Tag Archives: Gun

2013 Tracks Of The Year – #5 – 1

11 Dec

Tracks of 2013 - 5-1

It’s the final countdown, as some wise men once sang, as today we reach the Top 5, and therefore the pinnacle, of our Tracks of the Year feature. When we started the list on Monday, we noted that ” These then are the tracks that really stood out and stayed with us across the year, and we mean the whole year, many of these tracks have been out a number of months and we keep coming back to them time and time again, that’s how good they are”, and you’ll see from the list below that we weren’t joking. All five tracks were released in the first half of the year and three of them before March was over.

Often tracks from the beginning of a year can get forgotten, overtaken by newer, shinier songs that are fresh in the mind and ears. But these five have remained fresh in our ears because their quality is so high, we haven’t really stopped listening to them since they came out.

Before we tell you what they are, here’s a quick link-a-thon to the other Tracks of the Year posts and the previous 20 of our favourite songs of 2013.

Part One – Tracks #25 – 21
Part Two – Tracks #20 – 16
Part Three – Tracks #15 – 11
Part Four – Tracks #10 – 6

Now then, here we go with our Top 5 favourite tracks of 2013. Enjoy.

#5 Sivu – “Better Man Than He”

The debut track of our number one artist to Listen Out For in 2014, Sivu’s “Better Man Than He” probably resonates and touches us more now, nearly a whole year after it was released, than it did when we first heard it. Brimming with elegance and sophistication, it is blessed with the kind of understated beauty that can take your breath away. It sounds so simple but the sounds have been deftly woven by a skilled craftsman to disguise their intricacy as well as their intimacy. It was written for a friend who was battling depression, offering them hope and a light ahead in the form of delicate and enchanting melodies, and it is this poignancy and heartfelt emotion that helps set it apart even from his most recent and spectacular tunes.

#4 Young Hunting – “Annabelle”

One of the greatest pieces of musical storytelling we heard all year came from Los Angeles quintet, Young Hunting. The standout track of a wondrously understated and gorgeous debut album, “Annabelle” might just be one of the most heartwrenchingly beautiful things we’ve ever heard. There are no extraneous flourishes; no flamboyances and each detail augments the narrative of the lyrics and aural caresses of the musical arrangements. The drumbeat acts as harbinger of the woe to come, a slowed down take on the drums that would precede an execution, and the trumpets which join as denouement is reached are a mournful lament for the loss experienced. It sounds divine, gentle melodies and almost imperceptible nuances within that stir your soul and send your heartstrings reverberating like crazy.

#3 Chvrches – “Gun”

Choosing our favourite Chvrches track is a bit like trying to choose which superpower you would have. They are all so damn good and exciting that one just isn’t enough. But, we made the rule of one track per artist so here we are, having to make Lauren’s choice. We’ve gone for the uplifting and kaleidoscopic “Gun”, not least because we’ve choreographed a pretty amazing firework display to it in our head. The beat crashes and explodes with 808 style drums, cymbals and handclaps splashing like aforementioned fireworks. The synths shoot across the night sky entwined with Lauren’s so-sweet, sometimes breathy and occasionally almost demure vocals, dancing into the drums before the track quietens down as the display looks to be ending, only to fire off one last great crescendo of light and sound.

#2 Curxes – “Further Still”

Despite having a relatively quiet 2013, over the last 12 months Curxes have become one of our favourite young bands around. So much so that we invited them to play on our stage at Norwich Sound and Vision this year. Much of this love was stirred when they released the amazingly dark and refined sounds of “Further Still”. Beginning with some sinister and uneasy sounding operatics, the kind you’d have coming out over the PA during morning exercise at a Stepford holiday camp, all pastel shades and rictus grins, “Further Still” soon steps into an eerily still backroom. Roberta’s vocals take over and blend with the suddenly more liquid sound of Curxes before that too starts to evolve and solidify into head-nod-making beats. Dark, emotional and subtle, it whispers where you might expect a roar, even as the drama is ramped up it tip-toes through the sterile rooms behind the bright primary colours of the camp outside, scalpel in hand as it comes to slice into our ears and implant itself there for evermore.

#1 Nicole Atkins – “Red Ropes”

We knew when we first heard “Red Ropes” that it was something special and we knew it would most likely feature in the upper echelons of our end of year list. Then we played it again and again and again. We played it when we went on Amazing Radio for the first time, we played it to anyone who would listen and we loved it more and more each time we did. It’s a slow burning track, full of gentle drama at first before taking on an altogether more dense and powerful conclusion with the addition of choral backing vocals as Nicole Atkins‘ soft vocals reach up with increasing force. It is cinematic in feel, Lynchian almost (but less confusing) with that sort of retro-noir style to it that Tarantino can do so well too. Sun-bleached images of a damsel not in distress but with a will of iron and capable of outwitting all around her are evoked as it swells and soars. The influence of her co-writer, Mr. Jim Sclavunos (Grinderman/The Bad Seeds) is apparent in its darkness, its rawness, honesty and power. We adore it and as we began to put this list together, with all the jostling and re-positioning that went on as we considered all the tracks (and others), not once did it move from the top spot.

