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Björk Guðmundsdóttir released her first album, a compilation of traditional Icelandic folk songs, when she was only 11 years old. What has followed since is a 40-year-plus multimedia career that has deftly straddled music, film, the visual arts and much more. Between fronting Icelandic alt-rock band The Sugarcubes, and producing a string of critically acclaimed solo albums (many of which defy musical categorisation), Björk's relentless pursuit of the avant-garde has helped her to cultivate her own unique brand of art-pop mysticism.
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Beck's rambling collage of sound is built up from cryptic Dylanesque lyrics, Delta blues, hiphop and rock'n'roll. Blended in a carefree, lo-fi style, his sound is original and has earned huge critical acclaim. Beck continues to produce innovative material and looks set to become one of his generation's great singer-songwriters.
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Father John Misty
Aka Josh Tillman, former drummer with Fleet Foxes. His music consists of such disparate elements as Waylon Jennings, Harry Nilsson, Arthur Russell and Roy Orbison. Lyrically, his absurdist fever dreams of pain and pleasure elicit, in equal measures, the blunt descriptive power of Bukowski or Braughtigan, the hedonistic philosophy of Oscar Wilde and the dried-out wit of Loudon Wainwright III.
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Formed by a trio of lifelong friends, Friendly Fires began combining the anthemic choruses and swooning melodies of indie rock and shoegaze with the insistent pulse of dance music in the mid-2000s. This mix of styles sounded prescient on 2008's Friendly Fires and 2011's Pala, while the band's later singles and albums reflected how enmeshed the worlds of indie and dance were as the 2010s came to a close. After their second album the band went on a hiatus due to some personal tragedies and illnesses within the band, but returned in 2018 with a new track co-prodcued by Disclosure and their long-awaited third album being released in 2019.
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A young singer-songwriter, producer and DJ from London. From his initial teenage tastes of the Chilli Peppers and Nirvana, John said “I got heavily into jazz and hip hop and it opened up this whole new world of soulful electronic music to me.” Tom now finds himself at the centre of a cluster of new London artists who share his sensitive, soulful, deeply melodic and emotive approach to music. Major tastemakers like Annie Mac, Zane Lowe and Beats 1’s Julie Adenuga have all been queuing up to proclaim him.
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Flying Lotus is commonly identified as a hip hop producer, but his style is drawn from many genres, including jazz and Brazilian music. His hip-hop beats are unique for their hazy, ambient sound, while his percussion is purposefully slightly off time to create a messier, more organic atmosphere. Because of this, he is often linked with producers Madlib and J Dilla.
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The Black Madonna
An increasingly respected DJ, known for uplifting sets that balance established anthems with idiosyncratic selections. She's an accomplished producer, too, with a string of irresistible tracks—‘Exodus’ and ‘A Jealous Heart Never Rests’ among them—that still get plenty of airtime two years later. Then there was her position as the talent buyer at Chicago's Smart Bar, one of the best clubs in North America, which has arguably become even more noteworthy under her direction.
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Devo-inpsired catchy hooks from this London 4-piece art rock band who formed in 2009.
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Born of a nocturnal encounter at the American University of Beirut in 2008, Mashrou’ Leila is a six-member band that fuses the craftiness of a music workshop with the punch of stadium rock. With their distinct approach to storytelling and orchestration, they have crafted some of the most melancholic ballads and raucous anthems in contemporary alternative Arabic music, and went on to perform them live at sold-out venues in Lebanon, Cairo, Amman, Istanbul, Dubai, Tunis, Paris, Amsterdam, Montreal, Geneva, Serbia and international festivals such as Byblos, Baalbeck, BabelMed, Paleo and Exit. Their eponymous debut album and the 7al Romacy EP unfold like cinematographic fictions starring lovesick characters in desolate motels or wandering insomniacs in ghostly cities. At times quirky and playful, at others bitter and somber, the songs demonstrate the band’s great versatility in dealing with musical form, narrative, and social issues.
