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The ShortListen - May 2014

The ShortListen - May 2014

The ShortListen - May 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

May 30th

Who is it?Shrine

What's the story? It's quite rare to hear some full-on dynamics in a song these days, but Brighton quartet Shrine have delivered just that with this truly epic track. Formed from the ashes of a couple of other bands, it looks like they have found the perfect combination if this song, taken from an EP (Closer To The Sun, available here) is anything to go by. An Amnesiac-era Radiohead first few minutes gives way to a brutal chorus before breaking down into Mars Volta-style figures. Quite simply, this is a beast of a track (and the video's great too).

For fans of: Radiohead, The Mars Volta, Mastodon

In Three Words: Epic, Intricate (and) Heavy

May 29th

Who is it?Flagship

What's the story? Hailing from Charlotte in North Carolina, Flagship released their debut record on Bright Antenna (home to former ShortListen-featured Middle Class Rut) last Autumn; they now ready for a UK release, with this track set to kick things off for them. It's urgent indie, with Bloc Party-esque guitar work married with gruff-but-passionate vocals reminscent of The National's Matt Berninger or Future Island's Samuel T. Herring. Promising stuff, and they play two London dates this weekend: go check them out.

For fans of: The National, U2, Bloc Party

In Three Words: Passionate Indie Rock

May 28th

Who is it?Dorine Levy

What's the story? Canadian-born and now resident in Israel, Dorine also self-produces. So far, so backstory-interesting but, ultimately, this is a great track. Settling into a gentle groove, Dorine's Jonsi-esque vocals float over the slow-building, dynamic backing, creating a hazy dream of a song. We're keen to hear a lot more where this came from.

For fans of: Lykke Li, Jonsi, Mogwai

In Three Words: Blissful and elegant

May 26th

Who is it?Panama Wedding, remixed by Cheap Talk

What's the story? New York band Panama Wedding have been picking up plaudits for the last year with the huge track All Of The People expertly doing that Pumped Up Kicks-esque irresistible hooky indie-pop thing. Rave reviews from their SXSW shows in March helped build the buzz, and a slew of brilliant remixes haven't hurt either. The best so far comes courtesy of 80s specialists Cheap Talk. This is woozy, dreamy and straight out of 1986: the best soundtrack song for a John Hughes movie that never was.

For fans of: Haerts, M83, Foster The People

In Three Words: Gorgeous Retro Remix

May 23rd

Who is it?Hozier

What's the story? Irish solo act Andrew Hozier-Byrne or, more simply, Hozier, has been building through word-of-mouth since the release of his debut EP, Take Me To Church which hit an amazing number 2 chart position in his home country last September. His new track, Sedated follows on the good work, a bewitching blend of soul, folk and blues with an almost hymn-like quality. One to watch for the rest of the year.

For fans of: Jeff Buckley, Joseph Arthur

In Three Words: Neo gospel soul

May 22nd

Who is it?Luke Sital-Singh

What's the story? New Malden's Luke Sital-Singh makes his second appearance on The ShortListen and, again, it's a beautifully-crafted piece of songwriting. As we've said before, in a genre that can often get incredibly dull - the acoustic singer-songwriter - he manages to completely sidestep all the usual traps: deft instrumentation, fantastic dynamics, rising to an epic crescendo, and all underpinned by unaffected, sincere vocals. This is very special.

For fans of: Ray LaMontagne, Damien Rice, Saint Raymond

In Three Words: Sweeping, elegant and epic

May 21st

Who is it?Jurassic 5

What's the story? The mighty old-school hip hop titans J5 mark their recent comeback with their first new track in eight years - and fans will be relieved to hear it's up to their usual high standard. Sampling the White Stripes, it was actually produced for the Feedback album by Heavy D, who died in 2011; so this is their posthumous tribute. It still sounds fresh; hopefully this heralds some genuine new material from the guys.

