Tag Archives: James Blake

Playlist: Tessa Dixson

Tessa Dixson

Tessa Dixson has just released the emotive ‘Falling’, which one again feature those trademark yearning and goosebumps inducing vocals. To celebrate the release, we asked Tessa to put together a playlist of inspiration for us.

Listen below.

Tessa Dixson – Prayer

This was my first ever release, and it still embodies everything i am today. It’s still so true to what i believe and i feel it’s the kind of anthem for any young adult discovering the beauty and sadness of life.

Frank Ocean – White Ferrari

His album Blonde is the only album i am able to listen to on repeat without getting tired of it, but on the contrary falling in love with it even more every time. He captures your emotions so perfectly and something quite extraordinary happens, he’s a musical genius to me.

Maggie Rogers – Give A Little

I’ve never really been into pop rock, but Maggie is an amazing singer songwriter, and when you hear one of her songs you will directly know it’s hers, and this song is a perfect feel-good-get out of bed-on a sunny morning-dancing in front of the mirror song, start off your morning right with Maggie!

Spooky Black – DJ Khaled Is My Father

I think Spooky Black may be the artist i’ve listened to the most since i was 16 years old. He has this haunting truth telling that is just so sad and he is able to make poetry out of it, that’s beautiful to me. When i listen to this song i feel i am laying on a bed of white roses in the sky slowly falling into a pool of red.

Ama Lou – Tried Up

To me, Ama Lou is the next big thing in the underground world, she has a really strong concept and her latest project DDD is super interesting. Her songs resonate a cool coolness.

Aphex Twin – #3

I have a playlist on my phone called “starfish” and a lot of Aphex Twin’s songs are in it simply because that’s what the songs make me feel like, a starfish underwater, a certain serenity and peace of mind and just gliding with the slow current, i usually listen to this playlist when i’ve smoked a spliff.
The song is 7 minutes long and is very monotonous in the sense that it is the same chords over and over but that is the beauty of the song, it’s not about the chords itself but more about what happens in between.

Bicep – Opal (Four Tet Remix) 

I NEVER GET TIRED OF THIS SONG!!! It has so many ups and downs in it that you never get bored from it. It’s the kind of song you want to listen to when you come back from a party and the sun starts to come up and you still feel a bit buzzed but tired at the same time, thats the feeling i get from this song. Just writing about it gives me sweaty palms and butterflies in my stomach.

James Black / Bon Iver – I Need A Forest Fire

Everything about this song makes me emotional and i don’t know why but that’s why i love it so much. James Blake and Bon Iver is a match made in heaven, everything about this song is perfect, the harmonies, the ad-libs, the beat, the chords, the strength of their voices together, i mean everything.

The Blaze – Virile

If you haven’t yet noticed, i tend to like songs that make me feel some kind of way, that’s usually why i like a song or not. Well this song represents a form of nostalgia and that’s why i like it so much, it tells a story by the atmosphere.

Romeo Elvis/Primero/Tessa Dixson/Halibab Matador – Poliss Massa

Romeo Elvis has really been able to create a sort of empire so i’m very proud to have been a part of it in the very beginning. It’s such a chill song and really makes me think of Brussels somehow.

Sounds like: The xx, Kllo, Grace Carter

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Weekly Gems 54

Malory – Blue Umbrella

Malory

Rising pop artist Malory shares the beautiful ‘Blue Umbrella’, which we have had on repeat all week.

Seeking inspiration from life actions, ‘Blue Umbrella’’ started life on a tube journey after Malory had observed a family and noticed the father had a sadness in his eyes and seemed strangely discontented.

The Londoner was later in the studio making an experimental instrumental with producer Danny George when they noticed there was a blue umbrella left in the studio, which Malory found represented the image of an unhappy corporate figure in the rain on his way home from work.

Expect her debut album ‘Cornucopia’ out on 1 March.

Sounds like: Zella Day, Aurora

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Noé – Pity Party

Noé

Raised between Hong Kong and Aix en Provence in France, Paris-born singer/songwriter Noé doesn’t want to fit inside a musical box any longer.

Not quite defining her sound, her low-tempo music gathers inspiration from a blend of Pop, R&B and alt-indie sounds, tied together through painfully honest lyrics.

