Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Y.O.U. - Volvic

It was only very recently that we introduced 23 year-old Elliott Williams aka Y.O.U and now here he is again with a second track, the sprightly sounding Volvic. Whilst the music may be bouncy, lyrically it’s not all glitter and happiness, for here we find Elliot singing about “heavy shit going down,” and “suffering inside.” So don’t be fooled into thinking that just because on a casual listen this is perky pop that it doesn’t deal with some deeper issues.  “It’s hard to talk about your problems,” Elliot sings before offering that “it helps to just open up.” 

Of course it probably shouldn’t be that surprising that there’s something a bit smarter than just a danceable electropop tune going on here - after all Elliot has an association with the band Editors having been adding keyboard sounds to their live set up in huge concert halls and arenas, but now he’s breaking out on his own. 

Y.O.U will be at this year’s Great Escape festival in Brighton at The Blind Tiger on the BBC Introducing Stage alongside another blog favourite Sophie Jamieson, providing an evening that promises to be highly eclectic. We already have both performances marked down in our diary. If you’re going down to Brighton, maybe so should you.

Y.O.U - Volvic

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Daughter - Still (Live at Air Studios)

“Hate is spitting out each other’s mouths, but we're still sleeping like we're lovers.”

Recently recorded at Air Studios in London, Daughter was joined by Joe Duddell and ten musicians from Manchester’s Royal Northern College Of Music to play a five song session. Yesterday it was released as a digital download. A limited-edition 12" follows on May 26th. From the session comes this beautifully constructed version of Still, from one of our favourite albums of 2013.  This takes the song into territories more moving and more thunderous than ever before.  To think that the first time we saw Daughter play live they were just a fragile, almost insubstantial folk act. How things have changed. Stunning.

Daughter - Still (Live at Air Studios)

Robyn Sherwell - New Waves

If you like soulful, emotional pop music that’s underpinned by the characteristics of the classic singer-songwriter you’re probably going to love Robyn Sherwell. There’s been a lot of stuff like this around over the last few years of course; Jessie Ware was probably the first act to bring this type of music back to the popular coffee table, but we think there’s still room for some more, especially when they’re as good as Sherwell.

We talk of the coffee table, but it seems that Robyn, originally from Guernsey but now based in London, is actually a bigger tea drinker, which is fine with us because frankly this fits better than if we’d found out that she’s a vodka binge drinker – it just wouldn’t be right with her sparse chilled music. Take a listen to Love Somebody, the first track of Robyn’s we stumbled across. It keeps things simple – just a few light beats and gentle guitars keep everything blissed out, without it ever becoming boring, and allow her gorgeous creamy vocal to shine through. Then there’s her cover of Ben Howard’s The Fear, which ditches the picked rhythms of Howard’s guitars for a glockenspiel sound and replaces his nasal wine with something far more come-hither. It’s all seductively ear-catching, to the extent where we think it’s time to close the curtains and get immersed in her songs a bit more.

Robyn Sherwell - The Fear

Robyn Sherwell - Love Somebody (Video)

Monday, 14 April 2014

Lana Del Rey - West Coast

Remember when Lana Del Rey set the internet ablaze with Video Games? Well it certainly felt like that this morning. Fearne Cotton of BBC Radio 1 fired the starting pistol with the first play of West Coast and then there was a sprint by pretty much every income generating website and buzz blog to get the track up as soon as possible. We’re taking it a little more leisurely, but just in case you’ve been asleep or at work, here it is now. 

West Coast sounds rather like two half songs put together to make a whole – watch out for the jarring tempo change in between the two. Thankfully the whole is a good whole rather than a bad whole. Not good as in ‘big radio banger’ good, but good as in a song with a sun-bleached seventies vibe that should keep the hardcore fanbase reasonably happy. 

The first segment has a hint of sultry drive time AOR to it - it’s the part where you can hear why / how Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys is involved; Lana almost becomes a rock chick. The second part sounds rather like a woozy All Saints (hints of Pure Shores) who have put on their cowboy hats and grabbed some twangy wild-west guitars.

There’s no full video yet, so for now it’s a case of this audio one with Lana spinning around a bit. 

Of course the most important thing with West Coast will be how it sits in the context of an album. We’re keeping our fingers crossed in that regard. That album, Ultraviolence, follows in May.

Lana Del Rey - West Coast