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The ShortListen - April 2015

The ShortListen - April 2015

The ShortListen - April 2015
07 August 2013

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


Who is it? LA PRIEST

What's the story? LA PRIEST is the project of Sam Dust, real name Sam Eastgate. Since the dissolution of his band, Late Of The Pier, after their superb 2008 debut album, Eastgate all but disappeared (he was, in fact, studying in Greenland). Since his return, the signs have been good (Oino, his debut single, was a cracker), raising hopes for Inji, the full album which is due on 29 June. This new song, Party Zute/Learning To Love, which was debuted on Annie Mac's Radio 1 show last night, is a hypnotic electro splurge. It's similar to his previous band's best work, but with a lot more deep, dubby, bass and overtones of Italo House. In fact, it could easily be a mixtape curated by his old band's producer, DJ Erol Alkan. Now we just need the whole album, please...

For fans of: Prince, Late Of The Pier, Erol Alkan

In Three Words: Comatose Hipster Electro


Who is it? Other Lives

What's the story? Other Lives are three guys from Oklahoma; Jesse Tabish, Josh Onstott and Jonathon Mooney. Now based in Portland, Oregon, the trio are preparing to release their third album, Rituals, on 4 May. You can listen to a completely exclusive (and amazing) new song from it, called 2 Pyramids, below. The album’s first single, it’s a sparse, atmospheric number that recalls the moodier moments of latter-day Radiohead. It also belies Other Lives’ past incarnation as an instrumental art rock band (they released one album, under the name Kunek, in 2006). It's some video, too; that guy must have needed a whole tub of Deep Heat on his shoulder blades afterwards...

For fans of: The Knife, Radiohead, Wild Beasts

In Three Words: Widescreen Art Rock

April 28th

Who is it? Eliza And The Bear

What's the story? London’s Eliza And The Bear will wrong-foot you from the off. They’re a quintet, not a duo, there are no women in the band, or any bears. I mean, throw us a curveball, why don’t you, guys. Their new single, Make It On My Own, is much more straightforward: an earnest and uplifting pop number, in frontman James Kellegher’s own words, “about making a change in something, be it your entire life, or even in the smallest thing… but also about self-worth, knowing that you have value and that you can do anything.” The brilliant new four-song EP, of which this exclusive video is the title track, is out on 7 June.

For fans of: Dan Croll, Dry The River, The Lumineers

In Three Words: Positive Indie Pop


April 27th

Who is it? Honne

What's the story? Mysterious east London duo HONNE (pronounced "hon") have been described by one eloquent YouTube commenter as "like Hall & Oates on Hennessy". Indeed, this new single does share the permed pair’s smooth shazam, imbued with the class of a VSOP. Though they're originally from the West Country, Andy and James’ (they don’t do surnames) new single is a New York love story. Sung by Andy, the refrain of “I’ll be waiting here for you,” sounds as mournful as Sam Smith might do if he was all on his tod in a Manhattan penthouse. This smooth modern soul song is a kitsch rekindling of the mid-80s in all its pastille-blazered, Sade-loving glory.

For fans of: James Blake, Frank Ocean, Sam Smith

In Three Words: Woozily Smooth Slow-jams

April 24th

Who is it? Chemical Brothers

What's the story? It looks like 2015 is set to be the year of the big beast heavyweight dance comebacks. Following hot on the heels of Orbital's Paul Hartnoll's 8:58 album and Leftfield's banging return to recording, the Chemical Brothers unveil a new single and details of their first album in five years. Sometimes I Feel So Deserted is a hypnotic listen, deliberately monochrome in feel, coming across almost like a minimal techno track meets Phat Planet. We imagine this will sound tremendous at night in a field at this summer's festivals. They're never predictable, and Born In The Echoes, due on 17 July, should be a must-listen.

For fans of: Deadmau5, Orbital, Leftfield

In Three Words: Relentless Minimal Techno

April 23rd

Who is it? Lianne La Havas

What's the story? London-born Lianne La Havas received considerable critical acclaim with her first album, Is Your Love Big Enough?, receiving a Mercury nomination and gaining a top 5 position in the UK charts. As if that wasn't enough, she gained the attention of Prince, who came to her flat to play a gig when he rolled into town for his series of secret club gigs last year. This led to her guesting on his track Clouds, on his Art Official Age album; now she returns with her own material and it's clear that she has gained both confidence and gravitas. Unstoppable is bombastic in both lyric and performance, coming across like Mary J. Blige taking on a show-tune. It's taken from the album Blood, which will come out in July, and could be another contender for Mercury glory; listen to this and strut like a peacock as you're walking down the street.

For fans of: Mary J. Blige, Paloma Faith, Laura Mvula

In Three Words: Bombastic Soulful Excellence

April 22nd

Who is it? Brand New

What's the story? It is scientific fact that New York band Brand New's 2006 album The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me is one of the greatest records ever made. An epic, sprawling masterpiece, it marked the culmination of their journey from pop-punk upstarts to heavyweight rockers. 2009's Daisy was a solid follow-up but since then, there's been silence (although they have toured almost continuously) until their show at Coachella, where their first new music in six years was revealed. The frenetic Mene suggests that they may have had another reinvention (it immediately brings to mind early R.E.M.) although the opening is still a pleasing reminder of the noise that Brand New can create. We wait with anticipation for the new album to come.

