Monday 28 March 2016

LANY - Where The Hell Are My Friends, and Other Things

Well, would you look at that? Three months into this year and following in the footsteps of Chinah and Fours, LANY are my third favourite band of 2016. How many favourites I will possess by the end of the year is anybody's guess but right now I don't care and I'm very content with this trio.

Over the past few weeks LANY released a new single, played their first proper London headline show and opened for Ellie Goulding on every night of her UK arena tour. And I was there to witness it all. Okay, I didn't witness it all, but I was there to witness key parts of this monumental month for the Californian three-piece.

Despite how painfully relatable the title of 'Where The Hell Are My Friends' is alone, I didn't fall in love with the track instantly, it took a couple weeks. But here I am screaming "Friday, wine and the internet" at any given opportunity. It's really insane to me that there are other people in the world who feel like their friends can be super lame sometimes, especially the "out without me again" line, and I'm sitting here like "woah, if Croydon was actually California, and London was LA this would be too real". Although I reckon I'd probably be having a far better time if that were the case, alas, my friends would probably still be pretty shit. So the bottom line is, LANY have songs with mad relatable lyrics and that's so rad.

LANY live has rapidly become one of my favourite things to see as well. And from the packed out tiny little Barfly headline show to opening the O2 Arena, we have some solid proof that these three guys are pretty darn comfortable with any stage you plonk them onto. Everything just sounds hella tight and flawless too. I wanna write something more productive and interesting than that about #LANYlive but I think it's probably just worth you going to a show and witnessing it all for yourself.

Sunday 27 March 2016

Hit The Lights - No Filter

This is the only break-up anthem I need in 2016. Hit The Lights have been one of my favourite bands since about 2007 and over the course of four albums they've written their fair share of "fuck you" songs, but I think this one tops them all.

'No Filter' is one of the strongest tracks on Hit The Lights' most recent record Summer Bones, which came out last year, so yeah, I'm pretty happy that it's a single. Although, does a song from a "rock" album being a single really mean anything any more? I guess there's more chance of humans who are yet to hear the band/album to latch on to a song; but other than that you can just relish in the fact that the song has a shiny new video for everyone's viewing pleasure and it's more likely that said band are going to play the song live.

Hit The Lights live is the big deal though. Genuinely one of the bands on the planet who I have the utmost fun seeing play shows. Hit The Lights are headlining the Pure Noise Records Tour across the US through April and May before coming over to the UK for Slam Dunk Festival. The band are no strangers to Slam Dunk and they're genuinely an act I think attendees look forward to seeing every time they return to the line-up. Always such a good vibe for dancing and sing alongs. See you in the pit etc.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

JMSN - Cruel Intentions

What with JMSN drip-feeding us videos for each of the tracks from his self-titled Blue album over the past year or so, it doesn’t really feel like that long since we last heard new music from him. Alas, ‘Cruel Intentions’ comes as the first track from his new full-length release, It Is., set for release in early May.

I don't know how long this has been going on for, but the release of JMSN's video for 'Cruel Intentions' brought something pretty major to my attention. And that is that JMSN no longer looks like the second coming of ye olde Jesus. Essentially this is all pretty irrelevant to everything but I guess it makes it trickier for me to be like "yo, listen to how good this guy is, also he looks like common depictions of that there Messiah". Instead, JMSN's just like a musical alternative/soul/RnB Messiah... which is all very odd but, it is what it is. As has come to be expected, JMSN does JMSN very well on this song with vocals on point, but a far more minimalistic video than we may have become accustomed to in recent times.

And then everything's a bit like, "hey, you know what, if one song wasn't enough, why don't you just take this one shoved on to the end of the first one too?" Well, why thank you JMSN, it is indeed much appreciated and I shall now continue to pursue this eight minute long venture multiple times. Although 'Good Ol' Case Of The Blues' is musically all very nice, especially as a continuation from 'Cruel Intentions', the vocal tone is mildly reminiscent of preachy DJ Khaled. OMG please don't hate me; that's probably just how Americans speak, isn't it? THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO LISTEN TO JMSN.

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Lyves - Darkest Hour

A lot of the time it takes me some time to get around to things. Whether it be just posting things, which now takes me a good while, or even just listening to things. I left this song hanging in the balance for an entire 17 hours before first pressing play on it and that was one of the stupidest things I've done this year.

Francesca Bergami AKA Lyves has been kind of quiet on the new music front since the release of 'Shelter' and 'Body Close' around this time last year but it looks as if all that is about to change. 'Darkest Hour' is the first track to be taken from Lyves mysterious forthcoming debut EP and to be frank, if this track is anything to go by the entire EP is going to straight up slay.

I don't know exactly what it is about Bergami's self-professed "alt soul" vibes that I like so much but 'Darkest Hour' makes me imagine that I'm walking on a sea of clouds during a sunset where the sky is all pink and purple and I have no idea what someone is supposed to infer from that. Lyves' vocals are just sound so pure and effortless and serene. I think I could happily sit back and listen to 'Darkest Hour' on repeat until the next track materialises. No complaints.

