Tag Archives: James Blake

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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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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MATTIS – Into The Night

MATTIS - Into The Night

MATTIS takes us ‘Into The Night’ with his enigmatic new single.

His baritone vocals offer a soulful elegance whilst remaining respectful to the darkness and delirium that often accompanies a period of sadness and loss.

Sounds like: Rationale, Ben Pearce, James Blake, Sampha

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Laarsen – Would U

Laarsen - Would U

Introducing Laarsen, an innovative electronic artist, producer, and multi-instrumentalist.

Slotting nicely into the musical realms of James Blake and Frank Ocean, Laarsen samples with the electronic (modern synthesisers, beats and production techniques) and natural (vocal recordings, vinyl samples, and organic instrumentation), merging sounds from the past, present, and future.

Listen to the  ‘Would U’ below, and expect a debut EP in the Spring.

Sounds like: Ben Pearce, Lane 8, James Blake, Burial, Mura Masa, Jim E-Stack, Jacques Greene, Kelela, Frank Ocean

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Hansaa & Soso – Nights Feat Emma Sameth

Hansaa & soso

Australian outfit Hansaa & Soso shares the new video for ‘Nights’ featuring the delicate vocal tones of Los Angeles-based Emma Sameth.

The visuals, directed by Julian Pircher, watch a young man follow his desires for a lady as she is laid out right in front of him.

Sounds like: VÉRITÉ, Kuru Blue, Banks

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Sunan – Faster

Sunan

Introducing Sunan, the vibrant new project from Pete Robertson.

Despite taking himself away from the music scene after departing The Vaccines, Sunan has had a “controlled explosion” of ideas from “minimalist string quartets to maximalist 80s-style prog pop.”

One of these results is ‘Faster’,  which covers a kaleidoscope of unshackled themes and variations.

Sounds like: LCD Soundsystem, Everything Everything, Alt-J, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads

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MATTIS – The Chain

MATTIS

We absolutely love Copenhagen-based viking soul MATTIS.

His new single ‘The Chain’ is written about the demise of a failed relationship (we’ve all been there). Ultimately life is tough but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Sounds like: Rationale, Ben Pearce, James Blake, Sampha, Thomas Azier

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Xie – Habits

Xie - Habits

We’ve all got ‘Habits’ but none are as positive as Los Angeles-based producer and singer Xie.

Taking a fresh perspective on pop music, Xie is paving the way for female producers with her new song!

‘Habits’ is out now via Seeking Blue Records.

Sounds like: Sofi Tukker, Crystal Fighters, The Knocks, Charli XCX, CHLØË BLACK

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Kuzo – Luna

Kuzo

This laid-back duo have big dreams in their heads. Meet Kuzo.

The video for ‘Luna’ explores nature during the day, epitomising a dream-like state, waiting for the moon to come out.

Sounds like: VÉRITÉ, Noosa

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Shadowlark – See Each Other Right

Shadowlark

British trio Shadowlark single ‘See Each Other Right’ blends sounds similar to that of Goldfrapp and Fleetwood Mac.

It’s another hypnotic song to add to their synth-tinged roster, further showcasing front woman Ellen Smith’s mysterious vocals.

Sounds like: Bat For Lashes, Lykke Li, Goldfrapp, Fleetwood Mac

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More Giraffes – Basement

More Giraffes

Futuristic pop duo More Giraffes (aka Mark Hadley and Keeley Bumford) are pinned to grab your attention with their short and snappy production techniques, colourful vocal loops and fresh melodies.

Listen to their debut single, ‘Basement’ below.

Sounds like: Charli XCX, Manila Killa

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Josh Jacobson – Sideline Feat. Gigamesh

Josh Jacobson

Josh Jacobson is effortlessly combining modern R&B with dance-pop in his new single ‘Sideline’ featuring co-production from Gigamesh.

On the subject of the song, he explains,

“Sideline is a song about growth and building in new directions, learning to let go when it’s necessary to move forward. It’s about those inner voices at times of transition that are at once exciting but so challenging emotionally. I think these lyrics will resonate with a lot of people in different ways, so I’m excited to hear how people relate to the song.”

Sounds like: Le Youth, Drake, Justin Timberlake, The Weeknd

Josh Jacobson
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Gigamesh
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Mines Falls – In the Rain

Mines Falls

Mines Falls are a brother duo from Los Angeles. They create piano ballads with the addition of electronic instrumentation.

As the title suggests, ‘In the Rain’ is a moody track full of both strength and sadness.

Listen below before buying tickets to one of their East Coast shows.

Sounds like: The National, James Blake, Solomon Grey

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Interview: Solomon Grey

Solomon Grey

Electronic duo Solomon Grey are gearing up to release their sophomore album ‘Human Music’, out on 16 February via Mercury KX Records. The record was mixed by Dave Fridmann (MGMT, Flaming Lips, Tame Impala) and features a full orchestra recorded in Budapest.

