Grace Mitchell – Capital Letters

Leif Erikson – Get Free

Museums – Lucy

Cults – I Took Your Picture

Blood Cultures – Detroit

Lucy & La Mer – Honey, Put Your Weapons Down

Palehound – If You Met Her

Bloody Beach – Au Revoir

Holy Golden – Where Were You When

Tourist ft. Ardyn – We Stayed Up All Night

Smart Objects – The Autumn Man

Jason Nolan – Batu

Castlebeat – Heart Still Beats

Jaguar Purrs – You Are My Favorite Interruption

Vita and the Woolf – Earth

The Van T’s – Bitter Sweet

Illuminati hotties – (You’re Better) Than Ever

Maika Loubte – You and I

GRACE MITCHELL – CAPITAL LETTERS

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Grace Mitchell - picture by Clare Gillen

Oregon native Grace Mitchell whips up a storm with blistering beauty Capital Letters.

The teenager is a bundle of unapologetic energy as she defiantly warns the listener she’ll deal with the consequences of her rebellious actions later.

About the track, Grace said: “Although no one can probably tell from the song, the melody in the verse of Capital Letters was partly inspired by Linkin Park and the chorus by Two Door Cinema Club – two bands that I came to appreciate much too late.”

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LEIF ERIKSON – GET FREE

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Leif Erikson was the relatively little-known Icelandic explorer believed by many to have been the first Westerner to reach the shores of America – beating Christopher Columbus to establish a Norse colony in the New World.

It's a legend partly paid tribute to in this namesake of a new London five-piece, whose early material also explores that idea of escaping to a simpler, more innocent time.

Having released a number of songs and played shows around the UK, the band have also inked their first record deal with legendary Canadian label Arts & Crafts.

With track Get Free, it’s easy to hear why they were snapped up as it’s a strong song that leads with a chilled rolling riff.

About the track, frontman Sam Johnston said: “It’s a direct personal response to the way the political and media landscape has developed over the past year or so.

“A song like this is a chance for me to try and make sense of and communicate some pretty real fears and emotions I have about the future. It's not meant to be all doom and gloom though; the music has a strong uplifting energy.”

Like facebook.com/leiferiksonband

MUSEUMS - LUCY

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San Fran’s Museums is an electro-pop outfit that formed last year.

About the band’s name, frontwoman Chelsea Bryan explained: “We're called Museums because first off, everyone in the band really likes pop art and we like to consume a lot of art to get inspired.

“Last summer, the band went to LACMA in LA while on tour and decided to rename ourselves because we are all inspired by pop art and contemporary art and take an art-formative approach when writing. Additionally, it’s meaningful to me because as an Osage person, I believe it's important to show that natives don't always fit media stereotypes or live on reservations, and we aren't just in museums, or of the past, but are actually making contemporary art, in all forms.”

The band – Chelsea along with Jason Morrell, Austin Sanchez and Samuel Kim – have created an absolute belter in track Lucy with its blustery beats, honey-like vocals and sparkling synth.

About the track, Chelsea said: “Lucy is actually about one my professors who I was really inspired by while I was doing my Creative Writing M.A. last year.

“I was just stressed about how to make all of your life into one thing, all the things I do completely integrated — fiction, music, volunteer work at 826 Valencia, my involvement in my Osage tribe — and that song came out.

“I’d had a dream about my teacher standing in my backyard feeding my dog, but I don’t have a dog or a backyard. The image from the dream was just so surprising and I felt the song was a way to charge my anxieties into lyrics.

“Through singing it over and over practicing for shows and stuff like that, it forced me to meditate on uniting art and community, and in the end I actually started learning about how to do that.”

The band, which has opened for the likes of Australian rapper Allday, BAIO of Vampire Weekend and Alex Lahey, will next be recording with Jason Carmer, the multi-platinum, award-winning Grammy producer and engineer of Outland Studio. Museums hope to release a single every month for the rest of the year.

Like facebook.com/museumsmusic

CULTS – I TOOK YOUR PICTURE

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New York duo Cults come out swinging with I Took Your Picture.

It’s a fresh little number flavoured with hazy vocals, heavy synth and a vibrantly dark beat.

About the track, the band said: “It’s a song about fleeting moments and how we let past feelings interrupt the possibility for good things to happen. ‘Tinge of blue, to the end, left our hearts, with regrets, I’m learning.’ It’s a daily struggle to try and stay open and available, but it’s probably worth it. And you can dance to it.”

