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The Shortlisten - April 2014

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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

April 30th

Who is it? Baby Strange

What's the story? A power-indie trio from Glasgow, Baby Strange are also nicely scuzzier than that genre would suggest. Their new single, Distance Yourself - of which we have the video premiere below - has an eerie, layered verse, reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys' Brianstorm, before exploding into a euphoric chorus, complete with "they're trying to take our fun" lyric. We won't let them boys, as long as you keep writing great tunes like this.

For fans of: Arctic Monkeys, Roxy Music, Jesus & Mary Chain

In Three Words: Scuzzy Indie Excellence



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April 29th

Who is it? Röyksopp & Robyn

What's the story? One of those collaborations that seems so obvious, that everyone wants to see happen, that rarely does - and when it does, doesn't always work. Well, this one very much does. The ultimate Scandinavian supergroup sees Sweden's Robyn & Norway's Röyksopp team up for an EP (out May 26th) and a tour this summer. This, the title track, is a delicious electronic feast, which sounds different from either of the artists' previous work: epic yet restrained, with a great chorus - and it's out to download right now.

For fans of: M83, Moby, The Knife

In Three Words: Classic Collaboration Ahoy



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April 28th

Who is it? The One Hundred

What's the story? It's high time we had some metal on The ShortListen, so when better than a Monday morning? Today we feature the London-based four piece The One Hundred, as they unleash their superb debut video for Kingsmen - filmed in an abandoned World War II Air Raid shelter no less. It's an unrelenting blast through a host of genres, deftly blending hip hop, electronic elements and a whole lot of riffing: if you want some energy to get you through your week, then look no further. Be sure to check out their incendiary live show when they play Sonisphere this summer.

For fans of: Enter Shikari, Refused, Rolo Tomassi

In Three Words: Pure Energy Blast



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April 25th

Who is it? Royal Blood

What's the story? The second appearance on The ShortListen for this Brighton duo, they are unfussily becoming the most exciting new guitar band in the country. Following the obligatory performance on Jools Holland they now unveil the video for new track Come On Over. It's swaggering, heavy, melodic and irresistible. Resistance is futile.

For fans of: Biffy Clyro, Muse, Rage Against The Machine

In Three Words: Royally Raging Rock



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April 24th

Who is it? Cash + David

What's the story? We don't know much about Cash + David other than: they're a London duo; they dabble in moody electronica; they're not David Bowie and Johnny Cash (despite their previous video featuring them engaged in a dance battle) and they're very intriguing. Pulse, their new track, out June 9th, is a glorious mish-mash of influences, veering from a minor key section, straight into a major key section with a host of noises and textures going on. Somehow it doesn't jar, but comes together to create something genuinely unique. One to watch for the future.

For fans of: Brian Eno, Two Door Cinema Club, Aphex Twin

In Three Words: Enjoyably weird electronica



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April 23rd

Who is it? Cheerleader

What's the story? A brand new five-piece act straight outta Philadelphia, the brilliantly-named Cheerleader release their debut single on June 10th. It's an amalgam of a host of different influences, reminding us, variously, of Noah & The Whale, big Bruce Springsteen, a bit of MGMT and also some classic UK indie. The enigmatic vocals, low in the mix, just add to the intrigue. Get this on in the car and head out for the open road.

For fans of: Springsteen, MGMT, Passion Pit

In Three Words: Dreamy Scuzzy Indie



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April 22nd

Who is it? Coldplay, remixed by Giorgio Moroder

What's the story? Never mind selling out stadiums, you really know you've made it when you can get Giorgio Moroder, the god of electronic music, to do a remix for you. And what a remix, as he takes Coldplay's first comeback single - the Bon Iver-esque, obtuse Midnight, which confused many when it emerged from nowhere in February - and transforms it into an epic eight and a half minute journey of a track, veering from minimalism into euphoria, via a vocoded French vocal middle section. A master at work.

For fans of: Daft Punk, M83, Pet Shop Boys

In Three Words: Epic Electronic Excellence



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April 17th

Who is it? Logic

What's the story? The first barbecue hip hop track of the summer has arrived, and we mean that purely as a compliment. Maryland MC Logic has just dropped this super-stylish track, called While You Wait and - appropriately enough - it's a track from an EP being released to maintain presence while he completes his hotly-awaited debut album, due on Def Jam this year. His influences range from classic hip hop to Frank Sinatra (naturally, he is part of a group of artists called the Rattpack) and you can tell that the soulful ways of Ol' Blue Eyes have not been lost on the 24-year-old. Over a laidback beat, Logic addresses a range of issues, all with an effortless flow. It's great to hear music like this being made again - you can almost smell the sausages sizzling.

