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Black Madonna – ‘He is the Voice I Hear’

For the first top new song to hear this year, this is going to be hard to beat. The Black Madonna is a Chicago DJ and producer, and a former booker at Smart Bar. She finished 2016 topping the DJ polls and 2017 looks set to be even bigger.Starting with music that is bigger in scope than most.

‘He is the Voice That I Hear’ is a song recorded with an ensemble of live musicians and is a joyous 10 minutes of music that draws from house, disco and gospel in its creation – a stirring stringed dancefloor epic. It was originally released in short-supply vinyl in November but was released digitally today.


The xx – ‘Say Something Loving’

The new album from the xx, I See You, drops on Friday and based off ‘On Hold’ and the newest track ‘Say Something Loving’, the London trio are embracing grander emotions and Jamie’s production. The central need for affection and acceptance is fastened in is their M.O.


Julie Byrne – ‘I Live Now As A Singer’

The New-York singer-songwriter Julie Byrne is known for ethereal folk music and her new second album Not Even Happiness arrives on Friday. The last track on the album, ‘I Live Now As A Singer’ eschewing her normal guitar style, presents a moving electro-leaning Twin Peaksian ballad, reminscent of Rhye and Majikal Cloudz.


Dirty Projectors -‘Little Bubble’

Dirty Projectors’ new material sounds like its embracing love, loss and new textures. ‘Keep My Name’, the first song from them in a while, gave us warbled bruised music.

‘Little Bubble’ is similarly hurt but more directly connected to the heart in its tones and notions. Things fall apart, bubbles burst, healing is possible? The combination of Rhodes piano, strings, digitally-skewed drums and acoustic guitar suggest its possible, and Longstreth’s “we had our own bubble / for a while.” is resigned but hopeful.

Album details are yet to be revealed.


Alexandria – ‘Walk Away’

Released this past weekend, the Atlanta singer’s 15-track album Cut For Cloth should find listeners in fans of Kelela and Solange. ‘Walk Away’ is an early highlight.


Ganiyu TLG – ‘SHIVERS’ ft HUVA

The Dublin beatmaker Plant Food dropped a fine EP of Brainfeeder-style beats late last year, that suggests a talent yet to be fully explored.

Meanwhile, Ganiyu TLG is an Athy, Kildare-based emcee and member of MASSAI313 hip-hop society whose music has moved between rap, grime, electronic and dance music, trying out different styles (more heard below) and an EP called 21st Century Black.

‘Shivers’ the newest collaboration between them, has a grime lean and features ‘Huva’ also on the cut. Plant Food’s production is creepy like droplets of water.

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SOHN – ‘Hard Liquor’

Vienna producer and musicians Sohn has had more success producing for others so it’s nice to hear something substantial again coming under his own name. ‘Hard Liquor’ is the latest single from the forthcoming Rennen LP next week on 4AD, his second Sohn LP and the song is an electro-beating reintroduction.

My baby don’t need a song / My baby won’t sing along / She don’t need my muscle cause her liquor strong

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Posted on January 9th, 2017

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The Lake District duo of Aquilo are creating music that matches the vistas of their surrounding countryside: majestic and expansive. Tom and Ben’s self-titled EP early this year established the modus operandi, the yearning emotive rich and widescreen ballads.

‘Human’, a new track from their December EP of the same name, has all of that in spades and more – it’s encapsulated in the best song the pair have made. Sure, it comes across as a London Grammar-style posh soulful pop track but it could also break hearts. The song was produced by Sohn who has definitely helped distil their appeal.

Posted on October 30th, 2014

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The chart:

