ShortList is supported by you, our amazing readers. When you click through the links on our site and make a purchase we may earn a commission. Learn more

The ShortListen - January 2015

The ShortListen - January 2015

The ShortListen - January 2015
Danielle de Wolfe
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

January 30th

Who is it? The Wombats, remixed by Bastille

What's the story? We don't normally feature both the original and a remix of the same track, but we'll make an exception here for the dual reasons that the remix sounds like a completely different song, and it's also utterly fantastic. Bastille's Dan Smith and Mark Crew - who has produced both acts - work some serious magic, converting the buzzing synth indie of the original into a Woodkid-esque orchestral masterpiece, complete with apocalyptic horns and mournful backing vocals. The video's also been nicely reworked, with its dark nature almost suiting this version better. Nice work all round chaps.

For fans of: Woodkid, Alt-J, London Grammar

In Three Words: Orchestral Soundtrack Rework

January 29th

Who is it? Phoebe Ryan

What's the story? Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Phoebe Ryan got everyone on Hype Machine excited with her mashup cover of R. Kelly's Ignition and Miguel's Do You... - and now she unleashes her first solo track, hoping to capitalise on all of the buzz. Luckily, it's very good indeed, with some lovely expansive and smooth production providing the perfect backdrop for her effortless, breathy vocals. It doesn't try too hard, doesn't outstay its welcome and sounds like Chvrches being fronted by Tove Lo. And that is no bad thing. One to watch for the rest of the year, for sure.

For fans of: Lights, Chvrches, Tove Lo.

In Three Words: Anthemic Electro Pop

January 28th

Who is it? Don Broco

What's the story? Having heard this song, then of all of the crop of new rock bands out there, we'd back Don Broco to kick into the mainstream. After releasing their debut in 2012, the Bedford 4-piece are readying their second record and this song is the second from it to be showcased. It features some enormous production, some seriously good bass playing and a giant rocket of a chorus. If this isn't all over the airwaves very soon, we'll be hugely surprised. To top it off, they headline the Kerrang! tour, which goes around the UK in February. Get backing this bucking Broco.

For fans of: Mallory Knox, Lower Than Atlantis, Twin Atlantic

In Three Words: Massive Pop Rock

January 27th

Who is it? Death Cab For Cutie

What's the story? If Death Cab For Cutie rank in your music life as one of those bands you've constantly heard of, but never got round to listening to - then this could be the time to start. They've just unveiled the first single from their eighth album, Kintsugi - due on March 30th - and it's absolutely outstanding. Produced by Rich Costey, it features one of the most beautiful guitar sounds we've ever heard, alongside mellow organ, shuffling drums, lovely electronic touches and the simple, plaintive vocals of Ben Gibbard. It's not in a rush to go anywhere - it just gradually unfolds over five luxurious minutes. Magnificent.

For fans of: The Shins, Band Of Horses

In Three Words: Beautifully Understated Comeback

January 26th

Who is it? San Fermin

What's the story? We first featured San Fermin - the brainchild of Brooklyn-based composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone - in November 2013. Originally simply a vehicle for his ideas, it has now grown into a fully-fledged eight-piece touring beast. Naturally, this has informed the recording of the second San Fermin record (due April 21), as this, the title track, ably demonstrates. New singer Charlene Kaye performs a strident vocal (including an excellent Northern pronunciation of 'mother') while the chamber ensemble behind backs everything up to create a gloriously euphoric track. We officially declare this the second best song to feature a 'run for the hills' theme since Iron Maiden suggested it in 1982.

For fans of: The National, Dirty Projectors

In Three Words: Epic Chamber Pop

January 23rd

Who is it? Jarryd James

What's the story? Less than a month in and we're cautiously optimistic about 2015 being a stellar year for music. This debut song from Jarryd James, who also appears to go by JarrydjamesK, is so remarkably confident, we had to triple check that we hadn't heard from him before. The Australian singer uses his striking soul voice to sing about a lost love over an increasingly addictive bassline that eventually reaches all-out goose bump levels as his emotion crescendos. It's a curiously successful and cinematic mix of R&B and indie and it also has radio hit written all over it. Expect big things.

For fans of: James Blake, Woodkid, Jack Garratt

In Three Words: Catchy epic soul

January 22nd

Who is it? Tobias Jesso Jr

What's the story? We were beaten to the punch on this one by a certain lady by the name of Adele, who tweeted about it last night. Fortunately, she is a woman of taste, as this fantastic track by Canadian singer/songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr demonstrates. Having spent years attempting to make it as a songwriter for others, as well as playing in a few bands, he temporarily gave up on the dream, before starting to write songs for fun on piano. As is often the way, they eventually earned him a deal with indie label True Panther Sounds. Taken from his forthcoming debut album, Goons, this track is a classic slice of 70s-style piano led songwriting. Jesso's gentle voice fits the track perfectly, with some lovely old school Elton John-esque backing vocals in the chorus for good measure. A warm musical bath for a cold January morning. 

