Tag: Army of Bones

The A List: 29th January

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Here’s the A List for this week: my favourite 10 tracks at the moment.

Every Sunday I post a new A List,  an insight into what I’m loving right now. There’s a strong dance feel to the list at the moment, with four of the top five representing the genre’s different forms. There are three new entries this week, and one track is celebrating a third week on the A List.

Quite simply, there’s a lot of good music out there right now. It was tough to get it down to 10 tracks this week, so I’ll be posting the B-List tomorrow – the 10 songs just below the A-List – that I’ve christened the Bonus List. I’ll also be posting the This Week Playlist tomorrow, seven tracks that will tickle your ears. I warn you in advance: it’s a strong list this week.

So let’s get to it. Here is this week’s A List:

1. The Black Madonna – He is the Voice I Hear (Non-Mover; 2nd week)

A lot of people are dismissive of dance music. The world of EDM bangers and superstar DJ’s has – over the past few years – led to a perception of formulaic dance-by-numbers tracks. But then every now and then a dance song comes along that completely changes what dance music can be; He is the Voice I Hear is one of those tracks, a rollercoaster ride with strings, jazz piano and disco-influences. It’s a masterpiece, and it rightly stays at number one.

2.  Mixhell, Joe Goddard – Crocodile Boots (Soulwax Remix) (New Entry)

This is a five minute industrial revolution. Full of dancing percussion samples and snippets, the spoken word sections only add to these feeling like it has transported 1980’s electronica and transported it to the future. It’s a fine record, and one I’ve enjoyed every listen of.

3. LOYAL – Moving As One (Non-Mover; 2nd week)

LOYAL’s Moving As One has plenty of layers that span different genres and enough musical ability to bring it together seamlessly.

4. Esther Joy Lane – Ever Ever (Non-Mover; 2nd week)

Ever Ever starts off on familiar terrain for Grimes fans, which is certainly no bad thing. But it then takes a different path; meandering between synth pop, electronica and dance

5. Bonobo – No Reason (Down 3; 2nd week) 

George reviewed Bonobo’s album this week and rightly picked out No Reason as a highlight.  Mournful vocals are matched by elegant electronic touches; it’s a claustrophobic listen that leaves you wanting to curl up in a blanket and hide away from the world.

6. Army of Bones – Don’t Be Long (Down 1; 3rd week) 

I’m still loving this unexpected indie treat. Strong pulsing guitars and a polished melody makes this a fine January listen.

7. The XX – Dangerous (New Entry)

A tremendous statement of intent to kick off new album I See You. I struggle to think of another band who have so effectively stated a change in direction and a stepping-up of their sound as The XX have with Dangerous.

8. The XX – Performance (New Entry)

A heart-dropping, mournful and gripping track that finds The XX back on familiar ground. Romy’s vocals are – as usual – emotional in a way so few other singers can manage; elevated by the strings and stripped back guitar.

9. Dan Croll – Away From Today (Non-Mover; 2nd week)

A slightly disorientating indie pop track that could easily have been take from Bombay Bicycle Club’s back catalogue. It plays with the senses a little, never quite settling. But for the ridiculously abrupt ending, I rather like this.

10. Tall Tall Trees – Freedays (New Entry)

Our Track of the Day on Thursday, this is psychedelic-infused indie folk – with a banjo. It sounds like a product of vast and hazy country landscapes, and would comfortably sound at home alongside records by Fleet Foxes and Jonathan Wilson.

You can listen to all ten tracks here:

The A List – the best 10 tracks around – 22 January

logomakr_0q2tabHere’s the A List for this week: my favourite 10 tracks at the moment.

Every Sunday I post a new A List,  an insight into what I’m loving right now. This has been a ridiculously good week for new music so there’s a fair bit of change from last week. I try not to be too hype-tastic about music – as the blog goes on there will be weeks when I’m less sure about stuff or periods where I feel there isn’t a huge amount of quality music – but I feel the stuff I’ve posted since Monday has been of a very high standard.

So let’s get to it. Here is this week’s A List:

1. The Black Madonna – He is the Voice I Hear (New Entry)

A lullaby for insomniacs. The Black Madonna has brought created a musical cosmic masterpiece that weaves in jazz, disco and strings. It’s a stunning record that has a hugely cinematic quality; bold in design and divine in execution. Well worth reading this interview with her from Mixmag.

2. Bonobo – No Reason (New Entry)

The Bonobo album is giving a lot of my friends a lot of pleasure, and No Reason is a real highlight.  Mournful vocals are matched by elegant electronic touches; it’s a claustrophobic listen that leaves you wanting to curl up in a blanket and hide away from the world.

3. LOYAL – Moving As One (New Entry)

Last Wednesday’s Track of the Day, LOYAL’s Moving As One has plenty of layers that span different genres and enough musical ability to bring it together seamlessly.

4. Esther Joy Lane – Ever Ever (New Entry)

I was a little unfair to Esther Joy Lane on Thursday when this was Track of the Day, as I hadn’t heard her debut EP from 2015, which is well worth checking out and has a different sound to the two tracks I’d heard. Ever Ever is a cracking song that – as I said on Twitter – gets better with every listen.

5. Army of Bones – Don’t Be Long (Down 4) 

An unexpected indie treat. Strong pulsing guitars and a polished melody makes this a fine January listen. It struck me this week that this sounds an awful lot like Richard Ashcroft’s Song for the Lovers, which is no bad thing at all.

