North London’s Mali Michael marks his introduction with a spectral new single titled ‘Ghost’. Michael’s fragile falsetto exposes the heartbreak of a lost relationship and blends mournfully into a soundbed of beautiful melodies, melancholic synths and persistent drums. His uniquely toned voice is tinged with Prince influences, while his stylistic approach powerfully emotes the songs anguish.

As Lulu James’ buzz begins to smoulder the ascending British songstress unearths her powerful new single ‘Step By Step’ which consummates the spirit of Donna Summer with 80′s pop euphoria and bassy electroncia. Her rousing voice soars through an arena of pulsating rhythms seduced by infectious bass lines and retro synths. The songs catchy hook creates the perfect pop storm that should hopefully serve James well in accumulating a wider following.

‘Deal Me Briefly’ is the vibey new single from songstress Rainy Milo, which sees her returning to the soulfully vanguard sound she first impressed us with in 2011 with‘Bout You (Interlude)’. The songs downplayed effervescence and Milo’s ambrosial musings incorporate much of what makes this young lady such a pleasure to listen to.

Last night and in typical fashion, Prince released a new single with no fuss or warning. ‘Ain’t Gonna Miss U When U’re Gone’ is his latest 3rdeyegirl.com offering and features vocal powerhouse Ledisi. Among the slew of random releases Prince has released over the past few months ‘Ain’t Gonna Miss U When U’re Gone’ is probably most akin to his Musicology period than any thing else. Personally I prefer it when Prince releases more progressively charged material, this feels a little too cliche to me. No word on whether these songs will appear on a new album or whether they’re just little purple treats. Head to his website to download.

Earlier this week we were invited to join Janelle Monae for an exclusive playback of her new album The Electric Lady. Held on a gorgeous rooftop bar in Central London, the event quickly turned into an impromptu concert starring Monae and her Wonderland Arts Society.

During the playback we were played six new songs including ‘Q.U.E.E.N’, the albums monumental title track and her duet with R&B singer Miguel called ‘Primetime’. She also teased about a third album collaborator that she was excited about but was “unable” to announce; We instantly presumed it was Prince… And we were right. In a new cover story interview with Billboard The Archandroid singer confirms her Purple collaboration saying “I had a chance to produce an icon… It’s not every day that [Prince] collaborates. I’m honoured and humbled that he trusted me. He is forever my friend and I am forever indebted. I can’t say too much else about it”. 

Epic collaborations aside the most notable revelation during the playback was Janelle’s new found openness to discuss (and sing) about her personal life and her experiences with love and relationships; Themes we are not necessarily accustomed to her being so directly forthright about. The new songs on The Electric Lady are still charged with the same kinetic energy as her previous works, only this time everything sounds suitably more… Accessible. Something particularly discernible on the Miguel collaboration.

The Archandroid was an irrefutable triumph which on release received universal acclaim – it didn’t however earn the mainstream attention many felt it deserved (a tragic truth traceable to some of the best albums in history). And although a single listen of any track is never enough to decisively conclude anything, what is certain is that The Electric Lady is going to surprise a lot people when it’s released in September.

‘Stay Forever’ is the mesmerising new single from London based producer Catching Flies. The songs multi-layered mindset provides a rich soundbed from which the 22-year old blends docile keys and ambient synths with electronic glitches and beats.

A looped vocal begins an ornate serenade that in parts burst out like a Sade soul-cry and in others can be traced back to the unique musings of artists like Ghostpoet and King Krule. The song concludes in a spellbinding sax solo ending what can only be described as a riveting experience.

‘Stay Forever’ is taken off Catching Flies forthcoming EP The Long Journey Home, due out June 17th.

Danish duo Quadron follow up their critically acclaimed and much loved self-titled debut album with Avalanche, a 10 track long player filled with warm soulful tones, rhythmic funk and pop imagery. Coco. O and producer Robin Hannibal have certainly progressed since their last outing – their sounds has grown richer, more vivid and certainly a lot more confident. A few tracks have leaked over the past couple days, including their Kendrick Lamar collaboration ‘Better Off’ but we wanted to reframe from listening until we could hear the entire release, which we can now do via the New York Times.

Stream: Quadron – Avalanche 

There are very few singers as powerful and as arresting as Coco. O and even fewer producers able to produce her as well as her bandmate Robin Hannibal. The two stunned critics with their gorgeous debut in 2009 and are now beginning to ready the release of their anticipated sophomore album Avalanche. The album’s lead single titled ‘Better Off’ is a shimmering, subdued affair with warm tonal tendencies & smooth textures and is also the only track on the album with a featured artist. The duo are assisted by an unmistakable guest verse from Kendrick Lamar, who expressed his admiration for the Danish group when he sampled ‘Tiden Flyver’ (a single they released through their off-shoot group Boom Clap Bachelors) on his seminal ‘Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe’ single.

Having already featured on Tyler, the Creator’s new album and having caught the ear of Jay-Z – it could be a huge year for Quadron. Expect their new album Avalanche on June 4th.

If you’re having a shitty day Pharrell has something for you. ‘Happy’ is the infectious and unapologetic new mood-lifter produced and performed by Williams for the upcoming ‘Despicable Me 2′ soundtrack. Although the track is a bit of a novelty it does feature some dope production and beautiful/classic harmonies. It also feels perfectly suited for the film, not to mention like his performance on ‘Get Lucky’, has Pharrell sounding better than he ever has. The track will feature alongside two other new songs he’s produced for the movie – one of which will feature Cee-Lo Green.

In other Pharrell news – he recently sat down with Usher to film an episode of ARTIST TLK – take a look at their lengthy (and interesting) discussion after the jump.

via RS

Read more…

Presented by the first and second lady of modern funk, Prince was honoured with Billboard’s Icon Award during last night’s awards ceremony. Erykah Badu & Janelle Monae, donning their ‘Q.U.E.E.N’ get up introduced the legendary enigma before he performed an explosive rendition of ‘Lets Go Crazy’ and his new single ‘Fix Up Ur Life’ backed by his all-female band 3rdEyeGirl. Although I’m not sure I’ll ever be down with that new afro, watching this man do what he does will never ever got old. Nor will seeing Badu & Monae side by side for that matter.

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