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Now Hear This: 22/12/13

We’re not really about lists. We like longform interviews and in-depth analysis; wordy think-pieces and lengthy reports. But that’s partly because we’re music-loving writers and there’s nothing we love more than the sound of a keyboard clacking satisfyingly with the sound of our own thoughts. Hey, at least we’re honest. We also know that not everyone that reads the site is up for 1200 meaty words on an artist’s development; some of you are here to get a quick bite of musical brilliance, so we’ve decided to institute a new weekly feature: Now Hear This. Harking back to TV’s Top of the Pops, we’re pulling together a list of tracks that we think are worthy of your time, or have received a terrifying amount of airplay on our office stereo. Old hits, fresh tracks, must-see-videos and obscure classics: Now Hear This is where we offer up our tunes of the week. We hope you enjoy it…

[Words: Alex Cull (AC), Seb Law (SL), Alex Lee Thomson (ALT).]

Sam Smith – ‘Nirvana’ (Until the Ribbon Breaks Re-Imagination)

On his reworking of ‘Nirvana’, former PlanetNotion BOTW, Wales-via-Brooklyn producer Until the Ribbon Breaks, takes BRITs Critics’ Choice winner Sam Smith into his woozy, weary-eyed world and refuses to let him leave; allowing his lovelorn echoes to ripple upwards like steam from downtown drains.  - AC

Tears for Fears – ‘My Girls’

If you’d said that Animal Collective had covered Tears for Fears I’d call that a pretty good day, but the other way round… well, that’s ‘dear diary’ time. Y’know what, they don’t quite own it, but they do a pretty good job of giving the Merriweather Post Pavilion tune a slanty 80s feel. Leaving the vocals pretty much as was, it’s the blaring, Christmassy whistles and whoops behind it which make it worth a few listens. Seeing as Gary Jules had an Xmas number one with a TFF song a few years back, maybe this is their retribution. – ALT

Angel Haze – ‘A Tribe Called Red’

In the wake of Hazegate this week, the only full song left online from Angel Haze’s much-anticipated debut album proper Dirty Gold - now scheduled for a December 30th release – is ‘A Tribe Called Red’ and it’s well deserving of that standalone status. It’s every bit as F-I-E-R-C-E as we’ve come to expect from Haze, though it does seem far more club-friendly than much of her output to date. - AC

Ruth Koleva – ‘What Am I Suppose To’

Deliciously beautiful fusion of jazz and old-school neo-soul. Could be awful, but something about the irregular time signatures keeps it in my ears. A marmite track, fo sho. – SL

Disclosure – ‘Help Me Lose My Mind’ (SOHN Remix)

This one had winner written over it from day one. 2013 has been a great year for both the Brothers Lawrence and Viennese producer/songwriter extraordinaire SOHN, so as one last brilliant sign-off, the two – and London Grammar’s Hannah Reid – collide in gasp-inducing fashion. It’s truly the stuff of magic.- AC

Cosmo Sheldrake & Jana Eidse – ‘I Threw a Rock into the Sea’

I saw Cosmo Sheldrake for the first time this year at Southsea Fest, falling utterly in love with his music I was surprised how fun it all was. On record this seems quite gloomsome, but there’s an anarchy to what Sheldrake does, a kind of Bo Burnham school of well-honed chaos that makes it wholly convincing. Eyes on him in 2014, yo. – ALT

Sisyphus – ‘Calm It Down’

‘Calm It Down’ effortlessly exudes coolness; its impeccable taste is there for all to see. But then again, what more would you expect from a trio made up of Sufjan Stevens, Son Lux and Serengeti. If their forthcoming self-titled debut album is anything as alluring as this, we could be in for something very, very special indeed.-AC

Shit Robot feat. Reggie Watts – ‘We Got a Love’

It’s rave o’clock with this one. Probably soundtracking your New Years’ Day party at East Bloc… – SL

Tycho – ‘Awake’

With this week’s announcement of Tycho’s forthcoming fourth album, Awake, dropping in March, we’ve found ourselves returning to the record’s already-unveiled title track. It’s quite possibly the most dynamic we’ve ever heard the Californian producer sound; rich in texture and emotion without ever crossing the line into instrumental melodrama gone mad.- AC

Hibou – ‘Hide Away’

When we introduced you to Hibou earlier this year, we found ourselves swept up in the Seattle musician’s kraut-laced indie daze. On the basis of new cut ‘Hide Away’, we were right to be so swoonful. It’s another nonchalantly romantic gem in which jangling guitars dangle like flickering lights over far-stretching autobahns.- AC

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