Banish the winter blues with the latest, greatest sounds
Regular visitors to the music sections of the award-winning PHOENIX Digital magazine will know just how obsessed we are with all things Scandinavian. Not in an unhealthy way, honest. Anyway, Amanda Mair is a Stockholm native who gained attention as a teenager with her debut single, “House”. Washington Post compared her to Kate Bush, while Swedish national newspaper Aftonbladet described her album as “one of the best Swedish debut albums of all time”. Opening our November playlist is Amanda’s gorgeous soundscape “Wednesday”, full of memories, regret and longing. Glacially cool.
2. Jocelyn Flores
Jocelyn Flores was a friend of XXXTentacion’s who suffered from depression and took her own life in May this year, while staying with him in Florida for a photoshoot. X is undoubtedly a troubled soul, his past full of violence and controversy, and he remains on probation for robbery and assault with a deadly weapon until 2023. The visceral honesty of his lyrics is matched with a heartbreaking sample from Shiloh Dynasty’s “I Knew You So Well”.
3. Nuestro Planeta (feat. Reykon)
The future is looking bright for Kali Uchis. Raised between Virginia and her parents’ native Colombia, her debut release, Por Vida, gathered acclaim from the likes of The New York Times, Rolling Stone, NPR, Pitchfork and FADER. The video for “Nuestro Planeta” as shot in Medellin, Colombia, and features Kali and friends engaging in what can only be described as “sexy motorbike time”.
4. Got Body
LION BABE is one part Jillian Hervey, one part Lucas Goodman, and they make sensational music together. Talent runs in the family: Jillian is the daughter of singer, actress, fashion designer and former Miss America Vanessa Williams, aka Wilhelmina Slater of Ugly Betty fame. The duo have collaborated with Pharrell Williams, Mark Ronson, and Childish Gambino, and Jillian subsequently became a spokesperson for A-list brands such as MAC Cosmetics and Pantene hair products. “Got Body” is a total delight, a proud and positive clarion call for ladies everywhere to feel comfortable in their own skin.
5. Shadows Crawl
It is hard to convey just how important DJ Premier is to the musical history of the last 30
years, having produced so much of the best hip-hop ever made. Preemo, as he is
affectionally known, worked with Gang Starr, The Notorious B.I.G, Jay-Z, Nas, Dr. Dre, Kanye
West, Mos Def, Common, Mac Miller, Snoop Dogg, Cee-Lo Green, The Game, KRS-One,
Ludacris and Joey Bada$$, to name but a few, but is a relentless innovator. His latest
collaboration is with Torii Wolf, a unique singer/songwriter from New York. Preemo explains
“It’s just very left field-reminiscent of Bjork. She is just very unique and versatile, Torii is
truly one of a kind.” PHOENIX agrees, and we love the fresh sound of this unexpected
meeting of two creative souls.
6. Be Good
London based DJ HAAi offers us “Be Good”, an intriguing self-produced sonic journey where her own wistful vocals are underpinned by hypnotic beats, rattling percussion, dark synth chords and… is that a bagpipe in there? HAAi is also smashing it on the international DJ circuit, recently headlining back to back at Sunfall Festival with The Black Madonna, appearing at Pikes Ibiza, and at the Oasis Festival in Morocco. This is all on top of her “Coconut Beats” residency at Phonox, where she is joined by friends such as Daniel Avery, Chaos in the CBD, Moscoman and Auntie Flo. “I just want to keep people excited and dancing,” she says. So far so good, HAAi.
7. We Stayed Up All Night (Matthew Dear Remix)
Production wizard Matthew Dear deftly applies his trademark euphoric builds to the latest jam by William Phillips aka Tourist. Will hails from south east London and has three sisters, who must have been thrilled when he scooped up a Grammy Award in 2015 for his co-write of Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me”. Will also co-wrote and produced the beautiful “Throwing Stones” for Ardyn, who returns the favour by contributing the distinctive vocals for “We Stayed Up All Night”.
8. Trance Encounters
Australian producer Tornado Wallace released his long-awaited debut album “Lonely Planet” last year on Gerd Janson’s Running Back label, also home to Tensnake, Kalk and KiNK. The album was written in Melbourne and Berlin, where he spends most of the year. Trance Encounters is a gorgeous slice of downtempo magic, a musical journey alive with knowing references and mysterious intentions.
9. Bring It Back
Hauke Freer and Matthias Reiling, aka Session Victim, spent much of their teenage years searching for decent raves in rural Germany. In subsequent years they have both amassed a huge collection of disco, house, soul, and funk records, and put them to good use in their flawless, vinyl-only DJ sets, augmented by live bass guitar, synths and samples. “Bring It Back” is a perfect example of their distinctive, classy take on decades of dance music. The guys are also completely obsessed with pinball, and have even designed the layout for a Session Victim pinball machine.
