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
What's the story? Dutch musician and composer Stephen Emmer released his first album, Vogue Estate back in 1982, working with the fantastic voice of Associates' Billy MacKenzie. However, it was fully 30 years before a follow-up emerged - Recitement, in 2008, a record which featured spoken word contributions from Lou Reed and Serge Gainsborough. He's now back with another new album International Blue, to be released in July, which harks back to the era of lush and epic 60s pop production. The first single is a tribute to MacKenzie, who sadly passed away in 1997, featuring an virtuoso vocal performance from Heaven 17's Glenn Gregory. It's Untouchable and it's magical.
For fans of: David Bowie, John Barry, Craig Armstrong
In Three Words: Epic Cinematic Pop
Who is it? Haerts
What's the story? NYC-based Haerts have been picking up plaudits for their electro indie tracks for about a year, but their breakout moment may well be this track. It's a real statement of intent - unashamedly 80s (the intro immediately calls to mind Chris De Burgh's Lady In Red which, let's face it, is brilliant); delicate, yet epic, with a haunting chorus.
For fans of: Say Lou Lou, Phil Collins, Lykke Li
In Three Words: Late Night Listening
What's the story? We've had plenty of summertime indie and dance on here recently, so how about a little hip hop? For the uninitiated, Phoniks is a producer from Portland, Maine, who's hooked up with different MCs for different projects; his latest find being the 21-year-old Houston resident Anti Lilly. It's a match made in heaven as the old-time jazz sample combines with a laidback beat and Anti Lilly's effortless flow to create 3 and a half minutes of sunshine in a song. It's taken from their album Stories From The Brass Section, which you can (and should) buy from here.
For fans of: Pete Rock, Nujabes, Mos Def
In Three Words: Summertime Breezy Beats
Who is it? The Sunshine Underground
What's the story? The Sunshine Underground have been at the forefront of funky and fresh music-making since emerging into the Leeds scene in 2005 alongside Kaiser Chiefs, I Like Trains and ¡Forward, Russia! After two albums, the departure of bass player Daley has given them the opportunity to explore new sonic territory: namely their first love of electronic music. The first single from their forthcoming new album (which you can preorder here) ably demonstrates this, with insistent rhythms and big, bouncy synths combining to great effect. We're delighted to exclusively have the video here, featuring two awesome ghetto blasters and some surprised Leeds residents. Be sure to catch them when they play at Birthdays in Dalston on 22nd April.
For fans of: LCD Soundsystem, Kele Okereke, The Rapture
In Three Words: Energetic Electronic Excellence
Who is it? Max Jury
What's the story? Well, this is one straight out of nowhere. We don't know much about Max other than that he is just 21 and hails from Des Moines, Iowa. His debut EP, Something In The Air was released this week, and showcases an incredibly pure, timeless voice, performing some beautifully understated songs. Our favourite, Christian Eyes is below: quite magical.
For fans of: Carpenters, Rufus Wainwright, Ray LaMontagne
In Three Words: Pure and simple
Who is it? Bear Hands
What's the story? A four-piece from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Bear Hands look set for big things in 2014, having already supported MGMT and signed to their label in the States - indeed vocalist Dylan Rau went to school with Andrew of MGMT. And the similarities don't end there, with MGMT's synth touches definitely present in this track. However, there's plenty of other influences in there: some punky, almost Mars Volta-esque, vocals and guitar work, a lolloping indie chorus and some delicate electronica. It's full of energy, ideas and hooks and should make their album, Distraction, a must-listen when it emerges in the UK later this year.
For fans of: At The Drive-In, MGMT, Strokes
In Three Words: Indie Punky Pop
Who is it? Eric Prydz
What's the story? This is proving to be a vintage year already for summer anthems, and it's only March. Hot on the heels of what looks certain to be Duke Dumont's second No.1 single in I Got U (featured on The ShortListen back in mid-December), dance legend Eric Prydz unleashes this monster. It's actually quite quaintly restrained - no huge rushes, drops, or breakdowns here, just a succession of cascading synths and a brilliant vocal sample. The full, glorious 6:42 version, premiered earlier this week on Radio 1, is released exclusively on Beatport today - and is the big one, literally.