Her new single, ‘Pity Party’ highlights Noé’s tendencies to overthink and sometimes feel sorry for herself.

Sounds like: VÉRITÉ

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Crow – Go

Crow

Exciting new Argentinian/American artist Crow shares the sultry single ‘Go’.

The song channels the idea of courage – following brutality at the hands of bullies during Crow’s school years – with hypnotic and melodic soundscapes and introspective reflection.

Sounds like: Gwen Stefani, CHLØË BLACK

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Gold Spectacles – Courtside

Gold Spectacles - Courtside

Forming in London, Gold Spectacles is the collaborative output of two British songwriter/producers who create “baroque-pop”.

Their new single ‘Courtside’ focuses on dependence in a long distance relationship, and uses flute, spanish guitar with analog synths to create a post-modern landscape.

Sounds like: Lykke Li, Bombay Bicycle Club, San Fermin, Fyfe, Astronauts, Carousel, Dan Croll, Nick Leng, Bibio, ROSTAM

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Drinker – Something I Want

Drinker - Something I Want

Brooklyn-based duo Drinker shares ‘Something I Want’ – a track slightly darker than your average musical tipple.

Inspired by a mututal love of James Blake, songwriter Aaron Mendelsohn and producer Ariel Loh “wanted to create a visually diverse and bold message with the video for “Something I Want” and enlisted the help of NY based LGBTQ focused film maker Tyler Byrnes. With the implementation of stop motion animation and found footage, we aimed for a stark and surreal aesthetic to paint America’s multi-generational story of consumerism.“

Sounds like: Thom Yorke, James Blake, Trentemoller, The Acid, Fever Ray, Sevdaliza, Tame Impala

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2CRE8 – Naughty Boy

2CRE8

Dutch DJ/producer duo 2CRE8 has today released their debut single ‘Naughty Boy’.

Having spent their time growing up together at high school, it was until a gig in December 2014 that everything fell into place and they decided to form a duo.

Check out ‘Naughty Boy’ with its bold dance-led lyrics and a catchy flute drop, which definitely hints at their playful side.

Sounds like: Harlee, Just Kiddin, Blonde, The Magician, Calvin Harris, Rihanna

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Ariela Jacobs – Missing You

Ariela Jacobs

Externalising her thoughts, Ariela Jacobs considers the concept of missing her old self in new song ‘Missing You’.

New York born and Melbourne bred, indie-pop singer-songwriter Ariela Jacobs was raised on a diet of literature and art. Her songwriting sends the listener on a journey both intimate and other-worldly; with melodies with clear folk-based lines, underscored by lush chords and pulsing rhythms.

Sounds like: Evvy, Linney, Goldroom, Le Youth

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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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Gentry – Disconnected

GENTRY

Meet Gentry, an LA-based, London-bred performer, composer, and producer who creates eccentric, pop-tinged electronica inspired by a broad array of influences.

Born from performances with the Heritage Orchestra since 2013, playing the grand piano, bass, guitar and synths in their Blade Runner and Joy Division performances and keys for the recent Pete Tong worldwide shows and was invited to join Quincy Jones for his 85th birthday celebration this year at the O2, Gentry’s own production perfectly blends classical tendencies with groovy, disco-led “retroisms” and a nonconformist nod to modern dance music.

Check out his double A-side release below:

Sounds like: Ben Khan, Prince, Chromeo, James Blake

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Benji Lewis – Ride

Benji Lewis by Christina Boemio

Benji Lewis by Christina Boemio

Benji Lewis takes a contemplative stance in new single ‘Ride’.

It has an effortless simplicity, which Lewis wanted to come across on the single, written about relaxing, doing what is right for you, and just enjoying the ride. True to form, the track was recorded by Lewis and produced by Los Angeles artist Lincoln Jesser within a few hours.

Sounds like: The 1975, The Kite String Tangle, Antony Hegarty, Active Child, Gallant, Sam Smith, Solomon Grey, James Blake, Yazz, Jack Garratt, Disclosure

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Benji Lewis – Us Again

Benji Lewis

Australian singer/songwriter Benji Lewis today shares ‘Us Again’.

