Tag Archives: Mt Wolf

UK Blog Sound of 2016 Longlist Revealed

3 Dec

Blog Sound 2016

2015 has been a pretty good year for music, especially for new and emerging artists breaking onto the scene and getting people very excited. As is customary at this time of year, music publications and British institutions alike start to look ahead and think about who of those new acts could do incredible things next year. The BBC recently revealed their choices and while ours are more about our favourite acts than surefire industry megahits, the UK Blogging community today reveals our own Sound of 2016 Longlist.

As always, the poll is conducted and adjudicated by the esteemed Robin Seamer of Breaking More Waves and this year, 58 UK based blogs took part. Each voted for their three favourite acts and the top 15 of those acts comprise the Blog Sound of 2016 Longlist. To qualify for a vote any act chosen must not have had a UK top 20 single or album, either in their own right or as a named collaborator prior to 6th November 2015.

The longlist is below and after it you will find a playlist of all the artists, some voting data from Robin, some thoughts from us and a more general point about the BBC poll and the continued importance of blogging. So stick around for that.

But first the longlist.

*drumroll*

The Blog Sound of 2016 Longlist

AQUILO

AURORA

BILLIE MARTEN

GEORGE COSBY

HAELOS

LISS

LOYLE CARNER

MABEL

MURA MASA

MT WOLF

NAO

PLEASURE BEACH

THE BIG MOON

THE JAPANESE HOUSE

YAK


Having been very much off the pace as far as writing and listening to new music this year is concerned, there are plenty of artists there we are not overly familiar with. Which is a good thing as last year we felt the list was too obvious and safe. This year sees much more diversity in musical style which is also, we believe, a fantastic thing. There are artists on there we are massive fans of, Aquillo, The Japanese House and Loyle Carner for example, yet only one of our votes made it onto the list.

While there is a reasonable amount of crossover with the BBC poll, five acts appear on both lists, most notable is the artist that doesn’t appear on the blog sound but who looks favourite to win the BBC poll. Jack Garratt has already been crowned BBC Introducing artist of the year and picked up the Brit’s Critic’s Choice award yet not one blog voted for him. In fact he wasn’t on the longlist last year either, having just narrowly missed out on a place in the final 15. Depending on your point of view, this could mean a number of different things.

  • The BBC Poll is much more commercially skewed than the Blog Sound and as such will always favour bigger artists where blogs like niche acts.
  • The Blog Sound Poll is ahead of the game and while we all still love Jack, we feel his is already established and no longer ‘new’.
  • The BBC judging panel don’t know what they are talking about.
  • The Blog Sound voters don’t know what they are talking about.
  • It’s probably no surprise to learn that we lean towards the second position, with a little of the first thrown in. This isn’t just some biased “Blogs are great” spiel though, there is merit in the argument as well as some statistical evidence to back it up. For example, in recent years the blog sound has featured Wolf Alice the year before the BBC poll, and the likes of Alt-J and Bastille who didn’t feature on the BBC poll at all.

    Blogs are quick to give support to artists and are often very loyal to those acts they particularly love. With the sheer volume of new music available for us to consume, we can also be very quick to find a new ‘new’ act and as such our sense of what is new is different to the majority of rest of the population. Take Aurora for example. She’s been featured on blogs a fair bit in this last year, bothered the Hype Machine chart and racked up the soundcloud plays. Yet when she was revealed as the artist on this year’s John Lewis advert the overwhelming reaction was ‘who she?’.

    We live in a little bubble. A bubble of new music, of social media and of like minded people getting excited about similar things. Robin has spoken before of the difference between internet fame and real fame and he is spot on. Being a big deal on the internet (soundcloud plays, hype machine posts, twitter frenzies etc) doesn’t always equate to being a big deal as far as records and gig tickets sold. The Blog Sound Of poll, to an extent, operates within the ‘big deal on the internet’ bubble while the BBC has a more ‘is becoming a big deal in the outside world’ feel about it. Hence us occasionally featuring artists before the BBC or, in the case of (the excellent) Jack Garratt, not at all. These artists are already a big deal for us and we want them to go on and become a big deal for everyone else as well.

    For the record, we fully expect to see Aurora on the BBC list next year and possibly The Japanese House as well.


    Interesting stats and exciting data from the voting

  • This year 142 acts received at least 1 vote from the 174 total votes cast, showing that the UK music blog scene has a wide range of taste.
  • This year’s voting was the closest and broadest ever – the winning act only received votes from 8.5% of the 58 voters.
  • The vast majority of acts chosen were UK based even though the bloggers could choose acts from any part of the world. There are no American acts on the list, although there are acts from other European countries.
  • One of the acts on this year’s longlist (Mt Wolf) already featured on the Blog Sound of 2014 poll, but then promptly split up. Now reformed, they find themselves once again on the Blog Sound of 2016 list.
  • 5 of the acts on the BBC Sound of 2016 also appear on the Blog Sound Of poll, namely Billie Marten, Loyle Carner, Mabel, Mura Masa and Nao.
  • The Tunes