  1. Little Dragon – ‘Paris’
  2. Todd Terje – ‘Delorean Dynamite’
  3. Ben Khan – ‘Savage’
  4. Blood Orange – ‘Uncle Ace’ (Kindness remix feat Robert Owens)
  5. Ratking – ‘Canal’
  6. Lykke Li – ‘No Rest For The Wicked’
  7. TALA – ‘Serbia’
  8. Sylvan Esso – ‘Play It Right’
  9. Kelis – ‘Runnin’ (Machinedrum remix)
  10. Hundred Waters – ‘Xtalk’
  11. Niia – ‘Simple Life’
  12. MNEK – ‘Every Little Word’
  13. Lone – ‘2 Is 8’
  14. Jamie xx – ‘Girl’
  15. Taylor McFerrin – ‘The Antidote’
  16. SZA feat. Chance The Rapper – ‘Child’s Play’
  17. Dat Oven – ‘Icy Lake’
  18. Glass Animals – ‘Pools’
  19. SOHN – ‘Artifice’
  20. Daphni and Owen Pallett – ‘Julia’
  21. Imploded View – ‘Withering Lights’
  22. X Priest X – ‘Isn’t It So’
  23. Fatima Al Qadiri – ‘Szechuan’
  24. Cornerboy Muzik – ‘Pull Up’
  25. William Onyeabor vs. Hot Chip – ‘Atomic Bomb’
  26. Go Wolf – ‘One More Night’
  27. Hannah Diamond – ‘Attachment’
  28. Kelela x Tink – ‘Want It’
  29. Twin Shadow – ‘To The Top’
  30. Salva – ‘Drop That Bitch’ feat. Schoolboy Q, Kurupt..

Posted on May 1st, 2014


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London singer Kwabs (ugh, that name) stood out with his deep voice on last year’s neo-electronic soul track ‘Spirit Fades’.

Of late, he’s been working with SOHN on production duties and tracks featured on the Wrong Or Right EP. For the new EP, Pray For Love, out on May 20th, Plan B takes on production duties for the title track while SOHN (whose own debut album Tremors came out last week) returns for Kwabs’ most direct track yet ‘Something Right’.

Posted on April 14th, 2014

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Over the last two years we’ve been making many music videos, all the while constantly pushing ourselves to improve and expand our skill-set while experimenting with both abstract and narrative forms. We’ve had great success working with many amazing artists and music labels. But this year I found out just how powerful music videos can be.

During the summer I discovered Hozier, an incredible small artist from Wicklow with 400 likes on his Facebook page. I posted about him on Twitter and within minutes got an email from his label Rubyworks asking to do a video. We worked through ideas with Andrew (Hozier) and came up with the concept. The budget was small but we knew the track and the idea we had was very powerful. Using three incredible actors and an amazing team we rented a camera and shot this guerilla-style in Cork in three days in a number of locations. We edited it in two days and it was online with 50,000 hits a day later. Two months later it has over a million hits, Hozier has signed with Island and Columbia and is selling out every venue he plays.

That video has also been a huge success for us, we now have director representation and are pitching on bigger videos and are pushing forward to do adverts and films. It has really opened up so many doors. All of this came from one really strong idea, an amazing song and a well-executed video.

It’s a perfect example of how much on an impact a strong music video can have. Budgets are obviously helpful but are absolutely nothing without a strong idea. Obviously not all videos will go viral but it’s important for your video to properly represent your sound and your brand.

Below are 10 of my favourite videos of the year. They are an eclectic mixture of videos showcasing a range of different styles, budgets, narratives and scale. I believe they showcase the endless possibilities there are with music video.

10. SOHN – ‘Bloodflows’

Director: Christian Pitsch

SOHN is one of the success stories of the year. I love the simplicity of this video and how it captures his style and music perfectly. If you look through his artwork the video ties in so nicely with it all. It is so important to have a visual style running through everything that you do.

9. Same Feet – ‘Rivers’

Director: Oskar Wrangö

A stunning beautiful and simple concept executed with incredible skill. The grade on this is special.

8. Jon Hopkins – ‘Collider’

Director: Tom Haines

Undoubtedly one of the most intense videos I’ve ever seen. It’s such a clever concept which matches the pace and the intensity of the track perfectly. The performance by the dancer is incredible and choreography and cuts are perfect. I love the colour change when it cuts from that indoor red to the wintery contrasting colours of outdoors.

7. The Lumineers – ‘Stubborn Love’

Director: Isaac Ravishankara

Since the Hozier video we have been asked to pitch on bigger videos for more pop based stuff. I’ve never done anything like this before and I see it as a great challenge to us. I’ve watched many pop videos in the last few months and this video really stands out, such a simple but powerful concept done so so well.

