Labrinth – Electronic Earthquake (ALBUM PREVIEW)


A long awaited preview of an album which is fairly long awaited itself. Labrinth’s album, ‘Electronic Earth’ promises to be one of the year. I mean, if you listen to this, and don’t appreciate to consistent, exceptional production, then I must have put the wrong video into this post. My favourite track in this preview has to be Lab’s collab with Emeli Sande, ‘Beneath Your Beautiful’. Get a feature from Emeli and improving the track is a definite. It’s a superb preview, but you’ll have to wait ’till April 2nd to get a copy!

 

Emeli Sande: The New Role Model.


Every so often you get to hear a new album which you’ll be completely absorbed in. You won’t be able to leave it alone. But last Monday, we had Maverick Sabre’s ‘Lonely Are The Brave’ come out, so surely we’d have to wait a fair bit for another album of that quality, right? Well, a week is a long time in music, I guess.

As this Monday, just one week after Mav’s debut, we’re treated to the incredible Emeli Sande’s – ‘Our Version Of Events’.

With her number 2 single, ‘Heaven’, and the incredible feature on Professor Green’s ‘Read All About It’, Emeli began to attract a lot of attention, which peaked when she was announced as the BRITS Critics Choice Award Winner, following in the footsteps of Ellie Goulding, Florence & The Machine, Jessie J, oh, and Adele!

But if you were more aware, you’ll know that Emeli has been showing her talents for a bit now. Writing for and with, what seems, every fairly successful X-Factor candidate, but also with Wiley, Tinie Tempah, Tinchy Stryder and Wretch 32, plus featuring on great tracks with the likes of Chipmunk (Diamond Rings) and Wiley (Never Be Your Woman) and Tinie Tempah (Let Go). She’s also be described as, the Dark Lord himself, Simon Cowell’s ‘favourite songwriter’! Oh, 1 more then, she’s recently finished touring with none other than Coldplay… Things going well then?

You could possibly be forgiven for thinking the hype may have outdone the talents she has. But, well, you’d be wrong. Because, ‘Our Version Of Events’ showcases, arguably, the best UK talent out there right now. And, well Adele’s still out there isn’t she. I mean, I know that’s a big thing to say, but well, I certainly stand by it.

Kicking off her debut LP, is her number 2 single, that I mentioned earlier – ‘Heaven’. Sublime production which brings out the strong, majestic vocals of Sande. Pitched by Emeli as a confession that she’s changed so much since she was younger – but that it’s because “of everything that comes with living.” Just one of the many examples of how down to earth she is.

Originally, this post was planned as a track-by-track review of ‘Our Version Of Events’, but then I just thought, who’s really going to go out and buy it purely because of a review of mine? you’re going to buy it anyway. So I thought I’d try and show anyone reading, why Emeli Sande is the perfect role-model to aspire for – not even just for becoming a musician, but an all-round person too.

There are a lot of talented musicians. No doubt. But how many would you describe as intelligent? How many would you describe as humble? How many would you actually describe as a ‘nice person’? I certainly can’t think of that many. But after watching a mini documentary on Emeli, entitled, ‘Her Version Of Events’, you realise you can firmly include Emeli Sande in those previous categories.

She’s always shown the musical promise – learning the piano at the age of 10, and writing at 11, but she was once on course to becoming a neurologist – brain surgery for those who don’t recognise! Her link to this can be seen in her second single, ‘Daddy’. “Everyone is essentially addicted to something.” She says, adding, “I think that’s why I loved studying neurology… We’re all flawed in some way.” She also, when speaking to Q Magazine, said, “I’m really fascinated by mental breakdown.”

Despite being just 16, Emeli won Trevor Nelson’s BBC Urban Music Competition – which, fairly obviously, brought in label interest. In the same Q Magazine article, she said, “I’d sit and play to a line of men behind a glass shield talking about where the music should go… I could feel my control slipping.” This is when she chose to follow the science road for a while, but still maintaining the musical side – in playing as a background jazz pianist in Glasgow – for £40 a night! I think it takes a lot of commitment and loyalty to your talents to turn down record label interest. But if, and when, it pays off, it pays off big – as seen with that guy Ed Sheeran!

You could really pin down why Emeli is doing as well as she is now, by her mum’s actions. Obviously Emeli could have reached this stage at some point, but it was her mum who sent off a sample CD over to BBC Radio 1xtra, which eventually found its way through to Naughty Boy – which formed a very strong musical relationship between the two of them – creating ‘Daddy’ on their first session just over 3 years ago. She seemed blown away by his love of music. “I loved how passionate he was… purely about the music!” And it was in 2010, when she finally got a deal with EMI and Virgin.

