Monday 29 December 2014

Top Ten Albums of 2014 - Part Two

Let us continue on this magical full length release journey through 2014.
If you missed Part One (albums 10-6) you can peruse that here.

5. Banks - Goddess [Released: 1 September]
LA based singer Jillian Banks clearly named her debut album after herself. The deluxe version of 'Goddess' acts as an epic hour and a quarter long catalogue of everything we've heard from her so far. If I was going to go through an extremely treacherous break up, I think Banks would be the one to get me through it. Obviously songs like 'Waiting Game' would probably enhance matters but I'd like to think 'Before I Ever Met You' would raise my game again. It's hard to believe that someone as stunning as Banks and with a voice as sultry as hers has been through the heartbreak shown on this album but in a musical sense, it works. Although the moody slow songs are what Banks does best, the more upbeat tracks like 'Stick' and 'Beggin For Thread' are a welcome change to spicing up this full length effort.
iTunes / Spotify / Deezer

4. PVRIS - White Noise [Released: 3 November]
'White Noise' is the debut album from Massachusetts trio PVRIS released on Rise Records - their first female fronted signing. After the release of an acoustic EP earlier this year, I don't know if anybody was ready for 'St Patrick', the first single to be taken from 'White Noise'. It's catchy, punchy pop rock that I'd quite like to compare to a "heavier" version of Chvrches. Follow up single 'My House' was more of the same catchiness (now a word) that we'd heard on the previous track but that little bit more "rock". As discussed yesterday with regards to Ariana Grande, I've got a real issue with ballads (Banks doesn't count FYI) so there are some songs on 'White Noise' including the title track that we're going to need to gloss over. Other than the earlier singles, 'Fire' and 'Mirrors' are the standouts on the latter half of the record. The album does have a tendancy to become "The Lynn Gunn Show" but when it sounds this good, who really cares?
iTunes / Spotify / Deezer

3. Beartooth - Disgusting [Released: 9 June]
Former Attack Attack! frontman Caleb Shomo's debut full length with new band Beartooth is fast paced, loud and angry. Shomo's screamed verses switch effortlessly into clean choruses as we see throughout 'In Between' which is arguably one of the calmer tracks on the album. The lyrical content on this record is dark, I mean really dark, focusing on topics such as depression and eating disorders. It's hard to pick standout moments on 'Disgusting' because aren't any lulls in quality or pace, but 'Beaten In Lips', 'I Have A Problem' and 'Keep Your American Dream' are probably the ones that are up there. My biggest regret of 2014 was missing Beartooth's London headline show at Borderline in September, I'm not sure I'll ever forgive myself.
iTunes / Spotify / Deezer

2. Architects - Lost Forever // Lost Together [Released: 11 March]
So Architects have produced the only album in this top five that isn't a debut... I don't know what that says about the other albums or about Architects or about me, so we'll move on. 'Lost Forever // Lost Together' is the sixth album from the Brighton metalcore outfit, and it's fucking huge. I find it hard to get past third track 'Broken Cross' when wading through this album because all I want to do is go back and listen it again along with 'Gravedigger' and 'Naysayer'. When you do venture further through this album you'll come across the three C's and these do not disappoint. The three C's? 'C.A.N.C.E.R.', 'Colony Collapse' and 'Castles In The Air'. In fact, not one second of this album disappoints. I think I would go as far as calling this album a modern rock/metal masterpiece.
iTunes / Spotify / Deezer

1. Tove Lo - Queen of the Clouds
Here's the thing, Tove Lo's album is extremely justifiably my album of the year. Tove Lo is incredible. HOWEVER, this album has not been released in the UK yet. It has been released in pretty much every other territory on the planet, but not the UK. So there are a couple of options here but obtain it by whatever means you see fit. Back to business, 'Queen of the Clouds' is yet another debut album to feature on this list, this time from Swedish pop perfectionist Tove Lo. The album isn't quite a concept album, but it's compiled of three chapters: The Sex, The Love and The Pain. As you can probably tell, listening to this album all the way through is the best method as it tells a story. 'The Sex' is expectedly fun and playful and features my favourite track on the album, 'Talking Body'. 'The Love' gets a bit darker, depicting the more intense and sometimes uncomfortable aspects of a relationship. There are no prizes for guessing what the final part of the album, 'The Pain', is about. Tove Lo's biggest single to date, 'Habits' (or the Hippie Sabotage remix 'Stay High') is taken from this section of the record. Overall, 'Queen of the Clouds' is an exciting yet emotional album that has without a doubt been my favourite of 2014.

