Tag Archives: Empress Of

2013 Tracks Of The Year – #10 – 6

10 Dec

Tracks of 2013 - 10-6

Over the last couple of 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.

We’re not going to bother reminding you of the rules at this stage, if you’ve been with us for the other posts you will already know them and if you are only just joining us, we bet you’d rather just get to the songs yeah?

Ok then, here they are, our favourite tracks of the year, places 10 – 6.


#10 Brooke Annibale – “Tragically Beautiful”

Taken from the sublime Words In Your Eyes EP, Brooke Annibale’s “Tragically Beautiful” was, to start with, just one of six wonderful tunes that we loved. Then, bit by bit, like a gradual frost creeping silently across the fields and countryside, we suddenly found ourselves consumed, covered entirely by the fragile, pristine and picturesque loveliness that is “Tragically Beautiful”. It is delicate and evocative; it swoops, soars and glides effortlessly across the winter sky as the clouds turn pink with the sun. Heartfelt and poignant, Annibale’s lyrics and winters breath vocals hang in the air, resonating with the listener before dissipating into a swirl of guitar and strings.



#9 Pawws – “Slow Love”

We’ve not exactly been shy about declaring our love for Pawws and for the immensely poptacular “Slow Love”. It is a glorious tune, everything that good pop should be and then some. If skittles let you “taste the rainbow” then “Slow Love” makes you “see, hear, feel, and surf the rainbow”. With influences from the likes of Robyn, Annie and Kylie it’s a spin around during the chorus piece of electro-pop fantasticness. Lucy Taylor’s beautifully sweet and heartfelt vocals blend perfectly with its full on grooveability.



#8 Empress Of – “Hat Trick”

We may have been alone in this, but one thing we took from Empress Of’s “Hat Trick” was how damn sexy it sounded. Just listen as Lorely gets all sweet, sultry and breathy and sings, “Lay my cards on the table / Tell me my future / Tell me I’ll make it move”. See what we mean? Sexy. Wrapped around her seductive tones is an addictive track of swirling beauty that draws you in, Siren like, for play after play after play. Bookended by twinkling, almost shrill, synths the beat and melody swoon and sway along like cavorting partners, clinging to each other in the low light of a slow dance. It is a gloriously misty piece of electro-pop and one we couldn’t get enough of since its release.



#7 Public Service Broadcasting – “Night Mail”

Built around words from the 1936 documentary film of the same name, and the W.H. Auden poem, also of the same name, “Night Mail” is a prime example of what makes Public Service Broadcasting so damn special and why we love them so much. It’s how they use these samples and create and arrange music to complement and enhance it, rather than just sit underneath it. Auden’s poem itself clatters along with the rhythm, tempo and cadence of a steam train charging through the countryside so it is only right that “Night Mail” does the same. It moves relentlessly, excitingly forwards with majestic, rolling scenery all around it. It’s fantastic and as the conductor yells “now” and the train whistle blares out, guitars and drums meet in a perfect storm of controlled energy and ambition as the track steams along.



#6 Avec Sans – “Shiver”

Back when we originally posted Avec Sans’ “Shiver” we rather succinctly stated that it was “fucking fantastic”. We could easily just say the same and leave it at that, but you deserve more and so does the song. It’s just a superb piece of light, dazzling electro pop that teases and tingles. If it was a weapon it would be deadly because it is not a giant in your face kaboom, it’s subtle and delicate and it gets under your skin, into your head as you open yourself up to accept it willingly. It’s so glorious and catchy; it’s a proper earworm tune. If they could find a way to weaponise it, this would be how Avec Sans took over the world. We don’t think anyone would mind too much though.



We’re almost there, come back tomorrow morning to find out who made the Top 5 and which track is our absolute favourite of the year.

2014 Preview – Listen Out For – The Full List, and a little extra…

7 Dec

2014 Previews The Full List

So, after a week and a half and 15 individual posts, our countdown of artists we think you should Listen Out For in 2014 is complete. Before we crack on (next week) with our end of year lists, for those amongst you who are lazy/busy/just like things all in one place (delete as applicable), we have collated the full selection of artists below with a handy soundcloud playlist of all 15 for your enjoyment. Should you wish to read more about each, just click on their name to see the full article.