For fans of: Elton John, Ray LaMontagne, Nick Drake

In Three Words: New classic songwriting

January 21st

Who is it? Emilie Nicolas

What's the story? Continuing our Scandinavian tour this week, we now head to Norway, for this frankly incredible track from Emilie Nicolas. It's early days for her in the UK, but she's already hit number 1 in her native country and on the evidence of this track it's not hard to see why. It's a sonic assault, featuring dubstep-style bass lines, throbbing synths on top, huge drums that cascade in and out of the track with Emilie's commanding vocals sitting at the centre of everything. Her debut album is due in May and should be a must-listen.

For fans of: Robyn, Björk, Mew

In Three Words: Sonic Assault (&) Battery

January 20th

Who is it? Mew

What's the story? New music from Mew is always a cause for celebration. The Danish quartet have consistently produced amazing otherworldly music, never more spectacularly than on their 2005 opus Mew And The Glass Handed Kites. They've now announced details of their sixth album, entitled simply +-, with this track giving a taster of what to expect. It's like listening to five different songs in the space of four glorious minutes, veering from dreamy arpreggios to strident riffing, with key and time signature changes aplenty. As ever, though, the whole thing is shot through with an epicness and beauty that is all their own. Roll on April 27th, when the album is due to drop.

For fans of: Sigur Rós, M83, Arcade Fire

In Three Words: Epically Beautiful Indie

January 19th

Who is it? Refs

What's the story? Thankfully not a collaboration between Dermot Gallagher and Mark Clattenburg, Refs is actually a New York duo, consisting of producer Zach Lipkins and vocalist Richard Saunders. Pain Goes Away is their debut track (assisted by producer Andrew Maury) and mightily impressive it is too, with electronic and R&B elements combining nicely. It's extremely early days for them, but there's hooks a-plenty in here, with an almost poppy structure which suggests they may not stay a hidden secret for long.

For fans of: Jai Paul, Honne, Sampha

In Three Words: R&B-tinged Electro

January 16th

Who is it? Champs

What's the story? We featured the Isle of Wight brothers Champs back in December 2013, when they were just putting the finishing touches to their first album, Down Like Gold, which emerged in February last year. Well, they've not rested on their laurels, as album number two (Vamala, due on February 23rd) is already is on the way; and it promises to be a belter if this song, the second single from it, and streaming exclusively on The ShortListen, is anything to go by. Aided by producer Dimitri Tikovoi, there's a sweeping, majesty to this as it gently builds toward an epic finale. Gorgeous stuff.

For fans of: The Delays, Turin Brakes, Arcade Fire

In Three Words: Sweeping cinematic indie

January 15th

Who is it? The Wombats

What's the story? Liverpool's finest make their long-awaited return, nearly 4 years after their second record, This Modern Glitch - and they are back with a bang. Greek Tragedy, the first track taken from upcoming record Glitterbug is a heavier-than-expected, dense blast of a song, taking its cues from MGMT's first album and throwing in a touch of M83 and Foster The People, whilst retaining their trademark melodic touch and lyrical intrigue. It's helped along by a fantastic (slightly NSFW) video; if you think Justin Bieber's got crazy fans, then you haven't reckoned with followers of The Wombats. An essential track.

For fans of: M83, MGMT, Passion Pit

In Three Words: Big electro-indie

January 14th

Who is it? Sundara Karma

What's the story? We first featured Reading quartet in September last year, with their excellent track Indigo Puff, which was all woozy psychedelia and hazy visuals. A follow-up track, Hustle, had a tropical indie vibe, but it's their newest release which has got us most excited. Showing yet another side to their sound, Loveblood is a straight up indie piledriver, reminiscent of Springsteen, Arcade Fire and our old favourites, My Vitriol. As with all the greatest indie tracks, we imagine this is best heard at ear-splitting volume in an indie disco on a Friday night. Euphoric stuff.

