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The ShortListen - September 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

September 30th

Who is it? Lorde

What's the story? The New Zealand superstar returns with her first new track since the release of her debut album, Pure Heroine, which, frighteningly, actually came out just over a year ago. It's a one-off track from the soundtrack of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and, as is often the way for these sorts of between-album tracks, it's essentially more of the same style-wise, with the song itself easily filed alongside Team. However, the production is a little beefier - Paul Epworth is on board alongside regular collaborator Joel Little - and so are the lyrics, with a revenge theme running throughout. If anything, it sounds like a long-lost Tears For Fears track; Lorde's covered them before, so maybe we're in for a Songs From The Big Chair Part II for her next long-player, which would be no bad thing. In the meantime, enjoy this quality addition to her discography.

For fans of: Tears For Fears, Broods, Chvrches

In Three Words: Confident Bonus Track



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September 29th

Who is it? Alex Vargas

What's the story? 25 year-old Copenhagen-born singer Alex Vargas has already packed in quite a bit to his musical life. Originally the frontman of Vagabond - an attempt by pop geniuses Xenomania to produce a rock band, which didn't quite work out as well as it should have done - he now goes it alone. Solid Ground is his new track, and it's an impressive one, with Vargas' soulful vocals to the fore and a restrained verse leading into an epic chorus. This should be radio gold.

For fans of: Sam Smith, One Republic, James Morrison

In Three Words: Quality Soul Affair



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September 26th

Who is it? Wiley

What's the story? When he's on form, there's still no one to touch Wiley. Having left Warners after his most recent flirtation with the more commercial side of things (including a huge number 1 with Heatwave last summer), he's now back to his previous home - the legendary indie Big Dada - and, clearly, going back to his grime roots. This blistering track features an immaculate flow, an urgent string riff, tons of squelchy bass and killer lyrics ("talking cheap like Lidl"), while the simple-but-effective video, directed by Skepta, features cameos from Jammer, Giggs, Stormzy, Novelist and more. Play on repeat now.

For fans of: Dizzee Rascal, Skepta, Jammer

In Three Words: Future Grime Classic



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September 25th

Who is it? Chris Malinchak, featuring MNEK

What's the story? There are few busier people around at the moment than MNEK. Fresh from producing one of our favourite recent tracks in Becky Hill's Losing, he now pops up with a vocal on this blissed-out deep house track from Brooklyn-born producer Chris Malinchak, who of course scored a monster hit with So Good last summer. This probably won't repeat the feat - it's even more understated than that track - but it's a lovely way to spend three minutes. Also - it's crying out for a truly epic 10 minute remix - hopefully someone out there will oblige.

For fans of: The KLF, EDX, Ben Pearce

In Three Words: Blissed Deep Sounds



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September 24th

Who is it? Kendrick Lamar

What's the story? This, the first taste of Kendrick Lamar's hotly-anticipated third album, dropped at 5pm yesterday, yet has already amassed over 2 million Soundcloud plays. While he's widely acclaimed as the best rapper out there right now, he's never really broken through in the UK (2012's good kid, m.A.A.d city reached a high of No. 16), but this could be the track to change that. He's gone for the tried-and-tested old school hip hop method of sampling a classic soul record - this time, it's the Isley Brother's Who's That Lady - but it's far from a straightforward track, veering all over the place in a Kanye West style, before ending with a freeform jazz bass solo. It does, however, have a killer chorus, that sounds like classic Outkast, and a killer hook line ("I love myself") and, seemingly, the support of Radio 1 - this could be his UK breakout hit.

For fans of: Outkast, Kanye West, J.Cole

In Three Words: Crazy Funky Return



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September 23rd

Who is it? SOAK

What's the story? We first featured 18-year-old Londonderry singer Bridie Monds-Watson, aka SOAK, back in February (when she was a mere 17). Now signed to the legendary Rough Trade Records, she unveils a new track which makes good on the promise she's previously shown. A hugely distinctive, fragile-yet-confident vocal is allowed to take centre stage by a restrained production which waits until the last minute before really getting going. She really does sound like no one else: if handled right, her debut album - due next year - could be very special.

For fans of: Daughter, Goldfrapp, Laura Marling

In Three Words: Distinctive New Talent



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September 22nd

Who is it? The Van Doos

What's the story? We featured The Van Doos, a quartet with two members hailing from Helmsley in North Yorkshire and the other two from the capital, back in May, and now they unleash their follow-up track, Baby Be Brutal. It's a track aimed squarely at the indie disco dancefloor with driving beats, a widescreen chorus and a truly euphoric middle 8 section. It's nicely retro-tinged, but also perfectly current; three and a half minutes of perfect indie pop. Get listening.

For fans of: Bluetones, Echo & The Bunnymen. Heartbreaks

In Three Words: Indie Disco Anthem



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September 19th

Who is it? Montgomery

What's the story? From what we can gather, despite sounding like a 19th Century British explorer, Montgomery is a young Queensland-based singer who produces her own tracks, aided by Tom from the duo Big Scary - who himself deals in a sideline as #1 dads - previously featured on The ShortListen in June. With us? Good. All you really need to know is that it's a beautiful, understated piece of electronica - very reminiscent in atmosphere of that #1 dads track - with Montgomery's vocals floating on top of the warm backing. It's taken from a six-track EP, out in October (preorder here) - we're intrigued to hear what the other songs sound like, but this is hugely promising for now.

