Saturday, 22 December 2012

Like Spinning #2 - Walking In The Air


The final post before Christmas. I'm taking a very well earned week off from the blog and all that it entails. Shutting down my work email box and my blog email to spend some quality time with my family over Christmas (and most likely revisiting some old adventure games I've downloaded from gog.com!). It will be a very nice break from a hobby which takes up an incredible amount of my spare time, not that I'm complaining, if I didn't want to do this I could quite easily stop...

Anyway, you aren't here to read about my plans for the week ahead, there are quite a few acts I've grown to have quite the affinity to in the past twelve months through the blog and promoting gigs via Beautiful Strange, one of them is Like Spinning and this delicious version of "Walking In The Air" is easily one of the finest covers I've heard this festive period, led by a soft acoustic waltz Kari's gorgeous vocals (backed by another vocalist I don't know, sorry) are drenched in melodic sadness and beauty. Free download below.

Have a good Christmas folks!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Albums of 2013 - A Digest

Earlier today I posted the final part of my 'Albums of the Year' posts. If (somewhat understandably) you can't be bothered to read through all of my rubbish, here is a summary:

25. La Sera - Sees The Light
24. Tennis - Young & Old
23. Stealing Sheep - Into The Diamond Sun
22. Sharon Van Etten - Tramp
21. Tender Trap - Ten Songs About Girls
20. Metric - Synthetica
19. Beach House - Bloom
18. 2:54 - 2:54
17. Soap&Skin - Narrow
16. Perfume Genius - Put Your Back N 2 It
15. Golden Fable - Star Map
14. Rachel Sermanni - Under Mountains
13. I Like Trains - The Shallows
12. The Staves - Dead & Born & Grown
11. Echo Lake - Wild Peace
10. Hannah Cohen - Child Bride
9. Allo Darlin' - Europe
8. Novella EP
7. First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar
6. Shrag - Canines
5 . Fever Dream EP
4. Toy - Toy
3. Wilsen - Sirens
2. SoftSpot - Enso
1. Lana Del Rey - Born To Die


Other highly recommended EP's / LP's this year:

Alice Jemima - All The Boyfriends EP

Islet - Illuminated People

Jodie Goffe - The Day The Moon Left EP

Pins - Luvu4Lyf EP

Savages - I am Here EP

The School - Reading Too Much Into Things Like Everything

Sea Lion - Guns of Alaska

Seapony - Falling

Sneakpeek - Sneekpeek

SoKo - I Thought I Was An Alien

and everyone else I've forgotten about right now. Any thoughts?

I'll aim to post some of my favourite tracks before the end of the year. We'll see though!


Just Music That I Like's Favourite Albums of the Year 2013 - Part Five

Just Music That I Like's Favourite Albums of the Year 2013 - Part Five

Previously posted: Part One // Two // Three // Four // Five

5. Fever Dream EP

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Another EP making my top album lists, this one, the self-titled EP by London trio Fever Dream is arguably long enough to be considered an album in any case, I've heard albums that were less than this 26 minute, six track wonder.

The lackadaisical haze of the opening track "Glue" sets the tone, where raw and rambling rhythms hypnotise, spiralling in tempo around Adrian's vocals before exploding in a whirlwind of beats and guitar abuse. An awesome blend of noisy dissonance and dreamy vocal harmonies.

 Earlier single "This Waste" follows, it remains all kinds of wonderful with its feedback-drenched, shimmering guitars and slightly ominous sense while newer tracks equally impress, from the pure noise thrill of the energetic "Suspense" to the beautiful closure "Alchemy", a melancholy pop song.

The highlight though is "Poyekhali!", with bumpy bass line and explosive, murky guitar, I'll come back to that awesome word again, this is awesome.




4. TOY - TOY

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This is the album I pick when I go running, I'm not sure if that's a glowing recommendation or not but TOY is a truly superb album nevertheless, it's good to run with because of its runaway roller-coaster melodies and the maelstrom of storming, metronomic beats that rattle along with bursts of adrenaline pumping energy and pulsing rhythms.

Summed up perfectly on the aptly titled "Motoring" with overloading fuzz-drenched guitars and gaudy keyboards making for a slick, infectious ride combining the best bits of psyche, krautrock and shoegaze in one glorious track. The same intoxicating mix is the formula for much of the album, at its gazing best on "Dead & Gone", hypnotic and driving or "Colours Running Out" where gorgeous shimmering guitars duel with the korg keys and consistent drum beats.

Toy is truly superb, hard, dense, melodic, exciting, brilliant. My top UK album of the year...



3. Wilsen - Sirens

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Wilsen, an artist completely unknown to me six months ago released her blow-away debut album Sirens towards the end of July with it's lead track "Dusk" as the most incredible prelude, a track that introduced an unbelievably talented artist and an album I've fallen head over heels in love with...

"Dusk" is deliciously sad and unbelievably gorgeous, Tasmin Wilson's ethereal whispers are soft and comforting and remain at the forefront of delicate, stripped back instrumentation throughout where gently picked chord patterns and light brush strokes combine to haunting, heartfelt results.

"December" commands your attention with thoughtful textures and melody, while the restrained title track shines brightly with soft instrumentation, "Paper Ships" even more so, beguiling in its beauty as Tasmin's pure vocal soothes amongst softened guitar twinklings, the near-folk instrumentation is radiant and blissful throughout, never more so than on Sirens opener "House On A Hill".

The highlight of Sirens though is "Anahita", the albums final song, a track which perfectly sums up the delicate fragility of Wilsen's songcraft and the intoxicating beauty of Sirens. Rising and falling almost Daughter-esque from soft, tender intimacy where Tasmin's heartfelt vocals showcase a range of shattered emotions with twinkling guitars providing a gentle backdrop before slowing increasing with a steady percussive beat to a raging crescendo of harmonies and powerful drums. Utterly stunning.



2. SoftSpot - Enso

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The proper debut full length album Enso by the incredible SoftSpot  is a continual ride of superlatives that I can repeat from my previous posts on the band (I've featured them here quite a lot!).

The Brooklyn based trio, primarily the work of Sarah Kinlaw and Byran Keller released Enso on digital / vinyl earlier this year and I highly recommend you give it a listen and then a purchase, the vinyl is limited to just 250 copies.

