Review: You may already know 22-year old Norwegian pop singer Aurora Aksnes for her rendition of Oasis' "Half the World Away" for a John Lewis Christmas advert in 2015, but if not, she's the biggest thing since Robyn. This latest record, following A Different Kind Of Human (Step 1) from last year, presents a third album to date and one that forms the second part of last year's surprise release. Fast-paced, hopeful, dancey and nordically folkal music, (Step 2) sees Aurora deliver something more experimental than before with its themes said to focus on ecological crisis and societal concepts of individualism. Syncopated basslines, staccato vocals and criss-crossing rhythms hit all the right spots in "Apple Tree" while our other pick "In Bottles" combines '90s pop sensationalism with breakbeats made to fit house tempos. Tip!
Ronan Girre - "Je N'Sais Pas Avec Qui?" (feat Arielle Dombasle) (3:12)
Reserve - "Une Fille En Transe" (3:31)
Review: Five years ago, French record collector Vidal Benjamin wowed us with "Disco Sympathie", a killer compilation of obscure Gallic disco and boogie gems. For this similarly dusty-fingered follow-up, he's set his gaze on French new wave and synth-pop. It's an entertaining and eye-opening listen that moves from the samba-chanson of Cecilia and the fizzing electro-funk of Electropic, to the sweet and cheery synth-pop of "Reserve". Highlights in between include the bustling synth-pop sleaziness of Sonia's "J'Sais Plus Ou J'En Suis", the throbbing new wave quirkiness of Milpatte's "Je Vais Danser" and the low-slung post-punk pop of I:Cube's fresh re-edit of Yogo's "Reve De Star".