For fans of: R.E.M., Green Day

In Three Words: The masters return

April 21st

Who is it? T I B E T

What's the story? There's something in the water in Wales at the moment. As young punks Pretty Vicious, from Merthyr Tydfil, get the music industry very excited, their countrymates T I B E T have also unveiled their first single. It's unashamedly retro, but we're due a bit of a 60s comeback, and with a strong melody, plenty of attitude and energy, it's not hard to imagine this ripping up indie dancefloors across the land. This is two and a half minutes of unabashed fun: enjoy.

For fans of: Kinks, The White Stripes, The Beatles

In Three Words: Mod comeback ahoy

April 20th

Who is it? Editors

What's the story? In a world of shifting sands and endless changes, you can always rely on Editors for some quality gloom-rock. They've been readying their fifth album for the last two years, since the release of 2013's acclaimed The Weight Of Your Love and nwo new track No Harm has emerged via a novel method where it was included as a secret track on a PIAS (their label) sampler CD with clues given to fans to enable them to discover it. It's an understated, yet thrilling listen, as it builds and builds over the course of five minutes of arpeggiated synths before a final glorious - yet also similarly understated - ending. There's a clear Sigur Ros influence in there - via Tom Smith's falsetto, together with the slow pace and elegaic chords - and that is never a bad thing. Exciting stuff.

For fans of: Brian Eno, Sigur Ros

In Three Words: Minimal synth rock

April 17th

Who is it? la HORSE

What's the story? As much as we love the Arctic Monkeys, it seems something of a shame that they've abandoned the early carefreeness of their early work for the desert-dry, more American sound of the last couple of records (particularly on Humbug and Suck It And See). But watch out guys, there's some new Animals in town: literally, and metaphorically. Nothing From The Monkey Is Free is the debut track by East London four piece la HORSE and it sounds like a gloriously unholy mix of the Arctics, the Animals and Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. It's massively psychedelic yes - with lashings of organ throughout - but there's also taught songwriting underneath and a nice dose of rock riffing in the chorus. It's a shame they don't sound like Foals or we could really have gone to town on the horse puns. Maybe next time.

For fans of: Arctic Monkeys, Syd Barrett, Animals

In Three Words: Psychedelic Rock Attack

April 16th

Who is it? Lonely The Brave

What's the story? It's been nearly a year since we featured Cambridge 5-piece Lonely The Brave on The ShortListen, so it's high time we checked in to see how they're getting on. River, River is a brand new track taken from an extended version of their debut album The Day's War (out 8 June), and it's arguably the most impressive thing they've done. Chiming guitars and spacious verses giving way to a truly epic conclusion. There's no obvious choruses here, the song just builds and builds until it sucks you in. If you haven't already got the album, use this as an excuse to join the party.

For fans of: The National, Editors, Twin Atlantic

In Three Words: Big-hearted Sweeping Rock

April 15th

Who is it? Brandon Flowers

What's the story? The first Brandon Flowers album was an enjoyable affair, with Crossfire being a undeniably fantastic tune - but there was certainly an element of Killers-lite about it. However, on the evidence of the first track from his second album - the brilliant Can't Deny My Love - and now this, second single Still Want You, which emerged yesterday, his 'sophomore' album will have far more of a distinct, coherent theme running through it. And that theme is, essentially, 90% unashamedly 80s. This could easily be a peak-era George Michael video, all black and white moodiness, white suits and Brandon's magnificent hair. The remaining 10% is 60s, with the gang vocals in the chorus a nice Motown reference. The album, due May 18, is called The Desired Effect, and that's certainly what the two tunes so far have had.

For fans of: St. Lucia, George Michael, Mark Ronson

In Three Words: Brandon Gets Funky

April 14th

Who is it? M.O.

What's the story? These are shifting times in the world of the girl group, with previous pop titans The Saturdays slowly leaving the scene, Girls Aloud long gone and the Sugababes reunion (Mutya Keisha Siobhan) not really going anywhere, while Little Mix and their U.S. equivalents Fifth Harmony - both unexpectedly good products of the Cowell TV world - reign over all. Trying to compete against those heavyweights is always going to be a tough task, but London-based trio M.O. have something about them that suggests they may be able to carve their own space. Preach is a sassy pop anthem, with just enough En Vogue 90s-references to keep it 'on trend' while not going too retro. A few more of these tunes and they'll be well in the game.