Enso continues with Softspot's "wonderful layered sound that builds up to a wave of sonic wonder, its atmospheric build-up punctured by precise percussion. It's a sound that seems so carefully crafted yet performed so effortlessly" with "the combination of Sarah's hauntingly gorgeous vocal with momentum building textured guitar riffs", both those from my Introducing piece back in January 2011 when I first fell for the band and then moving forward to September last year (in reference to album track "Slack Tide"); "engrossing layers of melodies, wonderful guitar shredding riffs and to die for vocals." or about an earlier version of album track "Holy Father" "...an absolute monster. It starts peaceful enough, Sarah's hauntingly beautiful voice hits you straight away, it's unique, stunning. Accompanied by the rat-a-tat of drum sticks, slowly increasing in intensity as Brian's textured guitars glisten on the edge simmering until finally it explodes, cumulating in a euphoric cataclysm of aural pleasure, heavy-hitting drums, guitar buzz and hard bass-line riffs". This is a band whose sounds has it all.

 More recently as the album launch came closer words about "The Cleansing Hour". "It's an absolutely beauty, slowly building upon mournful shades of melancholic guitar and a metronomic drum beat gently entwining around Sarah's softening vocals and bells until at the three minute point light is finally allowed to win and the track blossoms with Softspot's signature cataclysm of sumptuous, shimmering sounds which manage to induce just about every spine-tingling sensation possible before parting and finishing as it begun, with its stark backbeat outro" and most recent of all "Disciple Fix" "..building sumptuously with a fusion of fast paced tropical rhythms and eastern influences blending with Sarah's ethereal vocals, as sensual and gorgeous as ever...".

 "I've said it before, I'll say it again, I love this band."




1. Lana Del Rey - Born To Die

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I'm honest enough to say for the first six months of the year I tried to stay out of the whole Lana Del Rey 'thing'. The sheer amount of hype and press around the release of her album, her 'authenticity' and 'back-story' put me off what really mattered, the music. I didn't get it at first, sure "Video Games" was a knock-out song, a voice so smooth and sultry on a slow, delicious track filled with emotion, but I'm instinctively adverse to following the majority.

It all changed at Latitude festival in early July when I was curious enough to check out Lana's live show, an oddity because what I had previous thought of as a middle class festival with middle-aged, middle income spectators politely sipping their inflated priced beers all over a sudden turned into an audience of rabid school-girls, the front rows were full of teenagers scrambling to get as close to Lana as they could whilst screaming (I'm not sure how much of the show they actually heard) - she duly obliged with a trip to the mosh-pit half way through the set. A set which was more than good enough to allow me to form my own opinion on Ms Grant, a world-weary voice with commanding presence and a collection of atmospheric songs on par with any I've heard in recent times. One I certainly wouldn't have expected to have earlier in the year...

Since that day Born to Die and later The Paradise Edition have easily become my most listened to record of the year, there's a couple of flops on the album, "Lolyta" for example, sure, but overall Born to Die is an album which oozes with class and sophistication with Lana's to-die-for vocals at the helm, it's dark and precise, out-pouring with richly melancholic melodies that tug at your heartstrings throughout. I read the words murder ballads to describe Lana Del Rey somewhere, I like that.

"Million Dollar Man" a sure highlight, like so much of the album it's bathed in production with adds the woozy ambience along with Grant's siren calls and haunting songs. "Lucky One" shines around around shimmering soundscapes and the immaculate tone of the vocal delivery while "Born to Die" with orchestral flourishes in simply radiant. I'm not going to sit here adding superlatives to the rest of the tracks I could quite easily instead I'll sum up. Born to Die is quite easily my album of 2012. Perhaps it's time to forget your pre conceived prejudices too?

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Just Music That I Like's Favourite Albums of the Year 2013 - Part Four

Just Music That I Like's Favourite Albums of the Year 2013 - Part Four

Previously posted: Part One // Two // Three // Four // Five

10. Hannah Cohen - Child Bride

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Hannah Cohen was an artist I don't think anybody had heard of this time last year, her introduction to the world of music (after a successful career as a model) was the haunting beauty "The Crying Game", which stirs up powerful emotions on its place towards the end of the Hannah's debut LP, the melancholic Child Bride, fluttering between those painful and torn moments are a couple of upbeat numbers like "California", a light and breezy departure where loosely strummed guitar and sweetly cooed vocals let in rays of sunshine, bright and catchy, it's a welcome addition to the record but it is those aching, heart wrenching moments that stay with you the longest.

"Don't Say" is simply divine, the sweeping guitar waltz and gentle drum brushes provide space for Hannah's vocals to pierce your heart, her voice is genuinely gorgeous possessing a devastating tone that is capable of shining like a star,or being sweet and mysterious, or being haunting and emotional, and then heartbroken all in the space of half an hour. You can pick your own superlatives, Hannah Cohen deserves them all.

The instrumentation is equally elegant as the central theme of love lost tugs at your every sense, it remains delicate and controlled throughout but once in a while it shimmers and swells luxuriously, never better than on the sublime "The Simplest" and another of the stand-out's "Shadows", a fragile, ethereal ballad that's one of the more heartfelt tracks in an album of them.

Child Bride is the perfect soundtrack for a candlelit evening in with a loved one, or alone if you'd rather



9. Allo Darlin' - Europe

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Allo Darlin's second LP Europe is one of those rare albums which flows perfectly without any duff tracks over forty minutes so full of sunshine and wistful memories it can't help but bring out memories, which as with life, are good, bad but on the whole, a journey likely to leave you overwhelmingly fuzzy inside.

Lead single "Capricornia" is a joyous, sweet slice of pure pop about vocalist Elizabeth Morris' home country, it will definitely steal your heart with its fun-filled guitars jangles, colourful drum splashes and pitch perfect vocals, mood inducing and just lovely.

Elsewhere Europe similarly shines, whether it's the albums beautifully crafted ballad "Tallulah" which sees Allo Darlin' go back to their roots with Elizabeth's emotional lyrics pouring out over simple uke plucks, or the wistful highlight "Some People Say" it's utterly glorious, bright and immediate with rich guitar-led melodies that are so irresistibly charming you'll soon be bouncing around your room. "Northern Lights" is another moment to saviour, unashamedly upbeat with sunshine guitar jangles and pitch perfect vocals. Simply put, Europe is a real gem.



8. Novella EP

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Novella's self-titled EP might only be five tracks in length but is deserving of it's place here as it's one of my most listened to releases of the year, and if a list about your favourite albums of the year isn't almost a copy of what you've been listening to most, then you are doing it wrong...

