Broken Twin #6 - Reason To Believe


Unless you're brand new to this page you may already know that Broken Twin was my artist of 2014, I named her debut album May as my favourite record of 2014 and those February Prince gigs aside her shows I caught in May were the most spine-tingling of the year (seeing your idol from six foot is pretty hard to beat). I'll keep the momentum going into the new year with a new-ish release of live recorded version of "Reason To Believe", a cover of a 60's song by Tim Hardin that's new to me... 

The track sounds instantly familiar from the darkened timbre of Majke's haunting piano chords and arresting vocal, shattering emotions with perfectly understated vulnerability and poignancy. Sparse and shiver inducing, welcome to the world of Broken Twin.

The UK is awaiting some more live dates...

Albums of 2014 #1 - Broken Twin - May

Broken Twin
Anti. Released 28th April.

Broken Twin has been a favourite of mine since I first heard Copenhagen's Majke Voss Romme's debut EP Hold On To Nothing in the midst of summer 2013, four tracks which beguiled with an affecting intimacy and genuine emotion. Her debut full length May is no different, an outstanding collection of uncluttered and introspective tracks full of haunting beauty with different shades of light, dark and desolation.

Naming May my album of 2014 is easy, it's by far my most played record of the year and it's the record I have turned to over and over again. Not once has it let me down. It is truly a stunning record. Beautifully sad but reflective and cautiously optimistic too. It's an album that deserves to be shared around by those who discover it.

"Sun Has Gone" was the first track I heard from the album, it gives newcomers to Broken Twin a brilliant, darkly indication of what to expect. Stark, spine-tingling music and emotional devastation through tender piano chords and Majke's arresting voice, her voice is always a highlight, undeniably beautiful it has this wavering quality that makes you hang onto her every word and delivers emotion in a way that leaves you gasping for air.

For an album that hits you in the gut time and time again, "Soon After This" hits harder than most, sparse piano chords build to Majke's repeated cries of "Do you care?" chilling in vulnerability and intimacy. Similarly "Glimpse of a Time" is guided by soft, uncluttered instrumentation, never more than an understated accompaniment to lyrics that leave your emotions teetering on the edge. If you can listen to Majke sing "What was I but a glimpse of time? Time, in your life" and not well up over lost memories, well you are a stronger person than I.

There's few better songs than "Out of Air" been released this year, piano twinkles and intense emotions that build with orchestral flourishes but it's bettered by the phenomenal "In Dreams", which builds with piano chords once again at the core to an evocative, dramatic conclusions filled with tension-laden violin and distorted vocals.

"Roam" is one of the most ambitious tracks on the record, forceful percussion and echoey synths strike with evocative depth whilst the sparing "If Pilots Go To Heaven" ekes out further depths from her vocals with lyrics that will genuinely move you.

"No Darkness" is May's closing track, a tender and touching moment that lets light and optimism shine through after ten tracks of resigned longing and, at times, outspoken despair.

Where May's opening track "The Aching" finishes on the reflective "Nobody wants to belong somewhere in between what you wanted and what you didn't want" here Majke Voss Romme opens with the more hopeful "Today I’ll cut the flowers, I will walk for hours, I will breathe in all that grows, now that spring is coming and the sun will shine".

Throughout her vocal is pure, full of strength and clarity amongst always restrained instrumentation and sparkling string flourishes, so beautiful is the track, that by the time you reach the repeated ending of "There will be no darkness, I will fill your space with light and it looks like hope" you almost believe it.

May is my album of 2014, if you haven't discovered it yet, you really are missing out.

Broken Twin #5 - No Darkness


"No Darkness" is the closing track on my favourite album of the year May by Copenhagen's Broken Twin, a tender and touching moment that lets light and optimism shine through after ten tracks of resigned longing and, at times, outspoken despair.

Where May's opening track "The Aching" finishes on the reflective "Nobody wants to belong somewhere in between what you wanted and what you didn't want" here Majke Voss Romme opens with the more hopeful "Today I’ll cut the flowers, I will walk for hours, I will breathe in all that grows, now that spring is coming and the sun will shine".

Throughout her vocal is pure, full of strength and clarity amongst always restrained instrumentation and sparkling string flourishes, so beautiful is the track, that by the time you reach the repeated ending of "There will be no darkness, I will fill your space with light and it looks like hope" you almost believe it.

May is out now and should be regarded as an essential purchase.

The Best Songs of 2014 So Far (Part Two)

10. Lazy Day - With My Mind

"With My Mind" is most fully realised track that Tilly has released thus far under her Lazy Day pseudonym. Earlier tracks shared on her Soundcloud suited the band name (currently just Tilly, with hopefully a live band and dates to follow) perfectly, full of plaintive daydreams and spacious, echoed vocals. "With My Mind" takes that further with a brooding intensity and a hypnotic guitar riff that will embed itself in your brain, couple it with Tilly's magnetic voice, her sumptuous, soothing tones wrap around you and soon you're lost deep within.

