Albums of 2014 #19 - I Break Horses

I Break Horses 
Bella Union. Released January 20th.

I Break Horses' second LP Chiaroscuro, released via Bella Union, took a little of getting used to at first, with the new-wave melody and spiraling beats of "Faith" rivaling Crystal Castles more than the frozen synths and shogaze influences of the Swede's debut record Hearts. Once you accept it however, a brilliant, immersive listen awaits.

"You Burn" absorbs you fully into the album, exquisite throughout it's as seductive and haunting a moment as heard from Maria Lindén's project to-date, shadowy beats and chiming piano keys provide an equal measure of chills and subtle, slow motion seduction amongst a vocal which surprises with its clarity and an almost poppy chorus.

Light and dark shade combine throughout, "Heart to Know" closes the record on the most powerful of moments, swathes of reverberated feedback and subtle atmosphere allow Maria's warming vocals to carry the most emotive of messages whilst the glittering "Mediciine Brush's" denser, bleak dystopic outlook and the neon-noir synth pop brilliance of "Denial" are equally rewarding.

Chiaroscuro is an album you may need to spend some time with, but delve deeper and riches are there to be discovered. Go and find them.

I Break Horses #5 - You Burn

Facebook /

I've been a little slow on the uptake with I Break Horses' second LP Chiaroscuro, released yesterday via Bella Union. The initial lead track "Faith" surprised me with a new-wave melody of spiralling beats that rivaled Crystal Castles more than the frozen synths and shogaze influences of the Swede's debut record Hearts. For me at least, it took a little adjusting to...

I return completely with the slow motion beauty of "You Burn", a track which has absorbed me fully into the album over the past 36 hours or so, exquisite throughout it's as seductive and haunting a moment as heard from Maria Lindén's project to-date, shadowy beats and chiming piano keys provide an equal measure of chills and seduction amongst a vocal which surprises with its clarity and an almost poppy chorus.

Immersive and powerful - it makes you want to delve deeper into Chiaroscuro, something you can now do - the record is available on CD/LP from all the usual places.

Latitude Festival 2012 - Preview Part Two

No waffle (I'm pretty short on time!) just straight into part two of my tips to see at Latitude Festival. Part one is here in case you missed it (and are interested).

Laura Marling - Facebook
Saturday 14th July - Obelisk Arena

A second to headline billing on the main stage for Laura Marling, a quite incredible rise for arguably Britain's most successful current singer/songwriter, with her recently announcing that her fourth album is written it's a rise that I can't see ending any time soon either...

The last time I saw her at Glastonbury last year a couple got engaged, expect similar declarations of love during her set at Latitude, Laura's three albums to date portray the vulnerability and versatility of her songcraft and beguiling voice, stark and haunting her staggering talent will be one of the stars of the weekend.

Daughter - Facebook
Sunday 15th July - The I Arena

Daughter's rise over the last eighteen months (although on a smaller scale to the above Ms Marling) has been equally impressive, from a self-released demo EP given away free to a small number of followers to a Mute signing and thirty seven thousand fans on facebook alone.

It's hardly surprising, I didn't do a best of 2011 EP's posting but if I had both Elena's releases His Young Heart and The Wild Youth would have featured highly and I'm sure Daughter was close to a spot on the BBC sound of 2012 list, perhaps the lack of exposure and instant success that demands is a good thing for her career...

Expect emotionally affecting heartbreaking moments and spine-tingling intimacy at her show at Latitude's I Arena, another I genuinely cannot wait for.

Tim Ten Yen - Facebook
Friday 13th July - The Lake Stage

Now something a bit different, I used to love Tim Ten Yen, unfortunately I've not seen him perform for a few years now but Latitude has given me the perfect time to correct my oversight. 

Back in 2006/7 I was obsessed with a band called Apartment (I still am, if only they'd found the success they deserved...) and Tim was a regular support act (Tim also played with David on one of his few solo shows since), his act basically (I keep using the past tense as I've not actually heard anything from him for over 24 months) comprised of Tim and an iPod along with his Sinister Cat (stuffed). 

Tim Ten Yen's show is a guarantee to brighten your mood and get you ready for the festival ahead, come and watch him, I promise you won't be disappointed.

I Break Horses - Facebook
Saturday 14th July - The I Arena

I'm very interested to see how I Break Horses go down at a festival, I've seen both their two London live shows so far and the second at Scala was a world apart from the first. Transforming the album Hearts into a seamless piece of art. Pulsating synths and drums perform the backbone as the tracks are stretched from the original state, somewhere in the mix the reverb-drenched vocals of Maria Lindén shimmer and shine.