Kicking off with "Eat Yourself" Novella introduce their sumptuous cocktail of sugary vocals buried in a sea of hazy, grungy guitars and battering drum beats, it's all kind of wonderful, the ultra catchy "Don't Believe Ayn Rand" perhaps does it even better... Dreamy, psychedelic guitar lines and luscious vocal harmonies one moment and then seconds later, they're making a whole lot of noise with sprawling, fuzzed out guitars and big pounding beats.

The hypnotic "You're Not That Cool" is my highlight from the EP, slowing building around droning riff cycles moody and nonchalant until it explodes for the last two minutes under an avalanche of noise, one of my favourite tracks of the year. Bring on Novella's debut full-length in 2013 (hopefully).




7. First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar

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The Lion's Roar takes the First Aid Kit to another level, their impeccable debut 'The Big Black & The Blue' focused on delicate acoustic picks and beautiful layered harmonies, here the sisters are backed by a full band, the title tracks vocal tone is just as stunning whilst its soaring country-waltz tinged arrangements and stomping drums sweep you away on its emotive, beautiful journey. Lyrically the developments are just as obvious, alongside "Ghost Town" I'd place "The Lion's Roar" as their darkest track to date, honest and plaintive reflections that (cliché time) are mature-beyond-their-years.

Sincere and heart-felt, latest single "Blue" the perfect insight to their beguiling balance of sweet voices and rich production with earlier single "Emmylou" another catalyst for the sister's successful year, combining a classic contemporary country sound with the sister's heavenly vocal harmonies, it's simply gorgeous. One listen and it's obvious that the track is a tribute to a whole number of legendary country artists, Carter, Cash, Harris and Parsons are all name checked in the chorus and the sisters managed to earn rare praise from Johnny Cash's daughter along the way. It's not hard to realise why, their music is so majestic, their voices are so beautiful, First Aid Kit deserve all the praise they are getting as they become real darlings of the folk world.




6. Shrag - Canines

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Canines, Shrag's third and in my opinion best LP is to put it succinctly, all kinds of awesome, with swaggering bass and a stomping drum beat the track "Devastating Bones" is easily the best biology lesson you'll ever have, raw and exuberant, much like the album it is taken from, it sizzles with melodious delight from start to finish.

Earlier lead single the wonderful "Show Us Your Canines" also sums up the feeling of the album perfectly, infectious pop music with mood-enhancing melodies, racing rhythms and more bounce than your average trampoline exhibition. Equally brilliant is the punchy "Tendons in the Night", Shrag take a tough, fuzzy pop-rock approach to most the album and throughout show themselves capable of effortlessly crafting dance-friendly indie pop gems that are dynamic, distinctive and compulsive. From the scuzzy bass-lines and skittling drums to the call and response boy/girl vocals and shimmering keys with boy/girl shouty vocals that range from bitter-sweet to lusciously syrup.

Other highlights include "On The Spines Of Old Cathedrals", "Chasing Consummations" and the slow build-up of the epic closure "Jane With Dumbbells" - the whole fucking thing really.


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Just Music That I Like's Favourite Albums of the Year 2013 - Part Three

Just Music That I Like's Favourite Albums of the Year 2013 - Part Three

Previously posted: Part One // Two // Three // Four // Five

15. Golden Fable - Star Map

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An album which has criminally managed to stay off many peoples radar this year, perhaps due to the self-released nature of the album, still with support slots alongside Field Music and Wave Machines to come next year word is slowly getting out there about this wonderful duo.

Star Map is genuinely the most beautiful album on this list, the understated ethereal grace which carries the album throughout is one to truly immerse yourself in, a real natural beauty, "Always Golden" perfectly highlights Rebecca Palin's unique, haunting vocal, it's at the forefront throughout with the shimmering electronic beats and delicate key strokes

"Crossfire" is another likely to bring goosebumps to many, for those easily turned on, Star Map should carry a warning sticker, such an effecting beauty, spread the word.




14. Rachel Sermanni - Under Mountains

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With her captivating presence and exceptional song craft, in my humble opinion, Rachel Sermanni is one of the few who stands out above the current crowd of singer/songwriters, after a couple of EP's highlighting her talent I was delighted that her debut full-length Under Mountains fulfilled all my hearts desires and more.

"Waltz" slowly introduces a full band to accompany Rachel's guitar and sweet vocal tones, the combination creates intoxicating arrangements and strong melodies that stands true for much of Under Mountains. The command and attention to detail throughout the album is exceptional, Rachel in complete control of the flowing vocals and her depth of prose belie her youth.

The dark defiance of "The Fog" and the gorgeous, soothing tones of "Sleep" are all personal favourites too, offering a dozen finely crafted tracks in which Rachel's mesmerising voice resonates above genteel instrumentation and stirring full band sections, Under Mountains is bathed in heartfelt emotion and stunning harmonies, one of the years finest, of that there is no doubt..


13. I Like Trains - The Shallows

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By now you think you know what you are getting with I Like Trains, or at least you thought you did. The Leeds based post-rock band have changed things up with their latest album The Shallows, the predominant mood of their previous releases was, shall we say, glum, slow burning, emotive soundscapes with little room for light or hope, sure there were moments in their last "He Who Saw The Deep" where all was not grey but nothing quite like moments on The Shallows...

For how do you say it, "Mnemosyne" sees I Like Trains go disco, not a word that we've come to associate with them but "Mnemosyne" is most definitely funky. Sparse synth lines combine with a bass-line Hot Space era Queen would have been proud of, don't let it scare you off, the signature I Like Trains dynamic is similarly evident, at at their brooding best on "Reykjavik" with Dave Martin's impeccable baritone vocals, shimmering guitars and Simon Fogal's commanding drums and reflective on "Water/Sand" which finds their beautifully thought-out prose at its finest.

"Beacons" is another which glistens with twinkling synths hooks and chiming guitars, it works, I never thought it would but it does, sullen post-rock with a flamboyant electro edge,  I like it. The Shallows finds the new I Like Trains as absorbing as ever.




12. The Staves - Dead & Born & Grown

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A long time coming some may say, The Staves debut album Dead & Born & Grown is a perfect summation of the girls journey so far, with older tracks "Mexico" and "Facing West" as exquisite as ever, sitting perfectly alongside tracks from the earlier Motherlode EP and newer songs too, much will be said about the sisters rich harmonies and genteel melodies (with good reason), which slowly and luxuriously linger in your brain like a Sunday afternoon with a glass of fine malt whisky.

