To say that the team behind Black Butter Records have had a fairly good 2012 would be somewhat of an understatement. For the past twelve months the London based dance label have been relentless in their output – releasing track after track from some of the most consistently brilliant UK talent around. Stay+, Rudimental, Lulu James, Kidnap Kid all valued massively here at Best Fit, but it’s 19 year old Daisy ‘Syron’ Russell that has won over our hearts with her sublime take on 90s inspired house music.
Initially appearing as a guest vocalist on Rudimental’s ‘Spoons’ back in February, Syron came crashing onto our radar in September with ‘Breaking’: a bonafide classic if ever we heard one. Four minutes of sheer arms aloft bliss, Russell’s bittersweet vocals – all soulful and flighty – pinned against an infectious backbeat of nineties cool. A mainstay on the Best Fit office stereo since the very day it burst through our inbox, it was the eventual accompanying video that cemented our crush. Although filmed against a South East London backdrop, flanked by a Rotweiler and a seemingly hard edged look – repeated plays revealed a softer side to Russell: all subtle features, puppy dog eyes and cute knowing smile.
With her eyes firmly set on the dancefloor, ‘Breaking’ was closely followed by ‘Mainline’ – a collaboration between Syron and German producer Tensnake. The track saw the pair dive headfirst into the early spirit of Chicago House and somehow ended up sounding like the bastard offspring of ‘Vogue’ era Madonna and Inner City circa ‘Good Life’. One of the most outwardly ‘fun’ releases of the year, it could quite easily have been a long lost Stock Aitken Waterman out take; lost to the cutting room floor only to be dusted down 25 years down the line.
With her output so far a shameless nod to the golden era of commercial dance music, our attention now firmly pointed towards the new year which will see the release of a new single and debut album. A ready made pop star for the Rinse FM generation, there’s no doubt Syron is destined for great things over the next twelve months. - Rich Thane
It would take a fool but two seconds to work out that 2013 will belong to Solange. Heck, it took her but the blink of an eye to drop Knowles from her stage name, and why not? She certainly didn’t need the leg up or want any favours, 2003′s Solo Star and 2008′s Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams proved she was more than capable of standing on her own two feet but this year, well this year really saw the 26 year cement her artistic vision.
‘Losing You’, taken from Solange’s brand new EP True, (due out via Chris Taylor’s Terrible Records label) is just about as perfect as any piece of pop music is likely to get this side of New Years – coming complete with funky guitar licks, buoyant snapping drum beats, smooth romantic vocals and jubilant samples all built around the simple, forlorn, repeated refrain “Tell me the truth, boy, am I losing you for good?” As if that description didn’t already clue you into the fact Dev Hynes co wrote and produced the record then you’ve clearly not been keeping up with Blood Oranges’ output.
With Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes making an appearance on B-side ‘Sleep in the Park’ and a whole host of other collaborations in the works, we can’t wait to hear what comes next. - Lauren Down
At just 13 years old, the girl formerly known as Nicole Shortland signed to Mercury Records as one third of the short-lived SoundGirl. Their one and only single ‘Don’t Know Why’ stalling at Number 45 in the UK Charts, the group disbanded in April of this year. Few tears were shed. And then, this happened.
‘Intro Intro’ – the debut single from Little Nikki saw young Shortland roaming the streets of North London whilst mainlining Red Bull and pic n mix, intimidating OAP’s, playing baseball with fruit stolen from a market stall… All of which might seem like standard fare for most 16 year olds nowadays, but add to the cocktail one of the most infectious ballsy pop songs of the year and you’ve got yourself a sterling introduction to an artist that remained unsigned for all of about 6 weeks. Courted by Columbia, Little Nikki inked a deal with the major label earlier in the Summer and has since gone on to open for Rita Ora and Rizzle Kicks throughout the UK, gathering an army of loyal fans she endearingly calls her ‘Nuttahs’.
Of course, for all her teen pop appeal the question remains, can Little Nikki penetrate the adult pop market? Based on the tracks we heard recently in her publicists office, ‘Intro Intro’ is merely a teaser of the pop majesty that’s to follow. ‘DILLIGAF’ (an acronym for Do I Look Like I Give A Fuck) is a ballsy, heady fusion of hip hop, hard edged synth pop and dancehall that combined with Shortland’s easy-breezy lyrical flow has all the makings of a global sensation a la Azealia Banks’ ’212′. The critics tend to agree too. The Huffington Post citing Little Nikki as Britain’s answer to Rihanna whilst MTV, Dazed & Confused, Pop Justice and Notion Magazine all following suit.
We’re literally chomping at the bit to find out what she does next. Kids today, eh? - Rich Thane