For fans of: Duke Dumont, Avicii, Zedd
In Three Words: Another Summer Anthem
Who is it? We Have Band
What's the story? We are all about the summer sounds here on The ShortListen at the moment and the first offering from We Have Band's forthcoming third album continues that trend perfectly, bouncing along with glorious rhythmic touches, arpeggiated guitars courtesy of DFA's Tim Goldsworthy and a beautifully melodic chorus. Someone is an audio and visual treat; we're delighted to be premiering the stunning video, created by Zaiba Jabbar, which complements the track perfectly. The album, Movements is coming out on April 28th - if it's as good as this track, we are in for a serious treat.
For fans of: LCD Soundsystem, Pure Bathing Culture, Empire of the Sun
In Three Words: Glorious Dreamy Pop
Who is it? Lykke Li
What's the story? Since bursting on to the scene with the gorgeous Little Bit and the accompanying album Youth Novels back in 2008, but has always stayed under the mainstream radar since then. Now she readies her third album I Never Learn, with this track, premiered this morning, the first to see the light of day. She says that "every song on the album is a power ballad" but, if this is anything to go by, she's dealing in the raw and unashamed emotions from those songs rather than any gated snares and key changes. It works fantastically, minimal verses breaking into huge chorus swells, not a million miles away from Lana Del Rey's most epic moments. The album is released May 5th and could be a classic.
For fans of: Lana Del Rey, Kate Bush, Florence & The Machine
In Three Words: Elegant Chamber Indie
Who is it? Daniel James
What's the story? A singer-songwriter originally from Northern Ireland but now living in London, Daniel James looks well-placed to join the growing number of melodically-strong, heart-on-sleeve artists that are coming out of the UK at the moment. The Bridge is apparently inspired by a 1984 documentary about street children in Seattle forced to deal in a world of sex and drugs - the bridge being their escape from this life. Even with such weighty subject matter, it results in a brilliantly dynamic track with a good old soaring chorus. File next to ShortListen favourite Luke Sital Singh and get listening.
For fans of: Saint Raymond., Luke Sital Singh, Sam Smith
In Three Words: Soaring, swooping & cinematic
Who is it? Flyte
What's the story? The good weather refuses to go away so, luckily for us, feelgood summery music like this offering from London four-piece Flyte continues to feel wonderfully appropriate. Joyous harmonies, a lolloping beat, 808 handclaps and a thoroughly 'British' video combine to create the perfect soundtrack to pottering about in a sunny garden. Flyte may 'be the rain', but this will bring a little light into your world.
For fans of: Talking Heads, Super Furry Animals, Thompson Twins
In Three Words: 2:50 of sunshine
Who is it? Calvin Harris
What's the story? Calvin has risen from a quirky, prank-playing (his career high will always be his amazing Jam TV series) M&S-loving talented youngster to become the world's biggest EDM DJ, songwriter and producer. The turning point was, of course, the epoch-defining I'm Not Alone and he's never looked back since. Summer, premiered this morning, is his first new solo track since 2012's Thriller-beating (it had nine top 10 hits, beating Jacko's effort) album 18 Months and, unsurprisingly, sticks to the formula. But Calvin is still the best at it - with huge rave synths, a great soulful vocal and the section from 1:19 featuring some lovely sprinkly chords and sounds. Resistance is futile - this will, literally, be the sound of the summer.
For fans of: Avicii, David Gutta, Afrojack
In Three Words: Introspective folk...no, sorry....Massive Rave Anthem
Who is it? Acrobat
What’s the story? London-based newbies Acrobat are a quartet who, despite releasing their first single at the beginning of March, sound like a confident collective of musicians that have been honing their sound for some time. Invincible is a breezy concoction of 70s funk and new-wave, sharing the musicality of Ian Dury & the Blockheads and the wonderfully-named Hugo Hamper Pots’s commanding vocals channelling a similar urgency to that of David Byrne. Put simply, this is great pop music that sounds like it got out of bed on the right side. With a follow up 12” EP in the pipeline sometime this spring, hopefully things will go Acrobat’s way and their summer-tinged pop will reach further (festival) fields.
For fans of: Ian Dury & the Blockheads, Talking Heads, Duran Duran, Japan
In Three Words: Premature Summer Pop
Who is it? Ronika
What's the story? It's not been an easy ride for Nottingham pop artiste Ronika, having to overcome an illness that struck her midway through building a big buzz in the world of electropop, but finally her long-awaited debut album - the brilliantly-titled Selectadisc, so named after a defunct-but-missed Nottingham independent record shop - is coming on June 2nd. This great track gives you a taste of the record - all produced, written and performed by Ronika herself, to follow up several previously great songs and remixes - if you preorder the album, you can get it straight away. And we would recommend that.
