Thursday, 24 July 2014
If we were going to write one of those 100 albums you must hear before you die lists, Selected Ambient Works 85-92 by Aphex Twin would without doubt be somewhere on there. It was and remains a truly groundbreaking piece of work. The reason we mention this is because on listening to Cult by 23 year old LUKA ‡ we could hear a distant similarity to the master maverick himself Mr Richard D James and that brilliant record. It’s the eerie clicks in particular, the ones that sound like they’ve been recorded in a distant cave that give Cult the slightly creepy but fascinating aura. It doesn’t particularly go anywhere, there’s no big drop that so many electronic records seem to have these days, just repetitive sounds cascading and licking around your ears in a simple but beautiful way, but it works.
Cult is taken from LUKA ‡’s (real name Luka Seifert) debut EP, which is a hugely rewarding listen for fans of ambient techno, experimental electronic music, analogue studio sounds and of course of early Aphex Twin. Apparently his Tumblr page Inside The Nest has 150,000 followers, which sounds pretty impressive, but let’s be honest we really don’t care. Let’s just listen to the music.
LUKA ‡ - Cult
Wednesday, 23 July 2014
It’s about bloody time isn’t it?
This week Charli XCX is going to have her first proper solo UK chart hit. We say ‘proper’ because the collaborations and the Icona Pop number 1 weren’t Charli in her own right.
We’ve got to say we’re very pleased about this. For 4 reasons.
1. Because the chart needs stars and performers like Charli XCX. Stars that have fire in their bellies.
2. Because it half fulfills point number 11 of this wish list for 2014 that we published on January 1st. Now what we really need to complete the pop dream is points 19 and 20 to happen before the year is out.
3. Because we can go ‘told you so’, having first featured Charli back in 2009 and having blogged her journey up the pop mountain ever since. Doesn't she look different now? (See here)
4. Boom Clap is a very good pop song and deserves to be a hit. It's far better than that Cheryl Cole tune that sounds like a half arsed demo which will probably be number 1 on Sunday (Ok that sax bit is alright we’ll admit)
So let's celebrate. Charli XCX is currently number 3 in the mid-week UK singles chart. This is bloody brilliant.
Now all we need is a proper UK tour. We believe this is going to happen. Until then, here’s one of the remixes of Boom Clap. Most of them are pretty atrocious but this one’s OK.
Charli XCX - Boom Clap (Elk Road Remix)
This is the second of two posts where we look back at the artists that we predicted would be Ones to Watch in 2014 and how they’ve fared so far.
“We're naming her as one to watch for 2014 on the basis of just the one song we've heard - always a dangerous strategy - but when that one song (Alice) is so good, she becomes one to watch even if only to see if she can keep the standard up with her next release,” we said. Her next releases, both to the internet, were Bones & Glory and Barefoot & Broken. Both were good, although not as breathtaking as Alice. Then nothing. Not even a reveal on who Monnoke was, or at least not officially. Although if you look very carefully (here) you might get the full picture. For the time being we wait patiently and hope that more material will be forthcoming soon.
7. George Ezra
When we suggested that “Ezra’s star was rising,” in our Ones to Watch article in 2013 we really didn’t expect it to rise as far as it has. Sold out gigs left right and centre, a huge UK chart and radio hit with Budapest (which was once a free download available from Soundcloud), a top 10 chart album in the UK and it seemed that he played about 100 shows at this year’s Glastonbury a bit like Ed Sheeran did a couple of years before that. The boy did good.
Queen of the internet, every time Banks has put out a song this year the blogosphere has gone crazy, rather like it did when Beggin' For Thread (streaming below) was released yesterday. The proof of her true potential will come in the next few months though. Will the BBC Sound of / Blog Sound of nominee live up to the hype with an album that manages to be both commercially and critically successful and will her live shows be able to stand the test of the large venues she’s been booked to play? When we saw one of her early UK gigs in the tiny Bermuda Triangle Club in Brighton she was good but not fully convincing. If the album stuns and if she’s upped her game with the live performance then 2014 is for her taking. If not then we might all be scratching our heads a little.
