Monday, 30 December 2013


So we've come to that time of the year again when we present our Top 10 albums list.

2013 has been an interesting year for Music Liberation, we've somewhat slowed down a bit in terms of the frequency of reviews, but what material we do cover is always of a high standard, and as such the compiling of the top 10 albums list has been enjoyably difficult.

Hopefully you'll discover something in this list which you might not have seen covered elsewhere. I'd like to thank our team of writers, in particular Moker, Clive, and Sarah who have continued to provide their insightful and diligent reviews. I would also like to thank you, the reader, for whatever capacity you have engaged with us over the past year. The music never stops, and 2014 already looks like being another stellar year for new music, and Music Liberation is excited to once again be a part of it.

Jon Sidwell (Editor)


"Captured almost straight to tape 'Torres' is an album of often simple and sparse arrangements, something which is incredibly brave for someone of Scott's tender years to bare her thoughts and ideas on such an open platform. It's quite a personal record from start to finish, which when combined with her fairly rangy vocals and retro sounding electric guitar (which is pretty much lush throughout), ultimately leads to a debut album which is bold, authentic, and full of integrity - quite frankly its utterly brilliant." Reviewed by Jon Sidwell


"Fall City Fall have crafted a near-perfect debut record. Brutal but accessible, it’s crowd-pleasing in their inclusion of headbanging breakdowns, and progressive in their use of innovative mathcore and melody. Personally, I rank ‘Victus’ alongside the modern masterpieces by Converge (‘All We Love We Live Behind’), Letlive. (‘Fake History’) and Vision Of Disorder (‘The Cursed remain Cursed’) for sheer passion, but also for successfully bridging hardcore, post hardcore and metalcore without pretentious mutations of the subgenres’ – um – cores. Absolutely thrilling stuff." Reviewed by Clive Rozario


"Drawing together all the happiest bits of melodic dream-pop, beachy chill-wave and vintage, washed out shoegaze, Trevor Risk, Gillian Damborg (vocals), Tyler James Quarles (bass), Ian Urbanski (guitar) and Sean Tyson (who also drums for Top Less Gay Love Tekno Party) are Vancouver’s sunniest 5-piece...It’s a juxtaposition of twee vocals and melodies with more alternative rock leanings that define the sound of this debut self titled record by Sunshine. They are certainly a band to watch out for, with this album being yet another eclectic, life affirming gem from Canada." Reviewed by Sarah Rayner 


"Let’s get this out of the way first: Fidlar's name is an acronym for 'Fuck It Dog, Life's a Risk’. Make of that what you will, but it’s certainly a good indicator of the band’s eccentric fratboy approach to their craft...FIDLAR’s debut is a simple and surprisingly catchy record that becomes more than the sum of its individual songs by unwittingly representing a sense of fun that has been all but weeded out of new guitar music today. And for that alone, this record is well worth a listen." Reviewed by Moker 


"Handbook (Jake Brown), all the way from York (the old one not the New one) messes with vintage disco, Motown, soul and hip hop hooks, relentless stuttering cut-off and loops, and just the right beats. 'Titanomachy' is an album of danceable yet melodically appealing unadulterated remixes; Brown keeps the vintage soul of his samples alive." Reviewed by Sarah Rayner


7. WIHT - THE HARROWING OF THE NORTH - Reviewed by Moker 

8. JETPLANE LANDING - DON'T TRY - Reviewed by Jon Sidwell 

9. LORE CITY - ABSENSE AND TIME - Reviewed by Moker 

10. MAYORS OF MIYAZAKI - HOLY COP - Reviewed by Moker  

Saturday, 28 December 2013


Our award for EP Of The Year 2013 goes to Sophie Jamieson with 'Where'.

We've been following Sophie's progress over the past 12 months with keen interest and recently nominated her for the UK Blog Sound Of 2014 list, which pleasingly she duly made onto the top 15.

Released in June through Folkroom Records, 'Where' is a 5-track album that is deftly powerful and belies the tender years that Jamieson possesses.

Here's what our writer Sarah had to say when she reviewed the EP back in August.

"Jamieson's music fills shady silences with pensive waves of stillness. She makes gently breathing melodies with soft instrumentation, lifted with cello and electronic nuances, while her vocals lift and fall from heady breaths to strong expressive, full bodied notes...Folk is always in danger of falling through the cracks of dull repetitiveness, but there is just enough emotional and instrumental tension within this EP to keep a dreaming listener entranced. This is music like flickering candlelight, to lie still, to think and to feel to." // Sophie Jamieson

Friday, 27 December 2013


This year's Track Of The Year goes to Marika Hackman with her song 'Bath Is Black'. The track originally appeared on her mini album 'That Iron Taste', with our attention being drawn to an acoustic version which appeared with a series of others in support of that release.

Here's a little bit of what we said about the track when we reviewed it way back when in January.

"Bath Is Black is wonderfully refreshing in what can sometimes be a stale folk genre. Starting with some delightful guitar finger picking, its Marika's vocals and poignant lyrics which really stand out here. Her voice has a delicate yet somehow knowing quality which belies her tender years, and you can't help but get drawn into her spell of weaving guitar and floating vocals with the song even changing tempo mid track almost seamlessly."

You can listen to the acoustic version here / Marika Hackman

Wednesday, 18 December 2013


Today we are reviewing the Technics RP-DH1200 headphones, a pair of DJ cans which have recently been given a resurgence from parent company Panasonic.

Some stand-out features include an in line mic for iPhone/iPod, direct volume control, two types of interconnecting cables, gold plated stereo plug, and a 50mm driver unit.