For fans of: Tribe Called Quest, Nas, Frank Sinatra

In Three Words: Soulful hip hop



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April 16th

Who is it? The Hoosiers

What's the story? The Hoosiers emerged in 2007 with a technicolour blast and three undeniable moments of pop genius in Worried About Ray, Goodbye Mr A and Cops and Robbers. However, their second album saw problems with their record label and a subsequent strangled release. They come back with their third, self-funded album The News From Nowhere, which is out this week. For anyone who dismissed them first time round as 'another landfill indie band' - think again, as there have been rave reviews to accompany a new sound; our featured track is almost reminiscent of Talking Heads or The Police. Give it a try and see what you think.

For fans of: Talking Heads, The Police, The 1975

In Three Words: Successful Reinvention Ahoy



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April 15th

Who is it? Disclosure/Lana Del Rey

What's the story? Two of the biggest names in music both dropped new tracks recently, so it feels right to feature both. Disclosure follow up their huge-selling Settle album with a one-off new track - a collaboration with the Liverpool-based producer Friend Within; it's a worthy addition to that set of songs: big, bouncy and a lot of fun. The Lana Del Rey comeback, meanwhile, is a completely different beast - a mid-tempo verse giving way to a slow and sultry chorus, with Lana's vocals given plenty of space to - literally in some cases - breathe by the gorgeous production. It's no Video Games, but it's a welcome return ahead of the forthcoming album Ultraviolence, which we tipped as one of the albums to watch out for in 2014. Well done both of you.

For fans of: Rudimental, AlunaGeorge, Kate Bush, Nancy Sinatra

In Three Words: Great New Tracks





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April 14th

Who is it? Say Lou Lou, remixed by Yannis Philippakis

What's the story? We've been big fans of Say Lou Lou ever since their haunting first track, Maybe You was released a year or so ago. Naturally, it doesn't hurt them to be two stunning Australian-Swedish twin models, but the music more than stands up on its own. Their latest track, Everything We Touch, is another class addition to their dream-pop canon and this brilliantly relaxed remix from Yannis, frontman with Foals adds another dimension to it.

For fans of: Cocteau Twins, Robyn, Röyksopp

In Three Words: Dreamy Electro Bliss



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April 11th

Who is it? MNEK

What's the story? Despite being only 19, MNEK has been on our radar for a good few years now, working in the background on a variety of hits from Tinie Tempah, to Duke Dumont, all the way through to Little Mix. However, probably his first appearance in the general public's gaze was as vocalist on Gorgon City's hit (and former ShortListen pick) earlier this year, Ready For Your Love. And now comes arguably his first 'solo' single, in the form of Every Little Word. The production is Prince-level funky, but the most striking thing is the superbly soulful vocal - his most confident thus far. An album is on the way and it could be a modern classic.

For fans of: Prince, Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson

In Three Words: Deep Soulful Funk



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April 10th

Who is it? Brian Eno & Karl Hyde

What's the story? On paper this is a collaboration to set every music fan's heart racing: über-producer and composer Brian Eno, teaming up with Underworld frontman Karl Hyde for a new album. It's called Someday World, will be released on the legendary Warp label on May 5th and, on the evidence of the two tracks which have emerged so far, we have no idea what it will sound like. Album opener The Satellites was an urgent, claustrophobic listen, while this one, Daddy's Car, is all expansive percussion, jerking synth bass and uplifting vocals. With collaborators including Fred Gibson, Don E, John Reynolds, Chris Vatalaro and Coldplay's Will Champion, all we can certain of is that the final album will be a fascinating rollercoaster ride.

For fans of: Kraftwerk, UNKLE, LCD Soundsystem

In Three Words: A joyous riot



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April 9th

Who is it? Slow Club

What's the story? Sheffield's Slow Club return with their third album, Complete Surrender on July 14th and they're keeping it Steel City by enlisting the help of Richard Hawley collaborator Colin Elliot on production. If the title track is anything to go by, we're in for a treat: it's a departure from their previous indie-folk sound, being a cinematic, orchestral pop track, reminiscent of classic 60s girl groups - you could imagine Diana Ross giving this a good go. Bonus points for an excellent Bond-villain cat in the video.

