world jazz // cape verdean
The music of Lisbon-born and London-based songstress Carmen Souza is hard to categorize, but easy to love. In her recent studio-album Kachupada (2013), Carmen embodies the influences of traditional Cape Verdean sounds, American jazz, Latin, Afro-Caribbean rhythms and more. Carmen’s remarkably soulful voice is the center of it all, as she easily swings through exotic beats and mellow jazz tones with a feeling of saudade. Her version of Charlie Parker’s bebop classic “Donna Lee” sounds festive, danceable and extraordinary original.
gothabilly // folk
Life isn’t always sunshine and double rainbows. In my hunt for a loud abrasive sound, I found Waylon Thornton’s raw guitar riff drum pounding garage surf Lake Butler, Florida grit to finally satisfy. After listening to the 20+ albums he’s unleashed over the span of five years, the instrumental Black Salt became my favorite.. for a time. Eventually storms subside and I mosey along; catching inspiration or simply exploring until I’m somewhere. Drifting down New River Vol.1, parting clouds shape imagination and cooling water splashes my face as I lay on a raft of improvised twangy acoustic tunes. Their scenic, contemplative spirit holds wisdom, struggle, freedom and genuine splendor. I feel the essence of music’s magic in Waylon’s craft.
Rock & Roll // Beats
If the ’50s had sampling, New Zealand export Willy Moon would be a flashback. But at the age of 23, his brash mix of rock & roll’s early days and contemporary sampling turns the clock forward to a bold new charm. Before settling into his new home of London, UK, this autodidact ditched school at 16 and shaped his raw sounds with sojourns in Valencia, Morocco, and Berlin; evolving from hip-hop and club into sonic sledgehammers having sole-blistering effect. Willy’s supercharged collage of well-known samples, combined with his unique retro vocals, makes a fiercely catchy package, and his visual style looks equally well mastered in a slick ‘Rat Pack’ refined naughtiness.
Smokin’ hot throwback beat explosions.Willy Moon – I Wanna Be Your Man
Willy Moon – Railroad Track
minimal folk // avant-pop
The avant-garde pop songstress Lia Ices possesses the theatrical glamour of Florence Welch, while her husky, half-whispered vocals are reminiscent of Joanna Newsom, Kate Bush and Cat Power. Lia’s album Grown Uknown (2011) offers minimalist folk music with hand clap percussion, baroque strings and her cuttingly sweet voice. It’s the kind of record probably best listened to as a single coherent work and it’s been my soundtrack for the long cold winter nights.
Designs similar to Atupele’s Pictures on Silence have intrigued me, but there is a quality in this 20 y/o’s Michigan Malawi purpose that lava lamps me to a greater plane – Liquidating my conscious inside an orb of electronic bass and faint promiscuous echo. Slow down Koreless to a hibernating burrow then resurrect in soulful bounty.
Heavy beat patterns your mind spotless.
Atu – Let Me
Atu – The Duo ft Sango
Nourished by Sierra mountains, wilderness, and home; cherished by sharing joy through wedding stories; Drew Barefoot renders a threshold baring nature’s cathedral in tone.. and in tune with finding hidden felicity. In a sermon from rustling leaves, or remedial gossip between wind and Forrest Creatures, there is an ageless desire for comfort and trust that is searching for awareness of Heaven from one’s touch. Spiritual union carrying you to a new world; or, for now; simple notes combining soft Iron and acoustic Wine into gently triumphant Explosions in the Sky above underground springs of piano and banjo.
british acoustic // folk
Daughter, the trio of London-based vocalist and guitarist Elena Tonra, electric guitarist Igor Haefeli and drummer Remi Aguilella, brings to the world painfully beautiful songs. Their sound is a refreshing mix of folk, tender acoustic and ambient soundscapes. However, it’s the wistful lyrics and Elena’s haunting vocals that create the magic, which will send shivers down your spine.
From heartbreaking folk to moody ambient.
