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 (?? 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


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


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.

Saturday 6 May 2017

Last Week's Releases Today: May The Fortunes Be With You

This is late, are you even surprised anymore? Thought not. I've decided to start May now. Not sure why, I just have, okay? Okay. There's a lot of Australian stuff going on this week. It was unintentional but music from Aus and New Zealand is so good at the moment... with the harsh exception of one of the releases below.

Albums and EPs Released Last Week:

Airling - Hard to Sleep, Easy to Dream This is good eh? Pretty sure this is on the verge of things I'm not typically supposed to like but Airling perfectly hits the genre mark between catchy pop and more ambient electronic. Hannah Shepherd uses featured artiste Tom Iansek's contrasting vocals just the right amount too, which does give the album a bit more of an edge than it would have it was just her. I've listened to this album a stupid amount of times in the space of 24 hours and as a result it has replaced RKCB's debut EP as my album to journey home being sad to. A soundtrack. In particular I adore 'Bloodshot Blue', the lyrics are poignant, the tone is just right and the pre-chorus is to die for. This record is stunning. 9/14 tracks added to library.

BLISS N ESO - Off The Grid You know I've raved about Australian hip hop this year right? Well after all of that, I've been slapped in the face with the new not good BLISS N ESO album. Everything that was exciting and innovative and current about Thundamentals, Spit Syndicate and Horrorshow feels like it's been omitted from this record. The most baffling thing are the guest features. What is the identity of Mario? Surely this isn't 'Let Me Love You' Mario? And I'll be damned if I can take Watsky even remotely seriously post-The Project U podcast. Surely no one in Australia is buying into this, right? The strangest thing is that they do touch on some actual relevant topics like we hear on 'Dopamine' and 'Devil On My Shoulder', but their delivery is so insincere it's hard to emotionally invest in. There's a line on 'Great Escape' that describes how they've been in the rap game for ten years "before the internet and chat rooms". Oz isn't that far behind the rest of the world, is it? No tracks added to library.

Cashmere Cat - 9 This is Cashmere Cat's debut album and it is flat out not what I was expecting, especially given the singles on the lead up. (Although in saying that, 'Throw Myself A Party' hasn't actually made it on to the record.) I guess in a way one should be grateful that it's not just one long pop song but on the flip side... the majority of this record is wishy washy electronic nonsense with the big name features going to waste more often than not. The SOPHIE collaboration on '9 (After Coachella)' is nigh on unbearable, both The Weeknd and Francis and the Lights are insignificant on 'Wild Love', and Ariana Grande's vocals amount to very little on 'Quit'. You have to wait until the album's final three tracks for what I really wanted from 9 and two of those songs we've already heard. No tracks added to library.

Fortunes. - Undressed Who are Fortunes.? Where have they come from? Because this is a release that has made me genuinely excited about music in 2017. I have a vague recollection of listening to their previous EP Jacket but I think I had some fairly mixed feelings about it. Undress, however, is undoubtedly excellent. Something that Tom Aspaul brought my attention to during the first episode of The Middle Eight Podcast was men openly singing about men. I guess it's just something I never really paid attention to beforehand but it's a really refreshing thing to hear and there's a lot of it going on on Undress. This EP is also just the right amount of quirky and off the wall to still be pretty easy listening but possesses depth that you wouldn't get on your bog-standard electronic/RnB/pop release. The whole EP added to library.

Gorillaz - Humanz Is this what all Gorillaz projects sound like? I can't recall them being quite so heavy on the features in previous cycles but this definitely seems like overkill. It's really at the point where I'm not sure who Gorillaz are or what they're actually making because there is so much focus on other artists on Humanz. To be honest, Anthony Fantano's review of this album is probably the best one you need - not that these are reviews, but you get my drift. On a first listen I didn't hate a lot of this album, but going back over it, I don't really care that much for any of it either. Like, do I want to hear any of this again? Not particularly... 2/26 songs added to library. Yep, 26.

JMSN - Whatever Makes U Happy I'm a little unsure how I feel about JMSN releasing so much music in quick succession... it doesn't feel right, you know? Almost too good to be true, maybe. But in saying that I think I prefer this shorter album to the "full-length" that he put out last summer. It's actually a bit weird writing so much praise for a singular man so often but JMSN's vocals are never not flawless, and it's difficult to tire of his jazz tinged RnB sound. 6/8 tracks added to library.

Sandro Cavazza - Sandro Cavazza These vocals got me shook. Surprise, he's Swedish! This is Sandro Cavazza's debut EP and it's very good but I honestly can't describe, other than his extraordinary vocals what sets it apart from other singer/songwriter releases of a similar ilk... but something does. Cavazza has already done vocals on tracks for Avicii and Lost Frequencies so it's surely only a matter of time before he gets his big break and these four tracks will definitely give him a helping hand. 'So Much Better' is very good in particular, and Lord does this have some real sync potential. 3/4 tracks added to library.

Monday 1 May 2017

DJ Cassidy feat Grace and Lil Yachty - Honor

DJ Cassidy, he's a singles man. You remember DJ Cassidy's previous singles, right? No? Really? Let me give you a quick recap, a refresher course if you will. Cassidy's debut was 2014's 'Calling All Hearts' - a Robin Thicke and Jessie J cash grab collaboration. It charted at #6 in the UK, which is to be expected given the shit show that the general public seem to put on at all times. This song is not good. The follow up, released in the same year, was 'Make The World Go Round' featuring R. Kelly - an artist whose music people definitely don't care about in the 2010's. It sounds just like part two of the last song, and is therefore not good. That was the last I'd heard of DJ Cassidy, but it appears he's released two more singles over the last two years! First there was 'Future Is Mine' with Chormeo (and later a version with added Wale), but it'll come as no surprise that this is the same song again! His most recent effort prior to now was a track for HBO series Vinyl, the song being a collaboration with Jess Glynne, Alex Newell, and Nile Rodgers. You're expecting a banger right? Wrong. It's just a Chic tinged edition of that same song from Cassidy's last three releases.

So I know what you're thinking, this guy has released four underwhelming similar sounding songs, can he really be fifth time lucky? Well, the answer is yes. Yes he can. Although, I say this but I'm not sure how down to DJ Cassidy that is because honestly, Grace is the star of this show. In terms of instrumentation 'Honor' is stripped back right up until the first chorus, and even after that, it's still the Australian vocalist doing the majority of the work. Grace's voice is packed with attitude on every word she sings and it really shows on 'Honor'. In fact, it shines through so much that I am lost on why so much of her debut album felt... muted in comparison. The other featured artist to be found on 'Honor' is Lil Yachty, who is very hit or miss when it comes to collaborations but he gets it just right on this track. I can't work out whether that is down to this song appearing (and possibly being written for) The Get Down Part II or that's just happens to be a coincidence, either way, it doesn't really matter.

The final thing I'd like to praise is 'Honor's music video. Directed by photographer Sasha Samsonova who has worked extensively with Kylie Jenner and also directed the clip for Gallant's 'Talking To Myself', she has got the tone and DJ Cassidy's signature colour blocking spot on. In fact, the colours used between each scene are incredibly vibrant and the theme is so succinctly conveyed from room to room. It's beautiful. I hope this is a hit, and there's something you probably didn't think you'd hear me say at the start of this post.