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After an extended break from releasing music, Danish singer-songwriter Coco O. has returned to embark on a new two-track project. Previously known for her work with electronic outfit Quadron, her new solo singles “Bled For You” and “A Minor Detail” are united under the project title “Dolceaqua”, and thematically revolve around heartbreak. Featuring mellow, acoustic guitar accompanied by rich, cinematic strings, the songs are carried by her strong and sincere vocals; her lyrics are introspective and poetic, delivered over rhythms infused with the laid-back softness of Bossa Nova, a departure from her previous collaborative work with producer Robin Hannibal.
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Despite not having a single official record released, the excitement around artist Unknown T has been bubbling away for months now. Finally, this week he released his long-awaited debut track ‘Homerton B’, sending ripples through the UK drill scene just in time for carnival season. First heard previewed on one of the infamous DJ Tim Westwood’s legendary Crib Sessions, the track sees the east London rapper shelling ice-cold flows in his distinctive, instantly recognisable deep voice, as his memorable chorus adds an unexpected danceable energy to the track. Drill is arguably Britain’s most controversial genre of the moment, with many artists making headlines for criminal activity and police even going as far as to block tracks from YouTube and ban acts from recording or performing, but Unknown T draws the focus back to the musicality as his booming melodic delivery and crystal clear enunciation inject a startling fresh energy, illustrating the enduring power of innovation.
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Mumbai-based live electronic act Madboy/Mink are known for their trademark electro-funk sound and high-energy theatrical performances. Delivering a cosmic disco sound with a sonic palette inspired by vivid synthesizers, their third EP ‘Persons. Elastic. Superior. Fantastic’ is a post-punk-infused psychedelic journey that is warm, lush and vibrant, and introduces the audience to a new side of the duo’s personalities. Both members hail from film backgrounds and share a keen interest in retro-futurism (a fictionality of how people in the past envisaged the future); as such, the EP’s standout track ‘Laika’ is a direct reference to the first dog to be launched into space, orbiting the earth in 1957. Contrasting with their previous louder, more club-oriented work, this latest project has an introspective and funky approach reminiscent of Daft Punk, making for a smooth listen whilst also carrying a strong political message about global issues, driven by the theme of space exploration and a perspective on the insignificance of life in the larger scheme of things.
Olympia is an enigmatic R&B/soul artist based in the Philippines. Born Anica Feliciano, she’s fast become one of Manila’s best kept secrets and has already worked with a number of notable artists within the Filipino scene, featuring on records from the likes of CRWN, Pamcy, Aries and more. ‘You’, the first single off the artist’s upcoming debut solo album, is a smooth melodic track filled with mellifluous tones reminiscent of laid-back afternoons.
Swedish MC Silvana Imam linked up with two of the hottest names in the country’s hip-hop scene, Fricky and Khan-Ji, for a brand new 2-track release. First track ‘4 h’ is a slow, grooving love song; Khan-Ji sings with his distinctive deep, warbled voice ‘4 timmar, jag och du baby’ (‘4 hours, you and I baby’) over a bashment-infused rhythm, as Imam explains her love for her partner and Fricky completes the song with his sweet auto-tuned vocals. The mix between her direct rap delivery with Fricky’s piercing vocals combines again on smooth pop-trap effort ‘Ta Hand Om Dig’ (which means ‘Take Care Of You’), with the duo expressing their responsibility to be there for their loved ones. Imam’s ability to channel true emotions into her music and this collaboration’s careful blend of rap and melody has resulted in a pair of slick late summer jams.
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‘Léticia’ finds Jazzy Bazz at his most romantic. The Parisian lyricist makes a declaration of unrequited love to the apple of his eye on this light-hearted serenade, poetically expressing his helplessly obsessive desire for a woman who does not seem interested in his advances. After long months of silence, the rapper from the French capital’s 19th arrondissement will be back with his highly anticipated sophomore album “Nuit”, releasing September 7th.
