Saturday, 30 December 2017

Album Of The Year 2017: 1. Tyler, The Creator - Flower Boy


Not only has Tyler, The Creator taken WIIHAMB's Album of the Year slot for 2017, the rapper is also my artist of the year. Upon the release of Cherry Bomb two years ago I was prepared to stan, ready to hear my new favourite record. I came away in love with 'Fucking Perfect' and a big fan of 'Deathcamp' but that was all. With that in mind, an album that took the ideas behind those two tracks and built upon them was literally all I could have asked for. And that's what we got on GRAMMY nominated Flower Boy.

There's a lot of speculation currently that Tyler's next record will be a "pop album" but it's baffling that anybody would think Flower Boy isn't already a pop album. In much the same way as I discussed about Brockhampton yesterday, Tyler has developed the ability to direct his album to the point where is hits the mark across pop, R&B and hip hop with seemingly little to no effort. On track two of Flower Boy, 'Where This Flower Blooms', Tyler not only talks about his growth and blossoming personally but also within his music and musical style. Where on Cherry Bomb so many of the tracks (Find Your Wings, Blow My Load) feel like overworked interludes, every track on Flower Boy feels like a song, even including album closing instrumental 'Enjoy Right Now, Today'.

An unavoidably clear observation of both Cherry Bomb and Flower Boy is the plethora of featured artists. On the former, these guests were littered throughout and made tracks feel oversaturated and unnecessarily complex. In contrast, every feature on Flower Boy fits each song perfectly, adding dynamics to the tracks yet never overshadowing Tyler himself. On 'Who Dat Boy', Tyler and A$AP Rocky take it in perfect turns on the verses, making for a seamless collaboration. Personally, Kali Uchis' vocals on 'See You Again' make for the best guest performance on the record. Her voice juxtaposing againt Tyler's sung vocals gives us a really raw sounding love song. Syd is an interesting vocal omission from Flower Boy considering her presence on Cherry Bomb; instead the only former Odd Future member we hear from is Frank Ocean (on '911/Mr. Lonely' and 'When this Flower Blooms'. Due to my sheer hatred of Lil Wayne, 'Droppin' Seeds' is the only track I don't like on this alum but as it clocks in at a mere 60 seconds I've found just pretending it doesn't exist is a great solution.

I guess what took me by surprise the most about Flower Boy was that I wasn't expecting Tyler, The Creator rapping and singing so openly about normal things that would affect a 26 year old. The state of sheer infatuation with another human being on 'See You Again', the apathy throughout 'Boredom' especially the line "my friends suck, fuck em, I'm over em", and the continued lack of companionship on '911/Mr Lonely'. I think all of these things are really important for young people listening to this album to hear. And I assume lyrically this wasn't just what I wasn't expecting, but not what anybody was really expecting. Hearing Flower Boy and associating that with the fact the maker of this album is fucking banned from the UK is absolutely baffling. It's important to note, though, that Tyler hasn't lost his more eccentric and erratic streak because we still hear that on both 'Who Dat Boy' and 'I Ain't Got Time!'. The contrast of those songs to the self-referential 'November' and 'Glitter' makes for a truly stunning record.

The growth of Tyler and his work throughout his string of studio albums is so clear and impressive. In terms of composition, lyrics and maturity it's genuinely surprising as to why mainstream media don't seem to show him a huge tonne of support. Even so, Tyler proved that he didn't really need it by reaching number 2 on the Billboard 200 album chart and top ten in the UK. The final best thing about this album is that just when you think you're fed up of hearing the songs from it, Tyler goes and switches everything up and every note sounds new again. Most notably his NPR Tiny Desk Concert is beautiful, fun and so enticing from start to finish - a must watch before 2017 is out, and a must repeat as often as you need to, just like Flower Boy itself.



Friday, 29 December 2017

Album Of The Year 2017: 2. Brockhampton - Saturation II

As I'm sure many of you know, Saturation is a trilogy, three albums released throughout 2017. In this post I'm taking an isolated look at the second album. I'll probably do a bit about why I prefer it over the other two at the end.


There is so much to talk about I do not even know where to start. Lord help me. This Pigeons & Planes video really got me interested and mostly intrigued about what a group with this many active members could possibly be doing. This was quite shortly after the release of Saturation II and so I dived right in. I don't think that's something I would wholly recommend. There was a lot of the album that went straight over my head on first listen but enough that stood out (mostly courtesy of Bearface) to make me want to try it again. And so I did again, and again, and again.

I still don't know where to start so I'll jump straight in with those Bearface tracks that initially sucked me in, 'JESUS' right slap bang in the middle of the record featuring just Kevin Abstract and the aforementioned Irish singer, and the unforgettable album closer 'SUMMER' which see the vocalist go it alone. For anyone listening to Brockhampton for the first time these are by far the group's most accessible tracks (on Saturation II at least). They're both love songs verging on ballads with an undoubted root in pop. I guess they're the kind of songs that you'd want someone to write about you. They're also the kind of songs that shouldn't really work in the context of the rest of the album but they both fit seamlessly and I think that deserves a hell of a lot of praise.

"So what's the rest of the damn album like if it's not like this?" Well, it's fast paced, it's erratic, it's hectic, and it's complex. Saturation II's opener 'GUMMY' storms out the traps with all of Brockhampton's rappers offering a verse alongside a glimpse of the earwormingly catchy hooks that seem to just pour out of the group throughout the album. Structure-wise, the following track 'QUEER' is similar but it's these incredible choruses that set all of the songs on the album apart. In a world where so many rappers have to dial-a-chorus from "upcoming female vocalist" it's refreshing to see a collective that can literally do everything themselves - and we hear this again on 'JELLO'.

A truly unsung hero of this group and this album is Joba. He adds these really subtle yet affective vocals on the outros of both 'JELLO' and 'GUMMY'. I guess you probably wouldn't notice if these outros didn't exist, but the fact they do really make these songs feel complete. During one part of the Saturation Documentary, Joba quite defiantly says that he's not a rapper but his verses on both 'SWAMP', 'TOKYO' and definitely on 'SWEET' nigh on prove that to be false. 'SWEET', actually, I think is a super important moment on this album. This is the pop song where any doubters could no longer possibly claim that Brockhampton aren't a boyband. The chorus is catchy as fuck, and each member sounds unique and brings something that's truly their own to the table. Alongside Bearface, on Saturation II, Merlyn Wood maybe delivers my other favourite verses and his section on 'SWEET' is possibly my overall Saturation highlight.

Brockhampton definitely helped me come to the conclusion this year that I prefer hip hop generally when it's not taking itself too seriously, which I think is totally fine, that's just when I enjoy it most. So naturally, tracks like fan favourite 'JUNKY' and 'FIGHT' aren't my favourites on the album but both of them are undoubtedly worth highlighting. These songs deal with important predjudices and social issues, Kevin Abstract discussing homophombia and Matt Champion rapping about rape culture on 'JUNKY', whilst Ameer Vann talks racism and racial prejudice in a really comprehensive manner on 'FIGHT'.

"So why II over I or III?" Saturation II was the first album I listened to and more often than not the first tracks I hear from any artists I end up becoming a long term fan of tend to be my favourites. When I did go back to Saturation I found the songs overall quite hard to connect with; the album just didn't make as much sense to me as II does. I'm slowly learning to like it now, with the exception of 'GOLD' and 'FACE' which I liked pretty much instantly. Justifying my choice of II over III is a little trickier and I guess it's probably just a time-span thing. I love a lot of the songs on III most notably 'BOOGIE', 'BLEACH' and 'RENTAL', but I think overall maybe Brockhampton's third effort this year doesn't hit the seamless mark quite like their second album does.

