Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Evening's Empire - Tracks of the Year

So, there goes 2013. I hope that you all had a great year, and if not, fuck it, it's gone now so we can head into 2014 with the same optimism which we start every year with (before inevitably letting the inner Brit in us take hold once more to heap a healthy dose of cynicism into day-to-day life).

2013 for me has been a year which has seen me getting more involved in music blogging and the industry in general. This has meant that - not only have I had less sleep this year than any other in living memory - but I've also had the immeasurable privilege of being exposed to more music than I can rightfully consume. The below are some of the stand out tracks from the past twelve months..... I hope you find something new to love:

30. Dan Casey - Empty City

29. Fyfe – Solace

28. Everything Everthing – Undrowned

27. Denai Moore – Gone

26. Dan Croll - Compliment My Soul  
25. Seasfire – Falling  
24. Caitlin Rose – Old Number  
23. Story Books – Simple Kids

22. Rhodes – Raise Your Love

21. Marika Hackman – Cinnamon  
20. Mononoke – Alice  
19. Farewell JR – Night Wolves  
18. Okkervil River – It Was My Season  
17. Fossil Collective – Let It Go  
16. The Superman Revenge Squad – Lately I’ve Found Myself Regressing  
15. The National - Sea Of Love

14. Phosphorescent - Song For Zula  
13. London Grammar – Strong  
12. Frank Turner - Plain Sailing Weather  
11. Keaton Henson - Lying To You  
10. Frightened Rabbit – The Woodpile  
9. Laura Marling – Once  
8. Night Beds – Tenn

7. MONEY - Hold Me Forever  
6. Chvrches - Mother We Share  
5. Nathaniel Rateliff - Don't Get Too Close  
4. Volcano Choir – Byegone  
3. Daughter – Youth  
2. Phoria – Red  
1. Sivu - Better Man Than He 
My undisputed TOTY. I first heard 'Better Man Than He' back in January on the John Kennedy XFM show, and 11 months later it's still on heavy rotation. The hugely talented Sivu released several EP's across the year which showcased his unbelievable songwriting talent and left-field pop styings. With a full-length album due for release early in 2014, he's one of the year's most promising artist.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Track of the Day: Paul Thomas Saunders - Good Women

'Good Women' marks Paul Thomas Saunders' first steps into the big leagues.

Following two self-released EPs in 2011 and 2012, both of which were recorded in a cottage in the grounds of a stately home, he has now landed a record contract with Atlantic Records.

Having taken some time away from the spotlight to write his full length debut, (though still managing to go on tour with Julia Stone, Bombay Bicycle Club and Frightened Rabbit) Paul has now returned with his Beautiful Desolation LP due for release in the Spring. 'Good Women' is the lead single and states the young songwriters and intentions going forward.

It's a hell of a statement; fusing beautiful, atmospheric pop, jangling synths and downbeat lyrics. His vocal line really soars with a young optimism, yet a touch of vulnerability. If you like your pop, intelligently written, but still full of melodic hooks, then this may well be one to keep an eye on.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The UK Blog Sound Of 2014 - Long List Revealed

The Concept

The idea of the UK Blog Sound Poll first started back in 2011. The idea wasn't to criticise the BBC poll (this year's was released yesterday), but simply a chance to offer an alternative, and to give some much deserved emerging talent some extra publicity.

Previous lists have shown the A&R talents of its contributors, with the 2011 list contained some interesting alternatives to the BBC list, including Mercury Prize winners Alt-J and Bastille who have found huge commercial success in the UK in 2013. The 2012 list was more similar to the BBC list with Haim being the runaway winners, followed closely by Chvrches.

This Year

2014's poll is the biggest yet with 59 blogs each nominating their 3 favourite emerging artists (blog list at the bottom of the page). All bloggers are based in the UK, though the choices of music can come from around the world -it's worth noting that this year however, 15 of the 16 artists are British.

The Longlist

Here are the 16 bands which made the long list. I'm really happy that two of my choices have made the cut (the wonderful Sivu and Marika Hackman). The winning act and close runners up will be revealed on the 2nd of January in a short list of three. 

Why not give some of the below a listen and find your new favorite band....

Sultry electronic music with a hint of soul from Los Angeles - the only non-UK act on the list.