What I find most incredible about Emeli is her humbleness. She’s speaks so highly of so many highly deserving artists that she’s worked with, especially the already mentioned Naughty Boy and Tinie Tempah… “He was so on point.” It’s something you don’t often see too much nowadays, artists giving other artists proper heartfelt credit and applause.

Despite this not being a track-by-track review, I thought I had to write a bit about my favourite track on the album. ‘Hope’. Obviouslty every track offers so much, in terms of raw emotion expressed through Sande’s brilliantly worked lyrics, which can sum up the most complicated of feelings into one sentence. ‘My Kind Of Love’, ‘Maybe’, ‘River’, and especially ‘Read All About It (Part III) – [below] all showcase this.

But ‘Hope’ really stood out to me – due it’s message.

So many artists can write perfect songs based on various, let’s face it, depressing emotions. Even some of my favourite artists can’t really get the effect Emeli has managed to achieve with this track. ‘Hope’ is the most inspiring, uplifting track I’ve heard in a very long time. You can see the opportunity the London riots have offered musicians, alongside youth unemployment rates, and just the general decline in views of young people, it’s a topic which can create some great music. But Sande has captured that whole picture, but also included other moments of desperation from far away from the UK – “I have a link to Zambia and places with standards of living that are just horrible.” Written with Alicia Keys, on a rainy day in New York just after the aforementioned riots, they came up with the first line: “I hope that the world stops raining, stops turning its back on the young” – she described it as a “prayer”. It’s 3 minutes of beautiful crafted music, inspiring lyrics, soulfully sung vocals with the brilliant production that is a constant throughout the album.

Emeli Sande is intelligent, talented, and just perfectly humble. A proper winning combination in life – not just music. If you don’t get lost in this album, I feel sorry for you.

Enjoy this cover of Blur’s classic, ‘Country House’, from her recent trip to Radio 1’s Live Lounge below. Really is something!

Delilah – ‘2-4am’ | Review


The darker, underground twist that pop music is craving for.

(I’ll just tell you while you’re here, you can listen to the mixtape in full at the bottom of the page, and download it for FREE [even though it says ‘Buy’] – should be easy to find how to)

Delilah dropped her newest project on Mistajam’s 1xtra show last night. And boy is it a good’un. ‘2-4am‘ shows the pure class many have come to expect from the extremely talented singer/songwriter.

It’s incredible. Despite being classed as ‘pop’, Delilah has managed to maintain that typical mixtape feel. A sense of the underground, even a darker side in some tracks – all surrounded and enhanced by the brilliance in the production.

It kicks off with ‘Never Be Another‘ – a track produced by Balistiq, which had been released early this year (Delilah – Never Be Another | Review). A great track to start the mixtape off with, even if you’ve already heard it, because in no way has lost that fresh first listen feeling.

Then second track, which also had already been released, but again, a lesser known one. ‘Love You So‘ was Delilah’s next single, after the success of ‘Go‘. And it featured a brilliant remix from Joe Goddard – of Hot Chip and The 2 Bears. It was so good, Delilah placed it in her new mixtape.

After the two tracks many people will have heard, Delilah  throws in a beaut, ‘The Gospel‘. Possibly my favourite track on the whole mixtape.

Closer‘ follows. And continues where the last track left off. Delilah’s voice has something purely unique about it – perfectly shown in tracks like ‘Closer‘ – and if you can’t love the uniqueness, you should be able to at least appreciate it.

Next up is ‘Love Drug‘. Well, yeah, I’m going to start running out of positives soon. Also looks like there will be no negatives. Especially judging by the lack of them on Jam’s 1xtra show last night. He couldn’t find one down-beat comment sent in. Which in this day and age, is properly surprising!

Lay By‘ follows. It was first played on Mistajam’s show almost exactly a year ago. So you’d be forgiven for thinking it may be a weaker track, as it’s surrounded all these new ones. I mean, you shouldn’t be forgiven really. Because ‘Lay By‘ is such a strong track. Despite being another strong track, it was heard a while back, so it does show the pure consistency Delilah has. Great track, after great track, after great track.

And surprisingly, another great track follows ‘Lay By‘. ‘Wish I Had Your Life‘ further showcases Delilah’s exceptionally talented vocals. Just pure uniqueness pouring out of this mixtape’s track-listing!

And unfortunately, this next track is the end to this project. By, it’s not all sadness here, as ‘21‘ is just as brilliant as the previous 7 tracks. Another contender for my favourite track off ‘2-4am‘. Also, you can always just replay the mixtape? Seems to work well.

