Tag Archives: Mega Emotion

2013 Tracks Of The Year – #20 – 16

9 Dec

Tracks of 2013 - 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 earlier today, it’s time to unveil the five songs that made it to the 20 – 16 places. But before we do, here’s a quick reminder of the random rules we have imposed upon ourselves.

The song doesn’t have to be an actual single and while that may seem a bit of a cheat, there’s a good reason behind it. We are looking at tracks that were released in one capacity or another over the last 12 months so that amazing album tracks will also be considered. We must note though, if a track was released online this year but will become a single next, then it won’t be included (“Anomaly” by Paper Crows fell foul of this rule for example). The only other arbitrary rule we have implemented is, one song per artist.

With that bit of admin out of the way, here are the songs we ranked from 20 – 16. Enjoy.


#20 Gems – “Medusa UN₡U₮”

We were originally going to put Gems’ “Medusa” here, but then, just a few days ago, they went and posted an uncut version of the track with an additional couple of minutes opening the track. Additional and different. The breathlessness is still there, the light as a feather monochrome beauty is still there but now the whole thing begins with something a bit more down to earth, a bit more base in tone. It’s still sparse but it doesn’t float, it is tethered to the ground, desperate to break free. These opening two minutes are like a walk through a long corridor in a stately home. Polished black and white tiles lead us to a great atrium where “Medusa” takes flight to the open sky above. It’s just wonderful.



#19 John Grant – “GMF”

He is the greatest motherfucker that we’re ever gonna meet (well, we hope to meet at least, it’s not happened yet) and on “GMF”, John Grant has no problem telling us. On an album that’s about as open and honest as it can get, “GMF” is one of many gorgeous and glorious highpoints. Introspective, self-depreciating, witty, angry, defiant, bombastic, broken, it runs a gamut of emotions while simultaneously sounding like one of the most sublime pieces of music around. The melody whispers and swirls like a solo waltz in the midst of shrapnel from a shattered and exploded relationship. Detritus lies all around, a memory here, a keepsake there, a heart still and cold discarded forlornly to one side as John stoically rises and falls through it all, bloodied but unbowed.



#18 Mononoke – “Alice”

Who Mononoke actually is, may remain a mystery for the time being but there’s nothing secretive about how sublime her debut track, “Alice” is. It’s a single tear of exquisite emotion with simple and stark chords alternating with finger clicks as the vocals caress the memories of a life that never was. It’s a beautifully haunting ballad that uses the imagery of Alice In Wonderland as a metaphor for something altogether more heart wrenching and bewitchingly beautiful.



#17 Mega Emotion – “Brains”

With their debut track, Mega Emotion announced themselves to the world with big seventies pop guitars and neo-disco basslines, brash, angular riffage and dark electro flashes. “Brains” is hyper addictive and bold, raw and powerful. The soft, cool (as the other side of the pillow) female vocals are superbly juxtaposed with the frenetic, non-stop energy of the track, and while you can’t get it out of your head, you still feel like it’s going to destroy you with its massive hooks and chaotically brilliant sound.



#16 Lorde – “Royals”

We came very late to the Lorde party this year, having somehow managed to not hear a damn thing by her until deep into autumn. We’d wondered what all the fuss was about and then, on hearing “Royals”, we got it. There have, evidently, been many arguments and discussions about her stance within the song (aspiration, envy, apathy etc) but all that is secondary to the quality of the music itself. For regardless of what else it may or may not be, or what people want it to be, it is a fantastic piece of pop. Lorde’s rich, soulful vocal resonates against the sparse beat and barely there tune. It’s bold and confident, yet restrained and understated. In fact, perfectly, it is the complete opposite of the brash in your face bombardment of the bling fuelled homogenised pop she is discussing in the song, and better than anything else that has come from those hit factories all year.



So that concludes the second part of our countdown, come back tomorrow for part three and the tracks we ranked 15 – 11.

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.


2014 Preview: Listen Out For #15 – Mega Emotion

27 Nov

Mega Emotion

We start our look ahead at 2014 today with an act from our own Fine City of Norwich and that has just one song available online at the moment. But what a song.

The girl-boy-girl trio that is Mega Emotion melted our minds earlier this year when they released the remarkably exciting and infectious “Brains”. 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.

While they are not yet online, they have more too. More songs to excite and stir the listener and send a tingle to those special places (ears, we meant ears) with each play. Were it not for sound issues during the final, they would have been crowned Next Big Thing 2013 as their performance in the semi-final had proved, and reportedly they managed to melt an amp when playing at Norwich Sound and Vision a few weeks before.

