Tag Archives: Pawws

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.

Pawws – “Give You Love”

2 May

Pawws Sugar

Debates still rage about the relative merits and disadvantages of digital or physical music. The quality of sound, the cost of production, the sense of ownership and experience, the disposable nature of music etc etc yadda yadda yadda. It’s not something we’ve bothered ourselves with really as we see the positive in all formats and buy both digital and physical releases. That said, when a new Pawws track popped up online last night, we did find ourselves cursing once aspect of digital music, it’s ability to confuse and obfuscate. Specifically, the fact that we thought we were going insane because we were certain we’d heard “Give You Love” before, but could find nothing online to support that belief.

Of course, the reason for the confusion was that the demo version of the song that was posted months ago to promote a Pawws gig had been taken down and all that was left was a nagging sense of recognition and a worry that we were going a bit doolally. Thankfully we were not going crazy, nor more than normal anyway, and with the mystery solved we were eventually able to sit back and enjoy the light and breezy pop joy that is “Give You Love”.

Mind you, we say light and breezy but the subject matter is quite heartbreaking. Within this gorgeously soft and uptempo disco-splashed pop is a desire and devotion that has slipped into near desperation. A love so overwhelming that she will be whatever he needs her to be, just so she can be with him. Friend, lover, anything. And if love isn’t on offer, if an intimate relationship isn’t available, she will wait, as long as it takes for her dream, hoping that one day it will become reality.

Such a love is a powerful and dangerous thing yet with Lucy’s sweet and dreamy vocals it almost sounds like a positive life choice. Remind us to get her to sing the next lot of bad news we have to give someone, it’ll make it all so much easier.

Pawws’ ‘Sugar’ EP is out on 16 June via Best Fit Recordsings and can be pre-ordred here on limited edition vinyl or CD. Before that, Pawws plays a show on 12 May at The Lexington in London, tickets for that are available here


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Pawws – “Sugar”

20 Apr

Pawws Sugar

We were a little late to the Pawws party last year, but once we heard “Slow Love” we hightailed it straight over just in time for cake and champagne. We imagine the champagne will be flowing for Lucy Taylor once again as, having been tipped for great things this year she has just signed up to Best Fit Recordings for the release of her debut EP, Sugar.

The title track has just been unveiled online and is a digital waterfall of cascading synth pop, all majestic and beautiful. Like a Jean Michel Jarre lightshow, the keys twinkle and glow, creating magical patterns across the night sky as Lucy’s soft and sweet vocals gently bewitch and entice all who hear her. ”I need to taste a little sugar” she calls out to a lover she can’t let go, the one she desperately needs to stay, ”Just pretend there is nothing wrong” she begs. How could we resist?

While Lucy may well be singing to the one that got away, we are certain that her pop stardom will not prove so elusive.

The ‘Sugar’ EP is out on 16 June via Best Fit Recordsings and can be pre-ordred here on limited edition vinyl or CD. Before that, Pawws plays a show on 12 May at The Lexington in London, tickets for that are available here


Stalk Pawws: Facebook / Twitter

2013 Tracks Of The Year – #10 – 6

10 Dec

Tracks of 2013 - 10-6

Over the last couple of days, we’ve looked at the tracks that we ranked 25 – 11 in our list of favourites for the year (previous posts can be found by clicking these links, 25 – 21, 20 – 16, 15 – 11) and now it’s Top 10 time.

We’re not going to bother reminding you of the rules at this stage, if you’ve been with us for the other posts you will already know them and if you are only just joining us, we bet you’d rather just get to the songs yeah?

Ok then, here they are, our favourite tracks of the year, places 10 – 6.


#10 Brooke Annibale – “Tragically Beautiful”

Taken from the sublime Words In Your Eyes EP, Brooke Annibale’s “Tragically Beautiful” was, to start with, just one of six wonderful tunes that we loved. Then, bit by bit, like a gradual frost creeping silently across the fields and countryside, we suddenly found ourselves consumed, covered entirely by the fragile, pristine and picturesque loveliness that is “Tragically Beautiful”. It is delicate and evocative; it swoops, soars and glides effortlessly across the winter sky as the clouds turn pink with the sun. Heartfelt and poignant, Annibale’s lyrics and winters breath vocals hang in the air, resonating with the listener before dissipating into a swirl of guitar and strings.



#9 Pawws – “Slow Love”

We’ve not exactly been shy about declaring our love for Pawws and for the immensely poptacular “Slow Love”. It is a glorious tune, everything that good pop should be and then some. If skittles let you “taste the rainbow” then “Slow Love” makes you “see, hear, feel, and surf the rainbow”. With influences from the likes of Robyn, Annie and Kylie it’s a spin around during the chorus piece of electro-pop fantasticness. Lucy Taylor’s beautifully sweet and heartfelt vocals blend perfectly with its full on grooveability.



#8 Empress Of – “Hat Trick”

We may have been alone in this, but one thing we took from Empress Of’s “Hat Trick” was how damn sexy it sounded. Just listen as Lorely gets all sweet, sultry and breathy and sings, “Lay my cards on the table / Tell me my future / Tell me I’ll make it move”. See what we mean? Sexy. Wrapped around her seductive tones is an addictive track of swirling beauty that draws you in, Siren like, for play after play after play. Bookended by twinkling, almost shrill, synths the beat and melody swoon and sway along like cavorting partners, clinging to each other in the low light of a slow dance. It is a gloriously misty piece of electro-pop and one we couldn’t get enough of since its release.



#7 Public Service Broadcasting – “Night Mail”

Built around words from the 1936 documentary film of the same name, and the W.H. Auden poem, also of the same name, “Night Mail” is a prime example of what makes Public Service Broadcasting so damn special and why we love them so much. It’s how they use these samples and create and arrange music to complement and enhance it, rather than just sit underneath it. Auden’s poem itself clatters along with the rhythm, tempo and cadence of a steam train charging through the countryside so it is only right that “Night Mail” does the same. It moves relentlessly, excitingly forwards with majestic, rolling scenery all around it. It’s fantastic and as the conductor yells “now” and the train whistle blares out, guitars and drums meet in a perfect storm of controlled energy and ambition as the track steams along.



#6 Avec Sans – “Shiver”

Back when we originally posted Avec Sans’ “Shiver” we rather succinctly stated that it was “fucking fantastic”. We could easily just say the same and leave it at that, but you deserve more and so does the song. It’s just a superb piece of light, dazzling electro pop that teases and tingles. If it was a weapon it would be deadly because it is not a giant in your face kaboom, it’s subtle and delicate and it gets under your skin, into your head as you open yourself up to accept it willingly. It’s so glorious and catchy; it’s a proper earworm tune. If they could find a way to weaponise it, this would be how Avec Sans took over the world. We don’t think anyone would mind too much though.



We’re almost there, come back tomorrow morning to find out who made the Top 5 and which track is our absolute favourite of the year.

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.