Bringing you a pick of the month’s best releases, Maria Hanlon presents 10 tunes that have hit her decks – and got a reload – in April. Starring Arlo Parks, SBTRKT, Sampha, George Riley, TOTEK, Amie Blu, Bone Slim, Catching Cairo, Turno, Kwaku Asante, NAYANA AB, p-rallel, Tamera, Toddla T & DEJA…
For fans of… Pip Millet, Biig Piig, Lava La Rue
Why listen… Arlo Parks is back with a smooth dance-pop track that needs adding to your playlist ASAP!
‘Blades’ is the third offering from Arlo Parks’s upcoming album ‘My Soft Machine’ which will be released on May 26th. The new track sees Arlo delve into a more electronic, dance-infused sound. Speaking of the inspiration behind ‘Blades’, Arlo said: “I imagine this moment at a party where you see someone across the room that you haven’t seen in a while, you felt yourself growing apart, and you’re like, should I, should I not? And then you find the courage to approach them. That’s the story of that song.”
SBTRKT, Sampha, George Riley
For fans of… Mount Kimbie, Jamie xx, James Blake
Why listen… One of the most exciting producers of our generation, SBTRKT, is back on the scene with an experimental soul single that’s worth the wait.
SBTRKT has teamed up with rising star George Riley and long-time collaborator Sampha for his latest release, ‘L.F.O.’ (short for low-frequency oscillator). It combines an experimental soul production with Riley and Sampha’s smooth, rich vocals to create a mesmerising sound. It seems SBTRKT has been building momentum with his singles ahead of his new album ‘The Rat Road’ which will be released May 5th.
Darker Than Wax
For fans of… 30/70, Sampology, Joe Armon-Jones
Why listen… TOTEK are a duo that are bending genres and might become your new favourite discovery.
TOTEK is the genre-defying electronic project of Allysha Joy and Max Dowling, known for their dark, evocative beats and raw vocals. Allysha Joy is known for being a member of the internationally-acclaimed nu-soul outfit 30/70 and also her solo work. Max Dowling is a prolific producer, performer and collaborator (Client Liaison, NO ZU, Parvyn and countless others). Together the pair are a dream team and are set to release their debut EP called ‘ttk.1.’ soon, so keep your eyes peeled.
Ciao For Now
For fans of… Celeste, Daniel Caesar, Debbie
Why listen… Amie Blu is one to watch with her soft, soulful vocals, beautifully portrayed in new song ‘oh no’.
The South London singer/songwriter (who performed at UD’s The Great Escape showcase in 2022) has released her latest single ‘oh no’ ahead of her upcoming EP ‘crumbs in my bed’. On ‘oh no’ Amie fuses together elements of soul, R&B and pop with her impressive range and shimmering, multi-layered vocals. The track was created alongside Humble The Great and AKA Block. The lyrics in ‘oh no’ are about letting the past affect your present relationships. It’s a fun, refreshing track that leaves us wanting more.
For fans of… Finn Foxell, NiNE8 Collective, The Streets
Why listen… Bone Slim’s music is always exciting, electric and genre bending and ‘LOW’ is a perfect example of this.
Bone Slim is a masked rapper and one of London’s most exciting underground artists right now. He is also one of the originating songwriters of NiNE8 Collective, known for his complex rhymes and recognised for his fusion of British rap and UK dance music. Bone Slim’s been building his fan base since 2010 and has worked with many other underground artists such as fellow NiNE8 members, Biig Piig and Mac Wetha. His latest release ‘LOW’ features an electronic Hip-Hop beat with his signature and slightly distorted vocals making this a certified head bopper.
Catching Cairo, Turno
For fans of… Crate Classics, Gardna, PinkPantheress
Why listen… Catching Cairo teams up with Turno to create an uplifting and emotive anthem.
‘Out Loud’ is the first single from Catching Cairo’s debut UKF EP, which will be released later this year. If you’re not familiar with Catching Cairo yet, she’s a dance music vocalist who’s previously featured on tracks from the likes of Hybrid Minds, Kasra, BCee and Mungo’s Hifi. ‘Out Loud’ is Catching Cairo’s first offering on UKF as an artist in her own right. For this tune she teams up with Turno who’s beats beautifully weave in and out of Catching Cairo’s recognizable vocals.
Until The Morning
E&M / Cloud X
For fans of… Jerome Thomas, Reuben James, D’Angelo
Why listen… The combination of Kwaku Asante’s soulful vocals and the playful, funky production make this an infectious summer staple.
‘Until The Morning’ is Kwaku Asante’s first release of the year after a big 2022, which included touring with Samm Henshaw and Pip Millet and selling out his headline show at Village Underground. Asante is a vivid storyteller, portraying his journey of self-discovery through a neo-soul, R&B and hip hop soundscape. ‘Until The Morning’ came out earlier this month and we’re hoping we’ll be hearing more from him very soon. Until then, check out our interview with Kwaku Asante here.
Hold My Tongue
For fans of… Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill, Ray BLK
Why listen… NAYANA AB is a rising star with fresh R&B and soul sounds that you need to know about.
‘Hold My Tongue’ is one of the songs from UD’s own Open Mic host and girl about town, NAYANA AB, taken from her two-track EP, ‘Intrusive Thoughts’. It features jazzy, laid back production with NAYANA AB’s stunning vocals, showcasing her range and ability perfectly. It’s slow, soulful and soothing and might just be your new favourite song to unwind to. Keep an eye on NAYANA AB as she continues to make big moves – including a performance at The Great Escape on May 12th. Check out our previous interview with her here.
p-rallel, Tamera, Toddla T
I’m So High
4ZA Music / Black Butter Limited
For fans of… KAYTRANADA, Conducta, Eliza Rose
Why listen… This is the summer heater you need on your phone, ready for the next time you’re handed the aux cable in the car.
Arriving ahead of summer, this UKG and R&B infused track is one for your playlist. Artist and producer p-rallel teams up with fellow producer Toddla T and R&B riser Tamera for this one. Tamera’s smooth, soulful vocals pair perfectly with p-rallel and Toddla T’s slick and vibey production. This track comes after p-rallel’s previous release ‘Evening Time’ with KAM-BU and BXKS and ‘love me, i’m scum’ featuring Hak Baker. We hope he might be working towards a project to soundtrack the summer.
For fans of… Rihanna, Doja Cat, Beyonce
Why listen… R&B and pop powerhouse DEJA is back with the empowering ‘One’.
DEJA is making a name for herself with her signature sass, confidence and main character energy. Her sound is a fusion of R&B and pop and always features unapologetic and uplifting lyrics with bouncy, punchy production. ‘One’ is DEJA’s first release of the year and has an incredible accompanying music video. Speaking on the track, she says “‘ONE’ is a reflection of the frustration we all suffer but the grit and the dominatrix attitude we have to adopt to get sh*t done.”
You can also listen to the UD Selects Mixtape 2023 playlists on the UD YouTube channel…