Can you believe it’s been five years since the Canadian duo released their debut album? To mark the occasion, Purity Ring dropped this new song with Mike Oldfield bells and their trademark electro pop shades for a once-off single.
Susanne Sundfør & John Grant – Mountaineers
Norwegian Susanne Sundfør is a songwriter, producer and singer who has released five albums so far but who has recently taken a step up recently by signing to Bella Union for her sixth Music for People in Trouble in August 25th. Now, that label’s biggest name has contributed vocals to this song from the album and he contributes his deep baritone in reverb to a choral duet that builds into something much more forceful, swirling and unexpected. Sundfør plays The Sugar Club on Saturday October 7th.
Bullion – ‘Spin2Glory’
Uk producer Bullion dropped a new three-track EP recently but my highlight from it is the driving Lindstrom-esque electronic guitar and disco buzz of ‘Spin2Glory’.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – ‘An Intention’
Smith’s EARS album is my de facto ambient album to turn to to get work done to but that’s not a slight, it’s an effective backdrop for passive listening but there’s a lot to pay attention to as well. ‘An Intention’ is the first track from her followup –The Kid and continues her beguiling ambient electronic explorations.
Boy Harsher – ‘Motion’
A dark slice of hypnotic Factory Floor-esque coldwave from Massachusetts duo.
Palms Trax – ‘Honey Lemongina’
The fourth release in Dekmantel Record’s 10th anniversary celebratory EPs features this gem.
Skott – ‘Mermaid’
After a run of great singles, the Swedish artist Skott slows things down for a modern pop ballad.
Body&Soul has added some names to the festival for June 23 – 25 2017 in Ballinlough Castle, Co. Westmeath.
Joining the main lineup today is: Bonobo, Talos, Skott, DJ Bambii, New Jackson.
The Bulmers Lounge will host Stephen James Smith, RED PILL Poetry Collective, John Cummins, The Tullamore Rhymers Club, Moth & Butterfly, and MissElayneous & DJ FunkTom, The Jimmy Cake, Fixity, Cranky Face, Percolator, The Ocelots, SYLK, Character Development Cypher, Liam & Hajime with Stephen Heffernan, and The Bonny Men.
Theatrical performances: Waterford playwright Conor Clancy’s ‘Will It Fit In A Van?’ about a poorly run drug distribution in a small fictional town delves into kidnappings, murder, biscuits, beloved horses, the clergy and a very important chipper!; while ‘Fizzy Drinks with Two Straws’, a play for anyone who has ever been told “you’re too young to understand”, comes to Body&Soul from Scene & Heard Festival and Theatre Upstairs.
Wonderlust’s line-up of live music, performance, conversations, talks and workshops in the walled garden will include Katie Kim and Crash Ensemble, while Women on Walls brings its movement to Ballinlough where Accenture’s Eithne Harley, Royal Irish Academy’s Pauric Dempsey and TCD’s Professor Lydia Lynch will discuss how underrepresentation of women in the RIA’s official portraits led them to take positive action and commission several female portraits now on permanent display at Academy House.
new to this year: The Library of Progress is a positive subversion of The Library of Congress, the United States’ repository of some of humanity’s greatest works and the largest library in the world. Highlights include Beats and Rhymes with Emmet Kirwan, a blitz of spoken word and hip hop performances and FACTION, hard-hitting political debate with Blindboy BoatClub of Rubberbandits.
A followup to in the form of the Paradise EP is coming out on March 17th via Rough Trade.
The artist formerly known as Antony and The Johnsons, will release six songs as the Paradise EP which were made during Hopelessness, ANOHNI’s full length album with Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke.
The title song is a booming production with synths that sound like racing cars. ANOHNI addresses the issues of the day, as on the album, but with an increased alarm and urgency. More.
Skott – ‘Glitter & Gloss’
One of my 17 artists for 2017 follows up her Eurosonic buzz with a new single of superb booming Scandinavian pop music. Skott will feature at SXSW, The Great Escape and has some European tour dates upcoming including 7th March at Omeara, London.
Rosie Carney – ‘Awake Me’
The Donegal singer-songwriter Rosie Carney recently shared her experiences with her mental health brought on by sexual assaults and bullying as a teen. That the 19-year-old is able to turn such emotionally fraught experiences into such beautiful art, that can help heal others is heartening.
“I’ve been a fool for more than half of my life / I’ve tried to hide” she sings and after knowing her story, those words resonante with a large impact. ‘Awake Me’ is an honest song, a beautiful song of expressive atmospheric folk which feels like the lifting of a fog, for its author.
A few years back (2013 to be precise) the Icelandic singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ásgeir melted some ice-cold hearts with his debut album, a translated-into-English version of an Icelandic hit (10% of the population owned his album Dyrd i daudathogn and he holds the title of the fastest selling Icelandic debut of all-time).
That album and its standout ‘Kings and Cross’ had a hushed Bon Iver-style lushness to it.
Here we are four years later. Ásgeir release his second album Afterglow on May 5 via One Little Indian/Columbia Records.
‘Unbound’ is a fresh sound for the singer focusing on a twisting and processed vocal like James Blake that has emotion but also a touch of the pop magic that Jack Garrett is capable of. In the way that it mixes electronics and organic instruments, it’s very much in the vein of Bon Iver’s 22 A Million.