Working again with friend and talented producer, Golden Vessel (remember the beautiful ‘Hesitate‘?), Benji effortlessly expresses his feelings and emotions about reuniting with that special someone, and thinking about them every day.

“The song is about wanting to be in the same space as the other person, breathing in the same air, being able to look into their eyes, and have them look at you in the same way. It’s about wanting to have that again, and feel all of things that come just from being around them.”

Expect the release of his third EP, ‘Together Apart’, very soon!

Sounds like: The Kite String Tangle, Antony Hegarty, Active Child, Gallant, Sam Smith, Solomon Grey, James Blake, Yazz, Jack Garratt, Disclosure

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An Indietronica Preview of NOS Alive 2018

NOS Alive

We do like a good festival, and after hearing that NOS Alive in Lisbon, Portugal is up there as one the world’s best music festivals, we decided to plan a trip in July to find out what all the fuss is about!

In the mean time, buckle up and check out our ones to watch within the indietronica genres (looks like we’ll mainly see you at the Sagres Stage then!).

THURSDAY 12 JULY

Friendly Fires, Sagres Stage

Friendly Fires

Energetic Brit boys Friendly Fires return to the festival circuit after a hiatus.

Having already had massive success with hits such as ‘Paris’, ‘Jump In The Pool’ and ‘Skeleton Boy’, their new single ‘Love Like Waves’ doesn’t disappoint and continues the theme of tropical-tinged synth sounds.

Expect a highly fun and bold performance at NOS Alive.

Sounds like: Fenech-Soler, Two Door Cinema Club

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Jain, Sagres Stage

Jain

Jain is a multi-cultural singer/songwriter and self confessed beat-maker, originally from France, but who has also spent time in Dubai and The Congo.

Jain means achieving liberation of the soul, and that’s exactly what this music embodies with its flecked sounds of African rhythms with simple, yet vibrant vocals.

Watch the video for highly recognised song ‘Makeba’ below and catch Jain at the Sagres Stage on Thursday.

Sounds like: Brigitte, Santigold, L.E.J, Yodelice, Lilly Wood & The Prick

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Khalid, Sagres Stage

Khalid

One artist we are super stoked to check out live is Khalid.

The American singer/songwriter originally started writing music during his college years, where he was also declared prom king. Amalgamating an array of sounds from classical, pop to hip hop, Khalid shows a real sense of urgency in his music.

We can’t get enough of his track with Billie Eilish, and can’t wait to see him perform at NOS Alive.

Sounds like: Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, Father John Misty, Frank Ocean, Chance the Rapper, Lorde, James Blake, Billie Eilish

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Wolf Alice, Sagres Stage

Wolf Alice

Indie rockers Wolf Alice have been our firm favourites from the UK for some time now. They never disappoint at a live show, fronted by a fresh-faced Ellie Rowsell’s seemingly blasé but endearingly nervous attitude.

Expect a set full of their most brilliant tunes…so that’s all of them then!

Sounds like: Black Honey, Peace, Superfood, Foals, Circa Waves, Harry

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Sampha, Sagres Stage

Sampha

Sampha is to be one of the UK’s best musical exports in 2018.

He has a knack for writing songs with deep and personal lyrics of pain and reflection, some of which have unfortunately has stemmed from health hardships suffered with his family at home, and we can’t help but think we are supporting him on this journey.

Truly thought-provoking stuff, definitely worthy of a slot at NOS Alive.

Sounds like: Jessie Ware, Frank Ocean, Solange, Moses Sumney, James Blake, Chet Faker, SBTRKT, Dallas Green

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FRIDAY 13 JULY

Two Door Cinema Club, NOS Stage

Two Door Cinema Club

We have watched Irish electro-poppers Two Door Cinema Club play live countless times, and that’s why they’ve made this list.

It’s hard to believe these youngsters have been around for over eight years. Still full of energy and banging tunes, catch them on the Friday!

Sounds like: Phoenix, Hot Chip, Passion Pit

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Future Islands, NOS Stage

Future Islands

Future Islands‘ front man Samuel T Herring’s dancing is reason enough to go watch these guys at NOS Alive. And of course, the US synthpop band are wildly brilliant in as many unique, refreshing and inspiration ways possible.