Cinematic and vast indie rock from Manchester

Singer songwriter with a bluesy voice

Dark and fiery indie rock band

Genre hopping sister duo from Cornwall

Raw d-i-y indie rock two piece from Glasgow

Edgy sweetly melodic pop duo from Brighton

Endearing East London singer who sits somewhere between pop, indie and folk

Previously known as Wall, creator of delicate, brooding, intimate pop

Singer songwriter with haunting folk references

Dreamy sounding band that combine electronics, acoustic music and ambient atmospherics with near operatic vocals.

Brighton duo that play gritty lo-fi rock with attitude

Stripped back acoustic singer songwriter

Idiosyncratic singer songwriter

Calm, atmospheric folk musician

Edgy rock band who take references from grunge and indie.

Let me know what you think of the list, and please use the hashtag #blogsound2014 so we can get a real communal discussion going.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Track of the Day: Cloud - Cars & It's Autumn

'It's funny how, I'm happy now I'm singing bout my sadness' utters an emotive Taormina, but with more than a hint of wry irony upon his tongue.

Cars & It's Autumn is the second single taken from NY (via Boston and LA) outfit, Cloud's, incredible LP released back in August on the cult label, Audio Antihero: Specialists in Commercial Suicide. Earning plaudits from the likes of Pitchfork ('astoundingly accomplished') and DiS ('such a rewarding listen') it was a record characterised by off-beat pop sensibilities, nostalgia driven lyrics and ambitious soundscapes.

When I first listened to the album, I too was truly blown away - but amongst the album's many highlights, Cars & It's Autumn stood as one of it's finest moments. A down-tempo and discordant opening passage, thriving on a story of regret and despair, bursts to life at the narrator's realisation, 'It's funny how, I'm happy now I'm singing bout my sadness'. From this moment on, it feels as though the worst is behind us, and the shoots of a better tomorrow are starting to grow.

This commences a beautiful piano sequence, spanning three and a half minutes, which layers with vocal howls, off-kilter percusion and regal brass. It's simply stunning.

At just 21, the shoots of a better tomorrow for Cloud are plain to see for anyone who's had the privilege of being exposed to their music.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Track of the Day: Mononoke - Alice

I've been crazily busy of late and haven't posted anywhere near as much as I'd like. You know what I put it down to? Life admin...... never-ending life admin... Regardless of that, the amount of incredible music which I've had the pleasure of listening to recently hasn't diminished; so here is one which has been blowing my mind for the past few days.

British singer/songwriter, Mononoke is a mysterious musician with very little online presence; however, in 'Alice' she's created something incredibly special. Her intelligent lyrics and quirky, off-beat pop reminds me of contemporaries such as Tori Amos, alongside the current pop-R&B sensibilities of Lana Del Ray and London Grammar.

With a debut EP out next year she's definitely one to keep an eye on in 2014. If she's able to write music of this quality, this won't be the last we hear from her.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Track of the Day: Marika Hackman - Cinnamon

There's something special about Marika Hackman; an untouchable, unattainable quality that this spectral songwriter embodies. She fills a gap in modern folk music which I didn't even realise needed to be filled until the first time I heard her mini album, 'That Iron Taste'. Where the trend was to write rousing, foot-stomping folk anthems, she opted for a rawer, darker sound.

Today Marika Hackman announced the release of her new EP, 'Sugar Blind' out on 9th December on Dirty Hit Records. To give us a taste of what we should be expecting she's also released the lead single, 'Cinnamon', a startlingly beautiful and melancholic song which talks of 'the dumbing down of humanity'.

With work on a full length album underway in the winter, it won't be long before we see this young prodigious-talent reaching the heights which it deserves.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Track of the Day: Roo Panes - Home from Home

Today's Track of the Day, 'Home from Home', comes courtesy of one of my favourite new musical discoveries this year, Roo PanesWith two EP's (Once and Weight of Your World) already under his belt in 2012, this young singer-songwriter has been gaining momentum for his deep, crooning vocals, and luscious folk melodies. 

Roo Panes has today release the new video for his incredible new track 'Home from Home', which features on his upcoming EP, 'Land of the Living', out on December 2nd.

It's a beautiful song, paired with a really heartwarming video - I hope you love it as much as I do.

'In you I found my home from home'

Friday, 4 October 2013

Track of the Day: Jake Isaac - Long Road

Today's Track of the Day is courtesy of the exceptional new single from Jake Isaac, taken from his upcoming EP, 'Back To You', which is due out on the end of October.

