Over the past few weeks, I’ve sent out pleas via my Facebook and Twitter pages looking for albums that my friends and followers have been listening to this year. A few of these are my own additions as I simply couldn’t leave them off but I urge anyone reading this to please leave your own suggestions in a comment. I would love to know what records have rocked your world in 2012!
– All At Sea, Sink Or Swim
– Alt-J, An Awesome Wave
– Axewound, Vultures
– Calvin Harris, Eighteen Months
– Chromatics, Kill For Love
– El-P, Cancer 4 Cure
– Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
– Fun, Some Nights
– Hearts Under Fire, We’ve Come Too Far To Live In The Past
– IT Boys, Introduction
– Jack White, Blunderbuss
– Japandroids, Celebration Rock
– Jessie Ware, Devotion
– Lostprophets, Weapons
– McFly, Memory Lane (The Best Of McFly)
– Melody’s Echo Chamber, Melody’s Echo Chamber
– Mumford and Sons, Babel
– Muse, The 2nd Law
– Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin, Together (The Very Best Of)
– P!nk, The Truth About Love
– Regina Spektor, What We Saw From The Cheap Seats
– Robbie Williams, Take The Crown
– Some Were Satellites, Between The Sea And The Sky
– Taylor Swift, Red
– The Vaccines, Come Of Age
– The View, Cheeky For A Reason
– The xx, Coexist
– Young Guns, Bones
Thanks so much to everyone who nominated. Happy New Year!
If you’re looking for a new indie crush come 2013, look no further than 22-year-old music graduate Tom Odell. Tipped by DJs and critics everywhere for big things in the coming year, he’s already gained a lot of airplay on Radio 1 and other national and regional stations. Promising things from the Chichester singer-songwriter are scheduled, so be sure to keep an ear out!
The former Brighton Institute of Music student has arrived on the scene at just the right time, as acoustic folk acts such as Of Monsters and Men and Ben Howard are coming to the forefront. His EP Songs From Another Love was released in October and has already received rave reviews. A full-length album is due to be released in June and the single Another Love is currently being used to advertise the BBC’s New Year schedule.
Influenced by Elton John, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen amongst others, Tom has also managed to get himself a tour of the US and Canada, which kicks off in January. Tom has also been announced as the winner of the Brits Critics’ Choice Award and has been nominated as BBC Sound of 2013. The video for Another Love is below.
With so much excitement and hype surrounding Tom right now, he’s definitely the one to watch in the coming year.
A little known, fresh-faced pop-punk band in Indiana are getting ready to release their debut EP Springview. Having only formed last April, Swing Away are right at the beginning of their journey and you know how excited I get about brand new music. Catchy riffs, tinny clangs and unusual rhythms make them really quite intriguing.
With a few local gigs under their belt with other small-time bands, Swing Away are doing everything right to secure their place in the industry. Although not much exists of them yet, singer Nolan Feldpausch, guitarists Kyle Hulgus and Brent Durgin, bassist Michael Tinsley and drummer Jake Jones have released a sneak peak of a new single Wishing Away.
Plenty of upbeat sounds, classic American pop-punk vocals and lots of cheekiness and charm make Swing Away something to get very excited about. Check out the latest single and keep up with what the band are up to on Facebook.
TITLE: Beautiful Cause You Love Me
BAND: Girls Aloud
RELEASED: December 16th 2012
The ten-year anniversary of Girls Aloud winning Popstars: The Rivals and trouncing their male counterparts One True Voice (who?) in the race to Christmas number one in 2002 is upon us and as has been widely reported, their album Ten was released this month. One of their new singles came in the form of this beautiful ballad which proves a lot of critics wrong about their talent as a vocal group and shows us that they’ve still got it.
A lot of speculation surrounding their reunion suggested that Cheryl would be taking centre-stage due to her much bigger solo success than the other four girls but Beautiful Cause You Love Me is in fact a real group effort. Cheryl and Nicola share the bulk of the vocals but all five contribute to the track, which shows them in a very real light.
