Black Honey – “Madonna”

26 Feb

Madonna Hi Res

When we included Black Honey in our list of artists to listen out for in 2015, we noted that their debut EP would probably end up on eBay going for big money. Now, brilliantly, we are being proved (almost) correct, as they are about to launch a fairly unique sales model for their new double-a-side single that involves selling it on eBay.

It’s true that Jack White came in for some criticism when he went about selling some of the super limited very sexy Third Man vinyl’s through eBay rather than his store but his reasoning was sound and he’s kind of a magnet for marmite like reactions so it was to be expected. Black Honey on the other hand are almost universally loved (certainly by blogs like ours – they made the blog sound longlist as well) and are just trying something new and experimenting with a fun way for the super-fan to get something different and very limited and, for the first time, providing a way for international fans to buy their records.

How will it work? The first 5 records (1-a-day starting here today) will be available via bidding on eBay where the band will also include exclusive polaroids. Those in the UK that want to wait can pre-order ahead of the bands live shows via text: 07578533359 as per their previous sales model. Certainly it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out and how successful it is.

But what about the music? Will bidders and texters be getting much bang for their buck? The answer is unequivocally yes.

Added to their fuzzy, retro-tinged garage pop sounds this time round is a kind of leather-jacketed sneer. There’s a lip curl of attitude and arrogance that the Brighton quartet carry off fantastically. The day after the music industry slapped itself on the back at the Brits and celebrated how many records their blandest artists sold last year, it is refreshing and exhilarating to hear bands like Black Honey that continually make music that excites. And while Madge may have taken a tumble on stage last night, this “Madonna” not only walks tall, but does so with a bit of a cocksure swagger.

Get bidding people. These singles will also no doubt we worth a fair bit in the near future.

Black Honey’s double A-side single “Madonna/Spinning Wheel” will be released via Duly Noted Records on 6 April. The eBay bidding has begun already.

Stalk Black Honey: Twitter

Rag’N’Bone Man – “Disfigured”

25 Feb

RagNBone Man

When we included Rag’N’Bone Man in our artists to listen out for in 2015, we had no idea that by the end of February he would have already released two superb new tunes and be just days away from the release of a new EP. Yet here we are and we are thoroughly enjoying it.

We say enjoy, given that “Disfigured” is perhaps his most overtly sombre and sullen track yet, ‘enjoy’ might not be the right word. But it is a fantastically brooding and dark song, more downtempo and grave than his previous work, more entrenched in Gospel influences perhaps but still superb.

When we featured his last track “Bitter End” just a few days ago, we noted that we could easily see him atop a pulpit, singing out to his congregation of like-minded disciples, and that rings even more true with “Disfigured”. With the choral backing especially we can see him stood arms stretched wide, his gown draped over his shoulders as the congregation sway and nod in respectful recognition and empathy.

For this is not a happy clappy, halleluiah-praise-be-to-the-skies sermon he is preaching, this is a heartfelt down to earth, full of reality and heartache tale. “Along with all those lies / You tell yourself / You’ll be alright / There’s no kiss goodbye / Only the end / And only the night” he sings, his deep, gruff vocal conveying the kind of gravitas and emotion that brings tears to eyes and touches the soul.

”Disfigured” is the title track from Rag’N’Bone Man’s forthcoming EP, due 8 March, and is available to download instantly when you pre-order.

Stalk Rag’N’Bone Man: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Invader Girl – “Stuck On Me”

23 Feb

Invader Girl

Once upon a time there was a girl who was made of cinnamon, a cinnamon girl if you will. How this condition came about we have no idea, she may have been born with it, and she may have been cursed or blessed with it. All we know for sure is that Camilla Roholm got over it and is now a full on Invader Girl.

Roholm debuted her new persona with a MS MR remix of “Starting Fires” in the middle of last year (and let’s face it, there aren’t many better ways of launching yourself than with the help of the Addams Family of pop) but then went quiet. Presumably she was either hibernating throughout the winter months or ensconced in a secret underground lair concocting plans for an incursion deep into the ears of music lovers. We’re guessing it was the latter as late last week Invader Girl returned with “Stuck On Me” and it’s neon blast of infectious retro pop.

A self-styled cyber pop wizard, she conjures images of Robyn and Madonna with her synth-magic. Shafts of basslines, electronic shapes and swirls emanate from her fingers and out into the sky like an electro-pop Dr. Strange putting on an audio visual extravaganza. It zips and explodes, awash with colour and energy and while you stand dazzled, it slides in and embeds itself in your brain where it will remain for the foreseeable. Your mind has been invaded; resistance is futile, just go with it and enjoy it. You won’t be disappointed.

Stalk Invader Girl: Website / Facebook / Twitter

What’s In The Box? – #12

21 Feb

What's In The Box

Welcome to another Saturday round up of tunes from the Alphabet Bands inbox and beyond that we loved, but just didn’t have time to get to properly this week. It is, we are afraid, another shortened (five tracks) What’s In The Box? this week but we can guarantee each tune is absolutely huge and incredible in its own way. Trust us, this is one of those weeks where it is unquestionably all killer and no filler.

