Friday, 28 January 2011

Australia day

Yup so I know Australia day was a couple of days ago - I'm sure I could hear the furore from the Finchley Road Walkabout from here - but having read through an article in great Australian blog TripleJ the other day, in which they ask a load of national celebs and tastemakers to pick their songs of the year, I thought I'd share some some promising Aussie findings with you.

Over the past couple of years Australia has really been making a name for itself on the global music map, churning out band after awesome band. You may already know about the likes of Boy & Bear, The Middle East, Hungry Kids of Hungary, The Temper Trap, The Jezabels, and Violent Soho, but here are some lesser known gems that are certainly worth checking out:  

Parades -
Georgia Fair -
Abbe May -
The Chemist -
British India -
Little Red -
Papa vs Pretty -
Sons of Rico -
Gypsy and the Cat -
Dead Letter Circus -
Hello Satellites -
Washington -

Friday, 21 January 2011

James Vincent McMorrow

Irish Folk/Acoustic is in a great place at the moment, with Domino Records' Villagers achieving world-wide acclaim and the extremely promising O Emperor starting to make waves within their relevant circles. Well, welcome to the fray the next challenger -Dublin's James Vincent McMorrow. If I Had A Boat is the song of his which has received the most cyber lovin' to date, but it's Sparrow & the Wolf which first grabbed by attention, and which I believe is the strongest showcase so far of his most potent weapon - his haunting and strangely warming falsetto. This Old Dark Machine is the latest cut to emerge ahead of his debut album Early In The Morning - out Jan 25th on Vagrant - which is promising to be a very good record indeed.

James Vincent McMorrow - Sparrow & the Wolf
James Vincent McMorrow - This Old Dark Machine

Zoo Kid


Resemblance or no resemblance to La Roux (....resemblance), London's Archy Marshall aka Zoo Kid has real talent. The guy's only 16....16! I was stil fixated with Pop Punk at that age. He's got a brilliant, and most importantly captivating, voice, and clearly nuff confidence in his own abilities. Anyone who's willing for their debut video to purely be a camera panning around them must do. The raw production helps give the track plenty of personality too.

Zoo Kid - Out Getting Ribs

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Midweek misc

Smith Westerns - All Die Young
You know a song is going to be epic when introduced by organ AND piano. The guitar licks and multi layered vocals in the chorus do nothing but contribute to this grandoise feel, and the result is a track that sounds like it could have been written by the Beatles themselves - although it somehow manages to retain a contemporary feel to it....the lo-fi tinged vocals probably explaining this somewhat. A real singalong....chanting of impending death has never felt so good.

Wiz Khalifa - G'd Up
It's safe to say that Wiz Khalifa is a big fan of kush. According to G'd Up he even wears kush cologne. So probably not a great dude to walk through airport customs with then. But while the sniffer dogs may not love his vibe, blogs are, and with the buzz dying down around Kanye and Cudi following the releases of their excellent album's last year, Wiz Khalifa's stock seems to be on the up n' up. Hip Hop's next royalty?

Cold War Kids - Louder Than Ever
Certainly a grower, this one. It didn't grab me initially, but Nathan Willet's unmistakable tones contribute to a track, especially the chorus, which nestles its way into your head and ain't going nowhere fast. A teaster ahead of upcoming album Mine Is Yours - out Jan 25th via Downtown.  

Ducktails - Killin The Vibe
I knew I'd like this track from the first bar of the opening riff, and from there it just goes from strength to strength with a deliciously melodic vocal line over the top, and some great harmonies to go along with it. The lack of chorus makes for a refreshing structure, and the general 'vibe' of the song is perfectly chilled. Oh, and for those who are thinking the track sounds much like something that Real Estate may conjure up, then the fact that Ducktails is the solo project of Real Estate's guitarist Matthew Mondanile should go some way to explaining that.

Kisses - Bermuda
I'm never too proud to admit when I've completely missed something, with Kisses' 2010 album The Heart of the Nightlife being a prime example. Bermuda is my favorite track off this release and, as it was posted by 104 blogs according to HypeM, it suggests that I've actively tried to avoid it. It's got a summer sunset vibe to it, and a chorus chord progression that comes from nowhere and pushes all kinds of buttons for me.

