Saturday 31 January 2015

January Round-Up

Guess who's back...
After taking December off for some best of 2014 shenanigans, the monthly round-up is back for 2015, I know you've all been waiting for the news with bated breath. I'm probably going to take a similar approach to these as I was towards the end of last year. A gig, an album, the best songs of the month, and then some random bits.
Let's get on with it then...

January Playlists

Album of the Month

Light You Up - All We've Ever Known
It's been a long wait for everyone for the release of Light You Up's debut album, 'All We've Ever Known'. Originally recorded in The States over the Summer of 2013, it finally saw its release this week. I think at the start of January I already knew that this was going to be my album of the month. 'Monsters' and title track 'All We've Ever Known' have been sitting pretty in Light You Up's live set for a while now whilst 'Brother' has crept in recently and obviously we all know 'Foxfire', the only track to graduate from their 2012 EP 'Broken Jaw'. Overall 'All We've Ever Known' is a very strong rock/pop punk debut album. It's undeniable that the title track itself is the standout song on this full length effort by a mile. The chorus gets lodged in your head. Stuck. Superglued even. There's no doubt that had this song been released by an already well established band, it would be massive. I have got one gripe with this album though, and that's the guest vocal features. The first track we heard from AWEK in the run-up to its release was "Always Wanting More" featuring Alan Day of Four Year Strong fame. This song has such a great chorus, really great, but you don't notice it because you're siting around for whats-his-chops to chime in which doesn't happen until after the second chorus anyway and when it does, it's not that exciting . The most heartbreaking moment for me is A Loss For Words' Matty Arsenault's additional vocals on 'Foxfire'. I would firmly place A Loss For Words in my top three favourite bands, but slapping extra vocals on top of what was a nice instrumental section has near ruined this song for me on a personal level. Anyway, as I was saying, for a debut album, 'All We've Ever Known' is exceptional overall. Forget Roam and Neck Deep, Light You Up have got UK pop punk covered for 2015. Light You Up are on tour throughout March with Four Year Strong and Hit The Lights, you should probably go.

Other Albums That I Thoroughly Enjoyed This Month
Taking me by surprise doesn't quite do Rae Sremmurd's debut full length 'Sremmlife' any justice. This rap duo whom I sort of just thought were a joke (you know how you felt about Macklemore's 'Thrift Shop') have actually produced a pretty enjoyable album. Take the lyrics with a pinch of salt, or don't, they're hilarious either way. Rae Morris' 'Unguarded' and Meghan Trainor's 'Title' have both proved to be exciting debuts and JP Cooper's new EP 'When The Darkness Comes' was pretty great too.

Gig of the Month

Nimmo and Ekkah at The Lexington
Walking into The Lexington I was very conscious that tonight's little showcase starring Nimmo and Ekkah could potentially be my only gig of January, so for the sake of this monthly round up, I sort of needed it to be good. Nimmo were headlining the fourth night of The Line of Best Fits' Five Day Forecast, with support from fellow female fronted duo Ekkah. I don't know if I'm going to be able to accurately describe how I felt watching Ekkah's set, but it was something resembling pure excitement for what the future holds for these pop princesses in the making. Rebecca Wilson and Rebekah Pennington's flawlessly performed set, including synchronised dance moves, kept the room captivated despite the majority of the room only being familiar with a few tracks. These were most notably 'Figure It Out', recent single 'Last Chance to Dance', and their cover of Patrice Rushen's 'Forget Me Nots' which fitted so perfectly into their catalogue you'd be forgiven for thinking it was an Ekkah original. Honestly, Nimmo were going to have a tough time of it to overshadow their support act. I like Nimmo; I like their vibe, it's almost unconventional. Baggy t-shirts and a tomboy look give the two frontwomen a great contrast to Ekkah's shiny glam getup. Singles 'Jaded' and 'Others' went down a storm amongst the other unreleased songs in Nimmo's set with both vocalists Sarah Nimmo and Reva Gauntlett bouncing off each other throughout. This Thursday night in Islington really was an excellent showcase of the greatness to come from British acts in 2015. I'm looking forward to both Nimmo and Ekkah doing exceedingly well over the next twelve months.

Top Five Tracks of the Month

Video of the Month:

Unexpected Downright Club Smash of the Month:
Anyone who says that this isn't an incredible song is lying and that is the bottom line here.

There's this undoubtedly excellent club version too.