9. Rae Morris - Skin

Rae returns to make 2014 her own with a new track "Skin", easily her finest to date and as devastating a moment as the year has offered us to date. "Skin", and please excuse the pun, gets under exactly that as metronomic piano chords chime with elegant simplicity amongst delicate vocals and luscious string instrumentation. It's all beautifully timed and Rae's lyrics possess a dark, haunting edge, the result is sure to bring goose-bumps to listeners all over.

8.Sea Change - Bridges

Sea Change (aka Ellen Sundes) was one of my revelations at The Great Escape (and judging by the reviews I've read, many others too). Even as an act I'd blogged about before the festival I was taken aback by her live show, performing as a trio in a pitch black (and tiny) basement I saw as intense and chilly a set I've ever, extraordinarily dark, her (surprisingly) epic electronic soundscapes and bass guitar rhythms combined perfectly around her undeniably sweet, ethereal vocal. It was simply stunning. The studio version of "Bridges" was released a couple of days before I departed for Brighton and with some distance from that performance the track still mesmerises, it starts relatively calm with ambient glitches, effects and spectral vocals immersing you within its hypnotic, dream-like state before spiraling to a searing finale of electronic noise, guitar and emotion.

7. The Night VI - Sienna

"Sienna" is simply magnificent, built around the crystal clear voice of Sophie-Rose, here filled with more heartache and emotion that you could bottle, the track will connect with anyone whose ever let someone they love slip through their fingers (pretty sure that's most of us) and supported by spacious, blissed-out instrumentation it provides an irresistible listen from its first to last moment.

6. Lykke Li - Love Me Like I'm Not Made Of Stone

...sparse and confessional with languid, haunting acoustic echoes the sole accompaniment for Lykke's devastating delivery, you can tangibly feel her emotion throughout - what a beauty.

5. Sophie Jamieson - Stain / Other

"Stain" leaves exactly that on you, combining Sophie's delectable vocals, heart shattering lyrics and restrained instrumentation, the perfect marriage of space and structure to get under your skin with spine-tingling effect. The track comes backed with "Other", a fully realised beauty which highlights her bands influence more than ever. A stark, haunting drip feed of emotion.

4. Eliza Shaddad - You For Me

Labelled as a radio edit and yet six minutes in length (that's the same length as Bohemian Rhapsody, a story I'm sure we've all heard) the track epitomises the soft and graceful style of Eliza's music. "You For Me" really is as pretty a moment as I've heard all year, a genuine love song with ringing guitar patterns and a delicate, haunting backdrop which slowly introduces Eliza's stunning vocals, gorgeous and defiant, here coupled with lyrics as optimistic and heartfelt as you're ever likely to hear. "You For Me" is the sort of track that will bring you to a stand still whatever you are doing - simply magical.

3. Lisa Alma - Bittersweet

"Bittersweet", comes backed with a beautiful, pure black and white video, the imagery the perfect compliment to the track which leaves you longing, desperate for more. Backed by little more than subtle drum pad beats and minimal, spacious synths it's Lisa's vocal that steals the show and has me hooked. It immediately makes me think of Prince's falsetto, not just any old Prince either, the Purple One at his 80's best, seducing with every note, whispered, extended words that make you fall hopelessly under their spell. I love the extended outro too, with a smouldering guitar that captures the feeling of the track, just bloody gorgeous.

2. Broken Twin - In Dreams

A true highlight of an extraordinay album, as intimate and arresting an experience as music can offer

1. Shura - Touch

effortlessly sexy / cool melody that swoons amongst soft-glittering electronics and Shura's luxurious vocal, its simple and refined and despite its lyrics of "I wanna touch you but it's too late, I wanna touch you but there's history..." is straight-up baby-making music.

Hands down track of the year so far. Go and give it your love. 550k+ plays, Wow!!

Broken Twin #4 - You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory

I've talked about Broken Twin here lots already this year, I've repeatedly said both her and on twitter that I doubt they'll be an album that surpasses her debut, May as my album of the year. It is breathtaking from beginning to end, much like her live performance from which I recognise the video I'm sharing now, a cover of Johnny Thunder's "You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory" (as well as being the flip side to the "Sun Has Gone" single).

Transformed from raw, punchy power to plaintive, brooding melancholy with barely there instrumentation slowly and surely building around Majke's typically devastating, echoey vocals, the sound you can hear is probably that of more hearts breaking by the second.

If you haven't heard May, you don't know what you are missing. Go and buy it here. It will be the best decision you make all day.

The Great Escape - Friday Preview

The Great Escape 2014 - Five for Friday 9th May.

If you missed my introduction and preview of Thursday, head here.

French For Rabbits - TGE Page
9th May 2014 1:15pm - 2:00pm
10th May 2014 8:00pm - 8:30pm

I will finally be catching up with New Zealand duo French For Rabbits. I can't quite remember why I missed them last time they were in London but in the famous words of Mcfadden and Whitehead, there ain't no stopping me (us) now...

The gorgeous, melancholia drenched dream-folk of their most recent track "Goat" gives a perfect example of what to expect from their performance, a beautiful hushed vocal and calming guitars combining to steal your heart. Sounds like the perfect start to the days music to me.