They are on tour at the moment and thankfully there have been no more tales of sound equipment that just can’t cope with their mind melting sound, yet. We’re sure there will be many more in 2014 as this band continues to grow and pick up even more radio and blog support.

”Brains” is out now and available to buy from the Mega Emotion Bandcamp page.


Stalk Mega Emotion: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Localism Rocks! Part Two – The Next Big Thing 2013

7 Nov

Next Big Thing

Yesterday we waxed lyrical about the importance and accessibility of your local music scene and during our effusions, we mentioned the Next Big Thing competition, the final for which is this weekend (Saturday 9th to be exact). As it’s actually a reasonably big deal here in the east, Ed Sheeran won it in 2008 dontchaknow – the organisers do mention it occasionally, we thought we would continue getting into our local spirit by bigging up the finalists in a little gig preview.

But first, a little background on the competition itself, from Future Radio Station Manager, Terry Lee; ” The Next Big Thing is the best up and coming music competition in the Eastern region, with a list of former winners who speak for themselves. Last year’s winner, Raevennan Husbandes, may well go on to be as successful as Ed Sheeran, who won in 2008,” and Outline editor, Emma Garwood; “At Outline, we proudly cover all the amazing acts coming in to the region to perform, but increasingly, we don’t have to look beyond our own regional limits to find staggering talent and musicians with national and international potential. The Next Big Thing brings that talent to the surface, to the attention of new fans and a wider recognition, which they deserve.”

Entrants are welcome from across Norfolk and Suffolk and the winners will get a slot at Homegrown Festival 2014 as well as studio time to record a music video and sessions; a professional photo-shoot and (this is not actually a prize) no doubt some coverage from us.

This year we are being treated to a particularly diverse musical line-up in the final with an eclectic range of genres represented. Good luck to the judges coming up with a suitably fair evaluation method for this lot!

In alphabetical order (naturally) the finalists are.

Dr Clyde

Dr Clyde

They say: Energetic foursome playing a worldly blend of danceable music. We have many influences ranging from jazz to metal, making a weird and wonderful sound which forces your feet to dance and your face to contort ’til you are drenched in sweat and your feet are blistered.

We say: Frantically skittish and almost deranged one minute, softer but no less engaging the next. They are like a musical jambalaya with ingredients thrown in wildly and a steaming plate of delicious filling aural food the result.


Stalk Dr Clyde: Facebook / Twitter


Freyr

Freyr

They say: Four piece alternative rock band who draw influences from Jimmy Eat World, Mae, Paramore and other bands in the genre. Freyr boast catchy songs and a powerful live performance.

We say: Radio friendly alt sounds á la Sum41 but with the welcome addition of some female vocals and more coherent riffage. From the respectable side of rock (that’s not a bad thing), they’ll make you sweat, then probably drive you home after.


Stalk Freyr: Facebook / Twitter


Koi Paraga

Koi Paraga

They say: A contemporary folk quartet, crafting songs of deep thought and heartfelt sincerity. A singer-songwriter, virtuoso guitarist, double bassist and vocal gymnast-cum-percussionist, have joined forces in search of a new shore and invite you on their journey, “a journey… between Radiohead and Mumford & Sons… like being transported into the centre of a Hemmingway novel.”

We say: Genteel folkers with an ear for a tune and a knack for spinning a yarn within them. Intelligent and engaging arrangements compliment clever harmonies. Radiohead and Mumford & Sons might be stretching it, but there is much hidden away in here to discover and enjoy.


Stalk Koi Paraga: Facebook / Twitter


Mega Emotion

Mega Emotion

They say: We started out just wanting to make dance music. We love the mesmerising regularity of it. But we love guitars too, and really missed the rawness of bands like Sonic Youth or the Pixies. So we went back to the drawing board. We ended up with this blend of austere sequenced drums, overlaid with the warmth and energy of both girls drumming live, and a never-ending battle between synths and guitars.

We say: Seventies guitars and neo-disco basslines give way to brash, angular riffage and dark electro flashes to create future sounding retro-pop with attitude.


Stalk Mega Emotion: Website / Facebook / Twitter


The Thinking Men

The Thinking Men

They say: Imagine The Rolling Stones jamming with The Doors while Tom Waits takes the mic; this is the sound of five-piece alternative rock band The Thinking Men, their live performance reverberates with infectious, foot-stomping anthems that will have you hooked.

