Tag Archives: Aquilo

Aquilo – “Silhouette”

20 Apr

Aquilo

In recent posts we’ve noted that the artists featured, Vérité and Black Honey, pretty much haven’t put a foot wrong since their debuts. Another act of whom that is true is Aquilo. Originally from the Lake District, the pair have followed up their fourth place finish in this year’s Blog Sound poll with news of a debut album due later in 2016 and a gorgeous new track, “Silhouette”.

Typically it is rather wonderful, with its deft, gradual build from whisper soft loveliness into a soft yet powerful crescendo. They are so brilliantly adept at weaving delicate threads of intimacy and fragility into their music and “Silhouette” is no different. It is heart stoppingly magical, a real ‘lighters in the air’ track that just continues their run of stunning songs.

It’s the kind of song you would kill to hear performed live with a full orchestral backing.

Someone needs to make that happen. Please.

Stalk Aquilo: Website / Facebook / Twitter

UK Blog Sound of 2016: The Winner

5 Jan

Blog Sound 2016

The blog hive mind has spoken and the views of 58 of us have been distilled down, the votes have been counted and the results are in. For the first time ever the Blog Sound Of poll has a male winner, congratulations to Mura Masa.

The producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has had a lot of blog support recently with his tracks “Firefly” and “Lovesick Fuck” getting millions of plays on Soundcloud and racing up the Hype Machine Chart.

Mura Masa

It’s been quite a week for 19 year old Alex Crossan who yesterday placed joint 5th on the BBC Sound of 2016 poll.

Speaking of Top Fives, here is the full top five from the Blog Sound Of 2016 poll.

1st Mura Masa
2nd The Japanese House
3rd Aurora
4th Aquilo
5th Loyle Carner

Obviously as well as being pleased for Mura Masa (who, in the interest of full disclosure we are really just starting to enjoy having not heard much of his last year) we are also delighted for longtime blog faves, Aquillo and The Japanese House (who was on our own longlist) and Loyle Carner (who was our number one vote).


We won’t bore you with the background or the rationale of the poll at this stage, as we’ve covered it before (click here if you’d like to know more, and to see the longlist). Instead we shall leave you with a couple of tunes from the winner and offer our congratulations once more to Mura Masa.




The Participating Blogs

A Pocket Full Of Seeds, A World Of Music And Madness, Across The Kitchen Table, Alphabet Bands, Beat Surrender, Bratfaced LDN, Breaking More Waves, Brighton Music Blog, Buzz Unlimited, Cruel Rhythm, Chord Blossom, Daisy Digital, Dive, Details Of My Life, Dots And Dashes, Drunken Werewolf, Digital Shuffle, Echoes And Dust, Electronic Rumors, Encore Northern Island, Even The Stars, Faded Glamour, Get Into This, Get Some, God Is In The TV, I Love Pie, Just Music I Like, Kemptation, Killing Moon, Little Indie Blogs, Love Music: Love Life, Metaphorical Boat, Monkey Boxing, Music Liberation, Music Like Dirt, Music Umpire, Neon Filler, Not Many Experts, Popped Music, Pursuit Of Sound, Rave Child, Record Rewind Play, Scientists Of Sound, Some Of It Is True, Spectral Nights, Sweeping The Nation, Synth Glasgow, The Blue Walrus, The Devil Has The Best Tuna, The Electricity Club, The Evening’s Empire, The Mad Mackerel, The VPME, This Must Be Pop, Thoughts On Music, Too Many Blogs, What If I Had A Music Blog, When The Gramophone Rings

UK Blog Sound of 2016 Longlist Revealed

3 Dec

Blog Sound 2016

2015 has been a pretty good year for music, especially for new and emerging artists breaking onto the scene and getting people very excited. As is customary at this time of year, music publications and British institutions alike start to look ahead and think about who of those new acts could do incredible things next year. The BBC recently revealed their choices and while ours are more about our favourite acts than surefire industry megahits, the UK Blogging community today reveals our own Sound of 2016 Longlist.

As always, the poll is conducted and adjudicated by the esteemed Robin Seamer of Breaking More Waves and this year, 58 UK based blogs took part. Each voted for their three favourite acts and the top 15 of those acts comprise the Blog Sound of 2016 Longlist. To qualify for a vote any act chosen must not have had a UK top 20 single or album, either in their own right or as a named collaborator prior to 6th November 2015.

The longlist is below and after it you will find a playlist of all the artists, some voting data from Robin, some thoughts from us and a more general point about the BBC poll and the continued importance of blogging. So stick around for that.

But first the longlist.

*drumroll*

The Blog Sound of 2016 Longlist

AQUILO

AURORA

BILLIE MARTEN

GEORGE COSBY

HAELOS

LISS

LOYLE CARNER

MABEL

MURA MASA

MT WOLF

NAO

PLEASURE BEACH

THE BIG MOON

THE JAPANESE HOUSE

YAK


Having been very much off the pace as far as writing and listening to new music this year is concerned, there are plenty of artists there we are not overly familiar with. Which is a good thing as last year we felt the list was too obvious and safe. This year sees much more diversity in musical style which is also, we believe, a fantastic thing. There are artists on there we are massive fans of, Aquillo, The Japanese House and Loyle Carner for example, yet only one of our votes made it onto the list.