Monday 21 March 2016

Jack Garratt - Worry (Chinah Remix)

What do get when you cross something that's excellent but you're really tired of, with something that's through and through fresh and really exciting? Well in Chinah and Jack Garratt's case, you get an absolutely incredible rework of 'Worry'.

This is the third time I've featured Chinah in some form this year and I could not be more pleased with that fact. This time the Danish three piece have managed to reimagine a song that has been kicking around for almost two years. To work with a track that's become so well known (especially in the "blogosphere") in that time and turn it into something that is genuinely interesting to listen to in its own right is really impressive.

Frontwoman Fine Glindvad's vocals alongside Garratt's are an absolute dream, but this isn't just about a vocal cover for Chinah, this is an instrumental rerouting. The Danes put a more laidback spin on 'Worry' which is miles apart from the hectic live instrumentation we've seen Garratt perform over the last couple of years. But this works so well. Chinah have genuinely made me fall back in love with a song that I had become very bored of hearing up until now. I could not be more excited about what this band have in store for the rest of 2016 and beyond because Lord knows it's going to be incredible.

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Violet Skies - Jealousy

You know what kind of thing is relatable to little old me? Not so little, average, 23 year old me. Songs by other females about jealousy. You've got me there, Violet. You've reeled me right in and I'm not mad in the slightest.

I saw Violet Skies back in January supporting Louis Mattrs and to be quite honest, I just didn't think it was for me. Although, judging an artist based on a four song set probably isn't particularly fair but hey, we all do it. Violet Skies is all quite Lapsley which is actually pretty great news for the majority of bloggers, tastemakers and general music types. It's just not my bag. Anyway, look, now Violet Skies has this new track and it's called 'Jealousy' and I like it quite a lot.

It's also rather nice that Violet is from South Wales, which is a welcome change from everyone I feature just being "London based". It's boring. I'm London based. I know what's here. Bring me something new and different and interesting. Oh look here's Violet rap-tap-tapping on the door with a rad pop song infused with subtle electronic bits. I'm probably going to revisit some of her "older" material in light of this new found appreciation for Violet's vibes. You should do the same.

Monday 14 March 2016

Joe Hertz feat. Amber-Simone - Stay Lost

For the 50th time this year Blogger decided it was cool to delete some of my drafts and I am PISSED.

Amber-Simone wasn't lying when she said "summertime isn't as far as you think", and I know that's hard to believe when we're halfway through March and it feels like winter's grip is never going to let up, but it will. 'Stay Lost' is proof that there is hope and light at the end of this long dark and chilly tunnel.

Last time we heard from Joe Hertz was in November when he was 'Tied Up' with Huntar. The good news is that he seems to have escaped his captor; the bad news is that now he's trying to 'Stay Lost'. Possibly hoping that he won't be recaptured but who really know? I say that this is bad news but actually it's really not because this song is excellent.

I've never heard Amber-Simone before but I have full on 100% fallen in love with her voice and I couldn't be more stoked that this introduction has come courtesy of Joe Hertz. Hertz has a genuine knack for pairing great vocalists with his own tight as hell production and straight-up good vibe laden tracks. I don't really know what that sentence means, but essentially, this song is so good and I can only hope that we'll hear loads more from both Joe Hertz and Amber-Simone this year and that it'll all be as great as this.

Being As An Ocean - Dissolve

I really liked The Elijah. In fact, I'm wearing a The Elijah jumper as I type. I've been a fan of Being As An Ocean since former The Elijah guitarist/vocalist, Michael McGough joined the band before the release of their second album How We Both Wondrously Perish in 2014. Going forward from this album, the Californian band had added an entirely new dynamic to their sound and carried it off flawlessly.

Since releasing their self-titled third album last year, Being As An Ocean have signed to Equal Vision Records and recently released a new standalone single, 'Dissolve'. Frontman Joel Quartuccio's vocals are my least favourite thing about this track but that's just me because the whole spoken word thing is not what I am personally into. But they work, they always do and if you're into poetry and stuff like that, it probably translates a lot better.

McGough's vocals along with new drummer Jesse Shelley's performance are the stars of the show on 'Dissolve' though. Overall, Being As An Ocean manage to get the balance just right between post and melodic hardcore without fault every single time. The band as touring extensively for the first half of 2016 across America, Australia and Europe, but hopefully we'll hear more new music from them towards the end of the year!

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Lisbon - Vice

Sometimes all you need to get you through the day is a shot of danceable indie and Lisbon’s ‘Vice’ is just about the perfect dosage. This song also features a noise that sounds like an email is sending and what more could you want? Dance vibes that give the impression that you're being productive. Hi, yes, Lisbon, you've literally made the soundtrack to my life.

I don't think I've liked any of the Newcastle based four piece's previous tracks as much as I like 'Vice'. I mean, surprisingly I've never posted them on WIIHAMB over the last three years but they're always cropping up some place or other. I'm not sure what bigger project 'Vice' is part of but we can only hope that there's another EP from Lisbon on the way later on this year.

