Tag Archives: 2013 Preview

Listen Out For – 2013 Previews Roundup

27 Nov

Listen Out for... 2013 Previews Round Up

Last year we stuck our neck on the proverbial line and named 15 acts that we loved and thought would go on to do something in 2013. We didn’t say unequivocally that these bands were going to go on and rule the music world or anything, not even we could be that bold, but we think they were certainly talented to step up a level and do even better than they already were.

Some did just that, a couple – not so much. Before we start to look at acts we love who we think/hope will continue to grow and become bigger in 2014, let’s take a look back at those fabled 15 and have a squizz at what they got up to in the last 12 months.


15. Polaroid 85

Polaroid 85 Escapist

If asked, and we have been (albeit by ourselves) to judge the year Polaroid 85 had, we’d say it had been a quietly successful one. A few live session videos helped whet the appetite for their second EP release, Escapist which came out on Reel Me Records and of which we said, ”layers of sound entwine and dance together as one; orchestral arrangements, jazz flourishes, drum and bass, glitchy electronica, breakbeats, trip-hop; all live a symbiotic existence to produce cool, swirling marbled soundscapes.” and there was radio play aplenty as well. Next up, an album? Here’s hoping.



14. Waylayers

waylayers2

Waylayers are, in our humble opinion, poised for something big next year. A lot, and we mean a lot, of ground work was done in 2013 with the band performing at 20 or so festivals, including an appearance headlining our stage at Norwich Sound and Vision, travelling all over the country and across the world, picking up critical acclaim and big name support along the way. Their Fault Lines EP, was a minor success here in the UK but hit the Billboard Top 100 and the iTunes Top 50 in the US. Unsurprisingly there is likely to be a reasonable amount of focus on America in the Waylayers camp next year but their infectious and properly atmospheric synth pop should see their fellow Brits catching on to them soon enough as well.



13. Kites

kites3

Errr, yeah. We’re not sure what happened here to be honest. 2012 started strongly and Kites seemed on the precipice of breaking through, then nothing happened. We’ve heard whispers that there could be news on the horizon so we’ll see what’s next, but the almost total disappearance of Kites in 2013 was not something we predicted at all.



12. Vuvuvultures

VVV Deaf - Thoughts

Not only did the VVV gang play the debut Alphabet Bands Presents… show back in July (which was no doubt the highlight of their year – ahem) but they also saw their profile rise and rise across the months. The year is culminating with the release of “Your Thoughts Are A Plague” and “Deaf Epic” on a double A-side 7”, a new video for “Empurrar/Puxar” and a headline UK tour. Before that there was radio play coming out of their Appliance, the creation of their own imprint which meant they finally got to use Energy Snake as a name for something, and of course, a fantastic debut album that perfectly showcased the analogue meets digital world they inhabit, with brilliantly catchy tunes and dark themes.



11. Paper Crows

Paper Crows

2013 was a quiet-ish year for Paper Crows but one that could be leading to a big 2014. There were gigs and guest spots and one fantastic free download, “White Noise”, but more exciting was the release online of “Anomaly”. A dark and menacing track overflowing with strength and the overwhelming sense of a coming evil from below, it will be their first single release of 2014 and one we hope will signal the start of some very big things indeed for the duo.



10. Rhye

Rhye - Woman

Undoubtedly, one of our high points of 2013 was watching Rhye play in the candlelit surroundings of St. Giles in the Fields Church. A performance that not only captivated all those in attendance with its subtlety and elegance, but that also provided the best improvised lyrical response to faulty sound kit we heard all year. This followed the release of a gorgeous debut album that will probably feature on number of end of year lists and preceded a number of festival performances, even more critical acclaim and even a solo album from the androgynously voiced Mike Milosh.



9. Spring Offensive

Spring Offensive1

Another band who have had an openly quiet-ish year, but whose feet have no doubt been swishing crazy swan like under the water. There were a couple of singles, the fantastic and innovative video for ”No Assets” and a bunch of shows, but as the year draws to a close, it is clearly all about 2014 and the release of the debut Spring Offensive album, Young Animal Hearts. An album that was fully funded within 10 days of a very impressive Pledge Music campaign and that we are very very much looking forward to.



8. Alice Jemima

Alice Jemima1

Another of our tipped artists who went on to have a quiet year, Alice started it with a BBC Radio 1 session (that was recorded in 2012) and then put up a fantastic cover of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity”. There were support slots with the likes of Valerie June but also a lot of silence; silence with good reason though as we have heard on the grapevine that things continue to look up in Miss Jemima’s world and that we should start to hear more from her ( a lot more we think) in 2014.



