Arema Arega – ‘Wherever You Are’

Arema Arega is a Barcelona-based Cuban singer-songwriter whose lush and soulful sound is marked by touches of Blues, Bossa Nova, Jazz, Folk, Funk and electronica, and of course, the tropical influence of her homeland.

Arega already has a number records to her name – The Red Soundtracks, The Blue Soundtracks: The Light Seekers Journey and some singles / EP – all part of an ever developing project which sees her craft scores for imaginary films. Arega’s latest single ‘Wherever You Are’ is very much of the same variety; slick, smooth and cinematic, marrying lush tones with seductive grooves. It is a record of of breath-taking beauty as smooth, soul-filled vocals flow above while percussive rhythms bubble away amid the smokey noir atmosphere, sweeping sumptuous strings and peppered by brass and flutters of flutes. A seductive, cinematic and evocative song tempered by an otherworldly quality, deliciously retro vibe and rich, smoky vocals – a grandiose soundtrack to the movie that never was.

Listen in below:

Albums of the year 2019

Drawing up a list of my favourite records from throughout the year is one of the most enjoyable aspects to the blog and 2019 has been a good year with lots of great records and new discoveries.

This year I’ve narrowed it down 13 and to be fair, there is very little between them, such is the high quality!

Aside from the list of 13 below, I spent a lot of time listening to Skepta’s 2016 album Konnichiwa, Skream’s 2006 self-titled debut, two records released in December 2018 – Dan Amor’s Afonydd a Drysau & Curly Castro’s Tosh – and an absolute ton of Lonnie Donegan.

And as ever, if there is a record that you loved this year and isn’t included here, feel free to leave a recommendation below.

Without further ado, here are my favourite records from 2019. Enjoy!

13. Fold – ‘We’re The Ones’

Leeds-based Hip-Hop/Trip Hop outfit Fold returned with the follow-up to their superb 2015 self-titled debut. Unsurprisingly, and thankfully,
We’re The Ones follows a similar opus; pitting an enviable creativity with a powerful social consciousness to create something thoroughly powerful, unique and irresistible. It brings a message of empowerment, unity and equality, as well as addressing a slew of social issues. Importantly, they deliver their message without overlooking the importance of music’s need to move and groove. We’re The Ones is clever and compelling, the tracks are intelligent and thoughtful, while also seductive and infectious. As they say themselves; “this album is dedicated to those who care about others.”

Listen in full here

12. FIDLAR – ‘Almost Free’

For album number three, LA garage punks FIDLAR presented an eclectic evolution of their sound as scuzzy guitars and overdriven riffs combine with whopper choruses and no-fucks-given lyrics. Lyrically they have developed further, grown up somewhat, as the album tackles weightier subject matter, while not losing the monster riffs, fizzing hooks and frank lyrics that we’ve come to love. A blistering collection of eclectic tunes, Almost Free is the sound of FIDLAR reinvigorated.

Listen in full here.    

11. Mesa Luna – ‘Lash’

Vancouver’s Mesa Luna – the one-man dream-pop project of multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer, Justice McLellan – released his long-awaited debut LP Lash this year. It is an absorbing record, one of seductive grooves, lush tones and dreamy, blissed-out vibes, that sit perfectly alongside bouts of introspective searching, yearning emotion and a doleful, melancholic air. From the shimmering synth-filled gallop of ‘Dispel’, hymn like euphoric anthem of hope and defiance of ‘Woronoco’, absorbing swagger and irresistible grooves of ‘Don’t Let Go’ and warm layers of subtle euphoria, elegant chimes and fluttering keyboards of ‘Church Garden’ – it is a transfixing and blissful sound. bound together by beautiful textures, lush synths and hypnotic grooves.

Listen in full here

10. Czarface – ‘Czarface Meets Ghostface’

Comic book-themed hip-hop collective Czarface – Wu-Tang’s Inspectah Deck, and Boston duo 7L & Esoteric – burst back into action with their Ghostface Killah collaboration. There is so much to love here; it is a labour of love, unapologetic old-school hip-hop built around those clattering boom-bap beats, rugged production and bursting with colourful pop-culture references (old and contemporary) and as is their way, woven through with a self-contained narrative inspired by superhero comics. Magnificent, escapist fun, and like the others in the Czarface series, worthy of a place is any record collection.

Listen in full here.


Continue reading

Whyte Horses – ‘Mister Natural’ Featuring La Roux

Manchester psych-pop outfit Whyte Horses are gearing up for the release of their forthcoming LP Hard Times in January.

Having already already treated us to ‘Hard Times’ and cover of 70s jam ‘Ça Plane Pour Moi’, Whyte Horses have teamed up with La Roux’s Elly Jackson for another cover, this time of The Bee Gees ‘Mister Natural’. Whyte Horses unabashedly embrace the shimmering lavish pop aesthetic of the Bee Gees original, as it struts along with suave swagger amid bright organ chords and a thumping bassline. Each line is a bit melancholic and a little bit melodramatic as Jackson channels her inner Gibb as her gleaming vocals rise with the swelling passion. It is a lush, lavish and sultry slice of pristine pop – something of their calling card.

Hard Times will be out January 17, 2020 on CRC Records and you can listen to ‘Mister Natural’ below:


Ten Fé – ‘Candidate’ / ‘Heaven Sent Me’

Having released their second album Future Perfect, Present Tense earlier this year, London outfit Ten Fé are signing off on a fruitful 2019 with new double a-side single ‘Candidate’ / ‘Heaven Sent Me’.

