Starting today, Sweet will present a playlist of new music every Sunday. Sometimes, it will be curated by a guest editor, sometimes not. But every time, the music—from any genre, from any country—will be fresh, new, and, in our opinion, absolutely wonderful. You'll find an accompanying playlist on our Spotify account (@wearesweet), so you can keep it on repeat until, well, next Sunday. Spread the word, and enjoy!
"Caught Up" by Lil Silva (feat. Cosima)
If you listened to the new James Blake album that came out last week, moved the couple of standout tracks into your "Starred" playlist, then got a little tired of all the introspection and moping about, you might want to give Lil Silva a spin. Although he's only 26, the Londoner has already been flexing his production prowess for some time, on his own music and for artists like BANKS—he produced her LP, Goddess. His own sound, while sparsely peppered with pop inflections, evokes an altogether murkier milieu and while the most recent track, "Lines," dabbled with house beats, this new single, from a forthcoming EP, is more atmospheric: This is late-night, lights-off music. Tapping Cosima, whose unique voice is surrounded, and occasionally subsumed, by sweeping synths and dancehall percussion, Silva whips up a dubby little maelstrom of syncopated rhythms and sound effects before moving on—hopefully to make a full-length album.
"Final Song" by MØ
Fresh from being the voice of last summer as the vocalist of Major Lazer's omnipresent smash hit "Lean On," the Danish singer-songwriter who goes by MØ has just released a new track produced by MNEK—the man responsible for "Hold Up," one of the best tracks on some record called Lemonade by that woman from Destiny's Child. Bright, big, and beautiful, the song will be on repeat everywhere all summer, but as we write this, it's only been available for a few hours and we cannot get enough. In an accompanying press release, MØ writes: "When you're united with your inner glow you can beat the fears and fly towards your dreams" and, while we have absolutely no idea what that means, we also can't imagine turning this off in the near future.
"Past Lives" by Local Natives
You may or may not have missed them, or even noticed they hadn't put out a record in three years, but Local Natives are back. It doesn't take long to remember why they're not just another indie rock act from L.A.'s Silver Lake neighborhood (a breeding ground for them), but an altogether different beast. It takes about four seconds, in fact, when Taylor Rice's distinctive voice (happily still front and center) comes in over a twinkling bed of synths. The arrangements are still on another level, but, even so, this new single, presumably the first from a forthcoming third LP, seems like a phoenix bursting forth from the ashes of their previous two records. The harmonies are even more lustrous and the melodies, on keys and guitar, still more sublime—playing out over fervent crescendoes of percussion which herald this welcome, welcome return.
"River" by Bishop Briggs
Advance warning of this song being a bona fide anthem is duly given by the London-born, L.A.-based Bishop Briggs by way of ritualistic percussion, slow claps, and what sounds like the pounding of a mallet on a barn door. The synths, sonorous and deep, come in soon enough but by that point the only thing you're paying attention to is this woman's voice. "River" (the video is worth a Google—it's rather scary, though) gives a deserving platform to Briggs's unbelievable range, and seems to have been born in a swamp festooned with wooden totems hanging in the trees—this would not sound out of place on The Beasts of the Southern Wild soundtrack. While Briggs's name won't be entirely unfamiliar (her last track was featured on an Acura commercial, after all), it's about to be everywhere and that, by the sound of things, is excellent news.
"My Hood" Ray BLK (feat. Stormzy)
Whatever kind of elusive alchemy it is that pretty much guarantees success, Ray BLK, an alum of the Huw Stephens Sessions here on Sweet, has it. Watch her perform live, mastering every syllable, every inflection, and you'll see for yourself. But her songwriting is just as exciting, and this smooth, confident British rapper has not just the delivery, but the smart, deft lyrics that will bring her to the U.S. soon enough and surely lock in chart success, too. Here she enlists Stormzy, one of the brightest lights in grime, to guest on a sultry ballad that once again shines a light on her London neighborhood of Catford (it featured heavily in the video for her breakout first track, "50/50").
"Top To Toe" by Fenne Lily
Bristol, England, might be better known for its electronic music scene, but there's a wonderfully raw indie-folk movement there, too, and Fenne Lily is one of the most compelling artists we've heard emerge from it. Her voice, so fragile it seems on the verge of breaking throughout this beautiful song, is immediately reminiscent of Lucy Rose, so much so that I thought this actually was Rose when I first heard it. "Top To Toe" is a heartbreaking whisper of a track that showcases Lily's voice, which is something we're all going to be hearing a lot more of this year. Catch her next weekend at The Great Escape festival in Brighton.
"Corn On The Cob" by Skepta
If you've just returned from a three-month solitary spelunking mission in the Amazon rainforest, here's some news: Grime is back. And, if anyone is responsible for the resurgence, it's Skepta, who has been embraced by Kanye, and, of course, Drake, who just signed to Skepta's label, Boy Better Know. Drizzy even got a "BBK" tattoo, for goodness' sake. So, it's no surprise that Skepta's new album, Konnichiwa, arrived on something of a tsunami of expectation this week. And while it's an absolute smash—nothing less than a new gold standard for British bass music, with some of the smartest, funniest, and most dextrous rapping we've heard from a British artist, hell, any artist, in years—it finds Skepta retrospective, caught between beckoning mega-fame and his roots in the U.K. underground. Nowhere is this more explicit than on this track, the third on the record, which, at around the halfway point, trails off, replaced with a recording of a phone call between Skepta and another rapper, Chip. "I'm not going to front fam: Mad pressures from every angle," Skepta says, sounding depressed. Chip has some words of wisdom: "You're mad, fam," he says. "You got the call to go and make everyone look at everything else that's happening over here, fam, that's a deeper calling, bro. It's not everyone's phone that gets that ring ring." Indeed it's not, Chip. Indeed it's not.
"Out of My System" by Youngr
R&B is cool again. Secure in that knowledge, we can take a break from listening the Gallant album on repeat and enjoy a slice of summery, bright, R&B-inflected pop from multi-instrumentalist Youngr, who has the musical sensibilities, jawline, and mastery of his own facial hair to ensure a long and profitable career. The British singer-songwriter, whose music has shades of Flight Facilities and Metronomy, made his name with one-take live videos, featuring bootlegs of other artists, including Pharrell and MNEK and, true to form, the video for "Out of my System" was recorded in one take, too.
"A Prince" by Jorja Smith (feat. Maverick Sabre)
With her stunning first track, "Blue Lights," already above the 1.5m plays mark on Spotify, the 18-year-old Londoner Jorja Smith has been well on her way to breakout status for some time, and this, her second single, cements it. The songwriting is introspective, the delivery despondent, and the production inspired: it features a sample of Henry Purcell's "A Prince of Glorious Race Descended," written for the harpsichord on the occasion of the the Duke of Gloucester's sixth birthday in—wait for it—1695. The comparisons to Amy Winehouse are, in this case, justified, and Smith even commissioned an amazing video for the song, by reecnt Royal College of Art graduate Yao Xiang, who has conjured a haunting sketched fairytale featuring penguins.