Since then, the former college roomies have been writing, recording and playing live, and now there is a debut album called Young to be released on Arts & Crafts label (home to Broken Social Scene among others) on April 21st.
‘Hold Me Close’ is the lead single from the album which features co-produced by Nicolas Vernhes (The War On Drugs, Dirty Projectors) and Autre Ne Veut. It’s a song that gets to the essence of their appeal, built on a close harmonic kinship and imaginative arrangements.
Now, he has gone straight to the source for the latest song from his just-announced debut album Drunk by enlisting Michael ‘Doobie Brothers’ McDonald and Kenny ‘Footloose’ Loggins for ‘Show You The Way’.
Now we’ve kicked 2016 to the curb, it’s time to look forward.
January is all about freshness, so here are 20 acts from around the globe who I reckon you’ll be hearing much more of this year. Some will be familiar to you but I expect to make an even bigger splash and some, I bet are likely to be appreciated by a lot more people by the year’s end. That was the criteria. I avoided any of the obvious ones you’ve seen elsewhere especially the BBC Sound of 2017 poll.
There are also extended playlists featuring the pick of those acts and more (JFDR, Jorja Smith, Declan McKenna, Louis Berry, ABRA, Jamilia Woods, Maggie Rogers, Pumarosa among them) on Soundcloud and Spotify.
A regular feature on Nialler9, Hare Squead spent the year building their fanbase in the UK by supporting Dua Lipa and dropping a series of singles and an EP on Columbia Records that suggested that Tony Konstone, E-Knock and singer Jessy Rose’s blend of soul, R&B, rap and pop could cross the Atlantic this year if all goes well.
Four songs deep and Scandinavian artist Skott (who apparently “grew up in a remote small town forest commune run by ‘outcast’ folk musicians”) has already received some worthy plaudits – Annie Mac’s Hottest Record In The World, approval from Lorde, plays on Zane Lowe’s Beats show and topping the Hype Machine’s most blogged chart (and featured in their end of year list)
Her songs so far are bright pop nuggets from the sweet melody of ‘Porcelain’ to orchestral finger-clicking ballad ‘Wolf’ and the whistle-assisted electronic pop of ‘Lack Of Emotion’.
Idaho-born musician Jens Kuross studied Jazz at Berklee college in Boston but last year begun releasing music under his own name on the London-based Aesop label. Now based in LA, Kuross’ six tracks last year were songs of emotion, depth, minimalism and confident songwriting, taking on a singing style that gets more affecting as it opens up, with touches of Radiohead and minimalist songwriters.
UK siblings reaching out with new pop tones.
Cotswold brother and sister Rob and Katy Pearson AKA Ardyn appeared with the smart indie pop song ‘Over The River’, a song close to London Grammar in mood. An EP followed, The Valley, which featured production by James Ford (Simian Mobile Disco, Arctic Monkeys). More of the EP’s arched celestial pop overtones would be welcome in 2017. If you’re in London next week, they play The Line Of Best Fit’s Five Day Forecast.
Dublin singer-songwriter has reached far in a short time.
For a new artist, having your second EP racking up over 1 million streams in your first year is quite an achievement. But Ailbhe Reddy has found fans wherever she has gone – whether its at festivals like Electric Picnic, Other Voices and Body & Soul among them. As she has grown in consciousness, so too has her craft and her live set finds her flanked by a full-band adding depth to already substantial songs. You may have heard her song ‘Seasonal’ in the RTÉ show Striking Out – courtesy of myself and Avant Music Port too.
2017 sees Ailbhe step it up into the wider world, starting with a new single ‘Relent’ and two gigs – The Servant Jazz Quarters in London on 15th February and The Sugar Club in Dublin on 22nd February.
Hear her new song below which Ailbhe says:
‘Relent’ is about looking back on a soured relationship & realising how it could have been, seeing the lessons and my own shortcomings as part of the story. It’s about the guilt that forms part of the natural retrospection on a once loving relationship. Too often these songs can be purely accusatory, whereas I’ve tried to explore the reality that there are two sides to every story and each party has their own narrative as they see it. The inspiration was these feelings and the song was written as an attempt to express this and move forward from it. To sweeten what has soured and move on without guilt”
Two French men make up the duo Her, making sensually suggestive R&B pop songs with electronic undertones – reminscent of Rhye with more body (ahem). They’ve had a few memorable songs already in the form of ‘Quite Like’, ‘Five Minutes’ and their most recent single ‘Queens’ featuring Zefire. They’re now signed to Island Records and kick off their year at Eurosonic next week. A debut album is forthcoming.
Skott is a new artist out of Scandinavia (who apparently “grew up in a remote small town forest commune run by ‘outcast’ folk musicians”) whose debut single ‘Porcelain’ was featured as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record In The World and was approved by Lorde. Grand job.
Her second single, ‘Wolf’ is a finger-clicking-assisted composition of bright pop proportions with orchestral maneuvers intact. The song references that forest she grew up in.
“Sometimes you can’t control what you feel – no matter how we change ourselves on the surface, there’s an instinct inside of us we can’t ignore. ‘Wolf’ is about not giving up on what your heart truly desires. “I see the woods where I grew up when I hear the song. I recall something pure, natural and wild, it makes me feel empowered in some way.”