Top 10 Songs Of 2013
1. MSMR - Hurricane (CHVRCHES Remix)
2. Ruen Brothers - Aces
6. Drenge - Fuckabout
7. Theme Park - Tonight
8. Ruen Brothers - Walk Like A Man
9. Peace - Float Forever
1. MSMR - Hurricane (CHVRCHES Remix)
2. Ruen Brothers - Aces
1. Local Natives - Hummingbird
2. The Neighbourhood - I Love You
3. Magic Arm - Images Rolling
4. Bring Me The Horizon - Sempiternal
5. Crystal Fighters - Cave Rave
6. Peace - In Love
7. 1975 - 1975
8. Babyshambles - Sequel To The Prequel
9. James Blake - Overgrown
10. Drenge - Drenge
Ruen Brothers and Myself Post Show… Review below!
16:30-17:00: Ruen Brothers – Jongleurs
With a late afternoon slot, the young brothers took to the Jongleurs stage, with a vast amount of confidence and style. The band have recently had their track ‘Walk Like A Man’ given the accolade of Zane Lowe’s Hottest Record in the World, something they were rather excited/proud to tell the crowd. Highlights for me had to be ‘Cry Wolf’ and ‘Hold Me Tight’ that both, although start slow, have an incredible build up that was swallowed whole by the crowd. However, the peak of the set came from the final track, ‘Aces’, a song that has an infectious riff and powerful chorus.
The band left the stage with turtlenecks a significantly darker shade of grey and they gave it their all, and with a packed out Jongleurs, it is safe to say that Ruen Brothers are going to have a big following soon. An Impact exclusive, as well, is that the pair will be doing a homecoming show around the 20th June, in Scunthorpe. Although the details are vague as of yet, from their set at Dot to Dot, I definitely won’t be missing it.
22:15-23:00: The 1975 – Rock City Main Hall
With the recent success of ‘Chocolate’, it was unsurprising to see the response The 1975 got. The full extent of their support was seen when they played ‘The City’, a song with a drum beat more infectious than the sunshine spirit outside on the streets of Nottingham.
Afterwards, the band tweeted “Nottingham. That was the best show of our lives”, and from the smile on lead singer Matthew Healy’s face you could tell the band loved every second. A run of four songs at the end of the set was the pinnacle, with hit single ‘Chocolate’ coming after ‘Robbers’ then followed by ‘Sex’ and the highlight of the show ‘You’. Declaring to the crowd “Fuck it”, Healy jumped into the crowd, embracing a gig better than their recent shows at the Emirates Stadium and Radio 1′s Big Weekend.
With an album coming out in September, expect a lot more hits from this exciting new band on the block.
And here’s a shot of Dry The River to finish…
1. Local Natives - Hummingbird
2. Bring Me The Horizon - Sempiternal
3. James Blake - Overgrown
4. Suede - Bloodsports
5. Peace - In Love
Stupendous exuberant flaunting,
Creating accentuated dull.
Whilst once again the mourning,
Portraying a cynical lull.
Labour gaining conservative gain,
With acceptance a blur,
Honouring nothing or something,
Is it topic only to deter?
After all the tension with his record company’s tactics, James Blake has released an album that he doesn’t mind if everyone gets illegally and subsequently for free. However, James Blake has also release an album that you should want to pay for and give him the recognition he deserves, for Overgrown is a triumph.
So why is this album worth paying for? The title track “Overgrown” allows us to gain the idea that Blake has found a solid footing from his disjointed first album. The song has depth that is unfamiliar and gives us an inclination that there has been a step up when writing this album. Overgrown seems to be Blake showing off all of his talents; in his debut we got glimpses but it appears he has established himself amongst his fans and been given the freedom to do what he wants. It’s this freedom that can be heard in “I Am Sold”, it’s not a pop song but it’s a song that will be popular, its moody exterior is merely an addition to the interior of electronic beats and strong vocals.
James Blake has done what very few do, and created a sound that is quintessentially his own and it is rare that you hear a track that has so much identity to it. Overgrown can only be seen to have one comparable artist and even then the comparison is strained to just one or two songs. The sound often can be referred to SBTRKT and Sampha, one track being the third “Life Round Here”. The song is followed by “Take A Fall For Me” featuring RZA (of Wu-Tang Clan) which I won’t lie, took me a while to get into. However, perhaps I was tired, perhaps I lost focus, but this song is so unbelievably clever that it has to be admired.
It’s unexpected in its addition, but seems to effortlessly flow in Overgrown, as well as this it just shows another edge to James Blake, you can’t help but feel the man is saying ‘Yes I really am this talented’. However we must remember something, talent needs to be supported, so there’s another reason to pay for this album.
So if you have paid for it by this point, after this wizardry you have to expect a fall, what else really? Instead we get a slap around the face and a new awakening as we get “Retrograde” followed by “DLM”. The single “Retrograde” we have been lucky enough to have had for a while now, and it’s a song that oozes class. It sits suitably half way through the album, the familiarity produces a smile, but it’s just a very well written piece of music.
