Manu Delago-True ThoughtsArtist: Manu Delago

Release: Silver Kobalt
Label: Tru Thoughts
Genre: Alternative – Electronic 

In between work for Björk, The Cinematic Orchestra and Anoushka Shankar, the prodigious Hang player and percussionist Manu Delago has inked a deal with Tru Thoughts to release his own new album, ‘Silver Kobalt’. The ambitious LP, which draws lines from pop to the avant-garde, is out this week, followed by a large-scale European tour.

Aged just 30, Manu Delago is the world’s leading Hang player (with 5 million YouTube views for his DIY performance video “Mono Desire”) and possesses equally virtuosic skills as a percussionist and drummer alongside ever maturing instincts as a songwriter and producer. The accessible yet startlingly original sound of ‘Silver Kobalt’ draws on the experience and ideas built up by the London based Austrian native across a high-flying and diverse career to date. From overachieving teenaged rock bands, through extensive classical training; from his exploits at the cutting edge of art pop as the lynchpin of Björk’s band, to a London Symphony Orchestra commission which saw him playfully subverting their expectations; this endlessly curious artist has been honing his own style rich in melody, wit and invention.

The title, ‘Silver Kobalt’, plays on the strangely linked themes of magnets, goblins and human behaviour. Throwing a pair of small magnets in the air one day, Delago recorded their frantic, thrumming sound for the track “Plus Minus”; he also experimented with the detuning effect of a magnet on the Hang. Magnet fascination deepening, he read that some rare elements are permanently magnetised, of which one is cobalt. Then, up popped the pleasing story that cobalt was actually named after the German word for ‘goblin’ (‘kobold’) by hapless silver miners who suspected little kobolds had taken all the silver and left them with this substance. Further reading revealed also that all humans contain cobalt which we need to survive. “I really enjoyed this string of information”, he says. “As well as this fun idea of little goblins within us, it really struck a chord because I had been thinking a lot about attraction and repulsion – what makes people magnetically drawn to some things, away from others – and that is a strong theme in the music. ‘Silver Kobalt’ tied it all together.”

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Brawlers-Alcopop!Artist: Brawlers
Release: Romantic Errors of Our Youth
Label: Alcopop!
Genre: Alternative – Punk

Brawlers emerged at the beginning of 2014 (ex Dinosaur Pile Up // Castrovalva) as Leed’s greatest kept secret, and were instantly picked up as debut single Instagram Famous caught the ears of Zane Lowe, Huw Stepehns, John Kennedy, Kerrang and Rocksound (amongst many others), generating stacks of plays in the first couple of weeks – leading to a rapturous response to their debut EP ‘I Am a Worthless Piece of Shit’.

A huge festival summer followed, seeing them christened as ‘hands down the best new band in Britain’ and the support continued, as free single Two Minutes generated record downloads in the first week, and their live stock continued to rise. Exhausted and broken from continuous touring they took a month out to regroup over Christmas, bringing in new drummer Pert – before unleashing the first cut of their debut album ‘Drink & Dial’ to an expectant public in January 2015.

‘Brawlers aren’t dead’ was the rallying cry, and by god – were they right. D&D was premiered via DIY Magazine generating an instant buzz, Kerrang declaring them one of the hottest 20 bands in the world, with XFM, Kerrang and Amazing radio playlisting the single – alongside a stack of plays from Huw and Zane on Radio 1.

This is the sound of Summer 2015.

ITU


Party Fine-jean ToniqueArtist: Jean Tonique

Release: You
Label: PartyFine
Genre: Dance – Electro

Already drawing comparisons to artists like Kaytranada and Pomo, French producer and multi-instrumentalist Jean Tonique gets set to become one of the most hyped artists this year with the release of his second EP through Yuksek’s Partyfine label.. Drawing influences from 70s funk, Jean Tonique makes an effort to distance himself from genre-defining elements while approaching his music from an organic and raw songwriting perspective. Using elements from hip hop, house, and 70s/80s funk, the multifaceted producer likes to draw people in with the malleable dynamics of his music. After remixes of Lana Del Rey, Outkast, The Kooks and many more, Jean Tonique has broken into the online market through being a regular fixture on Hype Machine’s Top 10 and growing recognition from media outlets. Now, growing on his French electronic music notoriety, Jean Tonique is preparing to expand his presence with the release of the You EP – bringing that old school, happy vibe that made us fall in love with funky house.

ITU


Look Out Machines-Artist: Duke Special

Release: Look Out Machines!
Label: Stranger Records
Genre: Alternative

Duke Special releases his brand new studio album ‘Look Out Machines!’ via Stranger Records. ‘Look Out Machines!’ sees the Ulster born singer songwriter impresario exploring new musical ground with collaborators including Iain Archer, Phil Wilkinson and Gary Clark and heralds the return of an artist back at the very top of his game. Lead track ‘Nail On The Head’ is a superbly crafted song that balances swells of strings and synths with Duke’s trademark elegant piano playing and lyrical wisdom. Those who know Duke Special for the platinum album ‘Songs From The Deep Forest’, and the hit song ‘Freewheel’, may be surprised by the cultural breadth of his work. It’s a grand gesture of a record that displays a rare and timeless quality and speaks with a refined eloquence.