatee Commune by Allen Daniel

Manatee Commune by Allen Daniel

Manatee Commune is exploring music and life in his mid-20s.

His blissful new single ‘Growing Pains’ hits the crux of the issue. Immersed in a sober and earnest landscape, the song features Samuel Eisen-Meyers and is out now via Bastard Jazz.

Sounds like: John Mayer, Teen Daze, Goldroom, Tropic Harbour

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Bokito – Colleen Bawn

Bokito

If there is one thing to do this year, go see Bokito perform live.

Sitting in the gap between tropical indie pop and soulful funk, Bokito’s ‘Colleen Bawn’ is bursting with summery energy and fills you will and irrefutable urge to move. Frontman Moses Moorhouse’s vocal is the perfect compliment to the tasty groove set by the five-piece.

Sounds like: Two Door Cinema Club, Stereohoney, Shiners

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Make Friends – Drop Naked

Make Friends

Bristol-based four-piece Make Friends are set to send tingles down your ears.

Lead by emotional stories, the subject matter of their debut single, ‘Drop Naked’ may be dark, but the complex grooves and stretched indie-pop chords suggests otherwise.

Expect their EP in spring.

Sounds like: Bombay Bicycle Club, Foals, Sea Girls, Ten Fé, Suzi Island, Everything Everything

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TENDER – Slow Love

TENDER

We are super excited about TENDER‘s new single, ‘Slow Love’, taken from their album ‘Fear Of Falling Asleep’, out via Partisan Records.

Much like TENDER’s other offerings, ‘Slow Love’ has a delightful bassline throughout with soulful vocals, inspired by the moments that come just before sleep when silence descends, and doubt and fear and desire take over.

Sounds like: MOTHXR, Jungle, Glass Animals, HUNTAR, Caribou, Air, The National, Tame Impala, Boxed In, Honne, Colouring

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Satin Jackets ft. Panama – Automatic

Satin Jackets ft. Panama - Automatic

We are huge fans of Germany’s finest disco kid, Satin Jackets (aka Tim Bernhardt) and Sydney-based singer/songwriter, Panama. Their new collab is a dreamy leftfield pop at its best.

Expect the second Satin Jackets’ album, ‘Solar Nights’, on April 26 via Eskimo Recordings.

Sounds like: Goldroom, Du Tonc, Honne, MOTHXR

Satin Jackets
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Panama
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Joe Slater – Nothing Ever Seems to Change

Joe Slater by Rob Blackham

Joe Slater by Rob Blackham

Liverpool-based singer/songwriter Joe Slater shares his new single, ‘Nothing Ever Seems to Change’.

With an underlying hint of country, pop, folk, blues and soul, Joe writes music that is highly emotive and personal.

Joe plays Green Note, London on Thursday.

Sounds like: James Bay, Bob Dylan, Harry Styles

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CUT_ – Fever Feat. Klangstof

CUT_

Sultry artist CUT_ combines forces with Klangstof to create a captivating atmosphere where there is but one message: Sex.

‘Fever’, a minimalistic song, is soft yet sensual which ultimate leads to a burning tension between the two vocals with the addition of lush reverbs and slow moving synths.

Sounds like: James Blake, Kllo, Massive Attack, Phantogram, Kito, Broods

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RJ Thompson – Echo Chamber

RJ Thompson

An early Phil Collins sprung to mind as soon as we heard ‘Echo Chamber’ by RJ Thompson.

It is the first release from his upcoming album of the same name and is refined retro pop, that isn’t boastful or brash.

The video is the brainchild of RJ and director Ian West (James Bay, The Lake Poets, The Futureheads). On the video, Ian says,

“We wanted to create something nostalgic but also something that reflected the nature of the song. That feeling music gives you… the way it taps into your memory and reminds you what it’s like to be free and happy without the rules and restrictions of society was really important to highlight. I guess that’s the main theme behind it, for those few minutes you have a freedom, and that creativity and music can’t be oppressed.”

