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The ShortListen: Jack Garratt

Every day we'll search the globe to find the most interesting new track to give to your ears. Exclusives, remixes, hidden gem album tracks, long-awaited returns and brand new buzz tracks hot and fresh out the kitchen: you'll find them all here.

Listen to all of them as they become available, on this Spotify Playlist


July 1st

Who? Jack Garratt

What's the story? Prepare to feel deeply inadequate. On a creative level, that is. Garratt has been building up quite the head of steam on the London circuit with his one-man shows, playing an improbable number of instruments systematically to recreated his bedroom-made 'synth plus guitar' anthems. Weathered is more of the same from the Buckinghamshire-based songster: a simple guitar line that expands into a track of vast, window-down-volume-up proportions. The sooner this chap releases a full album, the sooner we can label it the "record of the summer" - because it really will be.

For fans of: Jamie Woon, Imagine Dragons, James Blake

In three words: Uplifting minimalist anthem


June 30th

Who? Lewis Del Mar

What's the story? People mashing up genres is far from a new thing, but we've genuinely not heard anything that takes it to the nth degree quite like this track. From its opening line (we won't spoil it), this song grabs your attention, with a thrilling mix of acoustica, hip hop, dense fuzz, spoken word interlude and sweet melody. It's the first track from the New York duo, it's produced by Panama Wedding's Andrew Maury and we don't know a lot else, other than these guys are clearly ones to watch.

For fans of: Alt-J, The Weeknd, Jack Garratt

In three words: Genre mashing excellence


June 29th

Who? Baby Strange

What's the story? With the weather taking a distinct upturn over the next few weeks, this song couldn't be better timed for you all. However, California Sun, the latest track from Glasgow trio Baby Strange isn't all sweetness and light (although it does feature some requisite surf guitars), having some nice bite and scuzz throughout. It owes a huge debt to The Vaccines, but that's no bad thing, aping their ability to keep things simple, have a huge chorus and get out before overstaying their welcome. No messing about, just a great track.

For fans of: The Vaccines, Jesus & Mary Chain, Ramones

In three words: Simple, sunny song


June 26th

Who? Low 

What's the story? If you're going to survive for 22 years as a band, you need to have something special. And Low have always been a special band, pioneering their own distinctive sound, and ploughing their own musical furrow forward which has lead to the announcement of a world tour this autumn, including their biggest show to date, at London's Roundhouse. Their latest release comes in the form of their eleventh studio album Ones And Sixes, to be released 11 September on the iconic Sub Pop label, and they reveal a taste of it with the video of No Comprende. Of course, it's minimal, slow, haunting, building to a dark, dense finale, as Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker's vocals interplay throughout the track. To quote Lil' Jon & The Eastside Boyz: everybody Get Low.

For fans of: Red House Painters, Smog, The Twilight Sad

In three words: Classic dark minimalism


June 25th

Who? Shura

What's the story? The ShortListen has been very 'pop' of late, but what are we supposed to do when we keep discovering excellent, classy songs like this? London-born singer/producer Shura, who we've featured twice before, has struck gold again with White Light, which has virtually every impeccable eighties sonic reference point you can imagine, yet still manages to sound modern. Her real trick, though, is to make music that's so understated and subtle that the first time you hear it, you think 'oh, that's nice' without you declaring it the song of the year. And then, a month later, you check your play count and it's at the top with approximately ten million listens. That's what happened with 2Shy, and that's what's going to happen with this. And there's nothing you can do about it, so get listening now and let's get started shall we?

For fans of: Madonna, Fickle Friends

In three words: Subtle, classic pop


June 24th

 
What’s the story? Forgive us, we have no real idea how to describe future funk. You know, that burgeoning genre you’ve never heard of. Fortunately, help is on the way in the shape of Strange Relationships, the wonderful new single from Melbourne-born Chiara Hunter, the poster girl of future funk. Starting with moody electro notes, it quickly builds into something with a bit more swagger (think J-Lo’s late nineties hit Play merged with Prince’s most progressive works), swaying from chorus to chorus with crashing waves of synth, drowning everything but the deep vocals in a real futurist vibe. If this really is the future of pop, sign us up.
 
