London vocalist Demae has shared her new single 'Stuck In A Daze'.

The musician first caught our attention some time back, operating as one third of the soulful hip-hop project Hawk House.

Fast forward a decade and she's still here, still using music as a vehicle for open-ended expression.

New project 'Life Works Out…Usually' lands in September, steered into the waiting world by London beat collective Touching Bass.

Taken from the project, new cut 'Stuck In A Daze' is online now, and it's a supremely chilled slice of jazz-leaning neo-soul.

The subtle production leans on the sparse side, and it's suggestive beat affords acres of space for Demae to do her thing.

Joined by fellow London chanteuse Ego Ella May, it's a dynamic performance, caramel-soft but with waves of emotion underneath.

Supremely chilled, we're pretty damn excited – expect big things from 'Life Works Out…Usually'.

Check out 'Stuck In A Daze' below.

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HAIM have announced a string of massive arena shows for next summer.

The band's new album 'Women In Music Pt. 3' is out now, with the sisters smashing their way to No. 1 spot on the UK charts.

All touring plans are being pushed to next year, but 2021 is set to bring a leap into the unknown – a full arena tour.

Hitting Glasgow, Cardiff and more, HAIM will also play a night at London's O2 Arena on June 18th.

Selected dates have a pre-sale, with tickets going on general sale from 10am on Friday (August 7th).

 
 
 

 

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the ONE MORE HAIM uk tour 2021 Presale starts Wednesday 8/5 General onsale Friday 8/7 For more info go to haimtheband.com who’s ready to see wimpiii live?

A post shared by HAIM (@haimtheband) on

Catch HAIM at the following shows:

June 
15 + 16 Manchester O₂ Victoria Warehouse
18 London The O2
19 Nottingham Motorpoint Arena
22 Glasgow The SSE Hydro
23 Cardiff Motorpoint Arena

Photo Credit: Keith Oshiro

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Toronto riser Anna Sofia has shared her new EP 'Broken Perfection' in full.

Still only 17 years old, her unique mesh of DIY production, indie pop templates, and R&B melodies has already caused a stir.

Singles such as 'Either Way' and 'Happy For You' sparked an avalanche of hype, with the shimmering surface masking real emotional depth in her songwriting.

Twisting these adolescent themes into something timeless, Anna Sofia is able to funnel specific feelings and emotions into her music while doing this in a relatable way.

She's got a curious twist to her lyrics, while the choice of melody seems to amplify the atmosphere within each song.

“I don’t have a message. It’s just real life,” she admits. “One day, I hope to fill stadiums all over the world. I want to have fans everywhere and have some way of helping them or guiding them through my music. My confidence comes from being myself and connecting with people.”

New EP 'Broken Perfection' is out, a project that underlines her strengths, with its fleeting melodic bursts and pensive melancholy.

Tune in now.

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Australian pop risers Btwn Us have released their new single 'Talk'.

The band surged to viral fame last year, mashing up Ed Sheeran's 'Perfect' with an Elvis classic.

Since then they've doubled down, with the group – two brothers and a close, close friend – turning inwards to focus on new material.

'Talk' leads the way, a sizzling return from the Melbourne trio, impeccable pop with a lyrical twist.

A frisky number about unfulfilled passion, the group dare to look a little deeper. Btwn Us comment…

"'Talk' is about unrequited love and how it drives you crazy and creates uncertainty!"

Tune in now.

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Lockdown has brought more than its fair share of challenges for everyone.

In Izzy Bizu's case, however, it was particularly acute: she was moving house. Speaking to Clash on a Zoom call from her new abode, the background is framed by unpacked boxes and empty shelves, her answers resonating around the bare walls.

She's excited, though. It's a new challenge, a fresh opportunity, and it comes as she closes in on her second album.

With glorious new single 'Tough Pill' out now, there was a lot of chat about.

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How does it feel to come back? Do you feel pressure to live up to your debut?

It’s nice to focus on something new, as much as I really enjoyed working on the last album. At first I did feel a lot of pressure starting the second album, but I’ve been working on it for a while so now I’m really enjoying settling into it. Now I just can’t wait to show people new music as I’ve been sitting on it for a while now.

How long have you been working on this?

I wrote one of the songs – ‘Healthy’ – a long time ago. Like, right after I released ‘A Moment Of Madness’… and then I wished I had put it on the album, but I never did!