Daughter – Smother
Daughter – Youth
Township bass // Globalista Punk
Producer Crypto.Jori (Jori Collignon) and vocalist/visual artist Cata.Pirata (Catarina Aimée Dahms) wrote and recorded “Riots in the Jungle” while traveling urban townships of South Africa, forming an unheard melting pot of original music that blends traditional sounds from Africa, South America and Europe into explosive electro-punk attitude and modern day wobble. Showing a typical Dutch blunt open-mindedness, coupled to schizophrenic traditions still present in South Africa, Skip & Die draws from their personal experiences to tell a story spanning multiple continents in a waterfall of languages.
World music on acid brings the noise.
Skip&Die – Jungle Riot
Skip&Die – Lihlwempu Lomlungu (with Driemanskap)
Firey Soul, Doo-Wop, Rhythm n’ Blues are smashed together by Clairy Browne & The Bangin’ Rackettes to create a big sound with an 18-carat edge. These cats mix retro styles like a bartender with 2-day stubble in a juke joint, breaking down ’40s and ’50s Jive into a modern flare. Clairy’s voice lets through emotion in gasps and wails, supported by her gang of Rackettes spitting out background vocals you don’t wanna mess with. The band delivers smoking licks through Australian airwaves resulting in a hot plate that’ll surely blow your top.
Finger snappin’ ooohhss and bop-bop she’do-bops.
Clairy Browne – I’ll Be Fine
Clairy Browne – She Plays Up To You
Mitchell Nordine describes his Mind Tree outlet as “expressing the blissfulness of child-like naivety and nature, mixed with the beautiful and raw emotion connected to nostalgia. A journey of new perspective that subtly yet strongly guides thought and emotion.” Set sail on a glitchy, spacey, cinematic Melbourne sea.
rhythm & blues // rock ‘n’ roll
Turns out that Nick Waterhouse’s vintage R&B and early rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic isn’t limited to his throwback ’50s sound. His entire approach to production follows this same faithfulness — Time’s All Gone, the 25 year old’s debut album, was recorded mostly live, entirely to tape, and it certainly pays off. The album pops with barely restrained wildness and energy that’s infectious and addicting. Whether it’s the blaring horns, catchy hooks, or Waterhouse’s crooning vocals; there’s a lot to love about this record. Take his music for a spin and join the party!
jazz // soul
In a vast sea of female jazz vocalists, the newcomer New York-based chanteuse Ann Sophie quickly caught our attention with her retro glamorous single “Get Over Yourself”. As the debut single sets the tone, the real treat is actually down the road – her upcoming EP. Ann Sophie possesses a truly passionate, convincing vocal style that would appeal as much to soulful jazz-pop lovers as well as retro-soul sweetness devotees.
Strong vocals and superb production.
Ann Sophie – Get Over Yourself
acoustic folk // vocal harmony
The Staves, a trio of English sisters, by the charm of their vocal harmonies, could be easily mistaken for the Southern sirens in O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000). The three sisters’ acoustic vocal folk unites melancholic English folk, uplifting West Coast pop, and Southern blues. “Icarus”, taken from Mexico EP (2011), features delicate guitar, soaring vocal harmonies and heart-warming songwriting. The Staves will be releasing their debut album in October 2012.
Ethereal harmony-drenched folk.
The Staves – Icarus
danish pop // vocal electronica
Following the recent international success of Oh Land and Fallulah, it’s safe to say that Danish songstresses take the current electronic-infused pop tendencies beyond the too common synths-plus-strings clichè. Copenhagen-based Hannah Schneider’s sophomore album Me Vs. I (2012) combines classic singer-songwriter tradition, perfect pop sensibility and Nordic electronic soundscapes. In the standout track “Me Vs. I”, featured below, Hannah’s mesmerizing vocals are emphasized by endless layers of electronic sounds and sample-collages.
Mesmerizing Nordic soundscapes.