For fans of: J-Lo, Kavinsky, Prince
 
In three words: Funky power pop

June 23rd

Who? Janet Jackson

What's the story? All it needs is Bubbla Ranx to come out of retirement and team up with Peter Andre and the nineties will have been fully recreated in 2015. The latest iconic figure to make a comeback is Janet Jackson - admittedly she sold records throughout the noughties as well, but her imperial phase was definitely back in the time of TFI Friday and all the rest. No Sleeep marks her first new track in seven years and is a thoroughly understated and classy return that wraps around you like a warm bath without ever really going anywhere - in a nice way. For possibly the first time in recorded history, a YouTube comment has actually proved accurate and useful, with 'Tony Turner' saying that the track has a "nice Quiet Storm quality to it"; certainly, if the great man was still with us, you could imagine Marvin popping up to do a guest verse on this.

For fans of: Sade, Monica & Brandy, Ginuwine

In three words: Smooth as silk


June 22nd

Who? Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique, feat Maluca

What's the story? She bills herself as "the most killingest pop star on the planet. A pint-sized atom bomb dosed to the tits on electric and dispensing wisdom in three-​minute modernist pop bulletins on the post-a​dolesc​ent condition" and rarely does Robyn fail to live up to this description. Her latest work - the first to emerge since last year's EP with Röyksopp - is another collaboration, this time with touring keyboardist Markus Jägerstedt and the late producer Christian Falk, who sadly died in July 2014. It's an unrelenting house banger, with an old-school sample and Robyn chiming in like a disco prophet over the top. The coup de gras though comes with the euphoric synths that drift in for the final couple of minutes and lift the track to a higher level; Robyn can never quite resist combining the dancefloor with the emotional, and thank goodness: this is tremendous stuff. Now, when's that album coming?

For fans of: Frankie Knuckles, Leftfield

In three words: Euphoric house banger


June 19th

Who? The Maccabees

What's the story? The Maccabees are back, taking their inimitable blitz of harmonised rock and injecting a smattering of what could almost be identified as folk for their latest single, Something Like Happiness. A lovely taster of what’s to come ahead of their fourth album, Marks To Prove It, due next month, the video is also well worth a watch. The second instalment of a trilogy by director Joe Connor, and echoing the uplifting crescendo which builds in the song itself, masterful compositional styles give an otherworldly gloss to lifeless concrete-clad sink council estates - all filmed around London’s Elephant and Castle. A fitting place name for a tune this wonderfully surreal.

For fans of: Doves, Foals, The Maccabees (obviously)

In three words: Dream-like harmonised rock


June 18th

Who? Sunset Sons

What’s the story? Forget Brooklyn. Berlin too. Bournemouth is where it’s at right now. Not only is the city home to a brand new Premier League football team, it’s also where the lead singer of one of 2015’s most hotly tipped bands hails from. Due to support Imagine Dragons on tour later this year, the Aussie/Anglo quartet, who were recently long-listed on the BBC's Sound of 2015, have a really unique sound, fully complimented by front-man Rory William's distinctive drawl. Merging summer melodies with barnstorming funk and guitar riffs catchier than the plague, we think you’ll like his band's work. Here's the latest single, She Wants, featuring an Atari-esque guitar solo midway through which is a 8-bit special

For fans of: Aloe Black, Kings of Leon, Maroon Five

In three words: Pop-drenched rock


JUNE 17TH

Who? Flyte

What's the story? We've been fans of London 4-piece Flyte for a while now, since featuring them just over a year ago on these hallowed pages, and then seeing them live at last year's Calling Festival (where, being on the same bill they, technically, supported Stevie Wonder - just tell everyone you were on just before him lads). With a pleasing mix of Talking Heads and Super Furries along with some more straightforward tendencies, they remind us of a far more accessible Everything Everything. We're delighted to be premiering the rather splendid video for their new track Closer Together, created by the band, together with their friend Katie Craik, from a whole bunch of photos taken on disposable cameras. We didn't even know you could still get those developed, so we've learnt something today. It's a great track, with a funky shuffle that builds to an unexpectedly intense ending, with the video adding a charm all of its own. Enjoy.