Highlights are throughout, the a cappella "Wise and slowly" is hymnal perfection, the tender "Pay Us No Mind", like so much of the album, is just beautiful while "Tongue Behind My Teeth" sees the sister take some Americana influences with a kick-drum beat propelling jangling guitar and dusty melodies which sweep and stomp like the outlaw video that accompanies the track. The Staves blend their heavenly harmonies together as well as any I've previously heard and Dead & Born & Grown is the perfect for the winter months, completely irresistible, don't miss out.




11. Echo Lake - Wild Peace

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[Previously posted on my Tips of 2012: One Year On post]

Echo Lake have had a year of ups and downs, the tragic news of the death of their drummer Pete Hayes overshadowed everything else but the subsequent empowerment of the band, including fundraisers and emotional tributes only highlighted the togetherness and closeness of the group who earlier in the year released their delightful debut full length Wild Peace. As beautiful a listen as any album this year, Wild Peace seamlessly fizzes with immersive, shimmering bliss.

Track after track of intoxicating, beyond-luscious melodies in which we find Linda Jarvis' reverberating vocals floating around, highlights are aplenty, from the re-imagining of earlier single "Another Day", the only pure pop tune on display with chiming chords to the rockier "Young Silence" and swirling "In Dreams" (both again reworked from their 2011 EP appearances, starting with a soft tapestry of sounds before rising in intensity to an explosive finale while the gorgeous "Swimmers" is the hazy, dreamy come-down. Though that's a paragraph that fails to mention the closing track "Just Kids", a seven minute course on how to generate the perfect atmospheric of slowly building wonder or the title track, equally worthy of praise.

Amongst the reasons for my support of the band over the last year is the beautiful, progressive arrangements of their tracks, "Even the Blind" is like a journey in itself, from its dreamy, luxurious outset where Linda's beautiful ethereal coo's, chiming guitars and a metronomic beat purposely lead towards its foot-stomping tempo switch, the drumbeat sees the main shift in intensity in the songs second quarter, hard-hitting and stadium sized they suddenly drop leaving the shimmering textures on a cliff-edge before the track again gathers pace and surges towards its euphoric climax. To sum up, "Even the Blind" is basically a five minute roller-coaster that's exhilarating, soothing and absolutely wonderful, wild and peaceful, yeah I get that title.




Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Just Music That I Like's Favourite Albums of the Year 2013 - Part Two

Just Music That I Like's Favourite Albums of the Year 2013 - Part Two

Previously posted: Part One // Two // Three // Four // Five

20. Metric - Synthetica

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Instantly accessible and a guarantee to rock your pants off, Synthetica is a fine follow up to the equally rewarding Fantasies, it finds the Canadian quartet in a fun, larger than life mood, exuding a grander, more confident feel throughout, the title track's glam-stomp rush is a perfect summation, pacey and in your face from the word go, evidence if you needed it that Metric should be stadium sized.

"Youth Without Youth" revels in 80's synth with dark industrial rhythms and a hard-hitting beats it sounds like they've been enjoying a few old Depeche Mode LP's over the past few years where huge guitars and Emily's trademark vocals are equally prominent, like so much of the album, it is hypnotic and catchy as fuck. Something which could almost be repeated with the albums next single "Speed The Collapse" which soars with epic-sized guitar screeches, metronomic beats and Emily's mellow vocals.

The energy remains with the euphoric "Breathing Underwater" while softer moments like "Clone" are equally rewarding, seeing the focus completely switch to Emily's show-stopping vocal, which as you can imagine is near on perfection, around twinkling synth overtures it is simply a beauty. "Lost Kitten" is one of the memorable songs from the live set and sees the band at their sensual best. Electronic, glam-indie at it's best Synthetica is a wonderful album by a fresh band who remain at the top of their game.





19. Beach House - Bloom

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There's no hiding the fact that Bloom sounds very much like a close sister to 2010's Teen Dream, full of the same vein of clean, crisp hooks and beautifully lit melody. Beach House are a rare band who've managed to juggle commercial and critical success for two albums now with no sign of giving up.

Bloom defines the bands talents (though perhaps there is nothing quite as gorgeous as "Zebra" or "Take Care" from Teen Dream), offering ten perfectly constructed pop tracks combining both choruses with sparkling, impeccable melodies.

 Its first single "Myth" brings the same magisterial, melodic dream-pop sensibilities that brought swooning reviews from all quarters but seems more dramatic, richer and larger in scale. Twinkling keys and shimmering guitars wrap around Victoria's trademark vocal, perhaps at their finest on "Lazuli", another instant stand-out, luminescent glory (just like the glow in the dark LP sleeve) bathed in a gorgeous wash of electronic shoegaze come dream-pop, "The Hours" sounds equally as familiar, equally as Beach House. I can't remember the last time I heard an album that fits a bands sound quite as much as Bloom, perhaps that's it's biggest compliment and criticism too, but there's no need to push boundaries that don't need pushing at all.

Bloom is simply luscious and will bring all sorts of goosebumps to lovers and dreamers all over the world.



18. 2:54 - 2:54

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2:54 are a band I've been following since their original demos made on garage-band introduced their now trademark atmospherics and dark, brooding melodies that are equal parts menace and alluring wonder. Their self-titled debut sees them (naturally) spruce up that sound with slick production gloss and shiny, reverberating soundscapes...

The album is brimmed with creeping guitar spirals and hauntingly melodic vocals, "Scarlet" oozes with ominous, shimmering mood, "Creeping" has arguably the guitar solo of the year at its finale while Collette's vocal almost makes love to you on the spot and "Sugar" is dark and driving, something which can be used to describe much of the album for there's not much light here, I've seen some reviews fault that, I couldn't care less... 2:54 sounds just great to me.

I recently posted that when I saw the band perform at XOYO six weeks or so back the set sounded like a greatest hits show, that's about the best summation I can pay as to how strong and cohesive 2:54 is.



17. Soap&Skin - Narrow

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Slightly less accessible than the last few picks is Anja Plaschg, aka Soap&Skin, who I've referred to on many occasions as one of the most extraordinary artists in music today in terms of artistic creativity and raw, genuine talent. Her intimate and emotive song-craft makes for (often) difficult but always compelling listening, using piano and voice as her primary instruments Soap&Skin's second LP Narrow perfectly encapsulates all that, being both strikingly beautiful and strangely captivating.