Band of Horses - Dilly

Stoked that Band of Horses chose Dilly as the next single off Infinite Arms, as it's probably my favorite song on the album. Those backup vocals are sublime. The video features a bunch of bikers who look like they're about to stir up all kinds of shit, and break into dance, and start shooting out their fingers...playground style. The po po step in to try and quell things somewhat, but they too feel the wrath of the outlaw's digits. Mad skills.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Teddy F


Loving this track from Toronto native Teddy F. This is the only jam of his I've heard and I can't find too much other info online, but he reminds me a little of Kid Cudi in the way that it is essentially Hip Hop but it's also got quite an Indie/Alternative feel to it, plus his laid back delivery. While I enjoy his rapping it's the backing track that really appeals...has a similar vibe to the Salem x 2Pac mashup tracks I've heard doing the round recently.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Pon de floor

This week has been a bit of a slow one for party tracks....maybe music makers are taking a while to acclimatise to this whole 2011 thing, or maybe I've just been lazy as fuck. Either way, there are still some strong jams out there, so grab your favorite goat and get down with the help of:

The Knocks - Dancing With The DJ (96 Bulls Remix)
PNAU - The Truth (Jump Jump Dance Dance Remix)
Mux Mool - Enceladus
The Whitest Boy Alive - 1517 (Young Edits Extended Dance Edit)
Neon Hitch - Am I Dreaming ft. Liam Horne (ROBOPOP Remix)
Beataucue - Disque Oh! (Eumig & Chinon Remix)

Vinyl Jacket


Where's this recent trend of Tropical Indie bands from Newcastle come from?! The climate of the city is hardly condusive to bright melodies and dancey rhythms, but following on from Little Comets' success over the past couple of years comes 5-piece Vinyl Jacket. Possibly even quirkier than recent success story Everything Everything, they've also got a bit of Vampire Weekend about them and a exciting sound that could work well in a commercial capacity. They've already got some Radio 1 play under their belts, having been featured on the Chris Moyles show this week, and there may well be plenty more to come.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Midweek misc

 Yeah so I'm a day late on this one, my bad:

Funeral Party - Giant Song
Last week's iTunes single of the week, Giant Song lives up to its name. Another sign that their Jan 25th debut Golden Age of Knowhere could be a monster.

Beady Eye - The Roller
The most promising track so far from Beady Eye a.k.a. Oasis sans Noel. This will be the first single from their debut album, Different Gear, Still Speeding, which drops on February 28th via the bands own Beady Eye Records.

Cloud Nothings "Should Have"
Following on from the new Toro Y Moi track that I included in last week's cuts, Should Have by Cleveland's Cloud Nothings is the second half of the 2 track 7″ split which the bands joined forces for. A delightful slice of lo-fi Indie Rock from the act who recently got the number 4 spot in Pitchfork's 'Best Hope for 2011' list.

The Jezabels - Hurt Me
This came out way back in '09 and completely slipped my radar, but it's just such a beautfiul song I felt it was deserving of a mention. Everything about it is epic....from the piano progressions, to the rolling drums, and especially Hayley Mary's female vocals. It was only after the first minute of the song I realised I'd been holding my breath the whole time....listen with caution.       

E-Dubble - Grown for a Minute
One of E-Dubble's best tracks to date, Freestyle Friday 50 see's him taking on Jonsi's Boy Lilikoi. A bit of a rousing one this one...

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Acts to Watch 2011....part 2

Aahhh, where were we:

Lord Huron
As much as the name suggests some sort of fucked up Scandinavian Forest Troll Metal band, you'll be please to know (I hope) that's not the case. It is in fact the monkier of Los Angeles' Benji Schneider, who expertly fuses Folk, World Beat and Indie with dreamily affected vocals lapping over the top. If Yeasayer and Fleet Foxes conceived a child in the Caribbean... Lord Huron - Mighty

I'm gonna go ahead and use my quote-knicking card on this one...""If New Wave had started out in the Canadian wilderness, the result would probably resemble this Toronto-based band's dreamy, complex sound." Cheers, Edge 102.1. Bravestation - White Wolves

Cerebral Ballzy
While I've probably seen as much chatter about their name as their music, it's the latter you should be concerned with as this Brooklyn 5-piece makes a special kind of raw Hardcore/Punk, full of urgency and energy. Ballzy indeed.
Cerebral Ballzy - Insufficient Fare (video)

While the jury is still out on the authenticity of UK folk acts, the songwriting strength (and subsequently, success) of the likes of Mumford & Sons have proved it doesn't really matter. Tristram could well be London's next success story, having shown a strong grasp of songwriting and excelling instrumentally.  Tristram - Rhyme Or Reason

Having been compared by critics to the likes of TV On The Radio and signing to UK indie Something In Construction, what's even more impressive is that the 'band' are merely Miami duo Brian Robertson and MJ Hancock, the former of who drums AND sings! Pretty friggin well too! 
ANR - The Endless Field Of Mercury