10. Siren Song
Dinner is Danish producer and singer Anders Rhedin. Now based in LA, Dinner worked in the nighttime at a studio in an industrial part of downtown LA, and the album’s songs were recorded on the spot with no preparation, in order to capture the moment. Anders explains: “I just needed to get back to the approach I used when I was still self-releasing cassettes, back in Copenhagen. I spent way too much time on the previous record. I was sitting in front of a computer-screen alone for seven months working on it, obsessing over it. This time I wanted to work very fast in order to think less. I wanted to collaborate more. I hoped that other people’s presence would keep my perfectionism in check.” Catch Dinner on tour throughout the UK and Europe between now and Christmas (dinner).
11. Everything Now
Before the release of their latest album “Everything Now”, Arcade Fire created a fake “global media and e-commerce platform” called… Everything Now. The brand/band interacted with KFC on Twitter, published fake news, and even a satirical review of their own record. Very meta. This title track is a bona-fide pop opus, built on sweeping strings and piano, choir and – yes, you heard right – pygmy flute. Singer Win Butler’s wistful reflections are carried by an unstoppable four to the floor groove, not dissimilar to “Dancing Queen”, so it’s quite possible that the band spent some time worshipping at the altar of Abba in preparation for “Everything Now”.
12. Versus Game
This track by Montreal duo Blue Hawaii has a certain “je ne sais quoi”, a lightness of touch, an emotional sincerity. Raphaelle ‘Ra’ Standell and Alexander ‘Agor’ Kerby explained: “We’ve been needing to have a little fun as of late. So we did just that.” The video features Ra, Ag and friends having a world of fun on mopeds, a world away from Kali Uchis’ “sexy motorbike time”. You can catch Blue Hawaii on a world tour this November which will include Glasgow, Dublin, Brighton and London.
You might recognise the distinct flow of Kah-Lo from her guest vocals on Riton’s Grammy Nominated dance anthem “Rinse & Repeat”. Here she takes centre stage on another Riton –produced dancefloor smash. We have social media to thank for this prolific pairing, as Kah-Lo explains: “I reached out to Riton on Twitter, and Rinse & Repeat was recorded two years later.” The 24-year old moved from Nigeria to the USA and began performing in bars and coffee shops across New York City, perfecting her craft whilst also uploading tracks to her Soundcloud page. “Fasta” is a summer anthem that fuses the sounds of Afrobeats and electronic music, PHOENIX loves Kah-Lo’s unique tone and delivery, and can’t wait to hear what she comes up with next.
14. Diaspora – Laolu Remix
The phrase “Visions of Diaspora” sounds like a mantra your friend might well chant into middle distance after a heavy night at a dance festival, several sheets of MDMA to the wind, but this is epic music. London born and bred XOA has been causing waves across the dance world, with his unique and on-point blend of textured afro-beat, funk and Jazz inspired sound. Producer Laolu molds “Diaspora” into a heavy, haunting and hypnotic dancefloor workout. A stunning remix.
15. On My Mind
Jorja Smith X Preditah
Jorja Smith returns to the playlist with this irresistible UK Garage throwback, in collaboration with Preditah. It’s been a great year for Jorja which keeps getting better, her 2018 UK tour is already selling out, and she was nominated for three MOBO awards: Best Newcomer, Best Rnb/Soul Act and Best Female Act. PHOENIX is thrilled to support Jorja’s journey towards world domination.
16. Make You Love Me
Jarreau Vandal ft. Zak Abel
Born in Maastricht in Holland and raised in Amsterdam, Vandal’s sound has been turning heads since the release of his debut EP on Soulection back in 2014. A glossy, refined blend of his early hip-hop, jazz and RnB influences, it is difficult to box into any particular scene or genre. ‘Make You Love Me’ sees Vandal re-connect with Zak Abel and together they tap into that soulful vibe; Vandal’s deft piano melodies, retro synths and future disco beats providing the perfect foil for Abel’s powerful vocals.
17. About You (Sound In Noise Remix)
Jacob Plant feat. Maxine
UK music producer and DJ Jacob Plant had been working on music for Maxine at his studio in LA when they decided to collaborate on a house track for his next release. Jacob told BooHoo Man “It was actually a really fun session as we all ended up partying after. She’s become a really good friend of mine since.” This remix brings some thundering old school drum & bass fire thanks to Estonian DJ “Sound In Noise”. Given it is now 20 years to the month since the release of Roni Size’s DnB magnum opus “New Forms”, PHOENIX thinks it’s high time for a revival.
Oisin Lunny has been performing, producing and DJing since the early 90s, first with his band Marxman and then with his solo project Firstborn. Today he is a keynote speaker, composes music for film & TV, DJs globally, and sends out mixtapes to 12,000 friends via his website.