Honourable Mentions:
Blitz Kids - The Good Youth (I've said some things, but this album was outstanding)
Heart to Heart - Dulce
The Hell - Groovehammer (If this list were curated based on album plays 'Groovehammer' would no doubt have made the final ten, alas, you can't have it all, The Hell, you can't have it all)
Hozier - Hozier
Issues - Issues
Jungle - Jungle
Moose Blood - I'll Keep You In Mind From Time To Time (Would have made it into the top ten but the release show was really what made this album special for me)

Please comment below and let me know how annoyed you are that I haven't included Royal Blood or FKA Twigs.

Sunday 28 December 2014

Top Ten Albums of 2014 - Part One

I've had quite a tough time putting this list together, I don't think I've personally been listening to albums as much this year as I usually do. That's sort of left this list very #alt/rock centric which is fine but I don't know if it's an accurate representation of what goes on at WIIHAMB.

But it's okay, because next year I will be implementing Breaking More Waves' "scientific" answer to end of year album lists. You can view exactly what they did here. In reality, I'll do this for January and then get bored, but it's nice to think I will do it isn't it?

10. I Am The Avalanche - Wolverines [Released: 18 March]
I've loved I Am The Avalanche's debut self titled album for about eight years now. When the follow up 'Avalanche United' was released around five years after the debut, I skimmed over it; it wasn't the same and at the time I wasn't interested. With a shorter wait between albums, IATA's third effort 'Wolverines' reignited my love for them and I couldn't be more grateful. 'Wolverines' is fast paced, the New York five piece rattle through ten tracks before you know it. The singalongness... singalongability... ability to sing along to the choruses on the likes of '177' and 'The Shape I'm In' really make this album. I don't know how to explain this, but there's something really authentic and genuine about Vinnie Caruana's vocals. They make the songs more real, more believable, and I don't know if I could say the same about any of the other albums on this list.
iTunes / Spotify / Deezer

9. Ariana Grande - My Everything [Released: 25 August]
Remember my favourite phrase #PopPerfection? Good, because Ariana Grande's sophomore album is just that. Her first album saw guest appearances from Big Sean and Mac Miller, and this second effort has spawned worldwide hits with features from Iggy Azalea and Zedd. I don't like to gloss over 'Problem' but we've all heard it and we all know that it's a 10/10. It's a fact that I'm not compatible with ballads and there are a few of those on here so I'm going to skip those and focus on the good bits - although upon reflection, the ballads are still quite good. 'My Everything's holy trinity starts with the Cashmere Cat produced 'Be My Baby', followed by Diana Ross/Notorious BIG sampling 'Break Your Heart Right Back' and completed by 'Love Me Harder' featuring The Weeknd. If you want a synopsis of why this album is great, those three tracks should do the trick. Fun fact - boring ballad 'Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart' was penned solely by none other than Harry Styles, according to Wikipedia.
iTunes / Spotify / Deezer

8. Being As An Ocean - How We Both Wondrously Perish [Released: 9 May]
September 2013 I saw The Elijah play their final UK show at The Underworld supporting Being As An Ocean on their European run. With Michael McGough joining Being As An Ocean it felt like they were gaining, in my mind, what the best part of The Elijah had been. McGough's vocals give BAAO a new edge and a depth to their music that was lacking on debut album 'Dear G-D...'. I do find something outrageously pretentious about the song titles on 'How We Both Wondrously Perish' but I'm willing to put that down to me not "getting the scene" and luckily they've got very little to do with the music itself. Similar to a couple of artists I was talking about in my EPs list yesterday, the tracks on this EP are just beautifully constructed - I don't know what the technical term for this is but hopefully you get the gist. 'L'exquisite Douleur' probably best sums up this album, encompassing what fans liked about the debut as well as the new elements.
iTunes / Spotify / Deezer

7. Polar - Shadowed By Vultures [Released: 10 February]
At the start of 2014 I tried to do album reviews on WIIHAMB; the format didn't last long but 'Shadowed By Vultures' was one that made the cut and I originally gave it 9/10. Eight months on and I'm not sure I'd be quite so generous but Polar's second full length effort was definitely one of my most played albums in the first half of 2014. ‘Shadowed By Vultures’ is so impressive compared to what I thought I'd heard from Polar before. The standout moments on this album come from 'Before The Storm' followed by single 'Mountain Throne'. 'Before The Storm' is such a sharp contrast to the rest of the album, featuring vocals courtesy of Signals' Ellie Price, a beautiful and haunting three and a half minutes that despite being so different to the other tracks, still fits so well. Polar are actually playing 'Shadowed By Vultures' in full in London on February 19th if you wanted to check it out.
(This almost didn't make the cut but listening to it again was such a pleasure, it's found itself at bloomin' number seven hasn't it!)
iTunes / Spotify / Deezer