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SUMIN defines versatility. As a producer, creative director and singer-songwriter, the Seoul based artist’s talent was fostered under the care of her piano teacher mother, and music became the focus of her life. After years of successful projects in the K-pop scene, this year she finally released her first studio album ‘Your Home’, a diverse project filled with multi-faceted songs that express her perspective on love. Under this romantic theme, factors like affection, anger, difference, and sensuality are portrayed through the different styles & genres that represent each emotion at its best, with blasts of 80’s synthpop, R&B and house. The title track ‘너네 집(Your home)’ featuring guest vocals from Xin Seha, creates a fantastic feeling of dazzling adoration as synthesized dream-like melodies flow through a pulsating beat.
One of the most talked about bands to appear on Brazil’s indie rock scene, Carne Doce hail from Goiás, a state traditionally famous for country musical acts but that has been breathing new life into the indie rock landscape in recent years with the emergence of bands like Boogarin. Carne Doce were founded 5 years ago by the couple Salma Jô (singer) and Macloys Aquino (guitar), creating an outlet where they could talk about their love and relationship in a frank and straightforward way with a refreshingly naturalistic perspective on sex, love and other drugs. The single ‘Amor Distrai (Durin)’, from the band’s newly released third album ‘Tônus’, is a perfect example of a passionate night between two lovers; a smooth, steady tune with honest lyrics that go straight to the point of the singer’s desires and wishes.
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An ensemble of woodwind instrumentation and beatboxed rhythms distinguish the sound of ‘Sistema’, a four track EP released last year by Eric Mandarina. An experienced musician, actor and all-round entertainer, since 2004 he has been studying self-taught percussion, classical guitar and acoustic drums. His latest proposal is a journey that mixes elements of dub and reggae with analogue house bass and funk-infused drum pulses, as lyrics loaded with mundane questions seek to demonstrate the systematic operations that we oppose.
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On her debut full-length album ‘Devotion’, Tirzah establishes herself as one of the UK’s most intriguing artists. Entirely produced by the esteemed underground producer Mica Levi (aka Micachu), the record builds on Tirzah’s previous dance-infused releases by introducing elements of contemporary alternative RnB, creating a distinctive other-worldly atmosphere through warped samples and looped percussion led by her husky vocals. Her distinctive candid delivery is at once warm and mysterious, driving each track as her melodies are pitched up, multiplied and twisted to create a sound that is truly original in its tripped-out, ethereal intimacy. This graceful electronic sound is highlighted on lead singles ‘Gladly’ and ‘Affection’, but each of the 11 tracks here introduces a fresh dynamic, resulting in a record of genuine depth that showcases the 30-year-old’s versatility and natural chemistry with long-time friend and collaborator Levi.
Rotation combines with fellow member of Sudanese collective nuslang. on banger ‘Affin Affin’. The track adopts a ‘trap-zanig’ style, fusing Sudani instruments with contemporary hip-hop to inject a refreshing dynamic energy. Driven by Rotation’s unique flow and a spine-chilling guitar solo by producer WillyWill, “Affin Affin” is a powerful example of the strength of the East African country’s vibrant rap scene, incorporating Western influences to create new original gems.
Following in the lineage of the city’s rich modern musical history, Detroit has introduced another talented mind in Choker. Last year, his self-produced debut album ‘Peak’ received acclaim for uncannily evoking sounds of Frank Ocean, yet still crafting his own individual sound. His follow-up project ‘Honeybloom’ released this month, creates a unique ethereal atmosphere through its experimental approach and depth, with beautifully expressive vocals driving unpredictable, unconventional melodies. Choker is a truly multi-faceted artist dedicated to pushing boundaries while still remaining accessible through his meaningful lyricism.
Performing under the stage name LONER, Lean Ordinario is an independent Filipino artist with an intriguing sound and a promising future. His recent single ‘autopilot’ evokes a darker mood fit for cold nights of solitude, with dreamlike tinkling pianos and sparse percussion taking a different path from his usual indie/neo-punk rock sound. The track builds the excitement for his LP entitled ‘no fidelity’, coming in the near future.
