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The ShortListen - March 2015

The ShortListen - March 2015

The ShortListen - March 2015
09 July 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

March 31st

Who is it? White Shadows

What's the story? When The Vines' Craig Nicholls and Nick Littlemore of Pnau and Empire of the Sun revealed that they were teaming up for a new project - Nicholls' first outside his day job - the talk was all about what it would sound like, and what direction it would take. With the release of their first video yesterday, we've now got a good idea: and it's very firmly in the Empire Of The Sun mould. Strangely, Give Up Give Out Give In was originally released as a Vines B-side back in 2006 but, proving that you can't keep a good song down, it works fantastically well in its new dreampop electronica clothing, building to a truly euphoric first chorus a full two minutes in. The video, meanwhile, is all Empire-style strangeness and artful dancing. It's no Walking On A Dream, but it's not far off, and that'll do nicely for us; we await debut album Secret Of Life, due April 13, with interest.

For fans of: Empire Of The Sun, M83, Röyksopp

In Three Words: Floaty Dream Pop

March 30th

Who is it? JP Cooper

What's the story? Given recent world events, this incredible video, sadly, could not be better timed. The latest release from Manchester singer-songwriter JP Cooper, the song itself - a beautiful, soulful experience taken from his EP, When The Darkness Comes - deals with JP missing his son whilst on tour, but the video, directed by Drew Cox takes the source material in a different direction, crafting a visual dealing with male mental health and the need for communication - the story sees a father loses his son at childbirth as viewers seeing the consequences. With the release aiming to raise awareness of the fantastic charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), this is an important release on several levels. Watch, enjoy and think.

For fans of: James Bay, Hozier, Leon Else

In Three Words: Soulful and thoughtful

March 27th

Who is it? The Amazonica, remixed by Joey McCrilley

What's the story? 

We've been big fans of Adamski's recent work, dabbling in 3-step - dance music in 3/4 time. So we were naturally intrigued when it led us to this track, which he produced for The Amazonica, aka London-based artist Victoria Harrison. The stylish, electronic, hedonistic buzz of the original is well worth a listen, but we're featuring this remix from up-and-coming producer Joey McCrilley, which turns the 3-step back into 2-step, with a 90s style, highly garage-influenced take on the track. The original is out April 10, while the remix is featured on a forthcoming Deep House compilation from Pure Music - take a listen below.

For fans of: Disciples, Disclosure

In Three Words: Ready For (The) Weekend

March 26th

Who is it? Saint Raymond

What's the story? We've been fans of the 19 year-old singer-songwriter Callum Burrows - aka Saint Raymond - for a while now, patiently awaiting his debut album (which made it, perhaps over-excitedly on our part, into our Albums To Hear in 2014). But the appointed day is very nearly upon us, with his first record scheduled to arrive in late June, produced by Snow Patrol & Editors man Jacknife Lee. In the meantime this latest single slips neatly into the long line of songs we've really enjoyed from him, turning The Police factor up to 11 and reminding us nicely of Spirits In The Material World (as well as a certain Bruno Mars song). Enjoy.

For fans of: The Police, Vampire Weekend, Paul Simon

In Three Words: Another Strong Track

March 25th

Who is it? Girl Friend

What's the story? Manchester knows a thing about doing classy indie-synth-pop and next in their proud lineage could be Girl Friend. Their new single You Lead The Way, taken from a brilliantly Morrissey-esque titled EP Arrive Alone, Leave Alone is all Balearic arpeggiators, buzzing synths, choppy guitars and melancholic vocals. There's a confident style running through the whole thing; could they be the band to bring back Yacht Rock? We wouldn't be surprised.

For fans of: Roxy Music, Hurts, Duran Duran

In Three Words: Stylish Synth Melancholia

March 24th

Who is it? Foreign Fields

What's the story? Say the word Nashville and you immediately think of country, acoustic guitars and being so lonesome that you could cry. But from that very place comes a new duo doing something very different. Two piece Foreign Fields combine glitchy electronica, sweeping strings and an immaculate sense of dynamic to create something rather beautiful. I Have Your Weapons is taken from an EP, What I Kept In Hiding and it immediately evokes the atmospheric brilliance of Jonsi, whilst still having a sound all its own. Listen below and check out the whole EP here.

