Tag Archives: Chløë Black

Chløë Black – “Waterbed”

26 Oct

Electronics drip seductively with an hypnotic sense of otherworldly ominousness. Vocals melt enticingly, laced with a poisonous elixir irresistible to all who are exposed. It’s been more than a year, but Chløë Black has returned, and she’s more intoxicating and magnificent than ever.

Beckoning us hither, to the “Waterbed” Chløë’s return is a wonderfully warped and twisted, electropop-noir sound with a kind of vampiric sense of lustful menace emanating throughout. There’s an edge to it, no-fucks-are-given and it feels so good. It’s as catchy as anything she’s done, the dubstepy wubwub drop is perfect and for all the 90s pop-culture feeling to it, the use of 1950’s Disney-esque harmonies imbued with a dark(er), sinister beauty is to die for.

The days are shortening, night is taking over and the creatures of darkness are awakening. All hail for their Queen has returned to rule us once more. God it feels good to have Chløë Black back in our lives.

Get to know Chløë Black: Facebook / Twitter

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2016 Tracks of the Year

1 Jan

tracks-of-the-year

Over the last few years we have shown complete disdain for the idea of consistency in how we approach end of year listing. We’ve done a brief synopsis of a collection of our favourites, single posts per entry and even a mega one year in review round-up post. So it should come as no surprise to learn that once again we are mixing it up, focusing just on our favourite tracks and albums, nothing more.

This post will list our nine (top tens are so passé) favourite tracks (in no particular order). These are the ones we’ve loved the most, played the most, sung along with, nodded our head to, air drummed to, inflicted on our friends and colleagues and generally embraced and indulged in the most over the last year.

We’ll be back later with our fave five albums and after that, it will be on with the new Alphabet and posts a-go-go as we set out to make 2017 our personal musical love slave. Or something.

We’ll stick to our top ten tracks of 2016 for now though.


The one that came out of nowhere to knock our socks off

HEZEN – “The Girl You Want”

There were a lot of tracks from acts old and new last year that were incredible but without doubt, the one that just completely blew us away was the formal debut from Sarah Hezen. Even now, listening again, it still hits us smack between the eyes with its intricate, entwining melody and rhythms. It is utterly, stunningly beautiful whilst at the same time viscerally dark and menacing. Her soft vocal is intoxicating as it envelops this sense of foreboding as a dark spirit wisps around its prey seductively.

We could go on and on, and we did when we wrote about “The Girl You Want’ previously. Trust us though, you’ll be hearing a lot more from HEZEN in the future, not least because we will be waxing lyrical about her again very shortly.



The one that reaffirmed the thought that this guy is incredible and deserves to be a huge success

Rag’N’Bone Man – “Human”

The release of “Human” felt like something of a watershed moment for Rag’N’Bone Man last year. He was already critically acclaimed, selling out shows here there and everywhere with a growing legion of fans and blog support – he has featured on ours and others pages many, many times. Yet it is “Human”, its video and the announcement of an album later this year that looks set to send him to the heights we all anticipated he’d be reaching.

The beat behooves movement, the lyrics demand crowd accompaniment and Rory’s vocal is as powerful as it has ever been. It’s no wonder that an appearance on Jools Holland came about, or that it was number one in Germany for weeks and weeks, or that it was chosen as a contestant’s song on The X Factor. In fact, the only surprise is that it didn’t quite grab the Christmas Number One slot, finishing second. With the critics choice Brit already been bagged and a top 5 slot in the BBC Sound of poll assured, “Human” will stand as the final piece in the puzzle for Rag’N’Bone Man. Global success is surely on the way now.


The one that makes you swear inappropriately loudly when singing along

The Weeknd feat. Daft Punk – “Starboy”

Confession time. Despite all the buzz and hype a few years back, The Weeknd was never really an artist we’d paid too much attention too. There is only so much time in the day after all and not everything gets listened too, no matter how much we’d like to. When a lot of our friends started going doolally over “Starboy” though we thought we should check it out. When we heard it was a collaboration with Daft Punk we resolved to get on it and soon enough we were telling everyone and anyone who would listen (and a fair few who wouldn’t) that we were a motherfuckin’ Starboy.

