Tag Archives: UK

Weekly Gems 38

OTR and Blondage

OTR x Blondage - Cold Facts

We are super excited to share OTR‘s new single in which he has teamed up with Blondage.

Despite what the name suggests, ‘Cold Facts’ is a sensitive and positive piece of work, written about shedding toxic relationships, just as the snow melts and hearts thaw.

Sounds like: Charli XCX, Hotel Garuda, Gryffin, ODESZA, Petit Biscuit, Porter Robinson

OTR
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Blondage
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Anna Pancaldi – What I’ve Become

Anna Pancaldi

Luxury gin brand owner, Anna Pancaldi releases her new single ‘What I’ve Become’.

Much like it takes time to create a distinguished bottle of gin, Anna finely tunes her music, and constantly evolves as a singer/songwriter. This time round she gives the electric guitar a go.

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RAINDEAR – Coins

RAINDEAR

One by one the coins fall by the wayside. RAINDEAR‘s latest jam continues the theme of authentic, experimental melodic pop.

It’s written about “the last efforts you give to someone before you (not a day too soon) give them up completely. Just like when you pay your last coins to something, you don’t really care where they go anymore cause you’re so exhausted and broke and have zero fucks left to give.” Damn right girl!

Sounds like: Little Dragon, Ballet School, Kate Boy, Lykke Li, Phantogram, Santigold, SBTRKT, CSS

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Fred Nicholas – C’est la vie

Fred Nicolas

From one pop-loaded self-examining Swede to another. Singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Fred Nicholas shares new single ‘C’est la vie’.

The track is lyric-driven and pop-loaded, and perfect for chilling out to with a nice glass of vino. Cheers!

Sounds like: Rationale, Seinabo Sey

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SHE Major – Quiet House

SHE Major

Let’s slow it down a bit. Belgium-based artist SHE Major shows her quiet and more mature side in ‘Quiet House’.

Listen out for sultry vocals and R&B-infused electronica.

‘Quiet House’ will be part of SHE Major debut ‘Music In’ EP, which will be released on 6 July via [PIAS].

Sounds like: Banks

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Louis Fulton – Kevin’s Heart Feat. Bellah, BXRBER & Armani White

Louis Fulton

Finally this week is ‘Kevin’s Heart’ by LA-based producer Louis Fulton.

We have no idea who Kevin is, but one thing this song does do is showcase Louis’s ability as a smooth talker and beat-maker, effortlessly flipping the J. Cole cover.

Sounds like: Ariana Grande

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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.

Salt Ashes – Girls

Salt Ashes

There’s no hidden agenda with Salt Ashes.

Her new single, ‘Girls’ – written with Born Stranger – is a dark disco infused song to empower woman, and one that can be listened to both at home in your pjs or in the club.

Speaking on the track, Salt Ashes explains,

“‘Girls’ is about a situation that I’m sure many can relate to; when someone makes an assumption that you want more than just friendship based on their interpretation of how you act or dress. The track is about breaking the stereotypes of people who want to express themselves and their
sexuality freely without the “slut shaming” or being told that they’re “asking for it”. I’d hope for the song to inspire confidence within people to stick to their decisions with who they want to be… I wanted the photo shoot to build on that with a strong message by trying to mess with stereotypes and ‘seeing with the eyes of the other person’ before making assumptions or judgements. The track was produced by Tom Fuller, and I co-wrote it with Born Stranger who are a band I performed with last year, after having experienced that exact situation for the millionth time.”

Sounds like: Tove Lo, I BREAK HORSES, Kate Boy, Kylie

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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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Weekly Gems 36

Francis Novotny – The Wire

Francis Novotny

Sonic production leads the way for Francis Novotny‘s new single ‘The Wire’.

It’s a brooding, electro-soul song by the Swedish multi-instrumentalist that is extremely reminiscent of Jack Garratt or Asgeir, and captures that addictive quality of a nonetheless-toxic relationship, and the feeling (says Francis) “when a person leaves you hanging on without answers – and you know you should get out of it – but you keep winding back towards them.”

It’s out now on Black Butter Records.

Sounds like: Jack Garratt, Asgeir

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Dead Sea – Know Where

Dead Sea

Dead Sea is a four-piece French band who craft dreamy and magnetic post-pop songs.

Their new release, ‘Know Where’, does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s hypnotic and joyfully melancholic.

They’ve just been on tour with Slowdive and they will support Editors next April.

Sounds like: Beach House, Slowdive

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Two Legs – Don’t Tell

Two Legs

One thing we are certain about is our dislike towards uncertainty, and it seems UK artist Two Legs feels the same.

His wistful dance single ‘Don’t Tell’ is the first of three releases this year, and has a “give a fuck” mentality that we love.

Sounds like: SAMA, Moderat, Tycho, Joe Goddard

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KUZO – Monsoon

Kuzo

Los Angeles-based duo KUZO are back with their new single, ‘Monsoon’.

Blissful and cool as ever, KUZO once again deliver a combination of emotionally driven blends of sound and sultry tones.