While there is a reasonable amount of crossover with the BBC poll, five acts appear on both lists, most notable is the artist that doesn’t appear on the blog sound but who looks favourite to win the BBC poll. Jack Garratt has already been crowned BBC Introducing artist of the year and picked up the Brit’s Critic’s Choice award yet not one blog voted for him. In fact he wasn’t on the longlist last year either, having just narrowly missed out on a place in the final 15. Depending on your point of view, this could mean a number of different things.

  • The BBC Poll is much more commercially skewed than the Blog Sound and as such will always favour bigger artists where blogs like niche acts.
  • The Blog Sound Poll is ahead of the game and while we all still love Jack, we feel his is already established and no longer ‘new’.
  • The BBC judging panel don’t know what they are talking about.
  • The Blog Sound voters don’t know what they are talking about.
  • It’s probably no surprise to learn that we lean towards the second position, with a little of the first thrown in. This isn’t just some biased “Blogs are great” spiel though, there is merit in the argument as well as some statistical evidence to back it up. For example, in recent years the blog sound has featured Wolf Alice the year before the BBC poll, and the likes of Alt-J and Bastille who didn’t feature on the BBC poll at all.

    Blogs are quick to give support to artists and are often very loyal to those acts they particularly love. With the sheer volume of new music available for us to consume, we can also be very quick to find a new ‘new’ act and as such our sense of what is new is different to the majority of rest of the population. Take Aurora for example. She’s been featured on blogs a fair bit in this last year, bothered the Hype Machine chart and racked up the soundcloud plays. Yet when she was revealed as the artist on this year’s John Lewis advert the overwhelming reaction was ‘who she?’.

    We live in a little bubble. A bubble of new music, of social media and of like minded people getting excited about similar things. Robin has spoken before of the difference between internet fame and real fame and he is spot on. Being a big deal on the internet (soundcloud plays, hype machine posts, twitter frenzies etc) doesn’t always equate to being a big deal as far as records and gig tickets sold. The Blog Sound Of poll, to an extent, operates within the ‘big deal on the internet’ bubble while the BBC has a more ‘is becoming a big deal in the outside world’ feel about it. Hence us occasionally featuring artists before the BBC or, in the case of (the excellent) Jack Garratt, not at all. These artists are already a big deal for us and we want them to go on and become a big deal for everyone else as well.

    For the record, we fully expect to see Aurora on the BBC list next year and possibly The Japanese House as well.


    Interesting stats and exciting data from the voting

  • This year 142 acts received at least 1 vote from the 174 total votes cast, showing that the UK music blog scene has a wide range of taste.
  • This year’s voting was the closest and broadest ever – the winning act only received votes from 8.5% of the 58 voters.
  • The vast majority of acts chosen were UK based even though the bloggers could choose acts from any part of the world. There are no American acts on the list, although there are acts from other European countries.
  • One of the acts on this year’s longlist (Mt Wolf) already featured on the Blog Sound of 2014 poll, but then promptly split up. Now reformed, they find themselves once again on the Blog Sound of 2016 list.
  • 5 of the acts on the BBC Sound of 2016 also appear on the Blog Sound Of poll, namely Billie Marten, Loyle Carner, Mabel, Mura Masa and Nao.
  • The Tunes

    The Participating Blogs

    A Pocket Full Of Seeds, A World Of Music And Madness, Across The Kitchen Table, Alphabet Bands, Beat Surrender, Bratfaced LDN, Breaking More Waves, Brighton Music Blog, Buzz Unlimited, Cruel Rhythm, Chord Blossom, Daisy Digital, Dive, Details Of My Life, Dots And Dashes, Drunken Werewolf, Digital Shuffle, Echoes And Dust, Electronic Rumors, Encore Northern Island, Even The Stars, Faded Glamour, Get Into This, Get Some, God Is In The TV, I Love Pie, Just Music I Like, Kemptation, Killing Moon, Little Indie Blogs, Love Music: Love Life, Metaphorical Boat, Monkey Boxing, Music Liberation, Music Like Dirt, Music Umpire, Neon Filler, Not Many Experts, Popped Music, Pursuit Of Sound, Rave Child, Record Rewind Play, Scientists Of Sound, Some Of It Is True, Spectral Nights, Sweeping The Nation, Synth Glasgow, The Blue Walrus, The Devil Has The Best Tuna, The Electricity Club, The Evening’s Empire, The Mad Mackerel, The VPME, This Must Be Pop, Thoughts On Music, Too Many Blogs, What If I Had A Music Blog, When The Gramophone Rings

    Aquilo – “Better Off Without You”

    16 Apr

    Aqulio

    Aquilo is one of those bands that we’ve been following since they debuted and one of those bands that keep surprising us and keep sounding better and better. Which makes the announcement of their new EP, their third, an intriguing one as it is named after and will feature their first ever track, “Calling Me”.