It’s a cute R&B acoustic track, which I wrote after my first break up. It means a lot to me, so I’m glad there’s a bit of older stuff in there! When I say old, though, it’s only like a year, a year and a half or something like that. A lot of the tracks that will be coming out this year I wrote in February, when we were coming to the end of that process.

What will the theme of the record be? What will differentiate it from your debut?

I feel like the last one was really innocent and talking about issues that I had never experienced before, and the excitement of love and all the confusion that goes around it. And I was quite needy. The songs were quite needy… I was a very needy person at that point!

This album is more about me trying to find my own way, trying to break out of the bird’s nest without trying to lean on somebody. But there is still a melancholic, vulnerable side to it. There’s a lot of ballads on the new record… that no one has heard yet! The realise that you lose innocence as you get older.

Ballads are a difficult thing to sing, do you feel your experiences as a vocalist have allowed you to get closer to who you really are?

I definitely think I am. I get really close to everyone I work with, and everyone I enjoy writing songs with I have a really good friendship with, which creates a lot of trust and freedom in the studio.

Then they see me at my high and low points – when I’m laughing, and then when I’m crying! They never get surprised, and I think that’s why I write better songs with people who I know well as I feel more comfortable to be myself with them. Whether that’s up or down!

Which of the new ballads taps into what you’re currently feeling, then?

I would say… ‘Rules’. The song is all about my first love… and when we first broke up we kept tapping into each other, like we were half-together and half not together. So the song is about breaking the rules when it comes to the boundaries you have to have with people you shouldn’t see any more. Not being able to cut the ties.

It’s quite a cute song… because although we know the right thing to do, sometimes we just want to do what makes us feel happy. Which isn’t necessarily right.

‘Faded’, by contrast, is basically a disco tune…

Yeah! There’s a lot of upbeat songs as well! ‘Faded’ is really upbeat… and while it sounds upbeat, it’s about the frustration I had with someone where the conversation was going round in circles and we couldn’t come to an agreement on something. So that’s why I wrote the song. Now I listen to it and it just feels euphoric. I’ve got another really upbeat one, as well, which is quite innocent and cute.

Which is more challenging as a vocalist? Performing a ballad, or a disco track?

It really depends. I feel like if you’re on a break, then doing a disco tune can be difficult. But sometimes if you’re performing a ballad, the sadness of the song pushes your sadness out. But when you’re trying to be happy – and singing a note that’s difficult to sing – it sounds a bit weird if you’re screaming it out. I find faster songs harder to sing, but I’m sure other singers feel a different way.

You’ve been working a lot with the charities Ethiopaid and Studio Samuel.

I wrote a song for them, we’re figuring out when we’ll release it. I really want to go visit, but we have to wait for this all to settle. I usually do my projects when I’m out there, and I’ll go visit. And get involved! But obviously you can’t travel that much right now.

You’ve been out on the ground with them?

It’s amazing. Studio Samuel is an arts school, and in-house they also have a psychologist. It’s a school for girls, who have been bringing themselves up, either due to disease or they haven’t been able to be part of a foster family.

They haven’t been given a proper education, and something I believe in is that lack of education causes poverty. So they get given this education, and it’s just… it’s amazing. And then the fact that there’s a psychologist in-house really, really helps the girls develop. It’s a cool concept.

Do these experiences inspire your work in any other way?

It does. It makes me realise, that it doesn’t really take much to feel passionate or feel inspired. You don’t really need that much to be happy. And the reason these girls get through each day is that they’re able to be who they are, and someone will listen to them.

They were inspiring me because in the West I feel we’re always afraid of what to say, a bit more timid… but they’ve been through so much they don’t care about that. It was watching these girls come of age, really coming into themselves. That’s what was inspiring for me.

The new single is ‘Tough Pill’, how was that one to write?

It was really funny… basically, I wrote that because I was jealous that my boyfriend was speaking to this really beautiful girl and it’s all about those stupid moments when you’ve had one too many, and you feel as though someone is really getting on with someone else… And there’s this novelty that you can’t get back. Y’know, when you first meet someone? And they share that same novelty with a new person… so it’s a tough pill to swallow! It’s literally about that, and how silly I am for even thinking that’s a problem. But I guess we all go through these things!