Expect big things on stage!

Sounds like: Arcade Fire, Perfume Genius, Twin Shadow, Sylvan Esso, Austra

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CHVRCHES, Sagres Stage

CHVRCHES

Feisty feminist attitudes and catchy lyrics is what CHVRCHES brings to the table.

Lauren Mayberry has faced her fair share of trolls online, but to her testament, the Scottish trio continue to go from strength to strength. We are very much looking forward to this show!

Sounds like: Kate Boy, Avec Sans, Purity Ring, Vogue Dots, R.A.B.B.I.I., Kaleida, Gems, IYES, For Esmé, ALMA, Pale Hands, Acre Tarn, Prinze George, Leitbur, Monogem, PALMEDO, NONONO, Still Corners, MUNA

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Portugal. The Man, Sagres Stage

Portugal. The Man

Bold American rock band Portugal. The Man have been making serious waves of late, and if you haven’t heard of them, you soon will.

An iPhone soundtrack waiting to happen; expect goosebumps, sway inducing vocal harmonies and a fist pumping bass line.

Sounds like: Foster The People, Broken Bells, Grouplove, Circa Survive, MGMT

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Surma, Coreto Stage

Surma

Imagine if M83 and Joanna Newsom met one day and decided to make some music. The result would be the quirky and ambient tones of Portuguese Surma (aka Débora Umbelino).

Working with loop pedals, the solo artist works with analogue and digital sounds creating a primal yet sonic environment.

Sounds like: Yellerkin, Yoke Lore, M83, Joanna Newsom

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SATURDAY 14 JULY

Lotus Fever, Coreto Stage

Lotus Fever

Kicking off Saturday’s ones to watch are Lisbon natives, Lotus Fever.

They fit somewhere in-between Alt-J and Pink Floyd and it’s really refreshing to hear. We are expecting a super tight performance, thanks to their longstanding stint together since 2011 and it being their local city.

Sounds like: Alt-J, Pink Floyd

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Mighty Sands, Coreto Stage

Mighty Sands

Mighty Sands is a Lisbon-based quintet.

Their music has tendencies to sway in the 60’s, psychedelic market – imagine riding on a surfboard in space. However, we expect their set at NOS Alive to be a relaxed affair, where you can chill out and have a cider…or ride a surfboard in space, whatever takes your fancy!

Sounds like: Father John Misty, Tame Impala, MGMT

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MGMT, NOS Stage

MGMT

Less under the radar than the counterparts in this piece, but still worthy of a slot on one’s to watch at this year’s NOS Alive. The mighty MGMT!

The eclectic US-based duo are known for their otherworldly take on modern indie rock music, often combining psychedelic synths, crunchy guitars and stodgy vocals with fun videos.

Sounds like: Empire of the Sun, Foster the People, Tame Impala, Portugal. The Man

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Perfume Genius, Sagres Stage

Perfume Genius

Covering topics such as sexual abuse, suicide and alcohol abuse, Perfume Genius (aka Mike Hadreas) is one such musical role model we want to be more involved with.

His music represents such struggles and recoveries in a camp but delightfully magnificent way.

Sounds like: Sufjan Stevens, St. Vincent, Kate Bush, M83, David Bowie, Future Islands, Fever Ray

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Bernado, Coreto Stage

Bernardo

Wow, Bernado‘s vocals have blown us away after watching her live performance of ‘The Boy Is Mine’.

The London based British/Portuguese singer/songwriter effortlessly combines modern attitudes from London attitude with a jazzy flair.

Sounds like: Amy Winehouse, Jorja Smith

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Real Estate, Sagres Stage

Real Estate

With a warming lo-fi sound, Brooklyn-based dream team, Real Estate is our last act to consider watching at NOS Alive.

Run by childhood friends who played in their backyards during the summer months, Real Estate write simple and endearing songs full of luminous guitar riffs and delicate synths.

We envisage this show to be a perfect end to a perfect weekend.

Sounds like: Summer Heart, Washed Out, MGMT

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Find out more info about NOS Alive and purchase remaining tickets here.

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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