Paris’ Guizmo is a complex figure, with a personal life troubled with self-destructive tendencies and struggles with vice and addiction. In his music he painfully describes his experiences in this dark environment and his slow journey to redemption, revisiting the iconic Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin classic “Je t’aime… Moi non plus” as he explains to his lover how tortured he is and warns her to stay away from him.
Eritrea-born, Amsterdam-based RIMON is a multi-faceted artist with a bright future ahead. The 20-year-old announced herself on the scene in the last few months, capturing her audience by releasing three diverse singles with accompanying visuals, highlighting her versatility in harnessing a range of musical styles. “Realize”, the last in this trilogy of releases, is a vibrant, melodic bashment-infused tune driven by RIMON’s husky, emotive vocals, providing the perfect energy to soundtrack the end of the long hot summer.
Paloalto takes his name from the city in California’s San Francisco Bay Area where the veteran rapper used to live when he was young. After moving back to Korea, he became a founder of Hi-Lite Records, the heavyweight hip-hop label that has been so influential in the country’s scene over the last decade. His reflective messages are delivered in a baritone voice which embodies the depth of his music, built by sincere experience and growth over his lengthy career. Paloalto demonstrates his technical ability and mastery of flow on ‘Joy’, the first track of his newly-released album ‘Summer Grooves’, a laid-back summer anthem with an uplifting vocal melody courtesy of guest Korean American singer-songwriter Ted Park.
Indie-pop duo Parekh & Singh are bringing a refreshing, dynamic energy to India’s buzzing music scene. With dreamer Nischay Parekh driving the melodies, singing and playing guitar, keyboards and synths and the more grounded, logical Jivraj Singh handling percussion and FX, they combine to conjure glowing tracks of cosmic pop that shimmer like an Indian sunset. With vibrant synth lines, stripped-down drum grooves and pop hooks, the duo establishes the addition of soul to their music to create their effortlessly crisp, neo-psychedelic sound. This year they re-released their breakthrough 2016 debut album Oceans as a deluxe version with three new ‘Dream Levels’ versions of standout tracks from the record. From the infectious, melodic opener ‘I love you Baby, I love you Doll’, the music charts the agony and ecstasy of uncertain young love, portrayed in Wes Anderson-inspired visuals that depict them working in a hotel dressed up in vivid tailored suits. Together, they represent India’s cosmopolitan youth, incoporating western influences into their rich cultural heritage; the dreamlike quality of their music and videos is firmly rooted in their hometown of Kolkata, a city frozen in time after decades of communist rule.
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Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins announced his new album by sharing powerful new banger ‘Bruce Banner’. The 27-year-old flexes his lyrical muscle as he unleashes his inner Hulk, channeling his aggression into a dense, intricate flow spat over a menacing instrumental from producers NEZ and RIO. A track packed with endless quotable bars, his declaration that “honestly, can’t nobody come for me except Kendrick” has already created a significant buzz, and will only heighten the anticipation for the release of his sophomore LP ‘Pieces Of Man’ this coming autumn.
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MaMan’s triple-threat ability to sing, rap, and produce with equal strength mark him as one of the most notable talents to come out of Sudan in recent years. Entitled after the year of his birth, his latest album “1991” aptly represents the struggle of a young Sudanese creative fighting their way through the country’s economic and socio-political strife, a scenario that many of the marginalised young generation can relate to. Sonically, “1991” boasts genre-fusing electronic beats and diverse hip-hop flows, running the gamut of emotions as the mood shifts from uplifting positivity to brooding introspection, tied together by dark, swirling production.
Tinyman continues to build the momentum with the dynamic video for his banger the ‘The Mountains’. The South London rapper flows effortlessly over Subcultures’s bouncing production for an infectious headknocker, as the visuals depict the ORPHGANG collective member exploring tropical climes. Moreover, the video’s outro showcases this artists versatility as he switches up the style, crooning soulfully over a slow acoustic guitar accompaniment.