THE COVERUP: Amy Syed – You Go To My Head


We have a new installment of The Coverup for you today, a segment in which we feature a fresh take on a classic. This week, we wanted to showcase a modern recast of a jazz standard — Amy Syed‘s reworking of Billie Holiday‘s “You Go To My Head.” The ethereal cover, which also serves as the introduction to the unsigned singer-songwriter, is the first recording with musical collaborators Ali Thynne (MNEK) (drums) and Peter Lee (keys) — which will be included on the London trio’s forthcoming EP.

Maintaining the jazzy undertones of the original, Syed reimagines the song as a haunting blend of trip-hop and electronica. Speaking on the song selection, Syed says: “I heard the original of ‘You Go To My Head’ a few years ago, and it always stayed with me as some of the most beautiful lyrics I had ever heard. We wanted to see what would happen if we stripped away all the original music from an old classic, and rewrote the harmony and production from scratch.”

As a professionally trained jazz singer and backing vocalist, Syed also has experience supporting established acts such as Florence Welch and Bat For Lashes in the studio. And with influences ranging from Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald to Robyn and Daft Punk, it will be interesting to see what kind of original works she and her bandmates come up with for the EP. While you wait for its release, let this cover cast a spell on your ears as you listen below.

Bat and Ball – Cruel Cats

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Bat and Ball make a bold entrance on their new single, “Cruel Cats,” an intriguing left-of-centre pop song that commands attention through crashing synths and syncopated drum beats. The brainchild of brother-sister duo Abi and Chris Sinclair, along with Harri Chambers, Bat and Ball formed in 2013 when the trio were studying music at Goldsmiths College in London. They’ve been steadily building their repertoire through live appearances and the release of an EP, and now they’re getting ready to deliver their debut album this fall. While recording the album, the trio recruited Ted Garfath Gibelin to join Chris on guitar duties–and drummer Ben Penfold to abet Chambers on keys. The album will purportedly explore the modern propensity for anxiety, and the distance between our flawed selves and the people we wish we could be. That tension is reflected in their singular musical style, Abi’s vocal prowess, and lyrically through their unconventional poeticism.

Check out the crafty “Cruel Cats” below. Bat and Ball’s forthcoming LP is slated to release October 2016 via Hush Tongue Records and The state51 Conspiracy.

[CCP PREMIERE]: Portl – The Beach

The Beach

When life hands you bitter lemons, making lemonade as a means of finding meaning is often the best coping strategy — as Bey and so many other artists have done before her. This is also the case with new Liverpool producer Portl, whose debut tribute of a single, “The Beach” drops this Friday, July 29 on Vulpine Records and which we are excited to premiere for you today.

The 20-year-old analogue synth fanatic wrote his first single as a tribute to his friends in Viola Beach, the UK indie act who tragically passed away in a car accident earlier this year while on tour in Sweden. Portl first met Tomas Lowe while working at a pub in Warrington, with whom he quickly formed a close friendship over a shared passion for music. The members of Viola Beach used to hang out at his bar where he would share his music with them and try to solicit their opinion. “The Beach” is his way of paying homage to the band, saying goodbye and memorializing the impact they had on him.

As a lover of all things Lobster Theremin — an underground house label in the UK — Portl draws influence from a variety of underground electronic acts that have shaped his progressive and shimmering nu-house sound. Using an array of modular synthesizers, with “The Beach” the producer constructs a warm analogue atmosphere with wobbling synths and a driving bassline. Stream this summertime groove in anticipation of the release below.

Night Games – Faithless

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East London duo Night Games have been making waves this past year with their spacious take on electronic pop and steady stream of self-released singles. “Faithless,” our fave so far is an emotive and at once sensuous song that recalls the likes of Rhye and FKA Twigs. The pair, Constance and Paul ply silky, dusky synths and swooning melodies into a mysterious, intriguing package that more than gives us faith in their ability to further establish themselves as an act. We suspect a debut EP is not far off so let’s not play games — stream the single below.

Palmistry – Lifted


As the son of non-denominational church founders and pastors, Palmistry, the project of London-based artist Benjy Keating has always felt like a bit of an outsider. This comes through in the music of the singer slash songwriter slash producer, whose hybridized style of contemporary pop feels fresh and familiar at the same time. Combining elements of R&B, dancehall and experimental electronic — with clear Caribbean influences — Palmistry defies genres and expectations to traditions of form. His debut LP PAGAN arrives via Brooklyn label Mixpak on June 17 and can be pre-ordered here. Meantime, listen to the rhythmic and buoyant single “Lifted” below.

Arthur Beatrice – Every Cell

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Another band out of the UK making wonderfully bucolic, indie folk is Arthur Beatrice, who celebrate the release of new album Keeping The Peace via Open Assembly Recordings/Polydor Records today. The quartet collaborated with the London Contemporary Orchestra on their sophomore effort to make an inspired work of contemporary pop that manages to feel grand and yet still intimate.