We caught up with Tom and Joe…

1. Describe your sound in three words.

Emotive, cinematic, classic (we held to hold back from writing average or something similar).

2. Where did the name Solomon Grey come from?

There was a day of flinging names around, Tom said Solomon Grey (the inspiration for that is another story) and we thought it sounded right. At the time we wanted people to think it was one person. We always enjoyed reviews wrongly thinking Floyd or Gnarls Barkley were one artist.

3. Your music is hugely emotive, and your visuals and live shows, hugely atmospheric. Which comes first when creating music?

We normally talk about the visual aspect of a track once the first few ideas are down. It’s always present in the idea from an early point. Also, atmosphere is vital to how we work with a tune. Always trying to find where a track sits and how to achieve that. We are always discussing and sharing ideas, it’s part of the joys of working as a duo.

4. You toured with Above & Beyond in 2016. What was that like?

Amazing. Performing live on the tour ended up inspiring a lot of how we wrote this latest album. Those venues, the acoustics, the seated audiences. The whole Above and Beyond family were so great to us, we owe them everything. Still can’t quite believe that we played the Hollywood bowl. What a privilege.

5. Your upcoming sophomore album, ‘Human Music’, is out next month, and follows Joe’s extremely difficult journey with his mother. Was this album particularly hard to make?

Joe, “in places. This is hard to explain but it was a very lovely time spending that last summer with Sandy. We were together for the end and it was special. I think the whole point of the album is that from the offset I thought something like this would be as you described it ‘an extremely difficult journey’ but it turned out to be a beautiful celebration of our lives together and an honour and pleasure to be there at the end. There were difficult moments of course but mostly it was a time I will cherish. We were best friends and it was good being there together at the end”. Tom, “Making the album was challenging because of the amount of musical ideas Joe brought but we got through it.”

6. We love new music at Indietronica. What new music are you listening to?

Arctic Lake recorded all their latest tracks next door and we think they are amazing. Msafiri Zawose has an album out called Uhamiaji which we keep playing on the way into work. Also, @iamofficer is recording his second album next door at the moment and we keep humming the melodies on our way home. It sounds beautiful, but he is still working on it so keep a look out for its release.

Sounds like: Aquilo, Heaven 17, Depeche Mode, Ásgeir, Chet Faker, James Vincent McMorrow, Hozier, Lane 8, The National, Son Lux, M83, James Blake, Bon Iver

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Haux – Heartbeat

Haux by Woodson Black

Haux is the project of rising photographer-turned-musician Woodson Black.

His most recent release, ‘Heartbeat’, is a stunning piano-led track that once again showcases his ability to effortlessly combine film and storytelling with music.

The short film set in the Cape Cod seaside town of Truro, Massachusetts features Sam Laiz and model Chloe Nørgaard, and explores the depths of love. Woodson explains,

“I get the chills anytime I remember this day at the beach. The landscape was so desolate it somehow made us shiver even more. I tried my best to capture that haunting feeling of being completely alone with your thoughts; those relentless kind of thoughts that never leave you. I wanted to show that while there is always pain in remembering, there is tenderness too.”

His forthcoming sophomore EP & companion short film ‘Something To Remember’ is set for release on 30 March via Ultra Records.

European Tour Dates

12 May – Berne, Switzerland – ISC
13 May – Zurich, Switzerland – Exil
16 May – Vienna, Austria – Chelsea
17 May – Berlin, Germany – Musik & Frieden
19 May – Copenhagen, Denmark – Ideal Bar
21 May – Stockholm, Sweden – Bar Brooklyn
22 May – Hamburg, Germany – Nochtspeicher
23 May – Cologne, Germany – Yuca
24 May – Roubaix, France – la Cave aux Poètes
26 May – Utrecht, Netherlands – EKKO
28 May – Groningen, Netherlands – USVA
29 May – Paris, France – Le Point Ephémère
1 June – London, UK – Omeara
2 June – Glasgow, UK – Stereo

Sounds like: Aquilo, SOHN, James Blake

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Playlist: Mar

Mar by Tatsiana Tribunalova

Meet Mar, a Dutch-Caribbean-Indonesian who grew up on a houseboat with his musical family in Amsterdam.

We have been blown away by his emotive and often heartbreaking music, specifically his current EP ‘Things Will Be’, which touches on key issues such as depression and suicide.

As a little introduction to the music of Mar, we asked him to put together a playlist for you.

Massive Attack – Teardrop
I was born in ’87 I really think the 90s era in music had a huge impact on me. I love the video for this one, the whole package. The simple chords the simple melodies yet so powerful.