Still a band in their infancy, I Break Horses are very much an act to grow up with and saviour in their journey. 

Zola Jesus - Facebook
Saturday 14th July - The I Arena

Another act I needn't cover in too much glory again (I've already done it countless times), Nika Roza Danilova's Zola Jesus returns to UK shores a year after the release of Conatus to headline Saturday's I Arena line-up.

Her incredible sound based around her bands harsh, metallic beats and Nika's colossal voice will create a menacing atmosphere that's dramatic, hypnotic and immediate.  One of the most prolific, incredible artists of our time Zola Jesus is an obvious pick and one you shouldn't miss.

Perfume Genius - Facebook
Sunday 15th July - The I Arena

My pick to close the festival, Mike Hadreas (Aka Perfume Genius) will close a stage which seems to have taken over this preview, The I Arena on Sunday, those of you wanting an intimate, captivating experience to end their weekend should look no further.

His recent show at St Pancras Old Church an indication of his talents,  sublime, it managed to leave the entire crowd in utter awe, bruised, plaintive and compellingly beautiful, just like his two albums so far.

Of course, I could have easily included Toy, SoKo, Lucy Rose, Smoke Fairies, The Staves and of course Bon Iver to name but a few of the other quality acts playing over the weekend - the line-up is that good. Cannot wait!

For the full line-up, last minute tickets and more head to Latitude's official website -

Twenty Five of the Best Songs of 2011 - Part Two

12. Zola Jesus - Vessel
Posted 29th June: "Vessel" is a stunning return for Nika Roza Danilova, harsh metallic beats and Nika's colossal voice create an immediate, menacing atmosphere that's dramatic and chilly."

11. Dum Dum Girls - Coming Down
Posted 20th July: "Coming Down" is a real heart on sleeve lament. Dee Dee's smoky vocals recall more Hope Sandoval than the lo-fi fuzzed-out Shangri-La's of the debut. Languid, echoey guitars shimmer with emotion and longing, complementing the woozy and wistful lyrics perfectly, everything about this track is mellow, luscious, amazing. For those late night, alcohol soaked melancholic moments. Undeniably vulnerable and beautiful, if the album hits me like this track then it's going to be something special."

10. Echo Lake - Sunday Evening
Posted 3rd January and June 15th: "...Their sound highlighted perfectly on the shimmering beauty that is "Sunday Evening", with its hypnotising intensity, chiming guitars and foot-stomping progressive beat..."

9. Daughter - Love
Posted 10th November: "Elena's voice remains pure and beautiful throughout, it's probably one of the most emotionally affecting, gorgeous voices I've heard recently, listening to the opening verse of the heartbreaking "Love" with its wounded, confessional lyrics is a provides a genuine goosebumps moment. If you aren't amongst those 6000 followers perhaps now is the time to stand up and pay attention, I'm sure dozens of A&R guys already have."

8. The Great Wilderness - Dark Horse
Posted 22nd September: "Their most recent (and best) release is the spellbinding "Dark Horse", a sprawling nine minute epic, seamlessly flowing from luscious, dreamy melodies, shimmering guitar rhythms sewn together by vocalist Paola's haunting voice to a shattering cataclysm of pummelling drums and frenetic guitar riffs played with such searing intensity you'll be left gob smacked, then you'll want to press repeat, again and again."

7. The Joy Formidable - Spectrum
Posted 6th February: "Their sound is individual and unique, but recognisable and accessible. Whilst managing to simultaneously sound like and unlike every guitar band you ever heard, The Joy Formidable are a truly astonishing and daunting prospect but fortunately they are blessed with enough style and charisma to create the perfect package".

6. Braids - Lemonade
Posted 6th January: "Lemonade" is the stand-out, a seven minute masterpiece which pushes the boundaries of mainstream psych-pop, swirling, tropical soundscapes and bubbling ambient electronics give the perfect platform for Raphaelle's delicately soft vocals (which hide somewhat of a dirty mouth)."

5. I Break Horses - Hearts
Posted 10th May: "Hearts", for me at least, is the signature I Break Horses track, perhaps because it's what hooked me first, it's simply heavenly. Frozen beats sparkle while pulsating rhythms add a slightly sinister tone (my initial reaction was The Terminator theme) all softly woven amongst echoey drums and the hushed yet, ethereal coos of Maria Lindén. Her voice, as beautiful as it is, acts as another layer of the instrumentation where the lyrical content matters little."