It’s not just the tracks four and five that makes this album but the run of four-five-six as “DLM” is an exhibition of subtlety. We get teased with “I Am Sold” at the start, and the kickback beat that eases us into the album, but it has nothing on “DLM”. This could be a single, this could be a collaboration with Anthony and the Johnsons this could also be/ is, my favourite song on the album. It’s slick and it just feels effortless, even though the complicated creation is anything but, it’s genuinely a beautiful song.
We have just been smacked with six songs that are worth paying for alone, but with the final four we just get more reminders why we should cough up the cash. The highlights of these come from “Digital Lion” and “Our Love Comes Back”. “Digital Lion” has the SBTRKT feel come back, and after the sweet sounding “DLM”, picks us back up and throws us into the climax of the CD. “Our Love Comes Back” is a great final song, it does a full circle on Overgrown and takes us over the excitable middle and into a dark finish. This man has real talent.
Yes, we have been given the free pass to download this album illegally due to a feud between Blake and his label, but Shakespeare has been saying for years that these close knit feuds get you no-where. We have also been given a real masterpiece of an album that is worth the money that comes off your card or out of your wallet/ purse.
At first glance, the track listing gives you a fair idea of what you are going to get. Tracks such as ‘Miracle’, ‘Somebody To Die For’ and ‘The Rope’ invoke the same ideas as Hurts’ debut LP. The opener ‘Exile’ has a feeling reminiscent of modern day Delphic or Muse; the unusual upbeat feel is accompanied by a vast build up, which is also comparable to Two Door Cinema Club’s ‘Next Year’. It’s actually a very good opener, it provides a glimmer of hope that Hurts have potentially gone in a different direction, because although the lyrics are deep, we get an unusually upbeat support from Anderson. So far a positive start. Similarly the lead single of the album ‘Miracle’ evokes a similar story: epic vocals within the chorus allow us to see hints of ‘Stay’ come through, this almost nostalgic feel is something that will be appreciated by loyal fans.
However this is Hurts and the idea of an overtly cheery album would be strange and unheard of, rather like Thom Yorke smiling. We are given an eerily spooky edge in the third track ‘Sandman’. Childlike voices accompany Hutchcraft and it is from this point we are given a transition into the darker side of Hurts we all know. Though the transition doesn’t last long as we are sent into ‘Blind’, which is an eccentrically produced piece of music that is startlingly upbeat. At the risk of being contradictory, this does not mean the album as a whole isn’t quintessentially Hurts…
When we get round to ‘Cupid’ and ‘Mercy’ we get an almost dance like beat that transports us to something more akin to a Friendly Fires LP. ‘Mercy’ is the standout track on the album, it has an anthemic feel, and plays a similar role to ‘Miracle’. However this time the nostalgia has been reformed, and with the addition of the halcyonic beats, a new era has dawned for the duo. We get the hard hitting ‘Stay’, but it’s combined with something fresh, more alert from its almost laboured counterpart. The cleverness of the band is accentuated by the movement from this up beat crowd pleaser to the beautifully calm weighted ‘The Crow’. This is followed by ‘Somebody To Die For’, which has a similar tone, though the execution is not quite as crisp and mastered.
When we arrive at the penultimate song, ‘The Rope’, the opening notes are distinctively ‘Midnight City’ – esque. Maybe blame the incessant Channel 4 adverts, or my personal guilty pleasure for Made In Chelsea but it is all I can think of throughout the song. If you don’t enjoy upper class people parading around your TV, you will be able to enjoy the hugely 80’s inspired track. The final masterclass by Hurts comes from the finale ‘Help’, and although I have pointed out highlights in ‘Mercy’ and ‘The Crow’, if you were to listen to just one song on this album in terms of talent and musical ability, this is it. It has it all: skilful piano, powerful synth, epic lyrics, and all in all epitomises what Hurts are all about.
Exile is not a bad follow up album – there is a lot to enjoy it, but it lacks any real originality that would make it particularly special. This isn’t to say that the pair aren’t talented, but there is nothing groundbreaking in this release that gives any real excitement.
Fenech Soler released their first album back in 2010, following it up with giant headline tours as well as supporting bands such as Friendly Fires. The band faced a setback after Ben Duffy was diagnosed with testicular cancer, but thankfully had a full recovery, which was great news to all. With this being the first tour back, they were keen to make a powerful recovery, and they definitely provided that.
The band came on with an almost swagger about them, they oozed confidence and the Bodega was completely sold out. They opened with ‘Demons’, one of the most well known songs and from that moment onwards Ben and the rest of the band had the crowd firmly in their grasp. It was a courageous effort to come back from time out and perform six new songs in an eleven song set, but it was one that paid off because the audience loved the progression and everything sounded like an anthem. One example came soon after the opener entitled ‘In Our Blood’ the song had a heavy beat and after ‘All I Know’ was expectedly hard hitting and providing a significant amount of punch.
We then were moved into ‘Lies’ which similar to ‘Demons’ had the whole crowd singing even though Ben was claiming to have a ‘sore throat’ after the previous gig (Manchester) and apologised if his singing was ‘dodgy’. No notes were missed, and having the ability to hear him through those singing along was a challenge anyway.