Combining thundering percussion and gorgeous smokey vocals, 'Long Road' is a driving pop track with a twist. This young artist is showing considerable promise early in his career, and he demonstrates a considerable gift for lush pop hooks, mixed with rich, layered production.

There's not much information currently available on this exciting talent, but keep an eye out for his upcoming EP; and if he can continue to write tracks of this quality, he'll be taking the step into the spotlight in no time.... and in the mean time, just enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Track of the Day: Nathaniel Rateliff - Still Trying

Nathaniel Rateliff
It is with great pleasure that I can announce that today's TOTD is a brand new single from none other than Nathaniel Rateliff. 'Still Trying' is an early taster of what we can expect to feature on his full length LP Falling Faster Than You Can Run, due for release on November 26th on Mod y Vi Records/Thirty Tigers. It certainly does not disappoint, being built around delicate guitar, passionate, rich vocals and thumping percussion.

This is the first new material which the Denver-native has put out since his incredible 14-track heartbreaker 'In Memory of Loss' was released (to great acclaim) in 2010. Based on this single it looks as though the astonishing quality of his debut is due to be reached once more.

Rateliff has stated that Falling Faster Than You Can Run, 'came about over a couple years of touring. I was coming from a place on intense isolation. Despite the fact that I was always around other people I always felt a true sense of loneliness' - and it is within this sadness and loss that the folk, soul troubadour has always excelled.

Listen to 'Still Trying' below.

1. Still Trying
2. I Am
3. Don’t Get Too Close
4. Laborman
5. How To Win
6. Nothing To Show For
7. Right On
8. Three Fingers In
9. Forgetting Is Believing
10. When Do You See
11.Falling Faster Than You Can Run

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Track of the Day: Sivu - Over & Over

Track Premiere - Sivu, 'Over and Over'

So far this year Sivu has been responsible for a number of the finest singles to come out of the UK, and he's just done it again with the beautifully, delicate new single 'Over & Over'.

Rising to prominence back in January with his anthemic debut, 'Better Man Than He', he received almost half a million hits, and gained substantial radio support from the likes of Huw Stephens and John Kennedy. His follow up, 'Bodies', was an interesting change of place, illustrating the same quirky indie-pop stylings, along with a developed complexity in rhythms and richer instrumentation.

It seems as thought the 24 year-old Londoner is unable to do anything wrong at the moment, with 'Over & Over' being a truly understated gem. Based around a simple electric guitar part and an echoey bass drum, the young songwriter tackles the complexities of relationships, and how we sometimes staying in them when neither party quite knows why ('we go over and over and over and over, like a old broken computer'). Simply put, it's another beautiful track from one of the most enthralling acts of the year.

You can get a free download of this 'Over & Over' and an additional track called 'Dimmer Down' here

 'we're just waiting for something real, something to help make us feel alive.'

Monday, 19 August 2013

Track of the Day: Wintercoast - The Andes

I first heard of Wintercoast way back in 2011. I was working in Vancouver as a music promoter for a small, indie music label, and through hours of listening to some fairly sub-par local music (though there is an abundance of really great local music there too), I stumbled upon Wintercoast's debut EP Trees, Homes & Better Places. To put it I was frankly, I was blown away. Their indie-folk style was lusciously built around the quirky vocal interplay between Sylvie and Andrei, and for that they built a devoted local fanbase.

Following two years of near musical silence, the band have returned. Though their numbers are depleted (they now operate as a three-piece), their sound has evolved and grown dramatically. Whereas before their was a Slow Club-esque folky, innocence about the band, they appear to have done considerable growing up and growing darker over their hibernation.

With a full album on the way in the coming months, The Andes is a mission statement of the new direction which the band are taking. I, for one, much like two years earlier, am blown away.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Track of the Day: Frightened Rabbit - Default Blues

What a truly incredible year Frightened Rabbit are having... 

The Selkirk quintet released their fourth album 'Pedestrian Verse' earlier this year; justifiably earning universal acclaim and impressively peaking at number nine in the UK charts. Since then they've gone on two release two follow up EPs, completed a sold-out Australian tour, and have even earnt themselves upcoming support slots for indie-rock royalty,The National.