Do you think those experiences help you as a person, and then enable you as a songwriter to view yourself in that full 360 dynamic?

Yeah. I think the fact that I said it… now I look back and I laugh at it! I find that in these situations where I did feel that way, I don’t feel that way as much any more. I feel way more chilled because I can recognise… that’s silly. I think once you can say how you feel about an awkward situation that makes it less awkward. It does really help.

Was there a song that gave you some amount of difficulty? Or was it a more stress-free project?

Yeah. There was! That was a ballad and it was called ‘Hurt’. The first verse and the chorus came so easily… and then, for some reason, we couldn’t finish it! The first verse was so good, but we wanted it to keep getting better… and it wouldn’t get any better! So we left it for about three months, went back in… and we got it. It’s really annoying when that happens, but I learned my lesson: make sure you finish the song in one day!

Is working quickly a hallmark of these new songs?

I think it’s best to do it when it’s fresh. You can re-imagine an emotion, but it’ll never be the same, so it’s best to capture it when it’s there. I’m sure a lot of songwriters have done that classic thing of stopping, relaxing… and getting too comfortable. So this time, most of it was done in one day.

What did you learn this time round that wasn’t apparent on your debut?

I think to trust myself more. I used to be really insecure about what people would think. When I wrote my first album I was really free, and I had nothing to compare it to. And then I wrote with different people for the second one – and some I connected to – but everyone has their own process, so I was always trying to follow someone else’s process, and it kind of messed with my creativity.

So I started to write a diary everyday, and found myself writing how I used to… so I needed to re-learn my own process, while also adapting to these other writers. I learned to be open-minded, but to also trust the way I do things as I didn’t want to lose my style.

You keep a diary? I do! I keep a diary because it keeps things real. I feel like it’s really easy as a writer to worry about what people want to listen to, and then you don’t write about your truth, or what is actually happening. So I decided to keep a diary, just to keep my head straight. Especially through lockdown! And it also helped me find my voice again, it helped me be more honest with myself and others.

Surely your diary during lockdown is just: Day 13… nothing happened!

Yeah! I think I went up to Day Eight and I was convinced I would write a lockdown book… but then I stopped and just started writing random shit! I read it back the other day and I was like, this is so dark! It sounded like I was in a prison cell! I’m used to it now… I don’t know anything else now. I feel like if we went back to normality, would we even like it?

So what is your tip to get through lockdown, Izzy?

Make sure you keep showering! Some people really let go! So keep that going. And get good at cooking! Cos otherwise Deliveroo will bankrupt you.

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'Tough Pill' is out now.

Words: Robin Murray

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For casual listeners, the most recognisable link between New York’s now thriving Drill scene and our own distinctly British iteration of the genre is the late, destined-to-be great Pop Smoke’s work with Ilford producer 808Melo. Brooklynite Pop’s commanding, raspy delivery and his ability to oscillate between menace and charm, coupled with Melo’s masterful productions made 2019’s ‘Meet the Woo’ an instant classic.

With Pop Smoke’s tragic murder in February, the assumption might’ve been that the transatlantic Drill connection would fizzle out. Regardless of what you think of the track, Drake jumping on M1OnTheBeat’s eerie production a couple of weeks ago, and getting comprehensively spun by Tottenham’s Headie One was a statement that this relationship is in-fact getting stronger.

The truth is these waters run deep, exemplified by organically developed bonds built on mutual respect. Nor are they as simple as New York Drillers jumping on British producer’s beats. Below are four key cuts which highlight the complexity and depth of our cold island’s special relationship with the US when it comes to the all-conquering sonics of Drill.

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Skengdo x AM & Chief Keef – 'Pitbulls'

Taken from Skengdo x AM’s 2018 tape ‘Greener on the Other Side’, ‘Pitbulls’ sees two of UK Drill’s pioneers link-up with and pay homage to the certified Godfather of Chicago Drill. It probably didn’t get the flowers it deserved at the time, but looking back it is a track with real historical significance.

If you consider the stratospheric heights that Drill is now climbing towards, Chief Keef is undoubtedly one of the last decade’s most influential Rap figures. When the sounds of Chicago Drill reached South London, Skengdo x AM’s uncompromising bars helped mould it into something more reflective of the blocks and estates this side of the Atlantic, and bore the brunt of the predictable moral panic when UK Drill began to gather pace in its own right.

