St. Vincent – Birth In Reverse

St_ Vincent - Album ArtAnnie Clark over the last few years has become an admired, prolific singer-songwriter, who just seems to get it right each time.
Whether it’s her exceptional guitar style (I like to call her The Shredder) or her dark, twisted tales from suburbia. St. Vincent is a gravitational force– I’m always eager to hear what she is working on, and what avenue she is going in.
After a collaborative project with art rock savant David Byrne, Annie returns with her own self-titled fourth album. A teaser track has been released called ‘Birth in Reverse’ which seems like a natural progression from the material on her previous record “Strange Mercy” which mixed fuzzy guitar riffs with danceable electronics.

If you want to hear it you can click here, or go to her official website to download the song for free

“St. Vincent” is out on February 24th on her new label Loma Vista/Republic

Anticipation Station November 2013

Music has been pretty good this year. I’ve neglected my blog for a few months due to being uninspired and being busy with other things.
But I feel like I should at least right a little something before the year is out. I’m also compiling my best of list for the year soon – it’ll be much more detailed than last year. This is just a quick something to flex my writing muscle again.

Blood-Orange-Cupid-Deluxe-608x608Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe

Dev Hynes has come a long way since his indie rock beginnings. His producer chops have been flexed to max capacity lately with producing for interesting pop acts like Solange Knowles, Sky Ferreira, the original Sugababes; Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan. But Hynes is back with his second album from his side project Blood Orange. ‘Cupid Deluxe’ has a much more full and warmer sound than the debut Blood Orange record ‘Coastal Grooves’ drawing a more pop and r&b/80’s groove influence than a drone-y electronic one. It also features collaborators from bands like The Dirty Projectors, Chairlift and Friends, as well as electronic musicians Kindness, Clams Casino and Skepta – Interesting.
The album is currently being streamed on YouTube via Hynes personal account. You can listen to it here
The album is due out on November 12th worldwide and November 18th in the UK.

Grizzly-Bear-Shields-expanded-500x500Grizzly Bear – Shields: B-sides

Shields was one of the best albums of 2012, boasting a much more grandiose and fuller sound than Grizzly Bear’s previous records.
The b-side collection contains leftover tracks from the original sessions, plus demo versions of existing songs as well as a couple of remixes  by Liars, Nicolas Jaar and Swedish producer Linstrom.
The band has already released a teaser from the album which you can listen to here

The album is due out on November 10th (It’ll be released as both a deluxe version of Shields as well as a stand-alone album)

BEST OF 2012 – Singles

My favourite albums of 2012 is coming, it’s proved to be a little bit hard to compile – so much goodness last year. Ok, so these are my top 50 songs from 2012. Some of the songs on the list weren’t actually singles some are just stand out album cuts. Oh, and happy new year.

50. Florence + the Machine – Spectrum (Say My Name) (Calvin Harris Remix)

49. El-P – The Full Retard

48. Crystal Castles – Wrath of God

47. Moon Duo – Sleepwalker 

46. iamamiwhoami – drops

45. A$AP Rocky – Goldie 

44. Perfume Genius – Hood

43. Beach House – Troublemaker

42. Mount Eerie – Through the Trees pt. 2

41. Brandy – Wildest Dreams

40. CocoRosie – We Are On Fire

39. Killer Mike – Untitled

38. Haim – Forever

37. Angel Olsen – The Waiting

36. Andrew Bird – Lusitania

35. Death Grips – Get Got

34. Foals – Inhaler

33. PEACE – Bloodshake

32. Savages – Flying to Berlin

31. Bloc Party – 3×3

30. Lana Del Rey – Ride

29. Nas – The Don

28. Holy Other – Held

27. Dawn Richard – Change

26. Jens Lekman – The End of the World is Bigger Than Love

25. Macklemore – Same Love

24. Cloud Nothings – Stay Useless

23. Liane La Havas – Forget (LaBlogotheque version)

22. David Byrne & St. Vincent – Who

21. Hot Chip – Flutes

20. Alt-J – Breezeblocks

19. Here We Go Magic – Make Up Your Mind

18. The xx – Reunion

17. Sharon Van Etten – Serpents

16. Liars – No. 1 Against the Rush

15. First Aid Kit – Emmylou

14. Mac DeMarco – Freaking Out the Neighbourhood

13. Sky Ferreira – Everything is Embarrassing

12. Grimes – Oblivion

11. Jessie Ware – 110%

10. John Talabot – Destiny

9. Stars – Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It

8. Bat for Lashes – All Your Gold

7. Frank Ocean – Pyramids

6. Tame Impala – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

5. oOoOO – NoWayBack

4. Fiona Apple – Anything We Want

3. Grizzly Bear – Yet Again

2. Miguel – Adorn/Arch & Point

1. Cat Power – Cherokee

Outkast on Frank Ocean’s ‘Pink Matter’