Tour Dates

29 November – City Hall, Newcastle (Jools Holland Support Tour)
30 November – City Hall, Newcastle (Jools Holland Support Tour)
1 December – SECC, Glasgow (Jools Holland Support Tour)
21 December – International Centre, Harrogate (Jools Holland Support Tour)
22 December – First Direct Arena, Leeds (Jools Holland Support Tour)

You can expect RJ’s album on 17 November.

Sounds like: Phil Collins, Ryan Adams, The 1975, Brandon Flowers, Gabrielle Aplin

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Hider – Yosemite

Hider

Yosemite is a tranquil place, full of varying landscapes. London-based Hider channels this level of beauty in his new track, ‘Yosemite’.

It’s a feel-good summertime song, that reminds you of sweet holiday romances.

Listen below.

Sounds like: Ben Howard, MÖWE, James Bay, The Lumineers, Arcade Fire

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Mark Diamond – Dark Matter

Mark Diamondd

Mark Diamondd

Mark Diamond is exactly that. A musical diamond, shining brightly amongst the competition.

He has probably sparkled this bright since he started writing music, despite the regular rainfall in his hometown of Maple Valley, just outside of Seattle. Mark hopes that his music reminds fans (just as much as it does himself) to focus “on the brightness of the stars rather than question the darkness in-between them.”

Tattooed onto Mark’s left forearm reads “XVII-II-MMVI” – the date he first performed an original song in front of a large audience. Each day that tattoo staring at him is a reminder that all it takes is the courage to be yourself. At that moment, Mark remembers feeling like nothing in his life would be the same.

His expansive new track, ‘Dark Matter’, is about the push and pull of his own life and forms part of his ‘Cosma’ EP.

Mark says;

“The Cosma EP is so much more than a body of music to me. Writing these songs was extremely spiritual for me because I began to feel like I had found my place in the universe. Right away the record really started to take on a large atmospheric type mood and I definitely wanted that to continue because it felt so natural. I realized the importance of creating something without searching for perfection and allowing the life of a song take its course. For the most part, I feel as though these songs wrote themselves and I was just lucky enough to be there to catch them.”

Sounds like: Take That, Tom Odell, James Bay, Tender

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Frances – Borrowed Time

Frances

Frances

Focusing on more of an electronic production, 22 year old Frances (of ‘Grow’ fame) is back with ‘Borrowed Time’.

It was written with Howard Lawrence from Disclosure in his garden studio at home in London and sees Frances stretching herself vocally.

The result is gorgeous silky vocals and emotive minimal piano chords wrapped around a funky and glittery chorus.

It is out on 15 January via Capitol Records.

Live Dates

18th November – TORONTO – Sound Academy*
20th November – TORONTO – Riviera Theatre*
21st November – MINNEAPOLIS – State Theatre*
23rd November – NEW YORK CITY – Rockwood*
18th Feb – LONDON – Union Chapel
*supporting James Bay

Sounds like: Rae Morris, Boxed In, Jess Glynne

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X&Y – Rocket Science

X&Y

X&Y

X&Y is Ben (21, keyboard and vocals), Ash (22, guitar) and Rhys (21, drums) from London, Brighton and Wales (in no particular order).

The trio has been busy in the studio with music royalty; Toby Gad (Beyonce, John Legend, Madonna), Josh Record, Johnny Coffer (Emeli Sande, Gorgon City), Nexus (Lana Del Rey, Hurts), and Until The Ribbon Breaks.

New track ‘Rocket Science’ is a type of pop the radio stations and TV channels have been missing of late. Real, ballad-infused, indie pop.

Have a listen.

Sounds like: Temple Trap, Tove Lo, Cloud Fighter, Emeli Sande, Elle Eyre, Hurts, Until The Ribbon Breaks, John Legend, Josh Record, James Bay

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