There's so much in terms of design and aesthetics that I haven't even touched on including Roberto's skits throughout the album, the track titles throughout the trilogy and the artwork. Everything mentioned in this post only begins to highlight that Brockhampton is so much more than a boyband. It's a movement.



Thursday, 28 December 2017

Album Of The Year 2017: 3. Airling - Hard To Sleep, Easy To Dream


I can not for the life of me work out exactly how Airling fell into my life this year, but my God am I glad she did. Prior to 2017 the only time I'd posted about Airling was with her feature on the Japanese Wallpaper track 'Forces', but I skipped over her first EP Love Gracefully and single 'Stallin' to land at her debut album, Hard To Sleep, Easy To Dream. I think that anybody who knows me would be surprised to hear how much I love this record especially with my near hatred for ballads and general downtemponess.

Airling, whose real life name is Hannah Shepherd, comes from Brisbane in good ol' Australia. This is why the man speaking relaxation prose throughout the album has an Australian accent. I actually hate these bits. I'm not a fan of interludes and skits or whatever generally, and I totally appreciate that what happens on these snippets is quite an original thing to slot into a pop album but it's not for me. And that's the beauty of the digital age, I can just delete them and pretend they don't exist - glory!

That aside, I think the songs on this album are absolutely incredible from start to finish. They're a beautiful, stunning amalgamation of pop and R&B. There are (what I've read as) recurring themes of lust and wanting to be wanted and wanting to be the best for someone else.  Seeing as nobody I know actually reads this I'll tell you about the time during which this album came to me. There was a boy who I got pretty attached to. But this boy fucked 👏 me 👏 up 👏. Never have you ever had so many mixed signals from someone who actually, it transpired, didn't even give a shit about me as a friend. He's dead to me now. But this album got me at multiple points. I think the ability for one person to hear another person's experiences through their music and interpret it to fit what they're going through is completely nuts, but I guess it just happens sometimes.

There are so many highlights on this record that the entire album is a highlight. My personal favourite tracks, at least lyrically, are probably 'Move Me', 'Far Away' and 'Bloodshot Blue'. The use of Tom Iansek as a guest vocalist throughout Hard To Sleep, Easy To Dream is honestly some kind of genius - subtle yet so effective. Similarly Fractures' Mark Zito's vocals on 'Vessel' makes for an absolutely dreamy collaboration. This record is genuinely a delight from end to end and I haven't much more to say on it than that.



Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Song Of The Year 2017: The Top Three

Hi, long story short, I essentially had a breakdown and I've remembered I absolutely loathe writing, which has why it's taken me so long to finish this saga but here we are, please, read on.

3. Dua Lipa - New Rules

I remember vividly listening through to Dua Lipa's many-a-time delayed debut self-titled album, finally getting past all of the singles that had been released before the summer and reaching track ten. I had so many questions but the most prominent ones were "why is this buried in the thick of this album?" and "why on earth hasn't this been a single already?" It's honestly an instant hit. As discussed at number seven of this countdown, counting in songs is very fun because it's something everybody knows how to do. And here lies the ingenious of Dua and the 'New Rules'. The other incredible aspect of this song is that it is right up there with the greatest Anti Fuck Boy Anthems of all time, and it truly is a message that everybody on the planet of dating age really needs to hear.  The writing team for 'New Rules' features the insanely talented pop hero Emily Warren alongside Caroline Alin and Ian Kirkpatrick. Finally, 'New Rules' served us up one of the greatest music videos of 2017 with its rainbow of pastels and slick choreography.



2. CNCO and Little Mix - Reggaetón Lento (Remix)

Honestly, the fucking state of CNCO's 'Reggaetón Lento (Bailemos)' pre-remix. Vocally it's absolutely fine but in terms of instrumentation it leaves a hell of a lot to be desired. Thank God for who ever at Syco picked this out and gave it the treatment it was in dire need of. The Little Mix remix is, as remixes usually are, far more club ready than the original but also contains a hell load more chart and mainstream appeal; not to mention everything production-wise just sounds so much cleaner. The most impressive aspect of 'Reggaetón Lento (Remix)' comes thanks to whomstever handpicked which lyrical/vocal aspects of the original song to keep to the extent where anyone could be fooled into thinking this was the original track. Vocally all four of Little Mix are absolutely perfect for this song and I don't have another word to say on that matter. The video... I can't decide if Little Mix and CNCO filmed at different times (on different locations?) but even if that's not true I'm not a fan of videos that look like it could be the case.



1. French Montana feat Swae Lee - Unforgettable

Yes, so my song of the year. My favourite three minutes released in 2017 comes from a man who I think is one of the lamest rappers to break into pop music of recent. To be fair to Mr Montana, 'Unforgettable' definitely features his most bearable verses of the year, and even his random ad libs are alright. What really got me about 'Unforgettable' is that the instrumentation gets the faux-dancehall/dancehall pandering just right, and it doesn't try too hard, which is interesting considering that the beat was originally put forward for Drake's Views. Swae Lee, one half of Rae Sremmurd is who this song went to first (post-Views contention obviously) and I honestly can't fathom why this wasn't kept for the duo because at no point does it not sound like Swae's song. I guess that we can just be grateful that so much of his vocal has remained on the final version because he's honestly perfect for it. Genius have a 'The Making Of' series on YouTube and the video for 'Unforgettable' truly got me invested in production - and fuck, how nerdy are producers!

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Song Of The Year 2017: 4. Kelela - LMK



Seeing Kelela live last week was actually what spurred me to write a songs of the year list alongside my albums for 2017. And obviously it was the point halfway through her set when she dropped 'LMK' that I thought "this is so damn great and not enough people are recognising that fact".

'LMK' was the first single taken from Kelela's latest album Take Me Apart, and I have absolutely no doubt that for everybody involved in the process it was a no-brainer to put this track out first. The up-tempo-ness of 'LMK' isn't the most typical sound one might associate with Kelela but she's done it so well, this genuinely should have been a worldwide smash and it's mind-blowing that it wasn't. I don't personally relate to the lyrical themes throughout 'LMK' but I can definitely appreciate them and Kelela's delivery of them.

My favourite thing about this song is how true it stays to classic 90s R&B; there's so much homage paid to early Destiny's Child, Aaliyah, Brandy etc on 'LMK' and the authenticity of that shines through. And this isn't true of just the track itself, the Andrew Thomas Huang directed video takes me back to watching MTV when I was eight years old and being mesmerised by these colourful sassy clips with nightclub backdrops.


Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Song Of The Year 2017: 5. Goldlink feat Brent Faiyaz, Shy Glizzy - Crew



This is the first song on this list that I've actually written about before. Luckily for me that was at least nine months ago and I remember very little of what I wrote so I can plead ignorance when I re-hash everything I said before in this here end of year post. A disclaimer that this single was first released at the end of 2016 but I hadn't heard it and it didn't receive a video until March, and 'Crew' also featured on Goldlink's second album At What Cost which was also released in 2017. Thus, I rest my case on including this particular track in this rundown.