6. Dae Zhen - Women & Wordplay [Released: 4 February]
I fell in love the first time I heard Dae Zhen. In short, he's a rapper from LA and 'Women & Wordplay' is his debut album. I've said pretty much the same thing each time I've posted about Dae Zhen, but his rapping meets his singing perfectly, there's the optimal balance between the two in every song. My favourite thing about 'Women & Wordplay' is its lyrical content, it's believable and interesting and depicts real things in his life. It's something that's really refreshing to hear in hip hop. The whole album is just so chill, it's like easy-listening rap, which sounds weird when I come to explain it but it works and it sounds great. The production throughout is also nigh on perfect as are the samples which include Lion Babe's 'Treat Me Like Fire'(!!!).
The bombshell? Women & Wordplay is free to download on Dae Zhen's Bandcamp.

If you didn't hate this, check back tomorrow for round two.

And feel free to figuratively slap me round the face with your opinions on my choices in the comments below. I know you won't, but I thought I'd ask anyway.

Saturday 27 December 2014

Top Five EPs of 2014

I've picked five EPs that I really enjoyed this year. Here they are listed in release date chronological order.

Ed Thomas - Outlaws [Released: 7 February]
Outlaws is the debut EP from London based singer/songwriter/producer/guy-who-likes-Gambino Ed Thomas. Thomas' name may sound familiar as back in March he featured on Chase & Status' single 'Blk & Blu'. The EP makes its way through a couple of genres, title track 'Outlaws' and single 'On My Own' are mellow and very RnB infused. Then 'Let It Take' is much more upbeat and more like something we'd hear from a synthy indie band. The running outstanding theme throughout the EP is Thomas' vocals; they're soulful and heartwarming and just all round so pleasant to listen to. The best is yet to come though - this EP is available to download FOR FREE right here.
But it is also only £2 on iTunes / Spotify / Deezer

Only Rivals - Details [Released: 24 February]
Back in February, Irish four piece Only Rivals released their debut EP 'Details'. The course of the last twelve months has seen them supporting All Time Low in March and New Found Glory last month on the Pop Punk's Not Dead tour. I wouldn't personally class Only Rivals as a pop punk band, the closest to pop punk they get is on my personal favourite 'When I Die'. All five tracks on 'Details' really showcase how good a rock band Only Rivals are and hint towards what could be in store from their debut album. Singles 'Borders' and 'History' pack the biggest punch with catchy guitar riffs and huge hooks.
iTunes / Spotify / Deezer

Oceaán - The Oceaán EP [Released: 30 May]
Today, I learnt that it's very tricky to listen to this EP with lots of background noise. Some good headphones and a pitch black room would probably do it more justice - I imagine lots of colours when I listen to Oceaán, I don't know why. ANYWAY, The Oceaán EP is the first of two EPs released by Oceaán in 2014. Oceaán is 21 year old Manchester based producer of sorts. He creates this peculiar, dreamy, subtly off the wall electronic music that I would probably just use the word "vibey" to describe. A similar tone runs through the first four tracks of the EP but final track 'Your Side' is much more brash but ties the release together with something that we hadn't heard before.
iTunes / Spotify / Deezer

Trade Wind - Suffer Just To Believe [Released: 3 June]
In 2014, Stick To Your Guns' Jesse Barnett and Stray From The Path's Tom Williams joined forces to create Trade Wind. A band to fill the Thrice shaped void in our lives bringing post hardcore back to the forefront of our minds. Their debut EP 'Suffer Just To Believe' draws the obvious similarity with Thrice but the songs are also beautifully constructed as we're used to hearing from the likes of Deftones, 'White Pipes' in particular. The amalgamation of heavy sections throughout the release and calming acoustic verses like we see on 'Pain Is A Gift' work incredibly for  this little side project.

Childish Gambino - Kauai [Released: 3 October]
October saw Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino release his mixtape/EP STN MTN/Kauai. It's fair to say Kauai is the much poppier side of what Gambino does with the seven track release focusing much more on his singing ability opposed to his rapping. Following the storytelling that we saw on Gambino's last album 'because the internet',  Jaden Smith features on two of the tracks with a couple of spoken word verses. The highlights of this EP come in the first half but the special surprise is hidden in '3005 (Beach Picnic Version)'. What, on the surface, is a chilled out version of 3005, is actually the instrumental for a new version of 3005.