There's no hiding the fact that Narrow is a dark, unnerving album of eight tracks bathed in industrial soundscapes amongst emotional piano and achingly personal delivery that will bring shivers to your spine. I can't understand a word said in "Vater" (Father) but I can feel the pain and emotion in the delivery and intensity in her instruments (a song about the loss of her Father). The next two tracks combine both the dramatic and the beguiling, Anja's version of "Voyage Voyage" combines twinkling ivories with bleak, heart-felt vocals whereas "Deathmental" is delivered in raw anger and aggression amongst harsh samples and synths.

Things turn to the tender and sublime with the exceptionally gorgeous "Cradlesong" and "Wonder", led by serenely restrained piano and orchestral choruses where Anja's inimitable ghostly vocals echo within the melancholic key strokes, subdued, heartfelt and genuinely beautiful and I have to mention "Lost" too, devastating and powerful through minimalistic delivery.

Narrow confirms what a rare talent Soap&Skin in, what a privilege it is to have seen her twice already.



16. Perfume Genius - Put Your Back N 2 It

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Following up the stark and elusive Learning (one of my favourite albums of 2010) was never going to be easy but Perfume Genius (Mike Hadreas) has managed it in some style, his second LP Put Your Back N 2 It sees a continuation of the slight, delicate arrangements of Hadreas' where echoing vocals and his heartbreaking delivery create a staggeringly beautiful and intimate collection of dark, emotive wonder.

Possibly best beguiling on "All Waters", an emotive, luscious expansion of the Perfume Genius sound and "Hood" , a gorgeous piano led ballad that is direct, powerful and beguilingly beautiful, Hadreas' bruised vocal shines throughout the record, "Dark Parts" sends shivers through your soul, hauntingly plaintive, Put Your Back N 2 It has its wounds out in the open, there for all to see.



Monday, 17 December 2012

Just Music That I Like's Favourite Albums of the Year 2013 - Part One

A little later than planned, it's finally that time for me to throw my hat into the never-ending 'album of the year list' ring. I've read a lot of posts dismissing all the end of year fanfare this time around but I enjoy reading lists and I'm sure many other of you do. The following five posts will be the albums I've decided make my favourite twenty five releases of the year, I've given them in order but naturally that seemingly changes every two minutes so is not to be taken too seriously (as if), there have been about 30/35 albums I've enjoyed this year and it was a difficult job to narrow them down from that number, aside from the top few, I think all the other albums are very even, I'll list the albums that nearly made this list in a round-up post after the top twenty-five are posted. Beautiful Strange releases are void too - I'm a little biased.

In my opinion 2012 has been a good one for new music but a tricky one in so fact that there is no obvious contender for album of the year like in previous years (though apparently Frank Ocean is as close as that gets), I think that's partly the reason why most blogs/websites lists have more seen a bit more variety. Clearly I've not listened to every album released in 2012, that would be impossible and I don't simply have the time (or desire), but these are the albums I'm happy to have enjoyed this year...

Just Music That I Like's Favourite Albums of the Year 2013 - Part One

Other Posts: Part One // Two // Three // Four // Five

25.La Sera - Sees The Light

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Kicking off the list is La Sera's (Katy Goodman's) second solo LP Sees The Light, which from the outset delivers a quick, sharp blast of indie pop goodness. Ten tracks that stay with you for little more than half an hour but which manage to pack quite the punch in that time, keeping things simple throughout, See The Light will make you want hit repeat straight away with its addictive, carefree approach to vibrant pop tunes.

From the woozy, melancholia of "I Can't Keep You In My Mind" and "Love That's Gone" to the super-charged fuzz pop of the sing-along hit "Please Be My Third Eye" and the similarly radio friendly single "Break My Heart", Sees The Light delivers on all fronts, that is if you like a bright approach to a lovelorn life. A glass is half full record, La Sera will bring you a smile with infectious melodies whilst Katy's dreamy vocals melts your (broken) heart. Stand-out track "I'm Alone" the perfect summation, give it a try, you'll have no chance of resisting its charms.



24. Tennis - Young & Old

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I appear to be one of the few people who have really enjoyed both Tennis LP's, their debut Cape Dory was number 26 of my 'Best of 2011 lists' and this, Young & Old scores a little higher, a slicker and more mature approach than the debut results in a sunny pop sound which is super clean and just lovely to listen to, it also helps that Alaina Moore has one of those voices that just makes me melt when I hear it.

"My Better Self" is my favourite track on the record, a toe-tapping keyboard lead and simple rat-a-tat drums give the basis for Alaina's pretty vocals to steal your heart. Pretty is the word for Young & Old and I mean that in the best possible way. Everywhere it turns it's beautiful, "Origins" is another key track on the record, highlighting the bands expanded dynamic with bright and breezy rhythms amongst guitar chimes, equally great is "Petition" another piano led track which bounces along with its infectious melody while nostalgic shimmers ooze from the delicious "Take Me To Heaven", oh yes Tennis, you can, quite easily. Luscious.



23. Stealing Sheep - Into The Diamond Sun

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Fulfilling the promise of the their earlier EP's Into The Diamond Sun is a perfect summer's day album, mixing the Liverpudlian trio's gorgeous harmonies with the individualistic kooky sounds that have become to characterise Stealing Sheep...

Into The Diamond Sun is a delicious combination of spiraling vocal harmonies, psychedelic melodies and off-kilter drums (not to mention infectious hand clapping), impossible to pigeon-hole, Stealing Sheep deserve their own genre, one that's equally bonkers, enchanting and always fun and beautiful, for this album is most definitely that. Imaginative and incandescent throughout highlights are the infectious single "Shut Eye" (as played on Hollyoaks!) which has the most insanely catchy melody you'll hear this year, closely followed by the magical "Genevieve", eccentricity and hypnotic hooks all in equal measure.

Then there's latest single "Rearrange" with layered guitar patterns morphing into something truly gorgeous with siren-like harmonies before genre hopping once more on the haunting harmonies of "Tangled Up In Stars" with the kaleidoscopic trip of closing track "Bear Tracks" bringing out the best of Becky's sweetly-sung lead vocal. A beguiling debut and one that hints at much more to come, I look forward to that...




