Tom Aspaul – ‘Good Together’
Building on his dreamy, almost tropical sound, Tom Aspaul is back at the end of this year with this slice of disco-lite, emotionally driven song about yearning and young love. The singer-songwriter has had a busy year writing for others, but it’s good to see him finally focusing on his own music, and thank goodness as ‘Good Together’ is everything we’ve wanted from a new Aspaul record. It’s self-assured, musically knowing and generally quite lovely. For us, Tom is one exciting beacon in Pop’s landscape, and a well needed male voice. Love, love, love.
Charli XCX – ‘Breaking Up’
The latest track taken from Charli XCX’s upcoming album SUCKER, ‘Breaking Up’ is the Charli that we’ve come to love. Filthy guitars and pop hooks are smashed together with lyrics that are some of our favourite this year. “You’ve got ugly tattoo and fucking cheap perfume,” Charli sings on the first verse, before claiming that “everything was wrong with you, so breaking up was easy to do”. It’s a far cry from the loving sentiments of ‘Boom Clap’, but every bit as energetic and completely brilliant.
Zara Larsson – ‘Weak Heart’
Zara Larsson knows her way around a big chorus, and this enormoballad has exactly that. The Swedish singer may be young, but she does manage to convey true emotion in the song (regardless if it was written by a bunch of middle aged men), playing the listening into the palms of her hands with rather enjoyable pre-chorus before the crash of drums in the chorus. Larsson also rides a horse in the video, which is amazing. However, if I were her, I’d put a coat on as it does seem a bit cold out and she’s not really dressed appropriately.
Thomston – ‘Anaesthetic’
New Zealand now seems to be the home for moody, atmospheric and intricate pop music, and following in the footsteps of Lorde and Broods is 19-year-old Thomston. Taken from his second EP, ‘Anaesthetic’ is warming, despite the chills in the production, while the structure of the melody in the verse showcases exciting songwriting potential. While it does seem a bit ‘credible pop’ aimed at certain naysayers, Thomston has something about him and we’re keen to find out more.
Jessie Ware – ‘You & I (Forever)’
With ‘You & I (Forever)’ Jessie Ware captures the thrilling, snuggly and heart-warming feelings of love without the clichés and corny sentiments. It’s not only sweet but musically sublime, fuzzes of bass humming under Ware’s stellar vocals. The accompanying video is a tearjerker, but one filled with hope and acceptance. Ahh Jessie, we do love you.
Kadie Elder – ‘First Time He Kissed A Boy’
Hailing from Denmark, Kadie Elder is an electro-pop band that flirts with melancholia, splashing beats and energetic synths. With ‘First Time He Kissed A Boy’, the band captures a certain emotion and packages it up as a light, airy and moving song. Elements of defiance are captured through the production, which at times can be distracting but is drawn back in with low-key verses. The song’s video is superb, and matches the song effortlessly. It’s made us feel a bit sentimental about young love, and our first kiss…
Alex Winston – ‘Careless’
It’s the chorus of Alex Winston’s ‘Careless’ that signifies a step forward for the New York based singer. Everything is larger, more accessible and has a sheen of an artist that’s grown up and accepted a certain path. Yes the tinges of Kate Bush are there, and the vocals sit slightly left of alternative, but ‘Careless’ has something casually exciting in its composition, and when that chorus comes along you’re aching to put your hands in the air.
Slow Knights – ‘Without You’
Slow Knights is the project from lamb-chop-wearing Scissor Sister Del Marquis and a collective of fellow musicians. This newest song, ‘Without You’, also features Welsh lovely Rod Thomas (aka Bright Light Bright Light). Brooding synths and echoing, heart like drums glide along. Despite not really having a chorus, the song builds steadily towards a crashing finale, with vocalist Bridget Barkan providing some soaring vocals that are suitably #Q4.
Ronya – ‘Work Harder’
Whether Dev Hynes knew it or not, he’s sort of created an alt-pop sound, and Ronya recreates it perfectly with ‘Work Harder’. Sparse, almost syncopated drums, staccato 80s style guitars and wavy synths are on the cards, with a chorus that verges of epic-ness, but draws back with falsetto vocals and sparse production. We’re particularly taken with this one, and can’t wait to see what comes from Ronya.
We Are Shining – ‘Road’
There’s a sort of slackness to We Are Shining’s new track, but you can hear their range of musical influences all around, from Afro beats and vocals to scuzzy guitars and lo-fi production. Also, everyone likes a bit of psychedelia before Christmas, right? Right.