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The ShortListen - May 2015

The ShortListen - May 2015

The ShortListen - May 2015
Danielle de Wolfe
05 February 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


Who is it? Wolf Alice

What's the story? Nothing beats hanging out with your best mate, and that's a fact that Wolf Alice have neatly distilled into this great video for Bros. There's nothing flashy, just two scamps laughing and joking around on a summer's day, and if that doesn't make you nostalgic for your youth, then you probably don't have a soul. The song itself - which has been around for a while, but deserves a bigger audience - showcases the more dreamy and shoegazy end of the band's sound, and is perfectly suited to the sunny days ahead. The debut album from the hotly-tipped act (they were nominated for the BBC Sound of 2015 award) is released next month and is called My Love Is Cool: be sure to check it out.

For fans of: Ride, Stone Roses, Cocteau Twins

In Three Words: Nostalgia for youth


Who is it? Jenny Lewis

What's the story? Here on The ShortListen we always endeavour to bring you the very best in new music, but we're bending the rules a little today. She's Not Me was originally on Jenny Lewis' fantastic album The Voyager, which came out last year, but now gets a rerelease. We're giving it leeway for two reasons. Firstly, it's an unbelievably brilliant track, sounding like a long-lost Tom Petty track (with Fleetwood Mac helping out) and secondly, it comes with a brand new hilarious video featuring Lewis reprising roles from her youth, when she was a child TV and film star (appearing in The Golden GirlsThe WizardHellville, and Troop Beverly Hills amongst others). She even ropes in Vanessa Bayer, Fred Armisen, Leo Fitzpatrick, Zosia Mamet, and Feist too help her out. A deserved second look at a great track.

For fans of: Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac, Ryan Adams

In Three Words: Modern classic rock


Who is it? Disclosure, featuring Gregory Porter

What's the story? Considering that Disclosure are so young - brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence are still only 21 and 24 respectively - it's mightily impressive that they have yet to put a foot wrong. After their huge-selling debut Settle, they then teamed up with bonafide soul queen Mary J. Blige for a reworking of F For You and a new track Follow, which appeared on her album The London Sessions. They now revisit the formula by enlisting acclaimed jazz vocalist Gregory Porter for the first track from their upcoming second record. They haven't reinvented the wheel - it's the same garage-style beats, plenty of sidechain compression and jazzy chords, with the 'chorus' coming over the breakdown - but when you work with singers of the standard of Porter, who needs progression? The moment his vocals kick in at 1:18 is like getting into a warm bath. Imperious stuff.

For fans of: AlunaGeorge, Gorgon City, SBTRKT

In Three Words: Familiar but great


Who is it? Robert Smith

What's the story? It's always brilliant when something like this happens. Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave by Scottish post-rockers The Twilight Sad was one of our favourite albums of last year - an epic, dark journey of a record - and we even picked There's A Girl In The Corner as one of our favourite album tracks of 2014. Now, that very same track has been covered by none other than the legendary Cure frontman Robert Smith, who retains the epicness of the original, but still manages to create his own distinctive take on it. It'll be available as the AA side of the band's new single It Was Never The Same, but you can listen below. Frontman James Graham commented, "Hearing someone that is one of our musical heroes cover one of our songs, and sing the words that I wrote in my bedroom, is one of the most amazing things that has happened to us." Heartwarming stuff.

For fans of: The Cure, Depeche Mode, Hurts

In Three Words: Glorious electro darkness


Who is it? Tinie Tempah, featuring Jess Glynne

What's the story? The clocks have gone forward and we've had more than two hours of consecutive sunshine so, naturally, the hunt is now on to try and find the sound of the summer. We've been blessed in recent times with Get Lucky and Blurred Lines and, if Mark Ronson had thought about it, he'd have saved Uptown Funk until now. But, it's so far been pretty unclear where this year's effort was going to come from. Step forward Tinie Tempah and Jess Glynne, who have put together the first bona fide contender, in the form of Not Letting Go, Tinie's first new track since 2013. It features Tinie's usual great lyrics (referencing Ignition (Remix) always gets our vote) and a tour de force vocal from Glynne - someone who knows a thing or about guesting on massive hits. Most importantly of all, it sounds like a long-lost Will Smith hit. And it doesn't get much better than that.

For fans of: Will Smith, Shaggy, Becky Hill

In Three Words: Big summer anthem


Who is it? Public Service Broadcasting, remixed by Louis La Roche

What's the story? Public Service Broadcasting released one of our favourite records of the year so far in the shape of their phenomenal concept album The Race For Space, which launched (pun very much intended) in February. Formed of spoken word samples documenting the race to the moon in the 1960s, soundtracked by an epic mix of funk, rock and electronica, it's pushed the band into the big time, with their first ever show at Brixton Academy due this November. In the meantime, nu-disco producer Louis La Roche gives album highlight Go! a thoroughly energetic makeover. If the French had ever tried to get a rocket to the moon (presumably sporting Daft Punk helmets), then this is what it would have sounded like.

