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The ShortListen - August 2015

The ShortListen - August 2015

The ShortListen - August 2015
14 October 2014

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

August 28th

Who? Eagles of Death Metal

What’s the story? Something we learned today was how the Eagles of Death Metal got their name. In 1998, best friends Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme (he of Queens of the Stone Age fame, who takes his position behind the kit) were discussing what a cross between the Eagles and a death metal band would sound like. Thus EODM was born, and thus, they are not actually a death metal band. This is a fact born out by their latest single, Complexity, which is a fantastic 169 seconds of rock 'n' roll riot and is the first taste of their forthcoming fourth album Zipper Down, which will be released on 2 October. A future indie disco classic, get listening below.

For fans of: The Hives, Electric Six, Queens of the Stone Age

In three words: Quickfire fun blast

August 27th

Who? Palace Winter

What’s the story? Denmark does pretty well at producing the odd piece of musical genius given its population of just five million people. Mew, Alphabeat, Oh Land and, of course, Aqua, all hail from the country. But the next name to add to that could be Palace Winter. Signed to the wonderfully-named Danish label Tambourhinoceros, they are a two piece comprised of Caspar Hesselager and Aussie Carl Coleman, who met while sharing a tour bus around Denmark last year. This track is from their debut EP Medication, due out in October, and is a glorious six-minute journey of atmospheric production, Johnny Marr-style guitar and gently shimmering vocals. It's psychy without simply relying on chucking a phaser effect on everything. Stick this on and lose yourself for a moment.

For fans of: The Smiths, War On Drugs

In three words: Psychy epic indie

August 26th

Who? Roots Manuva

What’s the story? It's high time that the Queen got busy and sorted out some kind of official honour for Rodney Hylton Smith, given his work representing the UK's hip hop scene over the past sixteen years. Always a boundary-pusher, always unafraid to try new things and always incredibly British, he's up there with summer rain and Stephen Fry for us. His latest track One Thing is, sadly not a cover of the Amerie classic, but rather a one-man reinvention of trap, which maintains the glorious wobbliness of his previous work. Naturally, he namechecks Walkers Crisps and scrambled eggs. He's just announced a new album, Bleeds, which will be released 30 October - this news makes us very excited indeed.

For fans of: Major Lazer, Pharrell

In three words: British Trap Reinvention

August 25th

Who? Kelvin Jones

What’s the story? Lots of people dream about uploading a song to YouTube, watching it go viral and then landing a big record contract. But that actually happened to Stevenage singer-songwriter Kelvin Jones, who put this song on the internet and promptly watched it rack up the views after being shared primarily via Reddit. Now he releases a rerecorded version of it, complete with a simple but clever video - which we're delighted to premiere here on The ShortListen - which features a TV sent up into space via the appropriately-named 'Sent Into Space' project. We wouldn't be surprised if the track now went big via more prosaic channels: this is ready-made for heavy radio rotation, sounding like a mix of George Ezra and Passenger, with a lovely gently souful vocal from Kelvin. It sounds like a hit to us: enjoy.

For fans of: Passenger, George Ezra

In three words: Heavy Radio Hit

August 24th

Who? JoJo

What’s the story? JoJo? You mean that 15 year-old who had a couple of massive pop hits ages ago then disappeared? Yes indeed - the very same. It's been 11 years since Leave (Get Out) smashed up the charts, but Joanna Noëlle Blagden Levesque (yes, that is her real name) never quite became the next Britney Spears that she threatened to be. In the time since that first record, she's only put out one other album, back in 2006, whilst moving into acting in TV and film. However, she finally makes a return to the music scene, now aged 24, with a 'tringle' - a trio of singles (which is basically an EP). Two of the tracks are good and one really is superb. As with anything electronic and wistful, Robyn is the benchmark - and this track is up there with her excellent work. A strident, yearning anthem, this is quality stuff.