Well to top all this off, Hutchinson & co are giving us more musical delight in the form of 'The Woodpile EP'. Due for release September 2nd it's titled after the lead single from 'Pedestrian Verse', and features this track as well as three brand new tracks (see track listings below). Today's TOTD is 'Default Blues', a driving, confident indie rocker, with the intellegence and wit which we've come to expect.

Speaking about the new release, singer Scott Hutchinson says – “The Woodpile is about that night you felt utterly out of place, alone, awkward and cornered. All any of us want in those instances is for someone we care about to come and take us away from it all. It's escapist, but also claustrophobic in places. I like the idea of contrasting a big, confident piece of music with lyrics that express uncertainty and vulnerability. 

1) The Woodpile
2) Default Blues
3) Radio Silence
4) Candlelit

Monday, 5 August 2013

Track of the Day: The Mountain Goats - The Mess Inside

Today is an important day. Twelve years after the release of The Mountain Goats' seminal album, 'All Hail West Texas', Merge Records have releasing a remastered version; cleaned up (though not too much. I'd hate it to lose the old girl's signature hiss) and version on vinyl.

In honor of such a momentous occasion my track of the day is it's standout track 'The Mess Inside'. This beautiful anti-love song details a couple who are trying to fix a relationship which is beyond repair. Despite it's archaic recording style and simple instrumentation it is one of the most heart breaking songs in modern music, with each of it's four verses delivering another cruel blow to the future of its characters.

''But you cannot run, and you cannot hide, from the wreck we've made of our house,and from the mess inside.

'We took a weekend, drove to Provo.
the snow was white and fluffy.
but a weekend in Utah won't fix what's wrong with us.
the gray sky was vast and real cryptic above me.
i wanted you to love me like you used to do.

We took two weeks in the Bahamas.
went out dancing every night.
tried to fight the creeping sense of dread with temporal things.
most of the time i guess i felt alright.
but i wanted you to love me like you used to do.

But you cannot run
and you cannot hide,
from the wreck we've made of our house,
and from the mess inside.

We went down to New Orleans
one weekend in the Spring.
looked hard for what we'd lost.
it was painful to admit it, but we couldn't find a thing.
i wanted you to love me like you used to do.

We went to New York city in September.
took the train out of Manhattan to the grand army stop.
found that bench we'd sat together on a thousand years ago
when i felt such love for you i thought my heart was gonna pop.
i wanted you to love me like you used to do.

But i cannot run.
and i can't hide.
from the wreck we've made of our house.
from the mess inside.'

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Track of the Day: Matthew and the Atlas - Everything That Dies

Today's TOTD comes courtesy of Aldershot-based folkster Matthew Hegarty, aka Matthew and the Atlas. Featuring his signature gorgeous, smokey vocals, the track has an ambient-pop feel to it's back beat, with a resonating base-line and crawling percussion; alongside this sit the more traditional harmonies which he's made a staple over his career.

Following numerous EP's to date, Matthew recently posted on his Facebook that he'd 'Finished recording the album and now busy mixing it', so fans will be happy that the long wait for a debut album look to be drawing to a close. If the rest of it's as good as this then it looks to have been worth it....

Saturday, 13 July 2013

My 2013 in Music..... Thus Far (Part One)

When the 11th hour of 2013 approaches, I know where I'll be; sat, happy in the wake of the festive period, but preparing to draft up the annual, self-absorbed 'end of year list'. With the previous January feeling like several lifetimes ago, I normally struggle with the same question - 'What have I been listening to this year?'. As a help to my future self, and in an attempy to pass on a few of the tracks which have been soundtracking my year, this is My 2013 in Music..... Thus Far:

1. Phoria - Red
With the release of 'Red' in March the blogosphere exploded. Hitting number 2 on the Hype Machine, and receiving rave reviews from Noisey, DIY, Clash and everything in between, the track gained both national airplay and over 100,000 Soundcloud plays in just four weeks. Their EP 'Bloodworks' was released the following month, to rave reviews; and although it was a really great collection of ambient-electronica, this track still stands out as one of the finest of the year.

2. Volcano Choir - Byegone
Justin Vernon is a truly special man. His work as Bon Iver will always hold a special place in the deepest pits of my heart - and regardless of the clich├ęs which go with it 'For Emma..' holds its place in my top 10 all time albums. When I watched his new/old project Volcano Choir's new album release video and heard this track soundtracking it I was blown away. Rousing, intricate musicianship and his usual beautiful but ambiguous lyrics. Roll on the new album on September 3rd.

