With every new track, Boots confirms he is more than “just the brains behind the new Beyoncé record” (yet it feels nice to mention it from time to time, doesn’t it?). With Dust he brought a big beat paired with a breathing vocal that banged even though it felt very minimal.
New track Howl leans more towards hip-hop, a direction that fits with his verse on his remix of Shlohmo & Jeremih’s No More, but still dabbles in pop - it feels like an experiment, especially given the genre-flips and layers of various styles, but magically it just fits. Bonus points if you spot the Beyoncé reference.
Second new track Autumn (Lude I) is Boots spitting verses over a rattling, mad cowbell beat up until the big-voiced Kelela joins in with her luring lyrics, dragging you deeper and deeper into the atmosphere Boots creates.
Sabina Ddumba is one of those names that have been bubbling in the Swedish music scene for quite some time now: she worked with Adam Kanyama (Elliphant), appeared on X Factor Sweden and some other Swedish producers on the rise on loose tracks - and oh yeah, she does backing vocals on Katy Perry’s Walking On Air. Solo debut offering Scarred For Life is a truly impressive gospel meets pop anthem that could easily be filed next to Seinabo Sey’s show-stopping Younger. With some help from a gospel choir, Sabina Ddumba’s soulful voice speaks for itself. She also already performed it at the Kingsizegalan, as if the song itself wasn’t impressive enough just yet.
Mykki Blanco and Princess Nokia deliver the soundtrack to a proper drag queen’s make up routine with Wish You Would, a stomping and vibrant sexy thing. Princess Nokia gives Nicki Minaj a run for her money with her fresh verse, reminding us of the latter’s contribution to Monster - I’m the only bitch in the Bronx rocking Chanel /high top bun, fresh tip nail” she spits over a rattling beat from Brenmar, right after Mykki Blanco did his thing (“I-I-I was robbing ni**as for Dolce panties”).
We’ve never been to Cork yet but after hearing debut track Tethered Bones of Cork resident Talos, we’re pretty much on the verge of booking a flight. He delivers a swirling soundscape that’s quite reminiscent of SOHN - it feels slightly more organic and straight-forward, with the beats surfacing the swelling synths.
While Elliphant is already somewhat of a superstar in Sweden, the rest of the world is still at her taking. The wild child’s first weapon fact for Mad Decent is Revolusion, a highly energetic force field that introduces 2k14 punk dance pop. Having spent some time in the studio with Diplo and Lorde, it is just the first step in an exciting adventure that’s developing for the young Elinor, with an EP titled Look Like You Love It out on April 1.
Marlene and musical partner Ji Nilsson (who co-writes almost all of her tracks) have teamed up for a collaborative track Love You Anyway, a song about female friendship in celebration of International Women’s Day. It’s unsurprisingly brilliant, with their voice in perfect harmony and a production infused with something that sounds like pop panpipes.
How To Dress Well has his biggest vocal r&b moment to date with new single Words I Don’t Remember - his take on the genre is of course filtered down to barely nothing but his voice. Thanks to the very sparse production you feel like you’re having a personal conversation with HTDW in which he opens up about love, trust and commitment - the altered chorus recalls Sophie’s Bipp, while the rest of the song is an ethereal and lo-fi love affair.
Holiday Sidewinder (what a name) is the former lead singer of Aussie spooky indie pop outfit Bridezilla; she moved to London late last year to pursue a solo career, something that’s about to kick off with debut single Carousel. The song basically sounds like a carousel: a somewhat nostalgic but incredibly joyful ride on a pop carousel, a creature that jumps up and down right next to Lana Del Rey and Whinnie Williams. Fun fact: Sia used to babysit her (for real).
Joel Compass steps up the game with new single Forgive Me, a straight up big pop anthem. The production recalls Rudimental and Naughty Boy (except for the 0:33-0:35 beats, so very Jamie xx), which you can read as “huge hit potential” - it’s the first proper single leading up to the record due later this year. His vocal performance is strong and stands firm against the typically 2014 r&b dance pop kind of thing production - overall pretty great if you ask us.
Beach House return to their roots in Saturn Song, their contribution to Space Project, a compilation record that features songs built around recordings made in space by the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 space probes. While all of that sounds a bit futuristic, the track is everything but: classic Beach House, reminiscent of the gloomy tone they set on their self-titled debut. Other contributions come from the likes of The Antlers, Porcelain Raft and Youth Lagoon, with the entire compilation coming on April 19 via Lefse. Hear Saturn Song over at NPR or below. (picture)
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