Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The Evening's Empire's Top Tracks of 2014: 50 - 11

2014. *stands back and claps*....what a genuinely incredible year in music this has been; both independent and commercial. There have been so many stunning releases this year; some from artists I would have expected - Ryan Adams' ever growing catalogue of brilliance was extended once more this year with his self-titled album back in September - and some from new acts such as Paul Thomas Saunders & Max Jury who came out of obscurity to become some of my favorite artists of the year.

I have found myself getting more involved in the music industry in 2014 too; starting a new music label called My Little Empire Records. Lots of exciting news on that front will be coming in the next few months. This project has led me further down the rabbit hole into new and emerging music; something which I couldn't have done without the following: Tom Robinson's weekly BBC Introducing podcasts, amazing bloggers such as Goldflakepaint, When the Gramophone Rings & Breaking More Waves, Daisy Digital's ever brilliant weekly mixtapes, as well as any music blogger's trusted sources in Hype Machine Amazing Radio.

It gives me great pleasure to share with you my top 50 tracks of the year. I hope you find something here that you love.

50. Laura Marling - Short Film
49. Scott Matthews - Sunlight
48. Jamie T - Zombie
47. Rhodes - Home
46. Laurel - To The Hills
45. Olympians - Brunch Cannon
44. Beck - Blue Moon
43. Eliza & the Bear - Friends
42. The Travelling Band - Passing Ships
41. Jungle - Busy Earning

40. Ben Khan - Youth
39. Roo Panes - Tiger Striped Sky
38.The Barr Brothers - Even the Darkness Has Arms
37. Colleagues - Tears
36. Our Mother - Lion OX
35. Rae Morris - Closer
34. Lisbon - Native
33. Phox - Slow Motion
32. First Aid Kit - Master Pretender
31.The Sea & I - The Island

30. Billie Marten - Ribbon
29. Tenterhook - Stereo
28. Corbu - We Are Sound
27. Benjamin Shaw - You & Me
26. Bear's Den - Elysium
25. Alt J - Warm Foothills
24. FKA twigs - Two Weeks
23. Barbarisms - Backwards Falconer #2
22. Sun Kil Moon - Micheline
21. Withered Hand - Life of Doubt

20. My Sad Captains - Goodbye
19. George Cosby - Cold
18. The Twilight Sad - Leave the House
17. The Mispers - Shoulder
16. Jacob Douglas - Hellion
15. Marika Hackman - Drown
14. S - Pacific
13. Sophie Jamieson - Stain
12. Dry the River - Gethsemane
11. Slow Club - Everything Is New

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Laura Marling Announces New Album 'Short Movie'

I'm not the kind of blogger to do news items, or to post the instant I hear something new. However, such is my love for Laura Marling's astounding talent that I am here breaking this pact.

Ever since hearing her debut 'Alas, I Cannot Swim' in 2008 I was hooked on her mature and beautiful songwriting style lathered in smokey vocals. Well, 6 years later with a Brit Award win and 3 Mercury nominations she has announced the follow-up to 2013's 'Once I Was an Eagle'.

'Short Movie' will be released on March 23rd via Virgin EMI, and it's title track has been unveiled through an engrossing animated video directed by Art & Graft.

Check out the tracklist and video below, via DIY Mag.

"It's a short fucking movie, man. I know, I won't try to take it slow"

Short Movie:
01 Warrior
02 False Hope
03 I Feel Your Love
04 Walk Alone
05 Strange
06 Don't Let Me Bring You Down
07 Easy
08 Gurdjieff's Daughter
09 Divine
10 How Can I
11 Howl At the Moon
12 Short Movie
13 Worship

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

UK Blog Sound 2015

It's hard to work out whether it's the decreasing quality of my memory (late 20's syndrome as I like to call it) or a genuine reflection of the increasing health of the music scene, but 2014 has been one of the best years of independent and emerging artists I can remember.

Platforms such as Tom Robinson's weekly BBC Introducing podcasts, amazing bloggers such as Goldflakepaint, When the Gramophone Rings & Breaking More Waves, Daisy Digital's ever brilliant weekly mixtapes, as well as any music blogger's trusted sources in Hype Machine & Amazing Radio, have been key touch-points for bringing brilliant up-and-coming music to my attention.

For anyone wanting to start writing a music blog, or just wanting to be able to have a bit of pithy dialogue like this - Person A: "I really like this new band called [insert new hype band name] I just heard on Radio 1, have you ever heard them?" Newly established music aficionado: "Yeah, I listened to their lead single from their debut EP 18 months ago on [insert obscure new music source]" - I'd recommend any and all of the above for broadening your musical horizons.

Being one of these irritants myself it gave me great pleasure to be asked to take part in the UK Blog Sound pole again this year; there's loads of blurb about what this is at the bottom, but the important thing is it showcases UK blogger's favorite emerging artists. Below is the 15 act strong longlist. The winner will be announced on January 2nd.

The Full Blog Sound of 2015 Longlist (In alphabetical order)

All We Are - Liverpool 3 piece who describe their music as 'psychedelic boogie'.

Black Honey - Brighton based indie band formerley known as Kill Moon

Chløë Black - Tags her music as 'goth 'n' soul'

Coasts - Indie rock band from Bristol who have comparisons with Foals

Deers - A band from Spain who first created a stir with some lo-fi demos earlier this year.

Fickle Friends - Danceable indie music from another Brighton based band.

Flyte - Classic old fashioned songwriting with an indie pop twist.

Halfrican - Glasgow based punk rock

Honne - R&B influenced electronics and soul pop.

Låpsley - Solo artist from Liverpool making downtempo electronica with a range of influences.

Prides - Synth pop group from Scotland, who performed at the Commonwealth Games

Shura - Singer songwriter and producer using synths to create a mellow pop sound.

Soak - Singer songwriter from Derry whose real name is Bridie Monds-Watson.

Sophie Jamieson - Singer songwriter who has been compared to Daughter. Was alos on last year's list.

Tei Shi - Describes her music as 'mermaid music'. Make of that what you will!

Descriptions courtesy of Breaking More Waves.

Listen to a full playlist of bands below.

What Is The Blog Sound of 2015?

The Blog Sound of 2015 poll aims to showcase some of the best new emerging artists. However, unlike the ubiquitous BBC Sound of poll, the artists nominated aren’t picked just by industry experts. Instead they’re voted for by music bloggers, a small number of whom may work in the music industry, but the majority of which are just hardcore fans who write their blogs because of their genuine passion for music, normally with no financial incentive to do so.

This poll is not about picking acts who bloggers think will be famous. The bloggers involved are asked to vote for their favourite acts, irrespective of chances of commercial success.

How The Voting Worked

This year the Blog Sound Of 2015 poll canvassed 62 UK music blogs in November 2014, the most ever since its 2011 start. It asked each one to pick its 3 favourite emerging artists and rank them in order of preference. In total 148 artists received at least 1 vote, showing the diversity of bloggers' tastes. The acts scored 3, 2 and 1 points respectively.  The bloggers could choose any artist they wanted, providing the artist had not had a top 40 hit (including as a collaborator on a song) by the time voting started and that they weren’t related to or have any financial interest in any artist they selected. Where 2 artists tied on the same number of points, the artist with the most first place votes was ranked higher.

The 15 most popular acts that form the long list include artists that are on major labels as well as indie and unsigned ones, such as Brighton based indie band Fickle Friends, fuzzy sounding Glasgow punks Halfrican, goth ‘n’ soul singer Chloe Black, recent XL signing Lapsley and singer songwriter Sophie Jamieson, an artist who appears on the list for the second time running having also appeared the previous year.