Like facebook.com/cultscultscults

BLOOD CULTURES – DETROIT

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Blood Cultures is an indie-electro soloist from New Jersey.

Keeping his cards close to his chest, the musician won’t give up any information easily other than the act will become a four-piece for live sets in New York this autumn.

On chillwave track Detroit, the song’s cosmic synths and textures serve up a dreampop delight.

Like facebook.com/Blood-Cultures-1394152320915156

LUCY & LA MER – HONEY, PUT YOUR WEAPONS DOWN

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Lucy & La Mer - picture by Victoria Zengo

Lucy & La Mer enthral with their perfect indie-pop sounds.

The Los Angeles band have notched up performances at the likes of LA Fashion Week and Echo Park Rising, and have also made a special appearance for the mayor of LA at The Sierra Club’s 50th anniversary event.

It’s easy to hear why they’re the toast of the town with track Honey, Put Your Weapons Down. The song captures and holds your attention with its poignant lyrics, swirling string composition and heartfelt melody.

About the track, frontwoman Lucy LaForge said: “I wrote this song at the bottom of my steps in my apartment in East LA. My ex had just picked up all their stuff. I couldn’t go back upstairs but I couldn’t go outside.

“It was a very freeing yet stifling feeling. Like I had been released from something toxic but I wasn’t used to the serenity of being completely alone. I was struggling with my own identity at the time and realizing who I really was without that person around.

“The political climate here in the US has also been a huge influence. Everyone’s arguing, but it only serves our own egos and keeps people divided. Finding solutions requires both sides to listen and respect the other person’s stance. And whether it’s a political dispute or relationship rut, I think we all have to check ourselves from time to time and make sure we’re not getting in our own way. There’s a much bigger picture and much bigger good that we can create.”

The music video for the song is a social commentary on technology and its effect on relationships.

Lucy added: “There’s a whole new kind of neglect in social interaction, and we see it all the time – one person is talking while the other half-heartedly listens and continues using one of the many devices we’ve all acquired.

“I’ve seen parents ignoring kids and kids ignoring parents, couples both using their phones on a dinner date, people avoiding being in the moment because they can escape into an easier world.

“I came up with the idea for the video when I thought back to the person I wrote the song about, and how I never felt like I could fully get their attention long enough to have a real conversation because they were constantly on their phone.

“I created the props for the video (phones, laptops, game controllers) out of wood and used mirror material as the screens. It’s a metaphor for how we are really just looking at ourselves when we’re on our phones and computers, since the majority of time is spent on social media.

“We added the modern dance element to the couple’s relationship in the video to symbolize ‘going through the motions’ of social interaction but not having to fully pay attention to the other person. The hair cutting was originally just a funny idea to show how zoned-out people get, but it turned out to also show how people’s perception changes of someone after they’ve been neglected.”

Like facebook.com/LucyAndLaMer

PALEHOUND – IF YOU MET HER

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Palehound - picture by Shervin Laine

Boston’s Palehound pack a raw punch with track If You Met Her.

Led by vocalist Ellen Kempner along with drummer Jesse Weiss and bassist Larz Brogan, the band tug on the heartstrings with their contemplative ballad about a friend that passed away.

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BLOODY BEACH – AU REVOIR

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It’s easy to drown in the sound of Norway’s Bloody Beach.

On track Au Revoir, the band amp up their psychedelic surf-rock with trippy guitar lines and playful, punchy beats.

About the song, vocalist Arne Tjelle said: “Chris had sent me the demo and it was so beautiful. I knew I had to sing it and write the words. I asked him if it was okay, and five minutes later I had written the words and the melody. It just clicked. I tried to keep the words as simple as possible. It's about two hearts growing distant."

Bassist and vocalist Chris Holme added: “The song started out with the simple bassline and two chords. I wanted to write a song that made me feel nostalgic and longing for something intangible, and still gave me some hope. When the demo had a verse and chorus I knew I had to send it to Arne for vocals, and he nailed it as always. The rest of the magic happened in the studio with maestro Matias Tellez and the three other virtuosos in our band."

Drummer Kim Åge Furuhaug noted: “The album was recorded with our friend Matias Tellez in 2015. It was a very quick and creative recording process, where we had demos for all the songs. But we had never really played any of the songs together. This was completely different from our first album. Where we had played most of the songs live for more than three-four years before we recorded them. We were trying to move in a more groove-based pop direction, but still keeping it fresh and different."

