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The ShortListen - November 2014

The ShortListen - November 2014

The ShortListen - November 2014
04 January 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

November 28th

Who is it? R.O.E.

What's the story? If, like us, you often find yourself grieving for the good old days of 90s hip hop before it all became intended "for the club", then put down your Nas records (or stop playing those mp3s) and pay attention. Heavily influenced by the rap from the era, up-and-coming Chicago native R.O.E., which stands for Rising Over Envy, has something rather special for you. The suitably titled Good Times is one of those smooth laidback tracks that makes you instantly wish you were in a late night bar, worrying about precisely nothing. It's from an EP called To Happiness, which also perfectly sums up his musical goal. Enjoy now and then save it for later.

For fans of: Lupe Fiasco, A Tribe Called Quest, Q-Tip

In Three Words: Relaxed 90s beats

November 27th

Who is it? Mao Ra Sun, featuring Dems

What's the story? As the evenings draw in towards the shortest day, it's high time for a bit of dark headphones music to make it onto your playlist. And this track, a cover of Slowdive's shoegaze classic When The Sun Hits, is just the thing. It comes courtesy of up-and-coming Brighton production duo Mao Ra Sun, assisted by London trio Dems. Singer Dan Moss' breathy vocals sit perfectly above a dense, dark production, while twitchy percussion touches push the track on. Glacial, ethereal; it's a perfect example of modern electronic shoegaze. Given Ride's recent reunion, maybe they should have a go at Vapour Trail next?

For fans of: Kyte, Massive Attack, Burial

In Three Words: Late Night Darkness

November 26th

Who is it? Rae Morris

What's the story? We were huge fans of Rae's track earlier this year - a superb duet with Fryars, but she's back out alone on this new track, which precedes the release of her long-awaited album Unguarded, which is due in January. The influences here are obvious, but welcome - it's equal parts Kate Bush (Running Up That Hill) and Fleetwood Mac (the keyboards on verse 2 are pure Christine McVie), with a touch of Florence melodrama thrown in for good measure. A haunting, great track, and she could be the new, cooler Ellie Goulding next year.

For fans of: Ellie Goulding, Kate Bush, Stevie Nicks

In Three Words: Atmospheric, Dynamic Excellence

November 25th

Who is it? Jack Garratt

What's the story? We first featured Jack back in February and, since then, he's gone from strength to strength. Currently finishing up a tour with Ben Howard, he's just revealed this new track, The Love You're Given, and it's a bewitching mix of James Blake glitchiness, Honne-style R&B smoothness, and some booming bass, before a big fuzzy outro ties the whole thing up. There's even hints of DJ Shadow in there for good measure. And, he's still got a great beard. Enjoy.

For fans of: James Blake, Honne, Dan Croll

In Three Words: Late Night Electronica

November 24th

Who is it? Mallory Knox

What's the story? Considering its cultural preeminence, it's surprising that Cambridge has produced so few musical acts of note. There's not been a great deal since Syd Barrett emerged to found Pink Floyd (before retiring back there), but perhaps it's finally starting to wake up - we've previously featured Lonely The Brave, and now it's the turn of Mallory Knox. A five piece band who released their debut last year, they quickly followed it up with Asymmetry, which came out last month. Building a fanbase through the old stapes of touring and good tunes, When Are We Waking Up? is the third single taken from the record, and we're delighted to be premiering its video here. It's a combination of a classic old school indie ballad, but with some post-hardcore elements for a bit of extra kick - think Goo Goo Dolls meets Twin Atlantic. When the final strings kick in you can already see the lighters in the air. Watch below and enjoy.