We say: Foot stomping is right, big brash bluesy noise that will have you jumping and stamping around to tunes that are more catchy than they have any right to be. They made it to the final last year, can they go one better?


Stalk The Thinking Men: Facebook / Twitter


Unix

Unix

They say: Lyam Bewry, 19 yrs old. Initially I started making music using Nintendo Gameboys, a Commodore 64 and circuit bent junk and now have moved on to retro inspired EDM which I’ve been producing for around 3 years.

We say: Throw your hands up and prepare to get down. Funk infused house with a plethora of bells, whistles, handclaps, horns and just about anything else you can think of thrown in for good measure. Oh, and the beat, the incessant and banging beat.


Stalk Unix: Facebook / Twitter


So there you have it, a very quick summary of the finalists. Frankly, we have no idea who is going to win and it’s all going to come down to how they perform on the night. We’ll be there for what promises to be a very enjoyable evening, if you want to come along, click the poster for more info and tickets.

Next Big Thing Poster

Norwich Sound & Vision: Day 3 – Gig Preview

12 Oct

So here we are, the final day of what has already been an amazing festival of new music across our Fine City. This year’s Norwich Sound and Vision Festival has already surpassed itself and honestly, the best is yet to come as tonight’s gig bill is stacked. Deciding where to go and who to see won’t be easy tonight as there is so much going on, hopefully our final gig preview will make things a little easier.

NSV13 Saturday Alphabet Bands

Day 3 – Saturday
The last day of the festival is quite frankly an absolute doozy with blog favourites and white-hot acts everywhere you look. Not least at our own Alphabet Bands Showcase at Olives where Curxes (19:45), Strangers (20:30) and Waylayers (21:20) will be bringing the electro-heavy, synthy goodness for everyone to fall in love with. Non-festival attendees can come join in the fantasticness for a mere £3 on the door by the way, that’s £1 per band which is just an unbeatable bargain really. Just saying.

NSV13 Saturday1

If we weren’t at Olives on Saturday we would be spoilt for choice for what else to attend and would quite probably spontaneously combust while trying to work out where to go. Ok, so strictly speaking that isn’t true as we would most likely be at Open for most of the night as The Line of Best Fit and ASL Records have combined to put on the second best bill of the entire festival (after our own of course). Fabienne (20:00) will get things started before Crushed Beaks (20:45), the wonderful and enchanting Pawws (21:30) and the brilliant (and going to be big next year, mark our words) Sivu (22:15) ramp things up still further. If that wasn’t enough, Clare Maguire (23:00) will be playing her first gig in two years as well. Pretty great line-up isn’t it?

That’s not all though, down at the Waterfront the super exciting AlunaGeorge will be playing with support from one of our favourite live acts this year, (times tbc). We saw MØ play at The Great Escape earlier this year and were taken aback by the quality of her live show, we highly recommend it (but only if you’re not coming to our showcase, obviously).

Saturday night at The Birdcage sees the turn of Norwich’s own Gravy Records as curators and they will be hosting our new favourite local band, Mega Emotion (19:30) as well as Shrines (20:15), Bad Grammar (21:00), the currently-gathering-lots-of-attention Jake Hart (21:45) and Sisters (22:30).

Over at the Arts Centre, the spiritual drawing of the festival curtain will occur when Foxes (23:00) finishes her headline set having been preceded by Big Deal (22:00) and the former Kabeedies, Keep Up (21:00). In the bar, those infectious music lovers from The Rider podcast are playing host to plethora of great acts including Baltic Fleet and Tom Robinson, yes, that Tom Robinson.

We say spiritual curtain by the way because the music doesn’t actually stop there and over at Epic a night of DJ magnificence will be topped off by the fantastic DJ Cheeba whom we have seen before and who was just amazing. If you have any energy left at this point, it’s worth heading over to catch his set.

Where we’ll be:
A total no-brainer this one as we will obviously be at Olives hosting the best three-act bill of the festival with Curxes< Strangers and Waylayers. We hope you can come and join us for what promises to be a superb evening during which, incidentally, Waylayers will be debuting a brand new song, “242”. Come along and be the first to hear it.

After that, if there is time, we will try and catch some of Foxes at the Arts Centre, and while we like to think we would have the stamina to make it to Epic for DJ Cheeba, we will concede that it might not happen.

Tracks of the Day









Sunday will be for sleeping and resting.

For more information on the festival as a whole and a full list of performers and a programme of gigs, visit the Norwich Sound and Vision website.