I've been a fan of Goldlink since I heard 'Sober Thoughts' a couple of years ago but it's upbeat tracks like that and 'Dance On Me' that I've tended to favour. I guess in terms of vibe 'Crew' is quite a stark contrast. I think the reason I like it as much as I do, you know, to include it in my songs of the year, is predominantly down to Brent Faiyaz.His chorus has gotta be up there with the catchiest of the year. The interesting thing is that Faiyaz doesn't really sound anything like he does on 'Crew' on his own material, which I guess is cool, that ability to adapt.

Something that I'm sure I'll write a lot more about when it comes to my albums of the year is how I've come to terms with exactly the kind of rap/hip hop that I actually like. Shy Glizzy's verse, which when I first heard it I thought was ridiculous, is now probably my favourite part of this track.

Song Of The Year 2017: 6. Tove Lo - Disco Tits



Everything on the lead up to the release of this single made me think it was going to be absolutely atrocious. I'm not sure where my lack of faith or confidence came from but it was strong and unsettling. I guess the thought of anybody I like a lot releasing two full length albums in as many years have the potential to make me nervous. It shouldn't have done. From the very minute I pressed play I was convinced, won over, a believer in Tove Lo once again, and ashamed that for those few days I'd felt uncertain.

I admire Tove Lo's audacity to sing about things that popstars don't generally sing about. You know, being wet, your nipples being hard, and also pretty much every line on 'bitches' which features alongside 'Disco Tits' on the Swede's latest album BLUE LIPS. I think it's fun to hear words and phrases like this in a colloquial but not derogatory way, and it's important that a woman should be able to sing about this kind of stuff without being shunned for it. Sure, the tracks on this album then became less commercial radio friendly but it's 2017 and who really gives a fuck?

Two super mad things about 'Disco Tits'. Firstly, this song only has one verse. Yep, just the one. But it almost doesn't even notice. This song has the ability to pretty simply flip between verse and chorus numerous times without making itself feel repetitive which is honestly a feat in itself. The second thing is how absolutely nuts the video is; let's not gloss over that. The clip is directed by Tim Erem who has worked wonders on all the video footage for Tove Lo's Lady Wood campaign, but has also directed none other than Major Lazer's 'Lean On' and Rihanna's 'Work'.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Song Of The Year 2017: 7. Ingrid - 1234



Here's a nice niche one for you. The only explanation for how I found this track is that it must have been on Sweden's NMF playlist at the time and to be quite honest, thank God it was. '1234' has received next to no promo otherwise which is pretty poor form from Ingrid and her team given how great this single is.

'1234' was penned by four (as far as I can tell) relatively unknown Swedish writers including Swedish Disney star, Linnéa källström. And it encapsulates everything one could want from an extremely fun Nordic pop song. Where Swedish pop females are concerned, bar Tove Styrke and Tove Lo (stay tuned), they haven't had the greatest year which begs the question why an artist like Ingrid wasn't pushed a little further. It actually sounds like a poppier/more bubblegum amalgamation of some of Tove Styrke's tracks.

'1234' came out just after Samantha Urbani's song of the same title finally made its way to digital stores/streaming services and it was at that point I thought, surely it can't get better than this. Ingrid proved me wrong.The chorus absolutely slams. Has anything ever been more sing-along-able than counting? No. It literally hasn't. Everybody can count and almost everybody can also count in English. Other than that I'm not honestly sure what the lyrics are all about... getting someone who fancies you to dance? Regardless, I'd quite like for this to be played at my funeral. Thank you very much.

Song Of The Year 2017: 8. James Vickery - Alone



Well, would you look at that. If it isn't great guy James Vickery with the second track from his debut EP Complexion. James sent me 'Alone' before its release and since I haven't spoken about it I thought I would share my reaction to said song. It was as follows: "Very INTO IT, the intro/outro is my fave bit. This hook is very good. Not even a chorus is it, just like one line over and over, it works. Songs without choruses really fucking me up this year." The other song I really liked that doesn't really have a chorus is Jakil's 'Every Time We Talk' which was genuinely pipped to the post by the tracks that did make this list.

'Alone' is produced by my favourite producer and in my opinion the UK's best producer (and also very long time WIIHAMB favourite), Maths Time Joy. This track is tight. It's that whole "whitespace" thing, when you're designing something. Less is more. And that really plays out well for 'Alone'. The first minute or so of this track is so minimalistic and it works effortlessly. In fact, let's discuss exactly what happens at 02:02 of 'Alone'. This is by far the greatest moment of this song and honestly it was exactly what I wanted from James Vickery post-'Epiphany' and 'Lately'. Everything drops out and then that vocal, the vocal we were all waiting for, slams back in. Glorious.

Another important, but niche, thing to note is that none of the tracks that Vickery has put out over the last year are longer than three minutes and twenty seconds which is truly the most optimal. People who don't take durations seriously aren't the types of people you should take seriously about music and that's the bottom line of this situation.

James has just announced his second London headline show. Tickets on Dice here. Come have a beer.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Song Of The Year 2017: 9. George FitzGerald - Burns



I started working at Domino Records sister company Double Six Rights this year. If you didn't know that, you know now. The Double Six roster is expansive, but the in-house Domino roster is pretty eclectic too. I'd say I've probably been fairly dismissive of Domino releases this year but I've started making more of an effort to listen to everything we put out. It's actually probably this song, that I have round the office been referring to as "the greatest song of all time", that spurred that.

I'll tell you exactly why I fell in love with 'Burns' so quickly. It's simple. It's that sample. Chopped and sampled vocals are by far my favourite thing in electronic music and to pull it off in such a clean manner is something I really admire. The vocal sample here is taken from a track by label mates Little Cub. Ten years or so ago I first heard Burial's 'Archangel'; I'd never heard (or realised I'd heard) sampling like it before and it genuinely changed my life. My outlook on music as a whole was completely flipped on its head and anything that calls back to that moment gets a yes from me.

What really sets 'Burns' apart, though, is FitzGerald's ability to build such an intense atmosphere in the space of four minutes starting out with a really short and basic sample. The escalation is so gradual and effortless that it's easy to not even notice the other elements bubbling under the surface until you're completely encapsulated in the midst of it all as the percussion kick in. I'm not one for sentimentality or sitting in dark rooms with nothing but my thoughts, but if I was, I'd be using 'Burns' to soundtrack just that. This is a masterpiece and a masterclass in how to do electronic music right.

Song Of The Year 2017: 10. William Singe - Rush



The only YouTuber I stan. Unbelievably William Singe as a solo artist has flown under the radar again in 2017. I don't understand. Anyone not familiar with the YouTuber's work will have heard him as the featured vocalist on very short man Jonas Blue's 'Mama'. This was not a good song, but sure, it wasn't bad publicity for Singe. Aside from this, his primary game is really impressive YouTube covers and mash-ups, but back in February Singe released his debut "original" single 'Rush'.

Yep, you got me, 'Rush' isn't entirely original, but it features one of the best interpolations/samples that we've heard all year - and definitely a damn sight better than 'Look What You Made Me Do'. 'Rush' samples Jennifer Paige's 1998 bop and a half 'Crush'. It's in no way subtle but it works seemlessly. In fact, for someone who essentially puts their own spin on current chart hits and R&B classics as a day job, 'Rush' is a no-brainer in terms of being a Singe's first single.

The thing that truly cements 'Rush' in WIIHAMB's top ten singles this year is William Singe's vocal performance. It's a falsetto dreams are made of. And something really important is that Singe doesn't over-sing at all. I think that's super easy to do if you have a voice as good as his but there's no point during this song where Singe overdoes it and I think that deserves credit. The only thing that let Singe down in 2017 was that 'Rush' wasn't followed up by an EP or even another original single. Can't have it all, I guess.