For fans of: Jonsi, Bon Iver, Damien Rice

In Three Words: Epic and atmospheric

March 23rd

Who is it? Chic

What's the story? Considering that Nile Rodgers was involved in the disco comeback, via 2013's Get Lucky (you may have heard of it), we're a little surprised that it's taken him this long to unleash this monster of a tune, the first credited to Chic since 1992. It was created from an early session for a Sister Sledge tune and, as such, features the incredible talents of Nile's partner-in-crime, bass player Bernard Edwards, alongside original drummer Tony Thompson and even a then-unknown Luther Vandross on backing vocals. Thankfully, it's been mixed with thought and care, and not given a needless 'modernisation', with the new vocals suiting the backing perfectly - this sounds straight out of the disco glory days of the late-70s. If this wasn't enough, the video features some classic original Chic archive footage, and plenty of supermodel Karlie Kloss getting her groove on. Get down to this.

For fans of: Earth, Wind & Fire, Sister Sledge, Candi Staton

In Three Words: New Classic Disco

March 20th

Who is it? Blur

What's the story? With the general excitement around the news that Blur were releasing their first new album in 12 years, it's fair to say that most of us didn't stop to actually think about what this new music would sound like, and whether it would actually be any good. The track unveiled alongside the announcement, Go Out, was pleasingly lo-fi and clearly largely the work of angular guitarist Graham Coxon. This new track, released this morning, is clearly Damon's effort; slowly building as the track progresses, with electronic floruishes adorning it throughout. Strangely, it sounds hugely like Pink Floyd, with its apocalyptic lyrics and deadpan delivery; except, naturally, we get a Coxon solo instead of a Gilmour special. Appropriately enough, then, on eclipse day, we get a touch of Dark Side Of The Moon.

For fans of: Pink Floyd, Super Furry Animals

In Three Words: Thoughtful Blur Builder

March 19th

Who is it? Cubicolor

What's the story? Settle yourselves in, as you're about to hear something magical. We were recently made aware of this track by Dutch producers Cubicolor, which forms part of an EP on the Deep sublabel of the always-amazing Anjunabeats. It's a gloriously detailed, emotional and, ultimately, euphoric near-9 nine minute-long slice of deep house which ebbs, flows and builds quite superbly. Buy it immediately and take it out for a spin of an evening; you won't be disappointed.

For fans of: Dusky, Joris Voorn

In Three Words: Epic Deep Journey

March 18th

Who is it? Rhodes

What's the story? We first featured Hitchin singer-songwriter David Rhodes in December; he now returns with a brand new single, the first to be taken from his forthcoming as-yet-untitled album debut album, which will come out on Ministry Of Sound. It's called Turning Back Around and is possibly the least 'Ministry' thing we've ever heard - there's no house beats here, just a beautifully-produced piece of widescreen melancholia. The video is also noteworthy, featuring stunning countryside and some underwater trickery. Take a swim in this warm bath of a song immediately.

For fans of: Ben Howard, Damien Rice

In Three Words: Sheer Blissful Beauty

March 17th

Who is it? Johnny Marr

What's the story? The legendary Johnny Marr continues to go from strength-to-strength as a solo artist, following up his acclaimed second solo album, Playland, which arrived at the end of last year, with this special Depeche Mode cover, recorded for a Record Store Day exclusive. It's a barnstorming version of the 1993 classic, and Marr has never recorded a more aggressive, confident vocal, sounding almost Liam Gallagher-esque at times. Naturally, the punky guitar work is faultless, and the whole thing sounds like a big scary robotic machine, in a good way. Be sure to try and get your hands on this when it comes out on Saturday April 18th - and check our guide to the other 19 Record Store Day releases you should look out for.

For fans of: Oasis, The Vaccines

In Three Words: Force of Nature

March 16th

Who is it? The Coronas

What's the story? If Gavin James is our tip to be the next big singer-songwriter out of Ireland, then we're backing The Coronas to be the next big band to emerge from the Emerald Isle. They've actually been doing well in their native land for a while, boasting three platinum albums; the third of these, The Long Way will become the first to get a UK major label release when it comes out 4 May. As a taster, we're delighted to premiere the video for How This Goes, a no-nonsense slice of beautifully-written indie-pop. Inevitably there's a touch of Snow Patrol in there, but there's also elements of The Goo Goo Dolls, The Montrose Avenue (ask your dad) and even Jeff Buckley. It's built for stadiums and we wouldn't be surprised to hear it in one in the not-too-distant future; for now, though, they tour the UK in March, be sure to check them out.