If you couldn’t tell from my slightly ‘over-the-top’ love for ‘2-4am‘, then I’ll say it now. This mixtape showcases some of the best music the UK has to offer right now! Sublime vocals, singing out the perfectly crafted lyrics, along side the immensely tight production. Yes, I love it.

In these first couple weeks of February, we really are greeted with brilliant, new, exciting music. Firstly, this Delilah mixtape, ‘2-4am‘, then over the weekend, Maverick Sabre’s debut album, ‘Lonely Are The Brave‘ is out, then the weekend after, BRITS Critics Choice Award winner, Emeli Sande releases her hotly anticipated debut LP – ‘Our Version Of Events‘.

I hope for the sake of ‘pop’, that Delilah is able to take it in her own way.

More BRIT Award Thoughts


So, yesterday I posted the nominations for the Brit Awards 2012 – along with who I think will win, and also who I think deserves to win.

There’s a couple of complaints too, well a few I guess.

How ‘Read All About It’ wasn’t in the Best Single is just remarkable. One of the biggest selling singles, from one of the best artists of the year, Professor Green, featuring the Critics Choice Winner for 2012, Emeli Sande – how can that be looked over, compared to something like, ‘She Makes Me Wanna’?!

Also, a genreal complaint of how Example didn’t feature in more categories. Only having ‘CTWYKM’ nominated in Best Single? Well, what about Best Male Solo Artist etc? At least he got the one nomination, last year he was over-looked completely, with ‘Kickstarts’ somehow not appearing anywhere!
But the main complaint I have against the nominations. Wretch 32. Not nominated in any categories. Which is rediculous – especially after not winning once at the MOBOs either! With singles like ‘Traktor’, ‘Unorthodox’, and ‘Don’t Go’ – how on earth was one of them not featured!

I would also say he should have been nominated for Mastercard Album Of The Year – ‘Black And White’ was my favourite, and, top album from 2011. So to see that rejected as well was slightly annoying.

Also, the leaving out of Katy B was pretty astonishing really! A critically acclaimed debut album, which was seemingly loved by everyone – for her not to have it nominated, and herself in the Best Female Solo Artist category is unbelievable to be honest!

Was this just the over-looking of some of the more successful UK urban scene? Or just a coincidence, that the main people left out, or not included as much as people think they should, are, and have worked their way through the more underground route, especially Katy B in that case.

Also, as a sidenote, after thinking about it again, I can see Adele possibly only winning 1 time, if that! I would say arguably she deserves the 3 she’s been nominated in – in my view, there is no better female artist in the UK. For some reason, i can see her being over-looked as her main success came right at the beginning of the year, and there’s some sort of snobbery about saying Adele  is as brilliant as she is now? She’s an amazing artist, and personality wise, she fu*ks all over the rest of them!

Even so, I guess the nominations were fairly understandable, and good in most cases, for me anyway. But I can still see some people that deserve to win, not doing so.

And finally, this is just a general point. Why are some catagories open to public vote – I know it gets people involved, but it just leads to fan campaigns, which just aren’t right in my view. Look, I love Ed, but surely he could deserve to win anyway? Why do we as the public decide? I mean, it’s difficult, ‘cos obviously it gets public opinion across, but really it” come down to who has the most committed fans, and the pluggiest twitter page! Just seems a bit X-Factor style. Plus, have you seen some of the public? We aren’t always the brightest lot! (Rant done.)

I actually do love the Brit Awards by the way, I really really do!

But one thing to make clear, if Ed Sheeran doesn’t walk away with 3 or more, I’ll be surprised.

BRITS Nominations and Predictions.


Right, every year I get a bit keen over the BRIT Awards, and this year I actually have a platform to do so. Below is a run down of all the nominations, with my precicted winner, and the one I would personally choose to win…

British Male Solo Artist

Ed Sheeran
James Blake
James Morrison
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Professor Green

My Prediction: Ed Sheeran | My Winner: Ed Sheeran

British Female Solo Artist

Adele
Florence & the Machine
Jessie J
Kate Bush
Laura Marling

My Prediction: Adele | My Winner: Adele

British Breakthrough Act

Anna Calvi
Ed Sheeran
Emeli Sandé
Jessie J
The Vaccines

My Prediction: Jessie J | My Winner: Ed Sheeran

British Group

Arctic Monkeys
Chase & Status
Coldplay
Elbow
Kasabian

My Prediction: Coldplay | My Winner: Chase & Status

British Single

Adele – Someone Like You
Ed Sheeran – The A Team
Example – Changed The Way You Kissed Me
Jessie J ft Bob – Price Tag
JLS ft Dev – She Makes Me Wanna
Military Wives/Gareth Malone – Wherever You Are
Olly Murs ft Rizzle Kicks – Heart Skips A Beat
One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful
Pixie Lott – All About Tonight
The Wanted – Glad You Came