    The Participating Blogs

    A Pocket Full Of Seeds, A World Of Music And Madness, Across The Kitchen Table, Alphabet Bands, Beat Surrender, Bratfaced LDN, Breaking More Waves, Brighton Music Blog, Buzz Unlimited, Cruel Rhythm, Chord Blossom, Daisy Digital, Dive, Details Of My Life, Dots And Dashes, Drunken Werewolf, Digital Shuffle, Echoes And Dust, Electronic Rumors, Encore Northern Island, Even The Stars, Faded Glamour, Get Into This, Get Some, God Is In The TV, I Love Pie, Just Music I Like, Kemptation, Killing Moon, Little Indie Blogs, Love Music: Love Life, Metaphorical Boat, Monkey Boxing, Music Liberation, Music Like Dirt, Music Umpire, Neon Filler, Not Many Experts, Popped Music, Pursuit Of Sound, Rave Child, Record Rewind Play, Scientists Of Sound, Some Of It Is True, Spectral Nights, Sweeping The Nation, Synth Glasgow, The Blue Walrus, The Devil Has The Best Tuna, The Electricity Club, The Evening’s Empire, The Mad Mackerel, The VPME, This Must Be Pop, Thoughts On Music, Too Many Blogs, What If I Had A Music Blog, When The Gramophone Rings

    What’s In The Box ? – #13

    11 Apr

    What's In The Box

    It’s been a while since we last shared a 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. As ever the last seven (or so) days have been rammed with quality music and not enough hours in the day to get to them all.

    Here then is a quick, eight-track, What’s In The Box? chock full of tunes from a number of genres, each of which is fantastic and we’re sure you’ll find something you’ll enjoy. We sure did.


    Kloë – “Feel”

    Let’s kick things off this week with an absolute stormer from new Scottish pop superstar-to-be Kloë. “Feel” is a dark, simmering cauldron of electropop brilliance with synths that slither and glide ominously along as the vocal arrangement evokes “Blue Jeans” era Lana. It’s powerful, vibrant and exciting and surely heralds the arrival of a future star.


    The Japanese House – “Teeth”

    As The Japanese House, 19 year old Amber Bain has been creating quite the proverbial buzz of excitement recently. Each of her previous two releases have been met with near universal acclaim and adulation and her latest, “Teeth”, carries on that trend. It’s a slow moving cloud of electronics, melody and genderless vocals that is punctuated with fantastically discordant guitar wails and pitter patter beats.

    The Japanese House release their debut EP, Pools To Bathe In on 27 April and it is available to pre-order here.



    Racing Glaciers – “What I Saw”

    It’s been a fair few months since we last heard from Racing Glaciers but the quintet have returned from self-imposed exile (to a barn in Glastonbury for some of it) to share the first track from their forthcoming debut album. “What I Saw” is less bombastic than their previous efforts. It’s a lighters-(camera phones)-in-the-air rock ballad that’s slow burning, broodingly emotive and very, very anthemic.



    Mt. Wolf – “VIII feat. Alexa Harley”

    The demise of Mt. Wolf at the end of 2013, the day after they were announced as being part of the Blog Sound Poll longlist, was as surprising as it was disappointing. Thankfully a year later and two thirds of the band were back making music together, fast forward another few months and we have the smokey and gorgeous “VIII” to get lost in. Featuring the soft and alluring vocals of Alexa Harley, it’s a stunningly elegant and dreamy tune.



    Fascinator – “Showin’ Off”

    This has been out for a few months now but when we heard Fascinator’s “Showin’ Off” we knew we had to share it. We love the blend of the orchestral and hip-hop. The strings and the beat play off one another superbly and the addition of the woodwind section serves to ramp up the ambition and quality. It’s a LSD loving Beatles infused mash of pop sensibilities, folk guitar licks and breaks that we just adore.



    Silences – “The Sea”

    After all that rambunctiousness we thought it best to calm things down a little and the new track from Silences affords us the perfect way to do just that. Here the Northern Irish quintet is getting a little bit Coldplay, a little bit Kodaline and a lotta bit great. “The Sea” is a very radio-friendly slice of emotional, brooding indie-pop; all dark skies over the cliffs and pensive looks out across the ocean.



    Alphaduka – “Vision”

    Hailing from South London, three piece Alphaduka claim to be part band, part bowling team and while we can’t attest to their pin clattering ability, debut song “Vision” is really rather lovely. There’s lots of ebbing, swooning guitars and vocals melding in a soft autumnal haze, all warm and orangey, that ultimately collapse into a laguid mushroomy trip of 60s psychedelica.



    Vanbot – “Seven”

    Finally this week we have a fantastic dance-pop blast from Sweden’s Vanbot. Given the style, sound and subject matter of “Seven”, comparisons with Robyn are inevitable and unavoidable. Rather than being seen as lazy journalism however, they should be viewed as the massive compliment they are as it would be right at home as part of Robyn’s classic and magnificent Body Talk series.

    “Seven” will feature on Vanbot’s new album Perfect Storm which is due for release in May.



