Brett: Die Young

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“How does it feel to die young?” There may be a deathly, existential question at the warm core of Brett’s new EP title track, but ‘Die Young’ is a song that courses with life. A hazy, honeycomb new wave-inspired blend of pulsing synths and cinematic guitars, its charms are infinite: “hanging at the beach, getting pretty close, maybe this real, maybe I’m a ghost,” sings frontman Mick Coogan before its unstoppable chorus. Death has hung in the air throughout a lot of 2016, but ‘Die Young’ celebrates something immortal: the dreamlike state of young love and all the butterflies that go with it.

The ‘Die Young’ EP also features previous singles ‘California Nights’, ‘Modern Classic’ and ‘Lost City’, as well as new tracks ‘Wildflower’ and this sweet, stunning new single. Pushing their sound into new terrain, the EP introduces early new wave influence and noisier guitar elements to their subtly electronic sound. Paying homage to the songwriting brilliance of Robert Smith and Tom Petty, ‘Die Young’ paints a melancholy portrait of fleeting youth, wounded regrets, and dreamy, reckless romance. It’s available to buy now – head to their Bandcamp to purchase, and check out the title track above. Brett are on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

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John Hancock III: Love Life

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“Yeah, it’s abysmal lately, everywhere you turn,” concedes John Hancock III on his latest blast from a vivid disco dreamland. It doesn’t have to stay that way though, he insists in glorious falsetto, urging a return “to the good shit – don’t just stand there, watch it burn!” before a breakdown so funkadelic it’d make the great, late Prince blush. The lyric rings true as we enter election week in America, at the end of a tiring year that yeah, has had its abysmal bits. Hancock’s mode of protest is great, gargantuan party songs to saviour.

Those of you who’ve paid close attention will have noticed a change in the New Jersey troubadour across a year that begun with him singing above a danceable indie-pop bed of lo-fi keyboards and drum machine bleeps. Tracks like ‘Left Me’, ‘Give It Out’ and ‘Negative Space’ were John Hancock III 1.0. Version 2 has been even more ambitious: wild saxophones, mad rushes of electronics and ’80s pomp that somehow feels futuristic at the same time as harking back. Last month’s ‘Guilty Party’ was just the start – ‘Love Life’ is his brilliant next step into the pop unknown. Check it out above, and we’ll see you next week.

 

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Luu: No Limit

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Luu are 10K Islands’ resident G-funk pop soundtrackers to sunny summer evenings where the heat is thick and air is heavy with lust and romance. New single ‘No Limit’, however, turns the lights down a little lower on their catchy sound. Inspired by white label dance music of the ’90s and detailing a house party where some serious seduction is going down, the track shows a sultry, after-hours, post-watershed side of the trio who, it turns out, also have nocturnal electronic vibes, soft galloping beats and post-dubstep bleeps and beats in their arsenal. It’s Luu, but not as we know it.

Out today on 10K, the song follows last month’s weightless pop jam ‘Zero Gravity’, lush instrumental ‘Splash’, summer’s ‘Bout It’ and the Noisey-approved ‘That Light’. “In the kitchen at the back of a party, I warned you not to call me baby,” begins the track, featuring smoky vocals from another shadowy guest vocalist from their revolving collective of collaborators. “I told you I never been real good at this you said neither have I but we should give it a try.” Give it a try yourself above, and we’ll see you next week.

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Nafets: Asteroid

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Nafets came to Earth on an asteroid. Or at least that’s what it felt like, growing up the son of Trinidadian parents in a black suburb in Fort Washington, Maryland while attending a mostly white private school in Washington DC. “I felt like I was always torn between several worlds and cultures and it would often make me feel very excluded and alone,” he explains. “I felt I didn’t fit in with friends or society in neither Trinidad nor America.” That experience of feeling alien – like he’d crash-landed on a meteorite, clawed his way out of a crater and tried to assimilate into a world he didn’t belong – is the spark for his latest slice of energetic, slightly trippy hip-hop: ‘Asteroid’, a track that like its planet-wrecking, dinosaur-obliterating interplanetary namesake, is set to make a serious impact.

“For me, rapping began as a way to combat depression, which I’ve suffered from since high school,” says Nafets, who is currently at college in Claremont, California. “It was a way for me to explore that side of myself that wasn’t really appropriate to just casually talk about. It helped me separate myself from my depression by creating a little box to put it all into – music.”