For fans of: Robyn, Jordin Sparks

In three words: Big electropop anthem

August 21st

Who? Masakichi

What’s the story? We've been meaning to feature this London-based three piece for ages, so forgive our tardiness, but better late than never, eh? Formed of Hannah Cartwright, Reuben Gotto and Hattie Williams and signed to the always faultless Fierce Panda Records, this video showcases a track from their debut mini-album Hummingbird, which will be released on 18 September. Right from the off, Cartwright's vocals are attention-grabbing - reminding us of London Grammar's Hannah Reid - with a shoegazing-with-balls, quiet-then-loud dynamic featuring through the rest of the track. Lose yourself for six minutes in this, then pick up the mini-album in a few weeks.

For fans of: Wolf Alice, London Grammar, Slowdive

In three words: Bitter sweet rock

August 20th

Who? Låpsley

What’s the story? It doesn't get much more hot off the press than this, with the new track from Southport-raised London-based singer-songwriter Låpsley being unveiled about 20 minutes prior to writing. But this is a particularly exciting one, with 19-year-old Holly 'Låpsley' Fletcher being tipped for great things, appearing on the BBC Sound of 2015 longlist, as well as on our very own Albums You Need To Hear in 2015. She's on the acclaimed XL label, home to Adele, and there's no doubt that she's been listening to her labelmate, both in vocal style and the emotional directness of the lyrics. This is a more fully-formed production than her previous tracks, still electronic-based but more rounded - clearly with half a mind of getting some more radio action - although it takes a lovely minimal turn in the middle eight section. More promise, let's have some more tunes.

For fans of: Adele, Jessie Ware

In three words: Electronic minimal soul

August 19th

Who? The Arcs

What’s the story? When Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach announced his new side project would be issued under the name The Arcs, he said that “I just wanted to do my thing and get extra weird”. Well, on the evidence of this track, he's more than succeeding in that aim. The album, Yours, Dreamily, was recorded in two weeks with Leon Michaels and will be released on 4 September. In the meantime, enjoy this spacey, psychey, slow-revving blues jam with a brilliantly weird and ever-so-slightly disturbing video to match.

For fans of: Grateful Dead, Super Furry Animals, Tame Impala

In three words: Psych Space Jam

August 18th

Who? Dornik & Jungle

What’s the story? We've been fans of London nu-R&B artist Dornik for a while now, and his self-titled album finally dropped a couple of weeks ago. It's filled with faultlessly glossy and smooth production, with huge overtones of Michael Jackson's more soulful side and is well worth checking out. To coincide with the release, however, comes this re-edit/remix courtesy of Jungle, who've recently given Lianne La Havas' Unstoppable the same treatment while they take time off after their hugely successful debut album. Borrowing the bassline from the O'Jays' For The Love of Money, they add a bit of funk and grit to the smoothness, to create a great end result. Nicely done guys.

For fans of: O'Jays, Michael Jackson

In three words: Late night funk-soul

August 17th

Who? Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats

What’s the story? Future Islands set the standard for acts grasping their moment on TV with two hands and thoroughly smacking the life out of it when they appeared on Letterman in a now infamous performance. It showed that if you did more than simply turn up and lip sync through a perfunctory performance, then people would respond - both in the studio and watching and home. The latest to learn that lesson were the Denver-based act Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, who turned in an incendiary performance of S.O.B. on Jimmy Fallon recently. It opened the public's eyes to the band's brand of full-blooded soul and R&B; they now release new track Look It Here which continues the good work, sounding like a long lost Motown classic. Their self-titled album is out on Monday, with the band heading to the UK in September: keep an eye on these guys and wait for them to take over the Graham Norton Show in the near future.

For fans of: Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears

In three words: Bluesy R&B Soul

August 14th

Who? Will Joseph Cook

What’s the story? There's a lot of good singer-songwriters around in the UK at the moment as the reign of terror of Sheeran, Ezra, Howard and all the rest shows no sign of easing off. So it's ever harder to stand out from the crowd, but Tunbridge Wells 18-year-old Will Joseph Cook might just be the next to break through. He's been winning fans with a series of tracks over the last six months, and this latest, Hearse, is a bit of a beast. It begins innocuously enough, but then suddenly launches into an almost St Lucia-esque, tropical, insanely catchy chorus with maracas and cabasas all over the place. And we're always up for maracas and cabasa. Vocally, he weirdly reminds us a bit of Sting back in the Police days. And if all that isn't enough to get you listening, then we're not sure what will be.

