CHARLI XCX - BREAK THE RULES

after the mammoth success of ‘boom clap’ and ‘fancy’, charli makes a strong return in the run-up to releasing her sophomore album - brilliantly entitled ‘sucker’. on ‘break the rules’, she flirts with the guitar-infused dance tracks that have become kind of omnipresent on radio in the past couple of years, but doesn’t compromise her typical brat-pop sound - in fact, that seems at its height here. it leans closer to punk instead of country or folk, and just when you think it’s gonna turn into edm ear-bleeding fluff, it bursts into a schoolgirl “na-na-na” taunt. it feels like a mixture of t.A.T.u. and the cardigans’ ‘my favourite game’ circa 2014, which can’t possibly be a bad thing.
also, she managed to not compare love to a drug on this one, so cheers to that.

MAPEI - BELIEVE

if her breakout ‘don’t wait’ wasn’t enough of a walk-off-into-the-sunset-as-the-credits-roll anthem, listeners will no doubt be pleased with ‘believe’. this song puts mapei on very strong footing going into releasing her debut album, as well as touring with her old friend lykke li. (who, curiously, mapei isn’t dissimilar to, though far more upbeat and soulful!) inspirational and heartfelt, mapei brings in the uplifting tunes without coming across forced, sickly or ingenuine, which is a feat in itself.

KELELA x LE1F - OICU (PROD. BY P MORRIS)

two of my favourite artists of recent years have teamed up to deliver this icy-cool collaboration. at it’s heart, it’s an unapologetic r&b jam about seeing someone in a club and wanting to hook up - but in many ways the track is just plain weird. le1f’s distorted vocals (recogniseable from his older mixtape tracks) are brought to the table, and in conjunction with p morris’s spooky, off-balance production work and lyrics suggesting “my love is deeper than you’ll ever know” - it’s made glaringly clear that ‘OICU’ is far from typical. regardless, the song will surely have kelela’s smooth “get in the car, i’m taking you home” hook rolling over and over in listener’s heads for hours.

DAVID ANDREW SITEK x TINASHE - XYLAPHONE

tinashe continues on in her journey to becoming my favourite human on the planet by delivering another jam - this time with dave sitek (of TV on the radio fame, the recent executive producer of kelis’s ‘FOOD’ album) at the production helm. it’s baffling how she can so effortlessly slot her vocals into a wealth of different sounds. here, her sultry, understated r&b vocals aid a track that burns slowly during the verses before bursting forth for a kind of soaring chorus that she hasn’t really been heard on before.

PERFUME GENIUS - QUEEN

mike hadreas’s return will probably surprise some listeners - he’s not quite the sad wallflower from his last album cycle for ‘put your back n 2 it’, swerving much closer to a glam rock sound here. not only is ‘queen’ a defiant, interesting, and bold comeback single, but these attributes are only heightened by the ssion-directed video - a surreal melange of gender performance, glamour, and grit. with such a strong sound and strong image in tow - not even to mention the queer political charge - i’ve no doubt ‘too bright’ will be an exciting album campaign with plenty more for fans to look forward to.

SNAKEHIPS - DAYS WITH YOU (FEAT. SINEAD HARNETT)

the UK duo have once again collaborated with sinead harnett, and applied their signature glitchy house production to a relatively straight-forward pop song. ‘days with you’ is much more grand and polished than anything snakehips have released before, and the whole thing leaves a sense that they are poised for mainstream success and a summer smash.

FKA TWIGS - TWO WEEKS

with a video that’s one part kanye west and one part aaliyah, twigs kicks off the campaign for her debut album (ingeniously entitled ‘LP1’) looking and sounding like a total golden goddess. perhaps the most accessible the world has heard her thus far, ‘two weeks’ is an alt-r&b classic in the making.

THE KITE STRING TANGLE - ARCADIA

the fnatastic australian solo artist finally debuts the first actual single from the upcoming debut ‘vessel’ EP. ‘arcadia’ is a stunning, down-tempo, but highly-emotive electronic pop tune. the sparse production on the verses fizzles under the surface before bursting forth into the spangly choruses, and meets the listeners expectations in a satisfying reminder that though “sometimes things don’t come full circle”, this song very much does.

RUSTIE - RAPTOR

glaswegian producer rustie makes a comeback with this relentless, sugar-fuelled electronic assault on the ears. energetic, colourful and bold - ‘raptor’ approaches the listener with all guns blazing, but still manages to retain a certain fairground charm and dance accesibility. this is the way for an electronic artist to kick off an album campaign.