For fans of: Daft Punk, Fred Falke, Aeroplane

In Three Words: Driving Electro Blast


Who is it? Dornik

What's the story? We first featured London-based artist Dornik back in November 2013 when he was drumming for Jessie Ware and just beginning to embark on his own solo career. Happily, a full album (self-titled) is now due for release on 14 August with an accompanying new track to whet your appetite. Drive is a classy slab of Neptunes meets Jacko R&B/pop/funk, which showcases his silky vocals and fluid production. Put the top down on the car, wait for a sunny time and pretend you're on an American Roadtrip.

For fans of: Pharrell, Michael Jackson, The Weeknd

In Three Words: Slinky Soulful Succulence


Who is it? Young Wonder

What's the story? Cork-based two piece Young Wonder comprise vocalist Rachel Koeman and producer Ian Ring, aged just 21 and 22 respectively. Two years on from the first release of their music, they unveiled their debut album Birth yesterday. The luscious dream pop of Sweet Dreaming gives a taster of the record, with atmospheric production and a breathy yet confident top line. It reminds us both of Madonna's Rain and Billie Myers' classic Kiss The Rain, so it's a shame they didn't get some kind of weather reference in there to complete the trilogy. Press play and lose yourself dreaming for three hugely enjoyable minutes.

For fans of: Say Lou Lou, Broods, Rae Morris

In Three Words: Dream Pop Excellence


Who is it? Taylor Swift, featuring Kendrick Lamar

What's the story? It's impossible to deny that Taylor Swift is currently head and shoulders above any other pop act on the planet right now. Despite it being nearly seven months since the release of her enormous 1989 album, she's still dominating the world's press and social media and you can't deny that she knows how to play the game. For the fourth single from the album - usually the time to chuck out a nice ballad and wrap up the campaign - she's spent the last two weeks teasing the array of star cameos to appear in the video for Bad Blood, a song apparently written about her falling out with Katy Perry over the 'theft' of some backing dancers (it's happened to us all). It doesn't disappoint, with a who's who of models and entertainment stars combining for a TRON-esque romp which makes no sense whatsoever but is undeniably a complete riot. The song itself is a remix featuring Lamar guesting on the verses, making it a nice variation from the album version. There's no touching Swifty at the moment.  

For fans of: Charli XCX, Iggy Azalea, Katy Perry

In Three Words: Star-studded Video Blast


Who is it? The late BB King

What's the story? BB King, the ultimate bluesman, has passed away at the age of 89. Mississippi-born King was best known for his hits My LucilleRock Me Baby and Sweet Little Lady. However, it was his unique style of guitar-playing - laconic, understated and hugely emotive - that really made his name. His beloved jet-black Gibson ES-355, which he nicknamed 'Lucille', also became synonymous with his soulful brand of R&B. The former farmhand picked up 15 Grammys in his career, and was one of the hardest-working musicians around, playing 100 concerts a year despite his advancing years. Today's ShortListen, The Thrill Is Gone, was covered by King in 1969, and became one of his signature tunes. RIP, BBK.

For fans of: John Lee Hooker, Otis Redding, Muddy Waters

In Three Words: The Ultimate Bluesman


Who is it? Catfish & The Bottlemen

What's the story? Llandudno indie band Catfish & The Bottlemen signed to Island Records just over a year ago. Though the critics haven't been keen - Q and NME both gave debut album The Balcony a bit of a pasting - the public have felt otherwise. Quite strongly, in fact. The Balcony went straight in at number 10 in the album charts last September, and is still in the Top 30 this week. They've sold out two nights at Brixton Academy this coming NOVEMBER - fully six months away. Today they up their game a little further still, as Ewan McGregor stars in the brilliant new video for Hourglass. McGregor's turn is due to Catfish frontman Van McCann's fanboy persistence (he bombarded his hero with tweets and home-made videos until he agreed to meet). Right now, it looks like Van could take his band almost anywhere.

For fans of: The Courteeners, The 1975, Miles Kane

In Three Words: Soaring indie anthems


Who is it? Kwabs

What's the story? Kwabs is the stage name of 25-year-old star-in-the-making Kwabena Adjepong. The Londoner’s debut single, Walk, has had more than 35 million streams on Spotify – not bad going, really – and this brilliant, bombastic new song, Fight For Love, raises expectations for his debut album even higher. Titled Love + War, the full record is due on 11 September. In the meantime, you’ll have to settle for the below on repeat…

For fans of: Sam Smith, SOHN, Years And Years

In Three Words: ‘90s-tastic soulful pop


Who is it? Mac DeMarco

What's the story? If you've followed Mac's career to date, you'll know that Rock And Roll Nightclub2, and last year's Salad Days have set the 25-year-old Canadian apart as a master of wry, melancholy indie. He's also a lovable goof prone to extreme stage silliness (he once shoved a drumstick up his bum onstage - how everyone cheered). His new eight-track mini-LP, titled Another One, is due on 7 August. This latest sneak peek, The Way You'd Love Her, is the LP's opening song and a typically airy bit of DeMarco brilliance. See what you reckon...