Like facebook.com/BloodyBeach

HOLY GOLDEN – WHERE WERE YOU WHEN

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Leslie Schott and Andrew Valenti are the dynamic duo behind Holy Golden’s euphoric dreampop.

On track Where Were You When, the hypnotic sugar-sweet vocals melt beautifully alongside the luminous, layered guitar.

About the track, the duo said: “Where Were You When was written after a band practice this past spring before we left for tour. This song is about love and time, and love’s ability to make time feel as if it’s standing still and its power of outlasting time.”

Like facebook.com/holygoldenmusic

TOURIST ft. ARDYN – WE STAYED UP ALL NIGHT

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Tourist - picture by James Lyndesey

William Phillips has already enjoyed a taste of success.

As well as the welcomed release of debut record U, the London-based composer and producer picked up a Grammy Award for co-writing the Sam Smith hit Stay With Me.

With appearances at Glastonbury and Coachella, as well as high-profile remixes for Chvrches, Haim and Christine and the Queens under his belt, Tourist’s bittersweet dance tracks strike a chord with those lucky enough to listen.

On the optimistically breezy We Stayed Up All Night, Tourist joins forces with Ardyn to craft a cheerful and beguiling production.

William said: “With this new music I wanted to make something that was more reflective of who I am now and how my life has changed over the past year. I moved out of my windowless studio and started writing from home again.

“I think subconsciously I've started writing more joyous, colourful music and I've loved being more collaborative once again. Tourist will always change with each release and I've loved pushing the sound into a new place.”

Like facebook.com/musicbytourist

SMART OBJECTS – THE AUTUMN MAN

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Nashville’s Smart Objects formed from Benjamin A. Harper’s 2015 solo debut, Get Thee Behind Me. The project was born out of the backing band for that record.

Debuting with The Autumn Man, the band rightfully reel you in with their melodic retro-rock on this reflective tale of letting a love go.

About the track, Ben said: “The Autumn Man, a direct response to an ex's (unpublished) poem of the same title, is a song about how hope can sometimes be an obstacle. It’s about the fact that sometimes letting something go is the only thing you can do no matter how much you believe in it and that not doing so will only serve to hinder growth and progress.

“It’s about when life is like driving all day to get somewhere only to arrive and find they’ve closed the gates. But it’s also about admitting that you messed up, missed the boat and being willing to deal with those consequences. ‘I release you, I release you, I release you...only thing I can do.’”

Like facebook.com/SmartObjectsTheBand

JASON NOLAN - BATU

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Don’t be fooled by the airy melody on Jason Nolan’s Batu. Hiding behind its intricate percussion and spiralling synth is a pensive tale about battling depression.

About the song, Jason said: “Batu is about coming from a mental state of unknown vulnerability and cynicism to an eventual point of tranquillity. The song is about the gradual process of reacquainting myself with the outdoors again through solo venture and exercise.”

Like facebook.com/jasonmakesmusic

CASTLEBEAT – HEART STILL BEATS

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Josh Hwang’s slacker-surf-pop is an ode to his southern Californian roots.

The sole genius behind Castlebeat, Josh serves up shoegaze with a dollop of sunshine. If you concentrate hard enough whilst listening to Heart Still Beats, you can almost feel the warm sand under your feet.

About the track, Josh said: “I think the song is about going through changes and growing up, nothing too crazy or specific.”

Coming up, Josh plans to release his debut album on vinyl through his own label, Spirit Goth. Having recently moved to Brooklyn, he also hopes to take a bite out of the Big Apple with other musicians.

Like facebook.com/CASTLEBEAT or go to spiritgoth.com

JAGUAR PURRS – YOU ARE MY FAVORITE INTERRUPTION

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Atlanta-based Jaguar Purrs is the solo project of super singer-songwriter Jordan Parker.

You Are My Favorite Interruption, from debut EP Future Visions, is romantically cautious with its atmospheric electronica tangled alongside tingling synth.

About the song, Jordan said: “I think the track is really about, you know, a person who might be destructive to the better future you might be looking for, but that you can't seem to get away from. Someone attractive in so many ways that makes you always want to be around them, even if you know it’s not for the best. A guilty pleasure. You wonder or imagine what your life would be like without them because you know they're no good for you, just to become even more infatuated with them.”

Like facebook.com/jaguarpurrs

VITA AND THE WOOLF – EARTH

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Philly band Vita and the Woolf is driven by the anthemic voice of frontwoman Jennifer Pague and supported by the dynamic drumming of Adam Shumski.