Sounds like: VÉRITÉ, Noosa, EZA, Paperwhite

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7Chariot – Danger In Me

7Chariot

We are super excited about the new signing to 0E0E (pronounced: naughty naughty) called 7Chariot (aka Nashville based 20 year old Claire Wilkinson).

‘Danger In Me’ is understated, yet ambitious pop at its best, and the lyrics are something we can all relate to.

Sounds like: Mallrat, Grimes, Lorde, Sylvan Esso, MØ

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The Rare Occasions – Mercy Mercy

The Rare Occasions

It’s not often we see decent indie rock coming out of the US, and we wouldn’t blame you for thinking this foursome going by the name of The Rare Occasions is British.

Their new single ‘Mercy Mercy’ is pure garage rock – rough around the edges, but fully refreshing to see due to the saturated market of pristine pop tunes.

Sounds like: YONAKA, Arctic Monkeys

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Suzi Island – Show Me The Way

Suzi Island

Young Brighton duo Suzi Island debuts ‘Show Me The Way’, a breezy and catchy indie pop number.

These two have already managed to get some decent names onboard, including Pete from The Vaccines, who produced the song. They are definitely on our watch list for 2018.

Sounds like: Nothing But Thieves, Sundara Karma

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Glassio – Back For More

Glassio

NYC-based duo Glassio share ‘Back For More’, a song for anytime of the day!

Built on an orchestral-electronic backbone that nods to the likes of Massive Attack and Air, the pining, heartsick anthem is a penned love letter to a paramour after a strained relationship has come to a close.

Sounds like: Hot Chip, Metronomy, Foals, Jagwar Ma, Rüfüs, Flume, Odesza, Bob Moses, Glass Animals, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs

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Playlist: POLO

POLO

POLO is an exciting new band comprised of Luke Lount, Kat McHugh and Daniel Edgell.

The trio base themselves out of “a total dive” town in Leeds, and use this rough’n’ready surrounding as inspiration for their music, which is full of heart and substance.

We asked POLO to put together a few of their favourite songs, and here they are!

Porches – Country

A song written like no other.

Baloji – Soleil de Volt

Got this on repeat at the moment… There are so many hooks throughout and there’s heaps of energy and life in the recording. Probably the funkiest song of the year so far

Patrice Rushen – Remind me

The slowest of slow jams.

Phoria – Red

Sonic bliss! These guys are super talented, and seem to always hit you right in the feels with their song writing ability.

Young Fathers – In My View

LOVE LOVE LOVE the sound young fathers are putting out at the moment. They’re nailing it for me with experimental lyrics through rap and spoken word and combining that with a big bodyshaking production. Also well worth a youtube for the music vid.

Olympia – Smoke Signals

A party favourite for the band. Feel good, fun and really damn catchy.

SZA – The Weekend

We all absolutely love SZA and this is just one of the many bangers from her amazing debut.

Amandla Sternberg – Let Me Stay Baby

Silky, smooth, sexy. A feast for the soul and ears.

Nils Frahm – Sunson

Beautiful and serene from start to finish. We had the pleasure of seeing him live recently and it was breathtaking.

Jon Hopkins – Emerald Rush

1 word: Cathartic.

Catch them live on one of their UK tour dates.

Sounds like: Kudu Blue, Jinka

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Colouring – Time

Colouring by Grace O'Neill

London boys Colouring hit us unexpectedly with new single ‘Time’.

A slick and steady piano beat begins before frontman Jack Kenworthy’s heavenly vocals kick in, soon to be followed by some seriously addictive pop harmonies.

Just. Take. A. Listen. Now.

‘Time’ is the first single to come from Colouring’s debut album expected later this year on Interscope/Polydor.

Sounds like: Youngr, Ten Fé, Bruce Springsteen, Honne, The Japanese House, RÜFÜS, LANY, The 1975, Phoenix, Draper

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Weekly Gems 35

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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Emma McGrath – Butterfly

Emma McGrath by CK Goldiing

Emma McGrath continues to make waves in the pop world with the release of ‘Butterfly’ taken from her ‘Silent Minds’ EP, out on 13 April.

The song shows a more feisty and upfront side of Emma than her last release ‘Love You Better’, inspired about getting rid of fake people in your life and doing what is morally right instead of following the crowd, even though it may be detrimental to your own situation.

Disclosure: I am Emma’s publicist at the time of writing.

Sounds like: Soak, Florence + The Machine, London Grammar, Birdy, FOXES, Ed Sheeran

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BLAKEY – Prism of Love

BLAKEY

Emerging London-based artist, BLAKEY, shares the simple but effective video for ‘Prism Of Love’.

The track is sparse at its core – a seesaw between BLAKEY’s velveteen falsetto/baritone interludes that melt alongside a graceful instrumental.

Opening up about ‘Prism Of Love’, Blakey states,

“It’s a very direct song. I put my most authentic and honest feelings to music. Sometimes I think it’s important to cut through all the bullshit and present exactly how you’re feeling, and not filter yourself for anything or anyone. It’s not vulnerability; it’s liberation.”

Sounds like: Francis and the Lights, Bon Iver, Coldplay

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