‘Pitbulls’ production is also an intercontinental effort, between American Pnoonz and our own JB Made It from Croydon’s ‘Finesse Foreva’ camp, with an ominous piano-led melody lurking throughout. Keef’s verse is full of the Chiraq swagger he built his name on, and AM’s icy “Mind how you talk on the phone, my two pit-bulls walk around on their own” hook is hard to forget.

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22Gz – 'Suburban, Pt. 2'

‘Suburban, Pt. 2’ dropped last winter, which is fitting because the track is a bitterly cold reply to fellow Flatbush native Sheff G’s ‘No Suburban’ which in-turn was a response to the original ‘Suburban’, arguably the template for Brooklyn’s Drill sound. East London’s AXL Beats expertly handled production for both the original and ‘No Suburban’ but for me, the Ghosty produced ‘Suburban, Pt. 2’ is the standout.

Again, hailing from the impressive Finesse Foreva camp, Ghosty has worked with some of UK Drill’s biggest, brightest stars and masterminded Digga D’s infamous, bass-heavy ‘No Diet’.

It’s the bass which carries ‘Suburban, Pt. 2’, brooding and muscular, providing the ideal backdrop for 22Gz hard hitting boasts and threats. A more melodic offering wouldn’t have worked here; the chilly steel of the Flatbush rapper’s bars needed to be matched by an equally steely instrumental, and Ghosty did not miss.

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Unknown T – 'Deh Deh'

As mentioned above, the transatlantic Drill connection can’t be simplified down to a US artist / UK producer dynamic.

Unknown T burst onto the UK Drill scene with the speaker-rattling ‘Homerton B’ which became the genre’s first true commercial success. From that point onwards, he’s made huge strides in diversifying his sound and his recent ‘Rise Above Hate’ mixtape is a showcase of genuine versatility.

The project’s lead single ‘Deh Deh’ sees T’s intricately structured, phonetic flows glide effortlessly over New York producer 800 Hertz’ warm keys. There’s often an unmistakable American grandiosity to New York Drill, characterised by luxurious textures which contrast starkly with the lyrical content. T taps into this energy and the final product is transcendental, trap-leaning Drill.

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G4 Boyz feat G4choppa – 'Prada'

Staten Island’s G4 Boyz (Buggy and Ice Baby) are currently pioneering an uproarious Drill version of ‘Scam Rap’, which zooms in on the problematic yet profitable world of credit card fraud.

The relatively untapped subject matter of their breakout hit ‘Local Scammer’ wasn’t the only thing that stood out; the New Yorker’s recruited London Driller G4choppa to jump on London duo FNR Beats’ textbook UK Drill production. G4choppa's contribution was a real expansion of British influence on a New York Drill track.

‘Prada’ dropped last week, and if something ain’t broke, don’t fix it. G4 Boyz repeat the trick, with a pair of bouncy verses full of West African inflections which speak to their Nigerian and Ghanian heritage, bridged via G4choppa’s gravel-toned hook. FNR Beats’ production is again pleasingly minimalist, bass-led UK Drill. The infectious blend points towards the future of the genre; one which is truly global.

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Words: Robert Kazandjian

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South London riser Summer Banton has shared her new single 'Go Away'.

The singer shared her debut single 'We're Cool' a few months back, gaining support from Rinse and spins on Beats 1 and 1Xtra.

With the sun shining Summer has picked the perfect moment to make her return, adding some afrobeats flavour to her soulful fusion.

'Go Away' is essentially an R&B tune wrapped around a spicy afrobeats chassis, the purring percussive engine pushing her voice into a fresh space.

Out now, it's supremely refreshing – and what with this being London's hottest day of the year, we're going to need it…

Remarkably assured, it's a confident return from an artist who seems to blossom with each passing release.

Tune in now.

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Richard Norris will release new album 'Elements' on September 4th.

The renowned producer and psychedelic voyager has confirmed five new tracks, a nexus for transfixing drone elements and deep listening.

A project that revels in organic subtlety, 'Elements' will be accompanied by an hour-long visual show, constructed by video artist Bill Borez.

With planned live shows now shelved, the project will gain internet viewings, launching at this year's online Sea Change Festival.

'Elements' will be released on September 4th.