I, like a lot of people have been waiting for a proper Outkast reunion. It’s been a while since we’ve heard both of them on anything substantial since the 2006 soundtrack to their film ‘Idlewild’. But now the Atlanta duo have ‘teamed’ up and joined Frank Ocean on his crooning slow jam ‘Pink Matter’. Ok, so Andre 3000 was already featured but Big Boi has now lent his talents to adding a few bars. Have a listen.

Things I’m Liking – C-check It Out

1283430228_dungenDungen – Skit I Allt (2010)

I’ve been aware of the Swedish band for years but it was one of those bands that I’d just overlook – sometimes listening to new things is daunting, right?. Anyway, ‘Skit I Allt’ (which translates to Fuck It All) is one of those all-consuming psychedelic rock albums full of fuzzy and flourishing guitars and hazy sound scapes with a little 60’s folk rock thrown in there for good measure. It’s a solid album throughout and just basically needs to be listened to.

Best songs: Marken Låg Stilla (this song is fucking gorgeous), Min Enda Vän

Perfect+Prescription+spacemenSpacemen 3 – The Perfect Prescription (1987)

I’ve always been a huge Justin Pierce fan, Spiritualized were such an eye opening band in my formative years. So, recently I’ve been listening to a lot of  psychedelic albums and this was one of them that really made me pay attention. There are quite a few genius moments with the Lou Reed-influenced “Ode to Street Hassle” and the Bob Dylan-borrowed  gospel-tinged “Walkin’ With Jesus”. This album does solidify just how talented Justin Pierce is.

Best songs: Ode to Street Hassle, Walkin’ With Jesus Take Me to the Other Side

187419_1_fVashti Bunyan – Lookaftering (2005)

This was the second full-length album of new material since Bunyan’s 1970 debut “Just Another Diamond Day” 35 years ago. With the influence of her contemporaries such as Devendra Banhart, Piano Magic and Joanna Newsom, Vashti relieved an album full of beautiful, pensive songs that are heartfelt and genuine. I mean, would you expect anything less from the dubbed “godmother of freak folk”?

Best Songs: If I Were, Hidden, Lately, Feet of Clay

New Devendra Banhart

It’s been a while since the freak folk king has released new music. In fact, he’s been relatively quiet since his 2009 album “What Will We Be“. But now the wait is over! Banhart will release his new album”Mala” in March through Nonesuch. A teaser song has been released entitled “Für Hildegard von Bingen“. Once again, he steps away from his skeletal folk beginnings and ushers in a much more rounded, fuller sound. Have a listen.

BEST ALBUMS OF 2012 – Honourable Mentions

Firstly, I have to say that this year has been a great one for music. This year was full of comebacks, follow-ups, outstanding debuts and brilliant collaborations. To begin the countdown to what I felt was the best albums of the year, I’ve made a list of some albums I felt were still strong releases and are worth checking out. In no particular order;

actress_RIP_1329831774_crop_500x500Actress – R.I.P

British electronic artist Darren Cunningham packed a punch with ‘RIP’ churning out pulsating beats and twisted grooves, it has stood out as one of the years most solid electronic records. Showing shades of Flying Lotus’ most abstract work (Marble Plexus) to glimmers of the same kind of eccentricity Björk brings to her work (Jardin) and even a nod to straightforward house music (The Lord’s Graffiti) . It’s definitely worth a listen.

1323820115nownow_threads_hiresNow, Now – Threads

On the surface, this album would probably seem like an unoriginal project full of over-thought songs but the Minnesota band present their debut album as one of the most earnest releases of the year. Full of swelling pop songs with clean, coherent production. Now, Now blend dream pop  and rock elements to form a promising debut. Their song Prehistoric sounds like a nod to Death Cab for Cutie (specifically their song Title Track) which is ironic as ‘Death Cabber’ Chris Walla signed the band to his label Trans Records.

3916167Simone White –  Silver Silver

After a lengthy tour folk singer Simone White finally pieced together the follow-up to her 2009 album ‘Yakiimo’. ‘Silver Silver’ although, not a departure from the previous album is more like a continuation of a sonic scape that works, with some experimental elements thrown in for good measure. The fragile-voiced singer teams up with fellow troubadour and tour companion Andrew Bird on the beautiful title track that runs a lengthy but rewarding 7 minutes. As well as the ethereal ‘In the Water Where the City Ends‘ and the honest ‘Never Be That Tough‘  White’s song writing shines brighter and stronger.