For fans of: Tribe Called Quest, DJ Format, The Roots

In Three Words: Classic J5 Excellence

May 20th

Who is it?The Acid

What's the story? We recently gave our list of the 10 biggest supergroups, but here's another of more modest proportions: The Acid, which is comprised of much-respected Brighton DJ Adam Freeland; Californian producer, composer and (actual) professor Steve Nalepa; and Australian singer-songwriter Ry X, who we featured on The ShortListen on December 3 with the wonderful sleeper hit Berlin. Dreamy, lo-fi electronica is the order of the day here, with Ry X's ghostly almost-not-there vocals calling to mind Thom Yorke's quieter moments. The video meanwhile features a dance troupe known as WIFE, who create a mesmerising visual accompaniment. This single arrives ahead of an album, Liminal, which is released July 7th, and should be an intriguing listen.

For fans of: Radiohead, Atoms For Peace, Alt-J

In Three Words: Blissed-out Electronica

May 19th

Who is it?Fink

What's the story? Fink, aka Fin Greenall and his two partners-in-crime Guy Whittaker and Tim Thornton are readying their sixth studio album, Hard Believer and on the strength of this first track released from it, we are in for a treat. The Brighton-based, R’COUP’D-signed (a new Ninja Tune spin-off label) act have serious pedigree, having previously written with John Legend and Amy Winehouse and steadily built their following over time. Looking Too Closely is a gently building, elegant track which rises to an epic finale. If you need some chills to counteract the current heat, then look no further: this is simply stunning.

For fans of: UNKLE, Ben Howard, The Album Leaf

In Three Words: Delicate, beautiful elegance

May 16th

Who is it?Saint Raymond

What's the story? We've been fans of Callum Burrows, aka Saint Raymond, for a while now, and it's good to see the rest of the world catching up with us. His latest EP is headed up by a reworked Everything She Wants, which should prove radio gold, but we've picked this song from it, Ghosts as our track: purely as it demonstrates the consistently high quality of all his releases thus far. Sincere, melodic, widescreen and passionate, it's simply a great track. His upcoming support tour with Ed Sheeran should propel him into the mainstream and we can't wait for the album.

For fans of: The Kooks, Bastille, Two Door Cinema Club

In Three Words: Classic Indie Anthem

May 15th

Who is it?Morrissey

What's the story? First, he reveals his comeback single - five years after his last album, Years of Refusal - then, five years after joining Twitter, Morrissey finally posted his first two messages on the site last night. Fans of the Mozzfather would be forgiven for taking the day off in shock. One can only imagine what pearls of wisdom he plans to tweet over the next few weeks, but you'd be forgiven for thinking it unnecessary, given the lyrical bombs he unleashes in World Peace is None Of Your Business, the title track from the new album (and available to download by preordering the record). Tax dodgers, police, governments and the rich all get it in the neck over a strangely relaxed mid-tempo ballad featuring a luxurious melody. It's never boring with Morrissey around: welcome back.

For fans of: Well, Morrissey

In Three Words: A Welcome Return

May 14th

Who is it?Benbrick

What's the story? We were first alerted to the talents of Paul Carter, aka Benbrick with the stunning track Forever Holding On. He follows it up with a second track, from a debut EP, Closer | Closure, which we premiere exclusively here on The ShortListen. It continues in the same vein: soft synths mix with delicate piano lines as heavenly choirs descend - all with soft but strong vocals on top. This is music built for a soundtrack: whether on screen, or on your headphones as you walk round at night. Superb stuff.

For fans of: The Postal Service, Kyte, The Album Leaf, Leon Else

In Three Words: Delicate yet epic

May 13th

Who is it?La Roux

What's the story? It's been almost five years since La Roux burst onto the scene, helped in no small part by Skream's breakthrough dubstep remix of In For The Kill. The duo of Ben Langmaid and Elly Jackson finally return with this track, which precedes their second album, Trouble In Paradise, scheduled for a July 7 release. Stylistically, it's virtually identical to the first record: robotic, metallic 80s synths and Jackson's distinctive vocals. The song itself is long (nearly 6 minutes), doesn't really have a chorus, but leaves itself space to breathe. It's an interesting comeback, but it'll need bigger songs than this to thrust them into the limelight again.

For fans of: Yazoo, Heaven 17, Human League

In Three Words: Meandering Synth Comeback

May 12th

Who is it?Mr Flash, with help from Action Bronson, Cities Aviv & Oh No

What's the story? A wonderfully eclectic effort here which spans countries and genres to come up with something rather unique. Mr Flash is a French producer, who has previously worked with Sébastien Tellier, and for his new album with Ed Banger Records, known predominantly for EDM, he has teamed up with a set of respected rappers. This track, which features the consistently ace Action Bronson as well as Cities Aviv and Madlib's brother Oh No is a fantastic fusion of hip-hop and electronic beats which will make a sterling addition to your ever-growing summer playlist. Oh and it's a free download so we are all winners.