D’Angelo – Africa
Big fan of D’Angelo’s album Voodoo. This song stands out to me because it’s the only lullaby, he made I think. It’s more pure and honest than the other songs. I love the choice for the snare sound.

Jeff Buckley – So Real
I heard Jeff kinda recently like 3/4 years ago or something and fell in love immediately, his guitar work is brilliant and his voice and falsetto are too. This song is truth to me.

Björk – All is Full of Love
Björk is not like any other artist in her presentation. I remember seeing this video and was like wtf, this speaks to my soul. Robot clones of her kissing eachother in slowmo. fkyh! The production and lyrics are gold too. Everything fits.

Chris Whitley – Big Sky Country
My father, a major infuence on my musical career, used to wake me and my sis up with this song and warm milk w honey. So everytime I hear this song I feel his love. Love the song and the bass specially.

James Blake – Retrograde
James to me has one of the best live shows I’ve seen thus far. So pure and everything so well played/sung. His music is so powerful, simple but well put together.

The Isley Brothers – Sensuality Part 1&2
My pianist played me this song, again the simplicity seems there, also in the solo, but the chord progression is kinda tricky to come up with. One of the most sexy tunes of all time to me

Prince – The Most Beautiful Girl
Prince. The one I connected to while discovering I could sing falsetto haha. So unique. So feminine and powerful but a brought to earth as a man. What an amazing artist. Even though I’m deffo not fan of all of his work, when he touched me with a song he really did it deeply. Like this one. (Sexy M.F in playlist as Most Beautiful . . . is not available on Spotify)

Bill Evans – My Foolish Heart
His trio formation live show is what I always put on when I need some background music. Love his style of chords choice. This song to me is peaceful autumn, warm ginger tea and a book.

Mats & Morgan Band – Hollmervalsen
My father came back from a Scandinavian tour and brought back this weird album from fusion duo Mats and Morgan. I used to listen to this song so often, trying to learn the tempo changes. When music becomes so boring for you, you decide make a robotic fusion song. That’s this to me.

Sounds like: Prince, Blood Orange, The 1975

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French Horn Rebellion – Rooftops Feat. Natalie Duffy

French Horn Rebellion

Brooklyn brothers Robert and David Perlick-Molinari, aka French Horn Rebellion, ask us to meet them on the ‘Rooftops’ in their new single, which also features the delicate vocals of Natalie Duffy.

The boys maybe harnessing down the electro funk on this one, but it doesn’t mean ‘Rooftops’ lacks energy, quite the opposite. Take a listen below.

Their label YouTooCanWoo will be expanding its ‘Night Out’ series of collaborative performances including dates in New York and London. More info here.

Sounds like: Monogem, RÜFÜS, Flight Facilities, Van She

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BATTS – Somedays

BATTS

Melbourne-based folktronica artist BATTS returns with her beautiful new single ‘Somedays’.

Using space as a reference (specifically the NASA recording of Saturn’s rings), ‘Somedays’ showcases BATTS’ knack of creating psych-tinged pop that is extremely grounding, but also feels otherworldly at the same time.

Expect her mesmerising and melancholic debut EP ’62 Moons’, to be released through the newly announced THAA Records.

Sounds like: London Grammar, Ficci, GEMS, MS MR, Daughter, James Blake, Jon Hopkins, MØ, SOHN, Broods, M83

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Jinka – Shock Mounted

Jinka

Quirky songstress Jinka shares the ‘Shock Mounted’.

The surrealist video, directed by Ossian Melin (Yung Lean, Little Dragon), features Jinka reading Swedish porn magazines and microwaving sushi. As you do.

Sounds like: Charli XCX, Vera, Billie Eilish, Gwen Stefani, Talking Heads

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Lake Jons -Call Me

Lake Jons

Following on from the brilliant ‘Colors‘, Finnish trio Lake Jons release ‘Call Me’.

Once again ethereal vocals clash and blend with tinny drums. We can’t help but think severe isolation in the woods is the way forward – it really does produce inspirational music!

Expect their forthcoming self-titled debut album to come out on 19 January through AntiFragile Music.

Sounds like: Midlake, Band Of Horses, Paul Simon, Ásgeir, Bon Iver, Nick Mulvey

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Dream Estate – You

Dream Estate

Wow, ‘You’ is some serious spine tingling stuff from Dream Estate, an exciting ambient pop outfit on the scene.

The band was originally founded by William Tse in 2015, but later was joined by Dan Hvorostovsky (bass, backing vocals), Dan Noble (lead guitar, backings vocals), and Joe Dawson (drums) in 2017. Since then, the band have been working alongside producer Sam Winfield (Fickle Friends, Pixel Fix, Amber Run, Motherhood).

Watch their video about insecure love below.

Sounds like: Bon Iver, The Japanese House, Aquilo

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