They're currently on tour with Model Aeroplanes around the UK with a few dates still to play through to the end of the week. That's a pretty stellar line-up if indie pop rock is the kind of thing that you're into. And I've just seen that they're playing The Great Escape too which is quite possibly the greatest gift I could ask for from any rising artiste.

Tuesday 8 March 2016

St. Albion feat Teischa - Hold On

Every time I feature a rad AF debut track on here I'm always like, "yo, I should start a playlist solely to showcase fire first singles" and I just never get around to it. Reinforcing the reason for this is new Sydney based producer/artiste St. Albion. I almost definitely still won't create this playlist; my playlists on Spotify are an absolute mess but you should follow me there anyway... please?

This is going to sound kind of weird, but I really enjoy hearing vocalists I like on songs that aren’t strictly “theirs”. I had this with Robyn Sherwell last year. I just think it really broadens your perspective on how someone can sound and what they, as an artist as well as their voice itself, are capable of.

Last year I fell in love with Teischa’s track 'Couldn't Care Less' and her really interesting vocal tone. So it's lovely to hear her on this track too. I bet I'll look now and she'll have put out loads of music between then and now that I've just missed. *Mops brow*. Just checked her Soundcloud and I am happy/sad to report that I didn't miss anything.

Anyway, something else I'm constantly on about is the excellent music coming out of Australia. I don't know why I always act so surprised. Both Teischa and St. Albion are from that big ol' country down under and if 'Hold On' alone isn't an example of the stellar music coming out of that side of the planet, I don't know what is.


Monday 7 March 2016

Vaults - Midnight River

There’s something almost religious and church-like (is that a thing?) about Vaults’ new track, ‘Midnight River’. Like, if current pop acts were to write songs to be used in a new official hymn book, this would easily make the cut. Blythe Pepino's vocals are so much more powerful and interesting than I've ever given them or her credit for before and I could not be more glad that the almost gospel sounding "ooh ooh" sections in 'Midnight River' exist.

The track's video sees Pepino flailing, falling and fluttering around various derelict venues before returning to what seems to resemble the club that she starts in and then finally waking up on an empty beach. Scrolling through the video's YouTube comments (something that becomes all too second-nature when the platform is your day job), there are a lot of viewers citing Sia comparisons which is really interesting. I'd definitely imagine fans of Sia would thoroughly enjoy the trio's music, but not because I think the two acts sound or look particularly similar. But stylistically, fans of one are probably likely to be fans of the other.

I was also dumb enough to pass up on a free Vaults show towards the end of last year, you know, because I'm stupid and shit, but they're playing a few dates across the UK in April so that will probably be nice. Keeping with the whole religious vibe, their London show is at Heaven. Nice work, Vaults.


Wednesday 2 March 2016

Sleepin' On 'Em: Sam Sure, Nao, Lucas Nord

Here are some songs/artists that I have severely neglected and I honestly feel really bad about it.

Sam Sure - Oh My God

Today, the question is, why have I been ignoring Sam Sure for the last two years? And I honestly don't know if I can conjure up an answer to that. All I know is that it has been a pretty large oversight on my part. Sam Sure has been signed to Black Butter Records, the home of the likes of Rudimental, Gorgon City and Clean Bandit, since 2014 and now two years on, I reckon his time is now. On 1st April, Sam Sure will release his new four track EP Catching Feelings. Yesterday Sure shared 'Stay There' with us but because I'm slow and late and also because I like it more, I want to share 'Oh My God' with you. This track is chill and captivating, and Sam Sure's vocals are so interesting. Also you should probably check out his website on the lead up to the forthcoming EP just because it's very aesthetically pleasing to be honest.

Nao - Fool To Love

Imagine that the last time I posted about Nao was August 2014 when she put out 'So Good', her excellent collaboration with A.K. Paul. Imagine that despite all of the rad stuff the Londonder released last year, I ignored it. I did include 'Firefly', her collaboration with Mura Masa, in one of my weird playlists but I'm not even sure if that's public so it doesn't count. I think that we can safely assume that Nao's new track 'Fool To Love' is taken from her as-yet-unannounced debut album and that's all pretty exciting really. Something that those who maybe didn't quite take to Nao's vocals before now may find solace in this new track and that's by no means a criticism of anything from anyone, it's just... a thing.

Lucas Nord - Don't Need Your Love

It is more than probable that 'Don't Need Your Love' will be my favourite song from now straight through 'til April.Swedish singer/songwriter and producer Lucas Nord has been involved with artists like Tove Lo since 2013 so where have I been and why did I only post one of his tracks for the first time in January? Nord's new single 'Don't Need Your Love' is pop perfection down to an absolute T. Is 2016 yet to hear a hook catchier than this? No, I don't think so. The fact that Nord says this track was essentially written in 15 minutes is honestly quite mindblowing. I don't know if this is part of a wider project (i.e. an album or EP) but I sure hope there are more bangers to follow shortly because one is never enough.