For fans of: Snow Patrol, Jeff Buckley

In Three Words: Classic anthemic indie

March 13th

Who is it? Andreya Triana, remixed by Hackman

What's the story? If you fancy an early wager on the 2015 Mercury Prize nominations, you could do a lot worse than a flutter on Andreya Triana. Coming off the back of a highly critically-acclaimed first album, Lost Where I Belong, which featured production by Flying Lotus and Bonobo, she'll release second record Giants, on 4 May. Preceding it comes the Gold EP, with the title track coming across like an intriguing mix of Lianne La Havas, Amy Winehouse and Paloma Faith. We're delighted to be able to premiere a remix from hotly-tipped producer Hackman, who takes it into bouncy, yet restrained territory, with a big bassline topped with dashes of organ, piano and some trusty congas. You can't go wrong with congas. Be sure to catch Andreya live when she plays London's Village Underground on 2 April.

For fans of: Jess Glyne, Lianne La Havas, Paloma Faith

In Three Words: Something for (the) weekend

March 12th

Who is it? The Wombats

What's the story? If there's two things that The Wombats know about, it's dancefloors and romantic disaster - sometimes both in the same song. They're back on familiar territory in the barnstorming new electro romp that is Give Me A Try. Referencing Tinder, selfies and general hopelessness in love, this is a rip-roaring dancefloor-filler. Their third album Glitterbug lands on April 6th - give it a try and sing away your heartbreak.

For fans of: Two Door Cinema Club, Phoenix

In Three Words: 808s and Heartbreak

March 11th

Who is it? Shura

What's the story? The battle to emerge from the blessing and curse that is a BBC 'Sound Of' nomination begins in earnest for Moscow-born producer/singer Shura as she reveals her first new track of the year in the form of 2Shy. Don't worry, it's not a cover of the Kajagoogoo classic (although we wouldn't be against that), but more an utterly luxurious slice of 80s-referencing lounge-pop. There's an obvious debt to the likes of Cyndi Lauper and Live To Tell-era Madonna, but also a touch of Jessie Ware and Solange to keep it current. Wait for the sunshine to fully hit and hit the road with the top down and this on the stereo.

For fans of: Madonna, Solange, Jessie Ware

In Three Words: Nu 80s Pop

March 10th

Who is it? Woodkid, featuring Lykke Li

What's the story? The second collaborative track from The Divergent Series: Insurgent soundtrack (following M83 and Haim's track which we featured previously), sees French producer/all-round genius Woodkid team up with Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li. It's no surprise that Woodkid was asked to contribute, following the soundtrack-esque gloriousness of his debut album The Golden Age, which won plaudits virtually everywhere. For this track, his first new music since that release, he's toned down the horns and upped the strings, and it works wonderfully well, reminding us of the Massive Attack & Terry Callier collaboration Live With Me, and also The Troubles, the final, rather excellent track from the iTunes-released U2 album that Lykke Li guested on. A quality track to add to what's rapidly becoming a quality soundtrack record.

For fans of: Massive Attack, UNKLE, Portishead

In Three Words: Nu Trip Hop

March 9th

Who is it? Carly Rae Jepsen

What's the story? Now stick with us here guys. While the majority of you will know Carly Rae Jepsen from the 2011 super-smash that was Call Me Maybe, the secret truth was that its parent album Kiss was actually a quality synth-pop record, full of much better songwriting and sonic variation that you'd expect. She now returns with the almost unbelievably catchy sugar-pop rush of I Really Like You, which we believe contains 87 'really's (give or take). Behind the juvenile catchphrase, again, lurks a brilliantly-produced pop song - in this case written and produced by Peter Svensson, guitarist with The Cardigans. Chuck in the wonderfully bizarre video featuring Tom Hanks lip-syncing his way round the city to the song, and you can't really argue with it. Unfortunately Justin Bieber turns up in the last 30 seconds - you'll just have to put up with that; we can't excuse everything.