The band released the track ‘Maiya’ exclusively through The Mixmag, and it allowed the band to see the really dedicated fans from the rest, and much to their delight many were singing. The crowd itself was of varied ages and it was good to see a vast range of people enjoying a breaking through band.
The highlight of the show for me came through a new song, an unexpected prominent feature, but one that proved its worth. The song was called ‘Last Forever’ the upbeat chorus of ‘We can make this last forever, we can waste time together’ was emphatic and I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t flood a lot of our summer playlists. The band then moved onto ‘All I Know’ which felt like an old classic, it gained a similar response to ‘Demons’ and ‘Lies’ and rightly so… It is a song that must be listened to by all. The band finished with ‘Stop And Stare’ which was a real highlight. They performed an extended version which saw a mass of pogo-ing and sweaty fans. This finale even saw me gain a high five from the lead singer Ben which epitomised the performance, a band giving back to the fans for a brief spell out, and they most certainly did perform.
The two brothers from Reigate, Surrey, having supported the giants that are SBTRKT and Hot Chip arrived at Nottingham to play a sold out Rescue Rooms. Last time Disclosure were meant to play Rescue Rooms with SBTRKT, ticket sales were so excessive that the show was moved to Rock City. After visiting the Balearics in 2012, the duo with a combined age of below 40, brought an energetic, yet polished set.
The boys popularity in the last year has grown exponentially, this has allowed the two to upgrade their stage show, and provide a more rounded performance. The stage set really was something to admire, a vast light show was the backdrop to opposite facing decks. The classic ‘Disclosure faces’ that they are becoming renowned for were screaming out in piercing white light, and all in all it was the pair showing how far they had come and what they were now able to provide for their fans.
However it is times like these that I wish I could say the fans gave back. The tickets for this gig sold out just after the release of “Latch” in October. It is great that the song got a huge response, though it left the Rescue Rooms filled with a group of people waiting for one or maybe two songs. This meant that although the band were playing an incredible show, they were receiving very little back, and this is a huge shame in regards to a great display of talent.
Anyway, on to the brothers themselves. Like I said previously, they really did play an amazing set. They varied their songs between the new and old, which was good for those loyal fans who were there to respect the music. Old hits such as “Boiling” and “What’s In Your Head” sounded massive within the relatively small Rescue Rooms and in my opinion should have received the biggest response, as well as the summer release of “Control”.
Of course it fell to “Latch” and “White Noise” to do their job to the expectant crowd.Yes they were great, that is undeniable, the vocal talents of Sam Smith and AlunaGeorge making quality pop songs while still sticking to their deep house roots. We even gained vocals from the brothers themselves in the new songs, and it showed another aspect of their real talent which was good to see and I believe with a new album to come, we have another cracker right here. For one of the brightest dance acts coming out of the UK at the minute they played a sublime set and undeniable everybody inside enjoyed it. Despite a lack of support shown by the crowd, I hope acts like this understand the quality of their performance, even if they don’t see it through the fans.
When Lady Sovereign left the music scene we were left with a gap, an absence of plastic gold and colloquial lyrics. Then smashing through this invisible wall of quirky lyricism we got Kate Nash who provides the music for young girls who want to show off by listening to swear words. Here she is with her new release ‘Girl Talk’, which is her attempt at feminism, though sadly I can’t imagine Emmeline Pankhurst will be flying the flag for this.
Usually the idea of soft tones or emphatic rock is what we think of in regards to the opener, but Kate Nash does neither with ‘Part Heart’. The overly heavy bass and distorted guitars force Nash to strain her limited voice and subsequently we get a tinny almost ear scratching beginning. We move forward to ‘Fri-end’, which for most albums it would be a backwards step but Nash has cleverly allowed this to be a progression in quality. Here we get a simple, pop punk riff, that allows for a vocal performance that we can get through this time.
Thankfully for us the attempted ‘indie punk pop’ as she describes herself is stripped back to be replaced by Nash singing. We get ‘Death Proof’ and ‘Are You There, Sweetheart?’, which are very beige and won’t have people jumping to the local record store, but they at least provide a calm mediocrity. Although, faster than Usain Bolt we are back to the destruction of this attempted Punk. ‘Sister’ is one of the most confused songs I’ve heard in 2013. It is almost like a film: it starts so well with some impressive slow singing, we are hooked, then the background stops, her voice lingers, and it just leaves you thinking ‘please don’t’, but she does… Nash then brings out her screaming voice and lyrics as bad as “sister, you are just like a blister”.
It slows down again after this, however, ‘OMYGOD’ and ‘Oh’ provide that cooling glass of water after a panic attack. Then we are taken back to a thrash heavy song; this strange two off, one on is continued in the next triumvirate. Sadly for us the final four songs seesan even split and it’s a real shame because ‘You’re so cool, I’m So Freaky’ is a song that expresses why people started listening to Kate Nash, it’s a very serious sounding song but none of the quirkiness is lost within the lyrics, similarly the final ‘Lullaby For An Insomniac’ does the same.
For someone that has won a BRIT award, even with the mockery the awards are becoming, you’d expect better than this. She shows glimmers of hope occasionally, but there is no way of getting past the horrible sounds that are Kate Nash’s attempts on punk.