Each week in NME Radar, we feature a guest columnist tipping us their favourite new acts. This issue (Nov 29) sees BBC Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens fall for Fort Worth’s Leon Bridges, and take a trip to Iceland. Listen to all of his choices in the playlist below.
Huw Stephens: I have been loving the songs Leon Bridges has online. He’s from Fort Worth, Texas and sings from the heart with a bluesy, soulful and lost-in-time voice that is irresistible. He’s the most requested new artist on my new night-time show on BBC Radio 1 too, and the door to Maida Vale is open for him when he comes over to play here next. ‘Coming Home’ sounds like a lost classic, and I’m excited to hear what he does next.
I was in Reykjavik recently for the excellent Iceland Airwaves festival. Russian born and living in London, Shura played in a venue called Hurra, which fitted the vibe as well as the name. The future pop star has a classic style, and really interesting lyrics that blow me away. They’re raw and intimate, coupled with these smooth melodies and future R&B production. It’s immersive and beautiful, and she also has some great remixes floating around by some other names worth checking: Formation and Honne.
Everyone in Iceland seems to be making music and apparently one in 10 people there will publish a book in their lifetime. They know what they’re doing, their music community is well organised and the friendly, supportive and nurturing scene in Reykjavik is really inspiring. Iceland’s own Young Karin, who make pretty perfect, spacious, laid-back pop, were one of the toasts of Airwaves. They’re now signed to Bella Union, who are on a roll at the moment with London’s Clarence Clarity‘s own eccentric tunes among their next releases. The One Little Indian label is thriving too, with Reykjavik’s Samaris continuing to thrill and awesome new signings Fufanu: a slightly frenzied and utterly captivating rock band who recently supported Damon Albarn. Last but not least, Finland’s Jaakko Enio Kalevi also played the festival, and was superb – part krautrock, part Joy Division. Check his forthcoming releases on the Weird World label.
Away from the land of ice, Chicago’s Meat Wave not only have an amazing name, but also make deliciously raucous garage rock. They’re over here in January to charm us, thanks to the new Brace Yourself record label, who are putting out ‘Sham King’. There are plenty of great new electronic records right now as well, including the Slow Magic album and the new Romare record, ‘Roots’, which is jacking and dirty. Mura Masa‘s mixtape on Soulection is special too – a fragile, minimal collection of songs that ooze warmth during these cold months. I sound like a weather reporter.