7. Daughter

Daughter

The trio of Elena Tonra, Igor Haefeli and Remi Aguilella released their debut album, If You Leave in March and watched it hit the UK Top 20 and receive much critical acclaim. There have been sold out shows a-plenty and an unexpected (and unwarranted) overlooking from the Mercury Music Prize judges as Daughter have continued on their steady upward trend. There is a UK tour to end the year and then perhaps some new songs to come in 2014.



6. Haim

Haim Days Gone By

It was a fairly quiet year for the three sisters from LA with not much happening or being achieved really. Just topping both the BBC and Blog Sound of 2013 polls, releasing a couple of great EPs, a Number one album, sold out tours across the globe, bassface becoming a phenomenon and festival appearances all over summer including Glastonbury. Yep, fairly quiet all things considered.



5. Seasfire

Seasfire1

After a storming end to 2012, which included a rapid rise to the top of the Hype Machine chart and a plethora of blog love, the Seasfire gents had a relatively calm and quiet 2013. There were a couple of singles and a few shows but generally speaking they were quite reclusive. Here’s hoping it’s in readiness for a big 2014.



4. Florrie

Florrie1

After telling us she was ready to sign with a major label in Spring last year, we were getting ready for a full-on Florrie assault on the music world in 2013, sadly (apart from the Sony sponsored “Live A Little” in April) it didn’t quite materialise but there are reasons for optimism the coming months. Work is continuing on her debut album and the new tracks she debuted at her headline KOKO show proved our excitement is not misplaced. Blending the best of pop’s heritage with her Xenomania education, the likes of “Stupid Boy” are sounding like her best work yet. Maybe we just went a year too soon, maybe 2014 will be the year of Florrie after all.



3. Ms Mr

MS MR Hurricane

Seeing Ms Mr blow the roof off the Norwich Waterfront was one of our gig highlights of the year and gave us a sneak peek of the delights that their debut album would provide later in the year. Purveyors of the finest tumblr-glitch-pop around, we love the Addams Family of brilliantly dark and danceable tunes and our excitement for the last season of Game Of Thrones was accentuated further when the trailer commenced with the opening moments of “Bones”. A perfect sync if ever there was one. Lizzy and Max have had a stellar year, achieved a truck load and will no doubt be ready and raring to kick on and knock 2014 for a loop as well. Oh, and we got to go see them play in Norwich again this week as well. Good times.



2. The Good Natured

The Good Natured Lovers

2013 wasn’t kind to The Good Natured. A reasonable start with quality singles and an album on the way soon fell apart when they got dropped from their label and lost all their music. They explained at the time:

A few months ago we were dropped from our record label. Our album has been shelved. Over this time we have been trying to get our masters back so that we can release Prism, however, it has not been possible.

To say we are devastated is an understatement. Believe us when we say we have tried everything possible to get our album to you. Sometimes life gives you lemons and you gotta make lemonade. When one door closes another opens.
You have to pick yourself up, be bigger, be stronger. For The Good Natured it is the end of the road, but it’s safe to say there is something better around the corner.

Evidently they are working hard on new material and teaching themselves more about production etc to maintain greater control over their own music and direction. Fingers crossed we get to hear something new from them in 2014.



1. Public Service Broadcasting

PSB Night Mail Video

What a year it’s been for the esteemed gentlemen of Public Service Broadcasting. As we’ve noted numerous times, they never seem to stop and are certainly reaping the rewards from such a diligent work ethic. There’s been a couple of singles, one Record Store Day exclusive, videos (one which actually featured the guys themselves) a free download here and there, two tracks in Dutch to celebrate the world’s largest ice skating race (because why not right?), tea-towels, a superb album, two AIM award nominations, a never-ending tour across every corner of the UK and beyond that sold out pretty much everywhere, including the Forum up London (and from the pictures we’ve seen the new live set looks gorgeous as well) AND they played out the end of year highlights package on the BBC’s Formula One coverage with a fabulous hybrid of “Signal 30” and “Everest”. Not too shabby for a couple of guys in corduroy.


Norwich Sound & Vision: Day 3 – Gig Preview

12 Oct

So here we are, the final day of what has already been an amazing festival of new music across our Fine City. This year’s Norwich Sound and Vision Festival has already surpassed itself and honestly, the best is yet to come as tonight’s gig bill is stacked. Deciding where to go and who to see won’t be easy tonight as there is so much going on, hopefully our final gig preview will make things a little easier.

NSV13 Saturday Alphabet Bands

Day 3 – Saturday
The last day of the festival is quite frankly an absolute doozy with blog favourites and white-hot acts everywhere you look. Not least at our own Alphabet Bands Showcase at Olives where Curxes (19:45), Strangers (20:30) and Waylayers (21:20) will be bringing the electro-heavy, synthy goodness for everyone to fall in love with. Non-festival attendees can come join in the fantasticness for a mere £3 on the door by the way, that’s £1 per band which is just an unbeatable bargain really. Just saying.

