Who? Tom Aspaul
Why we love it? Tom Aspaul is on a hot streak of amazing singles, and ‘Tender‘ is no deviation from that. The newest release from their upcoming album Black Country Disco is a beautiful sojourn into heartache and finding a way to move on. The stunning lyrics are perfectly conveyed through the soft vocals against a backdrop of disco-inspired synths that come together to create Aspaul’s unique sound. (Lloyd Best)
FFO: Bright Light, Bright Light, Little Boots, Robyn
Who? Gabi Garbutt
What? Genet’s Journey
Where? West London
What they say? Following on from the success of her highly-praised album, The Discredited Language Of Angels; Dexys-driven Singer-Songwriter Gabi Garbutt’s latest single impressively depicts a potent impressionistic gallic montage – all in the space of three epic minutes. Proceedings get underway with a warmly nostalgic Eno-like synthesizer hook. This is the prime vehicle for her voice which, intriguingly enough, bears more than a passing resemblance to the young Kate Bush’s speaking voice.
Why we love it? All part of the modest but controversial reverence surrounding the thief and later novelist and dramatist Jean Genet (1910 – 1986) which – needing no introduction – began 47 years ago with Bowie’s glam-stomping single. Also, JG was more distinctly name-dropped by Dire Straits in 1980 and Bella Union band Money in 2016. There is no doubt that this is another branch of the legacy tree as Gabi playfully wrestles with her lyrics with seamless enunciation, stopping off at an unexpected idyllic redolent of the back of an album cover by any 70s troubadour. (Humphrey Fordham)
FFO: Dexys Midnight Runners, Kate Bush, Slowdive, Laura Nyro, Bowie
What? Head In Transit
Where? South Wales
What they say? We’ve always wanted to write a song that feels like we could open a stadium with and this could be it. Liam Bevan’s guitar line draws you closer while Zac Mather’s drums come thundering in- creating this explosive yet dreamy sound which sets the perfect tone for Katie Hall’s vocals to cut through and glide over the top. Katie wrote the lyrics for ‘Head In Transit’ whilst working in a contact centre in the public sector. Katie says “It’s a tough, thankless job, and you are constantly surveilled by managers. I had some of the most heartbreaking conversations with members of the public. It feels like you are powerless on the frontline relaying a policy that you sometimes don’t agree with”.
Why we love it? An in-depth exploration of the mental mind-fuck that is working in customer service and all of the existential dread that comes with that. This indie-rock anthem is a beautiful ode to lead singer Katie’s experience and portrayed beautifully through their stunning vocal tone and nonchalant delivery. This is Chroma at the top of their game and an exciting taste of more to come. (Lloyd Best)
FFO: Hole, HMS Morris, Garbage
Who? Mathew V
What? Give It All
What they say? I wrote ‘Give It All’ my latest single, as a love song to my partner. Finding that most of my songs were sad, I wanted to switch things up and express my willingness to go with the ebb and flow together. This track was produced and co-written by the amazing pop duo, Fly By Midnight. Our schedules lined up after over a year of trying to line up a studio session when I was in LA at the end of a writing trip, leading us to write and record ‘Give It All‘ in four hours.
Why we love it? Wearing his heart on his sleeve, this electronic pop ballad from Mathew V about being a hopeless romantic is a beautiful declaration of love & the optimistic pick-me-up we all need during 2020, the chorus hits in all the right places and will have you up on your feet and dancing. (Lloyd Best)
FFO: Kim Petras, Troye Sivan, Years & Years
Who? Park Hye Jin
What? I Like this
What they say? The six tracks on her new EP “How can I” out now on Ninja Tune—completed over the course of 2019, primarily in transit as she travelled for the first time across Europe, North America and Australia—showcase the multitude of styles and influences that have come to be encapsulated in her output to date. On ‘Like this’ she pairs her own vocals over dream-like pads and grainy, driving rhythms.
Why we love it? Pulsing and playful. This featherlight slice of electronica with skittering beats and floating synths, intersects the weightless spaces between techno and house. Jin’s whispered mantras burrowing their way further into your brain. An inventive earworm. (Bill Cummings)
FFO: Yaeji, Sassy 009, Daft Punk
Who? Christinna O
What? Hot Head
What they say? ‘Hot Head’ expresses how hard it is to speak and be heard for your truths, especially as a Black woman, as a queer Black woman, as a Black queer woman who lives with mental health obstacles. ‘Hot Head‘ is a mouthpiece for my often held rage. This song meets me at the fork in the road, with the option of imploding or getting it all out.
Why we love it? A slow-burning foray into deep-rooted anger that finds its release through music. Featuring a mixture beautiful singing against a hip-hop inspired beat with detailed harmonies and a chorus that will root itself into your mind and have you singing it long after the song is over. (Lloyd Best)
FFO: Solange, Lauryn Hill, Teyana Taylor
Who? Rosehip Teahouse
What? Regretting it
What they say? ‘Regretting It is a song I wrote last year when I was feeling totally overwhelmed. I struggle with understanding and coping with my emotions at the best of times, and I was making decisions that I knew were bad for me and trying not to sink under the weight of it all.’ ‘I found myself dwelling on a lot of this stuff over the lockdown as all the empty time allows a lot of room for overthinking and it felt like the right time to record it. Now it’s out of my system I feel a lot better and can kind of laugh about it a bit. I’ve never clapped on a song before and the synth solo brings me a lot of joy that breaks up the sadness behind it all.’
Why we love it? Sensitive, compassionate, and wistful, Faye’s gorgeous melody attempts to process the weight of difficult emotions. Its underpinned by fuzz trailed strums and a joyous synth line. Rosehip Teahouse are burgeoning into an outfit with not just the brilliantly bittersweet tunes but the emotional weight and intelligence to match. Wonderful. (Bill Cummings)
FFO: Florist, The Sundays, Soccer Mommy