We know you’re busy. So instead of covering everything, we’re going to publish a rundown of the best new music each month. As Drake said on his debut album – Thank [Us] Later. Or send us gifts in the post.
Free from the womb of the previous year and the messy amniotic fluid of winter, March is the month when the year starts to pick up its legs and walk on its own. The previous year’s new bands start to release albums, upcoming artists propel themselves into the ears of music fans without the cynical foundation of a Ones to Watch list, and potential SOTS (Songs of the Summer) start to make themselves known.
March 2015 has been great. Car enthusiast and serial prick Jeremy Clarkson was fired from the BBC; KFC released coffee cups that can be eaten; someone did a shit so bad they forced a British Airways flight to land; and then, of course, there’s been more exciting music events than we’re used to on this grey isle of Barlow and Bombay Bicycle Club.
Kanye brought Britain’s hottest grime talents on stage at a surprise show; Kendrick Lamar released maybe the record of the decade; PC Music destroyed SXSW; Ratking released a sick album on BitTorrent. But that’s just the iceberg. More things have happened in music this month than any March in recent memory and below is a small taster of some of the best pieces of music that’ve been released in the UK.
Jamie XX – “Loud Places (Feat Romy)”
Jamie XX’s debut solo album is coming out on June 1 and, to whet our appetites, last week he released a starter dish in the form of a four track EP In Colour. Of the four tracks, “Gosh”, like “All Under One Roof Raving”, is pumped with nostalgia that never feels overbearing; the previously released “Sleep Sound” is delicately brushed with a sound built to glue the pieces together through a comedown; and “Girl”, also released last year, sits somewhere between the two. “Loud Places”, which features Romy from the XX, is the most delicate of the bunch. The sample of “Could Heaven Ever Be Like This” is akin to fading in and out of water-deprived consciousness at Soul Train, the gentle shift feeling like the moment in the night when you tenderly peer through the cracks in your soul, searching and reaching for something more. It’s the most rewarding release since the xx’s debut - Ryan Bassil
Hira King – “Hummingbird”
Hira King popped up on Soundcloud last month with “Run” – a track that, potentially accentuated by its 8-bit artwork, sounds like Frank Ocean singing over the soundtrack to a water’n’cloud themed level on an N64 platformer. Follow-up track “Hummingbird” eschews that aesthetic and goes from the light toward the darkness, with murky, fuchsia-tinged thumps and stabbing synths punctuating a track that should service Hira King into your personal Ones to Watch list - Ryan Bassil
The Japanese House – “Still”
We premiered the Japanese House’s “Still” at the beginning of the month and since then it’s blown up, garnering one-and-a-half-hundred thousand plays. Not bad for a debut track. Something about the high-fidelity sound makes me feel like it could be the modern day soundtrack equivalent to the iconic moment in Season 3 of The OC when Marissa Cooper shoots Trey and Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek” blasts through and holds the listener tight through despair - but with less auto-tune, obviously - Ryan Bassil
Puppy – “Forever”
This tapestry of riffs and sugar-sweet vocals evokes a world where hotdogs don’t make me fat, my baby holds my hand as we walk through the streets looking better than the Kooples ever envisioned, and every moment clicks into place like some teenage-era Richard Linklater film. Then I wake up. I realize it’s not forever. And I spend every waking moment trying to make life resemble my own picture-perfect fantasies or prepare to die trying while this music plays at full-blast in my headphones - Ryan Bassil
Leks Rivers - “Nubian”
The contents of twenty year-old Londoner Leks River’s Soundcloud account have been on heavy rotation lately. It’s his latest track “Nubian” that’s caught my interest the most. Like a bubble-gummed, funked-up Frank Ocean, the track bubbles and fizzes, guided by a voice destined to soundtrack clear-cut conversations over shop-bought medium-priced wine before descending into the bedroom - Ryan Bassil
This Is The Kit - Bashed Out
It's weird how you think every combination of words has happened in every song to describe every emotion and that pop music should just give up and then something like this comes on and you're like FUCK OK EVERYONE KEEP GOING - Sam Wolfson
Shura – “2Shy”