For fans of: Pipettes, LCD Soundsystem, The Supremes

In Three Words: Cinematic 60s Pop



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April 8th

Who is it? Thumpers

What's the story? Aside from having an excellent name that reminds us of rabbits, Warwickshire-based band Thumpers make excellent bouncy (again, reminding us of rabbits) music. They release a brilliant double-A side single ahead of the release of their debut album Galore, which will see the light of day on May 19th. We could have chosen either track, but we've plumped for Tame which, strangely, has echoes of Billy Joel's amazing River of Dreams. And frankly, there's not really a higher compliment than that.

For fans of: Friendly Fires, Foster The People, Everything Everything

In Three Words: Rhythmic Bouncy Fun



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April 7th

Who is it? Twin Atlantic

What's the story? Glasgow's Twin Atlantic have toured their way around the world over the last 2 years, cementing their position as one of the city's biggest and best bands; they return with the first track from their forthcoming third album, which sounds ready made for this year's festivals and could launch them into rock's premier league. Stylistically it's interesting: undoubted echoes of Biffy Clyro, but also elements of Blink 182 (who they supported in 2012) and even Def Leppard in there too. It's weird, yet with a huge chorus: exactly how we like it.

For fans of: Biffy Clyro, Blink 182, White Stripes

In Three Words: Top Scots Rock



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April 4th

Who is it? Darlia

What's the story? As well as a plethora of great electro and indie-flavoured pop recently, there's also been a resurgence in good rock bands. Alongside Royal Blood (featured on The ShortListen on Feb 12th), you can file Blackpool trio Darlia. There's a hint of Nirvana in there as well as other classic 90s rock influences; even a bit of early Radiohead. It's taken from the EP of the same name which is released April 14th - this is one to turn up loud and proud.

For fans of: Royal Blood, Yuck, Screaming Trees

In Three Words: Grunge-tinged Rock



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April 3rd

Who is it? Fickle Friends

What's the story? We first featured the Brighton-based Fickle Friends back in January and they're already back again with a song that's even better than their debut track Swim. This one, Play, is a fantastic slice of sub-3 minute new wave pop, with honey-sweet vocals from Natti Shiner underpinned by an insistent groove and plenty of Foals-style guitar work. Utterly joyous.

For fans of: Two Door Cinema Club, Bombay Bicycle Club, Foals

In Three Words: New New Wave



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April 2nd

Who is it? Kid Astray

What's the story? As soon as we heard the words '6-piece Norwegian indie-pop band' we were sold; and fortunately Kid Astray's music delivers exactly what we were after. Their first track emerged in 2012, when most of their members were just 18, but this is their best moment yet, being muscular, yet poppy, no doubt the influence of producer Tord Øverland Knudsen, who regularly achieves the same feat in his day job as bassist of The Wombats. A brilliant pop song.

For Fans Of: Tegan & Sara, Dr Luke, Fun.

In Three Words: Effortlessly Joyous Pop



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April 1st

Who is it? Bleachers

What's the story? Side projects are always dangerous beasts, often vehicles for self-indulgence and songs not quite good enough for the main concern. However, Bleachers - the project of Fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff - may well buck that trend. Mainly as the first song unveiled (taken from an album due in the summer) is brilliant, complete with some clever retro-futuristic production from John Hill and a vocal almost reminiscent of The National's Matt Berninger. Synth legend Vince Clarke - of Depeche Mode, Yazz and Erasure - is also involved and anything associated with him is worth a listen (he's even done a remix of this track). As if that wasn't enough star quality, the video is directed by Lena Dunham of Girls and is nicely strange. See what you think.

For fans of: Erasure, Talking Heads, Talk Talk

In Three Words: Wonky Power Pop



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For more top tunes, check out our previous choices below - just click on the link:

THE SHORTLISTEN - MARCH 2014

THE SHORTLISTEN - FEBRUARY 2014

THE SHORTLISTEN - JANUARY 2014

THE SHORTLISTEN - DECEMBER 2013

THE SHORTLISTEN - NOVEMBER 2013

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