For fans of: Bruce Springsteen, Arcade Fire, The National

In Three Words: Driving, epic rock

January 13th

Who is it? The Earth, featuring Gruff Rhys

What's the story? A truth not universally-acknowledged enough is that the Super Furry Animals are one of the most important British bands of the last 20 years. Consistently clever, interesting and great-of-tune, they've never made a bad record. Individually, too, they're all incredibly talented, as this new track shows. The Earth are a Welsh supergroup of sorts, featuring the Super Furries' drummer Dafydd Ieuan, Catatonia's guitarist Mark Roberts, together with bassist Tristan Marley and singer Dionne Bennett and they've already released two acclaimed albums. For this new song, Gruff Rhys joins them to guest on a twisted Valentine's Day duet, featuring big bold synths, strident drums and gospel-esque vocals from Bennett. It's released, of course, on February 14th, but get listening below right now.

For fans of: Super Furry Animals, David Bowie, Alabama Shakes

In Three Words: Rock Soul Blues

January 12th

Who is it? Jimmy Napes

What's the story? Plenty of people have done their time in the background before emerging into the spotlight to claim a slice of the glory, and Jimmy Napes could be the next to add to the Pharrell list. He's already worked with Sam Smith, Nile Rodgers, Naughty Boy, Clean Bandit and Disclosure, and it's one half of the latter duo - Howard Lawrence - who has produced this fantastic track. It's nothing like Disclosure's usual fare, but it retains their impeccable production values, with bleepy synths, smooth pads and jerky R&B beats underpinning a fine vocal from Napes. A classy track.

For fans of: Honne, Mary J. Blige, Frank Ocean

In Three Words: Slinky Nu R&B

January 9th

Who is it? Rival Sons

What's the story? You get the feel for this track after just 6 seconds, when an Animals-esque guitar scream comes in, and signals the start of Rival Son's excellent new single, taken from their Great Western Valkyrie album. Hailing from Long Beach in California, they're clearly disciples of the great British bands of the 60s and 70s, with a confident swagger and Jay Buchanan's smooth yet bluesy vocals giving him a suitably preacher-esque style - "enjoy it right now, because you never know when it's gonna end". We couldn't agree more. They've just announced a UK tour in March and April - don't miss out.

For fans of: The Animals, Alabama Shakes, Free

In Three Words: Skulking Blues Rock

January 8th

Who is it? Years and Years

What's the story? An early new track from one of the year's most hotly-tipped new acts emerges in the form of King, the new track from London electro trio Years & Years. Last year's Take Shelter got them some serious attention and they ended up nominated for the Brits' Critics' Choice Award. This track couldn't be more current if it tried - 90s throwback claps (and plenty of other retro nods) alongside a good old rave-esque instrumental hook. It's enjoyably bouncy, with Olly Alexander's infectiously unaffected vocals giving the track some real spirit. We'd be amazed if this wasn't all over the radio very soon - get acquainted now before everyone else rushes in.

For fans of: Clean Bandit, Jess Glynne, Kiesza

In Three Words: Big Pop Anthem

January 7th

Who is it? The Slow Show

What's the story? Manchester newcomers The Slow Show are aptly-named, as their music takes time to unravel, and reveal its beauty. We're delighted to be premiering their new track Bloodline here on The ShortListen and it's a wonderful listen. Building from a delicate opening, before some Elbow-esque haunting horns enter the fray, it's a stately affair, underpinned by Rob Goodwin's National-esque croon. A mini-epic, you could imagine this soundtracking a poignant movie moment. Their album White Water, is released March 9th - make sure you get yourself a copy.

For fans of: Elbow, The National, Leonard Cohen

In Three Words: Majestic Slow Beauty

January 6th

Who is it? Enter Shikari

What's the story? If yesterday's choice was a gentle reintroduction to the circadian rhythms of 'normal' life, this one is more of a punch in the gut. Herts crossover metallers Enter Shikari have unveiled another track ahead of the release of their fourth album, The Mindsweep, and it's a humdinger of a track, both musically - it sounds like it's heavily influenced by Jilted Generation Prodigy -  and lyrically, addressing the Tory cutbacks on the NHS and even ending with a quote from Aneurin Bevan. It's good to see bands getting angry, getting political, and not forgetting to make it great at the same time.

For fans of: Prodigy, The Streets, Bring Me The Horizon

In Three Words: Political Metal Crossover

January 5th

Who is it? The Night VI

What's the story? London six-piece The Night VI don't hang about: they put two tracks up towards the end of last year (we featured the excellent Heroine) and they've already got 2015 underway with new song Too Late To Lie. It's the perfect gentle introduction to the new year (and, let's face it, the resumption of your working life), as a sparse introduction gives way to a Fleetwood Mac-esque groove, led by Sophie Rose-Harper's angelic vocals. It never quite reaches a chorus, but we quite like that - we don't think we could cope with anything too dramatic on this most delicate of Mondays.

For fans of: Fleetwood Mac, London Grammar, Foxes

In Three Words: Laid Back Groove

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