Tracklist:
1. Earth
2. Water
3. Fire
4. Air
5. Space

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The past two months has seen Omar Rodríguez-López gift the world not one, not two, but three enchanting releases. 'The Clouds Hill Tapes Pt. I – III' were composed by Rodríguez-López himself and feature an assemblage of musicians and the vocal talent of Maria Garcia-Alvez.

Part III comprises of only six tracks and as the artwork suggests, is the closing sequence of the cinematic musical experience that Rodriguez-Lopez has created. We find solace here, in this ending. As we are left to re-enter the world with the lessons that these songs leave behind. The music is unclear at times but beautiful non the less, as is the video for ‘Winter’s Gone’. Simply focus on the words and you will find moments of focus in this chaotic world.

The artistic vision of The Clouds Hill Tapes videos unfortunately were not replicated in the album art. Whilst a great effort was made to celebrate the analogue approach that the team took in creating this collection of work, the outcome the artwork does not compliment the work as it should. A brilliant concept, with an unfortunate shutterstock-friendly execution.

‘Running Away’ traverses the strain of relationships, sharing pain, letting people leave and return into your life. A tale as old as time, this “set in stone” experience is explored with a positive light, with the emotively beautiful piano accompaniment truly being the cherry on the cake.

And whilst the beauty of this piece is clear, the movement doesn’t track through the opus, with tracks like ‘Paint Yourself A Saint’ and ‘Born To Be Nobody’ having moments of clutter. Coco Chanel’s words of wisdom; ‘Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off’; come to mind. Whilst there is too much going on, this isn’t to say Rodriguez-Lopez is any less talented, if anything the overwhelming nature is the result of having too many eggs in one basket and simply not knowing where the line is, rather than being unable to produce creative masterpieces.

‘Tell Me What I Did Wrong’ certainly provides proof of this creative prowess. This track would be fitting on any major radio, with its blend of painfully troubled vocals blending beautifully with the near-dance beat. Both interesting and moving, it draws you in but would feel comfortable being remixed and revamped, a goldmine for radio DJs.

An unfiltered blast of creativity, 'The Clouds Hill Tapes Part III' finds Omar Rodríguez-López communicating directly with fans, with mixed but sometimes fascinating results.

7/10

Words: Megan Walder

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Brandy is one of the few performers still standing who has unarguably shaped and moulded an entire genre. Releasing her debut album at the tender age of 15, she went on to eclipse 40 million sales worldwide, defining and re-defining pop tropes at will. Simply put, she’s one of R&B’s true icons, a Queen from the 90s Imperial phase. And now she’s back.

‘B7’ is a rich return, one that finds Brandy eschewing the culture of the feature to focus on herself, her life, and her artistry. Guests are carefully picked – Sy’Rai, Chance the Rapper, and the sometimes-cancelled Daniel Caesar – but only ever to amplify the song and the message; the central voice is hers, with Brandy sitting at the centre of her own creative solar system.

Opening with the exceptionally beautiful ‘Save All My Love’ the album is marked out as personal, cutting a little deeper than most. A rush of emotion that tackles self-worth, motherhood, and a whole lot more, by the time we reach bluntly titled closer ‘Bye Bipolar’ we’re left to wonder, has she ever been as explicitly honest as this?

‘All My Life’ (Parts One and Two) is a supreme act of soulful autobiography, but while she’s open about the struggles she’s been through, Brandy places emphasis on her optimistic aspects. ‘B7’ is weighted by statements of affirmation, with ‘I Am More’ and ‘Rather Be’ becoming mantra-like motions towards positive manifestation.

‘High Heels’ ushers its way towards sheer joy, with Brandy linking up alongside Sy’Rai to dance into the inky twilight. ‘Say Something’ is a poem about communication, while the itchily infectious ‘Baby Mama’ finds Brandy sparring alongside Chance the Rapper on a potent ode to motherhood.

The long-awaited follow up to 2012’s ‘Two Eleven’, ‘B7’ is perhaps a little overlong. Mid-album cuts such as ‘Borderline’ are no more than nice – pleasing on the ear, tugging at the heartstrings, but failing to match the gravitational pull of the record’s true highlights.

That being said, ‘B7’ is a triumph. A record worth savouring, it sits alongside NewGen R&B talent – step forward ChloexHalle, we see you Kiana Lede – while retaining that classic touch. A master of the form, it’s a joy to have Brandy back in our lives.

8/10

Words: Robin Murray

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