Tag Archives: Fickle Friends

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.

Fickle Friends – “Paris”

22 May

Fickle Friends

Previously, Fickle Friends have peddled uber bright, lively and bouncy wares. The subjects may often have been steeped in melancholy, confusion and sadness, but the tunes themselves have been hyper-energetic and playful summer anthems, made for dancing wildly to with carefree abandon. After all that vibrant frivolity we reckon the five of them could probably do with a little breather.

So it is with their latest offering, “Paris”. It is still a warm and summery offering but more toned down from what we are used to from our number one act to listen out for in 2015. The vocals are softer, more of a caress while the melody is dreamy and languid with a hazy, reassuring buzz of bass in the background. It’s less a playful jump in the pool, friends on living it up on holiday largesse kind of vibe, more a laidback relax in a field, staring up at the sun with a cool drink in hand feeling. It’s just absolutely lovely.

There’s an EP Velvet on the way (on Monday) which we cannot wait for, and as well as playing Radio 1’s Big Weekend, fans in Norwich can catch them performing a short live set at The Waterfront tonight (22 May). More details can be found here.

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2014 Tracks Of The Year – #20 – 16

11 Dec

Tracks of 2014 - 20-16

Here we go then with the second part of our Tracks of the Year countdown. After revealing the tracks that hit the spots marked 25 – 21 yesterday, it’s time to unveil the five songs that made it to the 20 – 16 places.


#20 Mighty Mouse – “See Through You” (feat. Ronika)

When our favourite disco loving pop starlet Ronika teamed up with famed producer Mighty Mouse, we knew the results would be great but their collaboration on “See Through You” was something else. Released as the winter cold began to set in, it unleashed a sheet of warmth and sunshine into our world with its soft disco funk vibe and luscious hook that instantly made us think of Mediterranean holidays and cocktails by the pool. The bassline grooves along with a light dancing swagger as the various layers of electronics, strings and vocals beckon you hither for a glorious night on the town in the late summer sunshine.



#19 Slow Club – “Complete Surrender”

The title track from Slow Club’s latest album caused something of a stir here at Alphabet Towers, and across the blog world, sounding as it did, quite different to their usual fare. It sounded different but “Complete Surrender” also sounded utterly fantastic. A ridiculously infectious track, it’s big, funky, brash and utterly danceable with so much going on, so much to enjoy and revel in. Rebecca’s voice soars like never before, there are hooks aplenty and some of the most gorgeously dramatic strings we’ve heard in some time. It’s a compulsive amalgamation of styles and sounds and we couldn’t get it out of our heads for weeks. Then we saw them play it live at Latitude and it settled back in our brains for another month. The video is stunning as well.



#18 Jack Garratt – “I Couldn’t Want You Anyway”

For his official debut track Jack Garratt gave us a tune rich with glacial beauty as “I Couldn’t Want You Anyway” dealt with an autopsy of a relationship. His falsetto vocals are cold and pained, poisoned with the deception he is deluding himself with; that he didn’t want her anyway. Soft, muted R&B tones blend with sharp electronic beats in order to disguise the cause of death as melodic icy fingers of rejection rest, still clamped round a warm heart, choking the last vestiges of life from it. Tears and realisation fall from within as that haunting vocal finally cracks and allows the truth to flow and his heart is given peace.

Note: The below video is a live session, not the single edit (it’s still gorgeous though).



#17 Fickle Friends – “Swim”

Our number one artist to listen out for in 2015, Fickle Friends were the first band we wrote about this year and Swim was the first track. Nearly 12 months later and it still sounds as bright, bubbly and as infectious as it did back then. There are Prince-esque jams inside this 80’s new-wave pop doughnut, with a sprinkled coating of Robyn on the outside, and it tastes gorgeous. It makes you want to dance, and not all cool and ironic dancing either. We’re talking silly and enthusiastic, drunk and probably lacking in coordination but stupidly fun dancing. We mean that kind of singing along with your arm around a mate dancing as you have one of those nights that go down as one of the best nights ever, even though its subject matter is distinctly less upbeat and happy.



#16 Public Service Broadcasting – “Gagarin”

Proving that as well as informing, educating and entertaining, they also have the capacity to surprise us, Public Service Broadcasting returned this year the incredible and remarkably funky, “Gagarin”. Deliberately incongruous to the reverential nature of its subject, it is a superbly uplifting piece of electronic-funk-pop. It is still distinctly PSB, and not just because of the sample use, with little Willgoose signatures in there (call backs to “Signal 30”for example) as well as (it sounds to us) a little Muppet Show reference thrown in too. While we are yet to master all the dance moves from the video, it is certainly a track we will be boogying on down to a fair bit over the Christmas period we reckon.


2015 Preview – Listen Out For – The Full List

8 Dec

2015 Previews The Full List

After 15 individual posts, our countdown of artists we think you should Listen Out For in 2015 was completed this morning when we unveiled Brighton’s Fickle Friends as our #1 tip for next year.