Regarding the raw honesty of the record, vocalist Ella Girardot writes: “Putting yourself and your emotions out there for people to hear can be a terrifying thing, so at times we tended to hide behind words and pristine production. That had to change, because music, for us, above everything, is a release; an escape from an internal battle. A kind of therapy. But it’s impossible to find without brutal honesty. And real honesty is hard, it’s uncomfortable, it’s raw and at times it’s pretty painful, but it’s necessary and at the end of it all you feel that release, that calm.”

Well said. Get a taste of the radiant effort with “Every Cell” below. If you dig it you can purchase Keeping The Peace directly through the band’s website:

The Staves – Sleeping In A Car


Three sisters Emily, Jessica, and Camilla Staveley-Taylor aka The Staves have followed up their 2014 LP If I Was with a new three-song EP entitled Sleeping In A Car. The UK trio make mellifluous, British folk music with rich harmonies and lovely layered arrangements. The new EP, released this month was recorded in London as well as Justin Vernon’s studio in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where they also recorded their previous album.

“These songs reflect the transient nature of travelling,” the sisters said in a press release. “Fleeting moments, like a slide show—reflections in car windows, streetlights passing in rhythm, stolen phone calls, late nights. Feelings of displacement and a disconnect — living in some sort of alternate state of reality. But underneath it all is the feeling of adventure and making your own rules and how dizzying and freeing that can be.”

Having previously supported Bon Iver and Florence & the Machine, the sisters are now setting out on a headline tour this summer, which includes a stop at DC’s Rock & Roll Hotel June 20. Watch the video for new song “Sleeping In A Car,” stream older effort “Steady” and scope out their full tour schedule below.

Upcoming 2016 Tour Dates:

06/03 Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center
06/04 Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
06/05 Milwaukee, WI @ Club Garibaldi
06/06 Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
06/08 Pontiac, MI @ The Pike Room at the Crofoot
06/09 Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
06/10 Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz PDB
06/14 London, UK @ Meltdown Festival
06/16 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
06/17 Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right
06/17-18 Dover, DE @ Firefly Festival
06/20 Washington, DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel
06/21 Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle Back Room
06/23 Atlanta, GA @ Smith’s Olde Bar
06/24 Nashville, TN @ The High Watt
06/25 St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway
06/26 Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room
07/08 Winnipeg, MB @ Winnipeg Folk Festival
07/22 Newport, RI @ Newport Folk Festival
08/12-13 Eau Claire, WI @ Eaux Claires Festival

James Blake – Timeless


It may be premature, but we’re willing to take our chances and declare James Blake‘s new LP The Colour In Anything an early contender for album of the year. The much accoladed UK singer and musician, known for his metallic electronic minimalism has outdone himself on the new record released earlier this month — composed of 17 no-filler tracks over the span of 76 minutes. With songwriting and production credits from Justin Vernon, Rick Rubin, Frank Ocean, and NZ’s Connan Mockasin, Blake’s third LP might be the magnum opus of his R&B inflected, nu-gospel catalog. Rather than the myriad of contributors making his music sound disjointed, there’s a continuity between the tracks that tethers the effort into one stunning, cohesive piece. His signature spacious and quietly majestic production is still at the forefront of the project, with his soulful, sumptuous pipes reigning supreme.

The deeply moving album plays out like a devotional oeuvre, tackling well-trodden themes such as love lost and grief, but with an introspection, emotional maturity, and eventual acceptance that makes these subjects well worth the re-immersion. Little known fact, Kanye West was actually supposed to contribute to the track “Timeless,” but in the end wasn’t able to make it work. Regardless, the song is still true to its epithet.

Stream “Timeless” and album opener “Radio Silence” below — and then we implore you to listen to the album in its resplendent entirety.



WEIRDO made their enigmatic debut on the internet a couple months ago with the delightfully weird track, “BUTTER.” The mysterious man behind the project is a British songwriter/producer based in Germany, who’s been involved in various other projects and as a result is choosing to remain below the fold for now. On the name choice, WEIRDO says, “I’ve always been weird, I’ve always been told I’m a strange one, and I think within my coming of age I’ve learnt to embrace it and project it with my art.” We’re for one glad he’s found an avenue for his singularity, as “BUTTER” is an ultra fresh sounding pop number — glowing with ’80s synths, playful vocals and even a xylophone solo.

Get down with this groove below and look out for a future WEIRDO EP.

Billie Marten – Milk & Honey


At the tender age of eight, Billie Marten was given her first guitar and wrote her first ‘proper’ song after having learned four chords from her father. Eight years later — upon being bred on influences such as Laura Marling, David Bowie, Portishead and Loudon Wainwright — the young singer-songwriter from Yorkshire has already made her debut appearance at SXSW and been lauded for her musical abilities. Her new single “Milk & Honey,” released on Chess Club Records is a beatific ballad about greed — specifically, “the thoughts that we’re all sort of stuck in this consumerist frame of mind” explains Marten. Stream via Spotify below.