It’s been said elsewhere, and in more accomplished ways, but this does almost feel like a reanimation of a late 80’s MJ given a devilish electronic twist. Infectious doesn’t even begin to describe how ridiculously catchy this tune is, especially the chorus, and it has been a real job to not play this to total and utter death (or around the kids). Like organised crime, every time we think we are out, we hear it again and are pulled back in. It’s everything modern pop should be and it’s such a shame the rest of the album doesn’t really live up to it. Still, we’ll always be a motherfuckin’ Starboy.


The one with the incredible Nixon sample

TV Girl – “Taking What’s Not Yours”

We’ve said it a number of times, but we don’t think there will ever come a time when we don’t like TV Girl or get excited for new music from them. 2016 was the same with the release of Who Really Cares and the brilliant lead single, “Taking What’s Not Yours”.

We said it before, but it’s worth re-stating, ”“Taking What’s Not Yours” is everything we love about TV Girl. Deliciously, ridiculously infectious, it is bright and playful while dealing with a lesser spoken consequence of a failed relationship.


The whole track is just wonderful, there’s a Nixon sample in there that is so deft you might miss it but it is genius, trust us. It is lyrically dry, sardonic and clever. It is completely and utterly perfectly TV Girl.”


The one that could be an anthem for a teenage uprising

Transviolet – “New Bohemia”

Another act we’ve loved and predicted great things for since first hearing them is Transviolet. Technically “New Bohemia” was released in 2015 but the video came out in February and that is more than enough justification for us to include it in this list.

We still can’t hear the military drumbeat towards the end of the track without thinking of Les Mis, without imagining an uprising and revolution against the rising tide of hate and fearmongering, something we need more than ever.

It remains rousing and invigorating, a movement in song form. Conveying power, emotion, defiance and attitude. It is a superb piece of anthemic pop that still gets played to death at Alphabet Bands HQ.


The one that could be an anthem for teenage indestructibility and hedonism

Chløë Black – “Death Proof”

The flip side to “New Bohemia” came from the brilliant and effortlessly cool Chløë Black and “Death Proof”. Another piece of fabulous, socially aware and catchy as all hell, dark pop; it’s a teen anthem for the hedonistic, indestructible youth and their ‘give no fucks’ attitude.

It’s pounding beat is relentless, a reckless death march into the future while a warped guitar line grinds in the background. Chløë’s gorgeously intoxicating voice melts over the attitude and swagger of the melody making you love it even more.

It’s play it again and again and again fantastic and but for all the swears would surely have been everywhere in the late summer months. Seriously, someone give this woman a deal and get an album out pronto.


The one that gives us goosebumps AKA The one we wish they’d done on Jools Holland

Let’s Eat Grandma – “Rapunzel”

It doesn’t matter how many times we hear it, the opening piano line of “Rapunzel” always sends a shiver down our neck and brings goosebumps to our arm. That this moment of innocence, of purity and of calm beauty then gives way to a cold and dark lyrical reality only serves to make it even more poignant.

Based in part on a true story and in part on a well loved fairytale, “Rapunzel” is (for our money) the most remarkable track on an incredible debut album. It perfectly encapsulates everything about them, the creativity, the musicality, the marbling of reality and imagination and the intricate and intelligence of their composition and lyricism.

It is also surprisingly easy to sing along with, even if you do have some explaining to do when your kids randomly start singing it in public.


The one that we always sing along to and that makes us happy

Shura – “What’s It Gonna Be?”

Possibly the most earworm-tastic tune of the whole year, Shura’s “What’s It Gonna Be?” was superb 80s inspired pop fare – channelling her inner Madonna and mixing it with a dash of SAW era Kylie. Then the video came out.

It’s hard to say if it is the brilliance of the song that makes us love the video so much, or vice versa, but it is safe to say this combination of audio and visual is one of the best and most enjoyable seen in 2016. Certainly this track was one of the most played on our summer holiday in France and most sung along to by the kids as we drove around the countryside.

Sentimental, heartfelt, bittersweet and oh-so danceable and catchy, “What’s It Gonna Be?” is a dazzlingly warm and wonderful piece of retro-modern pop music.



The one that made us realise we’d been wrong all along

Birds of Hell – “Astronomy Programmes”

Back in April we held our hands up and said, yep, we were wrong. Birds of Hell had always been an act that we’ve just never got, and then he released “Astronomy Programmes” and our mind was changed. It is, as we said so eloquently at the time, ”quite frankly, fucking brilliant”.