AND, as if that wasn’t enough, we even have a little bonus below the playlist of the acts who almost made the 15 but who we felt were too good to leave off entirely. Some honourable mentions if you will.

#15 – Mega Emotion

”Full of big brash sounds, riffage and booming beats it also features soothing vocals and retro-sensibilities. It’s raw and powerful but calm and quiet too, like a circus muscle man cuddling a poodle or something.”

#14 – Mononoke

”What we do know is that she is blessed with quite a voice and, judging by her debut track “Alice”, song writing talent. With her tragically beautiful lament to a little girl trapped in a grown up world, a life of lost love, apathy and melancholy, she has set the bar very high.”

#13 – Port Isla

“As well as being super talented, they are the kind of lovely people that you just want to do well. They make such enthusiastic and warm music that you can’t help but like them.”

#12 – NONONO

”“Pumpin Blood” is the track that has broken out everywhere, with its ‘gets under your skin’ whistle. You may not know it, but you would probably recognise it. Big and brash, vibrant and frenetic, it’s the seven dwarves whistling while they work having dropped some acid and taken speed.”

#11 – Fractures

”…the gorgeous dreamy electro sounds of “Twisted”, complete with soft, soulful falsetto vocals that would stop a rhino’s heart, and the evocative crescendos of atmospheric folksiness on “Embers” were soon joined by the fabulous “Cadence” and “Tizer”.”

#10 – Embers

”They played two sets at The Great Escape, one in a grand high-ceilinged venue that allowed their music to spread and soar, the other in the cramped space of the Mesmerist pub where their sound exploded out at the audience, pummelling them with intensity and energy as veins bulged and sinews strained. It was one of the most intense, in your face performances we saw all year and we loved it.”

#9 –

”She is an artist that creates genuine excitement and a buzz of anticipation whenever she is about to perform. She even had the audacity to upstage the headlining AlunaGeorge on her recent UK tour and won many more fans in so doing.”

#8 – Pale

”It’s synth pop but ice cold, too cold even for Van Damme as it slides along stealthily like a glacier, taking you in its cool hand off to a world of desolate beauty. A world where the stark surroundings, the bleakness and desolation carry a majestic splendour, it’s not a world of disrepair but one that has been lovingly tended and cultured.”

#7 – Pawws

”Our love for the music of Pawws was immediate and full on, an infatuation. Her music is instantly accessible and enjoyable with influences from the likes of Robyn, Annie and Madonna and vocals that are beautifully sweet and heartfelt. She can do big vibrant rainbows of sound, all danceable and bright and she can do genteel and calm as well.”

#6 – Gems

”The vocals are sweet and breathless, a whispered caress on a smooth gossamer breeze of synths and electronic beats. Weightless and elegant, like moments of purity handed down from above, unsullied and unspoiled for us to enjoy and bathe in their beauty.”

#5 – Iyes

”They make pop music, but it’s not homogenised pre-packaged pop, it’s edgy and different but with enough accessibility to transcend the blogosphere and break the mainstream consciousness. Like Chvrches but without as many 80’s reference points and fewer lasers.”

#4 – Lyla Foy

”The songs are reflective and the arrangements offer an intimacy to the listener, a closeness brought from the instrumentation, the emotion and purity of the music and lyrics. It’s delicate, like the frayed edges of a heart whose thread could be pulled at any moment, and it’s utterly gorgeous.”

#3 – Avec Sans

”What they do so well, and what we absolutely adore, is make fantastically upbeat and danceable tunes. Electro sparkles and beats flash and pulse like a grand firework display against a night sky of synths and melody. Choruses are made to be sung along to while your feet tap and shuffle, heads nod, arms twist and bodies convulse in rhythmical movement; sprung into life by the infectious and compelling sounds.”