For fans of: The Police, St Lucia, Luke Sital-Singh

In three words: Tropical Acoustic Groove

August 13th

Who? Chvrches

What’s the story? It's two out of two for Chvrches now. Hot on the heels of Leave a Trace - the first taste of their forthcoming second album, titled Every Open Eye and released 25 September - comes this second track, Never Ending Circles. With a proper stomping Depeche Mode angry-synth intro, it's a bit weightier than the first track and no less impressive, with a nice anthemic chorus to boot. If you want some synthpop with balls, then look no further. Excellent stuff again.

For fans of: Depeche Mode, Hurts, Broods

In three words: Strident Synth Attack

August 12th


What’s the story? Manchester has always known what it's doing when it comes to dance music; it did welcome Chicago and Acid House into the UK via Mike Pickering and the rest of the gang at the Hacienda after all. And following in a more Balearic tradition comes this fantastic track from three-piece MDNGHT, which has been reworked to stunning effect by the legendary Steve Osborne - who, of course, was instrumental in Happy Mondays' classic Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches before working with a host of other great artists including New Order, Doves and Placebo. The song, Into The Night, which we're delighted to be premiering on The ShortListen (and will be on Spotify and the rest from Friday), feels like bathing in a warm bath, with gentle waves of synths washing over, together with bubbly arps, flashes of guitar and a more soulful Years & Years vocal. Frankly, it's a track that demands a 15 minute-long extended edit, to be played as the sun goes down on a warm beach. So hopefully this can be sorted out pretty soon - thanks guys.

For fans of: Years & Years, Aeroplane, Paul Oakenfold

In three words: Blissed-out Balearic Beats

August 11th

Who? The Twilight Sad

What’s the story? We've previously written at length about our love for Nobody Wants to be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave - the fourth studio album by Scottish post-rock band The Twilight Sad which came out to universal acclaim at the end of last year - and we've now been given an extra treat with the announcement of the Òran Mór Session LP, a collection of stripped-down tracks, b-sides and a new cover. Normally the phrase 'stripped-down' strikes fear into our hearts as it usually equates with 'dull acoustic version' but, on the strength of this fantastic version of It Was Never The Same, this is going to be nothing of the sort. Instead, the glorious Scottish burr of James Graham's vocal is allowed to ring out, while Andy MacFarlane accompanies with an almost Sigur Ros-esque guitar line. Stunning stuff - and this promises to be a brilliant reinterpretation of already excellent material.

For fans of: Sigur Ros, Damian Rice

In three words: Emotion filled excellence

August 10th

Who? City and Colour

What’s the story? In music, people can change style in the most unexpected way. From Brand New's conversion from pop-punk to weighty prog-rock, Frank Carter's move from Gallows to Pure Love and particularly Frank Turner leaving the punk band Million Dead to pick up an acoustic guitar and become one of the UK's most prominent political folk voices. In a similar way, no one really expected Dallas Green, guitarist in Canadian post-hardcore band Alexisonfire to turn his hand to folk rock, but he did, with huge success, under the moniker City and Colour. He's due to release his fifth album If I Should Go Before You on 9 October and this song, Wasted Love is the second track to emerge from it, following the epic 9-minute long Woman. It's sure to build upon his already substantial fanbase - he sold out Hammersmith Apollo on his last UK tour - with a nice soulful, blues feel that's a bit rockier than his normal style; we'd bet our bottom dollar there's a huge gentle ballad on there somewhere, but this will do nicely for now.