R-3771086-1343743875-4229Oddisee – People Hear What They See

Somewhat of a quiet release that didn’t get the kudos it deserves. Five albums deep rapper/producer Oddisee churns out another consistent, soulful hip-hop record which sees a departure from the straight  instrumental albums, this time he flexes his emcee chops with relative ease and sincerity. Back with an array of interesting and laid back beats, Oddisee definitely deserves some spins, especially the laid back ‘Maybes‘.

alt-jAlt-J – An Awesome Wave

The mercury music prize-winning band’s debut album is interesting, which sonically has more in common with freak folk artists like Devendra Banhart and Akron/Family than their contemporaries like The Maccabees and Bombay Bicycle Club. In fact, ‘An Awesome Wave’ has the confidence and the bravado that you’d expect from a new band, without being cocky and forced.

BRANDY-TWO-ELEVEN-ALBUM-COVER

Brandy – Two Eleven

It’s been a surprisingly big year for me in terms of R&B. I’ve always had a soft spot for Brandy, she has a great voice, husky and melodic which sets her apart from her unoriginal contemporaries. She isn’t afraid to take a risk production-wise and that’s very inspiring. The production on ‘Two Eleven’ is slick and eclectic from the woozy and slightly sexy “So Sick” and the club-ready Chris Brown collaboration “Put it Down” to the Frank Ocean-penned ballad “Scared of Beautiful” she even samples Lykke Li on “Let Me Go“, Brandy has definitely not lost her edge.

packshotThe xx – Coexist

‘Coexist’ shows a confidence that was laying dormant on their debut album, which was full of hushed intimate declarations. While that hasn’t changed much in terms of song writing, The xx bring a much more dance sensibility to their new songs. Songs like “Reunion” and “Chained” gives producer Jamie xx more room to show what he’d learned working with Gil-Scott Heron and remixing but still clinging to the intimacy on moments like “Angels” and “Fiction“. A strong release.

What I Recommend

Grizzly Bear – Shields

The follow-up to their surprisingly successful second album “Veckatimest”. The Brooklyn quartet return with an even more rounded and lush sounding album that still retains some of the beautiful orchestration from their magnum opus ‘Yellow House’ (and my personal favourite). Songs like ‘A Simple Answer’ and the contender for song of the year ‘Yet Again’ just solidifies why Grizzly Bear are one of the most interesting and innovative bands of the last 10 years. Listen: Yet Again

David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant

It was only a matter of time before the godfather of art rock and the indie queen would end up working together. After mutual appreciation and being inspired by the Dirty Projectors and Bjork collaboration, David Byrne and  Annie Clark began to work on this project and churned out 12-tracks of quirky indie pop backed by a brass band – what’s not to love. The blend of Clark’s angelic vocals and Byrne’s genius just makes this record a match made in heaven. Listen: Who

Ty Segall Band – Slaughter House

It’s loud, it’s unforgiving and it’s one of the best garage rock albums in recent years. This album is the debut from the Ty Segall Band, although Segall himself has a plethora of solo albums and other collaborative releases, which makes him one of the most consistent musicians at the moment. This album though concise, manages to quench those angst-y feelings from teenage years whilst still maintaining a genuine stance in music. Listen: Tell Me What’s Inside Your Heart

Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t

“I Know What Love Isn’t” is the long-awaited follow-up to 2007’s near-perfect “Night Falls Over Kortedala” which was full of hope and swelling pop songs, and while there are still shades of what made Lekman such an enjoyable artists, this album is a lot less hopeful – I mean, look at the pessimistic album title. But, that doesn’t mean Lekman has lost his edge, he is still quirky and playful as ever, and still has a whole host of sincere love songs – and he is still working on his best Morrissey impression. Listen:  The End of the World is Bigger Than Love

Cat Power – Sun

It’s hard to be unbiased when it comes to your favourite artists – especially when they never disappoint you. Chan Marshall takes a step back from the guitar and the piano and instead gravitates towards a more electronic base for her new music (first album of original material since 2006, though there was another covers record in 2008). “Sun” while seemingly upbeat, still retains Marshall’s bleak honesty – she’s also never sounded better by the way. Even with the hip-hop tinged lead single “Cherokee” still evokes all the sincerity of her previous records. Listen: Cherokee