Tag Archives: Jack Garratt

Jack Garratt – “Fire”

11 Feb

Jack Garratt

It’s fair to say that 2016 has started pretty well for Jack Garratt. There’s been the BBC Sound Of poll win and the Critics Choice Brit Award, a ridiculously magnificent Craig David – Justin Timberlake mash-up for Radio One and now, with his debut album Phase just days away, he’s released the incendiary “Fire”.

It starts slow, a crackle and fizz of a fuse as it gradually burns, intensity rising as it edges to its destination, then kaboom! The gunpowder goes off in all sorts of directions as huge electro-dance-pop explodes into life, a kaleidoscopic firework display of styles. Synths wobble like a rocket’s trail as it launches into the night sky before showering us in sharp sparks of digital beats.

There’s a Catherine Wheel of UK garage bubbling under, spinning hypnotically as the vocals build to a grand crescendo, matched with multi-coloured cascades of electronics streaking and snaking all over. It’s frenetic, chaotic, seismic and magnificent. 2016 already feels like it could be the year of Jack.

”Fire” is taken from Jack Garratt’s debut album ‘Phase’ which is out on 19 February and available to pre-order now. There is also a deluxe edition which features older tracks that are no longer online like the gorgeous ”I Couldn’t Want You Anyway”.

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What’s In The Box? – #12

21 Feb

What's In The Box

Welcome to another Saturday round up of tunes from the Alphabet Bands inbox and beyond that we loved, but just didn’t have time to get to properly this week. It is, we are afraid, another shortened (five tracks) What’s In The Box? this week but we can guarantee each tune is absolutely huge and incredible in its own way. Trust us, this is one of those weeks where it is unquestionably all killer and no filler.

Don’t believe us? Take a listen below and we’ll accept your apology in the comments.

Robyn Sherwell – “Tightropes”

When we featured Robyn Sherwell’s ”Pale Lung” recently, we commented that it was so beautiful, it hurt. Now she has returned with “Tightropes”, a song that is so beautiful because it hurts. Dealing with the heartache of a broken relationship, “Tightropes” is a moment of refined musical elegance. Taking the less is more approach we are treated to little more than hushed chimes, a soft swirl of atmospherics and the gentle caress of Sherwell’s tear-stained vocals. It is a song that will resonate with many and which will be (and deserves to be) absorbed in respectful and rapt silence by all who have the pleasure of hearing it performed live.

Jack Garratt – “Chemical”

Coming in from the complete opposite direction to Robyn Sherwell is the remarkable Jack Garratt who just keeps getting better and keeps on hopping genres. Having wowed us with the glacial electronica of his debut “I Couldn’t Want You Anyway”, Jack has continued to evolve his sound and experiment. A recent performance at The Roundhouse hinted at a hidden urgency and freneticism that was fighting from within and which he was struggling to contain. Now it is loose and careering through “Chemical” like an ADD suffering toddler on a sugar rush, hopping from sound to sound, from style to style, slowing momentarily to assess its surroundings before whipping off once more in a clatter of digital beats, synths, electronics, guitars and vocals.

”Chemical’ will feature on Jack’s new EP, ‘The Synesthesiac’, which is due 12 April on Island Records.

Absofacto – “Dissolve”

Prior to the email we received from Jonathan Visger this week, we were not familiar with his solo project, Absofacto. More fool us judging by his latest offering, “Dissolve”, which is a smooth and funked up electro jam that has an undercurrent of the abstract or avant garde about it. It has the feeling of a psychedelic collaboration between All We Are and Broken Bells with a French producer, there is definitely something wonderfully and perhaps unintentionally gallic about it, but we love it.

Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – “Bitter End”

Having been blown away by the (still) remarkable “Hell Yeah” last year, we have since become devotees to the church of Rag’N’Bone Man. With his soul, hip-hop and gospel influences, and his remarkably rich and raw vocals, there is something almost evangelistic about listening to Rory Graham. We could easily see him atop a pulpit, singing “Bitter End” out to his congregation of like-minded disciples. Like all good sermons, it is heartfelt and emotional, strident and rousing, thought provoking and considered. Unlike all sermons (good and bad) it sounds superb with a beat and melody that serve to hold Graham’s vocals aloft like a crowdsurfing messiah. Bet you don’t get that at Mass these days…

”Bitter End” is taken from the forthcoming ‘Disfigured’ EP, due 8 March, and is available to download instantly when you pre-order.

Pawws – “Turnaround”

We’re not sure if it is coincidence but on her Kitsuné compilation featuring “Turnaround”, Lucy Taylor aka Pawws is sounding more chic than ever before. With it’s soft retro beat and murmuring electronics beneath her wistful and honeyed vocals, “Turnaround” has a mid 80s synthpop meets early 90s Saint Etienne vibe to it and it sounds, as she always does, divine.

See? We did tell you each of the five tracks this week were amazing and we do not lie. There’s plenty more where that came from too. Join us on Monday for more blog goodness and some pretty special tunes and new artists in the week as well.

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.

Jack Garratt – “Water”

28 Apr

Jack Garratt Profile

Back in February Jack Garratt and his magnificent beard stepped out into the world and melted the hearts of almost everyone they encountered with the muted, icy and anguish laden electronic of “I Couldn’t Want You Anyway”. This month both Jack and his beard (we only mentioned because we are jealous of its glory) have returned with the equally downtempo but very different “Water”.

Where “I Couldn’t Want You Anyway” was all languid and melty, “Water” is filled with a subtle urgency, the beat ripples out as the guitar lines scatter like pebbles thrown onto a lake. A scattergun of light undulating sounds peppers your ears as Jack’s soft, hushed vocals whisper delicately above it all. While understated electronic R&B elements urge and compel, it’s not overbearing but nor is it empty or underwhelming.

Here Jacks voice is soulful and rich, where previously it was pained and sorrowful, now it is fraught and almost desperate sounding. The whole thing is more freyed, more rough around the edges and while less heartmeltingy than “I Couldn’t Want You Anyway”, you are still likely to fall for its pop laden, R&B sensibility and subtle drama.

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

11 Feb

Jack Garratt

As this is his debut release, we’re not sure if we are supposed to mention Jack Garratt‘s past life or not. It’s possible that he, like many others these days, has chosen to re-start the musical clock and forgo his previous efforts. Yet, he hasn’t changed his name so some quick googling will bring it all up anyway, so maybe he isn’t pretending to be someone completely new and doesn’t mind people delving into his past.

Much like bickering on the Death Star, this speculating is pointless. Especially as it detracts from the glacial beauty of his new music, “I Couldn’t Want You Anyway”, which opens with a mournful piano to accompany 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.

Stalk Jack Garratt: Facebook / Twitter