Tag Archives: Laura Welsh

What’s In The Box? – #11

14 Feb

What's In The Box

After a couple of weeks off, What’s In The Box? is back with a pseudo-Valentine’s Day special. While some of the tracks we’ve carefully selected from the inbox (and beyond) this week have a decidedly romantic feel, others are coming at this particular day of cupidly celebration from a different angle.

Enjoy!


Elsie – “Say It Twice”

We start this week with an anti-valentine tune from blog favourite, Elsie. Ordinarily Elsie brings the seductive melodies, candlelight and musical fondue to the table, but here, with this lovely and elegant strings and piano ballad, she is bringing cold hard facts and closure. The tone may be different but her voice sounds as gorgeous as ever, heartbreak can sound great after all.



Amy & The Engine– “Last Forever”

There must be something in the air as, after Mike Evin a couple of weeks ago we now have another video featuring octogenarians dancing. This time its more of an elderly prom thing going on as Boston based Amy & The Engine get in the Valentine’s day spirit with a country twanged folk-pop ode to love and happiness.




Alphabets Heaven – “Sex You”

Electro producers Alphabets Heaven have embraced Valentine’s Day so much this year that they have just released a free EP entitled Lovers. Though this is not exactly a collection of smoochy love songs to break out the wine and whipped cream to. Take “Sex You” for example, a cold, glitchy cover/remix of the Bando Jonez ‘classic’ that is more dark dub than Barry White, which makes it a lot better than the original as a result.



Laura Welsh – “Hardest Part” feat. John Legend

Taken from her forthcoming debut album, Laura Welsh’s “Hardest Part” is a sultry and smooth blend of R&B infused pop goodness. Written with and featuring the always wonderfully soulful vocals of John Legend, it is more candlelit evenings in with a bottle of wine with its rich melody and soft textures.


Sasha Siem – “So Polite”

We originally thought about including “So Polite” due to the extremely tenuous 14 February link that is the final track on Sasha Siem’s upcoming album being called “Valentine”. Yet there is enough in the lyrics to allow a connection on its own, though perhaps not in the traditional chocs and flowers sense. Take a listen and you’ll see what we mean.
Part pop song, part performance poetry, part social commentary and avant-garde artistic creation, “So Polite” is refreshingly different to almost anything else out there at the moment and fantastically discordant and raw with emotion. Perfect for Valentine’s day.



Bonus Valentine Special Video

No idea how this got here…



See you on Monday for more blog goodness and next Saturday for another What’s In The Box? (no more Glenn Mederios, we promise).

What’s In The Box? – The ‘Playing Catch Up’ Edition

26 Jul

What's In The Box

Goodness, it’s been a while hasn’t it? Aside from a rather tongue in cheek post about the new Craig David song (did you spot all 12 song and album title references?) we’ve been silent for a couple of months now, which isn’t like us at all. We won’t bore you with details but after a combination of domestic upheaval, a truly remarkable World Cup and a very enjoyable and hot couple of days (and very wet nights) at Latitude, we are back, awake and ready to rock.

As we’re no doubt sure you noticed, there was a lot (and we mean a LOT) of cracking new music released over the last few months and while we are all about looking forward, we wanted to take a few moments to show some love to some of the tracks that came out during our unscheduled sabbatical. So, as a kind of gentle reintroduction (for us and you) to writing, we present for your delectation a special What’s In The Box rammed with quality tunes, possibly some puns and hopefully some reasonable scribblings.


Waylayers – “Take Hold”

We’ve been championing the talents of London-based Waylayers for some time and, after tipping them for big things in 2013, we think we are about to be proved correct. Having Ninja’d their way into the hearts and minds of the American public last year it’s time for a multi-national ground assault, beginning with “Take Hold”. Out on the wonderful Alcopop! Records on 15 September, “Take Holds” sees the trio move away from vast, anthemic synths and offers instead a much tighter, claustrophobic and funky sensibility. There’s a foalsian feeling to it as the bassline grooves along, the guitar tickles and Harry’s vocals pull you in close. It’s a dark, mellow and groovy tune that should have people on their forthcoming American and UK dates bobbing along in rhythmic delight.



HAze – “Reckless Heart”

We know little about Haze other than the fact that she is a girl in Reading and that she has a syrupy sweet voice that shines and gleams like sunlight breaking through rain cloud. Taken from her Picture Frame EP (which is out now), “Reckless Heart” is blessed with gorgeously light melodies and warmth that we could happily get lost in for hours and hours.



Elsie – “Mad Chemistry”

We’ve featured London based, Liverpool born Elsie a few times now and on the last two occasions she’s got us rather hot under the collar. With her latest offering, “Mad Chemistry”, things have escalated. Previously it was the undulating and slinky harmonies and the sensual and sultry melodies that provided the steam, now she’s gone all in and added lyrics to match. It’s about sex and frankly, we have absolutely no problem with that at all. She has a gorgeous voice, makes gorgeous music and now, well we didn’t think temperatures could get much higher but yeah, yeah they have.



Bea – “Safe Ground”

When we first wrote about the mysterious Bea we were accused of being laughable and pretentious, which is pretty much every bloggers dream analysis. Since then Bea has released another tune online and while we still know nothing about her, “Safe Ground” is another piece of quality, muted pop music with a gorgeously relaxed vibe to it. Like fluffy unicorns frolicking gently in a secret lagoon…



Laura Welsh – “Break The Fall”

At the turn of the year we named Laura Welsh as one of our artists to listen out for in 2014. Given that she had already supported the likes of London Grammar, a major behind her and a number of cracking R&B infused pop songs under her belt at the time, it was probably a safe-ish bet. You do have to keep banging out great tunes to have any chance at success though and thankfully, Laura is doing just that. “Break The Fall” is three minutes of dark and dramatic electro-pop music, all stompy rhythms and big vocals that we just love.

“Break The Fall” is out on 11 August via Outsiders/Polydor.



Saint Agnes – “Old Bone Rattle”

Yee-hah! Saddle up boy and get ready to ride, the Saint Agnes duo of Jon and Kitty are back and this time they have the full force of the Energy Snake behind them. “Old Bone Rattle” is a gloriously rawkus, foot stomping, gun toting, western of a blues rock track. It’s a magnificent bastard, as stunning as miles of desert and just and dangerous. This is the kind of tune villains take over towns to, that acid trips are taken to and that we just want to rock out with.

“Old Bone Rattle” is out now via Energy Snake Records.



bAnoffee – “Got It”
We’re sure there have already been about a gagillion puns around Martha Brown’s musical alias so we’re not even going to bother… for once. Instead we shall focus on the rapid fire scattergun of the digital beats, the sweet and soft melty vocals and captivating childlike electronic tootling. Taken from her forthcoming EP (out 22 August) “Got It” is a dreamily cool antidote for the baking heat that the UK is enjoying right now.




Verre – “blu”

Almost a year ago we featured a ridiculously sexy and sultry track from California five-piece, De Verre. With a totally nsfw video to accompany it, “Mad” had our pulses racing, heart beating and blood flowing places… Several cold showers later and they have dropped the De to become simply Verre are back with new song “blu” ahead of a six-track EP due later in the year. Singer Alice’s vocals are as soft and sensual as before but “blu” is much more pop-rock than pop-rotica and it quickly shows. The chorus is full of sass and attitude but the track is also laced with self-doubt and insecurity. It’s also very good and perfect for a good old fashioned hairbrush sing-along. Go on, you know you want to.



See, we told you it had been a good few months for music and there were many many more too, some of which we will be featuring in more depth over the coming days. Normal service will resume Monday; it’s good to be back.

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.