For fans of: Lower Than Atlantis, Feeder, Biffy Clyro

In Three Words: Epic Rock Balladry


November 21st

Who is it? Slaves

What's the story? Hot on the heels of Royal Blood comes another heavy-riffing two piece, in the form of London via Kent band Slaves. However, where Royal Blood are more towards the Queens of the Stone Age end of things, Slaves are firmly in the mould of Johnny Rotten and his fellow Pistols, with drummer/vocalist Isaac Holman snarling his way through this track with genuine punk attitude while guitarist Laurie Vincent lays down the riffs. They recently stole the show on Jools Holland and they're soon to appear on NME Awards Tour next year - there's hooks as well as anger; don't bet against them bringing some much needed energy to the charts pretty soon.

For fans of: Sex Pistols, Drenge, White Stripes

In Three Words: Raw Garage Punk

November 20th

Who is it? Public Service Broadcasting

What's the story? We stumbled across Public Service Broadcasting at this year's Bestival, as they charmed an initially empty tent into a throng of people grooving away to their peculiar blend of archive footage, propaganda material and driving instrumental riffs. A truly British band - their two members are named J. Willgoose, Esq.and Wrigglesworth - they're reaching for the stars for their second album, due in February next year and entitled The Race For Space. The first video from it, Gagarin, was revealed yesterday and features, naturally, dancing astronauts. The track itself is a tremendous funky blast, complete with big horn stabs; the album should be out of this world.

For fans of: British Sea Power, Talking Heads, Doobie Brothers

In Three Words: Quirky Instrumental Funk

November 19th

Who is it? Man Without Country

What's the story? Like M83, Cardiff's Man Without Country have started off slowly, quietly building awareness and - like M83 - you feel that they're one big track away from reaching the wider public consciousness at any moment. Their 2012 debut, Foe, was a bit of an undiscovered classic, sharing the French act's sense of the epic and celestial, and this track, Laws of Motion, which features Morgan Kibby (of White Sea and - you guessed it - M83) on vocals, is the first taste of their upcoming followup Maximum Entropy. It's a great track, slightly brighter and more overtly pop than their previous work, with Kibby's vocals working a treat. That breakthrough could be coming sooner rather than later.

For fans of: M83, Cooper Temple Clause, The Naked and Famous

In Three Words: Large Scale Electronica

November 18th

Who is it? Port Isla

What's the story? There's always a space for big-hearted driving indie rock, and Port Isla fit that bill very nicely. Formed at UEA four years ago and still Norwich-based, they released their debut EP earlier this year before heading out on support with George Ezra and landing a deal with Parlophone. This is just their second release but it's remarkably fully-formed: a big, welcoming sound, unrelenting energy and a great vocal - which weirdly, and brilliantly, reminds us of Deacon Blue. The best band from Norfolk since The Darkness? They just might be, though we wouldn't hold our breath for any catsuits just yet.

For fans of: Band of Horses, Deacon Blue, Noah & The Whale

In Three Words: Impassioned indie rock

November 17th

Who is it? Jones

What's the story? Still as frustrated as we are with the continued absence of hugely promising electro-soul singer Jai Paul? Well, calm down because his equally talented brother is here to help us out. AK Paul first emerged with the rather exceptional summer track So Good, with newcomer Nao and a few months later he's returned, on pure producer duties, with another exciting new London-based female singer. The rather enigmatic Jones, who only has one other song to her name, brings her beautifully controlled voice to a trademark Paul family beat. It's a winsome and romantic song that makes you envious of the Paul gene pool. A recent snap of the two brothers with Miguel hints at more brilliance to come.

For fans of: Jai Paul, Lianne La Havas, Ben Khan

In Three Words: Lush electro romance

November 14th

Who is it? Stromae feat LordePusha-TQ-Tip & HAIM

What's the story? Lorde has been given the lofty task of taking control of the soundtrack for the latest Hunger Games film, which is quite the challenge given the standard of the music from the films so far. The latest song from the movie (out next week) boasts a rather dazzling set of collaborators. From Belgian singer-songwriter Stromae to Q-Tip to HAIM to Pusha-T to Lorde herself, it sounds like it could be a bit of a mess on paper but it works rather brilliantly. Any song that features Q-Tip is always going to get a pass from us and he certainly delivers but then the entire group of artists all bring something special to the song. We're excited to hear more.

