Song Picks: Don’t get me wrong, Conversations is great, but there’s nothing on there that’s a patch on ‘Her Ghost’. This is not meant as a criticism of Woman’s Hour, but as an acknowledgement of the sheer wondrousness that is ‘Her Ghost’. 

Everything that the WH sound rests on - the spacey guitar lines, the shimmery production, Burgess’ yearning vocal - all come together perfectly on this song. While ‘Her Ghost’ is essentially a sad song, and though their sound may be understated compared to that of their blog baiting peers, I still return to ‘Her Ghost’ with the kind of ridiculous over enthusiasm normally reserved for a new Slow Club track

Album Picks: Yesterday I talked about how this year I’d stumbled across a number of artists I might not have, and this blog is largely to thank for that. That I basically have to find something new to post every day brings with it a kind of pressure (albeit a self-inflicted one) that sometimes against all the odds actually leads to a great new discovery. 

One of those discoveries, May,  is Broken Twin’s first full length, and it’s one of the simplest, saddest records of this or any year. It’s also one of the most accomplished. Majke Voss Romme’s voice may not be as technically proficient as Casey Dienel’s, but it is enveloping and compulsive in a way that every ten-a-penny folk singer who isn’t called Joni Mitchell wishes theirs could be, and the simplicity of these songs allows the obvious quality of the writing to shine through. Debut of the year? It’s a bit early, but I suspect that May will shine even brighter in winter than it does now.

Song Picks: Maybe it’s a little premature to suggest that FKA Twigs’ LP1 will be a glorified beat tape, but I hope I’m not alone in thinking that her music could do with more distinguishing qualities that Arca’s (admittedly excellent) production. And I might be biased but I’m inclined to think there’s more to Locke’s work already than what we’ve from Twigs, despite the evident promise of both. 

From the bizarre accompanying art work to the poetic verse that accompanied the release of each song,  with ‘We Are the Prey’ - and it’s follow up, ‘O Boy’ - Locke seems not to be making songs but whole concepts around which to build her music. And even if you were just here for the songs, the insistent beats and captivating voice were enough to keep you coming back for more.  

Album Picks: From beginning to end, Do It Again is every bit as good as anyone could have hoped. ‘Monument’ is the best slow build track of the year, ‘Do It Again’ one of the best pop tracks of the year, and despite the relatively small number of tracks, its length and quality earns it a mention here.

Song Picks: If I had to pick just one song released in the past 6 months to listen to for the rest of this year, I’d probably pick something ridiculously long so I didn’t get bored, but if I had to pick one song between 3 and 5 minutes long, it might well be ‘Touch’.

Basically the aural equivalent of golden syrup, ‘Touch’ is also one of those effortless songs that breaks hearts and mends them simultaneously. Even if we didn’t hear another peep from Shura in the next three years, we’d still have ‘Touch’, the kind of song that artists spend entire careers trying to craft. 

Song Picks: I thought some reviewers were unnecessarily harsh about SZA’s debut full length Z, even if the uneven nature of that release was at odds with the consistent excellence of her earlier EPs. Despite the haters, did succeed in providing us with some classic SZA to fill our 8track mixes with, and ‘Julia’ was one of the best. 

With a catchy riff that wouldn’t out of place on a club track, ‘Julia’ represents the one clear moment on where the fog lifts and SZA tries her hand at making full-on pop music. A cursory glance at the stuff we’ve championed so far this year will tell you just how much of a compliment that is, and just how wonderful it was to hear ‘Julia’ for the first time.

Album Picks: Every year, without fail, there is at least one artist who comes out of the blue to completely blow you away. Last year I was floored by Sin Fang’s pop on Flowers (even if he was a boy), but this year has given us a number of pleasant surprises, and perhaps foremost among them is White Hinterland’s Baby.

Casey Dienel’s idiosyncratic approach to making pop music (and the odd show stopping piano ballad) may not be to all tastes, but the ambition here is such that the odd slip only serves to make the whole that much more compelling. The singing here, by the way, is fantastic. If you were to tell me I would hear better singing on an album this year I wouldn’t believe you. It really is that good. And if I was to recommend one album you should hear this year, Baby would probably be it. My favourite discovery of the year so far.

Song Picks: I remember when the internet ‘discovered’ SALES. I don’t say that to assert any dubious claims to indie cred, but for a few days SALES and their patented style of unfussy, unpolished pop were practically unavoidable. If I had a dollar for every time someone posted one of their songs last week… I’d have several dollars.

That kind of coverage is usually reserved for big-name, well-produced smashes, so it was a pleasant surprise to discover the low key charm of a song like ‘Vows’, which at the time I likened to Lower Plenty. That there is only one band I can think of currently working with a similar style says a lot about just how out of fashion SALES’ style is, but their reception showed how much appetite there is for it. If they can sustain this kind of quality for a whole album, we could have one of the best debuts of 2014 on our hands.

Album Picks: As Sky ferreira showed us last year, once you strip everything else away our pop stars are often just that - stars - because they are remarkably capable and assured artists first and foremost. 

MØ may not be anywhere near that stage yet, but with No Mythologies to Follow she gave us the best radio-ready pop album of 2014 so far. The hits leap out from the tracklisting - ‘Fire Rides’, ‘Maiden’, ‘Waste of Time’ and this, the imperious ‘Dance with Nobody’ - and combined with irresistible dance moves and the palpable joy and eagerness with which she goes about her work, you have what is probably close to how a Danish Beyoncé might sound like . The extent to which you see that as a compliment will probably tell you whether or not No Mythologies… is for you.

Song Picks: I don’t know about you, but this song blew me away the first time I heard it. And the second, and the third… you get the idea. My point is, if 2014 has seen the release of some amazing, wondrous, brilliant pop songs (and it has), ‘The Brae’ must surely be among them. From the moment that intro kicks in, I’m all a quiver, basically until 4 minutes and 16 seconds later when the song finishes.

Yumi Zouma don’t try and create an emotional connection with their listeners; that’s not their bag. What is their bag though is crafting the sweetest sugary mellow-y vibes, and when combined with that peach of a chorus the effect is, dare I say it, impossible to resist. Go on, I dare you.. no luck? You’re not the only one.