6. Harlea – You Don’t Get It (New Entry)

Our first ever Track of the Day on the site, You Don’t Get It has a sturdy blues rock base and adds in a splash of rock and roll and a small pinch of pop. It’s confident, familiar and distinctive, not an easy combination to pull off.

7. The XX – Dangerous (New Entry)

A tremendous statement of intent to kick off new album I See You. I struggle to think of another band who have so effectively stated a change in direction and a stepping-up of their sound as The XX have with Dangerous.

 

8. Ed Sheeran – Shape of You  (Down 6) 

A straight up pop banger originally written for Rihanna. This is perfectly simple, yet highly effective. He’s still blowing away streaming and download records, and with a new album due soon, he’s could make 2017 his year.

9. Dan Croll – Away From Today (New Entry)

A slightly disorientating indie pop track that could easily have been take from Bombay Bicycle Club’s back catalogue. It plays with the senses a little, never quite settling. But for the ridiculously abrupt ending, I rather like this.

10. Code Orange – Bleeding in the Blur  (Down 7) 

A nice chunk of dirty rock and roll, with waves of feedback and a dark, menacing vibe. This is my first introduction to Code Orange, but I look forward to hearing more of their stuff.

You can listen to all ten tracks here:

 

The A List: 15th January

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Introducing The A List: my favourite 10 tracks at the moment.

Every Sunday I’ll be posting a new A List, and it’ll give you an insight into what I’m loving right now. I’ve implemented a couple of rules (at the bottom, if you’re interested), but this is mostly a chance for me to take stock of what tracks are working for me – and why.

Early January is often a pretty quiet time for new music, but with new albums from You Me At Six and The XX, and new singles from London Grammar, Ed Sheeran and others, there’s been plenty to listen to.

Here is this week’s A List:

1. Army of Bones – Don’t Be Long

An unexpected indie treat. The lead singer in AoB was in the Christian rock band Delirious? and Don’t Be Long is obviously from musicians with a fine idea of what makes a good track. Strong pulsing guitars and a polished melody makes this a fine January listen.

2. Ed Sheeran – Shape of You 

First Friday of January and Ed Sheeran re-stakes his claim to be pop’s number one man. He released two singles that have broken all sorts of streaming and sales records, taken numbers 1 and 2 in the UK charts and helped to shake off the January blues. Shape of You was easily my favourite of the two singles; it’s a straight up pop banger with the same confident swagger that Bieber, Major Lazer and others have recently demonstrated (often with Sheeran-penned songs). That it was originally meant for Rihanna only makes me like it more.

3. Code Orange – Bleeding in the Blur

A nice chunk of dirty rock and roll, with waves of feedback and a dark, menacing vibe. This is my first introduction to Code Orange, but I look forward to hearing more of their stuff.

4. Julien Baker – Funeral Pyre 

A desperately sad track that revolves around drinking gasoline and the impact that has on relationships. It’s a little haunting – especially her beautiful vocals – and seems to sit in that rather marvellous spot in between country, folk and acoustic rock.

5. Kiesza – Dearly Beloved 

I was a massive fan of Kiesza’s 2014 single Hideaway and the accompanying one-take video, so it’s great to have her back. Dearly Beloved is a cheesy cocktail with a small slice of funk thrown in. It walks the tightrope of ‘too cheesy/brilliant’ a little brashly, but it’s working for me at the moment.

6. VANT – DO YOU KNOW ME? 

A welcome re-release of DO YOU KNOW ME? A protest record in support of young people today. “I’m down, I’m tired, I’m broke, I wanted something more” they sing, and it’s clear from their Radio 1 plays that they’re striking a note with younger fans. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing VANT a few times in recent years – full disclosure, I was at the Scala gig that they filmed the DO YOU KNOW ME? video at – and they’ve really grown as a live band. Their debut album comes out in February and I fully expect them to be massive by the end of the year.

7. London Grammar – Rooting for You 

A rather beautiful and minimalist single marks the return of London Grammar. This track is all about the vocals; they soar in parts but betray a vulnerability matched with inner strength in the quieter moments. I went to see London Grammar a couple of years ago at Brixton Academy and it fell very flat, but hopefully with more songs – and some more experience of being on stage – they’ll be back bigger and better this time around.

8. You Me At Six – Spell It Out  

I’m going to write a longer piece on YMAS’s recent album later this week, but in my opinion Spell It Out is the record’s highlight, capturing a darker edge to the band and growing throughout. There’s some nice guitar work throughout and the transformation into Audioslave at the 2.30 mark is rather good fun.

9. Kehlani – Undercover 

I’ve gone back and forth on this track a few times. Part of me loves the slick r’n’b meets pop feel, a well-trodden path to the charts. But part of me dislikes the obviousness of the track, particularly the chorus. At the moment the first part of me is winning…

10. The XX – Say Something Loving

The XX are one of the very few bands I can think of that have yet to put a foot wrong. If you haven’t read it, you should check out the brilliant Pitchfork cover piece on the band and their new album, which you can find here

You can listen to all ten tracks here:

I’ve given myself a couple of rules:

  • I have to really like these tracks already. That usually means I’ll have given them 4 or 5 plays before they make it this far. If there is a lag between me posting a song and it appearing on here, that’s probably why.
  • Tracks can stay on the A List for a maximum of 4 weeks. I have a habit of overplaying records and then liking them less, and if I keep something in circulation for more than 4 weeks, that happens more regularly.