Monday, 21 December 2015

MUSIC LIBERATION TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2015

1. Turbowolf - Two Hands

'Two Hands', produced by Tom Dalgety (Royal Blood, Band Of Skulls, Opeth), comes full loaded with riffs aplenty, delivered with a real swagger and enthusiasm from a band that have clearly always had the talent but finally also now have the platform to deliver and showcase to the world!

2. Mo Kenney - In My Dreams

In My Dreams is a confident, thoughtful, and wholly satisfying collection of tracks which contemplate each other, and ultimately lends itself to an enchanting listening experience. Lead single 'Telephones' has some lovely harmonies, whilst you'd be forgiven for thinking that 'Untouchable' was sung by some big band diva such is the power and rawness that comes out. It's not all about the vocals though, Mo is a very talented guitarist and this is evident throughout this record.
 
 3. Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

'Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit' is an absolute delight and showcases an artist in Courtney Barnett who is clearly making the strides and sounds that refreshingly she wants. Barnett has an interesting vocal style, half spoken word, half sung, but always delivered with a clear sincerity. Her lyrics tell stories and are full of life anecdotes and humorous one liners. Aside from the humour though there's humility and honesty to her work, revealing intimate sides to her character which are hard to not get swept up by.
 
 4. Pigs - Wronger

The 11 tracks that make up Wronger are an uncompromising collection of noise rock - drawing upon hardcore and punk, as well as moments of psychedelia, instrumental, and math rock. Pigs sound pissed off, and although that anger and aggression clearly comes out through their music, there's also a certain groove to their songs and a feeling that this isn't just noise for noise sake. Each track has an identity and a meaning, with the dynamics the group are able to create leading to a comprehensive and powerful listening experience, none more so than on the album's final track, the near 8-minute long 'Donnybrook'.

 5. Torres - Sprinter

With the 9 tracks on Sprinter coming in at over 45 minutes that gives you an indication that the songs have time and space to breath and envelope you, with much to be had on repeated listens. The album is heavy and tender in equal measure, basically Torres has yet again wowed us!

6. Farao - Till It's Forgotten

We first picked up on Farao (Kari Johnson) earlier last year with the release of her self titled EP through Something Nothing Records. We were suitably impressed with that effort and so therefore the arrival of her debut album 'Till It's All Forgotten' has been high on our 'must listen to' list. Imagine a Radiohead and Bat For Lashes type equation and you'll be getting somewhere close to how this album sounds. It shimmers and moves effortlessly between tracks, with genres and ideas blurred together creating something quite special and rewarding on those repeated listens!
 
 7. Heyrocco - Teenage Movie Soundtrack
 
The ten track album is released through Vital Music Group (Old Flame Records in the states), and it sees the band put together a highly energetic, well-constructed, and ultimately well received debut record. There are pop hooks aplenty throughout Teenage Movie Soundtrack but there's also some rather meaty guitar parts which allow for an appreciation of both elements.

8. Warm Brains - Big Wow

'Big Wow' is a wide ranging album that spanning 14 tracks and touches the 45 minute mark. There are clear reference points along the way, most notably 90's brit pop or indie, with the vocals in particular giving off that sort of vague, uninterested style that many of those bands of that time were adept at. That however is just a smokescreen on this album, with Attwell almost using the vocals to slide his clear song-writing talents under the radar, as his songs offer great melodies, adept anecdotes on life in 2015, and some quite experimental song structures. There's a lot going on and it's fair to say that Big Wow is an album that may require a little work from the listener to unlock its secrets, with multiple listens a probable requirement, but trust us it really is worth it!

 
9. Marika Hackman - We Slept At Last

'We Slept At Last' was produced by long term collaborator Charlie Andrew (Alt-J), whilst the booklets with each CD/Vinyl versions feature a series of images taken by California photographer Glen Erler. The album begins with 'Drown', which is the opening single from the record, and is a perfect introduction to a contemporary folk album that has equal nods to the past, present, and future incarnations of the genre. Marika's softly spoken voice is perfect for the haunting music and ideas she creates, and over the album's twelve tracks you can easily lose yourself as the record swirls around amongst a combination of ghostly guitars and keys, with my favourite track and example of this being 'Open Wide'.

 10. Algiers - Algiers

Algiers are a 3-piece from Atlanta, Georgia, who earlier this month released their self titled debut album through Matador Records. The 11 track album provides a platform for the bands political commentary which is underpinned by a collection of post-punk, gospel influenced, highly thought out songs, that when listened to as a whole body of work really lends itself to a challenging yet highly rewarding experience.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

THE BLOG SOUND OF 2016 - LONGLIST REVEALED


We are pleased once again to help reveal the longlist for this years Blog Sound Of 2016 poll. It's an interesting list this year, the first time in the 5 years that none of our chosen artists have made the final 15 longlist, make of that what you will! As a side note we're pleased to see the reformed Mt. Wolf appear again after making the 2014 poll and abruptly spiting up, we've got high hopes for them in the new year. We'll reveal our picks in early January in our Future Sounds feature. For now here's Robin from the Breaking More Waves site who can explain more about this years list.