22. Sharon Van Etten - Tramp

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So I'm shooting with this one a lot earlier than most end-of-year lists I've read already, I guess that's the thing about taste, it's a subjective thing. This number feels about right for me, Tramp is Sharon Van Etten's finest moment to date, building on 2010's wonderful Epic, Tramp feels more 'complete', an affecting but beautiful listen throughout.

You can almost feel Sharon's grief on tracks like "Leonard" and "In Line", in complete control of her craft, her exemplary song-craft and versatile voice knock you for six, haunting and powerful, beguiling and strong, for me at least, the album is never better than on it's first single "Serpents", a ballsy, rocking number with clean vocals and strong drum beats.

Tramp is full of emotion, sentiment and is beautifully crafted throughout, it's an album that I doubt has escaped your attention already (unless you've been on Mars of course) and it deserves the full scope of praise it's receiving, Sharon Van Etten is one of the finest singer-songwriters of our generation and I look forward to seeing what she manages to do with the attention she's created for herself.



21. Tender Trap - Ten Songs About Girls

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Tender Trap are one of those rare indie pop bands who are capable of effortlessly combining boundless, infectious energy with catchy and humorous songs,  alongside Amelia Fletcher's strong song-writing prowess Tender Trap can produce some truly fantastic lyrical melodies, something they've rarely bettered than on their latest LP Ten Songs About Girls...

"Train From Kings Cross Station" kicks off the album and is an exhilarating listen from the minute it pulls out of the station, it truly sets the tempo for what's to follow, a wonderful rocking homage to all sorts of things, My Bloody Valentine on (obviously) "MBV" while "Step One" sees the band drawing on their vast experience to give a tongue-in-cheek lesson to aspiring bands following in their footsteps, where playful, call and response vocals and a rocking melody lead a manual for wannabe girl groups.

Closing track "Love is Hard Enough" is equally wonderful, full of the bands dynamic bright instrumentation where the bitter-sweet lead of Amelia's combines with girl group doo-wop's harmonies to glorious effect with the twinkling "Leaving Christmas Day" another future indie-pop cult classic in the making.

Ten Songs About Girls is an exciting, fizzed up listen from minute one to thirty-three, if you're after beautifully sung, exceptionally written indie pop, then this will be one of your albums of the year too.


Sunday, 16 December 2012

Caitlin Rose #24 - I Was Cruel

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My excitement level is already pretty (understatement) high for 2013, the first two months are bringing new releases by quite a few of my favourite artists, top of that list is Caitlin Rose who will release her second full-length The Stand-In on February 25th, we've already been treated to one stunning track from it, "No One To Call", now we've another...

The track "I Was Cruel" is a song I've previously heard Caitlin perform, on last years wonderful (her second) Daytrotter session, it prompted me to say this of the track "[I Was Cruel is] a beautiful, aching ballad which highlights Caitlin's exceptional talent and vocal range, I don't know if it's a cover or a new track but hearing her singing a new song makes my heart go a-flutter all over again, her voice just brings me goosebumps".

Now upgraded to a polished, recorded version with rich, warming pedal steel and slide guitar led instrumentation it's even better. I now know "I Was Cruel" is a cover, of a song by The Deep Vibration, oozing with timeless Americana and Caitlin's voice, a voice that could melt of soul of steel, heart-felt, velvety gorgeous and exquisite - yeah, I love it.

I also found a great live version of the track which I've embedded belowl. I CANNOT wait for the live shows which kick off on album release day in Brighton - see you there!




Caitlin Rose - I Was Cruel from LaundroMatinee on Vimeo.

The Cornshed Sisters #2 - A Very Cornshed Christmas

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The Cornshed Sisters have treated us to not just the one but two Christmas songs with a free downloadable single called A Very Cornshed Christmas, puts a typically season slant on what the quartet did so well on their wonderful album Tell Talesdefinitely my random find of the year - that is use their stunning vocal harmonies as the main instrument to beguiling results.

"It Smells A Lot Like Christmas" is completely a capella with bouncy backing harmonies used to guide the tongue-in-cheek lead vocals, brief in length  it's best served with a dashing of mulled wine and a face stuffed with mince pie! "Have a Good Christmas Time" is utterly delightful, illuminated by beautifully played piano and sleigh bells the melody blossoms with the Sisters' melt-your-heart harmonies. Gorgeous, one for your season mix-tape... Download below, or here if you're having a problem with the embed.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Hurts #6 - Exile / The Road

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I'll let you into a secret (not really that big a one if you click on the labels on the left) Hurts were one of the very posts on this blog back in 2009 when I didn't really know which path to follow on this blog and was more into listening to live music than actual records, little did I know just how much my musical palette would expand over the next three years...

Hurts remain a band I appreciate, even when they found fame after an inclusion in the BBC Sound of 2010 poll (or in reality with the commercial release of their signature track "Wonderful Life) and found critics aplenty with the release of their flamboyant, synth-based pop debut Happiness. Still, I loved the album and included it in my top ten albums of the year, their blend of theatrical operatic-pop and brooding demeanor lifted directly from the likes of Tears for Fears / Pet Shop Boys is one that I can't help but enjoy.

Fast forward to today and Hurts have nearly a million fans on facebook and are about to launch their second album Exile from which this, "The Road" is naturally lifted. It's a fleetingly short track which finds Hurts continuing with their stylistic, grandiose, 80's leaning music, starting like much of Happiness with slow-motion instrumentation backing Theo's dramatic vocals, "The Road" though, morphs into something darker and dirtier than we've heard from them before with clattering industrial rhythms which is more akin to Depeche Mode than their previous radio pomp.

I like it. That's all that matters to me. Hurts for Eurovision 2013 please - we'd piss it.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Woodpecker Wooliams #2 - Gull

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Woodpecker Wooliams this week released the follow up to the incredible "Sparrow", "Gull" with an accompanying video which perfectly highlights Gemma's experimental folk-drone, a combination of the weird and the wonderful sees the track (taken from her bird themed debut The Bird School Of Being Human for Robot Elephant) live up to the self-penned billing of 'stories of birds, murder and madness'.

