Week Two Playlist Reviews

1.) Cashmere Cat - With Me Norwegian producer Cashmere Cat’s latest release begins with a mellow piano line, before sharp synth stabs, twinkling bells, blocky percussion and high-pitched vocal samples take the reins and lead the track on a bouncing and infectious four minute adventure that cannot fail to put a smile on your face. Charles Gillies

2.) Bombay Bicycle Club - Home By Now FreshAir.org.uk’s Album of the Week, BBC’s So Long, See You Tomorrow sees frontman Jack Steadman turn up his production credentials and gearing the North London quartet towards more beat-driven textures, as showcased perfectly on album cut ‘Home By Now’. Dilla-indebted and glossy, this track shows Bombay at their most rhythmically on point and head and shoulders above their fellow Nambucca alumni in invention. Emmett Cruddas

3.) Phantogram - Bill Murray Despite having little to do with the unimpeachable Groundhog Day star, his new single from dream-pop duo Phantogram figures the New York duo doing what they do best, with warm fuzzy synths, sadder-than-sad lyrics and a glockenspiel being the main ingredients to ‘Bill Murray’’s nicely-crafted sonic palate. Reliably well-produced, Phantogram look set to deliver once again – especially impressive in such a saturated indie-electro-pop landscape - in 2014 with 2nd LP Voices, and if this coupled with their recent spots all over the last Big Boi record are anything to go by, it ought to be a treat. EC

4.) LAW - Haters Edinburgh’s LAW recently released the striking and implausibly assured Haters and Gangsters EP for free on Soundcloud, featuring production by experimental trip-hop luminaries Young Fathers and a fine collection of immersive and sophisticated pop songs, with ‘Haters’’ Massive Attack-via-Why? Instrumental underwriting an astonishing croon and some MIA-esque bars. EC

5.) Wave Racer - Streamers Although Wave Racer has only three songs to his name, he’s definitely one of the most exciting up-and-coming dance producers right now. Rustie clearly has an influence on his style, as Streamers is a top-notch tune that effortlessly combines twinkly and sparkly keyboards, vocal chants and a bass synth lifted straight from the best 80s pop songs to dazzling effect. Patrick Cartlidge

6.) Lo-Fang - #88 Singer/producer Lo-Fang’s 4AD debut Blue Film is out in two weeks, and while he gears up for a massive tour supporting Lorde, the warm strings (both plucked and bowed) all over ‘#88’ and off-kilter analog synths are understandably garnering the LA-based artist an impressive deal of attention. EC

7.) Milky Chance - Flashed Junk Mind Fresh out of Germany, Milky Chance offer up an easygoing track aided by its addictively guitar heavy instrumental and wonderfully raspy vocals. Providing a worthy, head bobbing-inducing track to accompany you and your friends while you drive to the beach in your VW station wagon this summer. Dimitri Hadjichristou

8.) Timber Timbre - Hot Dreams Taylor Kirk’s haunting voice is certainly one of Canadian three-piece Timber Timbre’s main selling points: ‘Hot Dreams’ is a piece of eerie blue-eyed soul over some raw bluesy production ahead of their fifth LP that’s sure to be another reliably engaging and gothic chamber-folk for fans of Nick Cave or Grizzly Bear. EC

9.) Adult Jazz - Springful Taking cues from Dirty Projectors, English sophisticates Adult Jazz’ first single is a very impressive and coherent piece of experimental pop. The constantly-shifting moods and rhythms of ‘Springful’ point towards an exciting degree ambition in singer Harry Burgess, without relying on vocal affectations or quirks (Alt-J take note) to put down a track as imaginative as it is catchy. EC

10.) Joanna Gruesome - Madison Second single from the Cardiff-based indie-pop’s stunning debut LP Weird Sister. ‘Madison’ showcases the band’s restlessness, confidence and knack for putting one impossibly-perfect guitar hook on top of another, combining the best bits about Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine and Cap’n Jazz. Brilliantly subdued vocals, irresistible melodies and a really awesome guitar solo make ‘Madison’, one of last year’s best songs, hard to forget and even harder to ignore. EC