Honourable Mentions:
Gallant - Zebra
State Champs - The Acoustic Things
Sunset Sons - No Bad Days
Tom James - Blood To Gold
Yearbook - Old Bones

Friday 26 December 2014

Top 25 Tracks of 2014: The Top Five

We've made it, through Christmas and through 20 of the best songs of 2014, but now for the final five.

In case you did miss anything over the past few days catch up here
Numbers 25 - 16
Numbers 15 - 6
And the ones that got away

So without further ado, let's get it started.

5. Rixton: Wait On Me
Justifying not sticking this at number one was really hard. The nice thing about Rixton is that even though they’re still lumped in the boyband category with the likes of The Vamps, their songs are actually good. Another one for the #PopPerfection list.

4. Architects: Naysayer
It's hard to believe that it's been almost a year since Architects unveiled 'Naysayer', the first single taken from their sixth album 'Lost Forever // Lost Together'. Not straying from what they do best, 'Naysayer' is metal/metalcore/(whatever genre it is, who cares) at its finest.

3. Kiesza: Hideaway
I think I first heard 'Hideaway' on a specialist show on Radio 1. I knew the song was great but didn't really expect it or Kiesza to cross over to the mainstream and produce one of the biggest singles of 2014. The video is also still insane, the final edit was the second take.

2. Bring Me The Horizon: Drown
It's been clear over their past couple of albums that Bring Me The Horizon have been developing their sound but I'm not sure any of us expected something like 'Drown'. Finishing 2014 headlining Wembley Arena and scoring their first UK Top 20 single with 'Drown' are some pretty incredible achievements for this metal five-piece from Sheffield.

1. Years & Years: Desire
Personal bias has played an extremely large part in Years & Years making it to the top spot of this list and you know what, I don't care one bit. Years & Years have by far been my favourite "new band" of 2014 and their latest single 'Desire' is nothing short of incredible.

Thursday 25 December 2014

Top 25 Tracks of 2014: The Ones That Got Away

I lied yesterday when I said I was going to do the top five today, I'm not, it'll be tomorrow.

In the meantime, there are a couple of songs that probably should have made it into my list but narrowly missed out.

Seeing as my original top songs list was around 50 tracks long, we'll keep this short and sweet.

Mark Ronson feat Bruno Mars: Uptown Funk
This song was released so late in the year that I started losing track of everything and never actually posted it at all. 'Uptown Funk' is probably one of the greatest "comeback" songs of all time. 50 million YouTube views in just over a month is no lie.

Clean Bandit: Rather Be
Personal prejudice was probably holding this one back from featuring in the Top 25 - I've just had enough. But there's no denying that Clean Bandit took 2014 by storm and if it weren't for 'Rather Be' I don't think their year would have been quite the same.

Chromeo: Jealous (I Ain't With It)
I actually posted the Chainsmokers remix of this song back in March but over the past month or so it's come to light that the originally is definitely better. I never really got Chromeo before, but their album 'White Women' released earlier this year is really great.

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Top 25 Tracks of 2014: 15-6

Why stop now?

Here's a recap of the last few days of WIIHAMB Daily and my rundown of 'Top 25 Tracks of 2014" numbers 15-6.

Knock yourselves out before the top five tomorrow!

15. Charlie Barclay-Webb: Get To Know Me
I can remember the Sunday night struggle that I was having with this song trying my utmost to think of artists that sounded similar. Eight months on I still can’t do it. As a debut single ‘Get To Know Me’ is striking and brash but that’s what makes it great.

14. RL Grime feat How To Dress Well: Reminder
RL Grime straying from the trap he’s used to seems to have worked out for him in the realm of ‘Reminder’. Featuring How To Dress Well’s RnB vocals, this collaboration is as haunting as it is sexy and stunning. The universe needs more collabs like this.

13. Route 94 feat Jess Glynne: My Love
I don’t really have much to say about Route 94’s ‘My Love’ other than that it was another one of those underground tracks that was picked up by the likes of Radio 1 and absolutely smashed the UK singles chart. So simple, but so great.

12. Tinashe feat SchoolBoy Q: 2 On
The only time Mustard has featured on the beat on WIIHAMB in 2014. The rest of Tinashe’s 2014 album ‘Aquarius’ doesn’t really sound anything like ‘2 On’ but ‘2 On’ is so good you can just stick it on repeat forever and it won’t really matter.

