Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe
Dev Hynes’ second full length as Blood Orange heralds the prolific producer (Sky Ferreira, Solange) and multi-instrumentalist’s emergence as a star in his own right. Cupid Deluxe comes complete with guest vocal turns including Caroline Polachek (Chairlift), Clams Casino, David Longstreth (Dirty Projectors), Skepta and Adam Bainbridge (Kindness), who add further colour to an already sparkling record. The featured artists never subsume Hynes’ instrumental narrative, or knack for carving breath-robbing arrangements. Hynes discusses the making of this ‘crazy essay’ of a record with Dazed here.
Ian Isiah – The Love Champion
GHE20 G0TH1K and Hood To Air cohort Ian Isiah’s first mixtape for UNO NYC instantly grabs you with its sassy, tripping collection of smartly laid down odes to sex, love and other drugs. Featuring fellow avant-garde New Yorkers Le1f and Mykki Blanco as well as production from Brenmar, Boody and Shy Guy, it’s a confident, saucy introduction to an act to stalk in 2014. We were sold at very first play. Isiah chats about the making of his genderless R&B with Dazed here.
Laurel Halo – Chance Of Rain
On her second full length release, the New York producer creates the richest sonic landscapes, which dice with time and trifle with mood. She co-opts a vast swathe of disparate musical influences into an industrial-strength electronic blanket that still oozes warmth and fizzes with emotion. Its staggering wealth makes Chance of Rain not one to be overlooked.
Sky Ferreira – Night Time, My Time
Ferreira’s devotion to pursuing her craft (beyond any limits set by label executives) pays off with this addictive bounty of massive, hook-laden pop tracks. On Night Time, My Time, the prodigious New Yorker lays her innermost concerns open, hopefully slaying those demons once and for all, and now able to enjoy the satisfaction of having begun again in earnest. Read our ten-point guide to how Sky Ferreira found her voice here.
Rosie Lowe – Right Thing
Rosie Lowe’s softly devastating debut EP, expertly produced by Kwes and Dave Okumu, announces the arrival of an intelligent, open-hearted ascending star. Her deep timbre is balanced perfectly atop cavernous, echoing beats with superlative timing, drawing the maximum pathos from each phrase. Simply gorgeous.
Lizzo – Lizzobangers
Lizzo has spent serious time with gospel, R&B, rock and classical music over the years, and draws from her diverse influences on Lizzobangers' party-starting beats. Accompanied by production from Doomtree’s Lazerbeak, she shows off deliriously taut rap flow as well as refined singing capabilities on her debut. This quick-witted, deviantly funny, very real new arrival from the Totally Gross National Product family fairly sizzles with talent. Get stuck in now.
Creep – Echoes
Production duo Lauren Dillard and Lauren Flax’s glowing debut album Echoes shows off a true understanding of how to coax the highest drama from each of their tapestry of featured vocalists. Artists including Planningtorock, Sia, Romy Madley-Croft and Tricky grace the duo's gloomy trip-hop infused beats and flowing, ruminative synth patterns, making for an utterly bewitching record from beginning to end.
Mø – Bikini Daze EP
Rising Danish pop force Mø crafts songs which manage to be slick and yet endearingly personal. Her powerful silky vocals – occasionally spiked with yelps – weave through dense production that propels these dazzling tracks through disparate emotional terrains without a single wrong turn. Diplo produced the euphoric standout “XXX 88”, and selected Mø for Dazed here.
M.I.A. – Matangi
You think you know how Matangi will sound before listening – and pressing play confirms this while also proving you completely wrong. Each M.I.A. release is as confounding as the lady herself and this fourth studio album, featuring The Weeknd and Julian Assange, constantly skews in on itself within the confines of her own highest energy. Diving into this record is like shadow-boxing a kaleidscopic, claw-bearing cloud goddess that you want to dance with for a bit then drag away to grab a beer and chill out – she’s a little exhausting, but her engagement is totally worth it.
White Denim – Corsicana Lemonade
A roiling trip through rambunctious garage rock and filthy blues, this fifth record from the Austin residents lures back welcome images of sweaty, summer nights. Corsicana Lemonade is an accomplished, soulful blaze of vaulting, dextrous guitar lines and indecently sharp drumming that matches the energy of White Denim’s famed live shows.
BONUS: Birthday Sex – "Wurp"
'Cause it’s a cold, horrid Monday outside and what sort of fool would say no to Birthday Sex.