'Rush' is a classic case of white girl pandering R&B but bite me, I love it.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Last Week's Releases Today: Wus Dis?

Long time no see. I've missed this. And us. And you.
A rare occasion where I've actually made it the whole way through my mega NMF playlist and managed to pick out some gems hiding amongst that awful Eminem and Beyonce collab and premature Christmas songs.

bülow - Not A Love Song

Oh yeah, it's one of those not love songs but actually it is. Gotcha. I've sussed it. Detective achievement unlocked. bülow is 17 years old and from The Netherlands. Damaged Vol. 1, the three track EP from which 'Not A Love Song' is taken is her first release of all time which is quite baffling actually because the tracks on it are impeccable. 'Not A Love Song' is the standout, however. It's fresh, it's honest and it's polished. bülow is a star in the making.



Dance à la Plage - Wanna Move Like You

Dance à la Plage have been a band for aaages, right? In some ways it doesn't even show. Maybe this happy guitar strumming indie-pop isn't the most popular genre right now, but if everyone was writing songs as catchy as 'Wanna Move Like You' it surely would be. This track is simple, for sure, but it does the job so well adding anything else to the pot would surely ruin it. I've no idea what this band are up to at the moment but I can only hope there's more of this.



Ernest K. - Trouble Wth Us

Being a rapper and also singing well is something that I think a lot of people who try to do that fail at. Ernest K. is not one of those people. 'Trouble With Us' is the opening track from the Nashville based artist's debut self-titled EP. It's important to note that this track isn't by any stretch groundbreaking but it surely must be a sign of good things to come. Take that and combine it with the fact that all three songs on this release sound completely different, and it's fair to say Ernest K. might be one to keep an eye on.



Kim Petras - Slow It Down

Kim Petras' vocals sound like a mixture between Tove Lo's and Charli XCX's. Before the Google search I literally just performed I had no idea who she was but I'm a big fan of disassociating music with the people performing/writing it. There's a lot of Dr Luke affiliation here but if there is the capacity to ignore all of that, 'Slow It Down' is a bop.



Petit Biscuit feat Lido - Problems

Petit Biscuit is a genuinely terrible stage name but I have the capacity to look past that if you're creating songs that sound like this. The French producer has teamed up with Norwegian artist Lido on 'Problems', taken from Petit Biscuit's recently released debut album. I don't have any idea what the lyrics in this song are about, especially during the pre-chorus - something about hi-hats and pineapples? It doesn't matter at all though, really, because the track sounds so nice and Lido's vocals work so effortlessly.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Lune - L$D

Hi friends, I've been quiet lately, which is totally fine because I'm not overwhelmed by the notion of writing and blogging at the moment but I think it's important to sing something's praises when you think that something is really good. That's how I feel about Lune's cover of A$AP Rocky's 'L$D'. I'm a tremendous fan of covers as it is, you can view my Undeniably The Best Covers Ever playlist here, but there are some things in particular about covers that I like the most and Lune pretty much ticks those boxes.

I don't know anything about Lune, I can't even decide if the Twitter account I think is her is actually her or not. But things I do know are that her real name is Linnéa Martinsson and she's Swedish. Shock! Something good is from Sweden. Anyway, this cover, right, is of a pretty bland track as far as A$AP Rocky's catalogue goes, like, I guess it's nice for hip hop artists to do something different but the original version of 'L$D' is pretty beige. And that's what makes Lune's version so mesmerising. She's taken a song that is pretty inconsequential in its original form and actually made it into a love song without really changing much about it. I'm also very against the altering of song lyric pronouns for the purpose of a cover and I absolutely adore how genuine Lune sounds when she's singing about this girl. Obviously I have no knowledge of her sexual preferences but as someone (classic me) who fell briefly in love with a girl I met for three days last weekend, I'm finding 'L$D' painfully relatable.



Saturday, 1 July 2017

Some of June's Releases Today

In an extremely sad and upsetting state of affairs, my Last Week's Releases Today post from last week literally disappeared as I was adding in the formatting on Friday morning. So I'm not sure at this point how much of that I'll re-write but I guess we'll soon see.



By far my favourite albums from the week before last were Hey Monday's debut From The Outside and Broadside's sophomore album Paradise. I absolutely hated Lorde's Melodrama and I'm finding it hard to fathom how and why people think it's so excellent. I mean, maybe I just need to give it more time but that's literally the last thing I want to give it. The Big Boi and Portugal. The Man albums were both extremely disappointing. The Terror Jr album is everything you'd expect a second Terror Jr album to be and it's not overwhelmingly good. The ol' Nickelback album is a real gem though, I enjoyed that, and you should too.

Last week was possibly the slowest music week ever so there's not much to report apart from the new album from Captain We're Sinking, that's good. Imagine Dragons' Evolve was a surprise hit and VERITE's debut had some good pop cuts on it too.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Hot Singles In Your Area #1: FTSE, FARR, Janine

Well... this is new. AND HILARIOUS. We all know I don't actually enjoy writing so here we have a simple way for me to tell you about songs that are good by artists who are also good in an easily digestible and succinct manner. I used to do something similar last year but it wasn't half as witty as the title is now.


FTSE feat Shola Ama and Donae'o - Work U Out

Upon seeing Shola Ama's name alongside any track there's a pretty pre-conceived notion (for me, at least) of what that song is going to sound like. I was therefore surprised given Sam Manville AKA FTSE's previous works but also intrigued given said previous works. Manville in his FTSE guise alone has seamlessly transitioned between different pop and electronic sub-genres that it should really come as no shock that he's able to pull off this garage-esque track. I definitely don't believe it's something that an artist like FTSE strives for, but this is possibly the most commercially viable track that he's put his name to. Donea'o's verses are extremely tolerable on 'Work U Out', which is a pleasant surprise in itself too. Also, very strong summer vibe. Would recommend for literally right now.



FARR - Blades

This was a Bastien Rayno recommendation. I think I'd quite like a soundbite like off of MySpace songs that bands didn't want people ripping that just says "A Bastien Recommendation" every time one of these songs happens. I read somewhere that FARR are from London but that is not strictly true; in fact the duo are split across the Atlantic, which given their sound with a typical American R&B style vocal blended with sleek UK grounded production makes a lot of sense. 'Blades' is the pair's second single and it's far darker and weightier than their debut 'Down', but it definitely gives FARR an edge over their peers. This songs also has an absolutely stellar middle eight that breaks all the rules by not leading into a final chorus.



Janine - Unstable

I'm always a little cautious of artists using just their first name as their stage name. Where will I find you? How will I find you? How do I know you are you? Well, I sent a link to Janine's new single 'Unstable' to Matthew (you know, this guy) who informed me that Janine used to perform under the name Janine and the Mixtape. My smugness then quadrupled when I found a comment from renowned blog Disco Naïveté from four years ago saying that they didn't think Janine was "in it for much". Imagine hearing this new single now and being that wrong about a person. 'Unstable' is absolutely everything I love about a female pop/RnB singer/songwriter. Everything. Emotion, attitude, relatability, and a sultry as fuck contrasting middle eight section. Yes. Please. Slay me. Janine.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Last Fortnight's Releases Today: Sisters Are Doing That

It's Wednesday evening and I'm as curious as you are as to whether there will actually be a post below this come Friday. In quite a peculiar twist of fate, ladies are showing their superiority not only in UK Parliament this week (shout out to The Gal, Diane), but also this month's releases thus far have been dominated by females. And the stuff they're churning out is good too.