11. Raleigh Ritchie: Bloodsport
Raleigh Ritchie has by far been one of my favourite “new” artists of 2014. I pretty much listened to ‘Bloodsport’ for the entirety of the first two months of the year. ‘Bloodsport’ is simple and beautiful and a great example of what Raleigh Ritchie is capable of.

10. PVRIS: St. Patrick
'St. Patrick' was PVRIS' debut single. After their acoustic EP released in April this year, I'm not sure anyone was expecting them to bring out something as huge and anthemic as 'St. Patrick'. It's that perfect mix of rock meets synth-pop. You did good PVRIS.

9. Blonde feat Melissa Steel: I Loved You
My original post on this song is SPOT ON. I said (and hoped) that this would be Blonde’s breakout single and there it was a couple of weeks ago sitting pretty at number 7 in the UK chart. At the time of the original post Melissa Steel’s vocals also went uncredited - I’d like to think I played a pretty major part in the decision to include her existence on this track. (I obviously didn’t, but what does it matter.) All of that aside, I’d like to say that this is my favourite dance track of 2014.

8. Paolo Nutini: Iron Sky (Hudson Mohawke remix)
I'd be surprised by anyone who didn't include 'Iron Sky' in their favourite songs of 2014. Hudson Mohawke needs to be commended on taking such a masterpiece and remixing it in a way that doesn't interfere with the original song. So much so that this is less of a remix and more of an alternative version. Either way, it's simply stunning.

7. Lower Than Atlantis: Here We Go
There comes a time in life when we all have to admit defeat. For me this time came when Lower Than Atlantis unveiled 'Here We Go'. I don't know what's happened to LTA since the completion of their second album 'World Record' but this new poppier rock route seems to be working out. Standout rock (not metal) single of the year.

6. MNEK: Every little word
MNEK is a certified pop genius at the ripe old age of 20. MNEK has had a whirlwind of a year in 2014 with writing credits on three UK top 10 singles. It's just a shame that his own songs have fallen slightly under the radar. 'Every Little Word' was MNEK's proper debut single and his incredible vocals paired with an off the wall track made for pop perfection.

Top 25 Tracks of 2014: 25-16

So for the past couple of weeks (probably the last six weeks or so, it's been arduous) I have been trying to pull together a list of my favourite/the best songs of 2014. I was going to settle for 40 but managed to cut down the list to 25.

Before revealing the top five tomorrow, here's a recap of the last few days of WIIHAMB Daily and my rundown of 'Top 25 Tracks of 2014" numbers 25-16.

25. The Ciazarn Affair: Hey Rube (Chapter Two)
'Hey Rube (Chapter Two)' was the first thing that I heard from The Ciazarn Affair and it was an epic Panic! At The Disco meets Set It Off extravangza from a little known Glaswegian four piece. My brain is still shattered by the last 30 seconds of this song. All together now: "THE MEMORIES I REMEMBER."

24. The LaFontaines: Under The Storm
My 2014 festival highlight came courtesy of The LaFontaines' 'Under The Storm' at Redfest. If you haven’t heard of The LaFontaines before, they’re a rock band but with a rapper and it sounds nuts but it’s actually really good. Favourite chorus of 2014.

23. Karen Harding: Say Something
Karen Harding’s debut single ‘Say Something’ is quite simply three minutes and 38 seconds of pop perfection. Penned by MNEK, everything that happens throughout this song makes me want to hit repeat as soon as it’s over. Dear Radio 1, please playlist this, thanks.

22. Jack Garratt: Worry
This was the second track I’d heard from the London based singer/songwriter and I definitely didn’t think twice about featuring it. Starting off mellow and near-acoustic, by the chorus ‘Worry’ transforms into something much bigger with an unexpected bassline and Garratt’s super smooth vocals. Huge things for this guy in 2015.

21. Iyes: Breathe
Hearing ‘Breathe’ again a couple of weeks ago was just as exciting as listening to it for the first time. This duo from Brighton create this eerie yet sensual atmosphere that’s just so captivating. Melis Soyaslanová’s vocals are my favourite thing about this Iyes track though - effortless, pure and stunning.

20. Shift K3y: Touch
I’m not sure that anyone, least of all Lewis Jankel himself, expected ‘Touch’ to be the chart smash hit that it was, charting at number 3 in the UK back in April. Massive breakout tune from the 21 year old. Also probably the only song on this list that fades out *shudders*.

19. Ella Eyre: Comeback
I think Ella Eyre has probably been my favourite pop star of 2014. Summer 2014 saw her score her first solo top 20 single with ‘If I Go’ but feisty follow up single ‘Comeback’ is where I think we see what Ella Eyre is really capable of.