NSV13 Saturday1

If we weren’t at Olives on Saturday we would be spoilt for choice for what else to attend and would quite probably spontaneously combust while trying to work out where to go. Ok, so strictly speaking that isn’t true as we would most likely be at Open for most of the night as The Line of Best Fit and ASL Records have combined to put on the second best bill of the entire festival (after our own of course). Fabienne (20:00) will get things started before Crushed Beaks (20:45), the wonderful and enchanting Pawws (21:30) and the brilliant (and going to be big next year, mark our words) Sivu (22:15) ramp things up still further. If that wasn’t enough, Clare Maguire (23:00) will be playing her first gig in two years as well. Pretty great line-up isn’t it?

That’s not all though, down at the Waterfront the super exciting AlunaGeorge will be playing with support from one of our favourite live acts this year, (times tbc). We saw MØ play at The Great Escape earlier this year and were taken aback by the quality of her live show, we highly recommend it (but only if you’re not coming to our showcase, obviously).

Saturday night at The Birdcage sees the turn of Norwich’s own Gravy Records as curators and they will be hosting our new favourite local band, Mega Emotion (19:30) as well as Shrines (20:15), Bad Grammar (21:00), the currently-gathering-lots-of-attention Jake Hart (21:45) and Sisters (22:30).

Over at the Arts Centre, the spiritual drawing of the festival curtain will occur when Foxes (23:00) finishes her headline set having been preceded by Big Deal (22:00) and the former Kabeedies, Keep Up (21:00). In the bar, those infectious music lovers from The Rider podcast are playing host to plethora of great acts including Baltic Fleet and Tom Robinson, yes, that Tom Robinson.

We say spiritual curtain by the way because the music doesn’t actually stop there and over at Epic a night of DJ magnificence will be topped off by the fantastic DJ Cheeba whom we have seen before and who was just amazing. If you have any energy left at this point, it’s worth heading over to catch his set.

Where we’ll be:
A total no-brainer this one as we will obviously be at Olives hosting the best three-act bill of the festival with Curxes< Strangers and Waylayers. We hope you can come and join us for what promises to be a superb evening during which, incidentally, Waylayers will be debuting a brand new song, “242”. Come along and be the first to hear it.

After that, if there is time, we will try and catch some of Foxes at the Arts Centre, and while we like to think we would have the stamina to make it to Epic for DJ Cheeba, we will concede that it might not happen.

Tracks of the Day









Sunday will be for sleeping and resting.

For more information on the festival as a whole and a full list of performers and a programme of gigs, visit the Norwich Sound and Vision website.

Norwich Sound & Vision: Day 2 – Gig Preview

11 Oct

So, after a cracking (and tiring) night out all over the town, we’re ready to do it all again as Norwich Sound and Vision Festival hits day two. Thursday was great, but Friday looks like it could top it. Let’s see what’s on the stocks for this evening in our day 2 gig preview.

NSV13 Friday

Day 2 – Friday
Undoubtedly the biggest attraction for Friday is likely to be the appearance of two brothers at the Arts Centre. Fresh from their recent appearance on Later… Drenge (23:00) headline the Infectious Music stage with support from Superfood (22:10), Radkey (21:20) and Dems (20:30). As if that wasn’t enough, there will also be a DJ set from Alt J (00:00 – 02:00). Unsurprisingly all pre-sale tickets have been sold and there will be limited space for festival wristband holders. Get there early people.

Elsewhere the Hog and Armour will be rocked to its foundations by Islet (21:40) with a possible late show from the indomitable God Damn. For an altogether more relaxed and mellifluous evening of fine tunage, look no further than the Bicycle Shop where Alphabet Bands’ favourite Lisa Redford (who we first met at last year’s festival incidentally) will be headlining (22:00).

Open will be having a late night groove to some soulful R’n’B and Hip Hop sounds for the Tru Thoughts Showcase and The Plugg Presents…. Topping the bill there is the fantastic (and previous Mercury prize nominee), Ty (23:30). Also performing will be Rodney P (22:45) and Harleighblu (22:00) amongst others.

Tilting Sky are taking over The Birdcage for the evening and will feature Alto45 (22:00), Damien Flynn (20:45) and Meadowlark (21:30) amongst their number. Meanwhile a special one-off showcase at The Assembly Rooms will include the beautiful sounds of Wooden Arms (19:30) and a full band performance from Halls (21:30), and over at Olives, the Monotrome records showcase hosts Niagara, M+A and the very good indeed Midas Fall (times tbc).

Down at The Waterfront, the main room has Nina Nesbitt (time tbc) to look forward to, and the studio will be home to San Cisco (21:00), F.U.R.S (20:00) and Bloody Knees (19:15).