MT. WOLF
"The Blog Sound of 2016 is a poll of UK based bloggers to determine the most popular and favourite emerging acts among those polled.

The aim of the Blog Sound of poll is identical to the BBC Sound Of list; it attempts to showcase new and emerging artists, but it differs in so far as many of the voting bloggers do not work in the music industry, they are simply fans who have a passion for writing about the music they love. In previous years the Blog Sound poll has identified a number of acts such as Alt-J and Bastille that didn’t feature on the BBC list, and has been slightly ahead of the game, featuring the likes of Wolf Alice a year before they appeared on the BBC Sound of list. Each year there is also some cross over with the BBC list and this year is no exception.

For the 2016 poll 58 music blogs each voted for their 3 favourite acts and the top 15 of those acts form the Blog Sound of 2015 longlist. To qualify for a vote any act chosen must not have had a UK top 20 single or album, either in their own right or as a named collaborator prior to 6th November 2015.

Here’s some of the data from the voting:

  • This year 142 acts received at least 1 vote from the 174 total votes cast, showing that the UK music blog scene has a wide range of taste.
  • This years voting was the closest and broadest ever – the winning act only received votes from 8.5% of the 58 voters.
  • The vast majority of acts chosen were UK based even although the bloggers could choose acts from any part of the world. There are no American acts on the list, although there are acts from other European countries.
  • One of the acts on this years longlist (Mt Wolf) already featured on the the Blog Sound of 2014 poll, but then promptly split up. Now reformed they find themselves once again on the Blog Sound of 2016 list.
  • 5 of the acts on the BBC Sound of 2016 also appear on the Blog Sound of poll, namely Billie Marten, Loyle Carner, Mabel, Mura Masa and Nao.
  • Jack Garratt, winner of the BBC Introducing Award, Brits Critics Choice Award and a nominee on the BBC Sound of Poll didn’t receive one vote from the voting blogs, even although he qualified. However, last year Garratt almost made the Blog Sound of 2015 poll, missing it by just one single vote and finishing in sixteenth position. This is probably because bloggers no longer consider Garratt as emerging.

The full longlist is:

AQUILO - Calm sounding electronic pop duo from Silverdale, Lancashire.
AURORA - Norwegian singer who covered Oasis for the John Lewis Christmas advert.
BILLIE MARTEN - Yorkshire based acoustic singer songwriter.
GEORGE COSBY - London based singer songwriter with a deep voice and brooding songs.
HAELOS - A band who describe their music as dark euphoria
LISS - Four piece from Aarhus, Denmark who make slick sounding pop.
LOYLE CARNER - A spoken word artist with his own unique confessional style.
MABEL - The daughter of Neneh Cherry who is producing her own brand of soulful pop
MURA MASA - An electronic producer and multi-instrumetalist originally from Guernsey
MT WOLF - A reformed band who also featured on the Blog Sound of 2014 longlist.
NAO - Solo singer who mixes funk, soul and electronic sounds in her work.
PLEASURE BEACH - Indie rockers from Northern Ireland
THE BIG MOON - London based four piece alt rock / indie band
THE JAPANESE HOUSE - Amber Bain's solo project of electronic ambient songs
YAK - Energetic rock group with elements of punk, garage indie and psychedelic blues

The most voted for and top 5 acts on this longlist will be revealed on the 5th January 2016.

The blogs that voted in this years poll:

A Pocket Full Of Seeds, A World Of Music And Madness, Across The Kitchen Table, Alphabet Bands, Beat Surrender, Bratfaced LDN, Breaking More Waves, Brighton Music Blog, Buzz Unlimited, Cruel Rhythm, Chord Blossom, Daisy Digital, Dive, Details Of My Life, Dots And Dashes, Drunken Werewolf, Digital Shuffle, Echoes And Dust, Electronic Rumors, Encore Northern Island, Even The Stars, Faded Glamour, Get Into This, Get Some, God Is In The TV, I Love Pie, Just Music I Like, Kemptation, Killing Moon, Little Indie Blogs, Love Music: Love Life, Metaphorical Boat, Monkey Boxing, Music Liberation, Music Like Dirt, Music Umpire, Neon Filler, Not Many Experts, Popped Music, Pursuit Of Sound, Rave Child, Record Rewind Play, Scientists Of Sound, Some Of It Is True, Spectral Nights, Sweeping The Nation, Synth Glasgow, The Blue Walrus, The Devil Has The Best Tuna, The Electricity Club, The Evening's Empire, The Mad Mackerel, The VPME, This Must Be Pop, Thoughts On Music, Too Many Blogs, What If I Had A Music Blog, When The Gramophone Rings