18. Ryn Weaver: OctaHate
'Octahate' is pretty off the wall. After six months of listening to Ryn Weaver's debut single, it's fair to say I've still got absolutely no idea what's going on. And that's what makes it so brilliant.

17. Banks: Beggin For Thread
I’ve posted four different Banks singles on WIIHAMB this year and picking just one for this top 25 list was tricky but ‘Beggin For Thread’ just edged it above the others.This track isn’t Banks’ typical broody style, even though it’s still emotional it’s feistier than other Banks tracks.

16. Hozier: Sedated
Just over a year ago, I posted ‘Take Me To Church’. At the time it was available for free download on a four track EP from Hozier’s website. If I’d posted it this year, there’s no doubt it would have made the top five in this list. ‘Sedated’ however has still made it into this top 25.

Saturday 20 December 2014

ICYMI - This Week on WIIHAMB - 2014 Week #51

In case you missed it - You shouldn't have, but just in case you did.
Keep up to date with all of the daily goings-on over at WIIHAMB Daily.

This is going to be the last ICYMI of 2014. Starting tomorrow I'll be singlehandedly (or I might use both hands, haven't decided yet) taking you a wild journey back through the best bits of the last 12 months. Buckle up and keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle. *Read in Caribbean accent* It's gonna be a bumpy ride. *End Caribbean accent*

'Losing You' is the second recent video release from Aquilo and is taken from their new EP 'Human', which was released last week. 'Losing You' is slow burning with its piano-led start but climaxes into an epic heartfelt finale.

OnCue has definitely been one of my favourite “discoveries” from 2014.‘Angry Young Man’ is the title track from OnCue’s free to download album released earlier this year. Everything on it is great.

'Devilish Acts' is the new single from Leicester based Omaha. Recently signed to We Are Triumphant, 'Devilish Acts' comes from Omaha's forthcoming EP 'Chapters', due out early next year.

French producer/DJ brother duo Picard Brothers and Swedish singer Erik Hassle work together like an absolute dream. This team have produced an electro/RnB breakup masterpiece. The accompanying lyric video is pretty special as well, telling the story of the song through historic paintings.

Throwback Thursday
PRAISE THE LORD FOR LEMAR. No but seriously, what a great guy. Great singles and I bet he’s great to go down the pub with. Apologies for this video’s unfortunate thumbnail - clearly no one at Lemar HQ is fussed about his YouTube presence.

WIIHAMB favourite Barnaby (I said that last time, but I’m really into Barnaby) features on the new single from British DJ/producer Embody. ‘With You’ is a great electronic track especially with the addition of Barnaby’s smooth vocals and the totally old school inspired lyric video. Missed that this song is a motherclucking free bloody download! Go HERE.

Manchester based singer/songwriter JP Cooper has unveiled an indie/soul hyprid of perfection. His voice absolutely melts away and leaves you craving more. JP Cooper’s ‘When The Darkness Comes’ EP is released early next year.

December playlists so far: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer


Sunday 14 December 2014

ICYMI - This Week on WIIHAMB - 2014 Week #50

In case you missed it - You shouldn't have, but just in case you did.

Week 50! Two weeks left of 2014 and guess who still hasn't starting anything mildly to do with the ending of 2014... it's me! I also haven't bought any Christmas goods (i.e. cards or presents) yet so we're right on track. At least this old thing is still plodding along.

Keep up to date with all of the daily goings-on over at WIIHAMB Daily.

South London based 17 year old musician Raye is next up in a line of The BRIT School’s pop sensations to be. ‘Bet U Wish’ is taken from her debut EP ‘Welcome to the Winter’ which is free to download now over on her website.

You’ve never heard vocals so pure until you’ve heard Emily Burns. ‘Counting Seconds’ is three and half minutes of beautiful and heartfelt simplicity. At only 20 years old, there are clearly huge things around the corner for the English singer/songwriter.

You’ve never heard Blink 182 quite like this. Devon Baldwin manages to transform Blink 182’s pop punk anthem into a pretty electro-pop song.

Twenty year old French DJ Madeon has returned with his epic new track ‘You’re On’ featuring rising star Kyan on vocals. ‘You’re On’ follows the more commercial pop dance route that we heard from Madeon with ‘The City’ and will no doubt hit the big time over the festive period.

BBC Sound of 2015 vs Blog Sound 2015

By far the coolest thing I’ve been asked to do since I started WIIHAMB is to participate in The Blog Sound of 2015. The Blog Sound poll acts as an alternative to the BBC poll, voted for by bloggers. Take a look at the artists who made the longlist as well as my views on the whole shebang.