As you're aware by now, The Library:


I didn't particularly like Allie X pre-'That's So Us' but that really won me over and CollXtion II is a good listen overall with 'Casanova' being an extreme highlight. Amongst an ocean of singles and 17 tracks I was extremely skeptical about Dua Lipa but this album by and large is super fun. It's been such a long time in the making that everybody had every right to think it would be an underwhelming slog but that's not the case at all. If there are any further singles from it, which I don't doubt there will be, 'New Rules' has got to be up there. Another album that I forced myself to have an open mind for was Halsey's hopeless fountain kingdom, and I'm glad I did because some of these tracks, 'Walls Could Talk' and 'Bad At Love' in particular, pack a lot more punch than anything did on the first album. When you look past how pretentious everything about Halsey is, there does seem to be some light at the end of the tunnel.

In stark contrast we have Katy Perry who has churned out an absolute waste of a record. I thought I liked three songs on Witness but it's rapidly transpiring that 'Roulette' is the only track on there worth re-vising. I was really looking forward to RIVRS The Berlin Mixtape based on the two singles 'Man Of My Dreams' and 'Bad Karma' but unfortunately that too did not live up to expectations. Bea Miller released a new EP called chapter two: red. I listened to it once and decided two of the songs were okay but I literally don't have time for "okay" this month, you know? I have found the lead single from the latest Major Lazer EP, 'Know No Better', featuring Travis Scott (...), Camila Cabello (eye-roll), and Quavo (kill me), surprisingly enjoyable. The rest of the EP was a bit "typical Major Lazer" and I was not interested. Both the Marlene EP and the SZA album took me quite a while to get through but I've still picked out some of the good ones from there so all is not lost.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Underrated: Big Boi - Mic Jack

Let me tell you a lil something about Big Boi: He out here creating hits and none of y'all pay any damn attention every single time. It's a heartbreaking state of affairs that I am straight up over. Obviously we're all familiar with Big Boi's output during the Outkast era, especially during the Speakerboxxx/The Love Below cycle, most notably on 'The Way You Move' and his verse on'Roses'. But even with the high profile attention that those tracks garnered, 'Hey Ya!' was (and is still) such an astronomical international success that Big Boi's works almost got left behind.

Fast-forward to 2010 and 17 year old me is at a stage in my life where I am heavily invested in predicting the next big hit. That was back in a time where things could be anticipated long before tracks were actually released physically and/or digitally. It was also a time when I was becoming extremely invested in Radio 1 specialist shows. There was this new single from Outkast's Big Boi and I'm not sure I've ever heard Zane Lowe back something as hard as he backed 'Shutterbug'. And I was with him. "This is it", I thought. "A summer smash like no other." It wasn't. It did peak at number 13 in the UK singles chart which I was surprised to learn the other day, but it deserved so much more. But here we are, seven years on and things don't really seem to have changed much for Big Boi.

Back in April Big Boi released a pair of new singles to launch the campaign for his forthcoming album, Boomiverse, scheduled for release this week. Now, you see, I don't believe in releasing more than one single at a time because I think it makes the campaign messy and both songs are never going to be equal amounts successful, however, 'Kill Jill' and 'Mic Jack' (title-wise at least) go hand in hand. These two tracks are pretty drastically different in terms of sound though, whilst 'Kill Jill' featuring Jeezy and Killer Mike takes a more straight up rap/hip hop route, 'Mic Jack' is a second chance at that summer smash. Or at least, it was. With Adam Levine on the chorus and unnamed female vocalist all over the outro, this is Big Boi doing possibly his best pop effort ever. But this song has been out for two months now and ain't nobody giving a fuck, which is something I find quite appalling. "Out the oven 'cause we never microwavin'". Why are you sleeping on this, universe? I don't understand. Justice for Big Boi and the Boomiverse era immediately. I will say that I'm fairly upset that the outro is just cut from the video version of the song, but it's legitimately one of the highlights. Also why isn't this female vocalist credited? There is no reason for her to be anonymous in this day and age.



Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Emily Vaughn - Mood

(I know this has been knocking around for a little while now but I've been busy doing nothing.)

Emily Vaughn first appeared in the Blogosphere two years ago with her debut single 'Hollow'. At the time I was very impressed with the 19 year old's first track and I claimed that she had "the pop formula sussed". Whilst that definitely wasn't untrue in 2015, if released now 'Hollow' probably wouldn't stand a chance amongst other rising female pop types. The other two singles released between then and now, 'Better Off' and 'Think Twice' are equally good pop but not groundbreaking, which to be honest, had me a little worried... but fear not, Vaughn is back and better than ever for 2017.

In fact, 'Mood' is not only the best song to eye-roll to so far this year, but also the best song to side-eye scowl to. Those two things are very important to me, especially when having to deal with fuckboys in a similar vein to the scenario laid out in the track's lyrics. The problem is, it's June 2017 and I'm really over the word "sassy" but if we can pretend that it didn't become the overused internet term that it is... it's very much what I'd like to describe 'Mood' as, and it really hits the ground running. There's something about solitary finger clicking that screams attitude and control and domination, which is actually nuts that all of those things come from a snap. And from then on through the next three minutes the attitude is relentless. Has anybody ever been as over an ex as Emily Vaughn is right now? I think not.

Can I also give praise to the dance routine section of the video during the middle (not sure if it's) eight please, because I love that.



Monday, 5 June 2017

Last Month's Releases Today: Just Another Manic May

Hello everybody, I thought it would be a really good idea to try and go to four festivals in five weeks alongside a full time job (which I've just passed my probation on btw, hello, I'm a fully fledged member of Domino Records (technically Double Six Rights Management but #yolo) now!) and attempted to preview a load of stuff. All of that has been way time consuming so this has fallen by the way-side. I actually haven't posted on here since pre-TGE and although it wasn't all that long ago, it feels like an age.

Running through everything good and bad I've listened to over the past four weeks seems like a ridiculous and boring idea, so here is my May Library and some highlights from the recent period.



I spoke about the Airling album last time I did this, you can read that here, and it has fast become one of my favourite records of the year so far. I was very much looking to Christopher's new album but it is such a hot mess for the most part that I'm glad I'm not actually writing more than this about it. I very much have got back in to skater punk via the new Gnarwolves album, to the point where I might even commit to seeing them live some time soon. My good ol' Twitter mate JMR released his new EP Boyish, which is essentially an album in terms of length, and it might take a couple of listens to get the feel of it but it's worth the effort. I really wanted to like more of the Paramore album than I did but I just don't think they nail the pop stuff as well as they think they do. And finally, my Queen, Mabel McVey put our her first EP Bedroom a couple of weeks ago and now we can all listen to 'Talk About Forever' comfortably.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The Great Escape Festival 2017 Clashless Guide - Part Three: Saturday

Check out Thursday's Clashless Guide here
And Friday's Clashless Guide here


I realised after Thursday's post went live that I did a really terrible thing that I wanted to avoid. That  thing was leaving out any information about whose showcase is whose. But as consistency is key and also as I have literally no time to edit anything I've done, I'm just going to ignore it's a thing that happened. I wanted to highlight this, but I also wanted to sweep it under the carpet and it's ended up as a bit of rambling. Let's awkwardly scuttle on with Part Three then, eh?

