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Edward F. Butler – “EP ONE”

8 Jan

Edward F Butler EP One

Recently, the good folk at Outline asked us, “Mr Alphabet Sir (they are very polite like that) which Norwich act are you most excited to hear more from in 2016?”. As Norwich is undergoing something of a boom time for exciting new acts, this was not a straightforward question but there is one guy we heard a little from last year who left us wanting more: Edward F Butler.

When asked to explain why, we said (on page 29 of the new issue if you want to check it out – and other people’s tips) ”Blending glitchy electronics and gorgeously dark R&B influences [his music] is soulful pop music with an edge to it.” Which regular readers will know is right up our street. We knew, at the time we were asked, that Edward was planning an EP release this year. What we didn’t know was how quickly it would be coming and the extent of his grand plans for 2016.

Apparently EP ONE is to be just a taste of what is to come. He plans to release a new song and video each month, an EP every quarter and then a “wonderfully Arty Visual Album” comprised of the best bits at the end of the year. Woof.

If indeed EP ONE is just a taste then we could be in for an aural culinary treat in the coming months. Lead track “Futures Full” (which also features Katharine Philippa) cavorts with darkness as it rises up and plunges down, a rollercoaster of electronics, keys and pulsating, cascading beats. His music bounces about in that fabulous head nodding way that will have you moving without even realising. “Bank Heist Debut” has this low rumbling edge to it, an undercurrent of vibration and drama (perhaps the sound of boring into a hatton garden vault) that is deliciously ominous.

There’s something of Leon Else in the way he sings, dark, dusty and emotive, the vocals feel strained (in a good way) and stirring. “Kinfolk” and “Bank Heist Debut” see him reaching out almost in anguish, sounding pained and wonderful.

Eight days into 2016 and our Norwich tip is already delivering, it’s going to be a good year.

’EP ONE” is out now and available from Edward F Butler’s Bandcamp page.

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Young Hunting – “Rust”

9 Jan

Young Hunting

In a little bit of a break from the norm, we’re not posting a new track now. No instead we are posting a song that’s a couple of years old and that actually featured on one of our favourite albums of 2013.

Why, you may ask, as a ‘new music blog’ are we posting it then? Well, it’s in part a bit of a celebration and in part because we’ll take any excuse to post music by the stupendously talented Young Hunting.

The celebration comes from a synch they have achieved (which is weird when you think about the stigma that used to come with having your music on commercials and in film/tv – but that’s another blog post) as their song “Rust” features in the new remake of The Gambler. The band are understandably quite excited, excitement that has no doubt been exacerbated with the knowledge that it appears in a scene where Mark Wahlberg and John Goodman are swearing at each other in a bar, so we thought we’d join in and celebrate with them.

And, as we mentioned, the song is gorgeous and we don’t need much of an invitation to post it. The fact that they have just re-posted it online just gives us an added excuse.

Taken from the sublime Hazel, “Rust” is actually oxymoronic in that rather than flake, decay and ebb away, the track builds and builds. Layer is added to layer as the sounds grow and flourish, getting stronger and richer as it does.

Like much of their work though, the beauty and elegance of the instrumentalism is laced with darkness, as shown by the lyrics…

“Baby don’t be so hard on yourself / It’s not your fault we’re all going to hell / But it’s a long long ride / We’ve got some time / So give me something to remember you by / Because one of these days / You won’t wake up / And I’ll be lying in the grave I’ve dug”.

It’s a bit like if someone has made you the best meal you’ve ever had. Your tastebuds are going wild with delight at the flavours and textures, but unbeknownst to you they’ve laced it with Iocane powder, giving all your delight a sinister and tragic denouement.

Still, it’s a bloody gorgeous track and if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to listen to Hazel again while we prepare dinner.

’Hazel’ is out now on Gold Robot Records and you can buy your copy here.

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Lauren Aquilina – “Forest Fires”

3 Apr

Lauren Aquilina

When receiving an email that just says ‘I’m starting Forest Fires’, we imagine most people will call the authorities and try to avert a disaster. We’re not wired that way (we’re not 100% sure if that’s a good thing or not actually) and instead we thought, ‘oooh, sounds interesting, what does this link do?’. Thankfully this was not a cry for help, or a random warning of a forthcoming act of arson, no, it was an email from an 18 year old singer songwriter from Windsor and the link was to a heavenly and heavily emotive piano ballad that hit us like a sledgehammer to the soul.