Throwback Thursday
By chance on the day I went to see Vinnie Caruana last month this track brought itself back into the forefront of my memory. Probably my favourite Set Your Goals song and Vinnie’s verse is killer.

'Amnesia' follows 'Blood Flow' which we posted last month from London based production outfit Ritual. December has seen Ritual also release their debut EP 'The Fall'. 'Amnesia' is piano-led, emotional and features 17 year old upcoming rapper Chester Watson.

'It's About Time' is the new single from Light You Up, taken from their debut album due for release in January. A great pop punk single with a catchy chorus. If this track is anything to go by, the album's going to be pretty great.

December playlists so far: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer


Wednesday 10 December 2014

Blog Sound 2015: Lists vs Polls vs Voting vs Opinions

Firstly, I'd like to apologise for how delayed this post is. Everyone's probably forgotten that these polls even happened now that we're closer to Christmas, but this is something that I really wanted to write about.

Ever since starting What If I Had A Music Blog I've been really interested in the BBC's 'Sound Of' poll. In light of this I was ecstatic when asked to participate in this year's Blog Sound Poll. Before I give my picks for 2015 in the new year, I wanted to compare the BBC and blog polls as well as give some of my opinions on the artists featured.

I'm sure most of you are aware of the BBC Sound of Poll. If not, very briefly, a load of industry types pick three artists that they think are going to be huge next year, the most popular ones get whittled down to a long-list of 15 acts, and then in January these are narrowed down even further to the top five. There's no prize for appearing on this list, but there's a lot of chance for exposure and it must be nice to have big-shots in #theindustry believing in you. The Blog 'Sound of' poll works in a very similar (almost identical) fashion apart from with music bloggers. The most immediately noticeable difference between the two lists is that the artists featured in the blog poll are overall much more underground than those in the BBC poll. Part of me thinks that "the bloggers" overlooked some of the more well known artists on the BBC poll due to wanting to publicise acts they thought the BBC might have missed out on. After all, the blog list is supposed to be an alternative.

Years & Years

Even though there are very few artists who crossover between the two lists, for me, the artist most likely to #smashit next year is Years & Years. Due to the rules of the Blog Poll, Years & Years were ineligible for nomination because of their feature on The Magician's 'Sunlight' which peaked at number seven in the Official UK Singles Chart. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that if eligible, Years & Years would have made the Blog Poll longlist and stolen the show outright. Artist most likely to Clean Bandit 2015. (More on this in my own Ones To Watch thing at the start of next year.)

BBC Poll

In my opinion, this list was fairly predictable. It features all three BRIT Award Critic's Choice nominees (obviously) and artists Radio 1 and specialist DJs across the BBC have already begun championing, but then there are a couple of strange ones. Novelist. At the time of drafting this post, if I have heard of them/him/her before, I sure don't remember it. After some research, I'm now aware that Novelist is a 17 year old rapper from Lewisham and if his Toddla T 1Xtra freestyle is anything to go by, he's quite good. Secondly, Wolf Alice. This is a band who could very well have featured on the 2014 list and with that exposure could have had "their year" in the last twelve months. Overall, I'd say that the BBC list is fairly well rounded and covers most bases for what probably will be the most popular new acts for 2015 but nothing to get overly excited about.

Blog Sound Poll

Here's the interesting bit. First off, if it weren't for WIIHAMB, I would not have heard of more than three acts who feature on this list (and the third one is a push). There's no denying that this list is more specialist. Personally, one of the three artists I nominated made the longlist cut, so did one I very nearly nominated, as did a third I really like but I feel 2015 may be too soon for them to hit the big time. I personally follow quite a few of the blogs who took part in this poll and I feel as though the list is a fair representation across the board of the artists featured and championed by these blogs.

THAT'S JUST IT. The Blog Sound of 2015 represents the artists featured in the blogs who participated. 62 blogs took part in this poll, opposed to the 139 pundits involved in the BBC poll. Robin at Breaking More Waves who organises this whole Blog Sound rig had a couple of pretty interesting views on the longlist. Two points that Robin made was the lack of genre diversity between the artists featured as well as the lack of ethnic diversity. With regards to genres, Robin basically explains how difficult it is to get hip hop and electronic blogs on side to take part in the Blog Sound poll. With this in mind, I don't think more than one or two of the artists on the list sound particularly similar. As I mentioned earlier, bearing in mind the blogs who took part, this list is pretty varied.