The video is bold and creative with full of bizarre / serene imagery, I'm not actually sure where to start, with the creepy she-birds perhaps or the demonic Gemma with (fake) bird guts in cages or the Woodpecker covered in white chalk/paint gentle playing a harp. It's one which you'd never expect to be associated with harps and folk that's for sure, but if you've listened to The Bird School Of Being Human you'll already know Woodpecker Wooliams is not your usual singer-songwriter. "Gull" combines Gemma's pure vocals (prone to the sudden outburst about cups of tea!) with delicate harp plucks and warped electronic ambience, haunting and other-wordly, it's another highlight from an album which deserves all the praise it's received from some lofty quarters (The Independent, The Guardian and more). Check it out below.

The Bird School Of Being Human is available now on CD/Digital and now also on a super limited vinyl run (of 200), which is available to buy here.



Sheen #3 - Let It Snow

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How about another little Christmas cracker, Sheen have been a London favourite of mine this past year or so with some online demos which finds a band happy in restraint (their live show takes on a different beast), with elegant shimmering melodies and serene vocals.

The band have given that treatment to a festive classic, with a version of "Let it Snow" which starts beautifully tranquil, with Aneta's ethereal lead, soft and delicate, bathed in swirling, luscious guitarscapes, the  slow, melancholic chords then explode at the mid point as the band stamp their own print on the track with a deep symphony of tropical beats, meandering guitar and vocal cries with a xylophone finale just to remind you it's Christmas...

Wonderful, grab it free below and look out for Sheen next year when hopefully they'll be sharing their debut album.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Jodie Goffe #2 - Birdsong

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I may have just posted my 'Tips for 2013' posts last week but if I was a betting man I'd put this young lady down as a candidate for inclusion in my ones to watch in 2015 or 2016, Jodie Goffe already has one EP to her name, the heavenly The Day The Moon Left which I discussed back in March. I'm revisiting a track from it because a) when I covered the EP I'd not heard the six tracks in their entirety and b) a (rather chilly looking) video for "Birdsong" has just been released, it give me the perfect chance to fill these pages with more superlatives and hopefully lead a few people to discovering this sublime talent.

"Birdsong" effortlessly floats around carefully constructed guitar lines as Jodie's rich warming voice sooths all the days worries away, always dignified there is a deep sense of intimacy to her beautiful words and affecting vocals. A soft voice that immediately connects with your heart strings, go grab yourself a glass of malt whiskey and saviour this beauty below...

You can buy the EP from Smugglers Records on CD here or via iTunes now.



Wednesday, 12 December 2012

PINS #6 - Kiss Me Quickly (It’s Christmas)

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I think you either like or hate a Christmas song, thankfully I'm in the love category (even if I'm a miserable old Scrooge at heart). I'm equally fond of (good) covers of (decent) festival classics and originals too, the wonderful Pins, who've featured here quite a lot recently, have gone for the latter with a rather splendid new song called "Kiss Me Quickly (It's Christmas)", where languid chiming guitar, fuzzy bass and (of course) sleigh bell jangles play out to a real winter warmer closing with sensual harmonies it makes me want to grab a blanket, drink some mulled wine and press play all over again.

Listen to "Kiss Me Quickly (It's Christmas)" below, I think a long queue of boys with mistletoe is already forming in Manchester...

I've read that the girls' debut EP, the LuvU4Lyf 10" is close to selling out too, if you've not got one, you should (it looks sexy and comes with mp3's to play to your hearts content) - available via the Bella Union store.

Golden Fable #3 - Blithe Spirit

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A couple more seasonal posts on there way now and I doubt you'll hear a Christmas song as beautiful as this first one from Golden Fable this year, it is to-die-for gorgeous. Rebecca Palin's angelic voice brings to mind all sorts of wonderful things no matter when you hear it and it resonates even more with festival choral thoughts at mind, this track "Blithe Spirit", is the perfect summation of the duo's subtle and effective elegance that they delivered on their stunning debut Star Map earlier this year.

Dripped in soft shimmering textures, a finger plucking acoustic guides Rebecca's graceful vocals, "Blithe Spirit" is delicate, heart-felt melancholia and is simply heavenly. Download for however much you like below...

Phildel - New Music "Introducing"

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A Facebook update propelling a draft post I've had in my blogger folder for about six months, welcome to 2012! Phildel is a name I'm expecting to hear a lot from in 2013, a new version of her track "Storm Song" was shared just yesterday and is far too good to pass up on...

I was previously aware of the song through this ukelele version, there pared down and beautifully intimate with softness and grace, this full version shows a whole new angle to the track with a dramatic synth pulse, gorgeous piano twinkles and serene backing harmonies. It's simply stunning, I should know, I've had it on repeat for the last half hour or so...

As the track progresses it swells beautifully with dark, haunting power, soaring to display Phildel's incredible vocal talents, exuding strength and delicacy at the same moment whilst retaining seemingly effortless control all in the same moment, stunning, there I've said it again.

"Storm Song" is due for release in January 2013 along with an album The Disappearance of the Girl.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Joanna Gruesome #2 - Do You Really Wanna Know...

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It's been a while since we've had new Joanna Gruesome material to listen to but that wait is finally over with news of their signing to Fortuna Pop and a new track, the impressively titled Do You Really Wanna Know Why Yr Still in Love with Me". Their signing is a perfect fit with Joanna Gruesomes co-vocalists Lan's former band Evans The Death (least I think it's former now) and the wonderful Shrag already on the London label, put those two acts into the mixing pot with a healthy dash of 90's scuzz pop and you might just make this new track...

"Do You Really Wanna Know..." starts with super sweet tandem vocals, chiming guitar hooks and thunderbolt drumming which combine to an irresistible fuzzed-up melody which builds with fast-tempo and to a crashing crescendo of super-charged, sloppy as fuck dissonance. Intoxicating and more-ish, the single is hopefully a great sign of things to come in 2013.

The band play on the Fortuna Pop Winter Sprinter in early January at the Lexington. Four great nights of music with Tender Trap, Allo' Darlin and Comet Gain also lined-up to play as well as the aforementioned acts - all the details and tickets can be found here - the best possible start to your New Year for sure.


Velveteens #2 - Japanese

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A thinly veiled motive of lacking the sufficient time to do the necessary writing for my 'albums of the year' posts this week means I'll bring you some new things that I've recently discovered instead, which is probably a good diversion and more in keeping with what this blog is about anyhow (saying that, the album lists will start next week).