Born from the same sessions as the aforementioned album in Oslo, ‘Candidate’ is yet another grand slice of lush and woozy indie-pop. Strutting along a hypnotising rumbling bassline-led groove, bright riffs and seductive melody flow over the beats and cowbell and draped with softly sung, deep crooning vocals. It is a neatly packed, warm and alluring lush pop vision with a potent melody, hooks and warm vibes. With ‘Candidate’, Ten Fé are sounding fresh, carefree and cheery – not a bad way to be. its companion piece is just as seductive but somewhat more forlorn. Grounded by a gently propulsive rhythmic groove, it grows from a dark cloud as synths shimmer and electronics flicker to illuminate the path for the hushed, heartfelt vocals floating overhead. Another potent and transfixing pop song   

The double a-side is a wonderful way to sign off on 2019. Tune in below:

Snowy feat. Jason Williamson – ‘EFFED’

Nottingham MC Snowy has joined forces with fellow Notts luminary Jason Williamson of Sleaford Mods for huge, banging single ‘EFFED’.

Out via Dummy’s DMY Recordings, the pair deliver their two fingered state of the nation address; taking to task the privatisation of the NHS, the government’s immigration policy and the Windrush scandal and depicting the dismal decay being foisted upon the UK via Tory austerity. It is raw, impassioned and delivered with veracity over huge grimey guttural beats produced by Lenkem. It is an angry, dangerous and brutal cut, an absolute beast of track as the pair verbally spar with one another. It is just simply a huge tune – and the message is on point too.

Tune in below: 

Fanclub – ‘Trespassing’

Austin-based indie-pop trio Fanclub – Mike Lee, Leslie Crunkilton & Daniel Schmidt – have been making a bit of name for themselves as a reliable source of lush, dreamy indie-pop since their emergence last year.

The trio have returned with a new single ‘Trespassing’, one as dazzling and irresistible as any that have proceeded it. It is an elegant, breezy and characteristically glossy slice of dreamy indie-pop. ‘Trespassing’ drifts along with a breezy air and whispering groove as shimmering guitars and lush electronics give way to subtle melodies and pattering drums as Crunkilton’s mellifluous vocals flow above; a final velvety layer to engulf you in the rapturous allure. This is utterly beautiful, beguiling and all together divine indie-pop; pure pop perfection – no question.

Listen to ‘Trespassing’ below:

Cracker Jon & Violentlyill – ‘It’s Delicious’

UK Rapper Cracker Jon and Irish Hip Hop producer Violentlyill have teamed up for a new single ‘It’s Delicious’.

Fittingly, Cracker Jon explores his own Irish roots as he spits out raspy bars over some heavy boom bap beats via Violentlyill. Cracker Jons fiery delivery is phenomenal and matched and enhanced by Violentlyill’s seductive beatwork and skilfully layered production, that while comprised of many intricate layers never sounds cluttered, instead illuminating the wordplay and giving it room to breathe. An infectious, catchy and swaggering jam, it is just a superb tune from start to finish.

Give it a spin below – ‘It’s Delicious’ – does exactly what it says on the tin.

HUSSY – ‘YLMD’

Originally from the North East of England, HUSSY is the moniker of South London-based dream pop purveyor Sophie Nicole Ellison, a multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist with a knack for deep and textured songs, layering fuzzy guitars to create spellbinding soundscapes.

To date, this predilection and skill has been on show with singles ‘Forever’, ‘Playtime’ and ‘Slayer’ and HUSSY is back with a new track ‘YLMD’. It is harder, rockier and more thrilling than previous singles while retaining continuity in the dreamy stakes. Opening with driving guitar work, energetic percussion and Ellison’s own clear, glacial tones, it explodes out of the speakers grabbing your attention from the off. First and foremost ‘YLMD’ is a powerful, rousing and thrilling anthem but it also showcases Ellison’s brilliant ear for melodies, but interspersing them with massive drums, jangley guitars and covered with layers of warm fuzz and distortion, and a lingering sense of melancholy. A self-empowered love letter to herself; it is a massive tune, bristling with energy and emotion amid the sparkling haze.

Tune in below:

Golden Bug – ‘Ground (Feat. Phoebe Coco)’

Ahead of releasing collaborative album with In Fields, French producer and artist Golden Bug (aka Antoine Harispuru) has shared stunning lead single ‘Ground’.

Featuring Phoebe Coco, ‘Ground’ is lifted from collaborative album entitled ‘Vibration Métallique’ – and it is utterly mesmerising. It is inviting slow mo disco that slowly swaggers along a winding deep house groove illuminated by acid squelches, hypnotic chimes an flecks of electronics taking the listener to spaced out ambient zones. Phoebe Coco’s cool and breathy vocals are the perfect pairing, smouldering with emotion they add another smooth seduction as they flow stridently above. Calm, composed and utterly cool – this is captivating stuff.

Listen to ‘Ground (Feat. Phoebe Coco)’ below, and Vibration Métallique is out via Höga Nord Rekords on December 27.


pantology – ‘Reverie’

Brooklyn pianist/producer, pantology just released his debut EP, 2Q19. which displays an eclectic blend of deftly woven genres, resulting in a lush, expansive and cinematic sound.

Capturing this aesthetic perfectly is the EP’s lead single ‘Reverie’. Opening with solitary keys that set a pensive tone before emerging from this murky origin, blending with lush synths, warm tones and twinkly keys. It is lush, dreamy and spaced-out as it drifts melodically along with a breezy air before jolting into a cinematic crescendo, illuminated by more boisterous beats and  sumptuous brass. It is an absolute delight that is cinematic in scope and scale, and revels in its epic, expansive and lofty ambitions.

Listen to ‘Reverie’ below now and if you like what you hear, there entire EP is here.