A little more evocatively, we also said it is “A swirling, cosmic spirituality as well as a wonderful lyrical dexterity are on show. It is utterly charming and really rather beautiful. This electronic, galaxial mist of sound drifts and caresses while Pete Murdoch’s light gravelly voice bounces off the softer swoon of producer Iain Lowery’s backing vocal. The beat snaps and skips gently as shooting stars of melody sweep by above and the lyrics ponder the great unknowns and reminisce for a simpler time”.

It still sounds as swirlsomely gorgeous now.

Chløë Black – “Death Proof”

13 Sep

Chloe Black Death Proof

Having had something of a mid-blog crisis and posting about my crossroads moment yesterday (the devil never appeared to ask for my soul btw) some very wonderful people have been in touch with some lovely comments. The general consensus is that Alphabet Bands means more to people than I had appreciated and that I should keep on writing and sharing music. Overwhelmingly people have told me to just do whatever I want.

So I will. And what I want to do is listen to and talk about Chløë Black. Always.

In my five years of writing Alphabet Bands and the years I spent at 411 Mania before that, never have I encountered an artist who is as damn cool as Chløë. Not only that, she has the talent to back it up. Not only that, but she writes songs that mean something, that have a message about society and that can make you think and stroke your beard contemplatively, all whilst dancing and losing your shit to how good her tunes are. Not only that, but it is all wrapped up in this incredible pop-culture referencing, cult loving package of sheer brilliance.

Not gonna lie, I have a massive musical crush on Chløë Black.

Her latest track is yet another piece of fabulous, socially aware and catchy as fuck dark pop. It’s a teen anthem for the hedonistic and indestructible youth. Like Transviolet’s “New Bohemia” but more sinister. Like The Lost Boys is to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It is the Upside Down version.

Infectious from the off with a warped guitar line that, unintentionally but brilliantly, evokes Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” (my musical mind works differently to others so please don’t look at me too funny if you don’t think so) “Death Proof” kicks into gear like James Dean on a motorcycle with nothing but open road ahead of him. The beat thumps and pounds like feet marching, marching recklessly into whatever the future holds, nothing phasing it or even scratching it as Chløë sings. Her gorgeously intoxicating voice melting over the attitude and swagger of the melody.

It is, of course, superb. With so many incredible tunes behind her and so many more to come, the only surprise left about Chløë Black is that she is not already a massive star. Surely that can’t be far off.

Photo by Nadia Lee Cohen


Stalk Chløë Black: Facebook / Twitter

Chløë Black – “Groupie”

12 Apr

Chloe Black

Ever since she arrived, sounding and looking so very, very cool with “27 Club”, Chløë Black has captured our fast-beating blog heart. Since then our love has only strengthened and Chløë has just got better and better. A storming live performance was followed up with incredible new tunes, ”Cruel Intentions” and ”Professional” as well as a surreal and captivating video for ”Wild At Heart”. Now she is back with the fantastic “Groupie” and, appropriately, our infatuation has grown further.

Ridiculously infectious, “Groupie” uses audio from the 1970 documentary of (almost) the same name (it has an extra ‘s’) and gives nods to Cameron Crowe’s classic Almost Famous. More importantly though, it acts as a form of social commentary, referencing (in)famous women of the rock world’s past at a time when slut shaming is a very modern problem and there are still arguments over equality and feminism. Here Chløë is highlighting them as sort of anti-heroes, a tone that is reflected in the sound. Convention may have frowned on them, may have looked at their actions as being scandalous and disgraceful, yet Chløë is instead highlighting their freedom of choice and the empowering nature of these choices and their ability to effectively rebel against the norm.

Regardless of how it sounds, it feels like an important statement and one that needs making. Brilliantly, it sounds fucking ace as well. The cadence of both vocals and tune dances around like a paper plane on a swirling, tornado twist of attitude. The beat bounces and marches with a sense of authority and Chløë enchants like the fallen angel she undoubtedly is.

Sounds fantastic, makes you want to dance whilst being socially aware and important? It’s no wonder we love Chløë Black so much.

Artwork by Alexander Jordan


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Listen Out For – 2015 Previews Round Up

7 Dec

2015 Previews Round Up

The calendar has clicked round to December and children across the world are excited about finding small bits of chocolate behind little cardboard doors. Like many other blogs, we are getting excited about end of year list-o-mania (and small bits of chocolate behind little cardboard doors).