For fans of: R.E.M., Ryan Adams

In three words: Blues Rock workout

August 7th

Who? Sigala

What’s the story? It's about time for a sound of the summer to come round and we think this might just be it. You can trust us: we tipped Tinie Tempah and Jess Glynne's Not Letting Go, which had a valiant effort earlier this year, hitting the top spot, while we also tipped Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson's track, which you may have heard of, to 'do a Get Lucky'. Which it did. And this track, Easy Love by Sigala, sounds like a big hit to us. It's not exactly a complete stab in the dark - it features a sample from one of the most recognisable songs ever recorded, the Jackson 5's ABC - but it's extremely nicely done, with Duke Dumont-style synths bobbling around and a Sunchyme-style feel to the whole thing. It's scoring big in the clubs and on pre-release charts right now - we suspect this will be inescapable very, very soon. Final fact for you: Dario G, who did Sunchyme, were so-named after Crewe legend Dario Gradi. Amazing.

For fans of: Duke Dumont, Dario G

In three words: Soon-to-be-inescapable summer hit

August 6th

Who? Rhodes & Birdy

What’s the story? Well, this is rather excellent. You'll already know Birdy (real name, the wonderful Jasmine Lucilla Elizabeth Jennifer van den Bogaerde) from her magnificent cover of Bon Iver's Skinny Love, recorded in 2011 when she was just 14, and more recently, her stripped back version of her own song Wings, currently soundtracking a Lloyds Bank ad (well, you've got to earn money somewhere haven't you?). Meanwhile, Hitchin-born David Rhodes is rather more of a newcomer, although we've featured him three times before here on The ShortListen, he has yet to release an albumThis collaboration should push him firmly into the public's consciousness: a desperately sad, gorgeous piano-led ballad with an effortlessly massive chorus that sounds like a subtle Florence (if you can imagine such a thing). Check it out below.

For fans of: Florence & The Machine, Kate Bush

In three words: Sweeping ballading excellence

August 5th

Who? Prince

What’s the story? The problem with modern Prince has always been where on earth to start with it all. A prolific songwriter, he's put out a host of material since the glory days of the eighties - of extremely variable quality. 2004's Musicology was a high point, while 2007's Sunday Mail giveaway Planet Earth, not so much. Last year's two albums - Art Official Age and PLECTRUMELECTRUM, recorded with his all-girl backing group 3rdeyegirl - were generally very good, while the live performances that accompanied them were ecstatically received; although he still didn't make it to Glastonbury this year, despite apparently being booked before pulling out to be replaced by The Who. Now, out of nowhere, comes a new single which continues his recent rich vein of form - it's called Stare, it's straightforward and funky and if only he could stick to this level of quality all the time, the world would be a better place. Enjoy.

For fans of: James Brown, Parliament

In three words: No-nonsense funk attack


August 4th

Who? April Towers

What’s the story? While the nineties are constantly being musically referenced these days, the eighties have very much not gone away. And no one demonstrates this quite as perfectly as April Towers, a Nottingham-based 2 piece whose new single, A Little Bit of Fear, is due for release on 28 August. There's huge echoes of the Human League, Soft Cell and Erasure - the whole thing sounds like a messier (in a good way), more retro version of Years & Years. With the latter act often feeling a bit too clean and sanitised, this has a brilliantly carefree feel to it with squelches and bleeping arps all over the place; and, of course, a cracking chorus too. Joyous.

For fans of: Human League, Soft Cell, Erasure

In three words: Carefree Electro Pop

August 3rd

Who? Duke Dumont

What’s the story? Duke Dumont had been making quality music for a while before his breakout hit Need U (100%) so it's no surprise that he hasn't panicked, but simply continued to write quality tunes. While followups I Got UWon't Look Back and The Giver (Reprise) were straight-ahead club bangers, he's branched out a bit with Ocean Drive - sadly not a cover of the Lighthouse Family classic - his first new music in a year. It's a piece of emotional Italo Disco, featuring a soulful house vocal from Boy Matthews, creating a sound that could almost be termed 'Deep Pop'. This is pure class: arise Sir Duke.

For fans of: Tensnake, Giorgio Moroder, Pet Shop Boys

In three words: Italo Deep Pop

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