    Can they keep on getting better and better by releasing their first ever song again? We could be on the cusp of some wibbly wobbly, timey wimey paradoxical stuff that could bring about the end of the universe here. Or it could be a re-worked, re-mastered version of the song that made us fall in love with them in the first place.

    In the meantime (while the space-time continuum steels itself against the coming confusion) Tom and Ben have treated us to “Better Of Without You”. It’s not a Summer Camp cover (though that would be awesome) but a surprising (told you) soulful, R&B infused track that is more Sade than they’ve given us previously. It is a bit more pop than before too with a gorgeous falsetto chorus that is made for hand-clenching and emoting as you sing along in the shower.

    As you would expect, it is fantastic and if they are about to bring forth the collapse of the universe, it’s a pretty good way to go.


    Stalk Aquilo: Website / Facebook / Twitter

    2014 Tracks Of The Year – #10 – 6

    15 Dec

    Tracks of 2014 - 10-6

    Over the last few days, we’ve looked at the tracks that we ranked 25 – 11 in our list of favourites for the year (previous posts can be found by clicking these links, 25 – 21, 20 – 16, 15 – 11) and now it’s Top 10 time. Well, specifically our favourite tracks of the year places 10 – 6 right now, 5 – 1 will come later.


    #10 Arrange – “Home”

    Arrange’s “Home” signalled the return of an artist whose heartfelt, honest and gorgeously atmospheric music gets us right in the soul and this was a devastating five minutes of aural majesty.

    Like opening a music box it begins with a delicate innocence before it folds out into Lacey’s muted vocal that spins and twirls with guitars like a clockwork ballerina. Far away chatter like fragile memories twist like shadows and shapes in the corner of your eye, darkening and scarring as emotion soars with the tempo and energy. There are layers within, even more than before, the depths tunnel further down into darkness while the highs soar ever closer to the sun. It is the ending though, the glorious horn laden ending, that will enrapture and stir your soul. It’s like throwing off shackles that have held you down for so long, flinging the door wide as the beat intensifies and the melody builds and instantly having to cover your eyes from the brightness and optimism that awaits.



    #9 Liza Anne – “The Colder Months”

    Liza Anne‘s “The Colder Months” (the title track from her debut album) arrived early in the year but remains one of the most beautiful tracks we’ve heard all year.

    It’s a mellifluous folk ballad, a wind whispering through a forest of trees, stripped bare by the cold but still strikingly beautiful, and beyond to a snow laden graveyard perhaps, solemn, peaceful and enchanting. Crisp white layers sit unsullied upon statues, tombs and trees. This majestic scene, like her voice, is hauntingly serene and full of heartbreak. The juxtaposition of unbearable grief and overwhelming beauty give us an exquisitely crafted musical imagining of the unpredictable and tumultuousness nature of love and loss, of the confusion and conflict within the heart. It builds gently, a greyed sky of emotion drifting overhead before bursting open into moments of glorious melodious snowfall, sounds cascading down together, covering you in an evocative and heart melting arrangement.



    #8 Aquilo – “Human”

    2014 has been a pretty great year for the Aquilo gents, with two EPs released to universal adulation as well as some fantastic live shows (their Latitude performance was one of the high points of our festival experience this year), so choosing just one of their tracks was never going to be easy. However, our favourite was the Sohn produced “Human” with its crisp, stark electronics and wistful atmospherics and vocals. The rhythm crunched like feet on pristine new snow while the melody cascaded gently as fresh flakes atop it. It was just gorgeous and took everything we already loved about Aquilo and added a whole new layer of beauty for us to fall for.



    #7 Harry Edwards – “Lesser”

    We’ve loved and supported Norwich based Harry Edwards for some time now (and will continue to do so – more on that another day) but until autumn this year it has always been his ambient and atmospheric electronic melodies we had loved. Then we saw his first ever live performance (with a band) and one track stood out above the others that made us realise just how talented this young man is. Sounding like the biologically impossible progeny of a glorious one night ménage á trois between Frank Ocean, James Blake and Justin Timberlake, “Lesser” is a remarkable composition and amalgamation of sounds, styles and ideas. It’s dark and hypnotic, music for the late night and the underground club where the magic happens.



    #6 Rag’N’Bone Man – “Hell Yeah”

    We’ve written a bit about Brighton’s Rag’N’Bone Man recently as it wasn’t that long ago that we first heard him so forgive us for the repetition but “Hell Yeah” is just an incredible track that sounds completely huge and ready for mainstream radio love. The vocals are raw and powerful, full of soul and heart, yet still manage to rise up into a little Bond theme-esque moment or two. The use of choral backing vocals to supplement the hook gives it an ever richer, deeper sound that fills every nook and cranny of your cranium. It adds an uplifting element to the darkness and world-weariness that runs throughout the song. It’s dirty, rundown and desperate, but there’s hope, there’s light at the end of the tunnel and there’s an incredible and surprising soundtrack.