For fans of: Talking Heads, Franz Ferdinand, Two Door Cinema Club

In three words: Funky indie goodness


JUNE 16TH

Who? Sea Lion

What's the story? It's a Scandinavian takeover on The ShortListen this week, but Sweden's Sea Lion, aka Gothenburg artist Linn Osterberg could not be a more different kettle of fish to yesterday's artist Aurora. Instead of big, confident production, Sea Lion wrote and recorded her debut album alone in her bedroom, resulting in a sparse sound, that weaves around her gentle voice, that's so delicate that you feel it might break at any moment. It's bordering on ambient, and brings to mind moments of the stunning record a few years back by Jonsi & Alex (Jonsi, of course, being the frontman of Sigur Ros). Her previous track, Room, is also well worth a listen, and if you like that too, check out the album Desolate Stars, out 28 August.

For fans of: Jonsi & Alex, Brian Eno

In three words: Delicate Ambient Acoustica


JUNE 15TH

Who? Aurora

What's the story? You can't beat a bit of well-produced Scandipop and Aurora, aka 19-year-old Aurora Aksnes (it's actually her birthday today, so happy birthday Aurora) is the latest in a long line of talent to emerge from Bergen in Norway. Latest single Running With The Wolves is dark, dramatic and with lots of big tom fills; sonically, it's nothing we haven't heard before, but who really cares when it's done this well. As well as de rigueur perfect production, Aurora's distinctive vocals carry the whole thing through nicely. If you liked Say Lou Lou but wanted a bit more bite, then this is for you.

For fans of: Niki & The Dove, Say Lou Lou, Emilie Nicolas

In three words: Dark Immaculate Scandipop


JUNE 12TH

Who? Albert Hammond Jr

What's the story? There can't be many more hard-working musicians out there than Albert Hammond Jr. Alongside, obviously, his sterling work as one fifth of The Strokes (you may have heard of them), he's also just finished up producing the latest View album (which was due to be out by now but has been put back to September due to band illness). But it's not stopped him also readying his third solo album, Momentary Masters, which is released July 31 and is preceded by this track Losing Touch. It's a great track, obviously Strokes-esque, but with touches of Radiohead (the chorus melody reminds us of Motion Picture Soundtrack) and even Idlewild; that intro is pure When I Argue I See Shapes. Which is obviously amazing. This is glorious indie pop, stick this on and go for a walk in the sun.

For fans of: The Strokes, Idlewild

In three words: Quality indie pop


JUNE 11TH

Who? Day Wave

What's the story? Like T I B E T yesterday, Day Wave - aka Jackson Phillips - makes a welcome return to the pages of The ShortListen, with his new track We Try But We Don't Fit In. It doesn't stray too far from the sound of previous excellent track Drag but that's no bad thing: it's another indie-surf gem, retaining a lo-fi Californian sound, but with just a dash of New Order thrown in for good measure. Again, crucially, it has a great chorus that you can imagine screaming along to at the top of your voice during a festival performance. Don't worry about fitting in, just concentrate on making more great music like this.

For fans of: The Strokes, The Drums, New Order

In three words: Plaintive Indie Surf


JUNE 10TH

Who? T I B E T

What's the story? We went to see Paul McCartney the other week. And good grief was it fantastic. With all of the new music, new genres and new scenes around, it's sometimes good to be reminded of exactly where it all began, with four unassuming mop-topped youngsters from Liverpool. There can be no doubt that the Fab Four are where Welsh four piece T I B E T look for inspiration - at least on this song - which, like their previous track She Don't Know, is three minutes of energetic fun. It's down the Lennon, rather than the McCartney end of the spectrum - specifically the I Am The Walrus section - so embrace the psychedelia below.

For fans of: The Beatles, The Kinks

In three words: goo goo g' joob


JUNE 9TH

Who? Goldlink

What's the story? With that big burning ball of thermonuclear fusion in the sky threatening to distract us from Netflix for another couple of months at least, we’re in need of a summer jam. Step forward Goldlink, the intriguingly aloof 22-year-old rapper whose latest track is destined to win nods of approval from burger-scoffing acquaintances at your next barbecue. Why? Packed with the up-tempo beats the artist describes as ‘future bounce’ and softer grooves, Dance On Me is a sensual slow jam of LL Cool J proportions – and in the realm of summer music, praise rarely gets much higher.

