If you’re familiar with the Australian label Future Classic, you’ll know they’re responsible for tagging names like Flume, Chet Faker, and Jagwar Ma for musical posterity. Enter their recent protegee, George Maple, a Sydney-based singer whose vocals call to mind the soulfulness of Jessie Ware and the supernaturality of Yukimi Nagano. And if you thought you heard her labelmate Flume’s production on her first single, “Talk Talk,” you were right.
“I loathe the idea that if I suggest that I produce my own songs then people presume I’m sat hunched over my laptop weeping into my own self-doubt. Life is too short for all that…” - Jack Garratt
Before the English producer was marrying soul and electronica, he’d started out as a singer-songwriter before realizing his true path. Garratt cites Frank Ocean and Jack White as his most formative influences when transitioning to what he does now, a weighty mixture of ambient, R&B, blues, and soulful drops.
Since the release of their first single “The Night,” Lake District duo Honne (comprised of Andy and James) have proven a penchant for soulful vocals and minimalistic production, often involving velvety, atmospheric synths. Their new EP is due out this May 4 on their own imprint, Tatemae Recordings. Hear their latest single, “Coastal Love,” in our playlist above.
“French young boy making music” reads the Instagram of Mehdi Benjelloun, aka Petit Biscuit. Benjelloun makes the kind of wistful, lighthearted dreampop that would tickle Grimes and make Ryan Hemsworth blush behind his hands. The busy producer is also part of the indie dreampop group Mount Dreams, and we can only hope he will be releasing more music as Petit Biscuit.
Kero Kero Bonito
The eclectic pop trio known as KKB began where few other pop bands have gone before: a bulletin board for Japanese expats in London. They’ve described their music as “gamer girl power rap bass” and “reggaeton self-advertisement” - and to the unassuming listener, one might think they were listening to an M.I.A. song being translated into Japanese. Regardless, there is no denying that KKB have the beats, confidence, and universal love that made The Spice Girls a global sensation. Not a bad place to start.
Sandy, vaguely retro psych-rock never goes out of style, and the world will continue embracing its various renditions as long as the sun shines. According to their SXSW page, rock greats from the Pixies and Tame Impala to the Rolling Stones would approve of Twin Peaks, a band of twentysomethings from Chicago whose genesis began when one member turned down a chance to join the Smith Westerns. While the band’s name bear no relationship to the David Lynch television series, their tirelessly upbeat garage rock demands dancing upon impact.
With their listless energy and pulsing guitars, they embody the ambivalence of the transition from post-grad to adulthood. Which is to say, Walla Walla foursome Chastity Belt rock out hard given the mellowness of their music. Like the Pacific North West’s gift to us in a post-punk drought, Chastity Belt is to us what Best Coast was to the world in 2010: a much needed, new dose of lo-fi.
You may know Aussie electronic soul trio Safia by their single “Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds,” which arrested the hype charts last year and landed them the title of breakout electronic act of 2014 in their home country. If not, think of a more soulful, reggae-friendly Chromeo.