Tag Archives: Wooden Arms

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 #6 – Wooden Arms

5 Dec

Wooden Arms

Another Norwich band for your consideration now as it is the turn of our favourite purveyors of chamber-pop, Wooden Arms, to feature in our countdown of artists to listen out for next year.

12 months ago the collective of variable size placed in our EPs of 2013 list, and since then success has followed them around asking to get to know them. For example, they’ve become mainstays of the 6Music airwaves (Radcliffe and Maconnie are big fans and Lauren Laverne had them in for a live session recently that was delightful), released a mini-album, Tide, via Butterfly Collectors and they’ve toured various exotic locales across Europe and the UK.

One of the reasons we are such big fans is the simple fact that the music they make, appropriately enough given the choral elements, is just heavenly. 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. Listening to “December” and “Tide” will just help you wash away your day, forget the world, forget your stresses and struggles and find peace, find that inner comfort and feel soothed once more.

We have no idea what their plans are for next year but we’re hoping for another album, more shows, more radio and much more love from the blogs and beyond.

’Tide’ is out now and available to buy here.

Stalk Wooden Arms: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Blogathon: Wooden Arms – “December” (Teaser)

31 Jan

Wooden Arms December

Ok, this is probably a bit of a cheat as we can’t actually share with you the entirety of the song we’ve just been listening to, but Norwich’s Wooden Arms make such damn gorgeous music we wanted to get you all excited in anticipate of their forthcoming release.

Following up their sublime eponymous EP was always going to be tricky but the guys and gals have cracked the ice at the top of the well and dipped down into the freezing water once more, aptly with a track called “December”. We can share a quick teaser of “December” below and the final, mastered version will be released on 13 February. We’ve heard the full single and can honestly say it is probably our favourite of their songs so far.

It ebbs and flows, picks up pace with a choir of strings soaring to the sky before slowing and resting. Delicate male/female vocals perch with precision above the most gliding of melodies before rising up once more. If you can imagine Polaroid 85 without the drum and bass influence you are on your way.

It’s the sort of sound you want in your ears as you walk across a snow covered field, the deep cold crunching under your feet and that wintery smell of burning in your nose.

We do only have a teaser to share right now, but you can pre-order “Tide” / “December” here and get an immediate download of “December”, so that’s got to be worth doing.

Wooden Arms also have a few gigs coming up to support the release of the Double A side single, here are some details.

13 February: Norwich
14 February: Cambridge
15 February: London

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Stalk Wooden Arms: Website / Facebook / Twitter

2013 EPs of the Year: The Full List

15 Dec

EPs of 2013 - Full List

We know that some of you out there like to have everything in one place so, like we did with our 2014 Previews and Tracks of 2013, we’ve collated our EPs of the Year into one post as well. And there’s a lovely Soundcloud playlist of tracks from each EP at the end as well.

We hope you find something you like.

#10 Wooden Arms – Wooden Arms

”It’s full of gentle, ebbing melodies that drift and glide like birds on a breeze; this eponymous release is often balletic in feel. Ambient sounds; be they deep cello or light violin, music box light or portentous dark piano, ripple and flow like a mountain stream.”

#9 Sivu – I Lost Myself

”[It] is a wonderful collection of elegant, rousing songwriting, sublime melodies and deceptively intricate arrangements. We’ve said it before and will continue to do so until such time as his debut full length is released, we can’t wait for the album.”

#8 White Prism – White Prism

”Her eponymous debut EP is full of cool, futuristic electronica and melodious vocals that float along in a cool reverie of compulsive beats and 80’s inspired synths. It’s soft, subtle, delicate, sultry (in places) and gorgeous.”

#7 MYPET – Reflex

”It is exciting, vibrant and full of life. Sinewy electro noodles wind their way around grand, cacophonic beats as vocals rise up, like an arm bursting forth from the grave, seeking liberty from its earthen prison.”

#6 Garnets – Towns

”Ethereal vocals, barely there percussion, muted piano sounds, hushed and haunting murmurings and melodies are juxtaposed with vibrant and choppy waters of riff based pop and crashing rhythms. Almost as if they want to stir our body as well as our mind.”

#5 Annie – A&R

”The result is just fantastic pop, notably the outstandingly catchy and hook laden sounds of “Back Together” and “Ralph Macchio”. Her vocals sound as lovely and disarming as ever and the result is five tracks of brilliance. If she keeps making pop as good as this, we won’t mind the long waits between releases so much.”

#4 TV Girl – Lonely Women

”Lyrics are whimsical but real, observational, humorous but touching and the tunes are full of throwback indie-pop, lo-fi hip-hop beats and cascading piano melodies. The EP sounds fantastic and stands up to multiple and repeated listening, as have all TV Girl EPs so far, and they really are an act that are growing and improving with every release.”

#3 Us Baby Bear Bones – What Starts With a U Ends With an I

“The trick that they are so adept at pulling off is that in amongst the layers of sound, the spiralling electronic rhythms, the world of ice and the creeping shadows, damn fine pop songs are to be found. They are emotional and evocative as well as being catchy and very easy on the ear. They swirl like a galaxy, magnificent and seemingly infinite, growling and bursting with each note and vocal.

#2 Gems – Medusa

”This is a blissful listen of style, grace and soft focus dreaminess. Their tracks are like billowing lace curtains by an open window with gentle undulations reaching softly into the room, touching your ears like a kiss from a butterfly.”

#1 Brooke Annibale – Words In Your Eyes

”That folky, country background is apparent in her voice; her dreamy, dreamy voice. We could quite easily get lost in her vocals. At times light and breathy, such as on “Tragically Beautiful”, it skips along playfully. At other times it drops, the emotion it conveys is that much deeper, more heartfelt perhaps, but despite this strength of tone, it never loses its warmth or gentleness.

…One of the major elements within the whole EP is the orchestration, the gorgeous, sumptuous orchestration.

We’re suckers for a good string section and Brooke Annibale uses hers fabulously. From small, subtle inflections to big, dramatic emotions, the strings add so much to each of the six tracks on Words In Your Eyes. Violins soar, lifting the melodies high upon their wings while cellos rumble darkly underneath. The emotional resonance of her songs is enhanced exponentially as the strings glide alongside her vocals; undulating with the pitch of her voice and the sentiment of her lyrics.”