Mighty Fine Eateries of the Month
There is nothing I love on the planet more than free or discounted food and praise everybody for January bringing me plenty of that. Twice a year Yo Sushi extend their Blue Monday offer to last an entire month and January luckily happens to be one of those times. January Blues means that every plate on the belt is £2.50 all day Monday through to Thursday. For an entire week The House of Ho on Old Compton Street gave away a free bowl of Pho to every customer and all you had to do was make a reservation. Finally, until 15th February Gourmet Burger Kitchen are doing a 2 for £10 offer on a wide range of their burgers. 10p from every one of the GBK vouchers redeemed will be donated to Shelter.


Sunday 25 January 2015

ICYMI - This Week on WIIHAMB - 2015 Week #3

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

The big news this week was that What If I Had A Music Blog turned two years old! Crazy, I know. There's a link to my birthday post down below if you haven't checked that out yet. Seeing as I wasn't really taking this whole thing particularly seriously for the first year and a bit, I've still got so many ideas for WIIHAMB that I'd love to work on. So watch this space. In the meantime...

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

Maroon 5’s ‘Sugar’ is a bit more reminiscent of their earlier material compared to the other recent singles we've heard from the band. The video is one of those that leaves even stone cold hearted humans like me feeling warm inside. It’s also actually not half as staged as it looks, if you do some digging around the internet there are real life photos of Maroon 5 crashing real life weddings.

Lostboycrow had me with that intro. That intro is the sign of greatness to come. ‘HiyHiy’ is the new Flor produced single from LA based Lostboycrow. His Facebook bio describes him and his music as ‘a pop minded vocalist’s dark love affair with the world of modern R+B’ which I think sums this up pretty well.

Like It's Her Birthday
That birthday post I was talking about earlier.

Nick Klein are actually Nick Klein and Ferdous Dehzad, and they are a Dutch electronic pop duo. There’s something a little different about Nick Klein, they’re not just the middle of the road electronic/pop/RnB we’re hearing a lot of at the moment. There’s something slightly quirky and different about ‘Paralyzed’ and that something is pretty great.

At the ripe old age of 22, I’m not sure how socially acceptable it is to still love Hit The Lights and I’m also not sure how much of my love for this Ohio five-piece is pure nostalgia. Regardless, ‘Fucked Up Kids’ is a short two and a half minutes encompassing everything that’s great about this band.

20 year old Lauren Faith has done sexy in a song like you wouldn’t believe. At a mere two minutes and 22 seconds long, ‘Luxure’ is short but most definitely sweet. This is a free download, virtual high fives all round - so get it here.

The bottom line is, no matter how much you want to dislike this, it’s objectively very good. As It Is signed to Fearless Records at the end of last year, ‘Dial Tones’ is taken from their forthcoming album ‘Never Happy, Ever After’ on said label.

Throwback Thursday
When Will Young was good, he was really good. Obviously due to my grudge against ballads, ‘Your Game’ is my Will Young song of choice.

Majid Jordan’s “break”, as it were, was obviously courtesy of Drake and ‘Hold On We’re Going Home’. ‘Forever’ is actually the opening track on the Canadian duo’s ‘A Place Like This’ EP which was released last summer. Better late than never though, huh?

Irish five piece Walking On Cars have fallen under the radar on the 2015 ‘Ones To Watch’ front, and I think we all made a pretty hefty mistake there. New single ‘Always Be With You’ is indie rock at its finest and the video is equally incredible and powerful. Walking On Cars are due to support James Bay on a few of his sold out headline dates in April which will be nice, won't it?

January playlists so far: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer


Monday 19 January 2015

Like It's Her Birthday

Happy second birthday to What If I Had A Music Blog. Yes, that's right, I've been slaving over this little blog for an entire two years.

I don't think I ever really thought anyone be interested, sometimes I'm still not sure they are. I hoped that some of my friends would be into it and that someone would stumble across it on Tumblr every now again. Honestly, I never thought that I'd have over 400 followers on Tumblr and this site was viewed more than 900 times in December. Those numbers might feel relatively small compared to other bloggers, but for something I've just done off my own back because I felt like it one Saturday afternoon, I'm pretty pleased.

I know I moan about WIIHAMB as much as I moan about everything else, but I really do love doing it and it makes it really worthwhile when I see others enjoying my posts. The whole reason I started this was to just share music that no one had really heard of with people who I hoped might enjoy it. I don't know if the blog will stay like this forever, it's a lot of work at the moment but it's definitely something I want to continue in some form for as long as physically possible.

