From punk-laden ragers to heartfelt indie pop bangers, Arlo Parks, slowthai and Elli Ingram top this week’s Wonderlist.

Arlo Parks – “Impurities”

With a lyrical gusto that cuts delicately deep and a genre-merging sound that resonates through various sonic landscapes, Arlo Parks is a voice of her generation. Following her emergence at the back end of the last decade, she elegantly invaded the popular music hemisphere, unleashing her dazzling, Mercury Prize winning album Collpased In Sunbeams, amassing a huge cult following from across the globe in the process. Now, Parks has returned with her second single of the year following effervescently endoscopic feature “Weightless”. The sublime offering, “Impurities“, picks apart the beauty of finding solace in the way others can view you, and the significance of being surrounded by people who look past your flaws and love you for who you are.

slowthai – UGLY

There’s not many people walking this earth with more fire, gusto and genius than slowthai. From his grime infused debut Nothing Great About Britain to his eclectic, surprisingly emotionally resonant follow-up TYRON, the Northampton rapper is overflowing with depth, intricacy and passion. These qualities have been laid starker than ever on his new album, UGLY. Blunt in its emotion and startling in its honesty, UGLY is an immense achievement of expression, and that’s not even mentioning the musical metamorphosis that thai has undergone. What’s more punk than vulnerability?

Elli Ingram ft. Mahalia – “Fools Gold”

If one syllable could describe Elli Ingram’s tune dazzling single “Fool’s Gold”, it is ugh. From it’s gorgeous, jazz-infused instrumental that drips with serenity and warmth, to Elli’s vocal serendipity that feels untouchably perfect, to the featuring voice of our beloved Mahalia, we are in love with the Brighton-based soulstress’ glistening new cut. Alongside the release, Ingram blessed us with the news that she has a forthcoming sophomore album, Bad Behaviour on the way in May, and it simply cannot come soon enough!

Blanco – “Carpe Diem”

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Kennington’s Blanco; he’s back, and just when the drill scene needed him the most. The rapper rose to public and critical acclaim for his starring role in renowned drill collective Harlem Spartans, as well as his ensuing solo work which amalgamated in the superb breakout project City Of God. A semi hiatus has followed, but now Blanco is back to restate his claim amongst the upper echelons of UK drill. His comeback single, “Carpe Diem” is flowing with energy and meticulous craft, with Blanco boasting his signature lyrical nuance and booming tone. The track takes unexpected twist towards the end, climaxing in a full-bodied DnB outro, perhaps a sign of the artistic dexterity to come from Blanco.

Che Lingo – “Out The Blue”

Amongst the flourishing fields of UK alternative rap, Che Lingo’s crop grows more fruitful with every passing release. Continually compelling audiences with a sound that borrows from many of UK rap’s finest delicacies, Lingo has progressed in craft and popular appeal in the years since his emergence, amalgamating in this stellar new single, “Out The Blue”. His first outing of the year ahead of his forthcoming sophomore album Coming Up For Air, we find Che in perhaps the most honest and reflective state of mind we’ve ever encounter him. The cut seems Che dig below his surface persona and into the relatable problems that he is afflicted by. Brave and bold, we look forward to more striking honesty from Lingo on the upcoming album.

Kasien – “Damaged”

A maestro at blending sound and style, Kasien has been blowing up in the UK alternative scene. With an approach that borrows from disparate generic tendencies – from indie to grime to electronica – Kasien is an artist who constantly surprises and entertains, refusing to submit to industry or societal expectations with his uncompromising honesty. He’s released arena-ready anthems at every opportunity, and this latest cut, “Damaged” is no different; leaning further into rap convention, we delve deep into the mind of the artist, who questions himself through charismatic contradictions atop the raw, fast-paced instrumental.