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'Sylvan Esso was not meant to be a band. Rather, Amelia Meath had written a song called “Play It Right” and sung it with her trio Mountain Man. She’d met Nick Sanborn, an electronic producer working under the name Made of Oak, in passing on a shared bill in a small club somewhere. She asked him to scramble it, to render her work his way. He did the obligatory remix, but he sensed that there was something more important here than a one-time handoff: Of all the songs Sanborn had ever recast, this was the first time he felt he’d added to the raw material without subtracting from it, as though, across the unseen wires of online file exchange, he’d found his new collaborator without even looking.'
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Khruangbin is a three-piece band from Texas, formed of Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald Johnson on drums. Taking influence from 1960's Thai funk - their name literally translates to 'Engine Fly' in Thai - Khruangbin is steeped in the bass heavy, psychedelic sound of their inspiration, Tarantino soundtracks and surf-rock cool.
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Alexis Taylor is a British musician. He is the lead vocalist and keyboardist/guitarist of the band Hot Chip, keyboardist in About Group, and a solo artist in his own right.
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George van den Broek, aka Yellow Days, is a teenager hailing from the town of Haslemere, England who sings like a 300 year wizard and sits perfectly next to '70s soul greats. Traditional genre boundaries mean little to van den Broek, making his music a refreshing melting pot of jazz, indie, soul and beyond.
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With just a few EPs, Sebastien Devaud aka Agoria has asserted himself as one of the most promising French producers on the dance scene. His mother is an opera singer and his father is a visionary architect. They both provide him with a rich and cultural background, which no doubt plays its part in the development of his artistic talents. Influenced by the Detroit sound, Agoria has a unique groove, melody and a dancefloor approach to his music.
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Since Allie X appeared online in 2014, the Toronto-born, LA-based artist’s radio-ready glistening electronic pop and bold visual style have caused waves internationally. Even Katy Perry is a fan, tweeting about Allie X to her 50m followers.
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One of the world's most credible DJ collectives.
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Dan Beaumont is one of the founding members of the Disco Bloodbath collective. He has remixed the likes of Franz Ferdinand, The Aliens, Little Boots and Monarchy and is known for spinning a heady mix of vintage house, Italo rareties, vocal disco and the best new music he can find.
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Two-times UK beatbox champion, Reeps Once is a walking, breathing sound system, a human that speaks electronic music and can stand up to the highest energy DJ’s in the world with a 45 minute solo set. He has toured with Foreign Beggars and Prodigy, as well as solo through the UK and Australia.
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'Born in Nigeria and raised in Peckham, Aadae’s music is like her life: multi-faceted. Future-facing soul with an Afrobeat twist, each song adds up to a wider conversation, absorbing fresh elements to create something bright, vivid, and unavoidable. Musically broad but blessed with a concise sense of songwriting, Aadae recalls everyone from Laura Mvula to Fela Kuti, but surges ahead with a defiant individual streak.'
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Named after a Nigerian state capital, Benin City is Theo Buckingham on drums, Tom Leaper on tenor sax, and Joshua Idehen on rhymes. Joshua met Theo Buckingham at a squat party. They struck up a loud friendship and decided to make more organised noises together. They drafted in Tom to arrange their babble into music. Voila! As a band, they've been played and championed by Jon Kennedy, Jon Hillcock, Scroobius Pip and Eddy Temple Morris (XFM) Edith Bowman and Tom Robinson (BBC6). They have gained accolades and fans for their energetic live performances, having supported Soweto Kinch, VV Brown, Moko and Youngblood Brass band.
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After moving to Atlanta, Mattiel developed a palette for more diverse musical interests. She developed her vocal style over the course of several years - often alone in her car on long drives to work. She ventured into songwriting after meeting Randy Michael and Jonah Swilley in 2014. As the group began producing more material, a full length album was written and recorded in a span of nine months (not unlike the gestation period of a human baby.) Their process was simple: Michael and Swilley supplied instrumental compositions and handed them over to Mattiel for lyrical content and melodies.
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Quirky artist who's classically trained yet unorthodox approach to music will have you hooked from start to finish.
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Mr G, Byron The Aquarius, Mina Rose, Naked Elephant, Sarah Meth
- Grove Road
- E9 5DU