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Shrouded in mystery, London based duo Jadu Heart first introduced themselves with ‘Wanderflower’, their magical debut EP which was then followed up by the equally impressive and ‘Ezra’s Garden’. In the lead up to their long-awaited debut album, Dina and Faro have now shared ‘Purity’, another dazzling affair which sees the pairs soothing and soulful vocals work through a spirited electronic soundbed.
Dip into the lush soundscapes of ‘Thinking’, the irresistible debut single from newcomer Chi Virgo. The London based singer-songwriter lays down her stellar vocals over a dazzling array of vibrant sounds that mould the worlds of soul, R&B and electronic music. Opening with the jabs of those sci-fi synths, it’s Chi Virgo’s silky smooth vocals that steal the show on the incredibly catchy and infectious track.
London outfit 404 are made up of Bathwater, Silvertongue, Eliot, Devenny and Sonny, and their debut single ‘Fearful’ is a blistering affair. A sharp commentary on modern society, the track boasts a fierce and energetic vibe whilst encompassing a raw edge through its songwriting and production. Serving as a perfect introduction to the quintet’s unique sound, ‘Fearful’ marks the first single from their forthcoming debut EP which is out next month.
Consider yourself introduced to unperfect, a brand new group from the U.K. whose debut single ‘Gots To Give The Girl’ is a delightfully impressive affair. Comprising of Chloe, Siobhan, Soipan and Tiah, the group encompass a refreshing take on classic R&B nuances with a modern edge. The sun-kissed and groove-inflected production serves as the perfect backbone to the instantly infectious track which wonderfully showcases each member’s uniquely smooth and intoxicating voices.
London based singer, songwriter and producer Dan Bartlett aka Dan D’Lion stepped into the spotlight in style with his Tame Impala and N.E.R.D-influenced debut single “Give What You Take” towards the end of last year. The track’s vibrant atmospherics are present in follow up single ‘~treading water~’ which boasts again brings together his colourful vocals with a dazzling array of electronic pulses infused with sizzling synths. ‘~treading water~’ is a magnificent example of alternative pop packed with refreshing ideas, cementing Bartlett as one to watch.
South London based newcomer Arlo Parks introduced herself with the soulful and delicate debut single ‘Cola’ last November, a spellbinding effort which showcases the artist’s unquestionable promise. Oozing a sense of calm throughout the track, the eighteen year old artist lays down her soothing tones across a soundscape which boasts funk-filled guitar melodies and persistent drums which carry the track along its graceful path. Exploring the notions that come with the heartbreak of a cheating lover, ‘Cola’ serves as a wonderful introduction to Arlo Parks’ poignant songwriting and alluring voice.
South London trio 2U4U comprise of rappers Cal and My Rugema along with producer Ranbir, who together, create jazz-inflected Hip-Hop tracks that boast clever storytelling with sophisticated instrumentation. Last summer saw the release of their incredible debut full length project ‘Butter’, an eight track exploration of past romances, experiences, family, religion, identity and everything else in between. From the bombastic production on debut single ‘Kings of Africa (Tell Me)’ to the sparkling atmospherics of openers ‘Gurl’ and ‘Home’, ‘Butter’ marries an amalgam of influences that intertwine classic Hip Hop beats with jazz and neo-soul inflections to soundtrack their insightful narratives.
South London artist Yxng Jynn steps up to the plate with his debut solo single. After attracting attention this year for production credits and features with NOTAROLEMODEL and Reservoir & 237 affiliates Kish! & Virgil Hawkins, the gifted rapper & producer takes the limelight for himself on “Ghostride”. A tripped-out, g-funk infused trap effort with irresistible energy, the track will no doubt soon live up to its self-proclaimed billing as a ‘certified hood classic’.
Murkage Dave’s long-awaited debut album has been well worth the wait. Across 14 tracks, the east Londoner fuses soulful golden era RnB with UK grime and garage sounds in allusion to his origins as a successful DJ, as bumping percussion and warm strings draw comparisons to long-time collaborator Mike Skinner and The Streets. Driven by his distinctive socially aware witty lyricism, Dave’s gentle crooning melodies are delivered in hushed tones like reflective asides muttered from the back of the night bus home from the club, as his melancholic introspections channel the loneliness of a hedonistic life on the road between events into a muted morning-after mood that is sombre yet refreshingly honest throughout, leaving a surprisingly uplifting afterglow.
