Will Joseph Cook has to been one of the breakout stars of 2016 with his hit single Take Me Dancing. Don’t take my word for it, go into any moderately nice cafe or coffee shop and you will eventually hear it over the top of the chitter chatter on the venue’s playlist. That kind of broad mass appeal has defined the reaction to Cook’s output over the last year. His catchy musical aesthetic is carried with a voice that oscillates between youthful endeavour and mature self-reflection.
Ahead of his debut album’s release Sweet Dreamer, Cook has released the track Plastic which I’ve gone down at the bottom for you to peruse. Mr Will was one of the best parts of summer 2016 and his sincerity is something missing in so many contemporary musicians who constantly seem to be clamouring for attention as the coolest son-of-a-bitch on the planet, as opposed to making a record that, at least in my mind, goes back to the primary focus of an LP.
Check Plastic beloew ahead of the release of the full release which is awesome (I’ve heard it.) Sweet Dreamer will be out on April 14th on Atlantic Records.
I think it’s happened to all of us at one point or another. You’re on the bus/train/walk/drive/skip to work, school or whatever and reach for your phone to only realise that there is absolutely no music you even want to listen to. Old favourites are too overdone and anything new fails to keep your attention for more than 5 seconds. Wouldn’t it be great to find something new that’s enough of what you like but not just another recording of the same old shit. It’s a first world problem, but one we’ve all had.
Then a new release by a band you’ve been a fan of so long that you’ve forgotten they existed entirely drops and shit, it reawakens everything. My first Land of Talk record was 2008’s Some Are Lakes and was played endlessly in my rusty blue Ford Fiesta for an entire year as I drove to my 6th form college. I fell in love with their lo-fi energy and romanticised lyrical style. It resonated me with a guy who liked both punk and affection. The new single “This Time” is a natural evolution for the band and is especially poignant due to Elizabeth Powell’s difficult situation of her father having suffered a stroke. It’s a beautiful maturation of a record that will be released on the full-length LP Life After Youth which hits on May 19, via Saddle Creek.
Also here is a great live performance of Some Are Lakes because I love you all.
Singer-songwriters are tough. I think anyone who has ever played a guitar or piano has once or twice thought about plying their songs on the airwaves, myself included. Open mic nights are full of them, young idealists who think that their viewpoint is totally the unique slant on the world that you need.
Yet, when a singer-songwriter gets it right, my goodness it really is the way in which the great saga poets were able to weave a tale of relatable narrative that is decipherable to the populace. Lefty,Gallery 47‘s latest single, has weaves of Jeff Buckley musicality embellished with the political subject matter of Dylan and contemporaries. Jack Peachey (Mr 47 himself) produced the new EP Bad Production, from which Lefty is the lead single after an alcohol-infused disagreement about the current state of working youth in Contemporary Britain. With Brexit now an inevitability and the shroud of Trump looming like a mushroom cloud on the box art of a B-Movie disaster film, we never needed it more.
So, having just made an ill-advised move to London, I am sat in an unfamiliar room with a strange view and two cats seem to know instinctively that I am allergic to them. When faced with a new challenge, and a new city, ESSIE‘s latest single Someone played through my headphones as I start an unfamiliar commute acts as something of an artificial confidence builder.
As a guitarist myself, I will always be drawn to musicians who can unashamedly carry the instrument into any track with unashamed abandon. Drawing very clear inspiration from the Artic Monkeys record AM, ESSIE invites you to a night of reckless drinking to forget someone who has torn through you in a way that those we love are capable of doing so expertly. With punchy drums and soaring guitar, through a blues inspired overdriven sound, ESSIE is an ally you need in your life. Her incredibly assured voice driving your feet forwards into a world that is not the one you chose for yourself but could, just possibly, be the one you need.
Someone is relased March 31st and is 100% worth your time.
I am seriously running out of enough good things to say abotu Rationale. An artist I’ve been following since his debut track Fast Lane, Rationale are climbing through the musical hierarchy and there never seems to be a stop to his consistently strong output. Prolific and polished, Deliverance is just the latest in what seems to be an endless output of brilliance that carries you through a maelstrom of complex emotive processes via a baritone that is smoother than a Samuel L Jackson and Morgan Freeman love clone.
The voice of Rationale really does have to stand out as one of the most distinctive and rich currently recording at the moment. It’s as if Otis Redding meets Nina Simone via a London street party. Deliverance completes this with the typical electronic inspired backing music that subscribes to the adage that spares need not mean uninteresting. Embellishing the track is the addition of a choir that adds a degree of a genuine celebratory atmosphere before the final line of “I need your love,” bringing you back into the tracks subject matter with the drop of the metaphorical pit in the stomach.