Avelino ft. Backroad Gee & Ghetts – “Vex”

Renowned as one of the most important figures in UK rap in recent years, Avelino is in a lane of his own. With “Vex”, we find him on route to his highly anticipated debut album, now announced to be named God Saves The Streets. The new single recruits two of UK rap’s most sparkling gems, Backroad Gee and Ghetts, and sees the three of them achieve effortless chemistry. Atop the energetic instrumental, that sees former Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock join on guitar, the three rappers bring their signature sounds. Avelino suggests that rap is the new punk, and with the poignant rage of this cut, it’s easy to see why.

sbk – “INSECURE”

Being able to pass through genres is increasingly essential for any budding artist, and with “INSECURE”, sbk flaunts his burgeoning ability to do so. Renowned mostly for his grime-infused rap and his savvy charm atop full-throttle instrumentals, the new cut from the alternative rap talent is a surprising and refreshing change of pace. Thoughtful and reflective, the new single finds sbk deep into his indie-emo pocket, expressing his anguish on top of the stripped-back acoustic backdrop.

Chri$DaPrince – Black is Black

Rising North London rapper Chri$DaPrince isn’t afraid to be himself. Documenting the strife, joy and difficulty of being a young black creative in London. The Congolese-born artist has just unveiled his highly awaited EP, Black is Black, a project that untangles the mind of our narrator. The wordsmith flaunts his lyrical craft, and his ability to portray recognisable themes in a unique and startling manner. It’s a hugely credible body of work that is a must listen to any budding UK rap stan.

House of EL – When It Rains It Pours

Producer maestro House of EL has been soaring into our ears for years now. Having worked with some of the biggest artists across the globe – from Sam Smith, to Kano, Becky Hill to Mary J Blige – the sonic wizard can’t stop sharpening his craft. His new EP, When It Rains It Pours, is the latest example of the multi-instrumentalist, writer, producer and perfumers increasingly meticulous craft, with four jazz-laden, sonically astute tracks that obtain striking emotional brevity and sonic exploration.

Thai Mason – “Big Spirit”

Birmingham spitter Thai Mason is a name to watch out for. After making waves in the alternative rap community with his excellent debut album As Above, So Below back in ’18, Thai has recently reappeared, rejuvenated, and better than ever. Following ’22’s class-laden comeback “Coasting”, the rapper has returned for his first effort of the year, the triumphant cut “Big Spirit”. Flowing smoothly across the dreamy yet focused instrumental, Mason impresses with his charismatic delivery and thought-provoking lyricism.

Nix Northwest ft. ENNY – “You Ain’t Got a Chance Boy”

Nix Northwest takes us on a journey that explores the elusive and blurred lines between good and evil. Joining forces with long-time friend Enny, ‘You Ain’t Got a Chance Boy’ marks their first collaboration since huge joint single “For South” was featured on The Silhouettes Project in 2020. Both Enny and Nix display rapping abilities before trading back-to-back bars in a playful verse. It’s been a busy month for Enny; we saw her return with new single “No More Naija Men”, which set the audio and visual benchmark for the year ahead. Nix has been full throttle since announcing his debut album Xin’s Disappearance which is his main focus from here on out.

Mary Middlefield – “Firearm”

Mary Middlefield’s “Firearm” is a mesmerising fusion of indie, folk and classic, driven by her breathtaking vocals. The track echoes themes of heartache which is the overriding theme of her debut album Thank You Alexander, which is out today. Mary offers full transparency across the project – which was born during the pandemic – stemming from a personal point of view as she dealt with her problems within the relationship. Time stamping a difficult period of her life, she provides an insight into a dark period of life reflected in the rising intensity of the album. “Firearm” kickstarted side B of the project that takes inspiration from Mary’s classical music background, which she immersed herself in since she was born. An exciting talent to keep an eye on.

Rose White – “Filthy Dream”

Rose White’s sound is a delightful blend of pop, jazz, soul, and funk that she seamlessly weaves together to create her distinctive sound. Her influences, which include Amy Winehouse, Sia, and Joy Crookes, are apparent in her music, but she’s not afraid to explore different themes and emotions through her storytelling. Her latest EP features the sultry and powerful “Filthy Dream” that delves into the themes of opulence and toxic relationships. Rose’s ability to portray different themes and emotions through her intimate and evocative storytelling is truly impressive.