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In a scene where hype can build and fall dangerously quickly, A2 is an artist who has been slowly burning away, honing his sound and building a dedicated following over the last six years. After the success of his 2017 debut full length album ‘Blue’, the south London artist returns with a brand new 5-track EP that takes on a warmer shade; the rapper sets the tone from opener “Flex Luthor”, as his distinctive croaky flows ride soaring RnB-infused trap production with celestial synths and pads creating an uplifting atmosphere. Standout track “Flair” sees him link up with Octavian, Suspect and Yxng Bane for an irresistible banger, underlining his status amongst the UK’s upper echelon of elite artists who are pushing the culture forward.
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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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.
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.
London-based Aaron Taylor returns with a pair of irresistibly smooth new tracks. After winning fans across the world with the slick, timeless neo-soul sound of his breakout EPs ‘Still Life’ and ‘Better Days’, Taylor’s star has grown steadily over the last couple of years as he has developed as both a songwriter and producer. D’Angelo-esque soulful RnB jam ‘I Think I Love You Again’ follows the vein of his past releases, but he showcases his versatility on ‘Spaceship’ as his impassioned falsetto drives a psychedelic funk-infused jam that would be guaranteed to light up just about any midsummer dancefloor.
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The UK’s resurgent contemporary jazz scene is smouldering with incredible talent. After making waves as a member of celebrated duo Yussef Kamaal with their hugely successful 2016 record ‘Black Focus’, the highly-respected drummer Yussef Dayes set off to pursue a different direction as a solo artist. Here he returns to link up with pianist Alfa Mist for ‘Love is the Message’, a hazy, ethereal tune filled with warm keys and infectious percussive grooves as well as a scene-stealing guitar solo from Mansur Brown.
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Following up from the release of his breakout debut album ‘Milly Rocking to the Wrong Things‘ back in March, Virgil Hawkins returns to link up with NOTAROLEMODEL’s CWBY once again for a fresh new two-track release. ‘The 5eason’ is a slick, uplifting trap anthem, as Hawkins’ trademark woozy melodies are complemented by a powerful verse from CWBY over production from Yxng Jynn, before the pair up the energy levels on the barnstorming ‘Planet Pod’, going back-to-back as they exchange charged-up verses over a high-octane beat produced by CWBY himself. Irresistible raw chemistry from two of London’s most exciting young talents.
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Leon Vynehall made his name crafting deep, elegant contemporary house, becoming one of dance music’s most talked-about names in the process. However, his latest full-length effort ‘Nothing is Still’ sees the British electronic producer move away from club-oriented music into broader, progressive conceptual territory; it is perhaps notable that despite the success of previous projects ‘Music for the Uninvited’ and ‘Rojus’, he describes this release as his first proper debut album. Following the narrative of his grandparents’ emigration from London to New York in the 1960s, Vynehall vividly scores their journey through rich, instrumental compositions, expertly harnessing his gift for percussion with a gorgeous musicality alongside soaring synths to create a fluid, cinematic piece that has as much in common with classical symphony and ambient electronica as it does with booming house or techno. One of the year’s most adventurous, forward-thinking albums, this is one to be savoured.
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Yxng Bane has been carving his own lane within the UK’s diverse music landscape. Incorporating elements of trap, RnB and dancehall to create a dynamic blend of styles, his latest visual sees the east Londoner allude to his previous hit ‘Vroom’ as he flexes in a gold motor, showcasing his dexterity as his woozy vocals switch flows either side of an infectious hook.
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Jorja Smith’s rise over the last couple of years has been meteoric. From the success of breakout hit Blue Lights, the Walsall-born singer-songwriter’s emergence as one of music’s most exciting new talents has transferred into real star power as she’s scored global successes with singles ‘Teenage Fantasy’ and ‘On Your Mind’, working with US rap royalty and receiving critical acclaim along the way. She’s consolidated this ascendance in her debut album ‘Lost & Found’, capturing the moment perfectly as her silky smooth vocals glide over warm soulful production from the likes of Charlie Perry, Cadenza, Tom Misch and Felix, showcasing her songwriting ability with a grace and maturity that belies her youthful 21 years.
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South London artist Gregor the Blue has honed his unique sound over the last few years; a classically trained violinist as a child, he taught himself to play guitar and keys, and soon his bedroom productions started to accumulate a substantial online following. Gregor’s new EP builds on the themes of his 2016 debut album ‘Estate’, taking up where the last project left off in conjuring the same distinctive moody, swirling world but adding a sharper, electronic edge, as the 24-year-old’s sound has matured; tackling themes of longing and insecurity as well as his struggles with darker emotions, the tape is tied together with his trademark woozy, after-hours atmosphere. Enlisting guest vocals from rappers Ant Lavelle and Carl Blarx as well as a feature from long-time collaborator Thieta on lead single Faults, he incorporates elements of alternative blues, ska, RnB and contemporary hip-hop together to create a nuanced, unique sound with genuine depth and texture.