Music to Soundtrack your Summer 2021
4th June 2021
Pucker up for some new listening this summer with The Music Trip's favourite artists right now. A selection of electronic, indie, RnB and pop, some of these artists are new on the scene, and others musical veterans. Have a listen, explore their art and let us know if you find a musician you love!
Öona, which derives from her spirit guide's name, first discovered dance music in the 80s from her Mother who exposed her to music like Madonna and Donna Summer. As a child, she found solace in nature and even enjoyed listening to tapes with sounds of the rainforest and waterfalls. She found a Bjork vinyl record at a garage sale which set her off into a lifetime passion for electronic music. Öona, not having many friends growing up besides imaginary ones, found comfort in coding and cracking software on her PC. She began using early DAWs like Fruity Loops and Acid Pro to make her own music. After seeing a DJ at a rave in Toronto in 2001 she went home and got herself a pair of belt drive turntables to start teaching herself how to DJ. Later, receiving lessons from DJ Pacman weekly near her home in New York, she went on to perform at clubs before she was even legally allowed to at age 17. In 2004 she moved down to Florida to be closer to Disney World and to attend college for sound design. During college she met DJ Three and Monk from Hallucination Recordings (Rabbit in the Moon) at an afterparty which led to her performing at annual Hallucination events. After moving toBerlin in 2015 she started releasing music on All Day I Dream and her debut album“Holograma” shortly after on Hallucienda. She has since continued to be a music producer, composer, engineer, singer, graphic artist and music director. Djing around the world, Öona continues her path sharing higher conscious cosmic sounds.
Listen to Oona Dahl (Spotify)
As Self Esteem, Rebecca Taylor has shaken off the shackles of her indie band past to become the unapologetic pop star she always wanted to be. With her statement debut Compliments Please – championed by The Guardian, DrownedInSound and most of millennial Twitter – she gave voice to the feelings of insecurity and misogyny-induced frustration that many of us face every day, emboldening a whole new audience with powerful, truth-telling lyricism that speaks to her love of rhythmic noughties pop and RnB. Released later this summer, her follow-up is set to do the same, shedding light on important issues around female autonomy, comparison culture and more, but always with an inimitable knack for relatable self-deprecation and snappy dressing, using her time on stage to create an immersive space of both catharsis and celebration. As Self Esteem, Taylor proves that we can all grow from what we go through, but that life is far too short not to embrace yourself in your most honest of forms – no apologies necessary.
Listen to Self Esteem (Spotify)
Yaeji’s 'What We Drew' is titled intentionally; the project is as much indebted to her own singular creative vision as it is to her network of close-knit collaborators and friends, a team she’s described as a “family business.” Although born in Flushing, Queens, in the summer of 1993, Yaeji’s roots are scattered between Seoul, Atlanta, and Long Island. She moved back to the states from Korea in 2011 to study fine arts at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where she broadcast her very first DJ sets at WRCT, the university’s radio station. The prospect of making music didn’t cross her mind until she joined WRCT; she’s inspired by both the Korean indie rock and electronica that she listened to as a teenager in Seoul and late ’90s and early 2000s hip hop and R&B. 'What We Drew' is Yaeji’s first full-length release, and entirely self-produced, but she’s careful to classify it as a mixtape, which belies the way that these songs came together. “Each track is almost like a snippet of my life, a look into my diary or something, where it’s reflective of how I was specifically feeling during that time.”
Listen to Yaeji (Spotify)
The seeds of the collaboration were planted in 2017 when Anderson .Paak opened for Bruno Mars on the European leg of his 24K Magic World Tour. One late-night jam session on the road unlocked immediate chemistry. Just before the world slipped into quarantine, Bruno called Anderson: “Remember that idea we had back in 2017? Let’s do it.” One studio session grew into to a months-long collaboration, culminating the “setlist of doom.” Legendary Bootsy Collins christened Silk Sonic and came in as the “special guest host” for An Evening With Silk Sonic, their debut album.
Silk Sonic was finally set free on March 5th, 2021. Within less than a month, their debut single “Leave The Door Open” cracked over 230 million streams, 90 million official video views and reeled in rave reviews, including Variety who noted it “could be a Best R&B Song GRAMMY® winner from 1974.” After petitioning the GRAMMY® Awards to #LetSilkSonicThrive, they made their debut performance with “Leave The Door Open” and served up a powerful tribute to Little Richard.
Listen to Silk Sonic (Spotify)
A thought-provoking singer/songwriter, Pixx questions conventions of all kinds with her shape-shifting music. From the folky beginnings of 2015's Fall In EP, she quickly moved to idiosyncratic electro-rock on later releases including 2019's Small Mercies.
Born Hannah Rodgers, Pixx hails from Chipstead, a town just outside of South London. Growing up, her talent was encouraged, and after going to Catholic school for most of her studies, she attended the performing arts college The BRIT School for two years. Taking inspiration from Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Aphex Twin -- and adopting her grandmother's nickname for her moniker -- Pixx worked with co-producer Simon Byrt for her folktronica-tinged debut EP, Fall In, which arrived in August 2015. For her 2017 debut album, The Age of Anxiety (which took its name from W.H. Auden's final poem), she reunited with Byrt on a set of darker electro-pop songs inspired by the era's turbulent times. Soon after the album's release, Pixx began working on her second album, Small Mercies, which added grungy guitars to her repertoire and took aim at repressive institutions. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi
Listen to Pixx (Spotify)
Initially emerging as a key figure in the radical underground Polish club scene, the past few years have seen VTSS easily establish herself as one of the most vital, uncompromising and visible new talents in techno. VTSS’ commitment to full immersion in the rave culture has quickly qualified her to an intriguing double life, one spread between the dankest of basements and the largest festival stages, occupying a challenging, even provocative space between the ‘underground’ and the ability to entice more and more followers, a beacon for the passionate new wave of hedonistic, no-fucks-given techno enthusiasm. Whatever the hype, VTSS’ background, a lifelong desire to transcend through rave, speaks for itself. Not so long ago, the daily life of Martyna Maja was remarkably different. By day, she studied sound engineering, informing her already distinctive solo productions, a constant work in progress even now. By night, years spent DJing and playing live at the legendary, scene-sculpting Brutaz parties, alongside Warsaw institution Jasna 1, ensured that VTSS played every room, at every hour, from deep closing sets to the challenge of the warm-up. These days, her focus is on energy in its purest form. Touching on both the history and emerging reinvention of techno, acid, EBM and a smattering of hardcore, a VTSS DJ set blends genres, scenes, past and present with unrelenting speed and force. It’s an addictive quality that makes her a returning favourite at clubs and festivals alike.
Listen to VTSS (Spotify)
Sofia Kourtesis is a Peruvian-born, Berlin-based producer. Kourtesis first made herself known with a self-titled EP released in 2019. An immediate cult hit, tracks from the EP appeared in mixes and on dancefloors everywhere with Philip Sherburne saying "[Kourtesis'] debut EP is the kind of house music that skirts convention and renounces rote functionality without ever forgetting that its purpose is to make people move".
Now she follows up with her second offering, a similarly buoyant and unconventional collection of songs which furthers the development of a sound that is uniquely her own. From the fragments of sound taken from both her native home and her life lived all over the world to her unique handling of samples lifted from movies and personal encounters; Kourtesis' music is joyful, infectious and undeniably singular. All this is exemplified in her new EP 'Sarita Colonia'. Kourtesis' satisfyingly bold production swirls around samples both familiar and distant, quickly building to all-out euphoria which never takes an eye off the dancefloor while remaining the kind of track you can play anywhere.
Listen to Sofia Kourtesis (Spotify)
Hailed for her raw, confessional lyrics, British singer/songwriter Delilah Montagu was snapped up by Sony at the age of 19 on the strength of a demo. She first broke out on the Black Coffee & David Guetta smash "Drive" before recording her own debut EP, In Gold, in 2019.
Born in Hampshire in South-East England, Montagu was raised by her mother. Discouraged from paying attention to popular culture, she grew up on a diet of classic singer/songwriters like Carole King, Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, and Nina Simone. Spending part of her childhood in the Sussex village of Forest Row, a magnet for creative types, she was often surrounded by musicians and began to write her own, surprisingly mature songs at the age of six, first on piano and then on guitar. Developing her talent over the years, she moved to London at the age of 17 in a bid to break into the music industry. Signed by Columbia in 2018, she started working with the label and was in the studio when she was sent a demo and asked if she could record the vocal, without knowing what it was for. Her performance ended up on the Black Coffee & David Guetta track "Drive," which became an international smash hit; Montagu sang the song live at a stadium gig in Johannesburg and reprised the performance for 2020's live-streamed One World Together at Home concert. Forming a successful partnership with writer/producer Robin Hannibal, she began work on her own material, writing mostly in L.A., where he was based. Her debut EP, In Gold, appeared in 2019, followed by another, This Is Not a Love Song, in 2021.
Listen to Delilah Montagu (Spotify)
The four women in the Japanese band CHAI don't like the concept of "kawaii" or cuteness. They call their music "neo-kawaii" and aim for authenticity and inclusion while also making eye-catching videos that express their idiosyncratic vision. They take their influences from a wide range of sources; everything from '90s hip-hop and bouncy alt-rock to scratchy post-punk and smooth soft rock are used as vehicles for their sound. The group formed in Nagoya in the early 2010s when identical twins Mana (vocals/keys) and Kana (guitar/vocals) began playing music together while still in high school. They asked drummer Yuna to join the band, then later added bassist Yuuki to the lineup, and decided on the name CHAI. Their first two albums, 2017's Pink and 2019's Punk, were energetic and wide-ranging introductions to the band; 2021's Wink took a detour into slick modern pop and R&B. When you think of all things Pink, a sound that fuses the likings of Basement Jaxx , Gorillaz, CSS, and Tom Tom Club, with lyrics focused on “women empowerment” and redefining the definition of “kawaii” or cute in Japanese, you think of CHAI.
Listen to CHAI (Spotify)
Hailing from the North East of England, Anish Kumar delivers his brand of soul-tinged disco house with each new record. With Little Miss Dynamite, the lead single from his forthcoming debut album 'Soulboy' penned as Annie Mac's ‘Hottest Record’ on her esteemed Radio 1 Friday night show, Anish is just beginning to make his mark on the scene he loves. Anish embraces the darker side of his production palette under his project Kodama Kin.
Listen to Anish Kumar (Spotify)
The fact that Eelke Kleijn DJs in his socks and produces in a standing position tells you a lot about what you need to know about him. Three albums into a well established yet still rapidly ascending career, Kleijn is an artist very much in his element. In the grand scheme of things, he’s an underground artist, but one who has effortlessly made the jump into the wider world when the time and opportunity have felt right. His remixes for the likes of John Legend, Pendulum and James Newton Howard & Jennifer Lawrence are testament to his ability to reach wider audiences without giving up on his core values. With a background playing piano, guitar and bass and a healthy sideline in composing for film and TV, his productions are imbued with a deep sense of musicality and emotion, always engendering a strong sense of space, place and occasion. His work scoring Hollywood blockbusters like Rush, Parker and This Means War has been met with great acclaim. His latest artist album, Moments Of Clarity, is the apex of his work so far, blending progressive, ambient, epic breakbeat, deep house and melodic techno in perfect harmony to create an album that is as at home on the dancefloor as it is on the home stereo. DAYS like NIGHTS is becoming an increasingly important part of what he does. Serving as a multi-faceted platform where he enjoys total creative control, it encompasses a label, a radio show and podcast and spectacular parties.
Listen to Eelke Kleijn (Spotify)
RHYE first surfaced setting the Internet abuzz with ambiguous imagery, sophisticatedly sensual music videos, and the distinctive voice of Michael Milosh. The critically acclaimed debut album Woman was released in 2013 and lauded by critics from Pitchfork to The Guardian to New York Times. Gifted songwriting, breathtaking vocals and deft instrumental arrangements combine to create an intoxicating blend of R&B influenced, deeply emotive music making the album a staple for provoking intimate moments. Since the release of Woman, RHYE has relentlessly toured to establish a devoted global fanbase. Transforming what was once a studio project, the music has been elevated by a cast of accomplished multi-instrumentalists enrapturing crowds worldwide. RHYE's second album Blood was released in February 2018 and was hailed as "reserved, understated, and brilliant" by NPR Music, "soul pop that hits all the high notes" by Wall Street Journal, and "a triumph" by NME. A new piano focused project titled Spirit arrived in May 2019 celebrating the subtle magic of gentle moments featuring collaborations with Ólafur Arnalds and Dan Wilson.In 2021 RHYE entered a new era with the release of Home. The record, focused on the idea of home as the nexus for creativity and buoyed by stand out tracks “Black Rain,” “Come in Closer,” and “Beautiful,” received wide critical acclaim from The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Billboard, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, GQ, among others.
Listen to Rhye (Spotify)