Finally (for this preview, there is still more going on elsewhere), Raevennan Husbandes and Ollie Rudge will be playing acoustic sets at Cinema City.

Where we’ll be:
As tempting as it is to just plonk down at the Arts Centre for the duration we’re gonna take a risk and head out across the city once again. While logistics will be a nightmare, we will try and make it to some if not all of Wooden Arms and Halls at The Assembly Rooms, Alto45 at The Birdcage, Superfood and Drenge at The Arts Centre and Ty at Open. How successful/feasible that plan is remains to be seen.

Tracks of the Day






For more information on the festival as a whole and a full list of performers and a programme of gigs, visit the Norwich Sound and Vision website.

Norwich Sound & Vision: Day 1 – Gig Preview

10 Oct

It’s a chilly Thursday morning in October here in Norwich and we are as excited as a child at Christmas. Why? Because it is the first day of our favourite holiday, the three day Norwich Sound and Vision Festival. As promised yesterday, here is the first of our daily gig previews. We’ll see you there.

NSV13 Thursday

Day 1 – Thursday
The honour of effectively opening the festival (well, they are the first band to play according to the latest timetable we have seen) fittingly goes to a Norwich band, though this year is a little bit different. The Neutrinos kick things off with one of eight scheduled performances over the festival, all taking place in their house. Because why not right? Obviously attendance at these shows must be booked in advance.

Over in more traditional venues the quality is there from the start with likes of Box Of Light (with whom we shall forever be intrinsically linked) headlining the Access To Music stage at Olives, ably supported by Eyes In Istanbull who feature the outstanding Ollie Rudge in their number (times tbc). There is also the fantastically named Let’s Eat Grandma on the Young People’s Stage over at The Garage. We’ve never heard of them but are sorely tempted based on their name alone.

Over at The Birdcage rising stars Abi Wade (20:45) and George Ezra (21:30) – a man our good friends at Breaking More Waves have been getting a bit googly over (though they do have a worrying fascination with his lips – precede the highly anticipated Lady Lamb The Beekeeper (22:00).

Our good friends at Open are getting a little bit Oh-la-la for the evening as they host the French Export Showcase with the likes of Mesparrow (19:30), Brns (20:30) and We Were Evergreen (22:30) bringing a bit of European flair to proceedings.

The wonderful guys and gals of Artrocker have returned to the festival once again and once again have taken over the Hog and Armour for the duration. Thursday night sees them start as they mean to go on with local favourites There’s Someone In The Pond (20:00), the superb and much loved (as well as being critical darlings) Pins (21:40) and then the bonkersly brilliant Comanechi.

Finally for Thursday, the festival’s home, the Norwich Arts Centre, will be playing host to two exciting showcases. In the bar Norwich’s finest, Wombat Wombat, will be hosting some storming up and coming acts including The Mondegreens (21:00) and DOE (21:50) before closing with another of our favourites (and technically speaking, the first band we ever put on ourselves), Horse Party (23:00). Meanwhile, in the main room PRS will host No Ceremony (21:15) and Ghostpoet (22:00). Get down early for that one we reckon.

Where we’ll be:
With even more venues being used this year, we expect a number of people may well be tempted to bed down in one location and stay for the evening, especially when the headliner will be one the de-facto big names of the festival. Not us of course, with so much fantastic new music on the go, we will be hotfooting it from one venue to another, hoping to see as much as possible (but probably missing quite a lot too).

So, our first entirely unachievable plan will see us variously at Olives for Eyes in Istanbull and The Birdcage for Abi Wade and George Ezra. Though, no offence George, we’ll be leaving sharpish to catch some, if not all, of the Pins set at the Hog and Armour before heading to the Arts Centre for No Ceremony, Ghostpoet and Horse Party.

Tracks of the Day






For more information on the festival as a whole and a full list of performers and a programme of gigs, visit the Norwich Sound and Vision website.

Watch: Polaroid 85 – “Fuzzy Mornings” Live Studio Session

22 Jan

Polaroid 85 Live Sessions

2012 was relatively quiet for Polaroid 85 but towards the end of the year the London based collective started to tease us with talk of new music and a new EP. That teasing reached a new level over the weekend when they reportedly debuted a new track at their first gig of the year. We weren’t their unfortunately, so we have to take their word for it.

In the meantime though they have kicked off a series of very special live studio sessions they filmed as the year closed out. The first one is for the fantastically chilled out “Fuzzy Mornings” from the EP of the same name (which remains free to download via Bandcamp) and we hope, though it is just guesswork on our behalf, that it will culminate with something new.

Can you tell we are little desperate to hear their new work?

Here’s the video.


Read More: ’P’ is for Polaroid 85.

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