For fans of: Well, all of the artists involved...

In Three Words: Eclectic artists triumph

November 13th

Who is it? Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars

What's the story? If Adamski (see yesterday) is shaking up the dance scene by going 3/4, then Mark Ronson is also trying to do it by going back to the 70s. This new track, Uptown Funk, is the lead single from his forthcoming Uptown Special and, while hugely influenced by classic 70s funk and disco (it's not far off a rewrite of Oops Upside Your Head), still manages to sound fresh and current. While Daft Punk hinted at a disco revival when they unleashed Get Lucky, they didn't quite go the whole hog, with the rest of Random Access Memories being a pretty lounge affair. With EDM becoming stale, repetitive and formulaic, this track, with a serious, human groove, 80s synth stabs, funky bass, busy horns and a typically committed Bruno Mars vocal, is a breath of fresh air. Could it do a Get Lucky? We wouldn't rule it out.

For fans of: The Gap Band, The Commodores, Earth, Wind & Fire

In Three Words: Old-Skool Funk Revival

November 12th

Who is it? Adamski & David McAlmont

What's the story? With Calvin and the rest of the EDM big names phoning it in these days, the dance scene is desperately in need of a good shake up. And the legendary Adamski could be just the man to do it. Responsible for one of the greatest songs of the last 25 years in the form of Killer, he's spent recent years DJing across the world and, during a spell in Venezuela, picked up on the waltz music still popular there. This led to the idea of FutureWaltz - dance music in a 3/4 time. He launches this new style with - of course - an Englebert Humperdinck cover, sung by the equally legendary David McAlmont, which includes an homage to Frankie Knuckles' Your Love - and it's exclusively available to listen to here on The ShortListen. It's fresh, weird, exciting and sounds like nothing else out there. Which makes it fantastic in our book. So take your partner by the hand and get waltzing on that dancefloor.

For fans of: The KLF, Seal, Orbital

In Three Words: One Two Three

November 11th

Who is it? Pink Floyd

What's the story? The festive season is almost upon us and there's a trio of big rock albums out this week to solve that all-important 'what to get dad for Christmas' dilemma. Foo Fighters' Sonic Highways is currently topping the iTunes chart, while two older acts go in for a bit of 'lost material' updating, in the form of Queen Forever, and Pink Floyd's The Endless River. The latter has been the biggest-ever preordered album on Amazon, and shows that the love for the Floyd is still as fervent as ever. It's a record that's been described as a 'swan song' for their late keyboard player Richard Wright, and it relies heavily on material recorded by him; being mainly an instrumental and ambient record. This song, Louder Than Words, is the only track with a lead vocal and now has a video too. It's the last 'song' they'll ever release, and so it's appropriate that it's absolutely classic Floyd: slow-of-tempo; beautiful-of-chord; big-of-chorus and epic-of-guitar-solo-at-the-end. Get the album for your dad but make sure you copy it first.

For fans of: Well, Pink Floyd 

In Three Words: Excellent Parting Shot

November 10th

Who is it? Eliot Sumner

What's the story? In a way, it can't be easy being the offspring of a hugely-successful artist. You're always going to be compared to them and it's going to be pretty difficult to ever top their achievements. Which makes it understandable why Eliot - aka. Coco - Sumner, daughter of Sting, released her first efforts under the moniker I Blame Coco, in an attempt to distance herself from her name. However, her debut album, The Constant, came out in 2010 to a muted reception. Now she's back, under her own name, with a new darker style - and clearly this is the real artist. I Followed You Home is a riproaring post-punk icy synth attack, with some barnstorming production creating an Editors meets Depeche Mode atmosphere, perfectly suiting Eliot's voice. There's more than a hint of dad in there vocally, but then there would be, right? A great track.