For fans of: Justice, Kanye West, Daft Punk

In Three Words: Electro Meets Rap

May 9th

Who is it?Lonely The Brave

What's the story? New band festival The Great Escape is in full swing down in Brighton as we write, as a host of the hottest new acts compete for attention by the seaside. One of those playing (at Concorde 2 tonight, since you ask) is Lonely The Brave, a five-piece rock band from Cambridge. Their latest single, Victory Line emerges ahead of their forthcoming debut album, The Day's War (out June 6th) and showcases their brand of no-nonsense, genuine emotive rock. There's more than a hint of The National's sincerity mixed with a little of Twin Atlantic's power. It's simple, but effective; check it out.

For fans of: Twin Atlantic, Pearl Jam

In Three Words: Authentic Powerful Rock

May 8th

Who is it?The Van Doos

What's the story? There's always a place for classic indie, and The Van Doos are here to follow in the footsteps of The Heartbreaks: all pounding drums, euphoric drums, anthemic choruses and the odd touch of Phil Spector in there for good measure. Speak Up is out May 18th ahead of a full-length: get on this one now so you can dance your heart out when it gets played in indie discos across the land.

For fans of: Jesus & Mary Chain, Bluetones, The Heartbreaks, Frank Turner

In Three Words: No-nonsense classic indie

May 7th

Who is it?Seinabo Sey

What's the story? The daughter of a famous West African musician, Swedish-born Seinabo Sey follows in his footsteps and unleashes her debut UK single with this track, Hard Time, just released on Soundcloud. It's a hypnotic track, which calls to mind the soul inflections of Moby's enormous Play album. Equally, you can imagine Kanye West popping up for a guest rap, or sampling it: if all goes to plan for Sey, that could well happen pretty soon.

For fans of: Moby, Lauryn Hill, Kanye West

In Three Words: Hypnotic Blues Soul

May 6th

Who is it?Perplexus

What's the story? Another mysterious 2-piece production duo, but this time with a twist: Perplexus are very much fixed in the 2-step/UK Garage sound, rather than the early 90s house of Disclosure and the rest. UKG certainly deserves a revival: once you looked past the Craig David boink-isms, there was a whole lot of clever beats, intelligent songwriting and great tunes. Perplexus manage to take these elements and combine them with updated production and a generally darker sound. A hugely interesting start.

For fans of: MJ Cole, MNEK, Jakwob

In Three Words: Dark 2-Step Magic

May 2nd

Who is it?Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake

What's the story? The first track from the 'new' Michael Jackson album, Xscape (old vocal tracks 'contemporized' by top current producers), finally surfaced last night and - breathe a sigh of relief - it's really good. A full Jackson-only version of Love Never Felt So Good was premiered at the iHeartRadio Awards last night, but we actually prefer this one, which turns the song into a duet with Timberlake - who has plenty of form for recording Jackson tracks, seeing as most of Justified was originally written for Jacko. It's a slinky slice of Off The Wall funk and soul and, while it's not as good as any track on that record, it still more than holds its own. Sonically in a post-Get Lucky environment, it fits nicely too - so job well done on this track - let's see what the rest of the album holds.

For fans of: Daft Punk, Chic, Diana Ross

In Three Words: Surprisingly Successful Revamp

May 1st

Who is it?SomethingALaMode, featuring DWNTWN

What's the story? Both these artists have previously featured on The ShortListen, so to see them collaborate is great and - even better - the song is fantastic. Taken from SomethingALaMode's forthcoming second album, Endless Stairs (out on Monday), this is an epic dreampop track, with SALM's pulsing synths perfectly complimented by the soft vocals from DWNTWN. As if this wasn't enough, it comes complete with a truly stunning, super-slo-mo video courtesy of Les Gentils Garçons & Fabulous 3D. Enjoy.

For fans of: Cyndi Lauper, Robyn, Goldfrapp

In Three Words: Epic Dream Pop

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