    We hope you enjoyed that quick whizz through the inbox and beyond. Join us on Monday for more blog goodness and some pretty special tunes and new artists in the week as well.

    UK Blog Sound of 2014 Longlist Revealed

    3 Dec

    Blog Sound Of 2014

    You may have noticed, it was hard to miss frankly as Twitter was all of a flurry, that yesterday (2 Dec) the BBC released their Sound of 2014 Longlist. As with the last couple of years, we bloggers have responded to the internal question we often ask (why should they have all the fun?) and produced our own list of artists we, collectively, love and have high hopes for next year.

    We’ve bolded ‘love’ there, because that is the most important word. When asked to vote, the onus was put on upcoming artists we adore, not specifically ones we think could be massive. Perhaps the list would more closely resemble the BBC’s had we done so, but we doubt it this year. There is such a wide range of fantastic music spanning so many genres right now that forming any kind of consensus is going to be difficult. Indeed, over 100 acts were nominated by 59 blogs, with the majority getting just the one vote each. So anyone who thinks we all just like and post the same stuff as each other can think again.

    Now, you might not agree with the list, only one of our top 3 made the Longlist and only four of our own Longlist of 15 (some are still to be revealed so you can have fun guessing who the remaining ones are) are included. So, while we have no fundamental disagreements with those who are listed below, we think you’ll agree there are a couple of surprises in there.

    Before we get to the list, here’s some quick background from organisers Robin and Andy of Breaking More Waves and The Von Pip Musical Express respectively.

    The Blog Sound Poll was first published in 2011. The concept of the poll wasn’t to criticise the established BBC Sound of list, but simply an experiment to see if UK music bloggers could come up with its own list of emerging artists that was more representative of their community and give the artists that were nominated some extra publicity. Indeed the idea was to compliment the BBC list in many ways by providing an alternative to compare and contrast.

    The 2011 list contained some interesting alternatives to the BBC list including Mercury Prize winners Alt-J and Bastille who have found huge commercial success in the UK in 2013. The 2012 list was more similar to the BBC list with Haim being the runaway winners, followed closely by Chvrches.

    The UK Blog Sound of 2014 poll is the biggest yet with 59 blogs each nominating their 3 favourite emerging artists. It has been retitled to give emphasis to the fact that it is a list created by UK bloggers, although the choices of music can come from around the world.

    The Top 3 will be revealed on 2 January, but for now here are the 16 acts that made the longlist.

    The Nominated Artists For The UK Blog Sound Of 2014

    Banks – Sultry electronic music with a hint of soul from Los Angeles.


    Embers – Cinematic and vast indie rock from Manchester


    George Ezra – Singer songwriter with a bluesy voice

    Hella Better Dancer – Dark and fiery indie rock band


    Hockeysmith – Genre hopping sister duo from Cornwall


    Honeyblood – Raw d-i-y indie rock two piece from Glasgow


    Iyes – Edgy sweetly melodic pop duo from Brighton


    Khushi – Endearing East London singer who sits somewhere between pop, indie and folk


    Lyla Foy – Previously known as Wall, creator of delicate, brooding, intimate pop


    Marika Hackman – Singer songwriter with haunting folk references


    Mt Wolf – Dreamy sounding band that combine electronics, acoustic music and ambient atmospherics with near operatic vocals.


    Royal Blood – Brighton duo that play gritty lo-fi rock with attitude


    Rhodes – Stripped back acoustic singer songwriter


    Sivu – Idiosyncratic singer songwriter


    Sophie Jamieson – Calm, atmospheric folk musician


    Wolf Alice – Edgy rock band who take references from grunge and indie.


    The final shortlist of three and the overall winner will be announced on 2 January. See you back here for that.


    The Participating Blogs

    Also in alphabetical order:

    17 Seconds / A Pocket Full Of Seeds / All Noise / Alphabet Bands / Beat Surrender / Both Bars On / Brapscallions / Breaking More Waves / Brighton Music Blog / Cat From Japan / Daisy Digital / Details Of My Life So Far / Don’t Watch Me Dancing / Dots And Dashes / Drunken Werewolf / Eaten By Monsters / Echoes and Dust / Electronic Rumors / Faded Glamour / God Is In The TV / Gold Flake Paint / Hearty Vibes / I Love Pie / In Love Not Limbo / Just Music That I Like / Killing Moon / Like 1999 / Little Indie Blogs / Love Music : Love Life / Music Broke My Bones / Music Liberation, Music Like Dirt / My Bands Better Than Your Band / My Day By Day Music / Not Many Experts / Peenko / Pop Dodger / Repeat Button / Scientists of Sound / Scottish Fiction / Skeletory / Sleep In Music / Some Of It Is True / Sound Influx / Sounds Good To Me Too / Sounds Of Now Music / Sweeping The Nation / The Blue Walrus / The Devil Has The Best Tuna / The Electricity Club / The Evening’s Empire / The Mad Mackerel / The Metaphorical Boat / The Sound Of Confusion / The Underclassed / This Must Be Pop / The Von Pip Musical Express / Thoughts On Music / When The Gramophone Rings