Don’t believe us? Take a listen below and we’ll accept your apology in the comments.

Robyn Sherwell – “Tightropes”

When we featured Robyn Sherwell’s ”Pale Lung” recently, we commented that it was so beautiful, it hurt. Now she has returned with “Tightropes”, a song that is so beautiful because it hurts. Dealing with the heartache of a broken relationship, “Tightropes” is a moment of refined musical elegance. Taking the less is more approach we are treated to little more than hushed chimes, a soft swirl of atmospherics and the gentle caress of Sherwell’s tear-stained vocals. It is a song that will resonate with many and which will be (and deserves to be) absorbed in respectful and rapt silence by all who have the pleasure of hearing it performed live.

Jack Garratt – “Chemical”

Coming in from the complete opposite direction to Robyn Sherwell is the remarkable Jack Garratt who just keeps getting better and keeps on hopping genres. Having wowed us with the glacial electronica of his debut “I Couldn’t Want You Anyway”, Jack has continued to evolve his sound and experiment. A recent performance at The Roundhouse hinted at a hidden urgency and freneticism that was fighting from within and which he was struggling to contain. Now it is loose and careering through “Chemical” like an ADD suffering toddler on a sugar rush, hopping from sound to sound, from style to style, slowing momentarily to assess its surroundings before whipping off once more in a clatter of digital beats, synths, electronics, guitars and vocals.

”Chemical’ will feature on Jack’s new EP, ‘The Synesthesiac’, which is due 12 April on Island Records.

Absofacto – “Dissolve”

Prior to the email we received from Jonathan Visger this week, we were not familiar with his solo project, Absofacto. More fool us judging by his latest offering, “Dissolve”, which is a smooth and funked up electro jam that has an undercurrent of the abstract or avant garde about it. It has the feeling of a psychedelic collaboration between All We Are and Broken Bells with a French producer, there is definitely something wonderfully and perhaps unintentionally gallic about it, but we love it.

Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – “Bitter End”

Having been blown away by the (still) remarkable “Hell Yeah” last year, we have since become devotees to the church of Rag’N’Bone Man. With his soul, hip-hop and gospel influences, and his remarkably rich and raw vocals, there is something almost evangelistic about listening to Rory Graham. We could easily see him atop a pulpit, singing “Bitter End” out to his congregation of like-minded disciples. Like all good sermons, it is heartfelt and emotional, strident and rousing, thought provoking and considered. Unlike all sermons (good and bad) it sounds superb with a beat and melody that serve to hold Graham’s vocals aloft like a crowdsurfing messiah. Bet you don’t get that at Mass these days…

”Bitter End” is taken from the forthcoming ‘Disfigured’ EP, due 8 March, and is available to download instantly when you pre-order.

Pawws – “Turnaround”

We’re not sure if it is coincidence but on her Kitsuné compilation featuring “Turnaround”, Lucy Taylor aka Pawws is sounding more chic than ever before. With it’s soft retro beat and murmuring electronics beneath her wistful and honeyed vocals, “Turnaround” has a mid 80s synthpop meets early 90s Saint Etienne vibe to it and it sounds, as she always does, divine.

See? We did tell you each of the five tracks this week were amazing and we do not lie. There’s plenty more where that came from too. Join us on Monday for more blog goodness and some pretty special tunes and new artists in the week as well.

Jodie Abacus – “I’ll Be That Friend”

18 Feb

Jodie Abacus

It seems odd to feel like you are behind or missed the boat on something that was only released online five whole days ago, but such is the transient nature of the internet that the world can move on completely in just a matter of hours. Luckily we’ve never had much truck for the whole ‘must be first, must be quick, must post NOW’ side of blogging, preferring to take time with a song and feeling it before we post it. That has lead to us posting stuff weeks and sometime months after release and, while other ‘buzz’ blogs may shudder at that very notion, we are totally happy with it.

We mention this as we come to feature a rather wonderful debut single from London based Jodie Abacus which did indeed get released five days ago. Chances are, being the well read and eager to consume new music types that you are, that you have already heard it (and hopefully loved it). If, like us, you missed it last week, come with us on a journey of musical discovery, a journey that will take you back to the mid seventies, flamboyant flared clothes, big hair and beards fantastically infectious and bright melodies.

Written after a bout of pneumonia and for that one friend who was there for him throughout, Abacus’ “I’ll Be That Friend” is a sublime slice of retro infused pop rock. Sounding like it was taken from the recent nostalgia loving Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack (we’re specifically thinking Redbone’s “Come Get Your Love”), this piano led R&B tinged pop tune is just full on upbeat happiness. The bassline struts confidently while the guitars, strings and vocals dance and spin and swing across the street from side to side, atop cars and around pedestrians, all the while making them smile and dance along.

Stalk Jodie Abacus: Facebook / Twitter


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