His take on Lorde's Royals was inspired and now with this re-imagination of Sam Smith's Nirvana, the Cardiff man is turning me round to another of 2013's hit's-which-passed-me-by. f Until The Ribbon Breaks
"BOW DOWN BITCHES" couldn't be more appropriate for this cut as it completely owns every other Beyonce remix to surface this year, curtesy of Miami's finest purveyor of chopped and screwed electronic soul.
Little Matador's members have plenty of history in bands from Snow Patrol to Idlewild and beyond, come from Belfast, Dublin and Portland and collectively blow the shit out of rock music like seemingly only duo's have been doing lately. This little tour video is from their recent live shows with QOTSA, Jimmy Eat World and Nine Inch Nails and the track from the video, Boom Boom features in the Liar Liar EP below. Big, ballsy and creative rock music, this is pretty fantastic. f Little Matador
A mysterious LA band with some vowels missing from their name, no information available and some trippy Flume-style beats, Y N G C U L T are pant wettingly exciting and Sides of War makes you piss your pants. Via MusicThatWeLike
This new Burial EP is pretty relentless. Rival Dealer barely lets you catch your breath, storming from abrasive, mashed-up break beats to pounding techno intensity punctuated only by disorientating cinematic sound-scaping. If you like dark, focussed, electronic bass music with its balls in your face then you're in luck. Rival Dealer is out now through Hyperdub (here).
48. Barnaby, Bored 47. Raj, Ghost 46. Disclosure ft Eliza Doolittle, You & Me (Baauer Remix) 45. Bombay Bicycle Club, Carry Me 44. Kanye West, Blood On The Leaves 43. Bondax, Giving It All 42. Snakehips ft George Maple, On & On 41. Foxes, Youth 40. Royal Blood, Out Of The Black 39. Astronomyy, Drivin Me Crazy 38. Active Child ft Mikky Ekko, Subtle 37. Louis Futon, Dozing 36. Tinashe ft Travi$ Scott, Vulnerable 35. Laura Welsh, Unravel 34. Pusha T, Numbers On The Board
33. Gallant, Sirens 32. TOKiMONSTA ft MNDR, Go With It 31. Drenge, Bloodsports 30. Solomon Grey, Gen V 29. MMX, Tremor 28. Glass Animals, Black Mambo 27. Vaults, Cry No More 26. Jaymes Young, Dark Star
25. J. Cole ft Miguel, Power Trip 24. James Blake, Retrograde 23. The Hics, Tangle 22. ASTR, Operate 21. Cyril Hahn ft Shy Girls, Perfect Form 20. James Vincent McMorrow, Cavalier 19. Drake, Hold On We're Going Home 18. Kanye West, Black Skinhead 17. Foals, Late Nights 16. Chvrches, The Mother We Share 15. Local Natives, Heavy Feet 14. Gorgon City ft MNEK, Ready For Your Love 13. Thumpers, Unkinder (A Tougher Love) 12. MSMR, Fantasy
11. Panama, Always 10. SZA, Julia 9. Koda, Leaving 8. Banks, This Is What It Feels Like 7. Snakadaktal, Hung On Tight 6. Wet, No Lie
Brighton's Ambassadeurs has quite a talent for smashing samples beyond recognition and creating great sounds, Make Me is retro but cutting edge and I bloody love it. Free through soundcloud / his website.
From Leipzig, Germany Tomika's latest single is a rich, sweeping swell of electro chill, drawing from the softer side of Flume's half time groove, quietly driving things forwards with chattering hats. Gorgeous stuff. Everything (Will Come To An End) is taken from the forthcoming The Picture EP, out on 20th December 2013 through Export Label.
This tune is a commercial for HP who tasked Clams Casino and Vic Mensa with making a song, video and studio art in two days. The whole thing was streamed live, the result is a pretty impressive space bass bone shaker with a cooly-energetic vid.
If London Grammar got you excited this year but you yearn for a rustically rumbly, soulful vocal then Aldershot via London singer Matthew Hegarty, aka Matthew and the Atlas has got you covered. The beautiful Out Of The Darkness is taken from his forthcoming debut album which should be out next spring through Communion Records.
THUMPERS The envy of many bands, London duo Thumpers are now signed to two of the best labels on the planet in Transgressive and Sub Pop and their soaring skyscrapers of alt pop tunes are likely to land them on a bunch of tip lists and radio playlists next year. Unkinder is a bulldozing monster of a record.
BANKS She's been steadily whipping up the worlds media into something of a frenzy with a drip feed of impeccable dark R&B tracks throughout the year, pairing her silky control with on-point production flair from the likes of TEED and SOHN, if anyone encapsulates the sound and feel of exciting music right now it's LA's Banks.