For fans of: DIIV, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Ty Segall 

In Three Words: Wry indie genius


Who is it? Slaves

What's the story? London two-piece Slaves released this brilliant video, for new single Cheer Up London, on Friday. The Tunbridge Wells duo, made up of guitarist Laurie Vincent and drummer Issac Holman, release their debut album Are You Satisfied? on 1 June. Cheer Up London will be released on the same day. Not only does it challenge the mardy citizens of our capital to get a grip by putting life into an extremely morbid context ("You're already dead!"), its video also features elaborate choreography, a van full of cheerleaders and Barry from EastEnders as an ice cream man. Frankly, what more could you ask for?

For fans of: The Clash, Jamie T, Madness

In Three Words: Positive rowdy punk

May 8th 

Who is it? Gaps

What is it? Perhaps falling just shy of Rory McIlroy in the realm of understated Twitter bios (the Ulsterman claims to 'hit a little white ball around a field sometimes’), Gaps are similarly as humble on social media, referring to themselves as 'two drummers from Brighton making new music with electronic toys and acoustic guitars'. In reality, the male/female duo are so much more, blending spiritual, folksy bliss and haunting harmonies with up-tempo electronica beats. Take this track for instance, full of such unpredictable pattern and otherworldly sound that it could just as easily been lifted from a Michael Mann score. Testament, if it were needed, to its blockbuster credentials. The duo's new album In, Around The Moments’ is out on Monday, when, all going well, it'll climb to the top of your iTunes 'Most Listened To' rankings.

For fans of: Moby, Wild Nothing, Michael Mann soundtracks

In Three Words: Folksy electronica bliss


Who is it? Stealing Sheep

What's the story? Stealing Sheep are a psych-folk trio from Liverpool, comprised of Becky Hawley, Emily Lansley and Lucy Mercer. Their superb second album, Not Real, was released last month and represented a departure from the pastoral flavour of their debut. Instead, their sound has become more electronic, and out-and-out surreal. Deadlock is the latest single to be plucked (shorn?) from it, accompanied by a brilliantly trippy video inspired by retro animations and other-worldly sci-fi. Stick your tinfoil hat on and give it a whirl...

For fans of: alt-J, Everything Everything, tUnE-yArDs

In Three Words: Artsy Psych Pop


Who is it? Ducktails

What's the story? Here's something vibey for you. Yes: "vibey". Ducktails is the solo project of Matt Mondanile, a member of gloriously gentle New Jersey band Real Estate. Mondanile will release his fifth album as Ducktails, St. Catherine, on 24 July. Headbanging In The Mirror is the first new song to appear online, and it's a soothing, lulling sort of lollop that recalls his other band's most mesmerising meanderings. It's not in the least bit "Headbanging", which must be him doing some irony or something. N.B. You'll definitely need a hammock and a tall drink to fully appreciate just how blissed out this, so it might be worth going to B&Q/the local offy before you stick it on. It'll be well worth being prepared.

For fans of: Real Estate, Wild Nothing, Stereolab

In Three Words: Soothing Dreamy Indie


Who is it? Jacco Gardner

What's the story? Jacco Gardner specialises in the sort of creepy psych-rock that'll put you instantly on edge. The 27-year-old Dutchman's superb second album, Hypnophobia, is out today. Its title track, below, gives a taster of his flair for creating eerie soundscapes, combining spooky old house atmospherics and plinky-plonky bits of '60s baroque pop to make one head-nodding whole. The bit halfway through, where the bass suddenly kicks in, goes even further; it's like a rotten floorboard giving way in a horror movie pursuit scene. Or maybe we've just been listening to this on repeat too much - -shh! WHAT WAS THAT SOUND?! Hmm... probably nothing. Anyway, if you like horror movies -  even the album's artwork looks like it could be a poster for a horror film (it makes us think of the Berberian Sound Studio poster) - Jacco's new one is definitely the record for you... 

For fans of: The Horrors, TOY, Hookworms

In Three Words: Eerie Retro Psychedelia


Who is it? Rhodes

What's the story? Prepare to have some emotions. Hertfordshire singer-songwriter David Rhodes specialises in grand, sweeping, passionate ballads. Earnest and stirring, they’re the kind of songs that encourage us to think of him as the male Adele. Regardless of whether that comparison makes you want to jump for joy or off of a bridge, you have to admire the 25-year-old’s powerful voice, shown-off expertly on this new single. Close Your Eyes will be available to buy on 16th June, with his full debut album, Wishes – announced today – set for release in September. Take a listen below. And grab a hanky…

For fans of: Adele, James Bay, Ben Howard

In Three Words: Widescreen Heartfelt Balladeering

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