Tag Archives: Rhye

Weekly Gems 116

XY&O – Left Alone

XY&O - Left Alone

What a way to kick off the gems this week! Welcome back XY&O.

Teasing a debut album (finally!) comes ‘Left Alone’ – another slice of hazy pop with simple and effective melodic structures, and of course, Skip Curtis’ luscious vocal mix.

Sounds like: Kid Astray, Sir Sly, Lost Boy Crow, Nonaphoenix

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Limón Limón – Barcelona

Limón Limón

Future indie duo Limón Limón is taking us back to sweeter times in ‘Barcelona’.

Conjuring up dreams of warm summer nights sitting on the beach drinking wine, as the salt air drifts over our warm bodies. Perfect!

Sounds like: Midnight Pool Party, La Felix, All The Rest, argonaut & wasp, Goldroom, Pastel, 90’s Kids, Empire of the Sun

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Jamws – Toronto

Jamws - Toronto

When you are in flow, you are completely engrossed in the task in hand. Hours can pass without even noticing. This appears to have happened to South London multi-instrumentalist, performer and bedroom producer Jamws whilst working on his debut EP ‘Toronto’.

The five heartfelt tracks describe various stages of heartbreak, starting with a separation, following his partner of ten years moving to Toronto.

Sounds like: Summer Heart, The 1975

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Max Alexander – Stay Where You Are

Max Alexander - Stay Where You Are

Max Alexander is a new alt-pop singer/songwriter from London.

Originally an acoustic artist by heart, he’s decided to go straight in with the electric guitar, to create an all together fist-to-chest sound in ‘Stay Where You Are’.

Sounds like: WEIRDO

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Victor Perry – What I Observe

Victor Perry

It’s always worthwhile to take a step back sometimes, and reflect.

NYC-based singer-songwriter/vocalist Victor Perry does exactly that in his lyrically mature new song ‘What I Observe’. As he croons in a poetic form of self-expression, we witness a subtle electro-pop space in which the track really starts to breathe.

Sounds like: Rhye, Rationale, Jacob Banks, James Blake, The Weeknd, Labrose

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dekleyn – Who We Are

dekleyn - Who We Are

Australian duo dekleyn fuses electro-pop with pop-leaning dance in the catchy single, ‘Who We Are’.

It touches on the topical subject of mental health and the sense of vulnerability that comes with almost every relationship.

Sounds like: LANY, joan, LAUV

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PELA – South Of

PELA

South London duo PELA share ‘South Of’, the first song they wrote together.

Amalgamating differing musical influences, it’s another stellar example of the duo’s sonic trajectory into a moody, melodic melodious song.

Sounds like: Kudu Blue, James Blake, KAYTRANADA

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Amy Milner – Wildside

Amy Milner

Singer/songwriter Amy Milner shares her new single, ‘Wildside’.

Written about catching yourself before you lose control, facing those demons and welcoming the dark side of your mind, it’s energetic commercial alt-pop at its finest.

Sounds like: Birdy, Emma McGrath, Florence + The Machine

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Jens – Nocturnal

Jens by Sigurd Fandango

Jens by Sigurd Fandango

Bergen-born Jens could be the next big Scandi-pop superstar.

His off-kilter single ‘Nocturnal’ has all the makings of a pop banger – upbeat, catchy vocal hooks with a carefree bass line.

Sounds like: Troye Sivan, Myylo, Charlie Puth

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Blanche – Till We Collide

BLANCHE

Belgium alt-pop starlet Blanche releases her new single, ‘Till We Collide’, taken from her debut album, ‘EMPIRE’, both out now.

The album is a collection of thoughts and feelings, prepared whilst working alongside the best in the business. All the tracks on ‘EMPIRE’ have been written or co-written by Ellie Delvaux, recorded between London and Brussels and co-produced by Rich Cooper (Banks, Mystery Jets, Lucy Rose) and François Gustin (Girls In Hawaii).

So, take some time out, listen and digest the album in order, in one sitting, from start to finish.

Sounds like: Aurora, Elohim, BANK, Rhye, FKA Twigs, Abra, Oscar And The Wolf, Empress Of

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Playlist: Jens Kuross

Jens Kuross

Los Angeles-based vocalist, songwriter and alternative producer Jens Kuross has just released the shadowy single, ‘Done With Dancing’, a new stripped-down take of the track ‘Yard Two Stone’ that he collaborated on with Lane 8 last December.

Having toured the world as the drummer for RY X, Howling, and The Acid (a supergroup comprised of DJ/Producer Adam Freeland, Californian polymath Steve Nalepa, and RY X – who Jens also performs with as an active member of), as well as supported Bonobo, Rhye, GoGo Penguin and RY X, it’s time for Jens to step forward.