For fans of: Lupe Fiasco, LL Cool J, Odd Future

In three words: Sensual slow jam


JUNE 8TH

Who is it? Sundara Karma

What's the story? The third appearance in nine months for Reading quartet Sundara Karma and, once again, they've decided to showcase another element of their sound. Where Indigo Puff was psychedelic-a-go-go, Loveblood was a piledriving indie disco anthem, latest track Flame takes them into the realm of early MGMT (a sound that stubbornly refuses to go away - mainly as it's great). They're clearly one of the most versatile of all the new guitar bands coming through, and we have a sneaky suspicion that, come their debut album, they could well be the best of the lot.

For fans of: MGMT, M83, Foster The People

In Three Words: Third time lucky


JUNE 5TH

Who is it? XYLØ

What's the story? We first featured XYLØ back in February when they were a mysterious, unknown LA-based act with almost no information. America is still one of the best songs we've heard all year and has deservedly racked up over a million Soundcloud plays. Now, having revealed their names as well as the fact that they are a brother/sister combo, they unveil follow-up track Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. It's similarly dark and brooding, like America, but moves away a little from the Lana Del Rey-isms to claim its own territory. Simply put, it's just another fantastic track.

For fans of: Lykke Li, Oh Land, Lana Del Rey

In Three Words: Brooding and majestic


JUNE 4TH

Who is it? Crazy P

What's the story? We've been fans of Nottingham-based three piece Crazy P since hearing the summer anthem Sun Science blasting through the airwaves one July day ten years ago. They were ahead of the curve with their electro disco sound and Nile Rodgers funk guitar parts and, in a post-Get Lucky world, it should be their time to shine. Latest album Walk Talk Dance Sing sees them keep up the high standard, as demonstrated by latest single Cruel Mistress, which employs a backbone of a cool guitar harmonic riff, before house piano enters, and things warm up, building and building, before Nile-style guitar finally kicks in at 2:31. Gorgeous stuff from a great band.

For fans of: Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers, Tensnake

In Three Words: Classy Electro Funk


JUNE 3RD

Who is it? All Tvvins

What's the story? Word is starting to spread about Irish duo All Tvvins, as they slowly criss-cross the UK showcasing their taut, electro indie sound. We loved their debut single Thank You, which was a bombastic, driving affair, and they funk it up a bit more on followup Too Young To Live. It's extremely Foalsy - which is never a bad thing - and takes its time to reach a crescendo, before basking in a luxuriously long guitar solo. Like Thank You, it holds back and teases, before finally letting go for a small burst towards the end of the song. We're already excited about an album, but it'll probably be ages yet, more's the pity. For now, enjoy this track.

For fans of: Foals, Bombay Bicycle Club, Friendly Fires

In Three Words: Indie Funk Attack


JUNE 2ND

Who is it? Eaves

What's the story? After all the George Ezras and Ed Sheerans of the world over the last few years, it's high time for some interesting acoustic-based music - and Leeds-based singer-songwriter Joseph Lyons, aka Eaves, is just the man to provide it. The 23-year-old released debut album What Green Feels Like late last month, showcasing a predominantly folk-based approach, but still finding space to incorporate plenty of other genres in there as well. We're delighted to be premiering the gorgeous new video for album highlight Dove In Your Mouth, featuring animation from Sam Caldwell and Ned Jackson. Musically, it's a sprawling 5 and a half minute epic, which reminds us of everything from Radiohead to Tim Buckley, Jeff Buckley and - appropriately, given the song title - their erstwhile labelmates Doves. A visual and audio treat; be sure to catch him on tour in October (the presale starts tomorrow at 10am).

For fans of: Bon Iver, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley

In Three Words: Ambitious acoustic magnificence


JUNE 1ST

Who is it? Hurts

What's the story? This is crunch time for Hurts. After the smash success of 2010 debut album Happiness, which turned them into stars throughout Europe as well as the UK, they returned with huge expectations for 2013 follow-up Exile. However, it was a classic case of 'difficult second album' as the album received mixed reviews, radio gave it a miss and sales failed to materialise. Nonetheless, it's still all to play for, with the band having a devoted fanbase ready for new music. Some Kind Of Heaven is the first taste of album number three and there's a definite feel of a return to their straightforward synthpop sound of Happiness. There's a strong chorus, with the whole thing sounding almost like a faster Wonderful Life meets John Newman's Love Me Again. Will it be enough to propel them back to pop's premier league? We're not quite sure, but it's certainly a promising first step for their return.

For fans of: Depeche Mode, John Newman, Pet Shop Boys

In Three Words: Big pop return


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