The second point about ethnic diversity I find a little harder to swallow. I'd like to note that I would have exactly the same mentality if it were gender that we were discussing. It is a fact that there are six black male artists who feature on the BBC list. It's also a fact that none of these six artists appear on the Blog longlist. There is not one iota of me that believes this is anything to do with the ethnicity of these artists. I also don't think that the exclusion of these six musicians from the Blog list can be boiled down to "hip hop blogs didn't take part". I've featured Kwabs four times on WIIHAMB in 2014 but it simply didn't cross my mind to vote for him - maybe I felt like he was already too established to deserve my vote? Either way, Kwabs and Shamir especially, of the black males excluded, do not produce typically "black music". The bottom line is, when there are 62 blogs participating with only three votes each, some artists are just bound to fall by the wayside. It will be really interesting to see how artists across both of the lists fare over the next 12 months.

I'd like to say a huge thank you to Robin for allowing my little blog to participate, and also to Sounds Good To Me Too whose blogroll I feature on  - I think quite a few people find me via that so I'm super grateful.

Here's a list of all of the blogs that participated:
17 Seconds, A New Band A Day, A Pocket Full Of Seeds, A World Of Music And Madness, Across The Kitchen Table, Alphabet Bands, Beat Surrender, Beat2aChord, Both Bars On, Brapscallions, Bratfaced LDN, Breaking More Waves, Brighton Music Blog, Daisy Digital, Dots And Dashes, Drunken Werewolf, Echoes and Dust, Electronic Rumors, Even The Stars, Everything Flows, Getintothis, God Is In The TV, Hearty Vibes, Hitsville UK, I Love Pie, Just Music That I Like, Kemptation, Like 1999, Lipstick Disco, Little Indie Blogs, Love Music : Love Life, Music Broke My Bones, Music Liberation, Music Like Dirt, My Day By Day Music, Never Enough Notes, Not Many Experts, Notes For A Road Sign, One Album A Week, Popped Music, Queen Beetch, Rave Child, Scientists Of Sound, Some Of It Is True, Song By Toad, Sounds Good To Me Too, Sound Of Now Music, Spectral Nights, Sweeping The Nation, The Blue Walrus, The Devil Has The Best Tuna, The Electricity Club, The Evening's Empire, The Mad Mackerel, The Metaphorical Boat, The Paper Penguins, This Must Be Pop, Thoughts On Music, Three Beams, Too Many Blogs, The VPME, What If I Had A Music Blog
I will be adding click-through links for all of these sites as well as featuring a few on an upcoming Favourite Bloggers list!

Sunday 7 December 2014

ICYMI - This Week on WIIHAMB - 2014 Week #49

In case you missed it - You shouldn't have, but just in case you did.

It's now the end of the first week of December and as organised as I am, I obviously still haven't decided when we'll be starting to round up 2014... probably never at this rate. Last year I think I started this weekend!

Keep up to date with all of the daily goings-on over at WIIHAMB Daily.

November Round-Up

Album of the month: PVRIS - White Noise

Gigs of the month: Vinnie Caruana and Rixton

Top five tracks from Emarosa,Adria, The Never Ever, Baauer and Ritual

A couple of weeks ago Swim Good released their new single/EP ‘Little Victories’ which was accompanied by this great acoustic version of Ella Eyre’s ‘Comeback’.

Following teaser track ‘New World Torture’, While She Sleeps have returned with new single ‘Four Walls’, taken from their forthcoming album ‘Brainwashed’ which is due for release in March next year.

Texan native Leon Bridges has brought classic soul into 2014 in the most unbelievable way. The production on his track ‘Coming Home’ is so insanely ’60s that you’d be mistaken for thinking Bridges wasn’t a new artist.

The Gospel Youth are a new Brighton based band formed by ex-members of Fleeing From Finales, Lost On Landing, and personal teenage favourite The Auteur. (HELLO 2009, TAKE ME BACK!). The pop rock trio have not only released the video for single ‘Kids’ but also a three track EP available for pay-however-much-you-like download on their Bandcamp.

Throwback Thursday
So, I've already posted Destiny's Child for Throwback Thursday before but this song is miles better than the one I posted in January, so here we go.

Grace Savage puts a twist like you’ve never heard before on Banks’ track ‘Waiting Game’. Savage is a two time UK beatboxing champion and this cover shows off not just her beatboxing skills but also her singing talent as well.

Rising from the ashes of Hildamay who split earlier this year, comes Bayeux. Although not as heavy as some of the Hildamay material, Bayeux are still just the right amount of rough around the edges.

December playlists so far: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer