Southern Sunrise have unveiled the video for new track ‘Brighton’, which is also the title track from their debut EP, out on 1st June. The duo – comprised of York’s Shonagh Macleod and Holland’s Arjan Pieters – bring together their different influences for a song about the quirky seaside town. Macleod sweetly sings, “We’ll dance through the night, dance with those lights, dance though the night ’til we fall apart”, as songwriter Pieters adds some harmonies over the folky guitar, soft drums and tingling xylophone keys.
The video is centred around taking in the sites of Brighton – the beach, pier, the lanes and the dome – as the hushed words about warm pebbles beneath your feet create a homely atmosphere. It’s like a tourism ad for Brighton, they certainly sell the place!
JAN has unveiled the video for her new single ‘Work For The City’, taken from her self-titled debut out on 17th June Via Enclaves Music. JAN is Brooklyn’s Kim Talon, of LA duo Eagle & Talon, and she’s recently recorded her 12-track debut with The Gossip and Blonde Redhead producer John Goodmanson. The track has a feisty nature, not vocally dissimilar to Marina and the Diamonds, though it’s more vamped up with bigger riffs and a smashing beat, which sound a tad Paramore-ish.
The video features JAN in everyday situations like in a bed, brushing her teeth, on the bus – not all at the same time – but they’re made odd by people surrounding and touching her for no apparent reason. Eventually, the end she appears to be getting into a bit of a tizzy about it, too right!
Sheare unveils the video for ‘Somebody Else’, a track that showcases his calming, yet dynamic vocal laid on top of determined riffs and slack drums. “Somebody else watching as it fades, love will carry on being here without you”, emphasises Sheare, real name Brandon Shere.
The 24-year-old from NYC, shot the video in London with M-I-E, a studio which has produced animated videos for Faithless and Regina Spektor. The video is a reminder of the cassette era and shows how much fun it was to unravel the reel, but wasn’t so fun to try to get it back into its plastic casing, with the help of the trusty pencil. The innovative, sad video shows a robot’s tape reel turning into deer, trees and birds before it recoils itself back to its purpose.
Sheare has been working with Mark “Spike” Stent, who has produced and mixed his debut album. Stent has previously worked with Keane, Arcade Fire and Coldplay, and ‘Somebody Else’ does retain a similar character to those bands.
We’ve had the (boring) Brits and tonight will see the NME Awards take place a London’s Troxy. Recognising the more ‘alternative’ artists that have been recognised by the magazine over the last year. Though other categories like, ‘Best TV Show’, ‘Best Twitter’ and ‘Villain Of The Year’ will feature. The awards should be pumped with a substantial dose of carnage and rock ‘n roll. It is expected, after all the award figurine is a hand giving the finger for goodness sake, not a sophisticated gold or dot-covered person on a mount.
Most, if not all the categories are very very close and pretty unpredictable, but here is my verdict on who should triumph in the major categories:
Best British Band
Tough one, but I would love to see The Maccabees get it after the excellence of ‘Given To The Wild’. The Arctics haven’t released anything that recently, Kasabian won last year – remember Tom Meighan’s tribute to The Monkees’ Davy Jones? Could be The Vaccines, but they still need to establish themselves more, like their fellow nominees in this category. So it will probably go to Biffy or The Cribs.
Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg
The Maccabees – Given To The Wild
Alt-J – An Awesome Wave
The Vaccines – Come Of Age
Tame Impala – Lonerism
Again, The Maccabees are high up on my list but the Alt-J album is also very good and pushed boundaries. Jake Bugg is also a big contender, after his number one album, but all six of these records have their reasons for bagging the award.
Best International Band
The Black Keys
The Black Keys will probably win this international category thanks to the ‘Gold on the Ceiling’ airplay on the Cobra Beer ad, the laughs everyone got from the ‘Lonely Boy’ vid and the fact they sold out The 02 last year. Wouldn’t be surprised if The Foos got it. But it definitely shouldn’t go to The Killers, ‘Battle Born’ is not an album that has catapulted them back into the fun days of ‘Mr Brightside’.
Arctic Monkeys – ‘R U Mine?’
Haim – ‘Don’t Save Me’
MIA – ‘Bad Girls’
Foals – ‘Inhaler’
Palma Violets – ‘Best Of Friends’
Tame Impala – ‘Elephant’
Could go to Haim, but they’ll probably get Best New Band after the hype the siblings received in the new for 2013 polls EVERYWHERE. Got to be Foals or Palma Violets, two songs that gave forthcoming music hope and excitement for 2013.
Best Solo Artist
Florence won last year, would love to see Jake Bugg or Miles Kane win this year.
Best New Band
Think it will be Haim, though Alt-J, Peace and Palma Violets could be in with a chance.
Best Live Band
The Rolling Stones
BLUR BLUR BLUR please. But The Rolling Stones are very strong contenders after their reunion gigs and fuelled Glasto rumours. Though could easily go to any other of the nominees including Foals, who are playing the Royal Albert Hall later this year.