For fans of: Lorde, #1 dads, Broods

In Three Words: Elegant Eerie Electronica



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September 18th

Who is it? Loyle Carner

What's the story? One of the best new hip hop tracks we've heard all year, this one comes from 19-year-old UK rapper Loyle Carner, with a video that was released yesterday. His flow is quick and precise, yet delicate, and fits perfectly over a gloriously laidback, melancholic production from 18 year-old Alex Burey. A song dedicated to his father, who sadly passed away earlier this year, this is a fantastic, and fitting tribute from a burgeoning talent. You can download the EP that it features on right here - don't delay.

For fans of: Rejjie Snow, Bishop Nehru

In Three Words: Chilled Hip Hop



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September 17th

Who is it? Fickle Friends

What's the story? Brighton's excellent Fickle Friends make their third appearance on The ShortListen and, yet again, it's an irresistible slice of 80s-tinged melancholic pop. Just like their first two tracks, it slowly builds over three and a half minutes, before a truly euphoric last thirty seconds. It's classic tears on the dancefloor stuff as singer Natti Shiner documents a doomed relationship ("I'm not the one for you"); well our relationship with Fickle Friends is as strong as ever so just concentrate on that, OK?

For fans of: Two Door Cinema Club, Cyndi Lauper, Pure Bathing Culture

In Three Words: Teary Indie Disco



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September 16th

Who is it? ETML

What's the story? Fresh from being the guest vocalist on the lead single from the excellent new Basement Jaxx album, 19-year-old Elliot Marshall strikes out on his own. It's not a million miles away from the Jaxx's Never Say Never, being an unashamedly effervescent slice of disco-soul-pop, which suits his understated vocals very nicely indeed. Given that Plan B has given up on fun, ETML is well placed to take up his place as the blue-eyed soul boy du jour (although we don't know if he has blue eyes or not. Hopefully).

For fans of: Plan B, Daft Punk, Basement Jaxx

In Three Words: Fun Disco Soul



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September 15th

Who is it? Becky Hill

What's the story? She's already guested on tracks by Wilkinson, Rudimental and provided the vocals for the massive No. 1 Gecko (Overdrive), and now Worcester-born singer Becky Hill goes it alone, with this track following up a previous taster song. It's produced by ShortListen fave MNEK and is a superb slice of midtempo funk/soul/pop, with a cool groove verse leading into an irresistible chorus. It's restrained yet huge, just the way we like it.

For fans of: Solange, Janet Jackson, MNEK

In Three Words: Classy Pop Soul



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September 12th

Who is it? Ty Segall

What's the story? Ty Segall is a busy man. Heralded as the saviour of garage rock when he emerged from the San Francisco underground scene at the end of the last decade, the Californian has put out seven records since 2008. The most recent, Manipulator, was released last month and is more mind-blowing, shaggy and psychedelic than previous outings. Plus, Ty put out a special video to go with Manipulator’s title track earlier this week. The interactive “make your own” video is full of Monty Python-esque bits of animation including flying fish, owls for brains and a fat man hiding in a bush. It’s available here, or you watch the ‘director’s cut’ below..

For fans of: The Beatles (in Sgt Pepper mode), Iggy & The Stooges, Thee Oh Sees

In Three Words: Batshit Garage Rock



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September 11th

Who is it? Sundara Karma

What's the story? Honestly, kids today, all they do is sit around and write great songs. Hang on - that's not usually what people say is it? But in the case of 18-year-old Reading quartet Sundara Karma, that's exactly what's happened. They unveiled the video for their third-ever track, 'Indigo Puff,' yesterday, which demonstrates their woozy, melodic style to the max. While the clip itself probably won't win any feminist awards, its psychedelic nature does fit the track perfectly. Keep an eye on these scamps.

For fans of: Foals. Kula Shaker, Tame Impala

In Three Words: Precocious Psychedelic Indie



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September 10th

Who is it? Damien Rice

What's the story? Given that it's been fully eight years since Rice's last album, 9, and twelve since the mega-selling O, it's safe to say that he's not the fastest worker in the world. But we'd take quality over quantity every single time, and this utterly spellbinding introduction to new album My Favourite Faded Fantasy, in the form of its title track, suggests that he could be releasing his third classic record in a row. The album was recorded in Iceland with Rick Rubin - a man known to oversee a good record or two - and comprises just eight songs, but then Led Zep IV only had eight, and that was pretty good. This builds beautifully, with Rice's delicate vocals to the fore, before an explosive ending - get listening now.