TOVE LO One of the standout scandinavian alt electro pop acts to emerge in 2013 (and god knows there's been some serious quantity and quality coming out of that place), Tove Lo is backed by glittery tastemakers to the world Neon Gold and the size of her chorus' have been wowing everyone from here to Lorde.
ROSIE LOWE What Banks is to LA, Rosie Lowe may well be to London; a sultry, mysterious, brooding figure, effortlessly pouring out one of the best songs of the year and positioning herself for a full blown charm offensive in the new year. Along with Thumpers, she's one of the most exciting prospects to come out of the UK in a long time.
SZA This year SZA (pronounced S(u)ZA) became the first ever R&B signee for Top Dawg Entertainment, played some award shows with now-labelmate Kendrick Lamar and channeled her experimental Bjork inspired soulful vision to create some colourfully progressive textures like this:
RHODES From a delightful little place called Hitchin, Rhodes has been one of the standout newcomers in 2013 with his encapsulating songwriting craft, perfectly controlled and honestly emotive voice and live charm. Now signed to Hometown Records, expect major play-listings and nice big glamorous stuff for him.
WET Brooklyn trio Wet make the most perfect music. A sublime balance between pop melodies that stay with you for days, effortless don't-look-at-me cool, irresistible no-but-do-look-at-me confidence, relaxed R&B x blissful sounds and refreshingly minimalistic-yet-full production. They'd better do well after that write up anyway.
MØ Already pretty famous to be fair but for those who aren't familiar, MØ comes from Copenhagen and has already mastered the "electronic soul, street vibes indie pop" genre thus:
ROYAL BLOOD It seems like 2013 was the year for duo's and particularly guitar and drums rock duo's. Royal Blood are the best of the lot, so much power and purpose, such big songs, Brighton's got a fiery riot on their hands here.
KWABS London based Kwabs finished the year with one of the best songs of 2013 in Last Stand; if golden, intelligent R&B-soul with silky caramel, warm vocals from heaven and bomb ass monster hooks is your thing then heads up. If not, go away and reevaluate yourself as a human being.
RÁJ Not sure I should really put him here given that this track is the only one anyone's heard but it's so good that I'm going to still my neck out and say that Ráj, LA's newest moody alt indie'&B singer songwriter is going to do more, equally awesome things next year.
TINASHE Los Angeles is taking over a bit here isn't it (and we're not done yet...). It feels like Tinashe has been around forever and after a couple of mix tapes and slamming singles she's ready to launch a major assault. With major label backing she's got all the attributes to be bigger than a my love for cheesesteaks.
JAYMES YOUNG From seemingly nowhere (well, from surprise surprise, Los Angeles) Jaymes Young seemed to create an unstoppable online momentum through sheer quality of songs this year. Dark Star was hyped by Zane Lowe, he hit the road with London Grammar and next year his perfect songwriting deserves to be all over the alternative masses.
BEN KHAN Ben Khan comes from London, is a mysterious psych indie guitar smith with copious amounts of creativity, melodies, talent and originality and his music sounds like a trippy glimpse of whisky blurred heaven.
SIVU Another solo artist, Cambridge born SIVU caught the eye with the incredible Better Man Than Me video which surface over the summer and was made using an actual MRI scanner. Likened to Gotye, Wild Beasts and Alt J, he's awesome.
GEORGE EZRA And finally, George Ezra has some top notch tunes which roll with smokey folk - galloping country vibes, kind of a more interesting Jake Bugg if you will. For me his best quality is his incredible, deep husky voice which sounds more like a 65 year old Mississippi blues singer than a fresh faced 19 year old from Bristol.
From the smokey ambience of slow burning but instantly stunning Right Thing to the disjointed, stammering beat of the glitchy Me & Your Ghost, Rosie Lowe's Right Thing EP is the statement of intent from one of the most exciting talents around. Just listen to it, for gods sake. Out now through 37 Adventures.
I've been wondering which of the so-called new breed would start taking hold of things next and Viriginia rapper GoldLink may be grabbing hip hop by the balls soon if Playah is anything to go by. The rich beat is by Russian producer BMB and this is sick. Premiered at P&P.
The chorus on Fame sucks you in, imposes a choke hold and just won't let go and yet that voice sounds so innocent - why is this happening to me? Shit I don't know, son. However, I do know that Bel Heir are one of the best things coming out of Philly right now.
Oh, and this band are not just tagging B-sides on for novelty value, they're actually making really good ones.
Everything Ben Khan has put out this year seems to have been an improvement on the last and Savage is a ravenously trippy, glitch alt-pop beat from the new music gods. You're damn right it's christmas.
From one of the most underrated singers out there, this Tinashe jam is dark, space age R&B with bass growling all over the place, twisting breathy vocals and a seedy guest verse from Yeezus collaborator Travi$ Scott. Filthy and awesome.