With the growing concern about young female self-image, artists such as Jessie J, P!nk and Lady Gaga have all released massive songs about loving yourself and your flaws. Promoting inner beauty is a massive trend amongst female popstars and Girls Aloud’s contribution is just as deep and inspiring. As a young woman with countless imperfections, I can relate to these tracks very well and although this one isn’t perhaps as powerful as Jessie J’s Who You Are or P!nk’s F***ing Perfect, it’s a gorgeous track all the same.
A slow piano plays behind the lyrics, allowing their vocals to shine through. Nicola’s in particular stand out as she powers through the chorus, hitting some notes that are truly spellbinding. It’s great to see five normally immaculate girls laid bare and showing us that they’re just normal, mature women. The transition between their look in 2002 and their current image speaks for itself and they’re now much healthier and secure in themselves.
It’s not often that I get into metal or mechanical grinding from guitars and the like but Smokescreen, a fivesome from Cambridgeshire actually caught my ear. Having been around for eleven years now, they’re no strangers to the live circuit and have mastered a sound that is both loud, aggressive and full of musical passion.
Dubbed as a “ten-legged riff machine”, their lengthy career has seen them tear up the UK and European metal scene playing over 200 gigs including a full tour of the continent. Releasing their first album Welcome To Death’s Door in 2003, they’ve since gone on to record three more albums Disillusions in 2004, Regret Redeem Refine in 2007 and The Human Condition in 2011. Despite being unsigned, they’re doing pretty well for themselves.
There’s nothing short in the way of powerhouse vocals, gritty guitars and slamming drumbeats thrown in with a few growls and a touch of Americana at times and after such a long time on the scene, it’s only fair that they start getting a little more exposure. Have a watch of the video for their track Never Ending Day.
They are also uploading new tracks in the near future, so check them out at http://smokescreenweb.co.uk/
BAND: Good Luck Varsity
RELEASED: December 12th 2012
Here’s another pop-punk band for you. Good Luck Varsity are a Michigan four-piece who have just released a new EP titled Mountains. They are now permanently on tour in the States and have a loyal following all over the country. Now, they’re ready to showcase their sound to us across the pond and I’m delighted to be reviewing the latest offering.
Mountains begins with Firstborn, which has an undeniable You Me At Six-esque Brit twist. A catchy melody made up of ringing riffs and steady drum beats gives you a great energetic introduction to the band, who keep the loud passion coming. Firstborn is a great live track, as it dances to an edgy alternative beat with plenty of impressive guitar work. If you love Funeral For A Friend with a healthy dose of American pop-punk, it will fit right into your music library.
Second comes Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose which adopts a more gravelly vocal and has a touch of Lostprophets’ Liberation Transmission about it. As a feel-good, have-a-great-time track, it’s optimistic and upbeat as the title suggests. Put it on if you need a bit of a lift and let the alternative guitar wipe away your pain. Around the 2:45 mark, you’ll find yourself clapping along to the breakdown of the instruments and the resonating atmosphere created.
Finishing off the album is Rewind, a slower, more chilled out track. A soulful lament with the slightest hints of emo teamed with their signature pop-punk style and catchy rhythm make it a great EP closer. The fact that it’s slower doesn’t mean it’s a dip in energy as there is still plenty to make waves about with regard to the expert solos and beat that doesn’t leave your head. The gradual winding down is atmospheric and powerful with the ability to capture an audience.
It’s an awesome pop-punk EP from a band who are looking to storm 2013 with their fresh, catchy sound. There’s no denying that they’ve got a lot of talent and could certainly give others in their genre a run for their money. Pop-punk is a much smaller market than indie in the UK and as a result, it would be a great time for Good Luck Varsity to launch.
First of all, Merry Christmas everyone! I hope Father Christmas brought you everything you asked for. I, for one, have had a great Christmas morning and am now in the part of the day where I’ve opened everything, eaten lots and am waiting for lunch and more presents later. One thing I wanted to share with you was my Christmas playlist, the songs that I’m listening to this morning to up the happy factor.
1. Tim Minchin, White Wine In The Sun
2. Faith Hill, Where Are You Christmas?
3. The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, Fairytale Of New York
4. Slade, Merry Christmas Everybody
5. Wizzard, I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day
6. Band Aid 20, Do They Know Its Christmas?
7. The Darkness, Don’t Let The Bells End
8. Christina Aguilera, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas