Albums of the Year 2015: #5 – #1

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It is the final countdown!

#5 The Dreaming Spires – Searching for the Supertruth

The Bennett brothers 2nd LP consolidated their position as our favourite purveyors of jangly guitars and catchy tunes.

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#4 PINS – Wild Nights

Two sparkling performances from PINS at The Great Escape Festival grabbed our attention and LP ‘Wild Nights’ just confirmed what we were already thinking – this band kick ass.

#3

#3 Torres – Sprinter

This list is chock full of artists making their second record. The same is true of Torres who follows up her outstanding debut with this exceptional piece of work. There  is some heavy duty emotion poured into this record and its intensity ensures it is not always the easiest listen. However, Mackenzie Scott has an uncanny ability to channel all that emotion and create amazing songs – a brilliant record.

#2

#2 Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

This record has, quite rightly, pushed Courtney Barnett onto a whole new level of fame – constant touring, bigger venues, grammy nominations etc.. The guitars attack and the lyrics never fail to amuse and intrigue. A class act.

#1

#1 Sleater Kinney – No Cities to Love

10 x brilliant tunes bursting at the seams with attitude. This is a group with something to say and a hard rocking band with which to say it! This record was an ever present for long parts of the year and still remains untouchable for us.

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There you have it….the someofitistrue top #15 LP’s of 2015. What does it say about us? Well looking at the top #3 it probably says we still haven’t got over Nirvana!  Happy New Year!

Albums of the Year 2015: #10 – #6

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We are back to continue the countdown of our favourite records of 2015. Let’s jump straight back in with #10

#10 Nadine Shah – Fast Food

An excellent second record for Nadine Shah that builds on the foundations laid with ‘Love Your Dum & Mad’. One of our favourite shows this year was an in-store performance by Nadine at Resident in Brighton. There is a darkness to the music, but Nadine was a fun and utterly charming presence.

09

#09 Julia Holter – Have You In My Wilderness

A real conundrum of a record that we still haven’t worked out. Odd, off-kilter, beautiful and absorbing.

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#08 Soko – My Dreams Dictate My Reality

We were late to the Soko party, but absolutely love the 80s-gothic/pop vibe of this record. An exciting artist.

07

#07 Joanna Newsom – Divers

Nothing about the return of Joanna Newsom disappointed. The LP was great and the live show absolutely sublime.

06

#06 Curxes – Verxes

Noisy and eclectic, this debut from Brighton/Portsmouth 3-piece fulfilled the promise of the stand-alone singles.

 

Keep an eye out for the final countdown!

Albums of the Year 2015: #15-11

We’ve done a bit of tidying up, the hangover is lingering and all the family have gone home. Not grabbed by Christmas television, and with New Year on the horizon, we thought we would pitch in to the ‘Album of the Year’ debate.

Having read lots of other lists it became clear that, whilst we’ve listened to a host of music this year, many of the larger ‘critically-acclaimed’ albums completely passed us by! Therefore no New Order, Bjork, Kendrick Lamar or Wolf Alice on our list. It’s fair to say that we would probably enjoy all of them and I’m sure we will…as soon as we find time.

In addition to this we run two record labels and of course that fills a lot of listening time. We put out two of our favourite records this year M. Lockwood Porter’s ’27’ and Brent Best’s ‘Your Dog, Champ’ – but took the decision to keep our list as impartial as possible (Sorry Brent & Max, we love you guys and your records!)

The rules explained, here is the first part of our run-down of the records that rocked our 2015.

#15 Anna von Hausswolff – The Miraculous

Some seriously heavy vibes from Anna and her organ – pitched somewhere between drone and indie-noise-rock. Sounds intense, which it is, but also amazing. In the year I fell back in love with Spacemen 3, this was the perfect accompaniment.

#14

#14 Demob Happy – Dream Soda

Rocks & reminds us a bit of Nirvana – both excellent qualities!

#13

#13 Kurt Vile – B’lieve I’m Goin Down

If we were being picky we’d say it’s not quite as good as our favourite Kurt album (‘Smoke Ring For My Halo’ if you’re interested). That said it is more laid back cool from the man with big hair.

#12

#12 Royal Headache – High

We still know very little about this band, but having been given a strong recommendation to check out this album we were instantly hooked – great sound, cool guitars and committed, authentic vocals. A top notch rock record.

#11

#11 Sexwitch – Sexwitch

Is it a one-off collaboration or something bigger? Sexwitch (Natasha Khan, Dan Carey and Toy) takes you on some hypnotic ride. Expectations are always high when Natasha/Bat for Lashes is involved and this did not disappoint.

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Thanks for reading, next up will be #10 – #6.

New Music: Thyla & Keiandra

Some new tunes that have caught our attention this weekend.