My Prediction: Adele – Someone Like You | My Winner: Example – Changed The Way You Kiss Me

Mastercard British Album of the Year

Adele – 21
Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
Ed Sheeran – +
Florence & The Machine – Ceremonials
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

My Prediction: Adele – 21 | My Winner: Ed Sheeran – +

International Male Solo Artist

Aloe Blacc
Bon Iver
Bruno Mars
David Guetta
Ryan Adams

My Prediction: Bruno Mars | My Winner: Bon Iver

International Female Solo Artist

Beyoncé
Bjork
Feist
Lady Gaga
Rihanna

My Prediction: Rihanna | My Winner: Beyoncé

International Group

Fleet Foxes
Foo Fighters
Jay Z/ Kanye West
Lady Antebellum
Maroon 5

My Prediction: Maroon 5 | My Winner: Jay Z/ Kanye West

International Breakthrough Act

Aloe Blacc
Bon Iver
Foster The People
Lana Del Rey
Nicki Minaj

My Prediction: Lana Del Ray | My Winner: Bon Iver


(ALREADY DECIDED)
Outstanding Contribution to Music

WINNER:
Blur

Critics Choice

1st – Emeli Sandé
2nd – Maverick Sabre
3rd – Michael Kiwanuka

 

Slight Complaints:

  • How Wretch 32 wasn’t nominated once, is incredible!
  • Professor Green should have had ‘Read All About It‘ nominated in Best Single
  • Example should have been in British Male Solo Artist
  • There’s probably a few more, but can’t think of them…

Well, I’m imagining I’ll be ‘live tweeting’ during the show – I doubt somehow I’ll be announced as a special writer and get to go backstage and all that, so I’ll be in bed watching. The show is live on ITV on 21st February, and will feature live performances from Ed Sheeran, Adele, Coldplay and Rihanna (plus others obviously) – and to top it all of, it’s hosted by the simply amazing, James Corden!

Professor Green ft. Fink – Read All About It (Part II)


(At one point, I’m pretty sure, this was an exclusive between Q Magazine and my page, which I’m quite liking – and it’s still not available through searches on YouTube yet either!)

This took me completely unaware, and seemingly the majority of people. But I’m doing my little bit to make sure people hear this track. As it is just beautiful, emotional, and just deep. Continuing the same theme as the massive number 1 single, which featured Emeli Sande, this Part II track is a lot more simplistic in its nature – stripped back in essence. Similarly, in production terms, to Pro and Fink’s recent collaboration in the recent album, ‘Spinning Out’.

But this is just something else. As soon as the opening sounds hit you, you know you’re going to be captivated for the next 3 minutes or so, not listening to anything else going on – just focusing on Pro’s thoughtful, considerate, hauntingly deep lyrics, which are supported, almost protected, by Fink’s brilliant laidback chorus – perfectly the opposite of Sande’s version of chorus. Both brilliant, but in very different ways.

(if anyone makes a Eminem ft. Rihanna – Love The Way You Lie [Part 2] comparison, you’re dead to me)

Even if you don’t like rap, or even Professor Green himself, if you’re not moved by this, you’re not human.

My Tips For 2013! (yes, 2013)


I found this a hard concept to put across, even to myself. We’re only just a few days into 2012, and I’m already thinking about 2013? But, I thought it might read quite well, as no-one, as far as I know, has done a feature like this before – probably for good reasoning I guess.

The artists featured in this post will ultimately have great 2012’s. It’s meant as no disrespect to them if I’ve put them in my 2013 tips list, it doesn’t mean they’ll do nothing noteworthy in this new year – in fact, quite the opposite. They will build up a bigger fan base, play to larger crowds, possibly even get chart success, but 2013 will be the year they properly blow up! Basically, the artists tipped here, are the artists that I see having the sort of year Maverick Sabre and Emeli Sande had in the year just gone. (Sidenote: It also doesn’t mean they won’t do a Sheeran and storm the music world in 2012 without much promotion or backing…)

If that’s not explained well, I apologise, but I even found it hard to explain to myself. Hopefully you’ll get the picture after reading through to the end.

I did think of just rolling out a very long list of the relatively unheard talent out there, but then again, I wanted to say a little more on a few of the artists. Also, similarly to most of my posts, there will be people I’ve left out, forgotten, whatever. But I can’t know about everything, especially as this is music for 2013!