It seems such a long time since I saw him, as a surprise from my girlfriend, in a tiny room above a bar in Glasgow. Still, even then, his live show transcended what I expected from his record and complete with dance moves and genuine audience affection, it’s not to be missed. So with that in mind, check the following.
24th April – Birmingham, Hare and Hounds 26th April – Manchester, Gorilla 27th April – London, Electric Brixton 29th April – Live at Leeds Festival
Sylvan Esso‘s Radio was one of my favourite songs last year. It was a track filled with attitude and aggression that managed to toe the line of a dream-like sonic soundscape. So with just over a month before their sophomore record drops, imagine my joy at finding this remix of Radio by 19-year-old artist Demo Taped.
I’ve had a troubled history with remixes of beloved tracks. There is a happy median when it is done right but it is so easy to slip into either artistic self-indulgence, where any kind of collaboration is thrown out the window or reverence in which the original track is merely amended. Fortunately, Demo Taped treats Radio with enough respect whilst adding a distinctive creative flair of his own on top to create an addictive soundscape that pays tribute to both artists. With smooth R&B textures and 90s Nintendo vibes combining with the brilliantly candid lyrics such as “Don’t you look good sucking American dick” take me back to a Skinsesque experience of hedonism, honesty and musical innovation.
Demo Taped just got off tour with WET and will be playing a few select showcases with Wafia soon whilst Sylvan Esso just got off a heavy SXSW rotation and will be touring this summer once the album hits April 28th.
Nostalgia is a dangerous thing. I should know, I spent 6 months post-graduation trolling the same pubs and jazz bars to recapture a bygone student lifestyle. Because, I’m a genius.
However, sometimes a new track comes through the miasma to take you back to a place that whisks a fond memory before your face or the thought of a woman who really broke your heart and Cassels takes me back to a time when that seemed to be the only thing that matters. A lyrical journey about the lack of sincerity bounding around the ways in which young men communicate is wrapped up in a post-punk indie storm that harkens back to the early Cymbals Eat Guitars records.
The Weight is taken off the self-proclaimed “pre-album” Foreward. Released April 7th via Big Scary Monsters, the record could be just what you need to rediscover that 2008 era post-punk craving.
It feels like I’ve been listening to Cigarettes After Sex for ages so it’s almost a shock that their debut LP is still yet to drop and we have to wait until June 9th before the self-titled release hits from Partisan Records.
Other than being an enormous fan of the band name, and the act of having a cheeky ciggy after a session, “Cigarettes After Sex” really have created one of the best sounds of the contemporary era. Whilst the saturation of music online has made grabbing attention an act of attempting to hit you sonically in the first 30 seconds, Greg Gonzalez (frontman and all around sexy man) has constructed a cinematic melancholic swoon that grabs you from reality like a Neil Gaiman narrative towards a melancholic visual soundscape that you can lose yourself into.
If you ever feel the need to just shut up shop and sit with a beer and contemplate the decision you’ve made that lead you to such a mess, then this album may be more than enough to quell your self-loathing craving. Look forward to the album in June and European tour dates in the lead up.
Okay so I know you’re probably all super sick of these months long absences followed by apologies and empty promises about my renewed commitment but, allow me to be real here for a bit.
Life is super hard. Like really hard. So hard that some people don’t manage to make it through unscathed. In December my best friend bit the hard edge of the shit stick and couldn’t move past it. When he lost his life and I couldn’t find employment, well it got pretty dark and heavy. However, the conveyor belt goes on and brings you with it so you’ve got two choices. Roll with it or squander. Well, I’ve tried to roll with it and finally seemed to have made it through a full rotation out the other side, determined to be back with a better outlook and better music for your greedy, grubby ears.
So, whilst I was surfing my airwaves as I prepare myself for a move down to The Big Smoke LAHNDAHN, NoMBe’s track “Freak Like Me” plucked itself from the apple tree of soul and dropped itself via a guitar hook raised on the just the ride side of sexy into my lap. LA-based Noah Macbeth, a name that is synonymous with mass extinction and regicide as well as songs that should be playing when one is in the bedroom, has delivered a beauty from his debut LP “They Might’ve Even Loved Me.” Oozing bedroom appeal from every pore, “Freak Like Me” allows the inner groove of a middle-class white man to twist itself asunder and certainly empowers me to prove that I’ve got an inner freak who can play along with the big boys when it comes down to brass tacks.
Freak Like Me is out now and ready to embolden your bedroom playlist immediately.