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You Need To Hear This: New Music From Lotte Mullan, Danny Toeman, The Empire and Alfred Abel

Once again we've rounded up a handful of the freshest talent to have made it onto our new music radar in the past week.

Once again we've rounded up a handful of the freshest talent to have made it onto our new music radar in the past week. We've got acoustic bliss, funk-slathered soul, dark 90s grooves and English folk storytelling to tell you about this time; so get yourselves comfy... you're in for quite a ride.

Have a read of what we're loving about each of this week's hot new artists, then follow the links below to find out more and find out how you can show them your support! So, shall we have a look at what's got us going this week? Here's the tunes that you really NEED to hear...

First up in this week's bunch of musical musings is the elegantly saccharine sound of singer-songwriter Lotte Mullan. Described as "Suffolk's Joni Mitchell" by Q magazine, the tenderness she brings to each song she performs certainly stands testament the level of impact one woman and her guitar can have on the world. Producing gently country-inspired sounds that are uplifting, warm and impossibly beautiful; we reckon she is an artist who is more than capable of emanating the success of her acoustic contemporaries Laura Marling, Lucy Rose and Gabrielle Aplin. In fact, she may find herself compared to Aplin a fair bit as she continues to raise that profile of hers- because like the "Power Of Love" singer's success breaking through with Waitrose's ad for Christmas 2012, Lotte has also had a sublime cover plucked out for a successful promo campaign, with LOVEFILM. Oh, and they have both also set up their own independent record labels. And had national papers and radio stations falling over themselves to express their love for them. It's like the flipping twilight zone...

Some artists say their music has 'soul', but then you get a different kind of artist. The kind you listen to and in an instant you realise... they have soul. London-based musician Danny Toeman channels the golden era of the genre with 'neo-vintage' style; simultaneously drawing comparisons to greats like James Brown alongside contemporary hits such as Eli 'Paperboy' Reed. Hailed as 'the new generation of UK soul', it's a sound that can never be taught; one that you're either born for doing... or you're not. Sadly, 90% of us regular humans, are not. It just means that we have to do our utmost to marinate our ears in the rich, funkalicious vocal acrobatics that so organically flow from the heart of people like this. The positive energy and lyrics of Danny Toeman's music makes him a must for any feel-good playlist.

Bringing together the rich musical kingdoms of London and Scotland in one effing awesome five-piece, The Empire are primed to conquer the emerging music scene with their epic indie rock n' roll. Despite being relatively new to the scene, they've certainly got some heavyweight industry backing- with Coldplay's engineer and John Newman's producer already getting in on the action. Harnessing confident dynamics and building high contrasts in sound, their anthemic belters ain't just the clichéd 'call to arms' rally you see bandied about on a gazillion band biographies across the land. Their tunes are like the very feet of an unstoppable army beating the ground, creating a progressive and incredibly powerful sound that proves irresistible to susceptible music fetishists like us. Possessing a strong 90s flavour that conjure darkly atmospheric soundscapes, hardcore gig-goers will be absolutely chomping at the bit to go check The Empire out live.

Alfred Abel is an artist who is looking to surprise you in a number of ways. First of all, 'he' can sometimes be a three. Also, amongst this three, there ain't a single Alfred. Confused? Okay, let's start from the beginning. AA is in fact the title of a (technically) solo project established two years ago by one Sam Smith. Having grown up in Cornwall "where he avoided near death experiences with basking sharks and killer swans", he was inspired to embark on some of the most honest, biographically open songwriting you should ever wish to hear. Travelling the land and occasionally drafting in the additional talents of James Williamson and Piergiorgio Ciarla, the solo/three-piece adventures of Alfred Abel culminate in songs that veer between charming, quintessentially English folk tunes and a deeper, Fink-style smoulder. Combining the simplicity of acoustic guitar with a distinctive vocal charisma, we challenge you not to tap your feet when you listen to these guys...

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