As is our wont we will start with previews of artists we are looking forward to hearing from more next year. But, as is also our wont, we will preface this with a look back at the tips we made last year to see how they did and by association, how well we did. In all honesty it was, outwardly, a pretty quiet year for most of our featured acts with only one album and a couple of EPs released between them (but they were all great).


#15 – Let’s Eat Grandma

We said at the time that Rosa and Jenny are two stupefyingly imaginative and creative 15 year old girls who play a multitude of instruments in a multitude of different ways at a multitude of different times within a single song. The only thing that has changed is that they are now 16. The girls are still remarkable and their talents are being recognised by a larger audience thanks to performances at Latitude and Festival No. 6 as well as features in NME and sessions on 6Music. The album is still in the works so expect to hear a lot more them both in the coming 12-18 months.

#14 – Treasureseason

It’s been a quiet year for the Norwich-London duo but fingers crossed we hear more from them soon as we are big fans of their soft synthy loveliness.

#13 – Chløë Black

It took just one song from Chløë Black to win our hearts, minds and blog love. Since then we’ve seen her play live, been treated to a number of fantastic videos and are even more convinced that big things await.

#12 – Saint Agnes

Another act for whom 2015 was relatively quiet, at least as far as new music is concerned. There were gigs a-plenty though which further enhanced their reputation as an act to get excited about.

#11 – Waterbed

It’s almost becoming a running theme but 2015 was pretty quiet with little in the way of new tunes to get excited about for Waterbed. Here’s hoping for more next year.

#10 – Daisy Victoria

Compared to the dual EP output of the year before, 2015 was fairly quiet release wise. There was a ramping up of radio coverage though, as well as headline shows and a burgeoning reputation across the blog world. There was also the stupendous “Pain of Dancer” which for our money, is the best thing Daisy has done so far.

#9 – Jagaara

Again, beyond festivals and gigs (most recently supporting Kyla la Grange) 2015 was a quiet one for the three sisters. Mind you, we saw them live in 2014 and they were superb so gigging across the country is a good thing for us as fans, hopefully there will be some more tunes to get our ears around in the coming months as well as well some shows in the New Year.

#8 – Black Honey

At last, a band for whom 2015 certainly wasn’t quiet, especially if their incendiary rawkus performance at Norwich Sound and Vision in October was anything to go by. Black Honey released new tunes, won new fans and wowed us and thousands of others with their explosive and energetic live sets.

#7 – Osca

After a couple of tunes earlier in the year, it’s been quiet since the spring. Hopefully they have been squirreled away, busily writing and recording ready for the New Year. Right guys? Guys..?

#6 – Wooden Arms

2015 was big for Wooden Arms. Not only did they follow up 2014’s gorgeous EP with their debut album, they also played a live session for Lauren Laverne on 6 Music. The collective have also been playing bigger and bigger shows across Europe and are currently working on their next full length, and we can’t wait to hear it.

#5 – Vérité

One of the few artists on our list to put some tunes out this year, Vérité put out the fantastic Sentiment EP as well as playing many shows. Some of which were in the UK, though none were in Norwich. No doubt that’s on her list for next year.

#4 – Yumi Zouma

2015 was an interesting year for Yumi Zouma. It started with some properly fantastic videos and a second superb EP which met with deserved rave reviews. After that though there was a low key departure and replacement of Kim Pflaum (so low key in fact that some publications had no idea they weren’t talking to Kim when featuring the band) but still lots of very successful shows and plaudits. As yet there has been no proper ‘post-Kim’ tunes so we can’t speak to what comes next but we’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on developments.

#3 – Rag’N’Bone Man

One of the few on our list to put out some music this year, Rory Graham released the superb Disfigured EP, saw his music synced all over the place and produced one of the best gigs we saw all year. Seriously, if you have the chance to see him live, take it. All that and he is now curating his own gig nights as well.

#2 – Laurel

Having closed out last year with an EP release, it’s probably not a surprise that 2015 was fairly quiet. There was a slot at Radio One’s Big Weekend though and hopefully there will be more gorgeously evocative sounds from her in 2016.

#1 – Fickle Friends

They released an EP and wowed Norwich at Radio One’s Big Weekend (and a small pre-show the night before). In fact, so wowed were Norwich that they are coming back in 2016 (see you there) as part of their super huge mega UK tour (which we hope will coincide with an album release but we don’t know). They have also been playlisted on Radio One and put out some pretty rad videos so everything is looking set for them to build on a good 2015 to have a great 2016.