Thank you to every single human who has read a mere sentence of one of these posts, or pressed play on something I've suggested. Thanks to other bloggers who've been kind to little old me, sharing my bits and bobs. And a humungous thank you to every band/artist/music playing person who have shared any of my posts. I don't know if they realise how valuable just one retweet is.
(See below for my Twitter reach when re-tweeted by Architects - INSANE)

Something I've never really asked for before but I feel like I should ask for now is feedback. There are already a couple of things I'm working on to improve both the rig and vibe of WIIHAMB. I don't know if enough people pay enough attention to what goes on here, but any feedback positive or constructive would be really appreciated. Feel free to comment below or tweet or message me anything you think might be helpful!

Thanks again for reading, listening and being cool. Year number three, I'm ready for ya.


Sunday 18 January 2015

ICYMI - This Week on WIIHAMB - 2015 Week #2

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

As scary as this is, especially if you know me in real life, I've had a couple of minor epiphanies and breakthroughs this week which I think are going to make me enjoy posting daily a lot more. I don't know whether these minor adjustments will permeate through to these ICYMI posts, so we'll just have to wait and see. I'm also working on a drastically improved layout of the Tumblr site which I'm dying to get finished because let's face it, the layout at the moment is pretty sub-par. That was my "this week", enjoy what follows.

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

'Pale Lung' is the new track from mellow pop songstress Robyn Sherwell, originally from Guernsey, but now based in London. Sherwell's voice in 'Pale Lung' is brooding throughout this heartfelt song about liking someone you're not supposed to. Another one to add to the list of great new upcoming female singer/songwriters.

'Too Young To Remember' is the new upbeat single from Bristol based Florrie. The video for the track was premiered earlier today by H&M and just as fun and bubblegum pop as the track itself.

At first I wasn’t really into ‘Medicine’. Well suck it up Natalie, because no, ‘Medicine’ isn’t the summery surfer situation we’re used to from Sunset Sons. And you know why? Because it’s winter for crying out loud! So here it is, a side to Sunset Sons we, on WIIHAMB, haven’t heard before. ‘Medicine’ is taken from Sunset Sons’ new EP ‘The Fall Line’ due for release in March.

Mikky Ekko should have been Sam Smith before Sam Smith was Sam Smith. ‘U’ is taken from Ekko’s new album ‘Time’ which in America is due for release next week. With the state of #theindustry this side of the Atlantic we might be able to get our hands on it by August.

I bring you this Years & Years single which has been knocking around for the past week. The intro sounds very much like a 90s dance track that I can’t quite put my finger on and I thought it was a bit too similar to previous single ‘Take Shelter’. Those things may very well be true but ‘King’ is still most definitely excellent. Hoping for a great video to accompany this banger as well.

Throwback Thursday
A playlist of songs I wanted to but couldn't post on Throwback Thursday.

The Wombats are back with the new single 'Greek Tragedy' from their forthcoming third album ‘Glitterbug’. The song is good, but the video is really great, featuring April Pearson (of Skins and other things fame) as a psycho fan with a pretty dark ending.

I don’t really know what’s happened here, but it is 2015 and I have broadened my horizons to now encompass mopey emo/pop punk things. In light of this, I’ve rather enjoyed Illinois based Real Friends’ new single ‘Summer’ on multiple occasions over the last few days. ‘Summer’ is taken from their debut album ‘Maybe This Place Is The Same and We’re Just Changing’ which was released last year.

To continue the mope here is my favourite Moose Blood song 'Bukowski'. This version is taken from is taken from their debut album ‘I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time’ which was released at the tail end of last year, but the track originally featured on their 2013 EP ‘Moving Home’. I’ll never understand why the girl in question didn’t take her own sweater but it’s probably a good job that she didn’t.

January playlists so far: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer
(There's now much more on the YouTbe playlist, but the others are still pretty thin.)


Thursday 15 January 2015

Songs I Would Have Posted on Throwback Thursday If They Had Official Versions on YouTube

Since the inception of 2015 I've become slightly obsessed with creating random playlists with unnecessarily long titles. The first one being 'Songs I Would Have Posted on Throwback Thursday If They Had Official Versions on YouTube'. As today is indeed Thursday, I thought I would share this currently minimal playlist with you all.

As I did with my 'Songs I Missed in 2014' playlist, I will no doubt add to these as time continues.

There are two handy playlists below, one for Deezer and one for Spotify, so take your pick!