#2 – Empress Of

”Her music is addictive and tingle making, high art meets pop accessibility in the most gorgeous manner. Seductive tones, swirling melodies that draw you in and buffet you gently along as the beats take synths by the hand and swoon and sway along like cavorting partners, clinging to each other in the low light of a slow dance.”

#1 – Sivu

”He is a beguiling artist, telling tales born in the shadows of anguish, or inspired by theology in a rousing and heartswelling manner. Acoustic sounds marble with electronic embellishments, strings ebb and flow with the tide and all the while, introspections and observations pour out like nectar for our soul. It is entirely possible, ironically, to lose yourself in his lightly rasping voice and warm melodies. Even when singing “Coldhands” is like a walk across a warm yellow corn field on a calm day, fingers running over the tops of the long stems as they are rustled by a gentle breeze.”


Honourable Mentions…

Curxes

Curxes

If you’re wondering what that massive kaboom sound was just then, it was your senses under attack and your brain screaming out for more. Portsmouth/Brighton pair Curxes make blitz-pop and there’s no escape from its aural magnificence and energy. Last year they were one of the most blogged about artists in the UK (despite having no PR or representation) and while 2013 has been comparatively quiet, the new songs they played for us at Norwich Sound and Vision in October are sounding amazing and could take them to a whole new level in 2014.


Strangers

Strangers London Lights

We’ve been championing the case for this London trio for some time now and with their debut EP on the way, and a follow up scheduled for the new year it could well be that the breakthrough they’ve threatened for so long could be about to happen. Their dark hued electro pop is common cold level catchy but immensely enjoyable and danceable. And while you can get your groove on whilst sneezing your face inside out, we wouldn’t recommend it. Get down to some Strangers instead, it’s much more fun.


Jack Robert Hardman

jack_robert_hardman

Our main man Jack. As our ‘H’ artist we have been following the fortunes of Mr Hardman for a while now and we feel that bigger and better things are just around the corner. His debut album made our end of year list in 2012 and while this year has been more about remixing and a charming little video (below), 2014 should be all about JRH. There’s a new EP on the way, with guest vocalists and artists a-go-go and judging by the unfinished demos we heard a couple of months back, it’s going to be a beauty.


Abi Wade

Abi Wade

One woman, one cello, two foot pedals and an array of sound, melody, rhythms and innovation. Yes, she is a pair of cymbals between her knees away from full-on-market-square-one-man-band-status, but while that shark remains unjumped she is an incredible live performer and musician. She’s got the songs to back it up as well, beautiful and soothing but also full of drama and emotion when they need to be. She’s been writing recently so hopefully that means an album could be on the way in 2014.


Leon Else

Leon Else

Be it fantastical and mystical or very much down to earth and even carnal, Leon Else can and will deliver a tune and half with the deep but light rumbling vocal at its heart. He sees the world slightly differently from most of us but that just makes his music all the more interesting and captivating. With radio play from the likes of Radio 1 and Amazing Radio already under his belt, 2014 could well see his proclamation that the future is


Laura Welsh

Laura Welsh

Laura’s sophisticated, R&B infused pop has passed through our inbox on the odd occasion over the last few months and while we always very much enjoyed it, other commitments meant we never quite got round to writing about it (despite intending to). On seeing her supporting London Grammar recently, we were instantly filled with regret that said posts never made it out of our heads and onto the page. She was fantastic. Big danceable sounds were offset with a deceptively big and powerful vocal and softer, gentler moments were treated with care and affection. 2014 should be a big one for Laura and we won’t be making the mistake of not writing about her again, trust us.


2014 Preview: Listen Out For #2 – Empress Of

6 Dec

Empress Of

Cast your mind back for a moment, to November last year when 2012 was entering its final days and a newborn year was almost upon us. At that moment a new music project was blinking its eyes, adjusting to its new surroundings and seeing music like colour. At the time we anointed Empress Of to our hallowed Alphabet Bands hall as our ‘E’ artist, not much was known about Celestial Shores’ Lorely Rodriguez’s new project. Coverage in the UK was (we believe) non-existent and all we had to go on were a series of micro tunes, or Colourminutes as she called them and a forthcoming single.

