Spring 2014 Playlist: 11 Hot Imports You Should Be Listening To, From Allie X To Katy B To Zhala
Ten years ago, you’d have been hard-pressed to find more than two or three artists from outside of the United States border infiltrating our red, white and blue airwaves in any given month. Thankfully, that archaic, temporary sanction has been lifted, and diverse acts from overseas like Adele, Rihanna, Lorde, Icona Pop, Bastille, Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding currently fill playlists across America, whether they be at cross-format radio stations or on the iPods stuffed in our gym shorts during a long run.
Here at Idolator, we’ve always got our eye on new talent, no matter which far-flung territory it hails from. And given the particular quality of new and exciting pop in 2014, we figured it was high time we rounded up the hottest imports of the moment. Head below to hear the tracks from foreign acts that are keeping us grooving as we enter this year’s warm months.
Kiesza, “Hideaway” Calgary native Kiesza is riding the wave of the ’90s deep house revival with her single “Hideaway,” which will be officially released on April 14. But then, you probably already knew that and so much more about her from checking out our Popping Up interview with the budding singer, right?
Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne, “Rather Be” This giddy dance-pop jam from electronic outfit Clean Bandit introduced soulful guest vocalist Jess Glynne to the British masses, and was just the first of her chart-topping singles in the UK this year. (See below.) You can grab this one on US iTunes now.
Route 94 featuring Jess Glynne, “My Love” Like Canada’s Kiesza, East London producer Rowan Jones, better known as Route 94, also dabbles in retro house sounds. His Jess Glynne-featuring “My Love” had the good fortune to follow the release of Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be” (above) in the UK — and, like that one, it shot straight to the top of the singles chart. “My Love” was released on US iTunes this week.
Betty Who, “Heartbreak Dream” Jess Newham, the voice behind Betty Who, truly was one of 2013’s breakout pop acts. Her major label debut, the Slow Dancing EP (released this week), was preceded by the single “Heartbreak Dream,” another fine offering that acts as a showcase for what’s to come, album-wise.
Scarlet Pleasure, “Windy” This Danish trio’s smooth R&B single “Windy” sounds like the perfect blend of Marvin Gaye’s ’70s staple “Inner City Blues” and Hi-Five’s 1991 new jack jam “The Kissing Game.” An odd combo, for sure…yet it works perfectly.
Allie X, “Catch” Not to be outdone in the shimmery, synthy slow jam department, Canada’s Allie X caught us all off guard in early February with the mind-blowing “Catch.” Why can’t all pop be this fantastic?
Tensnake featuring Fiora & Nile Rodgers, “Love Sublime” Tensnake released his full Glow LP in March, and one of its highlights is “Love Sublime.” The German DJ/producer had the good sense to enlist revered funk legend Nile Rodgers, as well as frequent collaborator/vocalist Fiora, on this sexy disco gem.
Tove Lo, “Habits”/”Stay High” (Hippie Sabotage Remix) Whether in its original form or remixed, “Habits” is a force to be reckoned with. The song has gone viral and finally made its way into the iTunes Top 100, though, of course, we’ve loved it since we first heard it last spring. Swedish singer Tove Lo’s Truth Serum EP was released stateside in March.
Katy B, “Still” Without a doubt, this flame-haired Brit’s sophomore album Little Red is one you should own in 2014. We tend to prefer previous single “Crying For No Reason,” but “Still’ is her latest — and, really, you can’t go wrong with any of Katy’s tracks these days.
Duke Dumont featuring Jax Jones, “I Got U” Your ears are not deceiving you — that is indeed Whitney Houston’s voice atop this house track, courtesy of a sample from 1999 hit “My Love Is Your Love.” Grammy-nominated English producer Duke Dumont recently racked up his second UK #1 single by pairing with fellow knob-twiddler Jax Jones for this one.
Zhala, “Prophet” A protege of Robyn, we were all introduced to Zhala and her debut single “Prophet” via an insane live performance at the Swedish Grammis in February. And, really, we haven’t been able to get her bonkers song out of our heads since!
Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.