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Now Hear This: 11/01/14

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), James Embiricos (JE), Seb Law (SL), Michael C Lewin (MCL).]

Kwabs – ‘Wrong or Right’ (Produced by SOHN)

For those that have had the pleasure of witnessing Kwabs live, you will have (undoubtedly) noticed his knack for conveying audible emotion through his alleviating stage movements. For his second link up with SOHN – the first being the rising ‘Last Stand‘ – I’d like to picture an open-armed Kwabs, evoking the power of this soulful electro ballad though the spread eagle pose, with those earthy vocals soaring atop SOHN’s production.-JE

[You can read James’ interview with Kwabs in our ‘Ones to Watch’ Digital Issue by searching ‘Notion Magazine’ in the app store.]

ceo – ‘WONDERLAND’

Coming off the back of the wonderfully barmy ‘WHOREHOUSE‘, ‘WONDERLAND’ is yet another brilliantly eccentric slice of weird pop from former Tough Alliance man Eric Berglund’s sophomore outing as ceo, also titled WONDERLAND. More than befitting of its namesake, it’s a giddy, uncompromising listen that dances around in your head with glorious abandon.-AC

Kyla La Grange – ‘Cut Your Teeth’

I had Kyla La Grange safely filed away in the blah box until this icy slice of heaven. Oh god, it’s divine. A naïve keyboard refrain and a gradual layering of chilling synths, a coy and breathy lovelorn voice – genuinely sexy stuff. But what stands out is the masterful and playful song writing – the bass kicking in during the chorus, the spoken word middle eight. It’s song-writing that plays with you, composed and controlled but full of fun. It’s a magnificent artistic re-launch and if the rest of the album is this good (SPOILER: it’s better) then we’re in album of the year territory.-MCL

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings – ‘Stranger to My Happiness’

No-one does old-school soul diva fabulousness like Sharon and the Dap-Kings. If this doesn’t get you chairdancing, then you have a heart of stone.-SL

Tomas Barfod – ‘Pulsing’ (feat. Nina K)

‘Pulsing’, the first thing we’ve heard from Denmark’s Tomas Barfod since 2012′s gorgeous Salton Sea (seriously, try listening to ‘Broken Glass‘ without shedding even a single mental tear), is everything you could hope for from the Whomadewho drummer-turned-producer. All woozy, balearic-tinged synths and saccharine vocals (care of frequent collaborator Nina Kinert), this is one for those fleeting moments of romance that fast-paced modern life so rarely allows.-AC

King Krule – ‘A Lizard State’

King Krule dons a Rat Pack-esque suit, flips things sideways and supplies the Hitchcock-inspired visuals for ‘A Lizard State’. Jamie-James Medina’s black and white direction provides the overlay, while Marshall manages to wax contorted poetics in this confident cut from 6 Feet Beneath the Moon. And yes, the video features an actual lizard.-JE

The Young Punx – ‘All These Things Are Gone’

“Concorde, DDT, your first kiss, the Yangtze river dolphin, pagers, cigarettes at work, M*A*S*H, dinosaurs, my virginity, the Deutschmark, Pompeii.” You only have to listen to the insane list of cultural paraphernalia listed throughout ‘All These Things Are Gone’ to get an idea of the kitchen sink approach that house duo The Young Punx are pursuing on their third album of the same name. Its title track is a meandering 14-minute epic that rarely lets up in its flouting of sanity and joyous tinkering with expectations and melody.-AC

Lolawolf – ‘What Love Is’

Blending the soft lyrical delivery of the late ‘90s with a very 21st Century sound is the Zoe Kravitz (yep, Lenny’s daughter)-fronted Lolawolf. A brilliant little pop song, with a great hook that’ll probably stick in your mind for days.-SL

Fickle Friends – ‘Swim’

Forging a fine line between the pristine guitar licks and cowbells of mid-noughties indie-disco (think VHS or Beta) and the tequila sunrises of the ’80s pop revival, this debut cut from Brighton’s Fickle Friends would almost certainly have been better served by a summer release. As it stands though, it’s a brilliant way to beat the January blues and for that, Fickle Friends, we salute you. -AC

Lyla Foy – ‘Feather Tongue’

Heartbreakingly beautiful homespun singer-songwriter prettiness from the artist formerly known as WALL.-SL



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