For fans of: Madonna, Little Boots, Robyn
In Three Words: Classic Synth Pop
Who is it? Broken Records
What's the story? Originally formed in 2006, Broken Records have gradually won hearts and fans over the course of two critically-acclaimed albums. They return with a triumphant new EP, Tosca (released March 24th but available to preorder now), and we're delighted to be able to premiere one of the tracks from it here on The ShortListen. It's a wonderful cinematic, quasi-orchestral track, very much in the vein of fellow Scots The Twilight Sad and Frightened Rabbit - in fact, Revival is a very apt title: this'll get you going like a morning cup of coffee.
For fans of: The Twilight Sad, Snow Patrol, The National
In Three Words: Uplifting and life-affirming
Who is it? Solomon Grey
What's the story? A two-piece who met in London, Soloman Grey left the big city to travel to Ireland, and then the Australian outback, to record their debut album over a period of three years. You can hear this time and space pay off on this track, a third release from them after two singles which came out on Black Butter Records last year, as it subtly builds and builds from a delicate introduction to a frenzied outro, with every detail and nuance being given the air to breathe. You can download it for free from their Facebook page right now.
For fans of: Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes
In Three Words: Delicate, Layered & Captivating
What's the story? Renowned German DJ and producer Tensnake unveils his long awaited debut long-player Glow on Monday - and we're delighted to exclusively premiere a new track taken from it. Kill The Time features regular guest vocalist Fiora and marks a more introspective side of Tensnake's production, to add to the floor-filling brilliance of previous tracks Coma Cat and Love Sublime - featured on The ShortListen in December and featuring the considerable talents of Nile Rodgers. Glow is released Monday via Virgin/EMI and promises to be a must-hear album of 2014.
For fans of: Disclosure, Duke Dumont, Jessie Ware
In Three Words: Classy Electro House
Who is it? Porter Robinson
What's the story? American electro house DJ Porter Robinson burst onto the scene in 2012 with the sensational Language, which built steadily through blogs and Beatport before picking up mainstream radio attention. Following this with Easy, a collaboration with Mat Zo last year, he now returns with Sea of Voices - and it marks completely new sonic territory, building slowly and atmospherically before launching into an M83-style euphoric ending. There's just a chance he might have heard this Sigur Rós track, but if you're going to be influenced by anyone, it's a great place to start.
For fans of: M83, Sigur Rós, Godspeed You! Black Emperor
In Three Words: Blissful Electronic Waves
Who is it? Owl Eyes
What's the story? Brooke Addamo, aka Owl Eyes, has been making waves in her native Australia since appearing as a finalist on Australian Idol in 2008. However, she's eschewed the straight pop normally associated with that show in favour of more electronic and indie elements, releasing a couple of EPs since 2010, including a successful take on Foster The People's Pumped Up Kicks. Ahead of appearances at SXSW and her likely breakthrough into the international market, she's released this utterly stunning version of Something About Us, a track from Daft Punk's classic 2001 album Discovery. Beautiful vocals and minimal backing add up to create something really special. Anyone lucky enough to be in Austin next week should be sure to check her out.
For fans of: Goldfrapp, Pure Bathing Culture, Birdy
In Three Words: Delicate Deft Daft (Punk)
Who is it? Tove Lo
What's the story? When it comes to clever pop, few do it better than the Swedes - and Tove Lo, who has previously written for Icona Pop and Girls Aloud, has provided what is already one of the contenders for single of the year with this track Not On Drugs. It follows two well-received tracks - Out of Mind and Habits - which emerged last year and all three appear on the Truth Serum EP which came out yesterday. The lyrics are brilliant and the chorus is a dubstep-esque synth explosion of joy. Fantastic.
For fans of: Robyn, Tegan & Sara, M83
In Three Words: Utter Pop Brilliance
Who is it? Ghostpoet
What's the story? A very special track of the day on The ShortListen today as we premiere the haunting new video from the critically-acclaimed Ghostpoet. A former Mercury Award nominee, Dial Tones is taken from his second full-length, Some Say I So I Say Light and is a minimal, hugely atmospheric track, featuring the hushed vocals of Lucy Rose, which call to mind the dynamics of Jessie Ware. A great video, courtesy of the noted production team Caviar, complete the package. This is fantastic - enjoy.
For fans of: Roots Manuva, Massive Attack, Jessie Ware
In Three Words: Dark Electronic Excellence
(Image: Flickr/Steven Snodgrass)