3. Okkervil River - It Was Our Season
Yet another excellent band gracing us with an album in September 2013, ensuring that the latter half of the year does not dissapoint. I absolutely adore Okkervil River, and the fact that they're not better known by music lovers or lavished with the wealth of both accolaides and money which they deserve, is one of music's many injustices. Here we see Will Sheff return to the piano and craft a song about the all-encompasing, emothional rollercoaster that is childhood love. It's incredibly witty and emotive in all the right places, showing great promise for the upcoming 'The Silver Gymnasium' LP.


4. Night Beds - Tenn
Nashville-based Night Beds, led by the vocal and songwriting talents of Winston Yellen, released 'Country Sleep', and album detailing the lows and even-deeper lows of their frontman's struggles with love and addiction. To put it in simple terms, it is absolutely incredible. With airs of Ryan Adams' 'Heartbreaker', the country-dowsed closer 'Tenn' is luciously downbeat with Yellen dropping lyrics like 'sorrow stole my youth/ what's left I'll give to you' with effortless skill.

5. Seasfire - Falling
I first heard this track on John Kennedy's XFM Xposure show, and was absolutely blown away by their luciously laidback, dreamy sound. The four-piece are based in Bristol and their spacious, lo-fi sound is definitely reminicent of city-mates, Massive Attack. With their EP 'We Will Wake' released to widespread acclaim, they are band of huge promise, who's debut album I'll be awaiting with baited breath.


Sunday, 30 June 2013

Track of the Day: Noah Gundersen - Family

One of my most recent obsessions is of the non-musical variety, and comes in the form of FX show Sons of Anarchy. Not only has this programme given me many tense moments worrying for the fate of my favorite California biker gang, but also many incredible musical moments. My love of intelligent, down-trodden indie-folk songs over a backdrops of brutal shootouts and infidelity has led me to many nights of sleep deprivation, enjoying the never-ending trials and tribulations on the 'Sons'.

The latest and greatest of these spellbinding discoveries is Washington States' Noah Gundersen. His beautiful track, 'Family', featured prominently in the final moments of season four's 'With an X'; and I was blown away by it's rich melody and dark subject matter. Noah himself described it as "pay[ing] homage to the people who have shaped his life." "Family comes in many forms.... It lives with us, for better and for worse. It shapes us."

Enjoy the song like it should be: turn of any distractions, dim the lights, press 'play' and read the lyrics as you go.

Say something awful
As if fucking the world is your right
And i watch you stumble
Drunk out into the night
To cat call ladies
You're thirsty for blood, you're picking a fight
And i wanted to ask you
Man, what do you do in the daylight

So bum me a cigarette, buy me a beer
Till i'm happy to be here, happy to be here
With all of my family, hookers in heels
And the men who watch them like hungry black eels

Run into me sunday
Tell me you had one hell of a time
And through the haze and the gun smoke, i'm forced to believe
You're probably right
Someone lies bleeding
Someone got violent and did not think twice
And i watched you my brother, making a fool of the moon tonight

So bum me a cigarette, buy me a beer
Till i'm happy to be here, happy to be here
With all of my family, hookers in heels
And the men who watch them like hungry black eels

Am I just a spark....

Monday, 20 May 2013

Track of the Day: Denai Moore - Gone

Today's TOTD is courtesy of 19 year old London-based songstress, Denai Moore.

Though this young artist has only been writing music for two years she has a natural, raw quality which makes for compelling listening. On 'Gone' she shows hints of Bon Iver and James Blake, in this luscious piano ballad. Rich, detailed vocals, paired with emotive lyrics and a simple piano melody create three and a half minutes of pure beauty.

Having released an EP called 'Saudade' earlier this year, she is already gaining supporters in high places, earning the praise of contemporaries such as Plan B and Tom Odell; as well as upcoming support for Iron & Wine on their summer tour (see below). At such a young age she's very much one to keep an eye out for in the future, though she's already looking on the verge of big things now.