It was at this point, the single release we mean, not our posting, that ears pricked up properly and interest was piqued across the blog world and beyond. The music she was making (and continues to make) is spectacular. Dreamy electronic whispers one minute and sultry, breathy and sexy as hell the next (“Hat Trick” is such a gorgeous tune). Since then she has just got better and better with each new release and music fans and critics have fallen for her more and more.

Her music is addictive and tingle making, high art meets pop accessibility in the most gorgeous manner. Seductive tones, swirling melodies that draw you in and buffet you gently along as the beats take synths by the hand and swoon and sway along like cavorting partners, clinging to each other in the low light of a slow dance.

She makes gloriously misty electro-pop, like millions of constellations across the canvas of the night sky, glistening and mesmeric, beautiful and ridiculously easy to get lost in. She’s not afraid of a little darkness either, as the watermelon gorging, Clockwork Orange-esque image bombardment of the video for “Champagne” illustrated. Anyone who can layer pictures of The Dark Crystal and The Never Ending Story under whirring, bouncing choruses of springy guitars and soft, burgeoning subtly-synth laden verses is only ever going to get love from us.

With a series of live shows across the globe under her belt in the last 12 months and an ever increasing profile, the mystery that initially surrounded Empress Of may have dissipated, but the quality and excitement is only getting bigger.


Stalk Empress Of: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Listen: Empress Of – “Hat Trick”

8 Mar

Empress Of Hat Trick

Since joining the Alphabet family as our ‘E’ artist, the dreamsome Empress Of has gorged herself on watermelon and released her debut single. Now, as she prepares for the forthcoming release of her debut EP, Systems she has treated us to what sounds distinctly like her sexy side on new track, “Hat Trick”.

Just listen as she gets all sweet, sultry and breathy as Lorely sings, “Lay my cards on the table / Tell me my future / Tell me I’ll make it move”. See what we mean? Sexy. Wrapped around her seductive tones is an addictive track of swirling beauty that draws you in, Siren like, for play after play after play. Bookended by twinkling, almost shrill, synths the beat and melody swoon and sway along like cavorting partners, clinging to each other in the low light of a slow dance. It is a gloriously misty piece of electro-pop and one we can’t get enough of right now.

“Hat Trick” is taken from The Systems EP which will be released in the UK on 1 April via Double Denim Records and in the US on 2 April via Terrible Records.


Read More: ‘E’ is for Empress Of

Stalk Empress Of: Website / Twitter / YouTube

Watch: Empress Of – “Champagne”

13 Nov

Do you like watermelon? Lorely Rodrigez sure does. In her first full length video as her newest musical incarnation Empress Of, our recently added ‘E’ in our alphabet, Lorely gets up close and personal with a giant hunk of that watery, tasteless fruit (we’re not watermelon fans if you hadn’t already guessed).

Directed by Samuel Morris Hamad, the video for her debut single “Champagne” features Lorely gorging herself on watermelon, the juice and fruit flesh spilling and spooling out of her mouth and all over her face and legs as she nom nom noms her way through it. What it has to do with Champagne we really don’t know, but the more we watch it the more it works.

The use of split screens and jump cuts in time with the beat of the track is clever and engaging and the Clockwork Orange style image bombardment towards the end of the video is probably an epileptics worst nightmare but we had fun seeing who or what we could spot (images of Freddy Mercury, The Dark Crystal and The Never Ending Story to name but a few).

The track itself is a jangly, swirling joy that is as disarming as the video. Whirring, bouncing choruses of springy guitars follow soft, burgeoning subtly-synth laden verses before culminating in a crash of sound and vision and then nothing. Three minutes of modern pop bliss.


“Champagne” is out now via No Recordings on limited edition (only 250 copies) 7” vinyl. You can order your copy here, we’ve already got ours, it looks and sounds fantastic.

B-side, “Don’t Tell Me” is currently also available to download for free.

Stalk Empress Of: Website / Twitter / YouTube