Before we crack on with our end of year lists (tracks first), 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 and a handy playlist of tunes from each of them below for your enjoyment. Should you wish to read more about each, just click on their name to see the full article.


#15 – Let’s Eat Grandma

”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. Not sure if that makes sense? That is just a small part of the joy of Let’s Eat Grandma.”

#14 – Treasureseason

”…their recent Julep EP which is as good as anything they have done and juxtaposes Jess’s rich, lush vocals with their trademark icy and almost Scandinavian in style, electronic production.”

#13 – Chløë Black

““27 Club” is infused with touches of r&b and gospel, as well as [an] elegantly gothic and rich sound”; it is a compelling and captivating tune.”

#12 – Saint Agnes

”They make music that should soundtrack great western epics; epics that would have bar-fights aplenty, harsh inhospitable landscapes and, deadly predators waiting to pick you off at every turn.”

#11 – Waterbed

”Flourishes whistle and call like digital whale song as Cat’s vocals entice and beckon to your ears. It’s Blue Hawaii, Us Baby Bear Bones and MYPET; it’s dance music, has hip-hop beats and is frenetic electronica. It’s pop and it’s great.”

#10 – Daisy Victoria

”She rocks and croons, bounces, dances, spins and swirls, is dark, light, carefree and theatrical, all in the space of five tracks that are not only fantastic but that are also available for free (though we know once you hear them you’ll want to pay something for them).”

#9 – Jagaara

”Their songs are full of emotion and pain, entwined with first delicate then powerfully distressed arrangements. They make music that is not only evocative and often heart-wrenching, “Marble Arch” was wrought with a fist pounding frustration that stirs emotions within and had a suitably belt-it-out-when–you-think-no-one-is-around chorus, but it can also feel soothing and becalming.”

#8 – Black Honey

”…their fuzzy, retro-tinged garage pop sounds are fantastic and in just four tracks they have had us and our contemporaries all of a quiver. They make music that excites, it is dark and fantastical yet sun-tinged and born from very real emotion and desire and we love it.”

#7 – Osca

”Their debut track in particular, “Blood”, had many an esteemed publication pushing the button marked ‘gushing’ when determining which kind of praise to adorn them with. Like most of their songs, the piano driven ballad was simultaneously divine and foot stompingly catchy.”

#6 – Wooden Arms

”We’re massive suckers for the sweeping melodies, the orchestral arrangements, harmonies and ebbing rhythms. They make music to close your eyes to, music to get lost in, music for cold crisp mornings and for late summer evenings.”

#5 – Vérité

”She expertly walks the tightrope between mainstream and chic, with some commentators referring to her as alt-pop, though we like to think of it as just pop. Extremely good, extremely entertaining and enjoyable pop.”

#4 – Yumi Zouma

”We love Yumi Zouma, like properly love Yumi Zouma. Their debut EP was probably the most played release of 2014 at Alphabet Bands HQ and their follow up single “Alena” (as well as their love letter to Air France) has been played to death since its release. They are, for us, one of the bands of the year and we fully expect more of the same in the next 12 months.”

#3 – Rag’N’Bone Man

”Soon we were exploring and dived head first into his (still free) EP, Wolves, which, while lighter on the hip-hop element, is equally fantastic. His Mark Lanegan-esque vocals are raw, powerful and full of soul, yet they also feel tender and brittle with emotion at times.”

#2 – Laurel

”Her soft, ebbing melodies can, in the case of “Shells” for example, like a walk through a silent, dusky wood. Intricate rhythms reveal themselves like branches cracking underfoot as you walk, discovering new wonders behind each tree, beyond each hillock and ditch.”

#1 – Fickle Friends

”Their super light, bright and bouncy pop tunes lit up the year despite often dealing with disillusionment heartbreak and despair. In fact, despite their predilection for lyrics reflecting melancholy and confusion, seem incapable of making music that sounds like anything less than a glorious summer of fun and frivolity. The melodies and arrangements are gloriously infectious and playful and are perfectly complemented with soft, silken vocals.”


2015 Preview: Listen Out For #1 – Fickle Friends

8 Dec

Fickle Friends

Five people, three hype machine topping singles, hundreds of blog posts, countless festival appearances and nearly a million plays on soundcloud all added up to one thing for Brighton’s Fickle Friends; one totally amazing year.

Their super light, bright and bouncy pop tunes lit up the year despite often dealing with disillusionment heartbreak and despair. In fact, despite their predilection for lyrics reflecting melancholy and confusion, they seem incapable of making music that sounds like anything less than a glorious summer of fun and frivolity. The melodies and arrangements are gloriously infectious and playful and are perfectly complemented with soft, silken vocals.

America is already on notice with Billboard featuring the band a couple of months back and with an EP in the works for release next year, 2015 could see the band receiving similar adulation stateside to that which they have already received here. With any luck next year will see them translate their massive internet love into chart appearances and more mainstream recognition, they are certainly more than good enough to do so.


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