Sunday 11 January 2015

ICYMI - This Week on WIIHAMB - 2015 Week #1

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

The first full week of 2015 is over and I've tried my best to jump right back into the swing of things. Zero rock songs have happened this week. I don't know what that says for the state of WIIHAMB in 2015 but I'm sure we'll soon find out. My writing also seems to have deteriorated somewhat since late last year so hopefully that picks up again as well!

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

Oh Wonder are a mysterious London based duo, releasing a new song every month for a year, and ‘The Rain’ is the fifth instalment. There’s an exciting development on their Souncloud that once the 12 months are over they’re releasing their debut album!
Anyone with the ability to use accurate emojis in each tweet as well as make great feel good pop songs is a winner in my eyes, you’ve got this Tom Aspaul. Haling from Wolverhampton but now based in London, Aspaul released this new Grades-produced track ‘Good Together’ at the end of last year.

Eighteen year old Glaswegian Kloë’s debut track ‘Grip’ is dark and haunting and absolutely brilliant. Produced by Prides drummer Lewis Gardiner, ‘Grip’ has a similar vibe to Chvrches but Kloë brings her own uniqueness to what some would maybe call an over-saturated market. Excited to here more from her in 2015.

Ellie Goulding is back with new single ‘Love Me Like You Do’ taken from the OST for the new 50 Shades of Grey film. Goulding seems to be able to just fit right in with moody atmospheric soundtracks.

Throwback Thursday
On Thursday I wrote an extremely irrelevant anicdote about my recent relationship with this song. I won't tell it again, so here is Angie Stone in all her depressing and heartbroken glory.

Jakil provide the first cover for 2015 on What If I Had A Music Blog with their smooth stripped down version of NSync favourite ‘Girlfriend’ in their kitchen.

At the end of 2014, Canadian artist Jahkoy put together a compilation, ‘Forward Thinking’, of all of the tracks he’d released throughout the year. The final track (with the exception of bonus track ‘Mine’) is mellow R’n’B jam ‘Vacay’. Jahkoy’s vocals are warm and smooth and the rapped second verse sets this apart from being just another R’n’B song.

Charli XCX’s debut album ‘Sucker’ has been pushed back yet again in the UK, but it’s all to make way for her pretty good new single ‘Doing It’. This new version of ‘Doing It’ features Rita Ora, it’s definitely catchy as hell and in my opinion, one of Charli XCX’s better pop efforts.

January playlists so far: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer
(There's actually nothing on these unless you want to listen to Angie Stone on repeat, but for reference and stuff, you know)

Sunday 4 January 2015

Artists I'd Like To Think Will Do Well In 2015

Welcome to 2015 everybody, I'm glad we all made it!

This week on WIIHAMB Daily I've featured eight artists (well, six bands, one guy and one duo) who I'd like to think are going to storm 2015. If you missed any of those, you'll find them below. Before I recap those eight, I'd like to discuss two more acts who are probably going to do pretty alright this year. 2014 was the first time I'd ever really had to think about artists I thought were going to be big in the near future so I didn't really know where to start. However, seeing the results of the BBC Sound and Blog Sound polls, as well as those who narrowly missed out on the Blog Sound longlist, has been quite reassuring that I am mildly on the right track. The trickiest thing about this for me is the sheer range of genres and artists I feature on What If I Had A Music Blog.

EDIT: Whilst writing this post I came across this really cool little programme thing that the BBC have done about their Sound of nominees which you can watch here for the next month. It's hard to explain how I felt after watching this, but it's really cool that I have a platform to be able to share artists of this calibre that are at this level. Like, really cool.

Firstly, you may (or may not) remember that last year I took part in The Blog Sound 2015 (my post about the longlist is here). Just a reminder, each blogger nominated three acts they think are destined for greatness in 2015. Their first vote receiving three points, the second two and the third getting one point. These were all then tallied up into a nice little list by Breaking More Waves. This week the winner was announced as Lapsley! Now here's the thing, I've tried my utmost to "get in to" Lapsley but she's just not my cup of tea. (Although after watching that BBC thing just now she's extremely likeable as a human.) But what do I know because this eighteen year old Liverpudlian received more than double the votes of any other nominated artist in this poll. So my opinion on this matter has been rendered fairly useless. Lapsley releases her new EP 'Understudy' tomorrow, so that's all quite exciting really and with the support she's gained in #theindustry so far I think she'll be well on her way to stardom in no time.