Danny Kuttner – “Limelight”

Israeli singer-songwriter Danny Kuttner’s new single “Limelight” is a soulful journey of surrender and healing; Kuttner’s music is not just about self-expression, but is a transformative experience. A taster into her hotly anticipated debut EP, Purple, the Amsterdam-born, Israeli-raised musician blends soul and left-field electronica with effortless nuance, soaring into her own sonic stratosphere with a striking stylistic blend that oozes emotional resonance.

Amie Blu – “powder”

Get ready to groove with the rising star Amie Blu’s latest single “powder”; just a glimpse of what’s to come from her highly anticipated EP, set to release later this year. “powder” is a soul-stirring track, produced by her close friend and collaborator Humble the Great, featuring Isabella Baker on strings and Will Hargreaves on piano. Amie’s deeply personal and reflective approach is evident in her lyrics and the production, making it a must-listen. So, sit back, relax, and let Amie Blu take you on a soulful journey.

MK ft. Dom Dolla – “Rhyme Dust”

The collaboration between MK and Dom Dolla has finally birthed the most highly-anticipated track of 2023, “Rhyme Dust”. And guess what? It’s all thanks to the unstoppable force of the fans! The tidal wave of demand and appetite from fans reshaped record label plans and pushed the track to the forefront of 2023. Unofficially unveiled in July 2022, the duo began road testing the track on the biggest stages in the world, including Creamfields and Printworks. With each iteration, the collaboration was reshaped and refined to elevate the iconic sample from Q-Tips ‘Breathe & Stop’, a much-loved hip hop classic.

Sofia Lafuente – “Madrugada”

Sofia Lafuente, the alt-pop superstar, kicks off Spring with the release of her first-ever Spanish single, “Madrugada”. Her EP “Habits” was a massive hit last year, earning her accolades from major tastemakers, as well as a coveted spot on Love Island. What sets Sofia apart is her willingness to experiment with her sound and push the boundaries of what we expect from her. The artist’s latest single is a moving ode to lost love and regret, and she reveals that it was actually written over Zoom with producer Salvador Moratillo. Looks like even a pandemic can’t stop this rising star!

Renao – “Break It Down”

Marking a fresh chapter for the multi-talented Renao, he unfurls a transformative sound that’s sure to take the music scene by storm “Break It Down”. The accompanying music video is an absolute feast for the eyes – a glittering, late-night journey through the realms of yearning and togetherness. Renao’s gearing up to release a larger body of work in 2023 that delves into the complexities of identity, so keep your eyes peeled. But in the meantime, you can catch him at his upcoming London headline show at Camden Assembly on March 7th.

Phabo ft. Shaé Universe – “Out of Touch”

Feast your ears on a hot new R&B track called “Out of Touch” by Phabo featuring UK superstar Shaé Universe. This collaboration seamlessly blends the sounds of the US and UK, making it one of the hottest offerings in the R&B landscape this year. The song is a scene anthem that showcases Phabo’s musicality and Shaé’s vocal range. The production from Malik Ninety Five is sleek and sultry, creating an intoxicating environment that explores the complicated emotions of a long-distance relationship. Phabo explains that the song is about the ongoing stigma that artists can’t maintain faithful long-distance relationships, and how they often chase a specific emotion that’s hard to hold onto.

Eliza Rose – “Better Love”

Look who’s back with a bang! Eliza Rose has finally dropped her highly anticipated B.O.T.A. follow-up, “Better Love”; it pops off. Produced by none other than Mura Musa, this garage single is the perfect pick-me-up you need to get through the day. With Eliza’s enchanting vocals and British storytelling lyricism, the track is elevated by the accompanying video. Shot in various locations around East London, including the legendary East End boozer The Bow Bells, Rose pays homage to her hometown.

Ash Olsen – “Low”

Ash Olsen has been dominating the scene with heavy, skillful wordplay – capturing the ears of listeners a far cry from her Norway, where she’s situated. The rapper’s latest offering is “Low”, which marks a progression from her usual, domineering sound. This time around, Olsen bestows us with something a little softer. Her flow is replaced by a half-singing, half-rapping cadence, as her sensibilities meet a chill, pop edge. Showing off her versatility, we’re refreshed by Olsen’s latest release. As an artist on the up and up, we’re eager to see what else she pulls out of the bag.


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