Best Dancefloor Anthem
Mosca featuring Katy B – ‘What You Came For’
Calvin Harris and Florence Welch – ‘Sweet Nothing’
Psy – ‘Gangnam Style’
MIA – ‘Bad Girls’
Kanye West/Jay-Z – ‘Paris’
Solange – ‘Losing You’
Kanye West/Jay-Z are popular right now and responsible for the lovely phrase ‘That shit cray’ that was the supposedly ‘hip’ thing to come out around the time of the release. Some still use it now. Obvs ‘Gangnam Style’ was a big hit. Look out for Harlem Shake up here on next year’s list…
The Brit Awards is an event twinned with controversy. There’s always something that flags up a bit of a debate, whether that be the random host choices, who smile through their own un-funny humour, or an unwelcome guest on stage. But last night didn’t really give us anything to be talking about today. It felt waaaay to safe with a bunch of ever-predictable winners, I’m looking at you Emile and Coldplay, apart from Ben Howard’s double victory.
Last year we had the ‘Adele-gate’ middle finger affair as she was cut off mid speech. We were promised something ‘special’ to make up for it yesterday, but she just had little subtle ‘dig’ at organisers. Nothing major. She wasn’t even there, posting a video speech from LA. At least nothing went wrong with that. Don’t worry Adele, they won’t be cutting you off again in a hurry (well, actually I can’t promise anything).
There were no mahoossive slip-ups last night (apart from on the ITV2 aftershow as Taylor Swift’s performance was soundtracked with Muse’s performance and not her own). On the subject of the aftershow show, Rizzle Kicks should really just stick to the music, not co-presenting. But after the ceremony it was strangely refreshing to get rid of the controlled atmosphere and see a bit of fun/a mess.
The only things to rouse anything along the lines of an interesting conversation this morning include Alt-J’s accidental Glastonbury confirmation in front of the entire 02 and EVERYONE else at home. But that’s not even going to interest the majority of those sitting at home. Also, how could I forget JT’s mighty performance? Dream to the Boat. Elsewhere, outfit choices were mostly amazing. Jessie Ware (who should have gone home with one of the dotty figurines) looked great, as did Aluna Francis of AlunaGeorge and Taylor Swift in presenting mode.
On the subject of young Swift, she certainly showed Harry Styles what he was missing. Going from innocent Taylor in a wedding dress to bad Taylor, possessed in a cheeky playsuit in the space of a stripping second. It was all a bit confusing with the dubstep flurry too. As for Harry’s ‘famous’ hair, some stylist must’ve just wanted to blowdry his hair all day to create that bouffant.
Maybe a sober and uncontroversial ceremony is the new ‘in’ thing. But it’s boring. The Brits always bring a smattering of ‘alternative’ artist nominations, like Alt-J, The XX, Richard Hawley and Jessie Ware getting a nod or two, but it’s time these kinds of artists started winning (Mumford and Sons don’t count). Something needs to be done. The eradication of the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Music’ award was also a little unnerving. Have they really run out of ‘mainstream’ acts to give it to? Well, open the musical horizon a bit more. They need to bring the award back to round off the night in a BIG and UNFORGETTABLE way.
Here’s to the Brits 2014 and here’s to something with a bit more drama and frenzy. If only they streamed the after parties…
James Blake is back! He’s back properly after his new single ‘Retrograde’ from his second album ‘Overgrown’, due out on April 8th, was showcased on Zane Lowe’s Radio One show last week. ‘Properly’ describes his return because he has popped up a few times over the last year or so to collaborate with Bon Iver and put out his EP ‘Enough Thunder’.
‘Retrograde’ is pretty dazzling complete with Blake’s trademark echoes and hushed hums, it transmits chills through to your core. Well maybe not that penetrative but it’s damn close. His whimpering tones of “We’re alone now” paired with the prolonged buzz of the synth is a concoction which creates a sort of dizzy experience. The James Blake Experience.
The video is nothing far from the videos we’re used to seeing from the London singer/songwriter. Abstract, and mysterious with a girl doing some form of sign language in a house with quirky textiles. It’s like a futuristic sequel to the ‘Lindisfarne’ video, in the same kind of house but not as creepy.
Blake seems to split opinion in his style. People either get exactly what he is doing. where he’s taking the music and the journey he guides the listener on in each track. The other half don’t seem seem to understand it and find it uncomfortable I guess (which it can be).
After hearing this, ‘Overgrown’ is an exciting prospect. His debut was always that album I’d stick on if I needed music to listen to but didn’t want to be distracted. It was a good study album, call it sophisticated background noise. It should come with a note, something like “WARNING: Don’t listen to this while doing anything potentially dangerous because you’ll zone out”. With a bit of luck the new record will have the same desired effect.
‘Miracle’ feels like a big step for Hurts. It’s goodbye mopey tones and goodbye piano. Hello, bonjour and hola to an edgier Hurts. They’ve unveiled the video for the first single to be taken from their second record, ‘Exile’, due out on 11th March.
