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“I’m a bit nervous, y’all a good looking crowd.” Despite this shy admittance (modesty being an uncommon trait in Hip-hop), Azealia Banks has little to fear. Beginning entirely acapella, her flow is seamless and visceral; she barks and bites whilst retaining an alluring coyness that’s utterly compelling. The beats are predominantly minimal, almost tribal, full of bitter wit…
If you want to get your beats noticed, there aren’t many better people to turn to than Four Tet’s Keiran Hebden. And there are few better ways than to hand-deliver it to him after a set. That’s what Caleb Waterman did at London’s Plastic People and now he’s signed to Hebden’s label Text. Winter Turn Spring is a prime cut of 2-step, brought alive with some great vocal sampling and scratchy bass. Sit back and let it take you away.
It’s hard to believe after listening to his gentle voice and delicate finger plucking, but Keaton Henson didn’t intend to be a musician. The shy and retiring Londoner first got noticed as an artist (he designed t-shirts for Urban Outfitters don’t you know), whilst writing songs on the sly. But once this creative cauldron of the arts was discovered there was no going back, and since releasing his debut album ‘Dear…’ last November, Keaton has been simmering gently under the surface, attracting a dedicated following. With songs this heart-warming you kind of want to keep him to yourself. But that’s not we’re here for, so enjoy.
Our little island may be a long way from the dancehalls of Jamaica…
Even the most ardent followers of underground music need a powerhouse of a pop song to sing in the shower. For those looking for something more contemporary and guilt-free than Diana Ross or Whitney Houston, the answer can be found in Kyla La Grange’s indie-pop anthem Walk Through Walls. It’s certainly not a conventional career path for a Cambridge Philosophy graduate, but with a voice so strong and compelling it was a risk worth taking. With a catchy chorus and impressive vocal range shown in the numerous “Wooohoooo”s throughout, it is easy to see why the single has been lauded by Radio 1′s Huw Stephens and Rob Da Bank. If you like what you hear, listen to Vampire Smile, also available as a free download and equally appropriate for those shower sing-a-longs.
Throwing Snow is a London/Bristol based producer making some very interesting electronic music. In his own words, he writes ‘anything from Folk to Dubstep’, though we haven’t been so lucky as to find the former. Aside from his production skills, TS is also a music consultant at Hear No Evil and CEO of the label A Future Without, featuring loads of artists we love (Baba Yaga and Augustus Ghost in particular). He’s already done remixes for Gold Panda and Kidkanevil, and his most recent release Un Vingt/Cronos has been remixed by the likes of George Fitzgerald and d’Eon. Throwing Snow’s production style is driven by minimal layers; mostly analog synths and splintered 2-step beats. Though each element is often simplistic in its raw terms, he does have a tendency to heavily automate his tracks with gleaming pitch-bends and chop/screw samples. All in all, our kind of music. Below is a track off his most recent release and an older tune called Naked Dance for you to enjoy.
Replacing the confusingly-named Yu(c)k for his solo material, Oupa honours Blumberg’s grandfather…
Part-founded by Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons, it’s no surprise that Communionare gaining quite a reputation for unearthing excellent folk and soul artists. Stamp The Wax has already featured Communion’s Michael Kiwanuka and Matt Corby, but two more are also deserving of our praise. In tune with the family feel of their label, Communion put on monthly music nights in unique venues around London. Given the success of the evening and the quality of music, it was therefore surprising to learn this was independently organised. Communion or no Communion, Monument Valley and Daughter are certainly worth taking note about.
Jai Paul has to be one of the most enigmatic artists in new music. Since the incomparable BTSTU blew up on the blogosphere last year, Jai has signed to XL Recordings and was long-listed in the BBC Sound of 2011. Yet no more than this is known about him: he’s 22, from north-west London and he’s displayed three disapprovals of his music on his Myspace. How wrong those critics are. Like nothing you’ve ever heard, there really is no easy way to pigeonhole BTSTU; The Guardian’s Paul Lester perhaps does the best job, describing it as J Dilla remixing Hot Chip. Made through a combination of manipulated samples, beats and harmonies, BTSTU shouldn’t work, but it just does. We would recommend you monitor Jai closely for more information or music in the future, but there really is no second-guessing him.