Brighton four piece Lion Bark met at music college, started this band then dropped out to make sweet, melodic indie pop with shades of Wild Beasts and Dan Croll. Longhorns is immediately infectious and between their songwriting and the distinctive (and pretty fantastic) vocal they're onto a winner.
Australian singer Dustin Tebbutt retreated to Sweden for a couple of years to live, work and make music and the result is a chillingly glacial EP about that experience and his consequent gains and losses. Lead single The Breach has already had influential support from Zane Lowe and Triple J and the crisp freshness of his Scandinavian experience flows right through this four track EP. The Wolves will tear straight into the heart of Bon Iver's fans while the harmonious Where I Find You and closing track White Lines seem to draw influence from Sigur Ros' patient and atmospheric builds, swirling textures and an unfaltering gaze which you can't help but hold. Expect to see a lot more from this cat in 2014. The Breach EP is out now in Australia through Eleven. Stream in full here.
Flume and Chet Faker are definitely two of the better artists striding out of so-hot-right-now Australia so the fact that they're putting out more collaborative musicwith those beats and those vocals is a gift.
Drop The Game is the lead track from Lockjaw EP, available from 22nd November 2013 through Future Classic.
I have a long weekend out of the game and what happens? A crack team of talent springs out of the upper echelons of music and puts out a track with an artist tag as long as Miley's tongue. The title of this blog post will be a problem. Inconveniences aside though, great tune.
Breton channel the spirit of early Foals with this summery explosion of stabs, triplets, hooks and golden grooves. There's so much creativity in these guys and the build towards the end is just heaven.
Saol Álainn is based in Los Angeles. Nostroke suggests Vampire Weekend to begin with but gives way to some messed up glitching and forward thinking discomfort, pushing conventional boundaries and taking you down a 22nd century musical rabbit hole. Nostroke is out now through No Recordings. Order the 7" here.
Looks come from London and they need more followers so like them here and follow them here. I don't say this in sympathy, I say it because it's what their Late Of The Pier x Friendly Fires blend of creative guitars and technology deserves.
FFS Australia, we get it, lots of good music over there, it's almost embarrassing blah blah… Well here's more Ausie gold, this time from Sydney four piece Battleships who rock the Panama/Local Natives vibe very well.
Elusive UK duo Solomon Grey score a huge electro/R&B/pop crossover win with Firechild, thanks to some relentless, driving, train track shuddering synths. Love this. Firechild is released on 18th November 2013 through Black Butter Records. Pre-order here.
An incredible introduction to Toronto via Berlin's Sway Clarke II, I Don't Need Much could have easily been sold to a major label artist but thankfully he kept it for himself to rival Frank Ocean's smart future soul.
Friday 8th November Nick Mulvey || Rhodes || Sam Fender The Deaf Institute Manchester Manchester's historic Deaf Institute served as the perfect host to three of the UK's most promising singer songwriters on a dreary yet enthusiastic Manchester evening. Elevated stepped pew seating, exposed rafters and centuries old wood and stone offered the best acoustics you could demand for stripped back and rustic music. The talented trio were all lone rangers for the night with no hint of accompaniment for any of them. Just as well they were good then. Sam Fender comes from the North East of England and isn't a name I've come across before and his songwriting was evocative of James Morrison's accessible and well constructed pop for the acoustic guitar romancers. His real strength though lies in his incredible voice which sits somewhere between Ben Howard and George Ezra, the raspy grit, emotion and power in those vocal chords is show stopping and he certainly made an impression tonight.
Rhodes appeared on staged dressed like he was in The xx and that in itself seems to indicate his place amongst singer songwriters. He's not from the usual mould; his songs are soulful and full, his voice gyrates between yearning tenderness and rip roaring intensity and most strikingly he plays the guitar with no band yet without sounding like a solo guitarist. The nights highlight was set closer Always which would have brought even the most hardened criminal bastard to his blubbering knees as the mood from his Raise Your Love EP was magnified and expanded live.
And so to our headliner, Nick Mulvey who received rapturous applause from an adoring full venue. I was curious to see how many of the turnout were there because of his recent Radio 1 playlisting but Nitrous was scarcely the best received song of the night and Mulvey's back catalogue was lapped up by an apparent hardcore of followers. His stripped down cover of Donna Summer's I Feel Love was unexpected and encapsulating and he delivered an hour long masterclass in being a guitar maestro. He expertly blends textures, swells and dips velocity and mood, flexes incredible control and coordination between vocal and guitar and did some transfixing, Spanish finger-fan strum thing to stunning effect. The set ending gratitude and audience photo opportunity was a nice touch too from a talent very much on the rise.