6. Superhumanoids – ‘So Strange’

Director: David Altobelli & Tyler Cohen

David Altobelli is one of my favourite directors. It was refreshing to hear that he wanted to change up his style and push himself with this video. To hear people like David say they want to push themselves to learn new styles is quite inspirational. Him wanting to co-direct with Tyler so to learn more is also so admirable. It’s an incredible and rewarding attitude to have. With this video his style is more gritty, and the narrative is so interesting and different. A crazy concept pulled off so well. Props also go to Tyler also.

5. Tycho – ‘Ascension’

Directed by: Charles Bergquist

This video manages to capture Tycho’s artwork perfectly.
Similar in that sense to the SOHN video, it stresses the importance of keeping your bands visual style running through everything you do.

4. FKA twigs – ‘Papi Pacify’ / ‘Water Me’

Directed by: FKA twigs & Tom & Jesse Kanda

I tried not pick the same videos as Nialler but these just had to go in. They are a work of art, a painting in a video and a genius example of how effective something so simple can be. Videos and concepts like this can be very difficult to come up with but when done right they can be really special. It also shows that not every video has to be a big production, it can be something so simple and yet very intriguing. They also are an amazing example of creating a strong visual identity.

3. London Grammar – ‘Strong’

Directed by: Sam Brown

This is one of the most visually stunning and unique videos of the year. Sam managed to wrap such a beautiful metaphor and story into such a breathtaking visual. Stunning work.

2. Villagers – ‘The Waves’ (Mmoths Remix)

Directed by: Shorokh

This video is one of my favourite videos of the year. Mmoth’s music is so driven my creating that ethereally spacious dusky atmosphere and this video captures that vibe so exquisitely well. I can get lost in this video. It shows how beautiful things can be done on a low budget and again captures Mmoths vibe perfectly.

1. Arcade Fire – ‘Afterlife’

Director: Emily Kai Bock

My favourite video of the year. Undoubtedly the biggest budget of the list, the camera they used was the same camera used to shoot The Dark Knight. But massive budgets aside this video is an incredibly well-told narrative video. So beautifully shot and directed. I also love the use of sound at the start of the video, it adds an extra cinematic level to the piece. Something that I notice in a few directors, all of which I can tell are itching to expand into short/feature films soon. Narrative videos like this which tell a powerful story in a challenging way, to me are the most special kind of music video. It’s filmmaking in it’s most pure form. And it’s something that I want to push myself further at in the future.

Posted on December 19th, 2013


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New songs you should hear this week…

This week’s instalment of new music debuted/heard in the last week features Twin Shadow’s stonking new track from GTA V, NEW CHROMEO EVERYBODY, UK acts Mt. Wolf and Wolf Alice who are obviously easy to confuse, SOHN’s most James Blake-esque track yet ‘Lesson’, boom-bap rock from Sleigh Bells, smoothness from Woman’s Hour as well as Azealia Banks and Four Tet.

There’s also collaborations from Pusha T / Kendrick Lamar, Active Child / Mykki Ekko, a track from M83 member Morgan Kibby’s White Sea and a Bodhi dancefloor rework of Sampha. No Drake doe.

Posted on September 17th, 2013

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He goes by the name of SOHN (pronounced Sonn). His track ‘The Wheel’  was enough to set things in motion (SORRY EVERYONE I COULDN’T HELP IT) with its percussive electronic production and SOHN’s delicate vocals. The Vienna-based London musician then picked up plaudits at SXSW this year and he’s down on the Longitude lineup as, probably, a result. ‘Bloodflows’ keeps up the high-quality. The heartfelt song is released on a 12″ on 4AD in June and the video, by Christian Pitschl is an only gorgeous clip of a lone woman, actress Nadja Langer in various shots taken in the Bavarian Alps between Germany and Austria.


Posted on April 23rd, 2013


Every Friday, four new music picks from music blogs worldwide are published as part of my Day & Night pages. Follow Day & Night on Twitter or Facebook. The magazine is out today in print with every copy of the Irish Independent so pick it up to see my full internet-heavy section as well as the rest of the mag.


Vienna-born London producer’s gentle and hazy electronic and vocal compositions went wild on music blogs in the last week. Much of the praise is centered on the click-clacking enterprising new EP track The Wheel.


Posted on October 5th, 2012

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