Hannah Schneider – Me Vs. I
Gorgeous melodies and captivating phrases of poetic innocence rise from a big splash in Andrea’s heart. Steeped in her rich, breathy voice, the Beat Beat Pound of piano joins sweeping strings to serenade unveiled affection for someone special to appreciate forever. But sparks fly then fade, and gravity alone cannot hold feelings together. From passion to passerby, distancing memories of love ripple away. Time pauses in a summer rain keeping you inside to relax, think, and sip tea. Bittersweet moments we’re left with linger on repeat as reflective longing tides our minds like the catchiest measures in songs.
Jazz // Soul
Dedicated to presenting original raw jazz straight out of Germany’s Hannover, Hidden Jazz Quartett‘s organic sound breezes your way in crisp tumbling rhythms and versatile sax. They combine styles from both ends of the spectrum: hard-hitting drums underpin laid-back melodies in “High Heels,” with its off-kilter beat in perfect contrast to the silky colours of Omar’s voice. Instrumental jazz from the top shelf is served in “Wälzer” as a strong groove that evolves into a swirling river braved by ballsy brass solos.
Grooving jazz uplifts your mood.
Hidden Jazz Quartett – High Heels (feat. Omar)
Hidden Jazz Quartett – Wälzer
soul // r&b
Critically acclaimed and award-winning Danish pop-soul singer Nabiha Bensouda already won the hearts of music fans all over Scandinavia and most of Europe. Nabiha’s album, More Cracks (2012), the international re-edit of her debut, falls somewhere between Amy Winehouse’s retro-soul, Janelle Monae’s fast-paced funky rhythms and M.I.A.’s powerful beats. You are bound to recognize the chorus of Nabiha’s “Never Played the Bass” from Womack & Womack’s hit ”Teardrops”, while its incredibly catchy up-tempo beats will have you dancing around the room. Another favourite, “Trouble” stands out with its infectious frenetic energy, funky dance beats and Nabiha’s sultry vocals.
Funky, soulful and totally irresistible.
Nabiha – Never Played The Bass
Nabiha – Trouble
german composer // instrumental
The sound of Berlin-based composer Oskar Schuster is probably best described as dreamy escapism. His delicate piano, Parisian accordion, tender glockenspiel and music box create a perfect late-night soundtrack. Oskar’s soft, elegantly structured compositions evoke certain similarities with such artists as Yann Tiersen and Detektivbyrån, yet evolve into his own captivating soundscapes. “Sneeuwland”, featured below, was recorded for his SellaBand promo video to crowdfund his new album.
Bollywood // Funk
Everything about Melbourne outfit The Bombay Royale screams over the top, too much guilty pleasure. A crazy mash-up of genres you would find in a Tarantino soundtrack propells the Hindi and Bengali vocals. Synth sounds on the border of hypnotism and cheese, mexican trumpets battling tabla rhythms, surf guitars flowing into cinematic string arrangements, all completed with a dash of hammond soul. This genre-defying joyride should never work but is evidently forged with such a love of music that it sounds awesome.
Hitting you in the guts like a vindaloo of funk.
The Bombay Royale – Monkey Fight Snake
The Bombay Royale – Sote Sote Adhi Raat
latin jazz // tropical
Pioneering Mexican drummer and composer, Tino Contreras was born in 1928 in Chihuahua, Chih., first appearing on Jazz in Mexico – The Legendary 1954 Sessions, and has recorded over 40 albums to date. El Jazz Mexicano De Tino Contreras (2011) showcases his ingenuity of styles absorbed from world travels, containing ritual chants, free jazz, waltz, psychedelia, devout choirs and microtones to name a few. However, the wonderful arrangements and successful rhythms of Jazz Tropical (1962) is the overall aurgasm for my taste. Double bass swings through proclaiming horns, having congas aplenty and occasional shouts to keep me moving. Tino’s drum solo in “Conversacion” is a highlight, but the cascading piano of his take on Ernesto Lecuona’s “La Malagueña” and lively swagger of “Night in Tunisia” is what I most enjoy.
Invigorating jazz with Latin spices moving your feet.
Tino Contreras – Noche en Tunisia
Tino Contreras – La Malagueña