Lauren Aquilina is quite the prodigious talent, having already headlined the BBC Introducing stage at last year’s Reading festival, she has just released her third EP, Liars – which followed Fools and Sinners previously. She also has quite the voice, as she showed all the way back in 2011 with her rich and delicate cover of Oleta Adams’ ”Get Here”. Now, with “Forest Fires”, she’s released a track that will bring a tear to your eye.

Simple, elegant and so very poignant, “Forest Fires” is a tale for the silent masses that suffer day in, day out, fighting a battle with our own psyche that we can never win. For each of us who think so little of ourselves that we are convinced the world thinks even less, yet paradoxically can only ever believe that the pain or anguish of a loved one is our fault. It is for those of us who have no sense of self belief or self worth, so we just sit and watch as our world crumbles around us.

Normally at this point we would be espousing imagery and visual metaphors for the song we were writing about. We could do that here, we could say something about it being like a vast empty room, bathed in darkness and that Lauren’s voice soars and cracks in equal measure, heavy with emotion and torment like a single beam of light, broken by dust and splinters of wood in the roof, shining down on a lonely figure.

We could do this, and really we just did, but actually for once, we just want you to listen to the song. Honestly, it might not do anything for you, it might not be your thing at all and that is fine. But it hit a nerve here and as Lauren sings the faint, brittle coda of ”who would ever want to be around me?”, we could feel our heart breaking.

”Forest Fires” features on Lauren’s latest EP, ‘Liars’, which is out now and available to buy from iTunes. Lauren is also on tour in May and across the summer, all dates can be found here.

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Blogathon: Casitas – “Gold”

1 Feb


Goodness, it almost feels like we are running out of time all of a sudden with only 2 hours left. 2 hours! Can you believe it, we’ve been blogging for 22 hours straight and while our body and eyes ache and our brain has turned to mush, we still feel pretty good. We’d feel better with a few more donations so we’re sure you’ll be able to help with that.

As the sun comes up it’s time to throw back the curtains and let in the light. That’s exactly what we are doing right now with help from was-Devon-now-London five piece, Casitas and their fairground of bright colours, rides that make you scream and sugar filled candy floss to make you want to run around and do it all again.

Their latest track, “Gold”, is bursting with upbeat effervescence, passion and energy. It’s the little blue pill of indie-pop as it just keeps going and going, getting bigger and faster all the time before reaching a satisfactory conclusion for everyone. Hmmm, that’s probably a bit too much for 8am but we haven’t slept for over 24 hours, we think we can be excused.

Take a listen, have a boogie, get your credit card out and make a donation to Cancer Research via the button below. You’ll feel even better about yourself than if you’d actually taken a little blue pill.

This post was written as part of a 24 Hour Sponsored Blogathon for Cancer Research. If you liked this post or just want to help support an important charity, please sponsor us. Just £1 can help make a difference. You can sponsor us here or by clicking the big button below. Thank you for your support.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

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Blogathon: The Open Club – “I’m Thinking Of You”

1 Feb

The Open Club

We’re properly on the final straight of our mammoth 24 hour blogathon now with less than 3 hours to go. There’s still plenty to get through in that time as we try and rouse ourselves for one last push and we’re going to start with something a little bit Russian. Yep, in our random rambles through the dark recesses of the internet we came across this little known indie band from Moscow, The Open Club.

As well as the music, we have good reason for choosing this song, for “I’m Thinking Of You” is taken from their second EP release from last year, 24 Hours. How serendipitous is that?

On “I’m Thinking Of You”, gentle indie guitar sounds bounce around like light refracting in a shallow sea; opening up as they lap against the shore of a secluded cove of dark vocals. There is an immediate and accessible quality to it that no doubt comes from The Open Club’s 90’s Melody Maker friendly influences.

It’s quite a nice listen over a number of plays, though we’ve not quite managed to get it on repeat for the full 24 hours.

Speaking of which, we’re almost done now and as we push towards the end, it would be great to have another rush of donations. Even just £1 would be fantastic as it all goes to Cancer Research. Just hit the big button at the bottom of this post and donate. It’ll make us happy if you do.

This post was written as part of a 24 Hour Sponsored Blogathon for Cancer Research. If you liked this post or just want to help support an important charity, please sponsor us. Just £1 can help make a difference. You can sponsor us here or by clicking the big button below. Thank you for your support.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

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