So there you have it, our favourite tracks of the year.
We’ll post a full list at the weekend with a playlist of all the tracks for your delectation but tell us what you think. What did we miss and what would make your list?

Watch: Chvrches – “The Mother We Share”

6 Aug

It’s probably fair to say that Chvrches gradual domination of the world has picked up the pace in recent weeks. Packed to the rafters shows across UK festivals, as well as headline shows across the States and Australia have all given a strong indication of the trio’s upward swing in popularity and reach. Then there was the wide and excited reaction to their album announcement and recent single “Gun” (which still sounds utterly fantastic) and their stunning MS MR remix as well. The latest marker along the path to superstardom came last night, with the release of their latest video and the feverish reaction to it across the globe.

A quick Google less than an hour after the promo for “The Mother We Share” (which you can watch below) was posted online, showed a legion of blog posts and press articles in myriad languages dedicated to its arrival. The tsunami of coverage and opinions wasn’t quite in ‘Radiohead drop King Of Limbs out of nowhere territory’, but their rise continues to be meteoric.

“The Mother We Share” is the first track on Chvrches debut album, The Bones Of What You Believe, which is out in September and can be pre-ordered here. Take a watch of the video below and stick to the end, trust us, it’s worth it, especially if you like Tron…

Btw, that cool gif at the top of the page was totally nicked off Pitchfork. Thanks guys!

Stalk Chvrches: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Watch: Chvrches – “Gun”

15 Jun


It’s been a couple of weeks now since Chvrches unleashed their latest electro-pop behemoth into the world since when it has gone on a glorious rampage of joy and euphoria. The love for this band isn’t abating in the slightest, at last count a ridiculous 81 Hype Machine registered blogs had posted “Gun” and they keep coming. Obviously keen to keep this remarkable level of adulation going, our three objet d’amore have unveiled a psychedelic video to accompany it.

When we heard “Gun”, we likened it to a game of hopscotch, all bouncy and uplifting. Sadly the visuals Chvrches have chosen for us do not feature skipping and throwing stones, instead they embrace another fond childhood memory, playing with a kaleidoscope.

Bright lights, mirror effects, pixelation that actually makes you think your computer is running a little slow all feature heavily, along with silhouettes aplenty and some groovy choreographed boogying. It’s 80’s cheese effects and Bond titles sequence on speed with a still-sounds-amazing soundtrack. It is little wonder the world is currently worshipping at the alter of a new Chvrch.

“Gun” will be released digitally and on vinyl on 14 July. The single will also feature on Chvrches debut album, ‘The Bones Of What You Believe’ which is due out via Virgin/Goodbye records on 23 September in the UK, and the following day in North America via Glassnote.

Stalk Chvrches: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Listen: Chvrches – “Gun”

28 May


It’s taken us a little longer than most, but recently we found ourselves in a similar position to a lot of bloggers out there. Big cheesy grins on faces, bounce in the step, infectious warmth seeping from our every pore and brightening the day of all those around us (well, perhaps not that last one…) and it was all due to one thing. We had at last, fallen hard for the wee Scottish electro-popper’s extraordinaire, Chvrches.

The Recover EP was bought and loved so we knew these guys were good, then the MS MR remix came out and our jaw dropped in gleeful wonder and then, then we got to see them live at The Great Escape (complete with lasers and Lauren’s broken hand) and good was no longer a suitable adjective, they are more than that, they are ‘byspale’*. One week on, not that our affections have dulled at all, the trio have seen fit to ensure that all new lovers remain infatuated and have stuck another track up for the world to get a little bit moist over.

“Gun” is another sublime piece of uplifting and catchy as anything electro-poppery that bounces along like a game of hopscotch in the playground. The beat crashes happily along with 808 style drums, cymbals and handclaps splashing like a digital stone thrown across virtual squares with non-binary numbers written in them. The synths skip hand in hand with Lauren’s so-sweet, sometimes breathy and occasionally almost demure vocals, dancing into the drums before the track quietens down at the end of the grid, then spins on one leg and laughing merrily away as it hops back again. Aurally it embraces twinkling highs and wobbly, bassy lows and pretty much hits everywhere in between.

Play it in the car, play it in your house, play it at work and cheer your colleagues up, it doesn’t really matter where you play it, as long as you do so that soon, you too will be in love and have a (banging, synthed-up electro pop) song in your heart.

The debut Chvrches album is due out in September. Anyone else feeling like that is a ridiculously long time away right now?

*It’s Scottish for wonderful, so Google tells us.

Stalk Chvrches: Website / Facebook / Twitter