Sound Quality:- 8/10

As you would expect with most 'DJ Style' headphones, the sound is bass led, but despite this there is a clarity that surpasses most other units on the market.

Rather than having the bass dominate the sound-scape there is a clear separation of different sounds. They cater for most styles of music, however rather obviously it is the electronic genres which are best suited, with the headphones really coming into their own here.

Design:- 7/10

Following the lead from the classic Technic DJ turntable, the design is bold, mostly silver in colour, with a circle of dots on each can. They are certainly for those who like to make a statement, with the design sure to make the listener stand out in a crowd. They are more 'professional' than 'trendy/hipster' it must be said. The design feels well built and sturdy, and both ear cups can be turned by 90 degrees allowing for one-eared use.

Comfort:- 7/10

The headband and pads are leather, both of which are fairly well lined and provide a decent coverage. The cans are large enough to completely cover the ears which is not only good for noise isolation but always helps protect the ears from possible abrasion. Once on the headphones feel secure, important if you're a movable DJ or potential jogger!

Other:- 8/10

The headphones have a one sided cable which connects with a right angle jack. There is a twisting lock system which ensure the cable does not come loose. Included in the package is a coiled cable which might be more suitable in a studio situation. The normal cable has a remote attached which enables the control of volume and track selection when connected to Apple devices, as well as allowing for hands-free phone calls. One point to make is that the headphones fold up onto themselves and also come with a specially designed carry pouch.


The Technics RP-DH1200 are attractively priced at around the £180 mark, and for that figure there is much to be admired. 

The sound is powerful, bass clarity a major plus point for us dance heads, and there is also the iconic design which helps to set it apart from similar models available.

Overall rating:- 8/10

More information and technical detail for these headphones can be found here -

Tuesday, 10 December 2013


19 year old Denai Moore was born in Jamaica but grew up in Stratford, East London. She's apparently been making music since she was 7 years old, and has already toured alongside Tom Odell, appeared on the Jools Holland show, and her recently released debut EP titled 'The Lake' was produced by Ben Drew.

The first song on the EP is the title track 'The Lake'. It's instantly powerful, with a sombre piano and distant guitar playing whilst Denai demonstrates her wonderfully talented vocals. Her voice almost sounds like its being held back whilst the listener gets sucked in by the melodies, it's like a musical trojan horse.

'Everything' starts off on in a similar vein, with the music being quite stripped back, very much like the approach on the first James Blake record. However things take an unexpected uptake in beat halfway through, with Denai expressing a more positive tone and a fair amount of groove.

'Part 2' is the final track on the record, it's a delicate love song flowing from positive to negative and back again, and is sure to thaw the most frozen of hearts and minds. During the course of the EP there's nods towards the likes of Speech Debelle, Feist, the aforementioned James Blake, Cat Power even, but the over-riding thought is of how Denai has her own carefully crafted sound which is built around folk but is heavily influenced by soul.

Whilst her vocal delivery and approach is a clear stand out feature on this EP, there is also a prominence in her song writing ability, with a clear appreciation of timings and space within her songs. 'The Lake' is a brief snapshot of what this talented young woman is capable of and we're certain interested to follow her progress over the time to come. // Denai Moore

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


Music Liberation is once again both pleased and privileged to have taken part in this years UK Blog Sound poll.

This year we are excited to reveal that two of our three chosen artists have made the final list of 16 - Sophie Jamieson and Mt. Wolf.

There are also two acts who we nominated last time out who have made this years one - Marika Hackman and Wolf Alice. Not that we like to blow our own trumpets or anything!

For those of you unaware here's some background on the Blog Sound poll:-

The Blog Sound Poll was first published in 2011. The concept of the poll wasn’t to criticise the established BBC Sound of list, but simply an experiment to see if UK music bloggers could come up with its own list of emerging artists that was more representative of their community and give the artists that were nominated some extra publicity. Indeed the idea was to compliment the BBC list in many ways by providing an alternative to compare and contrast.

The 2011 list contained some interesting alternatives to the BBC list including Mercury Prize winners Alt-J and Bastille who have found huge commercial success in the UK in 2013. The 2012 list was more similar to the BBC list with Haim being the runaway winners, followed closely by Chvrches.

The UK Blog Sound of 2014 poll is the biggest yet with 59 blogs each nominating their 3 favourite emerging artists. It has been retitled to give emphasis to the fact that it is a list created by UK bloggers, although the choices of music can come from around the world. This year however, 14 of the 16 most voted for artists are British.

The winning act and close runners up will be revealed on the 2nd of January in a short list of three.

This list contains a range of artists that have all received strong coverage from UK bloggers over the last year and can therefore be seen to be a good representation of what music bloggers have been enjoying listening to.

The music blogs that took part in the voting were:-


Sultry electronic music with a hint of soul from Los Angeles - the only non-UK act on the list.

Cinematic and vast indie rock from Manchester

Singer songwriter with a bluesy voice

Dark and fiery indie rock band

Genre hopping sister duo from Cornwall

Raw d-i-y indie rock two piece from Glasgow

Edgy sweetly melodic pop duo from Brighton

Endearing East London singer who sits somewhere between pop, indie and folk

Previously known as Wall, creator of delicate, brooding, intimate pop

Singer songwriter with haunting folk references

Dreamy sounding band that combine electronics, acoustic music and ambient atmospherics with near operatic vocals.

Brighton duo that play gritty lo-fi rock with attitude

Stripped back acoustic singer songwriter

Idiosyncratic singer songwriter

Calm, atmospheric folk musician

Edgy rock band who take references from grunge and indie.