Alternative Friday

because great new music doesn’t always get the exposure it deserves

Last year was another stunning one in terms of the quality of new artists and their music, as evidenced in the Best of 2019 Mixtape, and as the year drew to a close there was definitely no let up, as is highlighted in this first mixtape of the new year. So dig in, and enjoy a sonic cocktail of sounds as we journey from alternative psych-rock to jazzy hip-hop, soulful RnB to tropical pop, and more. Enjoy…

 


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The Evolving Tunes playlist has done exactly that again in 2019, so as the year draws to a close here’s an eclectic playlist with 25 of the best tracks to have appeared since January. It contains a wide array of genres, so dive in, enjoy, and keep an eye on the main Spotify playlist during 2020 for more exceptional new, emerging, and under the radar musicians.

The exceptional standard of new and emerging musicians never surprises me, and I’m confident that 2019 has been another great year for new music. So as it draws to a close we reveal our annual Alternative Friday Awards… so who are the winners?


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Of the 1000s of songs I’ve heard this year via Fresh on the Net and elsewhere, the 100 that have been in my monthly Mixtapes have reminded me how much amazing new music is constantly being made by new and emerging artists. To whittle that list down to these 20 tracks was therefore quite a challenge!

It’s an eclectic mix too, with not just alt rock & indie, but also soulful RnB, psychedelic folk, Afro-Latin, art pop, and more, so I hope you enjoy it, and next year do browse the monthly mixtapes and Spotify Evolving Tunes for more impressive new music.

 

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Photograph by Sequoia Ziff

Gizmo Varillas is a Spanish-Basque songwriter, musician and record producer, who was raised both in the UK and Spain. His music is a wonderfully colourful mix of tropical Latin, funky Afrobeat, and acoustic folk, which has seen him appear here in numerous mixtapes over the past couple of years. Ahead of his first London headline show of 2019 on November 26th at the Camden Assembly, and forthcoming third album, he takes part in this Q&A – so read on to find out more about his music, the new album, indigenous Pygmy flutes, and the legendary drummer Tony Allen.

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Liverpool band The Cheap Thrills have made a large and enjoyable impression on me in the past couple of years, from their first appearance here in the Feb 17 mixtape, as well as to appear in my last two Fresh on the Net School’s Out (best of) lists. It has also led to me seeing them live more than once! Their indie, synth, rock, & pop affair has resulted in some infectious and singalong tunes, and they’ve now packaged them superbly in their new 6-track Vue Du Monde EP.

From the rock led opener Codependence to the dance-floor filling Smile When You Sleep, plus the more mellow closing track Keep Me In Check, you can’t fail to be drawn to the rousing guitars and floor filling partnership of percussion and synths. The mix of personal and observational lyrics, as well as top notch vocals, also means you’re singing as much as foot tapping or dancing, and all this is topped with polished production too. At twenty minutes, the six songs don’t hang around more than is needed, and all together it’s a wonderfully energetic and hook laden feast of tunes.

You can find out more about the band in a Q & A I did with them earlier this year.

 

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