9. Eva Stone
Has yet to release a single. Maybe we were a little too early with Eva Stone? Fingers crossed for the second half of 2014. She did however support George Ezra in London earlier this year and we caught her live at Brighton's Great Escape where we confirmed that this girl has a voice of some magnitude.
Whilst keeping a relatively low profile in terms of live shows in 2014 Brighton duo IYES continued where they left off in 2013 by sparking up the blogs with the songs Breathe and Toys as well as some rather excellent remixes for the likes of Paperwhite and Zella Day. As a result Hype Machine recently featured them in their own Ones to Watch list. As far as we’re aware the band remained unsigned. “We have some amazing news coming soon,” they tweeted on Monday. We wonder if that position is about to change? Continue to keep your eyes on IYES.
Banks - Beggin' For Thread
It might only be July but we’re already starting to think about end of year lists. We’re stupidly obsessed with the things. We reckon we’ve heard at least four or five albums that stand a very good chance of getting in our top 10 (could Sophie Ellis Bextor be a surprise dark horse contender ?) and already have a sizeable bunch of possibilities for our own Ones to Watch for 2015 (2 or 3 of them may have appeared on the blog in the last month) plus some pretty strong guesses for the ubiquitous BBC Sound of list and the lesser known but in our opinion excellent UK Blog Sound of 2015 list (well we would say that, we run the thing).
As we’re over halfway through the year we thought it was about time that we cast our eyes back to the 10 acts we predicted would be worth watching last November and to give a half-term report on how they’ve been doing.
So without further ado, here we go with the first five. The next five will follow in a second post.
1. Wolf Alice
It’s been a solid year for Wolf Alice so far. The indie alt rockers followed up the excellent 2013 Blush EP by signing to Dirty Hit Records (home of The 1975, Marika Hackman and Ben Khan), released the equally good Creature Songs EP this May, played their biggest headlining tour and then hit the festivals including a slot in the John Peel Tent at Glastonbury. A good few months creatively and commercially it would seem.
2. Chlöe Howl
After bubbling under for all of 2013, 2014 has seen Chlöe continue to bubble, just the bubbles are slightly bigger. The re-released Rumour sneaked into the bottom end of the UK chart at number 84 (and bizarrely became a number 4 hit in Poland) and new single Disappointed is due to be released next week with an album to follow. Chlöe has also been bringing her punchy pop to the festivals this summer. The album was originally scheduled for June 9th but appears to have been put back till September. The question for Chlöe is will her bubble grow that little bit more (she’s on a major label and we imagine as a pop act they’ll expect a relatively quick return on their investment) or will it burst?
3. Sophie Jamieson
“Of the artists we’re selecting as our Ones to Watch 2014 Sophie Jamieson is probably one of the least likely to be lighting up the top 40 in the next year,” we wrote last November. That still holds true. However whilst Sophie’s music may not hold huge commercial potential, that doesn’t mean she hasn’t delivered anything but majestically beautiful creatively by way of single Stain / Other through Luv Luv Luv records this year. It was a case of two songs forming one single with the line ‘when I leave’ common to both. Sophie also featured on the BBC Introducing stage at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton.
The mysterious T and J finally revealed their identities and then as happens with these so called mystery acts we all went ‘ok now we know who they are’ and just got on and listened to the music. The debut album was released last week and was generally well received and went into the top 10 in the UK. It’s electro-soul done impeccably well, as are their rather groovy live shows (see the footage of Busy Earnin' from their crowd wowing set at Glastonbury below). The only question that really remains is will the record last in people’s memories – there’s not a huge variety to it. It’s virtually one idea / song played out 12 times, but it’s a very good one nonetheless.
Classic songwriting indie boys Flyte have been taking their time in 2014. Earlier in the year they were out on the road winning some new fans supporting Bombay Bicycle Club, and they released a single We Are The Rain through indie label Transgressive. Since then they’ve played a few festivals, played on the same bill as Neil Young and have been recording more material. From the songs we’ve heard Flyte play live we’d suggest that their best is yet to come. Very much still ones to watch for 2014.
Jungle - Live At Glastonbury (John Peel Stage)