Current weather report: The pictures make it look alright, just pretty cloudy, but definitely don't rule out the possibility of showers. It'll feel warm in the sun, so at least that's something. (BBC Weather literally says that, don't @ me.)

Saturday is a little thin on the ground, I don't know why, it just always seems to be that way. But when you take into consideration that the city will be busier overall anyway, and therefore getting between venues and into them is likely to take a little longer, it's probably not a bad thing. An early start again and again it's up at the Brighthelm Centre for Big Scary Monsters/Alcopop's showcase openers Happy Accidents at 12:30. They're pretty different to any other recommendations so far this week, an indie punk trio with a super summery vibe. Stick around there for Kamikaze Girls at 13:30 or grab some lunch, obviously I'd recommend Bagelman but have a stroll and go wherever the wind takes you.

Be back up at The Hope And Ruin at 14:30 for WIIHAMB favourites and Brighton natives Kudu Blue. I bet you won't believe lead singer Clementine's voice isn't a sample... because I couldn't. Then it's down to One Church at 15:30 for my favourite new artiste of the last year or two, Léks Rivers. Rivers bends and melds genres, like very few other artists at the same point in their career, to create guitar based hip hop meets RnB and jazz that just has to be witnessed live. Then hop on down to Jubilee Square to see Jerry Williams at 16:30. I won't bother explaining for the 1001st...th... (?? what the hell.. thousand and oneth? thousand and first? bloody hell.) time why you should see her, but do, it'll be fun.

Dinner suggestion: I can't believe I've made it this far without mentioning the one and only La Choza, which is where you should definitely go if you refuse to actually follow this guide. If you are following it though, you need to be quick and a speedier Mexican option is a burrito from Tortilla on West Street.

It's gonna get real messy for Saturday night. I'm referring to this guide, but maybe I'm referring to both you and myself as well... time will tell. Providing the calm before the storm is Raheem Bakere Upstairs at Patterns at 17:45. Think Gallant-like sultry R&B. Sit (stand) back and relax before this gets manic. It's once again time for a Go Your Own Way segment, but this time so extreme we're going to need separate paragraphs.

Route One
This is a route that I am committing to for numerous reasons but mostly because you're just in one venue, The Arch. First up at 18:45 is Will Heard. I'm still a bit bitter about the time he politely asked me to remove a blog post about him because "industry", but at the same time I still can't wait to start a pit to 'I Better Love You'. I'm also intrigued as to whether he performs any of his million collaborations live. Next up at 19:45 is little talked about Norwegian popstar-to-be Julie Bergan. I personally can not wait to throw down during her 2016 banger of a single 'Arigato'. The final artiste for this run, and the one I'm most excited to see over the whole weekend, George Maple at 20:45. Maple has been making super sexy pop songs with an electronic edge since day one. She's set to release her debut album at some point this year so hopefully we'll hear some new cuts from that this weekend.

Route Two
For this route you can take a leasurely stroll up to Green Door Store (there's not much I'd recommend in between) for Joe Hertz at 19:15. Joe Hertz makes some of the best electronic/RnB crossover jams we've heard over the last few years and I can guarantee that collaborator James Vickery will be making appearance during his set, so I can only assume there may be some other guests too. What you really need afterwards is a friend on the ground, someone to let you know how busy it is down on the seafront because you really want to catch explosive Danish trio Off Bloom at Coalition at 20:15. But alternatively, staying at Green Door Store for pop duo Frank Gamble also at 20:15 is a very feasible option. Then, if you think you can make it, head to the end of the pier for  quirky as fuck indie quintet Bad Sounds at 21:00 at Horatio's.

Regardless of the route you took you'll want to head back down to the seafront and get in to Coalition early for Skott, who takes the stage at 22:15. The eretheral Swedish vocalist has just been announced as the main support for MØ on her massive headline tour at the end of the year, so catch Skott in small venues whilst you can. Afterwards, take a break, you've really earned it over the past three days but do try and make time for Midlands based rapper Stefflon Don at 23:30 at Vevo's Wagner Hall

That's all for this year. It's been a wild ride. I'll be at most things I've mentioned over the last three days so if you see me, let's have a beer. Check out @WIIHAMB on Twitter because that is probably where I will be. Peace.

Saturday Clashless Recap
12:30-13:00 - Happy Accidents - Brighthelm Centre
14:30-15:00 - Kudu Blue - The Hope and Ruin
15:30-16:00 - Leks Rivers - One Church
16:30-17:00 - Jerry Williams - Jubilee Square
17:45-18:15 - Raheem Bakere - Patterns Upstairs
18:45-21:15 - Will Heard, Julie Bergan, George Maple - The Arch (Route One)
19:15-19:45 - Joe Hertz - Green Door Store (Route Two)
20:15-20:45 - Off Bloom - Coalition / Frank Gamble - Green Door Store (Route Two)
21:00-21:30 - Bad Sounds - Horatio's (Route Two)
22:15-22:45 - Skott - Coalition
23:30-00:00 - Stefflon Don - Wagner Hall

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The Great Escape Festival 2017 Clashless Guide - Part Two: Friday

Check out WIIHAMB's Clashless Guide to Thursday here.


Welcome back. First thing today I'd like to give a serious amount of praise to is The Great Escape app which you can download here for iOS and here for Android. Not only is it the smoothest running festival app I've handled, it offers everything up on an easy to digest platter in the most seamless way. My current favourite feature is if you've linked the app to your Facebook account and then scroll down to the bottom of an artist page, it shows you whether your friends have also added that artist to their schedule. So simple yet so effective. Shout out to you The Great Escape. Also, it'll have all the details of pop up/secret sets throughout the weekend. Never forget TGE 2014 when we went to the SeaLife Centre for free.

Current Weather Report: Sunny spells and scattered showers, these sometimes heavy, prolonged and thundery. EXCELLENT! Definitely bring a cagoule. I, for one, am thrilled at any opportunity to sport my festival raincoat - see you in the pit.

Starting as early as 12:30 could be an optimistic attempt but we'll give it a shot. This lunchtime slot will be filled by London three piece Sälen at Wagner Hall. It's not quite clear what Vevo are doing this year; typically they have acoustic sets during the day and then full band sets in the evening but there's no real specification for 2017. Check Sälen out anyway, it's bound to be weird. Grab a Bagelman and then head to Queens Hotel for Paigey Cakey at 13:45. Paigey Cakey used to be in Waterloo Road a few years ago (you know, when it was on) but now she's a rapper. In fact, a couple of her latest singles include her singing as well, which offers up a pretty nice dynamic in her tracks. I'm intrigued to see how she fares live.

You then have ten minutes to make it over to Latest Music Bar for Baby Queens at 14:15. Despite a truly not good band name, the five-piece make super soulful RnB/pop crossover music with stellar harmonies. At 15:20 up at Green Door Store Harrison Brome, creator of my favourite song of 2017 with the word "pussy" in the first verse, is doing songs and for literally that reason alone we should all go and watch him. The final stop this afternoon is somebody I could not care less about but I know you all want to see, Sigrid. I would assume this is going to be busy so it's probably worth heading down to Wagner Hall long before Sigrid takes the stage at 16:30 to guarantee yourself a spot. Obviously I'll be there because I am intrigued, and friends who haven't seen her live keep telling me how great she is live, and it's not fair to have an opinion on something until you've tried it. So there we are.

Dinner Suggestion: Just an hour for dinner today so pop into Franco Manca. The London sites are always very keen to turf you out as quickly as possibly so I'd expect the Brighton contigent to do the same. Super cheap super good sourdough pizza. You can't go wrong.