First on the list is his playlist called “Jens Friends”. You can check it out below.

Fred and Luna – Mini Song
This was the first song on the first release from a label my good friend Frank Wiedemann started a couple of years ago. It’s very minimal but it really makes the most out of all of its elements. There are no wasted sounds. It sounds like it could simultaneously be a Kraftwerk b-side from 1980 and also a hip new track on some indie-electronic playlist on Spotify…wait…

Point Lobo – Platform
Producer, Engineer, Drummer Miles Senzaki is great at everything he does. And I should know as he’s engineered almost all of my own recordings. His solo project “Point Lobo” is a perfect distillation of his love of Prince, Talking Heads and I don’t know what else really. It’s beautifully done and impeccably crafted.

Human Barbie – Don’t Run Away
Human Barbie is the brainchild of Bassist, songwriter, producer Chris Hackman. Chris and I met when we were fresh out of school and still playing jazz gigs to make a living, then somehow migrated into the indie-electronic scene together. This project has its fingers in some 60’s psych-rock but Chris also tastily brings some of his jazz sensibilities to bear here.

Tyler Chester – Setting
I knew of Tyler for a while before he and I met, primarily from his work with Blake Mills but he and I eventually ended up collaborating on a track that’s on his most recent record. This track, “Setting”, is from that same record. It has some really beautiful but dirty synth tones that make you feel like you’re listening to Vangelis if he was doing all his composing in a dusty basement with a bunch of broken gear that’s just barely clinging to life.

Howling – Lullaby
This is my favorite track off the Howling album “Sacred Ground”. Probably because I helped write it and I’m feeling a little shameless. “Write” might actually be a generous term here as it was almost entirely improvised. We were all just in a room jamming and Frank (Wiedemann) hit record in the middle of it. Then I came back around later and layered some synth pads. It’s probably the only song you’ll ever hear on an electronic dance record that wasn’t tracked to click.

The Acid – Onyx
This is another song I helped write. I’m super proud of the piano part I played. It’s an odd phrase length but it feels entirely natural and it ended up being the germ that inspired the whole song. The Acid boys ended up going for the jugular in the build and outro which wouldn’t have been my first choice but it definitely works and you can’t argue with the results.

GF3 – Prelude 5
I produced a couple of EP’s for some friends of mine in a jazz trio who wanted their jazz record to sound nothing like a jazz record. I’m super proud of how it all turned out but this might be my favorite offering from that little experiment. It’s the most stripped back of all the recordings but I think the subtle, understated effects on very delicately performed acoustic instruments yielded some really beautiful results.

Nalepa – A Study of Dreams
Steve Nalepa is the secret weapon behind so many amazing electronic tracks that you’ve probably heard. Working with him has really taught me a lot about the beauty and potential of raw sound. My tendency is to get a little lost in the weeds of music theory land and Steve can bring me back to earth by just producing some amazing sound that, once heard, inspires you to write a whole song if not a whole record.

Jeff Parker – Executive Life
I don’t know Jeff, but I do know some of the guys that played on this record. I think this is just a really creative example of incorporating sampling and electronic musical techniques into a jazz/improvisatory context. Usually, attempts at jazz-electronic synthesis go horribly wrong, ending up in the nauseatingly bland category of “smooth”, but the results here are phenomenal.

Louis Cole – Big Green Suitcase
Louis and I both got our start playing drums in the LA jazz scene but he had a bead on his artistic persona long before I could really figure mine out. This might be my favorite track from his eponymous first album. It really captures all of his quirky, beautiful, sincerity and adds a tinge of nostalgia with that pseudo-Bossa Nova drum machine pattern and the line-cliché in the piano.

Sounds like: Ry X, Sacred Animals, Solomon Grey, Bonobo, Rhye, James Blake, Howling, The Acid

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JVLY – aporia

JVLY

JVLY is back with another masterpiece of electro/R&B/soul.

Born from a slice of uncertainty, ‘aporia’ – meaning an irresolvable internal contradiction – fits perfectly with the footage that JVLY shot while in Japan a few months ago. This footage is blended with some extra material that was shot back in Sydney by Rodrigo Badoino and stars his friend Tyra Cartledge.

‘aporia’ is available everywhere now via Mammal Sounds Records. Expect an EP release in June.

Sounds like: Rhye, Men I Trust, Kllo, Still Woozy, Charlotte Day Wilson

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Weekly Gems 109

Joshua Worden – Easy to Say Feat. Casey Harper

Joshua Worden

Joshua Worden recently hit a deeply introspective period and his new selection of releases shows this.