For fans of: Sigur Rós, James Vincent McMorrow, Bon Iver

In Three Words: Delicate Then Muscular



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September 9th

Who is it? Jones

What's the story? None more fresh than this track, which emerged last night with little information and brand new social media sites for the eponymous Jones. It's already gaining blog traction and for good reason: it's a glorious slice of downbeat electronica. She's been working with XL's Rodaigh McDonald (who lists The XX amongst his many credits) together with Jai Paul's brother Anup, who we featured recently on The ShortListen, so the pedigree is certainly there. The track is hugely reminiscent of Solange's Losing You and bubbles away nicely, with lots of ear candy going on, while Jones' vocals glide elegantly over the top: this could be the start of something big.

For fans of: Solange, Robyn, The Knife

In Three Words: Smooth Soulful Electropop



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September 8th

Who is it? Aphex Twin

What's the story? Thirteen years is a long time to take a break - even longer when your previous work recasts a music genre, leaving everyone bereft of a suitably grand follow up. Yet since 2001's Drukqs, Richard D. James has left his legions of electro fans scrabbling over compilations and EPs. Now, having seemingly readjusted to the latest tricks and techniques flooding the electronic scene, the master has returned with a new album, Syro. This first track is everything Aphex Twin fans have been hoping for, from the iconic sounds to the bizarre title: minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix].

For fans of: Nine Inch Nails, Orbital, Amon Tobin

In Three Words: Vacant Electro Soundscapes



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September 5th

Who is it? Killing Moon Records

What's the story? A special ShortListen takeover today, as we're delighted to be able to exclusively stream the brand new compilation from hugely-respected indie label Killing Moon. Entitled New Moons: Volume II, its been put together by the label's Ach Dhillon and Radio 1 DJ Ally McRae, and features 2014's Killing Moon releases, together with a whole load of other great songs which have floated their collectives boats recently. Naturally, there's a few previous ShortListen picks, in the form of Fickle Friends, Racing Glaciers and Sons and Lovers; so have a listen to the value-for-money 26 tracks, get buying when it's released on September 15th, and head down to London's Koko on September 19th for the launch gig. Wonderful stuff.

For fans of: Great new music

In Three Words: Finger On Pulse



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September 4th

Who is it? The Neighbourhood featuring Raury

What's the story? If you've been keeping track of indie rock band The Neighbourhood then you might be a bit surprised by their latest direction. Their previous material has been moody but radio-friendly, like a classier Maroon 5, but their last few tracks have been infused with hip hop, collaborating with Casey Veggies and, quite brilliantly, with Danny Brown. Their latest release, called Warm, continues on the same route, albeit with a more laidback feel, and this time they've enlisted the help of Raury, a buzzworthy 18-year-old singer who effortlessly combines soul and folk, and proves a killer presence on this haunting song, best played late at night. Expect much more from both artists very soon.

For fans of: Frank Ocean, Woodkid, The 1975

In Three Words: Woozy soulful genre-buster



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September 3rd

Who is it? Craig Armstrong, featuring Brett Anderson

What's the story? If you don't know the name Craig Armstrong, we guarantee that you'll have heard some of his music at some point over the last 20 years. Put simply, he is one of the UK's most respected composers and musicians, initially receiving acclaim for his work on Massive Attack's Protection, before going on to work in film, including scores for Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!, The Great Gatsby and Ray, garnering Grammys, BAFTAs and Golden Globes in the process. He now returns with his first solo album in twelve years, entitled It's Nearly Tomorrow, and we're delighted to be able to premiere the first track taken from it, featuring the fantastic vocals of Suede frontman Brett Anderson. It's a luxurious, beautiful track, with Armstrong's trademark soaring strings and bubbling electronica to the fore. The album promises to be a truly special listen when it's released on October 13th; you can preorder on iTunes here.

For fans of: William Orbit, Hans Zimmer, Massive Attack

In Three Words: Heavenly Orchestral Class



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September 2nd

Who is it? Kate Miller

What's the story? A 19-year-old art student from London, Kate has already managed to make some impressive industry contacts, working with Ed Harcourt and Ed Sheeran-collaborator Jon Green. This is the first track from her debut EP, Neophyte and it's seriously impressive. The production, courtesy of Danton Supple, is tight and groovy, strangely reminiscent of Ian Brown's solo output. It gives Miller's vocals lots of room to shine; hopefully there'll be more of the same on the other four tracks when they emerge on September 29th.

For fans of: Ian Brown, Fleetwood Mac, Fickle Friends

In Three Words: Understated Groove Goodness



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September 1st

Who is it? Julio Bashmore, featuring J'Danna

What's the story? Bristol-born Bashmore has been a reliably excellent figure in the underground club scene since 2009 and is perhaps best-known in the commercial arena for his contributions to Jessie Ware's breakthrough record Devotion. Now he returns with the first single from his forthcoming album, due early next year, Simple Love. And simple it certainly is, with a single chord progression and a single vocal hook from J'Danna, but it's also hugely effective, as textures and shapes take centre stage, with drums and synths weaving in and out of each other to create a five-minute journey. Sit back, relax and take it all in.

For fans of: Jessie Ware, Katy B, Shadow Child

In Three Words: Simple and Successful



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Related

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The ShortListen - October 2014

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The ShortListen - August 2014

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The ShortListen - July 2014

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The ShortListen - June 2014

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The ShortListen - May 2014

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The Shortlisten - April 2014

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