11.) Yung Lean - Kyoto The Sad Boys member’s most impressive offering to date, ‘Kyoto’, opens in a codeine-shrouded mist (produced by the impressive Yung Gud) with Lean’s computerised vocals and a haunting synth line emerging from the haze, before giving way to a fully formed trap beat complete with rolling snares, hi-hats, and a crawling low-end bass. Lean’s barely decipherable lyrics compliment the beat perfectly and the punch lines you are able to grab hold of are hilarious and ridiculous. Highlights include: ‘Pumpin RZA, eating pizza’ and ‘I’m war ho, I’m Warhol, I’m Wario when I’m in Mario Kart’. CG

12.) Howard Ivans - Red Face Boy Currently signed to the record label of supremely talented Matthew E. White, Howard Ivans showcases a promising classic R&B-tinged song with Red Face Boy. Tight and funky, it just begs you to slink on over to the nearest dancefloor and groove. So put on your dancing shoes and get on it.Richard Fitzpatrick

13.) Les Loups - Must Be Love Making good use of a cracking tune by Klique, this shimmering sunny track soon gets the Gallic treatment. Except this trio is from Germany, so who knows what happened there. Think Shalamar with 21st century production. RF

14.) Speedy Ortiz - American Horror The last Speedy Ortiz record was one of my favorites from last year and one of many great 90s alternate rock revival albums of 2013. If you are a fan of Sleater-Kinney, then you’ll love this new track the band’s new EP, Real Hair. The amazingly crunchy guitars and awesome vocals exhibited in this song are a fantastic introduction to Speedy Ortiz for new listeners and the rest of their work comes as highly recommended as this track PC

15.) St Vincent - Prince Johnny On a path of (re) self-discovery, musician extraordinaire St. Vincent as per usual wows us with her gorgeous vocals on this simple yet beautifully mellow track. Seemingly not up to par with the pop-infused Digital Witness, Annie Clark provides us with another glimpse into her “different” fourth studio album, St Vincent. We can only wait and see whether or not this leap of faith pays off. DH

Annie Clark’s quest to beguile and unnerve slightly continues. The latest cut to emerge from the hotly tipped eponymous 4th album makes good on the work laid down on Strange Mercy, sending out a ghostly choir backing and some oblique lyrics I can’t pretend I follow. RF

16.) JJ DOOM X BadBadNotGood - Guv’Nor While it’s no CS60 (BBNG’s last single), our favourite Canadian alternative jazz trio BadBadNotGood has successfully concocted an eerie track, riddled with dark narrative samples. Turning what once was rap god MF DOOM’s colorful collaboration into a mysterious zombie of a tune. DH

17.) Kelis - Jerk Ribs (Mount Kimbie Remix) Daft name aside, Mount Kimbie take this track (sadly not an ode to aforementioned food), and drop it in a murky digital sea. The end result is as far away from the Sitek-produced original as it gets, but does it differently enough to justify its existence. RF

18.) Actress - Rap The British minimal techno producer, Actress, returns this year with his fourth album Ghettoville, and the track ‘Rap’ is one of the more upbeat offerings, a short track that clocks in at two and a half minutes or so. ‘Rap’ is built round a pair of heavily distorted R&B vocal samples and a slow lo-fi rolling beat, with a shrouded sax sample entering into the mix towards the end of the song. Lovely stuff. CG

19.) The Notwist - Kong German indie rock mainstays and Sub Pop signees The Notwist return in 2014 with a UK tour and new record Close to the Glass. Upbeat, bright and well-produced with some nicely vague falsetto vocals, ‘Kong’ is a well—executed, jagged indie-pop track suggesting a fun new release from The Notwist. EC

20.) Thumpers - Galore Upcoming London-based pop duo Thumpers (one of them used to be in Pull Tiger Tail!!!) have been steadily gaining momentum and international acclaim for putting together catchy and insistent dance-pop tunes such as ‘Galore’, taken from their debut LP released this week. Fans of M83 and Grouplove will find lots to like here ahead of their inevitable soundtrack spots on the next series of Made in Chelsea. EC

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