With an educational background in Jazz Guitar and English Literature, his music is stripped back and takes a slower pace these days, dabbling in R&B, pop, trip-hop, and chillwave. Listen to ‘Easy To Say’ featuring Casey Harper.

Sounds like: Kllo, Kudu Blue, Rhye, Blood Orange, Moses Sumney, The Internet

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Logan Prescott – How We Wanted

Logan Prescott

Dallas-based Indie Pop artist Logan Prescott shares the uber dreamy pop single ‘How We Wanted’.

Tender guitars, dreamy synths and an all encompassing 80’s boyband vibe. Perfect for fans of LANY and joan.

Sounds lik: LANY, The 1975, COIN, joan

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Junípero – New Beginnings

Junípero

The Mexican dream-pop scene is bubbling away like a reactive volcano.

Junípero is the project of Joán Melendrez and Janelle Saucedo, who enjoy experimenting with transcendent thunderous and melodic sounds. Listen to their debut single ‘New Beginnings’ below.

Sounds like: Beach House, Explosions In the Sky, Mogwai

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DiRTY RADiO x Jafunk – The Baddest

DiRTY RADiO x Jafunk

From dreampop to nu-disco tinged funk, DiRTY RADiO team up with Jafunk on ultra smooth new track, ‘The Baddest’.

Despite never meeting, the two worlds have somehow collided into a kaleidoscope of sounds. With summer written all over it, click play right now.

Sounds like: Pat Lok, Jean Tonique, Keljet, Gigamesh, Moon Boots, Tobtok, Moullinex, Pomo, Anderson Paak, Mac Miller

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Blu DeTiger – Figure It Out

Blu DeTiger

Meet Blu DeTiger, touring bassist for Caroline Polachek, The Knocks, and Fletcher, and a credible artist in her own right.

Her art-pop single ‘Figure It Out’ is so bright and colourful that you need to put on those sunnies sharpsih.

Sounds like: Kitten, Sofi Tukker, The Knocks

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Far West – Can’t Let Go

Far West - Can't Let Go

Far West is, as you’ve guessed it, from the West Coast of the US, in California.

They have a unique take on bellowing indie/synthpop, reminiscent of the early ’00s. The new single ‘Can’t Let Go’ has big synth leads with a poppy vibe, and is written about trying to let go of something that isn’t good for you.

Sounds like: Passion Pit, Bombay Bicycle Club

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Night Tales – Feel Nothing

Night Tales

Australian electronic duo Night Tales – aka amaliza (Australian-born Kamaliza Salamba, formerly of Olympic Ayres) and Third Floor (UK-born/Aussie-based Aaron Bannie) drop their 3rd single of 2020 titled ‘Feel Nothing.’

It’s a positively-led dance number with a tender touch, written about a relationship that is emotionally spent.

Sounds like: Duke Dumont, Just Kiddin, The Magician, The Aston Shuffle, Hayden James

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Makk Mikkael – fear

Makk Mikkael

Montreal based artist Makk Mikkael (MacKenzie Michael) has been writing music from a young age. Since then, she has explored different cities in her home country of Canada, to finally settle in Montréal.

The heartbeat of her new single is a minimalistic down-tempo electro track with ethereal vocals and driving rhythm, which soon goes off-kilter as the ‘fear’ takes over.

Sounds like: BABii, Men I Trust

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Bronze Whale – Hold. Wait. Fall. Feat Poles

Bronze Whale - Hold. Wait. Fall. Feat Poles

First Bronze Whale are walking, next they are stopping.

Stripped right back, the minimal electronic track features fellow label mate and longtime friend, Poles. It’s about being dragged back into a relationship even when you know it’s toxic. Needing to see it through regardless of what it takes from you.

Sounds like: James Blake, Chet Faker, Flume, Droeloe, Weeknd, OTR, CLN

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Nao Yoshioka – Up and Away feat. PHER

Nao Yoshioka

Rising Japanese star Nao Yoshioka is showcasing her modern R&B and soul.

Born in Japan, now living in the US, Nao has been perfecting her craft and working alongside legendary musicians in the scene to create an authentic & powerful new album ‘Undeniable’, out now. Listen to her slow and sensual single, ‘Up And Away’ featuring PHER.

Sounds like: Aaliyah, Solange, H.E.R, Marie Dahlstrom, Oscar Jerome, Ella Mai, Alicia Keys

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Madnap – Silhouettes Feat. Little Shadows

Madnap

After relocating to Los Angeles in 2017, producer/songwriter/remixer Madnap – aka Kyle Fitzgibbons – shares ‘Silhouettes’ featuring Little Shadows.

The emo-tinged, trap-pop track is his favourite to date, and perfectly captures the Madnap sound in 2020.

