Matt Wilkinson is a key part of the Beats 1 family, a genial host whose thirst for new music knows no bounds.
From his London base the broadcaster has established a global following, criss-crossing genres while stamping his own flavour on each show.
With 2019 drawing to an end Clash caught up with Matt to uncover a few of the year's slept-on records.
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The Paranoyds – ‘Carnage Bargain’
Following in the footsteps of Sunflower Bean and Starcrawler, The Paranoyds are LA's best kept secret. Live, there are definitely shades of Black Sabbath about them, but also bands like X-Ray Spex and maybe even Devo.
Vocalists Staz and Laila head up the band, and their debut album ‘Carnage Bargain’ is full of some of the smartest punk songs I've heard all year.
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Grace Ives – ‘2nd’
Grace Ives is a New Yorker who Clairo told us about when she was on my show. Her music is full of amazing melodies and when I met her over in Beats 1's New York studio in June for an interview, and I thought there was a real freshness and intelligence about her.
If you're new to her then the track you have to check out is ‘Mirror’.
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Sault – ‘5’ and ‘7’
It's really difficult to choose which of these two Sault albums to pick. They're both amazing. You need to check both of them out.
The project is shrouded in secrecy, which adds an air of excitement to it all. One thing that is fairly certain is that Inflo is heavily involved – he’s the producer and writer whose DNA is all over the recent work of Little Simz, Cleo Sol and Michael Kiwanuka.
The two Sault records are a perfect continuation of that aesthetic.
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Mattiel – ‘Satis Factory’
Mattiel’s at the centre of Atlanta’s garage scene at present, but on her second record, she changed her style up perfectly. The sense of soul remains, but it’s more funky, more disco and bolder throughout. Her voice really stands out – much older than her years – and as a songwriter she’s maturing really, really gracefully.
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Vegyn – ‘Only Diamonds Cut Diamonds’
I think Vegyn might be the most exciting new producer in London. He’s definitely the most connected – having collaborated with Jpegmafia, Travis Scott and others in recent years. I met him because he works on ‘Blonded Radio’, which is Frank Ocean’s show on Beats 1.
Vegyn’s own music knows no bounds. It can be light and poppy in places, and much more dark and abstract in others. ‘Only Diamonds Cut Diamonds’ is a perfect introduction to what he's about.
Favourite tracks: 'Debold' and 'It’s Nice To Be Alive'.
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Happy Mondays – 'The Early EPs'
One of my favourite reissues of the year came from Happy Mondays, who put this out in November. There's so much great stuff to love here, all of it drenched in heavy, reverb-flecked Manchester funk. It’s a world away from ‘Pills, Thrills and Bellyaches’, and all the famous stuff they put out in the 90s. My favourite track is probably ‘Tart Tart’, which is just brilliant lyrically and melodically – it’s quite dark, and it really gets inside your head.
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Toro y Moi – ‘Soul Trash’
I think Toro y Moi’s time is now. He's been making records for so long, but as we go into 2020, he's going to be so in demand. You see him hanging out with people like Diddy and Travis Scott, which makes a lot of sense, but his influence reaches so much further than that.
As a producer, I think he's going to push it to the next level over the next 12 months. This record, ‘Soul Trash’, is him not taking things too seriously at all. It's laid back – it’s practically a demo – but crucially, all of the songs are incredible.
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Listen to Matt Wilkinson on Apple Music's Beats 1 Monday-Friday from 11am. Listen live for free at apple.co/B1_Matt or on-demand with an Apple Music subscription.
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