Occasionally I’m lucky enough to hear a song or see a video before it’s put out to others and I have to admit there are times when it gets a little frustrating. When you here a good track and want to spread the word about it, it’s not always easy having to sit back knowing that’s precisely the one thing you’re not allowed to do! Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining, but when a song enthuses you, it’s nice to be able to share it. Well, this is one of those occasions. Strangest Place is the debut single from Essex band I Dream In Colour, a gorgeously executed introduction which should win them a whole new legion of fans. The track is spectacular, partly, because Richard Judge’s vocals contain an incredibly unique lilt which ensures comparisons to other bands becomes limited. It’s also successful because, as great as it sounds while sat in front of the computer, you get the impression it would sound best executed in a field as part of a rather large singalong. It may not be out and out rock ‘n’ roll but there is subtle feeling that this is an epic track (and even band) just waiting to be unleashed in its rightful setting and, if they continue in this manner, this is definitely a band to watch out for in the future!
I know with just over four weeks to go until Christmas it may seem a tad premature to be listening to Christmas songs, but seeing as I’ve been singing them for a while now, quite frankly, I don’t care! It also helps that I think this is one of the best Christmas songs that has been released in a while. It comes from duo Smith & Burrows comprising of Editors’ Tom Smith and We Are Scientists’ Andy Burrows and if, like me, you are particularly drawn to Christmas music with a heart instead of simply cheese then When The Thames Froze is perfect for you. Tom Smith’s stunning & familiar vocals ensure that the song is as emotive as its lyrics, capturing not only the joy of the occasion but also the reflection on the past year that comes with it. I also love the focus on family and community, with even the video promoting the importance of camaraderie as opposed to commercial trappings that have seemingly become synonymous with the event. I have a feeling this is going to be on repeat until 25th December!
A Tribe Called Quest once asked “Can I kick it?” and the answer was a resounding yes. This next band is all about kicking it, from their name, to their ethereally energetic sound. But don’t get confused, they’re about as hip hop as a pair of clogs.
The Arcadian Kicks are a young band from the outskirts of Birmingham, who are co-managed by none other than Jon Brookes of The Charlatans – not a bad fan to have. The mixed five-some introduce an array of sounds, influences and hit on bands such as Fleetwood Mac, The Kills and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I know, a total mix – which shows that the kids that met and formed at school definitely did their homework. From Over & Over which is a softer more mellow track to their new single You Play The Girl which is fiery, fierce and down right ferocious. The Blondie-esque tune is no doubt a dance floor filler, with it’s guitar ladened, with a vixen vocal. It’s a total Indie love fest.
You Play The Girl is vivacious, demanding and slightly seedy. Which is available as a free download on the band’s Facebook. That’s the kind of behaviour that you would normally need to pay to see. Latest tracks by The Arcadian Kicks
If I’m completely honest the majority of music that gets sent through to me which is unsolicited is questionable at best, so I get a very pleasant surprise when something arrives in my inbox that actually is quite impressive. That’s exactly the case with this particular song from New Hands. The four piece from Canada are possibly one of the newest bands that I’ve taken the time to write but having listened to This I’ve Heard they’re definitely worth the space. For a start the production of the song is of incredibly good quality, to a point you don’t expect from a band with under 200 fans on Facebook. Aside from this though the music itself will appeal to fans of White Lies with it’s electro-infused, guitar-led backing track and dramatic vocals. In fact, they act as the perfect example of why I take the time to listen to as much of the music I get sent as I can, because amongst all the rough you eventually find a diamond and, quite frankly, regardless of whether a band have PR/Label support or not, if their tracks are as good as this they deserve to be shared.
I sit writing this with a certain amount of trepidation and everything crossed that my beyond annoying internet will not decide to cut out on me as it has been over the past week. Luckily, however, the song that I’m posting doesn’t take much explanation. Home Again is the title track from Michael Kiwanuka‘s latest EP and those who are familiar with him will be unsurprised to learn it is truly captivating. His voice is remarkable; so soulful and full of emotion that it’s impossible not to be swept up in his music and ensuring that the song speaks for itself. Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again by MichaelKiwanuka
Bastille are one of those artists that I have been meaning to write about for a while and, as yet, have not had chance to, so I’m seizing the opportunity as they promote their new video Overjoyed. Formerly the moniker of singer/songwriter Dan Smith, in the past few months Bastille has grown into a fully fledged band with an incredible buzz around them at the moment due to the sheer quality of the music they are producing. Overjoyed is a prime example of this and shows a versatility in comparison to previous fan favourite Flaws with a much more tender sound. Don’t get me wrong I loved Flaws as well, and have a habit of randomly singing it occasionally, but this softer side is so graceful, showing off some truly stunning vocals, that it’s difficult not to find yourself falling slowly in love with it that little bit more. It’s not often that this late in the year a track truly captures your imagination and outshines the wealth of music which has been released so far, but this is so beautifully written and executed that it is impossible to resist. It’s going to take someone a hell of a lot less affable than me to not find themselves moved by this.
Overjoyed is taken from the Laura Palmer EP which is out next week or currently streaming exclusively on Spotify.
As the days draw ever shorter and the weather grows disappointingly colder everyone’s attention starts to turn to what to expect from the following year. So, as the ‘Ones To Watch’ lists are drawn up I’m willing to bet that Spector will be among the first names to be written down on the majority of them (including mine). The band have released their third 7″ of a trilogy for Luv Luv Luv Records, ensuring that they stay at the forefront of everybody’s mind at the perfect time. Their latest song, Grey Shirt & Tie, exemplifies a greater musical depth than their previous releases in the fact that there’s a multitude of layers within it, everything from whirring electronic sounds to subtly chiming bells. Couple all this with Fred Macpherson’s increasingly familiar vocals and you have yet another reason to sit up and pay attention to a band whose prospects for the next 12 months should be incredibly rosy indeed. Spector – Grey Shirt & Tie by Luv Luv Luv
London four piece Toodar will release their new single Ten Paces on December 5th and, it may yet be a month away, but a track this stunning needs to be heard. This is multifaceted music at its very best, exemplifying everything from engaging electro to gorgeous vocals and memorising melodies. It’s the type of song that provides a slightly different, yet no less satisfying, aural experience each time you listen to it meaning that you may, like me, find yourself getting completely and utterly lost in the song for 3 minutes. They may be a new band but as we come to the end of the year and start thinking about ‘ones to watch’ for 2012, they’re certainly ones to be considered. Ten Paces Single by Toodar Cassette Tapes