I did an "Introducing" post on Velveteens a little while ago after two bedroom demos took my eye, the trio have now released another track in the form of new single, "Japanese", which continues Velveteens haunting, lo-fi ghost-pop where drum machine beats and elongated synth strokes meld beautifully with smooth cello orchestrations to make a melody rich and soothing. The best part of "Japanese" though are the gorgeous vocals, there are some heavenly vocal harmonies here, where the girls' dreamy voices perfectly compliment each other around the sparse instrumentation, a real muted gem.

You can download the track for however much you'd like via Bandcamp now. Stream below:

Monday, 10 December 2012

CURXES #4 - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

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The second Christmas song posted in a matter a hours and another too good to hold off until after I've posted my 'albums of the year' (hopefully starting later this week, if I write the things in time!)...

Fresh from their inclusion in the 'Blog Sound of 2013' list CURXES have shared a song that sounds, ermm, very little like Curxes. Stripping away every ounce of the 'dramatic', 'crazed' and 'monstrous' tags the duo have previously been attached to their version of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" is bare, melancholic and stunning.

Subtle guitar textures and twinkling xylophone provide an intimate backdrop for this simple yet heart-moving rendition where Roberta's voice soars with such extraordinary emotive power. Staggering in its elegance and beauty, listen below and download (again for FREE) via Bandcamp now.



Alice Jemima #9 - Driving Home For Christmas


Alice Jemima has put her own spin on a few cover tracks already this year, from Lana's "Million Dollar Man" to Strangers "Safe / Pain", each saw Alice add her own spin (and infinite charm) to the original version, often pared down to essentially Alice's exquisitely soft voice and her delicate guitar patterns, transforming cover songs to almost her own with an impeccable home recorded sound. Alice has now turned her attention to Christmas, with a beautiful version of Chris Rea's "Driving Home For Christmas", two voices about as far apart as can be, but the results are the same, instant love.

Gone are the sweeping orchestrations and the fast pace, instead we've got Alice with her signature Hofner plucks carried by soft programmed beats and later twinkling key strokes (with a nice little nod to Jingle Bells) melting your heart (of course). Her soft vocals turn the track into a sweet serenade, perhaps not the version you'll turn to as the Turkey is about to be served and celebrations are in full flow but later in the evening, when you've had your fill of after dinner mints and ample sherry, this version will make a blissfully conclusion to your day.

A free download is below, also check out the accompanying video too:



Friday, 7 December 2012

Tips For 2013 - Part Four

The final part of my 'Tips for 2013'. If you've landed on this page and are interested in the other parts, you can find them at the following links: Parts One // Two // Three.

Savages - Facebook

Perhaps one of my most predictable tips ever for Savages have been just about everywhere (to a degree, they are hardly One Direction) over the past nine months. I almost left them off because the band hardly need the added acclaim of a small music blog, but that's not the right thing to do as Savages are easily one of the most exciting in music today (a thing they first proved to me at the Shacklewell Arms some time ago). Who'd of guessed twelve months ago when we all did our tips for 2012 lists that three of the newest bands to come through (Savages, Pins & Haim) would have been completely unknown to everyone - it goes to show these sort of lists aren't exactly gospel, but I like to think they're a bit of harmless fun and give a bit of added press to great new bands, which is hardly a bad thing.

Savages sound has been much talked about this year from the lazy 'female Joy Division' often branded around. The ferocious post-punk soundscapes of the London based quartet feature the most blistering intensity and entrancement, Savages music makes you want to play it louder and louder, again and again. Savages live show is almost faultless, driven by uncompromising basslines and tom heavy ponding drums, with brutal guitar lines adding distortion and noise while Jehn's shrieking vocals command and possess their sound brims with repressed energy which explodes with a juddering climax on the searing "City's Full", it's hypnotic and terrifyingly beautiful.

They are currently recording their debut full-length and seem set to conquer in 2013. Surely a spot on Monday's BBC Sound of 2013 will be confirmation of that.



SeaWitches - Facebook

This time with my 'ones to watch' posts around I've gone with acts who I think are a lot closer to releasing an album than on previous occasions (the fact that five of my thirteen tips are actually re-appearing on my tips list points to me being a little premature), this could certainly be one of those cases but the band in question, SeaWitches are one of most exciting new bands I've heard this year and with any luck you'll all find that out in 2013.

My love affair started in the summer of 2012 with two early tracks which I got hot under the collar about, saying this: "Another Clown Fight" with progressively flamboyant swirling guitar twangs, unsettling bass lines and skittling percussion, I can guarantee the twisted rhythm of the melody will get in your head as bewitching vocals sing haunting, sharp harmonies. "Red Light" sounds rawer as breezy guitar echoes with distorted harmonies, part 60's / 70's psychedelia. Then a live set (their London debut) blew me away before another track had me salivating again.

That track "Space Gun" is eight and a half minutes long and almost made up of two parts (please listen to it as a whole) and I'm not just say this, it will literally blow your mind, easily one of the best tracks I've heard in forever. It is that good. Starting with deep, hypnotic bass, hollow drums and swirling guitars the addictive, rocking groove gradually quickens in pace as the song progresses and it takes until a small bridge and bass lead for Jo's vocals to actually start at around the mid point of the song. The captivating, theatrical nature of her vocals is bound to lead to Siouxsie comparisons being made (for it seems everything has to be compared to something else for some reason), I'd rather call it SeaWitches, for this dramatic, slightly disturbing take on pysche-pop is a sound very much their own.

When SeaWitches make their way to a town near you, make sure you go...



September Girls - Facebook

Another of my long time (relative blog duration) favourites are September Girls, with 2012 delivering two wonderful 7"s and some well received trips to the UK following up from last years rough around the edges fuzz-pop introduction, 2013 promises even more as the Dublin quintet record their debut album.

Their majestic lo-fi garage pop rhythms and heavenly harmonies blend hypnotic, swirling psychedelia with fuzzy girl group pop, spacey korg and rumbling guitars goodness. A soon sold-out debut cassette "Wanting More" and a 7" single Green Eyed" doing likewise a perfect summation of Dublin's finest increasing popularity with fans and fellow blogs alike. They deserve all of it and more. One of the first bands I wrote down in preparation for these posts I can't wait to listen to the album next year.



That concludes my tips for 2013. Sorry to the acts who came close and missed out, there are plenty of you. The blog will now take a few days off due to a family addition (I finished this post in a baby ward so sorry for the bad English, rush job - I'm sure you understand) and return with my favourite releases of the year next week.