Once again our evening starts back up at the Unitarian Church, today with Matt Woods at 18:00. I don't know why I thought Matt Woods was American, but he's not, he's very much originally from Cornwall now living in London. He creates this super atmospheric RnB pop that I should typically hate but I don't, so there we go. Serial TGE performers The Age Of LUNA are back again for 2017 having released their new EP Coco last week and take to the stage Upstairs at Patterns at 18:45. Don't stick around for too long though because WIIHAMB favourite Dan Caplen is on at 19:15 at Coalition. I first saw Dan live at TGE last year and he was a clear standout from the entire weekend. I'm under the impression he's performing new material at the moment, which will most likely be worth seeing. Then hang around at Coalition for Raye at 20:15. With her own EP, mixtape, and features on chart topping songs from Jax Jones and Jonas Blue, It will be busy for Raye so being in the venue early is a must.

It's Go Your Own Way round two tonight, once again between 21:00 and 22:30. Luckily all of the venues are in the same direction so if anything is at capacity darting to plan B is simple enough. I would recommend first heading straight to Wagner Hall in an attempt to catch Ider at 21:00, especially if you opted not to see them on Thursday. But as discussed, the pair and Dagny who follows them at 22:00 are very sought after so the Vevo venue is likely to reach capacity. Also bear in mind that once you're inside the Vevo area, you may still have to queue to get in to the actual Hall. Last year there was a screen outside which was really cool but also remember the whole thundery showers thing. If you can't make it inside Superfood play The East Wing just across the road at 21:30, which will be cool or you can check out Strong Asian Mothers at Sticky Mike's Frog Bar at 21:15 which will probably be sweaty.

Opting for either of the latter two bands means being able to squeeze Ama Lou into your schedule, also at Sticky Mike's, at 22:15. Ama Lou's tracks are quite heavily based on electronic elements but have a pop edge too. Afterwards it's back across town to Latest Music Bar for Alice Jemima at 23:00. Her blend of acoustic/folk and electronic/pop, and the recent release of her debut album will no doubt make for an interesting live show. If you fancy running down to Coalition afterwards to catch what you can of Shy Luv from 23:30 that's definitely an option. Hang there or find a pub you can attempt to grab a table in and get some beers in before Friday's closer Krrum at 01:30 at The Hope and Ruin, who will undoubtedly bring the late night party vibes.

Friday Clashless Recap
12:30-13:00 - Sälen - Wagner Hall
13:45-14:05 - Paigey Cakey - Queen's Hotel
14:15-14:45 - Baby Queens - Latest Music Bar
15:20-15:40 - Harrison Brome - Green Door Store
16:30-17:00 - Sigrid - Wagner Hall
18:00-18:30 - Matt Woods - Unitarian Church
18:45-19:15 - The Age of LUNA - Patterns Upstairs
19:15-19:45 - Dan Caplen - Coalition
20:15-20:45 - Raye - Coalition
21:00-21:30 - Ider - Wagner Hall --> 22:00:22:30 - Dagny - Wagner Hall
21:15-21:45 - Strong Asian Mothers - Sticky Mike's / 21:30-22:15 - Superfood - The East Wing
22:15-22:45 - Ama Lou - Sticky Mike's Frog Bar
23:00-23:30 - Alice Jemima - Latest Music Bar
23:30-00:00 - Shy Luv - Coalition
01:30-02:00 - Krrum - The Hope and Ruin

Get pumped for the final instalment this time tomorrow.

Monday, 15 May 2017

The Great Escape 2017 Clashless Guide - Part One: Thursday


It's back. The mighty Great Escape Festival, and the even mightier Clashless Guide. It's an event. This is quite possibly the least prepared I have ever been for TGE so please bear with the frantic nature of these posts over the next three days. You all know the deal by now, I give you a clash-free schedule to the three day festival in Brighton complete with spots to eat and weather reports. There is one thing that I would like to stress before we get started and that is that the clashes are relentless this year, and this is by far the most difficult guide(s) I've ever had to put together.

Current Weather Report: Occasional sunshine and showers throughout the day, with temperatures between 10 and 14 degrees Celsius. Yeah, you're probably going to need a cagoule this weekend.

Why not get things started early? Like, as early as possible. First on the agenda is fairly new kid on the block Sonny at 13:00 at One Church. Sonny puts a pop and almost country sounding spin on the whole singer/songwriter thing that's quite exciting. You can then make the swift walk over to the Brighthelm Centre for the great live Scottish pop-rock band fronted by a rapper, The LaFontaines, at 13:30. After a bit of a break, head back down to One Church for Gabrielle Aplin at 15:30. There is a misconception about Gabrielle Aplin that she still makes wispy music a la That John Lewis ad and that's not the case at all. It’s at this point that I would like to emphasise that I’ve never attended a set in a church at TGE or in my life, so two in the first afternoon is something pretty ~out there~ for me to be recommending. The final stop before dinner is Liv Dawson at Vevo’s Wagner Hall at 16:30. It's always nice to admire what Vevo do with the place every year, and seeing it in the daylight to the backdrop of Liv Dawson's dulcet tones seems like a good plan.

Dinner Suggestion: This may well be the longest dinner slot available this weekend so make the most of it. My friend and Brighton resident Emma has recommended The Prince George pub on Trafalgar Street who have the most wild all vegetarian menu with a load of Mexican inspired dishes, it looks lit.

After a refuel, take yourself back to church, the Unitarian Church to be specific, for Folly Rae at 18:30. Folly Rae describes her sound as "hippy electric", which doesn't sound overly appealing, but I promise it is. Afterwards, stroll down to the seafront to Shooshh for Australian pop artiste Betty Who at 19:30. It’s important at these events to see artists from the other side of the world because you just never know how long it’ll be before they return, and Betty Who just released her second album so it'll be nice to hear the bangers from that. Although, in contradiction to my advice, next on the agenda is UK based singer/songwriter Carys Selvey at 20:15 Upstairs at Patterns. Selvey has only released one single thus far but me ol' mate Matthew gave her a rave review from Live At Leeds, so one to get behind early, I'd say.

Welcome to the first of at least a couple Go Your Own Way segments. 21:00-22:00 on Thursday is absolute chaos and I've narrowed things down to three options. The one that makes the most logistical sense is Ider downstairs at Patterns at 21:30. There are some backstairs in Patterns that should make the journey between the two floors fairly simple and avoid any type of queueing to re-enter situation that may occur because I would hazard a guess that this show will be very busy. Another show likely to reach capacity is Finnish not-your-typical-popstar Alma at The Arch at 21:15. This is the only show Alma plays in Brighton over The Great Escape but if you want to make it inside I'd suggest darting straight to the seafront from Patterns after Carys Selvey. My final suggestion for this hour is Dublin trio Hare Squead at 21:30 at Shooshh. It's easy to get stuck watching endless pop people and indie bands at TGE and Hare Squead provide a welcome change of pace, a combination of pop and hip hop, and they'd no doubt be huge if they were based in London.

Now that Concorde2 has been omitted from the festival’s core venues, The Old Market becomes the worst venue to have to get to, which essentially means you won’t be able to get over there to see Ray Blk at 22:00 without taking a fair amount of time out of this schedule to do so. I would therefore avoid this. If you missed The LaFontaines at lunchtime, check them out at 22:15 at Latest Music Bar, otherwise go where the wind takes you for a little while but not too long. Fickle Friends play The East Wing at 23:15 and you'll want to get over there early because no doubt everybody will be trying to see the hotly tipped Brighton quintet on their home turf. The final selection for Thursday is Little Cub who I am now contractually obliged to recommend. The indie trio play The Arch at 00:30.