For fans of: En Vogue, Little Mix, Timbaland

In Three Words: Minimal Hop Pop

April 13th

Who is it? Ratatat

What's the story? If you have eyes and any social media account, you may have noticed that Coachella is currently on, forcing hipsters everywhere to try to outdo each other on the latest trends and sounds. Famously, Daft Punk premiered a snippet of Get Lucky at the desert festival two years ago, so plenty of acts will be using the opportunity to launch their new wares. However, one of the best we've heard so far is the new one from New York two-piece Ratatat, who unveiled Cream On Chrome shortly before their set on Saturday night. It's the first track taken from their forthcoming fifth album, LP5, coming out on XL later this year. It's a taut piece of instrumental electro funk, featuring their characteristic lollopping bass, desert dry guitars and a raft of synth treats. If this isn't soundtracking a host of adverts in the near future we'll be very surprised. Take a listen below and get your summer groove on.

For fans of: Daft Punk, LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip

In Three Words: Electro Funk attack

April 10th

Who is it? Port Isla

What's the story? A second appearance on The ShortListen for Norwich-based four piece Port Isla and it comes fresh from supporting James Bay on his recent tour. Make no bones about it this, like Bay, is aimed squarely at the mainstream, with U2-esque guitar work and soaring Coldplay whoahs dotting the track. But, like the latter stadium-fillers, it's all tied together by the likeable vocals of frontman Will Bloomfield, who has the same sense of vulnerability and eagerness-to-please as a young Chris Martin. For those who preferred Parachutes to X&Y, this could be the new band for you.

For fans of: Coldplay, James Bay, Noah & The Whale

In Three Words: Stadium-fillers in waiting

April 9th

Who is it? Day Wave

What's the story? We're hugely enjoying the latest Death Cab For Cutie album, Kintsugi, at the moment, so it's doubly exciting to hear this fantastic track from California-based artist Jackson Phillips, aka Day Wave. It's a beautifully melancholic lo-fi indie-surf track which really reminds us of the plaintive guitar work and vocals of Death Cab, yet still retains its own distinctive sound. Melodic, sad and with an epic chorus that simultaneously doesn't try too hard, this is three minutes of bliss. His earlier tracks Total Zombie and Nothing At All are well worth a listen too - some have compared Day Wave to The Drums, but frankly these songs are better than anything they've ever done. A serious one to watch.

For fans of: Death Cab For Cutie, DIIV, The Drums

In Three Words: Glorious Lo-Fi Indie-pop

April 8th

Who is it? Mew, remixed by No Ceremony/// 

What's the story? We are confirmed big fans of Mew, featuring their wonderful comeback single Satellites back in January. Since then, they've released a second single from forthcoming album +- in the form of Water Slides, and we're now delighted to be able to premiere a fantastic remix of it by Manchester trio No Ceremony/// here on The ShortListen. It's a 'proper' remix, in the sense that they've sensibly kept pretty much the entire vocal, and shifted the sands underneath, refitting it with a sidechained, pulsating, 'slow house' backing, somehow pulling off the trick of making it heavy, yet light as a feather. Be sure to check Mew live on their four upcoming UK dates - check their website for details - and in the meantime, enjoy.

For fans of: The Whip, St Lucia

In Three Words: Menacing slow house

April 7th

Who is it? Dive In

What's the story? Not to be confused with fellow pool-inspired band Swim Deep, Dive In hail from Pilton, so come what may we'd be backing them for a Glastonbury slot pretty soon, if nothing else purely due to proximity. Their song Eighteen is currently setting blogs everywhere alight, and for good reason, as it's a combination of the 1975's unashamedly pop version of indie, the latest excellent couple of singles from The Wombats and the big first album synths of MGMT. The 1975 comparisons don't stop there too, as singer Matthew Guttridge has a Matthew Healy-esque distinctive androgynous singing voice - not a million miles away from Jonas Bjerre of Mew either. We can see this song, and this band, being very big, very soon.

For fans of: The 1975, Mew, The Wombats

In Three Words: Big indie pop

April 2nd

Who is it? Fickle Friends

What's the story? The Brighton five-piece make an unprecedented fourth appearance on The ShortListen with their latest track, and we're starting to think that they're physically incapable of making a bad song. Once again, it fits in nicely with their other songs, whilst still having a personality all of its own, bouncing along with bubbling synths and percussive guitar work pushing things along while singer Natti Shiner gently croons over the top. Summery, poppy, radiotastic stuff that sounds retro yet contemporary - all it needs is for the sun to start shining.

For fans of: St. Lucia, Climie Fisher, The Knocks

In Three Words: Big and bouncy

April 1st

Who is it? The Maccabees

What's the story? One of the UK's most respected indie bands returns, and it seems they've gone back to basics for their new longplayer. After the garage rock and punk leanings of debut Colour It In, the London-based act opted for a more widescreen sound on subsequent releases Wall Of Arms and Given To The Wild, but this track, the first to emerge from their forthcoming as-yet-untitled fourth record, strongly harks back to their early work. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the band have self-produced and its urgent guitar work and vocals calls to mind the brilliant local swimming pool-referencing song Latchmere from that aforementioned first albumThe band's Hugo White says simply, “These new songs are a reminder of why we started the band... with the enthusiasm to play music that’s exciting and makes us excited.” Well, we're excited too.

For fans of: Libertines, Kaiser Chiefs, Foals

In Three Words: Return to Basics

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