23rd May - Electric Ballroom, London - supporting Tom Odell
30th May - Opera House, Manchester - supporting Iron & Wine
31st May - The Barbican, London - supporting Iron & Wine
1st June - Cigale, Paris - supporting Iron & Wine
17th August - Green Man Festival, Wales

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Track of the Day: The 1975 - Haunt // Bed

The 1975 have today released the stream of their second single 'Haunt // Bed', from the band's upcoming EP IV, which is coming out through Dirty Hit (Polydoor in the UK) on May 20th.
After slowly building upon the success of their previous EPs Facedown, Sex, and Music For Cars, The 1975 became a household name with the staggering success of their single 'Chocolate' (taken from the latter), which received widespread airplay, topping at number 19 in the UK charts.
On 'Haunt // Bed' the band have taken on a more reserved, lo-fi sound; coupling pop melodies with glistening production. Healy's vocals are hidden deeper within the mix - used like a more conventional instrument - layered behind a wall of electronic harmonies and a spattering of rhymic beats, making this the perfect stripped back pop song. 
With the band’s May UK tour already sold out (including landmark shows at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire and Manchester’s The Ritz) it's looking like 2013 is going to be a huge year for the Manchester four-piece.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Track of the Day: MT WARNING - Forward Miles

It's been a long and sunny bank holiday weekend, and one which has seen me soaking up copious amounts of vitamin D, cider, and MT WARNING.

The Australian outfit have very little presence online as of yet, however, their one online imprint, their music, more than makes up for it. 'Forward Miles' is a fuzzy and atmospheric, gorgeously building through its verse before exploding to life in its driving chorus. Having been chosen this week as Zane Lowe's 'Next Hype' track, we can expect to hear plenty more from this song and this band. I for one can't wait.

'I'm gonna live in a postcard,I'm gonna live in the sky.'

Monday, 22 April 2013

Track of the Day: Frank Turner - The Way I Tend To Be

Today is a very exciting day for me, it's album release day for my favourite artist, Frank Turner. Whether not you like this specific artist, I'm sure you can echo the excitment in the sentiment of favourite artist release day.

The album entitled Tape Deck Heart is the 31-year old, Bahrain-born singer-songwriter's fifth record to date, and has been summarised by the man himself as 'somewhat of a breakup album'. Based upon what we've heard so far from this record, we can expect the same honest and direct lyrical style, but perhaps a greater level of maturity and self-reflection with this being his first record in nearly two years. Lead single 'Recovery' has been receiving widespread airplay in the UK, and is a song detailing Turner's reflection upon his increasing dependence on his vices and his struggle to maintain a grounded lifestyle.

My choice for TOTD for today is 'The Way I Tend To Be'. This deeply honest song details the breakdown of a relationship, and his partner's infidelity. As well as this, it's also the title for the mini-documentary on Turner's career to date which aired earlier this month; watch it here.

'You stood apart in my calloused heart, and you taught me and here's what I learnt: that love is about the changes you make and not just three small words.'

Monday, 15 April 2013

Track of the Day: The Belle Game - River

Today's Track of the Day is courtest of Vancouver five-piece, The Belle Game. The orchestral, chamber pop sounds of their previous EP's have subsidded on this track, in favor of a darker, grungier, indie vibe; reminiscent of Yeah Yeah Yeahs or PJ Harvey.

Having toured with The Zolas and Hey Ocean late last year, the band increased their already fast-growing fan base with a well received slot at everyone's favourite musical supernova, South By Southwest. Having signed to Boompa Records (Woodpigeon, The Salteens) in 2012, the band planned to release their debut record late that year, however, this was delayed to allow time for a partnership with indie powerhouse Bella Union, who would be jointly releasing the album internationally.

The Belle Game's debut album 'Ritual Tradition Habit' will be out tomorrow (April 16th). Listen to the fantastic lead single 'River' below.

'There's a place that I've found,
Full of sins that you've drowned,
I've been your river,
I've been your river since we were kids
There's a rhyme and a case,
For the things you've misplaced
I've been a giver,
I've been a giver since we were kids
Take a little more,
Take a little more, take a little more from me
Do you feel me at your side?
I've been filled with all you've denied,
Even a sliver of your cry,
Could make a river against my pride,
Take a little more,
Take a little more, take a little more from me'

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Review | Annie Dressner - East Twenties

There is a conversational ease to Annie Dressner's new EP East Twenties which makes for truly compelling listening.

