Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Songs of the year: Number 13

Ruston Kelly has that real world weary tone to his voice, the voice of experience, the troubadour on the road. He makes me think of a young Bruce Springsteen and, of the songs released this year, 'Big Brown Bus' was my favourite slice of his particular brand of Americana. It's a tough life on the road.

Monday, 17 December 2018

Songs of the year: Number 14

Another slice of beguiling and slightly woozy electro pop. This time courtesy of Becky and the Birds. 'Concept Store' was the standout track from the self titled E.P, it was also a chapter in the accompanying film which, in itself, challenged the perceptions of what you can do with a piece of promo footage.

On this track she comes across like a more jazz tinged FKA Twigs, which is not her usual sound, so it will be interesting to see what develops. I'm looking forward to hearing more.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Songs of the year: Number 15

Farao's 'The Ghost Ship' has a similar beguiling and dreamy quality to it as Jenny Hval's 'Spells'. In both cases, the songs in question transport you to a different world, a sonic landscape you can inhabit and live within for the duration of the song.

'The Ghost Ship' starts modestly enough but it's soon spiralling off into ever dizzying landscapes of sound, so that it almost feels like a surprise when the song ends.

Of the other songs she's released this year, I don't think any of them came close to touching this one for me, but I am ever hopeful.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Songs of the year: Number 16

While I did enjoy Tracey Thorn's solo album, Record, I didn't like it enough to buy. I suspect I probably just need to listen to it more though. This song, 'Dancefloor', is one of the tracks I did particularly like.

Thorn's voice works well with electro, just as it did in the 90s with drum 'n' bass and jungle. There's a sort of wistful nostalgia to this track that contrasts well with the bass and slightly chilly melodies. It feels like 80s period Dusty Springfield, vocally speaking, but is bang up to date, ultimately transcending categories.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Songs of the year: Number 17

Freya Ridings is one of those artists who has been blessed with a particularly arresting and powerful voice. 'Ultraviolet' is not the song that really took off for her this year (three of her songs were used on the soundtrack to Love Island apparently...) but it is the one I like the best. It builds and builds into a sonic tour de force, and it also showcases her voice well.

She could be one of those artists who travels down the MOR pop route, but she could also be the kind of songwriter who decides to pursue a more idiosyncratic path. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Songs of the year: Number 18

I interviewed Emma Back earlier this year, about her (then) upcoming album Little World. Of the tracks on the album, 'Shadow' was the one that I liked the most. There's a real edge to it and a sense of barely contained anger that works really well with Back's violin and loop pedal. The result is intense and emotionally charged, and it feels like it will be a song that transcends this moment and stands the test of time.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Songs of the year: Number 19

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash
Rié's creative electro masterpiece, 'Blood in the water', isn't available on YouTube, but I can refer you to Spotify in this instance to listen to it.

It's an abrasive mix of modern electro pop, hypnotic vocals, glitchy effects, harp sounds, and is the sound of a young musician really coming into her own.

I expect great things from her in 2019.