Adam Anderson seems to have replaced his piano for an electric guitar and as for Theo Hutchcraft, well the normally seemingly placid singer appears to kick something in the video. What is going on?! Don’t fear the lyrics are still gloomy, still Hurts. “There’s a place I wanna go and a life I wanna know, but you crucified my heart of gold.”
The elaborate video show the smartly-dressed duo performing as they find an angel figure with backing-style dancers, who look like they’ve been possessed, attempting to smash up escalators and dance around fire. Oh and a raven flying in for a good dose of darkness.
Comments littered around the net say this has some resemblance to Coldplay’s ‘Princess of China’. Hmmm. Hate to say it but this does slightly overstep the commercial mark for Hurts. Saying that, new track ‘The Road’ is much more true to them. Dark, stirring and passionate. Whatever anyone may say about its brush with ‘industrial dubstep’, it’s a progressive move for the duo. Hopefully ‘Exile’ will not move away too much more from the Hurts many have appreciated since their immaculate 2010 debut, ‘Happiness’.
One of the best things about 2012 was the sense of unity the Olympics and Paralympics gave. As we watched (Sir) Wiggo triumph at Hampton Court and the efforts of Farah, Ennis and Rutherford on Super Saturday, everyone was transfixed on the events that were believe it or not happening in our capital. Everyone was in a bubble, no-one cared or unfollowed you if you kept on tweeting and tweeting and tweeting about the games accompanied with #TEAMGB. It was all a load of fun.
Blur’s Hyde Park gig was one of my highlights. Though seeing Blur for the first time, the poor sound and the fact that it brought an end to the Olympics, it was all bittersweet.
The music of 2012 seemed to peak at the beginning and dip slightly around the summer, probably due to the Olympics taking over the world, or more likely festivals, before raising the bar high towards the end of the year. January saw The Maccabees and Lana Del Rey release their much-awaited albums and towards the end of the year, we had the likes of Jake Bugg and Palma Violets burst onto the scene. Music has started to get very exciting again and 2013 will hopefully top this one with the reintroduction of more individual electro sounds and the heavier stuff too.
Top 10 Albums/EPs
1. Given To The Wild – The Maccabees
2. Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg
3. You Know You Like It EP – AlunaGeorge
4. Devotion – Jessie Ware
5. An Awesome Wave – Alt-J (∆ wheyy)
6. Born To Die – Lana Del Rey
7. Come of Age – The Vaccines
8. Early Hours EP – Alpines
9. America Give Up – Howler
Top 10 songs
1. Two Fingers – Jake Bugg
2. Teenage Icon – The Vaccines
3. Requiem For Blue Jeans – Bastille
4. Wildest Moments – Jessie Ware
5. Settle Down – No Doubt
6. Tessellate – Alt-J
7. Chevy Thunder – Spector
8. Under The Westway – Blur
9. No One Lied – Jack Peñate
10. Gandhi Mate, Gandhi – Enter Shikari
Tips for 2013
‘Best of Friends’ came crashing down on to playlists this year with it’s enormous energy creating a buzz right from the off. With only a few tracks on the web, their February debut is much-anticipated.
Disclosure along with AlunaGeorge and several others are taking electro/synth-pop to a new level. The Surrey brothers have already scored a number 11 in the charts this year with ‘Latch’ ft Sam Smith. Judging from the rest of their offerings including a remix of Jessie Ware’s ‘Running’ and their ‘The Face’ EP, their 2013 debut should be a good’un!
K H U S H I
Joining the mellow voice and tickling guitar club of Ben Howard, Benjamin Francis Leftwich and Sheeran and even a bit Mumford-y (without the sons), London singer/songwriter K H U S H I has the correct components for a successful year.
Having recently toured with Spector, the Birmingham boys seem to fuse the sounds of The Stone Roses with The XX. With ‘Honey’s quirky lyrics, ‘Don’t just dream in your sleep, it’s just lazy,’ they’re a fascinating act to watch out for in 2013.
As well as an abundance of new artists hitting the hype wheel for next year, there are some familiar oldies set to make a big return next year…
The Oxford five-piece put out ‘Inhaler’ last month and as soon as I pressed play, it was obvious they were on to something marvelous. The creepy dancing, meatier choruses and Yannis’ patterned attire in the video may just have had something to do with its impact. Hopefully new album ‘Holy Fire’ will impress when it drops in Feb.
The ever-dark duo revealed a teaser for their second album ‘Exile’, due out in March. With ‘The Road’, another thought-provoking track, involving some muse-like industrial dubstep, questions have been raised. So what if they are moving forward. ‘Happiness’ was a fantastic debut and I’m sure the whatever ‘Exile’ has for us, it’s sure to be as elegant and emotional. (Everything, toes ‘n all crossed).
The New-Yorkers unveiled ‘Unbelievers’ back in November and will hopefully release their third album and ‘Contra’ follow up next year. Though it’s going to be a tough act to follow.
Happy New Year all. X
I had a natter with Hadouken! to find out about their new single, plans for album number 3 and their love for festivals. Have a read of it over on Hit The Floor.