The young singer-songwriter moved to the UK from New York last year, and it seems that she's carried more than her share of baggage over with her. On her 2011 debut EP, Strangers Who Knew Each Other's Names, she opted for a downtrodden, personal tone, and she continues these themes on East Twenties, featuring a deeply personal collection of stories of love and loss. However, in the years which have passed between these efforts she has evidently matured, covering these same issues with increased context and composure.

'Heartbreaker' kicks off the record, re-calling the nostalgia-rich tale of her relationship with an ex. The events are described in incredible detail - from experimenting with alcohol, family dinners, and the breakdown of their relationship ('you took my love and tore me down') - making the characters feel rounded, and giving it a really rich, lived-in feel. On 'I Can't Forget' she takes a reflective look at the loss of a loved-one, hopelessly questioning its occurrence and hypothesizing the effect that this has had on her life. Accompanying her signature singer-picking guitar are the gorgeous sweeping strokes of a cello, adding to this stunning track.

'Flame' is arguably the EP's highlight. The verse's melodic hook sweeps around a playful guitar part, before rising into the song's chorus. Lyrically it's a coming of age story in about losing your innocence and testing the boundaries of what has been set out before you ('I saw all the things I thought were bad, and now I know'). Unfortunately the EP ends on its weakest track, 'Lost In a Car'. On this song the guitar part has a pedestrian tone, and the unambitious tone of the vocal in the verse makes for a rather damp squib of a climax.

In spite of the slight slump on its final track, it remains a very strong and accomplished sophomore EP from Annie Dressner. Her greatest talent is in her beautifully descriptive story-telling and her evocative use of language, and on this record she lays those strengths out in abundance.

If you like what you here below you can buy East Twenties (out April 8th) here

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Track of the Day: Misty Miller - Anything For You

There is something exciting about Misty Miller. In an age where the popular theme of current music is to be 'stripped back', and where lo-fi indie and acoustic music litters both commercial and indie music alike, it's really refreshing to hear a young songstress come along with something as in-your-face, raw and gutsy as 'Anything For You'. 

From the plaudits she's been gaining it's clear that I'm not alone in this view; Zane Lowe made her track 'Girlfriend' his 'Next Hype' record, Steve Lamacq named Misty his 'New Favourite Band' on 6Music, and her cover of The Turtles 'So Happy Together' was chosen by Burberry to open their London Fashion Week.

The fuzzy garage rock gem 'Anything For You' is set for release on Misty Miller's sophomore EP Next To You, due out May 12th on Sony offshoot Relentless. Listen below:

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Track of the Day: Rae Morris - From Above

Today's Track of the Day, 'From Above', comes courtesy of 20 year old Blackpool-based songstress Rae Morris.

Following a hugely successful year touring the UK and Europe, including support slots for Tom Odell, Lianne La Havas, Noah and the Whale and Bombay Bicycle Club, Rae is out on a UK wide headline tour throughout February and March - which draws to its climax with a show at Village Underground in London on March 27th.

This exceptional talent will be releasing her new EP From Above, which is due for release on 22nd April on Atlantic Records, which is available to pre-order from her website.

Rae has just released the video for the EP's title-track which can be seen below. Fusing delicate vocals and stunning piano arrangements it truly is a stunning piece of work, and an exciting sign of things to come.

Friday March 22nd - St. Philips Church, Salford, UK 

Tuesday March 26th - The Marlborough Theatre, Brighton, UK 

Wednesday March 27th - Village Underground, London, UK

Monday, 18 March 2013

Track of the Day: Daughter - Tomorrow

To mark today's release of Daughter's exceptional debut record 'If You Leave', my Track of the Day is the beautiful, yet bleak 'Tomorrow'. An ode to the singers realisation of an impending future without her love by her side.

Daughter, which originated as the solo project of London sing-songwriter Elena Tonra, have been well known in the independent music scene for quite some time. Releasing their debut EP 'His Young Heart' in 2011, they built momentum with 2012's 'The Wild Youth', which garnered huge acclaim with fans and the industry alike. This wave of momentum culminated with their signing to the hugely prestigious UK label 4AD, and it is with this indie music powerhouse's backing that today's full length debut record was released.

'If You Leave' is a truly remarkable record, pairing strong melodies, bleak, affecting lyrics and skilled musicianship. Without doubt this is an early contender for album of the year.