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PLAYLIST: The best songs of the week

We’ve got a super sexy playlist for you this week, filled with seductive electro-R&B, soulful covers and smooth electronica. Enjoy!

1. Twin Caverns, The Crown
Twin Caverns have returned with a gorgeous new single to cap off a big, busy year. I’m proud to say I’ve been an avid fan of the Sydney duo since their very first single back in 2013, and it’s been really exciting to watch them flourish and grow and develop their sound into something so identifiable. The Crown sees the pair drop further down the rabbithole of seductive, synth-infused trip-hop. A lagging rhythm draws you in, while the breathy, hypnotic and sensual melody captures every inch of your attention.Listen to this one on repeat. I have a feeling 2016 is going to be THE year for Twin Caverns.

2. Brand New, Cleanser (Tamper cover)
I’ll bet you’ve never heard pop-punk sound quite like this. Cleanser is the latest in Tamper’s covers series, following on from re-workings of Santigold, Foals, and more. it might just be my favourite so far, if only for the ingenious decision to cover a track by Brand New. While the original track is clean and emotive alt-rock, Tamper have stretched it out into ethereal Alt-J style electro-R&B, with a driving rhythm and gorgeous synth layers,. You’ve never heard Brand New quite like this, but I’m so glad this exists.

3. AZEKEL, The War Inside
We’ve written about UK artist AZEKEL a number of times, and we’ve got a great reason for doing so – every release is better than the last. Anchored by a powerful, thudding bass, Azekel’s falsetto melody is a captivating counterpoint. “If there’s a war inside, there’s a war outside,” he professes, above an increasingly fluid and diverse, sensual instrumental layers. There’s so much going on between the funky synth rhythms and distorted guitar solos, and it comes together in a way that’s not only refreshingly unique, but incredibly satisfying.  The track features on AZEKEL’s forthcoming EP, Raw Vol 2, set for release in early 2016.

4. FKJ, Better Give U Up
If you aren’t yet aware of French house producer FKJ, let me be the one to introduce you. A recent signee of legendary boutique Parisian label Roche Musique, Better Give U Up is a bubbly, bouncy track. Equally soulful and fun, the track marries a smooth, lounge jazz with understated house rhythms and layers. It’s the first time FKJ has showed off his vocal stylings, and is a pretty strong indication that his upcoming debut album is going to be something amazing. It takes a lot for me to enjoy house-based tracks, and this one absolutely hits the right spot.

5. Foreign Air, Free Animal
I’ve been sitting on this track all week and I can’t get enough of it. Foreign Air are a new US duo, blending indie andelectronic elements to create an immersive and really gorgeous sound, kind of like a more seductive, less overblown stadium-rock Alt-J. I adore the thick, heady rhythm and its contrast to the sweeping synths. The sublime melody is dark and catchy, with a gorgeous, breathy lilt adding its own flavour to the soundscape. Foreign Air are set to release their debut EP in February 2016 – I for one, cannot wait.

6. The Weeknd, Can’t Feel My Face (IYES Cover)
I know, I know, who wants to hear another version of one of 2015’s most massive hits? Stick with me. IYES have done something new and something different, and I promise that it’s worth a listen. The chart-topping track has been translated to smooth, understated electro-soul, with duelling male-female vocals adding a really unique element to the cover. The slow, sparse chorus is particularly cool, creating a really intimate vibe that puts the track in a completely new place.

7. MXMS, OMG (On Planets Remix)
This is a really cool remix of MXMS’ OMGOriginally a beautiful, understated indie tune, On Planets have thrust it into a bright, expressive electronic offering. While the atmosphere could not be more different, they’ve retained the intimacy that the lyrics and lightweight melody profess. I absolutely love remixes like this – they take the core of an excellent song, and use it to create an entirely different, but just as wonderful new one – which MXMS have reportedly endorsed wholeheartedly.

8. Free Wize Men, Is Ya With Me?
Manchester-based hip-hop trio Free Wize Men have just seriously caught my attention with the bright new single Is Ya With Me? I really love the instrumental layers. A funky bass, jazz flute and a simple but catchy rhythm, setting the perfect stage beneath each slick verse. Citing guitar influences like Jimi Hendrix and Santana, it’s unsurprising that the instrumental elements are strong, including a short but smooth guitar solo toward the end. Quite simply, this is just a really fun track. Perfect for a sunny afternoon.

9. Jeff Chery, Power (prod. Sam Tiba)
I am particularly excited about this inclusion in this week’s playlist. Jeff Chery is the very first signee to Brodinski’s own label Bromance Records. While the label have traditionally focused on techno, it’s unsurprising that they’re veering toward hip-hop, considering that Brodinski’s last release was essentially a rap record, as was Sam Tiba’s – and let’s not forget about that Kanye production. In fact, earlier this year I asked Brodinski whether he’d be signing a rapper anytime soon – and I see that I finally have the answer. This is a really cool track. It’s understated and almost quiet, with a dull bass that resonates so well against the verses. I’m a big, big Sam Tiba fan too, so this really is a dream release. If this is the calibre we can expect from Bromance hip-hop, then 2016 is going to be one hell of a year for the French label.

10. HONNE, Gone Are The Days
I’m always on the fence about the uniquely Scandinavian electro-pop sound. While I adore the artists on the starker, more jarring side of things (The Knife, Highasakite), the lighter acts like HONNE haven’t really piqued my interest too much. Not so with their latest, Gone Are The Days. The melody immediately draws me in, equally catchy and passionate, with soaring high notes and a fluid rhythm that just floats above the instrumental layers. All in all, this is a really excellent indie-electro track from HONNE, one of the best we’ve heard in some time.