For fans of: Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Tegan & Sara

In Three Words: Non-guilty guilty pleasure

March 6th

Who is it? The Daydream Club

What's the story? Spring is on the way at last, and there's no better song to soundtrack that transition than this track from Leicester-based duo The Daydream Club. It's the first track from their forthcoming, as-yet-untitled, second album. Their first, 2010's Overgrown, was a fantastically beautiful record, with both epic and fragile moments, including this particular highlightSaltwater is, thankfully, more of the same, with Adam and Paula's vocals intertwining perfectly, while a folky glockenspiel-inflected backing gently sways along. Dream of the summer days to come and get this on the stereo immediately.

For fans of: CSNY, Super Furry Animals, The Civil Wars

In Three Words: Gentle, beautiful elegance

March 5th

Who is it? 8:58

What's the story? It is no exaggeration to say that brothers Paul and Phil Hartnoll, as Orbital, helped define what electronic music was capable of. Releasing a string of brilliant one-off singles, they also helped pioneer the idea that dance music could produce coherent albums, with a concept and a direction, rather than just 5 minutes of hedonistic rush. And so, after Orbital called it a day for the second time following their excellent 2012 record Wonky, Paul Hartnoll goes it alone with his 8:58 project. Having released a teaser film in October, he now unleashes the first single proper, The Clock, which features Cillian Murphy (Inception, Batman Begins) as a guest narrator. "I’ve always been interested in time," says Hartnoll "I’ve always had a thing for clocks, and for time as a powerful force - but also the way time oppresses you. It’s one of those things I keep coming back to." The track itself is fantastic; dark, mysterious and perfect for the club or a late night listen, with a suitably strange video to accompany it. 8:58 the album is released 30 March, is available to preorder now, and will be, like all of Orbital's catalogue, a must-listen.

For fans of: Underworld, Leftfield, Prodigy

In Three Words: Time's Tyranny Tracked

March 4th

Who is it? Gavin James, remixed by Raffertie

What's the story? With Hozier becoming the big breakout artist of the last 12 months, all eyes are already firmly fixed on the Emerald Isle for a successor. Prime among them must be 22-year-old Dubliner Gavin James, newly signed to Capitol in the US, who has hit number 1 in Ireland and top 10 in Holland with a cover of the Magnetic Fields' classic Book Of Love and is selling out large venues already. We're delighted to be able to premiere a stunning remix of it from Ninja Tune's Raffertie. He resists the urge to smother the sparse original with excessive production, simply adding some lovely subtle extras to take the track to another place. Take a listen below and see what you think.

For fans of: Damien Rice, Hozier, David Gray

In Three Words: Understated blissful reworking

March 3rd

Who is it? M83 featuring Haim 

What's the story? If ever there was an artist that was built for film soundtrack work, it's Anthony Gonzalez's M83. For this brand new track written for the The Divergent Series: Insurgent, he's teamed up with the Haim sisters to stunning effect. It's actually slightly different in many ways from his usual work, being mainly string focused rather than the buzzing synths normally associated with him; and those big tom fills never quite arrive. Of course, it still builds and swells to an epic finish; we couldn't really have it any other way. Vocalwise, Haim sound almost like Karen Carpenter, which is a lovely surprise. Frankly, this would have been a great Bond theme; hopefully the producers will hear this and get them booked in for the Spectre follow-up.

For fans of: Sigur Rós, Explosions In The Sky

In Three Words: Majestic, graceful & grand

March 2nd

Who is it? Jonas Rathsman 

What's the story? The vanity label very rarely works out well for any artist. U2's Mother, Madonna's Maverick: many have tried but few have any sustained success. However, perhaps Disclosure's Method White will have better results. Certainly, they're in with a shout given the quality of the first release from it, in the form of Gothenburg-based producer Jonas Rathsman, who follows up well-received remixes for Tensnake and Duke Dumont with this classy house track which melds a swampy bassline with some synth dabs on top. More of this please guys - but don't let it delay that follow up to Settle.

For fans of: Disclosure, Todd Terje

In Three Words: Deep and dark 

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