That sense of outpouring emotion is certainly felt on ‘Asteroid’, his first release on 10K. Spit-firing surreal rhymes (“I’m digging graves for me and all of my friends ‘cos I’m trapped in the future, someone help me out, need a gallon of luther, stares all around but really I was gone for applause”) over looping keys and a deep boom-bap beat, it’s a lighter, more melancholy side to the rising talent, whose last single ‘Feel Good’ was a dark, rampant, lose-your-shit party-starter, praised by HipHopDX and others.

Influenced by Earl Sweatshirt, Chester Watson, Mac Miller and more (but with a sweet spot for metal like Lamb of God), Nafets has more on the way – ‘Asteroid’ is to feature on an album, The Death Of Mr Ramen, about killing off an alter-ego. This, then, is just the beginning. Follow Nafets on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and we’ll see you next week.

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Viigo: Ex-Friends

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With shades of Jungle and Jai Paul, Viigo’s ‘Ex-Friends’ throws a slow-motion electronic eye on the moment a partnership fades into black, past a point of return. “I wanna take it back again, to the time where we were friends,” sings frontman MJ Hancock, atop a squelch of twisting synths. It’s an emotional frontier to cross, finally calling it quits like that. ‘Ex-Friends’ bundles that emotion into three minutes and thirty seconds of the kind of R&B-fused electro-soul magic the cult trio have become known for on their impressive rise through 2016.

Viigo’s music is full of such storytelling – universal moments of struggle everyone experiences once or twice in their life, put under the magnifying glass to a soundtrack of staggering production full of featherlight echoes and electronic skitters. From ‘Paranoia’, about those times your mental health suffers, celebrated for its “pulsing Balearic waves, roaring bass, and shimmering rhythms” by The Line Of Best Fit, to breakout single ‘Move’, about the happiness and fear of moving in with a loved one, ‘Ex-Friends’ is in good company – another arresting insight into life and love through the eyes of Viigo. Follow them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, and we’ll see you next week.

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Mr Witch: Money and Dope feat. Nafets

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Mr Witch is the EDM Scarface. Need proof? Say hello to his little friend, new single ‘Money and Dope’. A pulsing dancehall beast full of Tony Montana-worthy narcotic haze and big bass, the song zips through a hedonistic wonderland of drugs and dark dance floor mayhem. With echoes of Skrillex and A$AP Rocky’s thunderous ‘Wild For The Night’, it’s another scorching reminder of the rising production star’s prowess behind the boards and appetite for the unknown.

The track features guest verses from first generation Trindadian rapper Nafets, who you’ll be hearing more from on 10K soon, and is a left-turn from Mr Witch’s previous few singles: though it keeps the intensity, TNGHT-ish drops and fast raps of ‘I Want You’, ‘Carat Cake’ and August’s massive ‘Feelin’ Fine’,  it’s a smokier affair than usual, pulling back the BPMs for a sultry slink of echoing synths and reggae rhythms. Listen to the track above, and follow Mr Witch on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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Luu: Zero Gravity

luu-zero-gravityYou don’t need to visit space to experience a sensation of weightlessness, floating through a strange, surreal ether. Save yourself some money and many years of NASA training by crushing on someone. G-funk pop trio Luu nail the emotion on ‘Zero Gravity’ – the gorgeous, butterfly-stomach uncertainty of a new love turned into a smoky R&B anthem full of lush falsetto hooks and plinking Dr Dre guitars. “You take me sky-walking baby… higher than the clouds, like swimming in the stars, never touching down,” sing the ‘Bout It’ hit-makers. After a string of impressive 2016 singles and now this certified banger, it doesn’t sound like Luu are coming back down to earth anytime soon.

“Got my head in a hurricane,” chimes the track, describing a love interest that may or may not be requited. By the time its huge chorus strides into view, entwining singalong vocals (“never let me down, never never let me down”) with rising, squelchy synth patterns, you’ll be as hooked on Luu as they are on the object of obsession at the heart of this song. Every bit as alluring as breakout single ‘That Light’, which Noisey described as “exquisite and often sensual luxury”, summer may be over but Luu, with their late night, steamy summer R&B sound, are carrying on like the sunshine will never end. Follow Luu on Twitter, and we’ll see you next week.

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