September Girls - TGE Page
9th May 2014 1:45pm - 2:15pm
9th May 2014 6:30pm - 7:00pm

Long time blog favourites September Girls are a must-see next week and are another act I've talked about at length here (and as such I'll keep this post short, you should have the idea by now).

Their cavernous vocals, reverb-heavy guitars and precise drum beats provide a buzzing mix of 60's girl pop and 70's noir, stir in some sweetly harmonies and nods of approval are sure to follow.

Esben & The Witch - Facebook
9th May 2014 4:10pm - 4:35pm (an Alternative Escape show)

Local Brighton trio Esben and the Witch will play an Alternative Escape show (they aren't on the main bill for some unknown reason), a short set (boo) but one that promises to be an essential inclusion for your Friday plans...

I hope recent single "No Dog" gets an airing, an uncompromising, frenetic and brilliant track which grabs you by both arms and begs you to listen as pummeling drums and guitars collide with Rachel Davies' haunting vocals, it's a jaw-dropping listen and one that could be even better live.

Lyla Foy - TGE Page
9th May 2014 7:30pm - 8:00pm

I've conspired to miss every Lyla Foy gig since her show at Komedia (then on the bill as Wall) at last years Great Escape, I'm promising to make amends and get my first live taster of her beautiful debut album Mirrors The Sky.

"Feather Tongue" highlights Lyla's sound perfectly, both understated and beautiful combining her heart-melting vocals with a perfect melody of gentle percussion and a bubbling synth undercurrent. The results is a gorgeous, dreamy atmosphere that is guaranteed to make your heart skip a beat or two.

Broken Twin - TGE Page
9th May 2014 9:00pm - 9:30pm

I still can't decide where I'll be heading at 9pm on Friday (and I probably won't until just before I need to) so I'm going to cheat and make my five picks for the day become six. A heart-wrenching clash sees Broken Twin and Sophie Jamieson play at exactly the same time (thankfully I'll be seeing both artists in London during next week to take away the pain of the clash for me personally).

Broken Twin's debut album May was released this week is already my most played record of 2014 (recently overtaking the equally magnificent July by Marissa Nadler), as intimate and arresting an experience as music can offer, bring your quiet shoes, turn your phone off and immerse yourself in Majke's beautiful, dark melancholia.

Here's one of my favourite tracks from May, "Sun Has Gone":

Sophie Jamieson - TGE Page
9th May 2014 9:15pm - 9:45pm

As I just alluded to, Sophie Jamieson plays at the same time as Broken Twin and as such I have a decision to make. Sophie is a prolific gig player around London but has never once let me down when I've seen her live, always a rare treat with her ever expanding band (now complete as a quartet?) adding extra depth, ambiance and beauty to her wonderful talents.

Last time I saw her play, she played "Dinah", "Ode to the East", "Stain", "Other", "Waterloo" and one more that I can't quite remember - that's pretty much as knock out half an hour set as you'll likely to hear. If you are thinking about heading to see Sophie, the one thing I can guarantee is that you will not be disappointed.

See Also. Las Kellies at The Tube (8pm), Sea Change at Neighbourhood (11pm)

Broken Twin #3 - Glimpse of a Time

Majke Voss Romme's Broken Twin synonym has quickly become one I've become besotted with, something that shows no signs of change with the newly released track "Glimpse of a Time", taken from the recently announced and forthcoming debut album May which is due for release April 28th via ANTI.

"Glimpse of a Time" is stunning, of course it would be, guided by soft, uncluttered instrumentation which is never more than an understated accompaniment to Majke's vocal, a voice that cuts straight through you and leaves your emotions teetering on the edge. Possessing an infinite amount of vulnerability and beauty, it's one of the most intimate voices I can remember hearing, it ekes out hidden depths from her longing lyrics and genuinely moves you like few can.

I was lucky enough to see Majke perform an intimate show late last year at Servant's Jazz Quartet's and I can assure you her songcraft is just as affecting live, thankfully the wait for a repeat chance isn't too far away with Broken Twin already confirmed for May's Great Escape festival (with no doubt a few more shows to be confirmed). You should be there.

Tips For 2014 #3 - Broken Twin

Broken Twin has been an obvious inclusion for this list since I first heard Majke Voss Romme's debut EP Hold On To Nothing in the midst of summer, a collection of four tracks which beguiled with an affecting intimacy full of genuine emotion that tugged straight at your heart-strings.

Now signed to American label ANTI- (home of Neko Case, Wilco, Tom Waits an more) the Copenhagen singer-songwriter released an even more incredible, moving track "Sun Has Gone" last month and picked up superlatives from quarters around Europe during a supporting tour of Daughter.

A full length debut is due next year (I'm actually off to see her debut London show tonight - I can't wait) and promises to expand of the uncluttered and arresting sound of "Sun Has Gone". A stark, haunting beauty full of introspection and pure vocals that gets right under your skin with different shades of beauty and desolation. As emotive and spine-tingling as music can get - don't miss out.