Ryan Keen was recently featured in the Daily Star’s artists for 2012, and that’s no surprise. I’d say Ryan will achieve great things this year, without doubt. He’s got new music coming fairly shortly, and notably a video made by the same people that make Rastamouse – and you have no heart if you can’t enjoy that fact. His unbelievable, flamenco style guitar skills, mixed with raw, honest, and heartfelt lyrics, delivered in a stunning voice will shine through and leave so many artists long behind. I can surely see Ryan being properly noticed this year, but I’d say 2013 will be when we see him conquer music, like his mate, a little-known Ed Sheeran has done so very recently.

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Random Impulse is by far one of the most unique artists out there that I know about. A combination of grime and hard guitar rifts, is something you don’t find easily. Random Impulse (real name, Jovel Walker) has found a gap which is somewhat untouched – which in music, is very hard these days. My only real criticism of popular music these days is that there does need to be more originality in the charts – and why couldn’t Jovel play a part in the reclamation of original and successful music – which I think will build up this year, with new and exciting artists breaking through this year. But like I’ve already said, this is ‘Tips for 2013’ – so again, I see Jovel’s big year to be the next one along.

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A third act who is associated with Ed Sheeran, is Mikill Pane. But with no offence meant at all to Ed (there’s obviously no offence meant AT ALL), I do long for the day when the majority of people know of Mikill through his own work. ‘Summer In The City’ and ‘Read My Lips’ are two tracks which showcase his talent perfectly, and really stand out amongst everything else. I find it incredible how more people are still unaware of his own tracks, people still just know him from ‘Little Lady’. I mean, that’s not necessarily a bad thing I guess, ‘Little Lady’ was one of the most heart-wrenchingly brilliant songs of the year just gone. But still, when I’m a fan of an artist, I want them to be mainly known through their own excellent material.

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Some other artists/groups I think will feature big in 2013 also are:
Josh Osho/ Etta Bond/ Kings Of The City/ Yasmin/ Passenger/ Josh Kumra/ Kal Lavelle/ Lester Clayton/ Antonio Lulic/ Daley/ Russo/ Dream Mclean/ Gabrielle Aplin / Red N Pink/ Shaka/ Lauren Aquilina/ The Dash (if there’s a revival in Rock anytime soon?)/ Liam Bailey/ Nina Nesbitt/ Leddra Chapman/ Maiday.

The beautiful thing about that very very long list, is that even I am still ignorant to much more UK talent. There’s so much more out there, and that’s the main reason I started this whole blog, so I can finally keep on top of talent that’s out there – and there will be so much more that comes through to our attention this year as well!

I feel I need to make this clear again, the artists featured will have a good 2012! Some will get tracks on Radio 1 and the likes, through ‘Records Of The Week’ features for example. Sheeran got a lot of attention from ‘The A Team’ being Fearne Cotten’s one week. I said it earlier, but they may even get a surge of chart success, like Emeli Sande did with ‘Heaven’ – which reached number 2! It’s just I think there first full on successful year throughout will be 2013.

Why I think these artists are tips for 2013, not 2012, is because of people’s attitudes to music. There’s so much music out there, but most people just stick to listening to the same things – even listening to good music over and over again. It’s not my place to say this is wrong, but it would help if they did the tiniest bit of searching, to find artists such as these featured ones. Just to give some more new excitement in music, in effect making it easier for proper talent to be noticed. The capacity for people to listen to music is large, so why not fill it up with a wider range? Don’t wait for the talent to come to you, go find it before the rest of the public have it thrusted into their ears.

That was effectively a rant I guess, but I didn’t really mean it to come out like that. What I’m trying to say, simply, is that artists like these shouldn’t have to only come into the public attention through things like the ‘BBC’s Sound Of’ features. People need to be more aware, and able to find the talent. I mean, it is effectively for their own benefit.

And that’s why I adore things like SB.TV so much. Jamal Edwards and his team are, and will, play an ever growing role in the development of music in the coming years. 2011 was just the start for them, and I can’t wait to see how big they are by 2013!

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Effectively, on reading back through this again, I’d say the title is misleading. I possibly chose it to be misleading subconsciously. I say this because, it’s more about the amount of talent out there in the UK. I want people to find new music, I’d much rather people liked artists like Random Impulse or Ryan Keen, than LMFAO or Pitbull. People need to know about the talent the UK has to offer. And anything I can do to make people realise this, the better.

Basically, see this post as a declaration of unjust in the music world we live in. Just don’t see me as a sort of mentally music based Charlie Sheen.