Thyla – Us And Them

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I started writing something about a post-rock vibe, layers of shoegaze vocals and driving bass, but got kinda lost. Simply put, if you like your guitars loud with a shimmering vocal you will love this tune.

This is our first encounter with Brighton based Thyla and if the quality remains this high we cannot wait to see what comes next. Brighton show coming up on 7th December

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Keiandra – Wanted

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Newcastle based Keiandra melds the beautiful melancholy of Daughter with the erm, beautiful melancholy of Liza Anne, to produce something rather lovely. There is plenty going on in this slowly evolving, multi-textured work to keep you interested – a very promising debut.

 

Iceland Airwaves ’15 #1 – W€$€N

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This blog was inspired by our first ever trip to Airwaves in 2011, and we are just back from our 3rd stay in Iceland.

Iceland Airwaves is a festival that has never disappointed. Reykjavik is a great city and the festival does an amazing job of keeping everything fresh – I think this time out we must have been to at least 7 or 8 venues that we’d not been to before. Of course any festival stands on the strength of its music and Airwaves has the trump card of the top quality Icelandic music scene. There really are a host of excellent bands from both the city and beyond, and it is these bands that bring us back again and again. Don’t get us wrong, the festival does an excellent job of mixing and matching bands and artists, but for us it is the chance to see the Icelandic musicians that is key.

Over the next few posts we will bring you some of the highlights from our week in Reykjavik.

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WESEN were a band that were off our radar until late in the festival, in fact a stumbling upon them was a fine example of what makes Airwaves so great! We’d been to see Oyama (they will come up again in future blog posts) play earlier in the day and got chatting to Julia from the band, she told us about her other band/project, so we found ourselves tipping up at Hurra with no idea what to expect.

WESEN are a duo, with Julia leading on vocals and keyboards and Loji providing the beats, vocals and dance moves. Their music is based around dream-like vocals over sparse beats, however these aren’t straight-forward ambient exercises, tracks like Virgin Eyes and The Low Road are cool pop-songs with hooks and catchy choruses, just played a little slower than normal!

There are currently only three tracks on WESEN’s Soundcloud, but there were plenty more songs in the live set – a band to keep an eye on for sure.

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New Videos: Stranger Cat, Co-Pilgrim & Charlotte Carpenter

Stranger Cat – Red

Stranger Cat have just put out a video for Red from their debut LP In The Wilderness. The PR stuff refers to Twin Peaks, but as I’ve never seen the show my points of reference are Punch & Judy, The Prisoner and The Wicker Man. Basically weirdness, magic and ruined mascara happen when someone invites themselves into a house. Nicely observed video for a cool track that fuses synths and vocal loops to hypnotic effect .

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Co-Pilgrim – You Come Over, You Go 

The prolific Co-Pilgrim are back with a new album Slows to Go, their third in three years. Most importantly the quality of Co-Pilgrim’s output remains high and on this track, You Come Over, You Go the band successfully fuse Americana with a more jangly late 80s guitar pop. The harmonies melt into each other and the whole thing bounces along at a jaunty pace – the sound of a confident band on a sure footing – which is what the video shows you. Understated, clever and satisfying pop music.

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Charlotte Carpenter – Wasted

We are back in the forest for Charlotte Carpenter‘s video for Wasted. We’ve talked about how much we like this track previously and the video does a good job of adding further intensity to the song, with a narrative that reminded me a little of Stephen King’s Misery. It’s a quality tune and the video adds to the overall experience.

New Videos: The Self Help Group & Matthew the Oxx

A couple of new videos from ‘local people’, Brighton’s The Self Help Group and Lewes based Matthew the Oxx.

The Self Help Group – Luigi’s Waltz

The Self Help Group release second album, Dead Stars on 6th November (Union Music Store). First single Luigi’s Waltz contains the bands signature three part harmonies, but sonically this track and the rest of the LP contain a little more grit and rough edges – all the better in our opinion.

The video is an apocalyptic vision of a future where bearded men lay around in cornfields all day. Thankfully mother nature comes to the rescue, puts the frighteners on them and the world back in order. I think.

Matthew the Oxx – I Am A Crow

I Am A Crow is from Matthew’s album First Aid For The Drowning (Wild Sounds). A dark, intricate work from ‘the Oxx’. The video also includes some laying down, but also grown men drinking out of puddles. I literally have no idea what is going on, but that certainly doesn’t mean I don’t like it!

Robin Elliott – Green Ginger Wine EP

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Robin Elliott released his 2nd EP, Green Ginger Wine on the 14th September via Folkroom Records. An EP described by its creator as, ““Folk-pop meets financial crises whilst aged alcoholic perverts stumble across the enactment of terrible events enshrouded in suburban woodland.”
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Intrigued by both the music and this description (& the outfit), we caught up with Robin; 
Robin, on the opening track of your new ‘Green Ginger Wine EP’ you claim ‘Lean Times’ are on there way – are they not already here?

It depends how long your memory is. If all you know is how things are now, how do you know what you’re missing?
And anyway, in the future might not people look back and marvel at the paunch and heft of our times, at the comparatively jocular ruddy-facedness of it all?

One of the things I remember finding striking about the 2008 crash is that it was being reported before it took effect. Everyone knew all this stuff was going to happen, but knew nonetheless that nothing could be done to avert it.
Later I came to accept the belief that crashes of that kind are an inevitable product of the way that that system is operated, and that’s the idea which is the germ of the song.

I found this circularity of disastrous consequences, caused by a system rigged to favour self-interest, spoke to me about human nature (human nature as it stands; I remain an optimist…).
So, I think that, if lean times are already here, it doesn’t mean they aren’t also on their way.

If this idea of a cycle of economic/other disasters is true (and continues to be true), then it’s obvious that the consequences for humanity/the planet in general will be terrible. However, it will mean that I got everything right in my song, and that’s a big plus for me.

It is fair to say you have a ‘velvety’ voice – when asked to describe your vocal style, what do you tell people?

I’m actually singing in a lower range than it sounds like I am. I don’t really understand how that works, but it’s true.

I’ve been told before that it sounds like I’m singing in a Jamaican accent, which I find mortifying. There’s nothing wrong with a Jamaican accent but there’d be something very wrong with me putting one on to sing in. I’m from Merseyside.

If I’m feeling like I can tolerate hyperbole I say I’ve got a voice like brushed smoke. I fluked it, though. That’s the thing about a singing voice, you can’t really take all the credit for it.

You are the only songwriter we can recall, on ‘Gentle Chunks’, singing about vomiting. Is there a ‘canon’ of famous ‘sick’ songs we’ve missed, or is this genre defying? What’s the story behind this particular song – is it ginger wine related?

I wrote Chunks in the aftermath of a reasonably debauched house party. I think I’d been sick and then carried on drinking.
I liked the idea of something revolting actually being a kindness, an in-fact-benign message suggesting that perhaps you ought to stop doing that now. So, again, the party becomes a Big Metaphor for how we’re all doomed. I think at one point I toyed with calling it Fin de Siecle. I was young.
I’m usually more fun than I’m making myself sound.

A cannon of sick? Were you at the party?

You do realise that I’m now going to have to spend my evening thinking up vomit-based puns on famous song titles.

What are your 3 x favourite records? Can you see their influence within the new EP?

The three records with the most audible influence on Green Ginger Wine are probably Five Leaves Left, Songs of Leonard Cohen and the Manchester Free Trade Hall Dylan bootleg. My song Shapeshifter is particularly Nick Drake-y, although my guitar skills are vastly inferior.

However, as I’m sure everyone says, there’s a lot of other stuff mixed in: bits of jazz and blues, Kid A, Nirvana and 90s American alt-rock, Randy Newman, Sam Cooke, The Beatles, Nick Cave’s Your Funeral My Trial…

This is probably one of those situations though where I think all that stuff’s in there but a good listener will put the record on and think “no mate, you’re deluded; it’s Drake/Cohen/Dylan.”

When it comes to Ginger Wine, is Stone’s the pinnacle?

Absolutely. Crabbie’s can do one.

Now you’ve been living with the tracks on the EP for a while, what is your favourite and why?

It’s difficult, I don’t really do favourites. I’m sorry. I don’t really understand how it works.

Read the full post »

Charlotte Carpenter – Wasted

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When Charlotte Carpenter played our home-town of Brighton at the end of 2014, the intense authenticity of the performance, coupled with plenty of good songs, left us enthralled and eagerly waiting for more.

The raw electric sounds of the two EPs to date, Whole and Take It All stand up well to repeat listening. Musically they are stripped back affairs, Charlotte and her guitar hooking you in, but stopping short of sharing the full secret. ‘If I Could’ is a prime example of CC leaving the listener begging to know more!

Last week saw the release of new track ‘Wasted’, from the upcoming Fault Line EP, and from the off you can tell Read the full post »

Liza Anne – Ocean (live performance)

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We make no excuses for our continued admiration of the musical output from Liza Anne. The sophomore album Two, continues to impress with its rich emotional depth and haunting musicianship.

Liza has just released this solo, stripped down, piano version of album track “Ocean” recorded at The Chapel Studios in Nashville, TN.

If this is your bag then we strongly recommend you track down Two and its predecessor, The Colder Months.

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