If Shura's latest bedroom pop jam is supposed to be sad, then it's a rollerskating down Venice Beach in turquoise shorts with an orangeade sprinkle in your hand kind of sad. Because even though this track is conveying a confessional message about being wary of love, it's still got an impulsive young naivety about it. Throw in some percussive claps and hushed vocals, and it sounds a bit like Kindness is playing your school prom and he's brought 1991 Mariah Carey out for the slow dance - Joe Zadeh
Walleater – “Swallow You”
There’s something familiar about Leeds fivesome Walleater and their track “Swallow You” in that it’s not so dissimilar to other music made with guitars. I can’t help but feel there’s something different going on here though. I don’t know, maybe it’s just that every time I listen it feels like everything’s going right. That it’s all going to be okay. The world is here for me. And I guess that’s the power of music. It can hold you through anything and sometimes you can’t explain why - Ryan Bassil
JME - “Don’t @ Me”
No one wants to see people subtweeting about them behind their back. But it's pretty dark to start sending abuse straight into someone's mentions. So what’s the right thing to do when you just want to par someone on Twitter? It's these finer points of social media etiquette that Noisey filmmaker and some time grime artist JME addresses on “Don't @ Me”. Key line: "You will get blocked quick, with your default pic, delete all that shit, I have to tell these pricks don't @ me" - Sam Wolfson
Kero Kero Bonito – “Picture This”
Though not part of the PC Music collective, Kero Kero Bonito definitely share their bold visual aesthetic and a preoccupation with talking about very millennial topics such as "the selfie" in a pronounced English accent. Last year they appeared on the first compilation for Ryan Hemsworth's Secret Songs label, played with him in London in February, then dropped this ridiculous banger that takes everything good about childish 00s shit pop like "The Fast Food Song" and gives it a legitimate J-pop twist. The music is just as daft as the subject matter ("Show me a pic or it didn't even happen"), but KKB are anything but throwaway. Their strength lies in the fact that they are completely and unequivocally fun – Emma Garland
Peluche – “Sin”
South London is a melting pot for great music. King Krule, Sub Luna City, and Jesse James hold it down for the suburban, roached travelcard music fans. Funk bands like Sumo Chief and futuristic soul artists like D’Vo are blessing the area codes with heavy musicianship. And now we’ve got Peluche, who’ve come in like a water-chime through a breezy, spring afternoon and charmed their way into our proverbial back garden - Ryan Bassil
Jammz - “Hit Then Run”
You might know Jammz for spraying bars on Rinse or Boiler Room, but he's also responsible for producing the throbbing synths and chopped up rave vocals that comprise the beat on this one. It's a hard and grimey club track; the product of a rising London MC who's been putting in his thousand hours in across the pirate radio scene for time - Joe Zadeh
Skepta - “Nasty”
One thing that's been missing from 2015's grime resurgence is animosity. Yes there's been a few fracas between Novelist and Izzie Gibbs, but by and large at grime's top table it's all been love and backslaps. But after Chip's appearance on Charlie Sloth it was only a matter of time before response tracks started rolling in. First, Big Narstie calmly eviscerated him in an interview, then Skepta took him and Devilman to task on “Nasty” - Sam Wolfson
Et Aliae – “Only U”
Cascine Records, the label who put out the above track from British producer Et Aliae, say “with references pulled from shoegaze, post-rock, soul and trap, Et Aliae's music is unmistakably feminine and carefully composed”. This is all true and correct but, in terms of visual images, it’s like the entire winter tundra and heart emoji keyboard has been put into a song - Ryan Bassil
Royal T - "Shotta"
Gun shots are the new handclaps - Sam Wolfson
Goth Tech – “Keeping it Slow”
In the past two years Goth Tech have released at least twenty sad-house tracks, with names ranging from “Feels Like There’s No Way Out” to “Online Dating” to “You Just Started Crying”. The one that premiered on Dummy the other week, called “Keeping it Slow”, is perhaps the best starter though. The fragments of spoken word paint the elements of a story, and the pulsating, creeping instrumentation allows the listener to fill in the blanks with their own narration. The next go-to for all the night-club goths out there - Ryan Bassil.