Most Likely To Clean Bandit 2015: Years & Years

I really like that title, I might use it every year. So London based 'soulful electronic pop' trio have had quite the 2014. They released three singles, Real back in February, 'Take Shelter' with a bonus cover of Sean Paul and Blu Cantrell's 'Breathe', and their first real UK top 40 single 'Desire'. Last year also saw Years & Years tour with the likes of Clean Bandit, MØ and Sam Smith, and then round off 2014 being nominated for the Critics Choice award at The Brits and appearing on the BBC's Sound of 2015 poll. Heading into 2015 the trio will embark on an eight date sold out UK tour, for which there was such huge demand, four venues were upgraded and an extra London date was added. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that Years & Years will be well on their way to world domination by the time we reach 2016.

So here are the eight other artists I think are going to have a pretty great ride in 2015:

Coasts seem to be one of the bands most people are tipping for big things in 2015. They were the band I nominated first for the Blog Sound Poll, and they made it onto the longlist! This band seem to tour relentlessly; last year they headlined two UK runs amongst plenty of other shows and festivals, and they already have a US tour planned for 2015 as well as their largest headline show to date in London at the end of March. After appearing on Made In Chelsea and having one of Zane Lowe’s Hottest Records at the tail end of 2014 there’s no doubt that there are big things in store for this Bristol based five piece.

Bristolian dance duo Blonde have spent the last two years gearing up for 2015. 2014 saw them release three great singles, the third of which, ‘I Loved You’, scored them their first UK top ten single. Already announced for 2015, Blonde will be playing their first ever full live show at the end of February. With more new music to come this year as well, 2015 is looking very promising for this duo indeed. Blonde were the second "act" I nominated for the Blog Sound poll and I believe they weren't far off making it onto the longlist.

PVRIS have now featured on WIIHAMB three times in the last two weeks, but they deserve it. They're also the third and final band I nominated for the Blog Sound. The latter half of 2014 was a whirlwind for the Massachusetts based trio with the release of their debut album ‘White Noise’ and it looks like they’re only just getting started. With their two UK headline shows selling out in a matter of hours and a couple of tours planned either side of the Atlantic, 2015 could turn that whirlwind into a tsunami for PVRIS.

Prides had a pretty insane year in 2014. The last twelve months have seen this Scottish trio release three great singles, play multiple festivals across the globe, and support the likes of Foxes on her UK tour and Bink 182 at a sold out Brixton Academy. Prides due to kick off 2015 in style as they head out on a seven date UK tour at the beginning of February. If last year was anything to go by, these guys will have very little to worry about throughout the course of the next one.

Jack Garratt
I can’t really fathom how Jack Garratt didn’t make it onto the longlists for either the BBC or Blog Sound polls for 2015. I don’t think I know a blogger who hasn’t posted at least one of his tracks. Maker of music/singer of songs Jack Garratt seemed to spring from absolutely nowhere in 2014 with debut song ‘Water’. His debut EP, four-track long ‘Remnants’ was released later in 2014, followed by incredible single ‘The Love Your Given’. Now signed to Island, I’m sure there’s plenty in store for Garratt in 2015.

Sunset Sons 
Imagine Kings Of Leon on surfboards and that’s sort of what you get with Sunset Sons. With members from both the UK and Australia but based in France, these guys have got summer surf indie rock covered. 2014 saw the four-piece release two EPs, ‘Le Surfing’ and ‘No Bad Days’ as well as being featured on the BBC’s Sound of 2015 longlist. With a UK tour planned for March and no doubt more new music, this band are definitely one to keep an eye on in 2015.

Light You Up
January 2015 will finally see Birmingham based pop punk quintet Light You Up release their debut album ‘All We’ve Ever Known’. Light You Up’s previous EP ‘Broken Jaw’ was released way back in October 2012 so the wait for this album, recorded over the summer of 2013 has been agonising. 2015 will also see Light You Up head out on the Pure Noise Records tour supporting Four Year Strong, Hit The Lights and Forever Came Calling. Their future is definitely looking bright.

High Tyde
High Tyde are a bit of a wild card choice, a band that won’t be as familiar as others in this feature, but I’ve chosen to feature them anyway. 2014 has been good to the Brighton based indie four piece, with multiple festival appearances and supporting the likes of Peace, Little Comets, and Eliza and the Bear. Heading into 2015, High Tyde’s track ‘Feel It’ will be BBC Radio 1’s Introducing track of the week. The band have also just announced the release of new EP ‘Fuzz’ for March. If 2014 was good to High Tyde, 2015 will only be better.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the artists I've picked and who your ones to watch for 2015 are. If you fancy it, feel free to comment below.