Originally inspired by the love relationship between novelists Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf, the name Vita and the Woolf was chosen while Jennifer was studying abroad in Europe in 2012.

Earth, a strong song that allows Jennifer to powerfully cry out, is forceful with its emotional composition.

About the track, Jennifer said: “I wrote this song for a good friend of mine. We were going through transitions in our lives at the time, both trying to figure out who we were and how we viewed the world. Therefore, I think the lyrics are about finding that person in your life you can call anytime because you know they will never judge you.

“I'm also attempting to make fun of this idea that women ‘need’ men in order to justify their existence in society. Like, ‘I'm constantly on the hunt for a new relationship and that's all my brain is focused on because relationship=success!'

“When I was recording/writing Earth, the words ‘I've been diggin this earth’ fell out. I kind of just let my subconscious speak for itself when writing lyrics.”

Like facebook.com/vitaandthewoolf

THE VAN T’S – BITTER SWEET

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Surf-rock has never sounded sweeter.

The Glasgow-based quartet, comprising of Chloe Van Thompson (vocals, guitar), Hannah Van Thompson (vocals, guitar), Joanne Forbes (bass) and Shaun Hood (drums), deliver with their dirty distortion and reverb.

The band, formed in 2013 by twins Hannah and Chloe, have already made waves with the release of their second EP, A Coming of Age. With stellar appearances at the likes of T in the Park, Carnival 56, Electric Fields and Tenement Trail under their belt, they have built up a solid fan following with their grungy alt-rock.

With new track Bitter Sweet, the band have created an infectiously ferocious number with a fresh surf riff. Once again, The Van T’s have stepped up to the plate and knocked it out the park.

Like facebook.com/TheVanTs

ILLUMINATI HOTTIES – (YOU’RE BETTER) THAN EVER

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Self-described as pioneering tenderpunk, illuminati hotties is the solo project of LA’s Sarah Tudzin featuring a rotating selection of her bffs.

Song (You’re Better) Than Ever, swaggers with its sweet surf sound.

About the track, Sarah said: “(You're Better) Than Ever was a burst of inspo while stuck in stop-and-go traffic on the 101 freeway… tyyyypical.

“I had just found out that a crush who had written me off was deeply entwined with a new babe and it seemed like all the smog in LA was hanging heavier than usual - for both myself and for seemingly all of my closest friends (because of various reasons of their own).

“Tired of writing sadgrrl music, I had been in search of a sound with a little more edge and I remember shouting the first two lines of the song into my voice-notes in my phone because the microphone was janky.

“Immediately, I sort of overwhelmingly felt like the lowness I experienced moments ago had suddenly led me to something very exciting. It all sort of just fell out of my mouth in this surfy, sun-drenched way that I could only describe as tenderpunk, and that moment was the catalyst for illuminati hotties as a fresh outlet.

“The song is everything I wanted to say at that time, it's self-deprecating but at the same this sort of pointed, tongue-in-cheek diss track - it's the sound of heartbreak wrapped in the best burrito you've ever tasted.”

Sarah has got a lot to look forward to in the coming year. As well as a handful of LA gigs lined up, she also plans to release a full-length album this autumn.

She added: “At the end of October I'll be on tour along the West Coast with Emily Anderson and my side project, Power Snuggle, so I'm super stoked about seeing some new places and ripping the gig on new stages.

“Also, I've been producing a few bands local to LA whose music I really admire including NANI and Iress - it's a total dream to be working with them. I never really know what the future holds but for now I'm riding the momentum of the amazing response I've received from the music video, directed by Mark Lammerding and animated by Kat Bingley, and I'm looking forward to sharing the rest of the music that I've been sitting on for way too long now.”

Like facebook.com/illuminatihotties

MAIKA LOUBTE – YOU AND I

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Maika Loubte is a singer, songwriter and producer based in Tokyo.

Born in Japan to a French father and Japanese mother, she grew up in Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Through her experiences in the three cities, she started to write and record her own songs when she was just 14.

Using vintage analog synthesizers, she continues to ramp up her sound from a studio at home.

Song You and I, a buoyant bubblegum pop hit, cheerfully bounces along.

About the track, Maika said: “The melody was born a long time ago, but I didn’t produce it immediately because I wasn’t motivated. After 3-4 years passed, and after playing the Roland JX-3P (synthesizer), its sound helped me a lot to get the inspiration spontaneously.”

Like facebook.com/maikaloubte