Sounds like: yetep, Rome In Silver, Manila Killa, LIONE, juuku

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SamYell – Lose Yourself

SAMYELL

California native Samyell has a creative superpower that he is meant to share with the world.

Produced by Osinachi Nwaneri (T.I., Ciara, Black Eyed Peas), ‘Lose Yourself’ will make you do just that.

An infectious nighttime, jazz infused R&B anthem, it urges you to “get lost through temptations of money drugs and false promises.”

Sounds like: The Weeknd, Babyface, Timbaland, Ginuwine, Pharrell

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Mona Vale – All This Time

Mona Vale

Songwriter/producer and multi-instrumentalist Jamie Hoddle – aka Mona Vale – has created an altogether chilled track called ‘All This Time’.

Starting in the pop realms and soon developing into an indie form of ambient electronica, the song is about the early stages of a relationship, setting nostalgic emotions on fire.

Sounds like: XY&O, Nightly, Great Good Fine Ok, Maribou State

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Melyz – Bad Together

Melyz

Swiss artist Melyz shares her provactive new single ‘Bad Together’.

with a hint of R&B club vibes, the song takes a darker approach than previous releases, as it considers how toxic and destructive a relationship can become when it gets too passionate.

Sounds like: Banks

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BLANCHE – Fences

BLANCHE

Belgium beauty BLANCHE shares the new atmospheric and analog-led single ‘Fences’.

It’s once again, inventive melancholic pop that, deep down, spreads a positive message. Speaking about the track, BLANCHE explains,

“Fences is this cheesy but forever important message: tear down the fences of rejection, open yourself to the other, accept and respect their differences; try and think with your heart.”

Sounds like: Aurora, Elohim, BANK, Rhye, FKA Twigs, Abra, Oscar And The Wolf

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BLANCHE – Empire

BLANCHE

The wonderful Belgian artist BLANCHE (aka Ellie Delvaux) shares the breathtaking visuals for ‘Empire’, out now via [PIAS].

The title track from her debut album, ‘Empire’ is a melancholic pop song blended with traditional instruments (piano, drums, guitar, cello) and modern electro to create an all-encompassing story about shutting down, explaining,

“Empire evokes these people who build a shell to cut themselves off from all their emotions and end up lying to themselves.”

The song was written by her and co-produced by Rich Cooper (Banks, Mystery Jets, Lucy Rose) and François Gustin (Girls In Hawaii), who are also involved in the making of the entire album. The video is a real piece of art put into images by Alexander De Bruycker under the artistic direction of Ludo Beun (Oscar And The Wolf).

Sounds like: BANK, Rhye, Mystery Jets

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BAILE – Leave Me feat. Kauf

BAILE - Leave Me feat. Kauf

In a perfect musical match, depressive house electronic producer, BAILE (aka Reed Kackley) teams up with Los Angeles-based vocalist, Kauf, who is best known for his ability to create music that can be so introvert and emotive, yet at the same time be sonic and mind-altering.

The new single ‘Leave Me’ starts out with simple chords (recorded by BAILE on an abandoned upright piano near the entrance of his rehearsal place) before the addition of empty beer bottles, analogue synths and acoustics bring the track to life. Kauf adds a narrative on impending heartache, beautifully articulating the agonising grief of lost love.

Listen below.

Sounds like: James Blake, Rhye, Fjord, SBTRKT, Asgeir, Solomon Grey

BAILE
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Kauf
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Apidae – Still Life

Apidae

UK-based producer and multi-instrumentalist, Apidae (aka Greg Hummell) releases his introspective single, ‘Still Life’.

Featuring lead vocals from Mazlyn (who also co-wrote the track), ‘Still Life’ is about feeling trapped and hopeless. The continuous musical switch between electronic and acoustic instrumentation represent this ongoing search for contentment.

Expect his ‘Everything Is Alright’ EP to be released in February 2020.

Live

Monday 9th December 2019 – Supporting Pick a Piper
Friday 7th February 2020 – Headline / EP launch at the Waiting Room

Sounds like: Daughter, Thom Yorke, Rhye

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Jens Kuross – Happiness

Jens Kuross

It seems the word ‘eargasm’ was invented by Jens Kuross, because you’ll have plenty of them whilst listening to his music.

A graduate of Berklee College of Music, his music occupies a rare space in the world with his particular way of melding evocative lyrics and dreamy arrangements with introspective, yet sublime songwriting.

Kuross’ new single is breathtaking electronica, which Jens describes as, “basically a not-so-subtle kraut-rock inspired exercise in harmonic syncopation and self-effacement.”

Kuross plays a headline show at London’s St Pancras Old Church on 27 November.

Sounds like: Ry X, Sacred Animals, Solomon Grey, Bonobo, Rhye, James Blake

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