Funeral Party
Putting the 'Fun' into Funeral. Yup, with a capital 'F'. This Post-punk dance-crazed 5-piece from Los Angeles have supposedly been tearing up dancefloor's and warehouse parties back in the States and, with a string of UK dates announced for the not so distant future, look set to do similarly over here. Carwars reminds me of Head Automatica's Beating Heart Baby, which can only be a good thing.  Funeral Party - Carwars

Although I don't entirely buy into their obsession with caps (as in lock) and general disregard for correct vowel usage, what I am down with is their Balearic tinged, Friendly Fires-meets-Delorean, Indie/Electro tuneage.  YAAKS - HRHRHYTHM

Evryone - Flamingos video

I'm struggling to put my finger on Evryone's sound....their self proclaimed 'Soul/Alternative' is probably the most accurate shout. It certainly has a quirky Pop element to it too, and that eccentricity is sufficiently illustrated in the new video for their debut single Flamingos. Make sure to check out their MySpace too as these guys are producing some of the most unique, exciting music in the UK right now.

Evryone - Flamingos

Friday, 7 January 2011

Pon de floor

Whether you're partying at a house, warehouse or abandoned mosque this weekend, make sure these numbers worm their way into your playlists: 

Christoph Andersson - Capital
I've been waiting excitiedly all week to post this....and racking up some serious play count throughout. Christoph Andersson is a New Orleans teenager making sublime electro with hints of French disco - his name possibly going some way to explaining the latter influence. It makes me want to sort a house party just to build a playlist around it.

Chromeo - Hot Mess (Duck Sauce Remix)
Having dominated the whole entire world with Barbra Streisand last year, Duck Sauce are back in action, lending their hand to Chromeo's hit Hot Mess. And doing a prety damn good job of it too.

Rox - I Don't believe (Don Diablo Remix)
OK so this one may not be all that current but, um whatever. Rox was an artist I backed for widespread fame in 2010 and, while that may not have happened for whatever reason, I still believe she's an incredibly talented artist and will hopefully burst into the public eye soon enough. Just as gifted in their own right are Don Diablo who have completely re-invented this track with a shit-ton of wobble and a D'n'B beat to get bodies moving.  

Blatta & Inesha - Pancadao Supersonico (feat. Edu K)
In English, Baxter. I don't understand a word of what's going on, and don't know if I want to given how fierce this beat is! Blatta & Inesha have taken the scare-listeners-into-liking-it approach, and it's certainly worked for me. Drop this at 3am and watch dancefloor chaos unfurl.  

Adele - Rolling in the Deep (Dan Clare Club Remix)
Although I never really got into Adele before Rolling In The Deep, this song has well and truely made me see the error of my ways. It's awesome, soulful, and powerful stuff. Dan Clare has done a really good job with the track too, keeping the verse thumping along before letting rip, chopping up the chorus. Great club vibe.

Thursday, 6 January 2011


Woah....just seen this on Rocksound's site. I'm not sure I entirely agree they're THE most exciting band on the planet right now but, especially in Metalcore/Hardcore circles, Los Angeles 5-piece Letlive are certainly right up there. Rocksound were spot on with the Glassjaw, Refused and (to some extent) Deftones references, and for something a bit more current think Chiodos' techinicality with the Rock'n'Roll riffage of Every Time I Die. As may be apparent from the multitude of comparisons they're not the most original band to grace this earth - they just do it better than their contemporaries. Renegade '86 is from second album Fake History.     

Letlive - Renegade 86

Social Distortion - new album and single

Ever since hearing it back as a wee lad playing Dave Mirra BMX, presumably for the Playstation 1, Don't Drag Me Down has remained one of my favorite Punk Rock songs of all time, and for me encapsulates everything great about the genre; the energy, the angst, the melody, THAT RIFF. And now, 7 years since their last full length Sex, Love and Rock'n'Roll, Social Distortion are back. They've got a new album titled Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes dropping through Epitaph on January 17th, and have shown their hand in the form of Machine Gun Blues. Mike Ness' vocals are still as unmistakable and irrepressibly cool as ever, and the chord progressions and back up 'woooaahhh's' contribute to a sound which couldn't have been shaped by anyone else but Social D. The intensity levels have dropped marginally which is understandable for a band now in their 40's, but I'm still stoked to see what these Rock'n'Roll icons are offering from this album.         

Social Distortion - Machine Gun Blues

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Midweek misc

Fortune Family - Take Me Away
2011's Chiddy Bang? That initial vocal sample wrecks my head somewhat, but Take Me Away has a real feel good factor to it and credit must be due for providing their own hook and some smart lyrics to proceedings. Time will tell whether Fortune Family's proximity to the aforementioned's stylings helps or hinders the Philly duo's cause.    