For fans of: Editors, Depeche Mode, Bastille

In Three Words: Electro Post-Punk Blast

November 7th

Who is it? Ekkoes

What's the story? Not many electro-pop bands have the balls to reference obscure Romanian poets. However, London trio Ekkoes’ new single Last Breath draws heavily on the life and works of the tragic Veronica Micle; the Eastern Bloc’s answer to Sylvia Plath. The band found a book of Micle’s poetry while recording their debut album in a Bucharest basement. “Her story is very sad,” explains singer Jon Beck. “Last Breath is about her love affair with a Romanian author – it’s real Romeo and Juliet stuff.” The band played the second stage at this year’s Bestival and have remixed work by Kate Bush, Lana Del Rey and The Acid, with the album due early next year.

For fans of: Pet Shop Boys, Chvrches, Bastille 

In Three Words: Disco with smarts

November 6th

Who is it? Theophilus London

What's the story? Trinidadian-born, Brooklyn-based rapper Theophilus London's first record was a bit of a cult classic, and it was a surprise that it didn't attract more attention than it did, especially as it featured contributions from TV On The Radio's Dave Sitek and Solange, amongst others. However, people should be listening now, as his friend Kanye West has executive produced his second record, Vibes, which is out this week. This new video, for Tribe, is fantastic - a bubbly groove, washes of synths in the choruses, and more than a touch of Kanye's sound about it. This should help push London to the big time.

For fans of: Kanye West, Pharrell, Roots Manuva

In Three Words: Funky Hip Hop

November 5th

Who is it? My Vitriol

What's the story? One of the great mysteries of recent musical times is why My Vitriol never became the next big guitar band. Their 2001 debut, Finelines, was a sprawling, epic record, full of ambition, energy and great songs - and it still sounds incredible today. Yet, despite harvesting a growing, and hardcore fanbase, the band then promptly went underground, popping their heads up at various times for the odd gig, tour, or new track. Finally now, an album proper is on the way: a Pledgemusic-funded Secret Sessions CD is coming before the end of the year, with tracks from this to be used on a full-release album next year. Got all that? This new track, Nightcall, hints at great things: the band's widescreen sound is still present and correct and the final minute is truly special. We wait for next year with bated breath.

For fans of: Mansun, Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine

In Three Words: Widescreen Dark Rock

November 4th

Who is it? Flight Facilities

What's the story? As if we weren't already jealous that it's now summer down under, Australian producer duo Flight Facilities have released the video to Sunshine, taken from their debut album, Down To Earth, which dropped last month. It's a fantastically laidback groove which bounces along nicely, while the silky smooth vocals of Reggie Watts take centre stage. Meanwhile, the truly glorious accompanying video features Reggie pitching film ideas and shaking what he's got on a palm tree-laden street to the bemusement of his fellow pedestrians. We'd have got up and joined in for sure.

For fans of: Bag Raiders, The Knocks, Crazy P

In Three Words: Nu Disco Soul

November 3rd

Who is it? Shivium Sharma

What's the story? If ever there were a piece of music to banish those Monday blues (and no, it’s not The Best Of Wham!), it’s this splendidly ambient, slow-burning disco track from Shivum Sharma, transporting us from the 9-5 slog to sandy, moonlit shores afar. South London by birthright and surely Parisian by song-craft, there’s something undeniably Daft Punk-like about Sharma’s synth-laden grooves, masterfully layered by producer Liam Howe (also behind similarly dance-pop tracks from Lana Del Ray, Foxes, Tom Vek, FKA Twigs, Dan Croll) and abetted by harmonies so sharp they might as well have been struck from the strings of violins. Though perhaps the real key here is Sharma’s, voice, both powerful and multifaceted, which gets better as the track goes on. The EP of the same name is released later this year. We for one can’t wait.

For fans of: Daft Punk, The XX, Dan Croll

In Three Words: Synth-laden space grooves

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