Something a little 'odd'ictive for you today. Autowrong are from the midlands and that's all they're letting on, but their debut track "We are Decay" shows us a complex mix of electronica, alternative pop and house. A gritty vocal sample dances over foreboding basslines and a steady house beat, before a feathery female vocalist hiccups her way along a stream-of-consciousness vocal line. Unusual but strangely addictive, it's unsure what to expect next from these guys, but whatever it is is bound to be another riveting hybrid of sounds. Follow Autowrong on SoundCloud below. FOR FANS OF: Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Röyksopp, Bonobo
Initially a baffling addition to the Mad Decent rosta when she released the silky but over-produced R&B slow jam "XTC" last year, LIZ is now probably one of the most promising young artists on Diplo's label. Having made a name for herself by dabbling in an array of 90s R&B stylings, LIZ's "Say U Would" is by far her sexiest and most seductive track since "XTC". Sparse, blissful keys are kept afloat by a jumpy hip hop beat as LIZ speak-sings her way through the 'dear diary' verses, as her harmonious acrobatic voice on the chorus recalls Aaliyah. And to reach this level of comparison so early in her career, when Aaliyah is almost certainly a huge inspiration on LIZ, is quite an achievement. What's so great about LIZ is that with any other artist, this kind of R&B would sound outright pastiche and the wrong side of novelty in 2014. However, with LIZ, it sounds as fresh as if we were hearing these sounds for the very first time.
You can download "Say U Would", and the rest of her Just Like You EP, for FREE below on SoundCloud. My guess is that this will be her last free release, so snap it up boys and girls. FOR FANS OF: Janet Jackson, Aaliyah, Mariah Carey
Syron's new identity as a raver and party girl is one that suits her girlish hiccup down to a T, in a way that Madonna's early 80s output suited her's. "Three Dreams", much like her glorious Tensnake collaboration "Mainline", has 1992 written all over it; a retro breakbeat coaxes out some long lost dance moves, as do the ravey synth stabs and hands-in-the-air vocal hook.
Follow Syron on SoundCloud below. FOR FANS OF: Katy B, Little Mix
22 year old Salt Ashes from Brighton, UK, manages to walk the fine line between hipster and just-good-fun pop music with ease. Her debut single "Somebody" sounds like Robyn and the Scissor Sisters engaged in a dance off as Goldfrapp sits aloof in the judges' chair. The track has a pulsating synthpop groove and Salt Ashes' vocal floats in a giddy falsetto before diving into sultry lower range, bringing to mind Alison Goldfrapp.
Canadian electropop singer Allie X has a corker of a debut single. "Catch" is the best song CHVRCHES never wrote, with a contorted Charli XCX-esque melody and biting chorus. There is always space for more mid-tempo electropop singers for UK bloggers to rave about and to give semi-crowded gigs to 17 year old girls and 27 year old gay men at XOYO in Shoreditch, so let's see what you got next, Ms X!
Betty Who's formula for the perfect pop song lies somewhere between the sugary sweet teeny pop of Katy Perry and the bittersweet outsider-anthems of Robyn. But her secret ingredient, what makes her music so uplifting and life affirming, is something neither Katy or Robyn can quite grasp: Actual FAITH in love. Katy Perry's view of love is 2 dimensional and idealistic. Of course, it has to be; this is stuff marketed at 13 year old girls who just want to hear that love is black and white: you fall in love, it's the best thing ever, and it you break up, it's sad, but you find someone else and all is well again. Robyn's view is much more complex, but definitely borders on cynical. Her songs advise going into every relationship with your past pain fresh in your mind, and are quick to warn that love is nothing if not painful. Betty Who is 21, 8 years younger than Katy perry and 13 years younger than Robyn, yet she sounds like the only one of the three who sounds like they truly understand love. "Somebody Loves You" was her very own dictionary definition, "All Of You" is about surviving the tough times, and "Heartbreak Dream" is about not surviving them. Peter Thomas's production is utterly heartwrenching and euphoric as always, a glorious cacophony of clattering drums and ricocheting synths, and Betty Who's lyrics, though tragic, are sung triumphantly as if with strength and experience. Most of all, they are sung with the faith that there light at the end of the tunnel. And that's what makes Betty the true torch bearer for love in pop music 2014 - Katy ignored the problems, Robyn dwelled on them, but Betty allows them to make her strong. This would be almost unbearably beautiful as a ballad by the way Betty, just saying. FOR FANS OF: Robyn, Katy Perry, Haim
If any group of music fans could possibly throw any criticism the way of "Rather Be", the spectacularly uplifting piano pop single by Clean Bandit, now in its fourth consecutive week at #1 in the UK charts, then it's the ravers. It was the chirpy All About She garage mix that made it onto many a pre drinking playlist, whilst the tame original stayed good friends with daytime radio. The group's speedily delivered new single "Heart On Fire" is quick to meet the demands placed heavily upon them. "Heart on Fire" is a garage-tastic Artful Dodger tribute at a tempo not dissimilar to high energy J-pop. The infectious and unadulterated joy running through the track's veins is fast becoming a Clean Bandit speciality, as are the light as a feather keys and distinctive string quartet flourishes. Elisabeth Troy does an admirable job of living up to Jess Glynne's vocal benchmark, delivering a juggernaut chorus that makes "Rather Be" seem like child's play. FOR FANS OF: Artful Dodger, All About She, Gorgon City