Toro Y Moi - Still Sound
Mmmmm, that one silky smooth bassline. This jam serves as a precursor to Toro Y Moi's forthcoming album Underneath The Pine, due for release Feb 22nd. It's driven by a great upbeat groove, littered with scratchy percussion and uses both harmonized and delayed vocals, in tandem, to awesome effect.

Breton - RDI
RDI is the first track off Breton's Counter Balance EP, which came out December 13th through Hemlock Recordings - also home to the likes of James Blake and Ramadanman. So they're in pretty good company right? And they deserve to be too. Not only were they responsible for some of 2010's best remixes (their take on Local Natives' Who Knows Who Cares especially), but as RDI illustrates, their original material is hella legit too. Starting off with a Foalsy (can't be too far from the dictionary from whence they're from) guitar riff, the song assumes an almost Dubstep aesthetic upon the beat drop. The guitars and electronics continue to toil back and forth, yet the balance of two such contrasting elements is what makes the sound so impressive. Big tings.      

James Blake - I Mind
A cut from his upcoming self-titled debut, the much-hyped electronic maestro shows no sign of letting up with the hits. Can't wait for this record.  

Turbo City - Thug Night (Salem vs. 2Pac)
Thug Rap and Witch House....sounds like a pretty fucked up combo. But as displayed by Turbo City, with enough creative vision, it's possible to effectively fuse even the most obscure of genre's. So what's he done...only gone and made a whole bloody album of it! An entire album may be a tad OTT, but can't you can't doubt the lad's commitment to Thug Witch. 

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Acts to Watch 2011....part 1

In early December the BBC brought out their Sound of 2011 list - 15 artists of which great things are expected over the coming year. I always feel there's an element of causality with the BBC list, and it's never entirely clear whether they would've gone on to hit the heights they did, were it not for the exposure through this much subscribed and discussed list. Either way, there are some great names that go into compiling the list, and it always makes for some interesting reading; this year being no exception

James Blake and Jamie Woon are the dubstep and 2-step (repectively) dabblers who will no doubt aide both genres' continual movement towards the mainstream, and rightly so...both are extremely talented and certainly worth a listen if you haven't heard them already. The Vaccines combine a sufficiently cool edge to their melodic pop tunes to suggest commercial potential, and what the likes of Mona and The Naked And Famous possibly lack in originality, they make up for in big kick ass tunes. Claire Maguire is widely tipped to take the title and will be a household name this year regardless, with the same to be said about Jessie or hate her. As much as I love Warpaint I was surprised to see them on the list as I thought they were as much an act to watch in '10 as they will be in '11 - pick up their debut The Fool if you haven't done so already.

While there are some really excting acts on that list, below are those that I feel were unlucky not to get a mention, and who I think will be featuring heavily in the coming year:

Young The Giant
Formerly known as The Jakes, these guys have a fresh, upbeat pop sound which certainly lends itself to the radio. The backing of Roadrunner Records out in the States shouldn't hinder their progess either.
Young The Giant - I Got
I was massively surprised at the omission of this 'gritpop' foursome from BBC's list, especially given the sheer quantity of big-up's they've been receiving from all corners of the UK media recently. Previously operating under the moniker Wolf Am I, their drastically new sonic direction seems to be paying huge dividends. Brother - Time Machine

Chapel Club
This London quintet displays a sense of maturity in their songwriting that significantly belies their respective ages. More tracks of the calibur of Five Trees and All The Eastern Girls will ensure their upcoming album Palace is one of the debut releases of 2011. Chapel Club - Five Trees

Young Empires
A product of the fertile Toronto scene, fusing Electo, Indie and World Beat into contagious dance tunes that really anyone with a pulse and feet could and should be shaking it to. The pre-chorus to Against The Wall alone is enough to cement themselves a place on this list. Young Empires - Rain of Gold

His 'Freestyle Friday' series has been burning up the interweb - E-Dubble spitting over anything from clasical overtures to 2004-era house party tracks, and showing he's equally adept at rocking whatever he puts his lyrics to. E-Dubble - Let Me Ohh

From the graphics on their MySpace page, to trippy press pics, to their music itself, GOBBLE GOBBLE are far from normal, which is really what makes them such a delightful prospect. I'm going to struggle to describe this one....have a listen for yourselves. GOBBLE GOBBLE - Lawn Knives

This may seem like a weird act to include considering how much blog love they've already had all through 2010, but with a debut full-length planned for this year, expect Mike Diaz's Ambient/Chillwave/Surf stock to keep on risin'. Millionyoung - Mien

Stay tuned for part 2....