Top 10 Non-UK Finds 2020

‘New music from across the globe has made us feel more connected than ever before.’

Revisit the best new music discoveries from new artists outside of the UK below. Tracks listed in order of when they were featured. 

Ida Wenøe: Värmeland (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Delicately making its way into our ears with a mix of picked acoustic guitar and mixed wind countermelodies, there’s instantly more than a hint of lilting folk to Ida’s latest offering. Feeling authentic, and as transportive as can be, the atmosphere is instantly one of beauty and combined with equally delicate tribal-esque drums and picked bass, it fills us with a multitude of musical delights. Completely making us forget whatever worries we have, it’s an early indicator of the trip we are to take as we travel through Värmeland. And, with Ida’s vocal joining the wondrous, instrumentally centred mix, she provides the perfect guiding hand. [continue reading here] 

TOYGIRL: Moonlight Velvet (Dublin, Ireland)
Subtly making its way into our ears a combination of vinyl crackle, delicate guitar and warped echoing effects brings a sense of modern nostalgia. Instantly, you can’t help but notice the difference in sound to TOYGIRL’s debut. Gone are the dominantly rhythmical motifs and replaced by this new atmosphere, it feels like a complete contrast. Equally, with the emergence of sultry, breathy sax lines it oozes romanticism and seduction. Like I said, a complete contrast. In someways, this could be expected given that the 5-piece told Listen to Discover last year that they were still finding their direction, but this level of development is nothing short of remarkable. Likewise, in perfectly capitalising this new-found sound the emergence of gorgeously warm, vowel-centred vocals gives us an early tease of the stunning main vocals which are about to make their appearance. [continue reading here] 

Harrison Scarecrow: Everyone with Someone (Alabama, USA)
Instantly projecting a real sense of emotion, a mix of fading bass notes, arpeggiated chords and pain-tinged vocals greet us. It’s evocative, immediately moving and truly captivating. Equally, in opening with the intrigue filled line ‘Churchyard medicine and brown bag wine’ we realise that this isn’t going to be the typical, emotionally driven ballad style sound that so many other artists may opt for in a track of this ilk. That, not just here, but throughout the track is a very good thing. And, when you consider the intention of the track – to take us through a tale of broken dreams – it could easily be set in a self-indulgent, no hope way. But instead we have something quite the opposite. [continue reading here]

Speaker Face: Call Me Out (Toronto, Canada)
About patience and providing space for others to work through their feelings, ‘Call Me Out’ soars through jagged beats with desirable vocal harmonies. A soundscape that dives through realms of hazy textures and soft chord progressions, the captivating groove that hides underneath the arrangement is spine-tingling. However, while the same sort of arrangement continues throughout the piece, the track doesn’t feel repetitive in the slightest. Instead, it somehow reinvents itself as each bar goes by. [continue reading here]

Ida Wenøe: One Step (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Delicately catching our attention with the sound of soft lilting acoustic guitar, the folk-centred influences that lie at the heart of the track are instantly delivered. Finger picked and overlapping, you feel your mind being soothed, your muscles becoming relaxed and your body developing a gentle sense of sway. Equally, with the emergence of soft-rock electric guitar, the soul inside you feels stirred. It’s a truly beautiful beginning and while it may only be instrumental at this point, you can guarantee that Ida’s vocals will only enhance these feelings further. [continue reading here]

Strange Tides: Criminal (Vancouver, Canada)
Starting out with arpeggiated acoustic guitar, it would be fair to say that the opening moments of ‘Criminal’ don’t initially make you think ‘Strange Tides’ have musically side stepped. Bringing intimacy, touching slides can be heard and transporting us to the place of recording, we feel as though we are right there with them. It’s instantly irresistible. And then, only a few seconds later, the most haunting blues guitar line emerges to take the atmosphere to a place that can only be described as instrumentally centred gorgeousness. Sure we haven’t heard one lyric yet, but the track already promises the world. [continue reading here]

Anima: Naima (Vienna, Austria)
Setting up an air of calmness and transportation, a sound heavily reliant on atmospheric layers emerges. Insects click, birds sing and water flows. So mindful, it’s the kind of sound you find yourself being absorbed by instantly. What is it you are experiencing? Is it music for healing? Or comfort maybe? Given the automatic reaction it brings both may well be true, but unlike anything you’ve heard before, it’s definitely magical. Musical magic that is about to be enhanced by the most complementary of vocals. [continue reading here]

Belau: Risk It All (Budapest, Hungary)
Removing any sense of musical ambiguity that may have been felt in the opening moments, driving yet hypnotic momentum sees us be transported right into Belau’s electro-ambient world. Swelling underneath, the harmonic movement is gorgeously subtle while the combination of interweaving percussive fragments add delicate interest. The most beautifully musical stroke though is how all this combines with Amahla‘s vocals above. Themselves completely showcase, they are the kind that, like the whole track, you just can’t get enough of. [continue reading here] 

Josh Stevens: Hello Darling (Los Angeles, USA) 
Capturing the relationship Josh and his daughter have, ‘Hello Darling’ serves to provide not only a supercharged sound, but a blissful concord of heartfelt words and emotion. Instantly you’re hypnotised by melodic guitar riffs that somehow create a momentum tinted yet tender atmosphere. Likewise, though Josh’s vocals soothe and provide comfort, his lyrics scream a sense of fear and desperateness in making the world a better place. And that is what makes the song unique. A fire-fuelled anthem to the ear. A plea for help from the inside. [continue reading here]

Flor and the Sea: Kings and Queens (Munich, Germany)
Opening with a soundscape infused with gentle vocals, you really can’t help but feel instantly calmed by the initial moments of ‘Kings and Queens’. It takes you on a journey of tranquillity, fills you with twinkling sensations of peace, and ultimately guides you to a dreamy place. Equally, in delivering a mix of ambience and restrained drive, as tones seamlessly evolve into an ensemble of electro-scattered hooks, a sonic beauty almost too great to put into words reveals itself. [continue reading here]

Discover the best new music from new artists in the UK at: Top 10 UK Finds 2020

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