Sunday, 2 February 2014

New music for 2014: Banks, FKA Twigs and Rosie Lowe

I tend not to blog about music as my taste is quite particular and I’m by no means an expert on the subject. But I love discovering an up-and-coming artist and tend to spend a couple of months obsessively listening to them, which doesn’t make for the best blog reading as I’d be talking about the same person for months! For the last couple of years I’ve been really into The Weeknd and his particular breed of nefarious RnB. I remember when he released his trilogy of mixtapes back in 2011, his sound was so raw, intoxicating and utterly different to anything I’d heard. I’ve searched for artists who follow a similar vein but he was so ahead of his time that the industry is only just starting to catch up.

Though the artists miss the mark in terms of the deft, leftfield samples and Abel’s incredible falsetto, they echo the nocturnal soundscape carved out by his mixtapes, albeit with a much softer edge.


Banks isn’t new new, but with buzz picking up last year and an incredible EP under her belt, I think 2014 is going to be her year. I am very literally obsessed with this LA-native and her sultry soulful sound and dulcet tones. Working with the likes of Lil Silva, Sohn and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Banks’ beautiful voice is complimented with an electronic RnB aesthetic. Her whole EP is worth checking out, honestly, but if I had to pick one favourite it would be This Is What It Feels Like.

FKA Twigs.

Let’s get one thing out of the way, Twigs has one of the most beautifully striking faces you’re likely to see for a long time. Kudos to the first fashion brand to realise this and use Twigs in a campaign, I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled. Like Banks, Twigs has a critically acclaimed second four-track EP under her belt, EP2 was released in 2013 on indie label Young Turks (also home to The xx, incidentally). Working with Yeezus collaborator Arca, EP2 has garnered trip-hop comparisons due to the sometimes oppressive bass working surprisingly harmoniously with Twigs’ rich, expressive voice. Papi Pacify is a stand out track and has been lauded by the likes of Radio 1’s Huw Stephens.

Rosie Lowe.

Of this trio, Rosie is the newest and relatively unknown. Rosie released a four-track EP at the end of 2013, though interestingly she has worked with Banks collaborator Lil Silva on a track. Drawing comparisons with Laura Mvula and Sade as well as first album Drake (which was the best Drake), Rosie’s sound is understated, effortless RnB peppered with electronica and folkish experiments. Listening to her album is almost bittersweet, I savour each and every heartbroken song but I’m always left hungry for more. My favourite song is Right Thing but honestly, you need to hear the whole EP. 

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