Thursday Clashless Recap
13:00-13:20 - Sonny - One Church
13:30-14:00 - The LaFontaines - Brighthelm Centre
15:00-15:30 - Gabrielle Aplin - One Church
16:30-17:00 - Liv Dawson - Wagner Hall
18:30-19:00 - Folly Rae - Unitarian Church
19:30-20:00 - Betty Who - Shooshh
20:15-20:45 - Carys Selvey - Patterns Upstairs
21:15-21:45 - Alma - The Arch
21:30-22:00 - Ider - Patterns Downstairs / 21:30-22:00 - Hare Squead - Shooshh
(22:15-22:45 - The LaFontaines - Latest Music Bar)
23:00-23:45 - Fickle Friends - The East Wing
00:30-01:00 - Little Cub - The Arch

Catch you back here tomorrow for your guide to Friday.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

A Cocktail Guide to CloseUp Festival 2017

We are in the midst of showcase festival season and I completely sympathise with how overwhelming these testing times can be. However, there is one festival on the horizon that looks to be providing a pretty stress free experience. Making the move from Winchester to The Big Smoke, the second CloseUp Festival takes place this Saturday (13th May) at Hoxton's Square Bar and Kitchen. So let me emphasise the ease of this event: it's central, the lineup is phenomenal, and tickets are dirt cheap. The day sells itself really but just in case you're still not quite convinced I've put together a guide of some of the acts playing along with the drinks you might like to consume as you're watching them. (You see, Hoxton Square Bar has quite the cocktail menu.)

Jerry Williams

Miss Williams was actually the inspiration for this totally original piece of content given that her name features in the name of my personal favourite of the venue's cocktails. Jerry Williams headlines CloseUp's acoustic stage and honestly it's the kind of platform that she was born for. She released her third EP at the end of last year, and the five tracks encapsulate every aspect of her music making personality perfectly. 'Velcro' is a particular highlight, and as Williams usually performs it as just her and a guitar, no doubt it'll sound exceptional on Saturday.

Recommended drink: Very Cherry Jerry - it's a no-brainer

Fours

The festival's latest lineup addition is my favourite London based self-titled band. This will be the quartet's third time playing live in Hoxton in the last eight months so they will undoubtedly be right at home on the CloseUp festival stage. Fours have just released their second single of the year and arguably (although, I don't know who would contest it) their best song to date, 'Stella'. Hopefully bringing the sun from their recent band holiday to Shoreditch, Fours' summery pop songs are the perfect way to brighten up your afternoon.

Recommended drink: It would be a Stella if it were on offer, alas, it's going to have to be Earl of Jamaica - think summer, and rum, and the sun, and holidays

Glass Peaks

I'm currently finding Glass Peaks' songs very endearing but I'm struggling to pinpoint exactly why. The band are a "melancholic alt-pop" trio from Kent, but I don't think alt-pop quite does what they do much justice, they seem a bit... deeper than that. They claim that two of their influences are Joy Division and Foals, and to be honest, that's kind of what their new single 'Home' sounds like a mixture between. Glass Peaks are playing the main stage this weekend, and I'm quite intrigued about what they'll sound like live.

Recommended drink: Based solely on one Facebook post Glass Peaks seem hyped about Jagermeister being in conjunction with this event. I hear there's a Jager cocktail happening... opt for one of those.

Martin Luke Brown

I've never seen Martin Luke Brown live, which is almost criminal actually, it's just never worked out... until now! Brown will be playing the acoustic stage on Saturday, which, akin to Jerry Williams, will no doubt work in his favour. The singer's more recent releases, 'Shadow & Light' and '65 Roses' are far more stripped back than his debut EP and the collaboration he released with Sody last year. Although he's one of those artists with vocals so strong any setting will probably work for him.

Recommended drink: Whisk Me Away - something straight up to sip as you're serenaded

Ekkah

Where better to conclude than with the main attraction, Saturday's main stage headliners, Ekkah. In the hotly contested UK female duo category, Ekkah are definitely one of my favourites. Their sound and aesthetic quite literally sparkle, setting the tone perfectly for their 80s infused synth pop. As I say every time I mention this pair, they're so fun to watch because of their low-key dance routines and solid pop harmonies. A perfect way to end the evening.

Recommended drink: Lavender Vida Loca - it sounds pretty sophisticated and in terms of wanting a blue drink for eighties throwback purposes, this is the closest we're gonna get

Other acts playing this wild all-dayer: Kyko, Model Aeroplanes, The Bulletproof Bomb (I read that this band were from Croydon. I looked at a picture of them and didn't recognise any of them. They're actually from Sutton. Sutton is not Croydon. Can't believe someone would literally feed me fake news in such a manner.), Marsicans, How's Harry (No question mark... which makes me even more concerned for Harry's welfare.), JAKL, Sasha Brown

You can buy tickets on Dice, Dice is really good, literally don't bother buying tickets anywhere else. They're £13 which is so criminally cheap for an entire day of music in central London. Come on! Grab em here.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Kudu Blue - Shaded

Hi Kudu Blue, bet you thought I'd forgotten about you, didn't you? Well, I wouldn't dare. Kudu Blue are a (now) four-piece band from Brighton. I can't quite recall how I first stumbled across them last year, and yeah sure, I could go back and have a look at my post about their single 'Vicinity' but I'm totally not about cutting corners like that. Also, if I had, what would I have written here? Anyway, after a three song string of singles last year the quartet have done a similar thing for 2017 but they've smushed the three new songs together and called it an EP. It's all the rage. Although, three tracks of less than 30 minutes don't actually constitute as an EP when it comes to online music store style guides, so technically this is, as JoJo attempted to coin, a tringle... but let's not get bogged down in semantics.

'Sugar Lemz' is Shaded's opener. "Lemz" is the kind of word that makes me feel a bit uneasy so I kind of just pretend that's not what this song is called. I think Kudu Blue sound a lot less like "a band" on this EP and much more like... "a project", and 'Sugar Lemz' almost throws you in at the deep end with that notion. I've had six weeks or so to mull this track over and I've decided that it would actually fit better as an interlude type situation on a longer release rather than A Single. Either way, it's cool in terms of giving us a taste of a "different side" to Kudu Blue.

But 'Drink Alone' is really what I've been waiting for. It's a big emotional RnB/pop banger that builds upon the singles the band were releasing during 2016. Something about the introduction is strangely reminiscent of the sea... is this intentional because Kudu Blue live near the sea or am I doing the classic GCSE English teacher thing of reading way too far into things? Who knows. We're all well aware that I am a fan of relatable songs, and 'Drink Alone' is just that. Pining after someone and not wanting to have to drink on your own. We've all been there, right? This one is my favourite.

I'd like to, at this point, mention how good Clementine's vocals are throughout this entire EP, and also the production and overall feel of these three tracks is pretty flawless. These things shine through on final track 'Enemy'. 'Enemy' builds in this super subtle and effortless way, which is quite an exciting thing to pull off considering Kudu Blue record and produce everything themselves in their home studio. This band are just really good, you know?



Kudu Blue are playing The Great Escape next week, on Saturday afternoon which is a stark contrast to the 2 A.M. slot they played last year. It'll be a great time.