Tag Archives: Laurel

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.

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 #2 – Laurel

7 Dec

Laurel

Way back in March we let our mind wander off on its own while listening to Laurel’s stunningly dark, dramatic and mesmeric “To The Hills”, and it came back with a highly entertaining but frankly ludicrous theory as to what it meant.

We shouldn’t have been surprised really, partially because when our mind tends to wander there is no telling where it is going to go (as anyone who read our Saint Agnes preview would testify) but also because Laurel has a habit of taking your mind on a journey with her music. Her soft, ebbing melodies can, in the case of “Shells” for example, feel 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. Her voice is enchanting, almost choral at times and definitely the kind that would cause many a shipwreck were she inclined to spend her time sat atop a rock by the sea.

She is about to release her latest EP, Holy Water, which includes the fabulous “Memorials” and the stunning “Come Together” (which features and was co-written with Sivu, another blog favourite of ours). The latter is gorgeously different to its predecessors, it pulses and throbs with dark, seductive electronics; their respective vocals entwined in a dangerously hypnotic manner, almost as if they are enticing you to a den of inequity, ready to corrupt your fragile and willing mind. The track is almost liquid like, dripping and undulating, finding a way into every crevice of your soul.

Holy Water is due out on 15 December for what should surely be the first wave of a full on assault on 2015. We stand ready to be corrupted and we expect many many others will be as well.


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Laurel – “To The Hills”

22 Mar

Laurel

When we first encountered Laurel (many will have done so earlier) it was via her stunningly relaxed remix of Racing Glaciers rousing ”New Country”. At the time we said it dripped muted sounds into a black pool of languidity, because we like saying things like that. With her new release, “To The Hills”, though there is no black pool of languidity, there is no lost lagoon of sultry melody nor wondrous soundscapes of unicorns and fluffy clouds.

No, what this prodigiously talented young lady is giving us here is a grand cinematic swathe of romanticism and drama. The stirring orchestral arrangement gives “To The Hills” a gorgeously sinister edge, a sumptuous intensity that feels like it could unleash a darkness within your soul. A darkness that lurks undetected until freed by a horrific, neck piercing act* and that then becomes all consuming. Her voice is soft but powerful with moments of brief and enticing fragility woven within, conveying a fleeting feeling of remorse perhaps; a remembrance of a humanity lost.

But there is euphoria here as well as drama, a rush of excitement and adrenalin that has overwhelmed her. “Didn’t know that I could feel this great / Life’s to waste, higher higher, get, higher higher she sings, addicted to the rush. As are we, addicted to “Into The Hills”.

*ok, so basically we’re saying we think it’s about vampirism and the rush of the carnage, the bloodlust and the feeling of a supernatural closeness to nature and the world. We have our reasons for this half-baked theory, mostly from a too in depth consideration of the lyrics no doubt, but we like it and think it adds something else to the song. Even if we are probably wrong…

“To The Hills” is taken from Laurel’s EP of the same name which is due out on 7 April.


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What’s In the Box? – #5

18 Jan

Whats In The Box

It’s that time of the week again when we sit down and pluck out some hidden gems from our inbox. In ‘What’s In The Box?’ we provide a home and a couple of lines for tracks we have enjoyed but just didn’t have time to get to properly in the previous seven days.

This week it would appear that chilled out R&B was the favourite sound for new artists, but we’ve mixed it up with some vintage rock sounds, electronica and pop with nine cracking tunes.

Enjoy.


Racing Glaciers – “New Country” (Laurel Remix)

First up this week is a remix that proves to be the complete antithesis of the original song. Racing Glaciers’ “New Country” was a stirring, Gladiatorial battle of a song but this remix from is anything but. Instead it has become almost unrecognisable as it drips muted sounds into a black pool of languidity deep within a hidden cavern, buried in a mountainside. Ripples of sound gently drift across the surface in an otherwise silent environment, deep greens of phosphor glowing softly providing the only light for this unspoilt world. It’s 3am music and it’s worth staying up that late just to play it.



Secret Colours – “It Can’t Be Simple”

With their retro psychedelic almost proggy sound, the imagery on Secret Colours latest video is entirely fitting. A love letter to the recording and playing technology of yesteryear, it is an analogue enthusiast’s wet dream with oscillations and vibrations aplenty. “It Can’t Be Simple” itself harks back to the late sixties and early seventies, with a Doors like keyboard line hidden within blurred guitar fuzzes and swirling, hazy loveliness. It’s a bit like being inside a lava lamp.



Mattheu – “Sanguine”

Hailing from Manhattan, Mattheu is gearing up for the release of his debut EP (Virgin) later this year with the release of the conversely named “Sanguine”. Rather than being cheerful and upbeat, it is a delicate mist of low tempo R&B infused pop. It is soulful and heartfelt while still offering a kind of cold, stark quality through its use of electronica and staccato beats underneath the subtle sheen of melody.



Hawkon – “Burn Me Down”

Also from the cupboard marked chilled electronic R&B sounds is London based producer Hawkon. Slightly more uneasy and unsettling than Mattheu, “Burn Me Down” is that little bit darker, like soul that has been buried in a glacier for tens of thousands of years before being thawed out in the present day. It still sounds wonderful but it’s not entirely smooth, some of the ice has melted within the machine and the resultant electronic glitches whirr and click into the melody to great effect.



Pastel Colours – “Hands Like Silk”

We had Secret Colours earlier and now we move to Pastel Colours, a Cornwall based five-piece that also have an ear for vintage, psychedelic guitar sounds. Marbled patterns of light and sound entwine and swirl in amongst crashing rhythms and jangled riffs. The denouement is a like an escape from an underground bunker as the sound breaks free into the light, open and liberated to go forth and groove on down.



Emmy – “Hurricanes”

Hushed to the point of being little more than a whispered word on a winter’s morning, “Hurricanes” by Emmy is as fragile as they come. Just a single touch with a feather could shatter this wonderfully preserved snowflake. The 20 year old’s vocals float out across a valley shrouded in a sunken fog, muting the sound and befuddling the senses so it appears to be coming from all around you. She sings with a choral quality, elegant and beautiful, like her voice is from a higher plane.



CONCLΔVE – “Ocean Star”

It’s been a little while since we last featured the mysterious “Beatsmith from the Land of the Thousand Islands” but he’s back and kicking his 2014 off with his first ever video, for old track, “Ocean Star”. Taken from his forthcoming debut album and featuring the vocal talents of Luxe Calip, it sounds like an eerie Lana Del Ray, Halloween Lana perhaps? Not spooky but blending her trademark nonchalance with an electronic disquiet, like waiting for the inevitable heartbreak or disappointment to come.



Elephant – “Elusive Youth”

As our years continue to advance at an alarmingly quickening rate, our own youth is feeling ever more elusive and like a figment of our imaginations. Thankfully we have delightful pop moments like the gorgeous new track from Elephant to keep us going. It’s a kind Cults meets Sleeper meets Lyla Foy tune and frankly, that is all we need to know.



Moderat – “Last Time”

Taken from the deluxe version of last year’s II, Moderat are about to release “Last Time” as a single in its own right, featuring a new mix from man of electronica’s moment, Jon Hopkins. Aside from sounding fantastic, it makes us want to ride a motorbike through the autumn tree lined towns of Germany, and we don’t even know how to ride a motorbike.



That’s it, two weeks in a row! That’s a new record for ‘What’s In The Box?’! All being well, we’ll be back next Saturday to make it a threepeat with more inbox rummaging goodness.