4. Austra - The Beat and The Pulse
Posted 24th January: Austra are Domino's latest signing, the work of Katie Stelmanis whose debut release "Beat & The Pulse" is dominated by a powerful, pounding dance-floor filling dark electro beat"

3. Lanterns on The Lake - I Love You, Sleepyhead
Posted 29th November : "...windswept instrumentation sweeps and swoons while heartbroken melodies tug at your heart strings, the updated version of "I Love You, Sleepyhead" the perfection summation, genuinely gorgeous..."

2. EMA - California
Posted 1st April: "California" is beautifully stark, through grinding, droning walls of feedback, the opening line of "Fuck California, you made me boring" sums up Erika's defiance in one line and it's repeated refrain "I’m just 22 / I don’t mind dying" is almost triumphant."

1. Josh T. Pearson - Honeymoon's Great! Wish You Were Her
Posted 29th November : "The most stunning most though is on the devastating centrepiece "Honeymoon's Great! Wish You Were Her", the longest track in an album of lengthy numbers, at thirteen minutes it's raw, emotional and regretful "I’m in love with another woman, please don’t tell the wife / I cannot seem to stop it and it’s fuckin’ up my fucked up life" (in fact just read the whole lyrics here), a poetic lament to unrequited love and being stuck between two women. I'll repeat myself, an album of such heartbreaking fragility and beauty that I can't say any more than just listen to it."

My Favourite 25 Albums of 2011 - Part Three

Just Music That I Like’s Twenty Five Favourite Abums of 2011 aka The Best 25 Albums of the Year Part Three

Direct Links to Albums: 25 - 21 // 20 - 16 // 15 - 11 // 10 - 6 // 5 - 1

15. Spotlight Kid - Disaster Tourist
Facebook / Order CD

Spotlight Kid released their second album 'Disaster Tourist' (although the first in their current form) last month and despite a relatively low-key release deserves your attention, for it's an incredible album that combines all the best parts of a much maligned (not by me) genre, shoegaze. Luscious, sweet vocal tones echoes softly wrapped up in spiralling walls of guitars noise, reverberating, spiralling melodies that are equal parts dark, brooding and heavenly.

Lead-single "Forget Yourself In Me" is fantastic, delivered at blistering pace it offers a euphoric head-rush of driving drums, angry guitars and ethereal dual vocal harmonies. Similarly frantic is opener "Plan Comes Apart", heavier, with thick bass-lines and grungy guitars, it, like most of the album (and their emphatic live show), commands to be played loud, very fucking loud. Their are softer, beautiful moments, "Freefall" spends two minutes blissfully melting your heart before saturating it with endless waves of feedback and fuzzed-up guitars.

The album version of "All Is Real" cloaks Katty Heath's tender vocals in fuzzy layers of overdriven guitar, the stand-out though is "Haunting Me", at six minutes in length it never feels over long, pounding drums and fizzing guitars mould together to a celestial combination of glistening and sweeping soundscapes. 'Disaster Tourist' is an intoxicating blend of light and dark, eleven tracks seamlessly fit together to make this one of the most rewarding albums of the year from a band you really should fall in love with.

Spotlight Kid - Haunting Me

14. Planningtorock - The Breaks
Facebook / Order CD/LP

It's hard to believe Janine Rostron grew up in Bolton, though now a Berlin native her Planningtorock alter-ego is a bold visionary who through her electronically processed, prosthetic nosed wielding character has created quite the spectacular album. 'W', her second record is as left-field, original and damn right disconcerting, yet uniquely soulful, as it gets.

Opener "Doorway" is utterly mesmerising, combining doomy, threatening atmospherics and experimental soundscapes to spectacular effect, pulsating synthesisers, rumbling rhythms and hypnotic sax create an otherworldly air that is mystically alluring and weirdly danceable. On "The Breaks" a soulful groove sees Janine's passionate, melodramatic delivery result in the most commanding track on the album.

The unusual combination of saxophone, strings and synths make the hazy, funky stomp of "Living it Out" another obvious highlight, Janine's charged vocals fly around at all angles while frenetic strings and groovy, convoluting beats combine to make a track equally playful and fun and catchy. The same could be said about "I'm Yr Man", throbbing beats and distorted, catchy choruses.

There are many moods and tempos throughout the albums 12 tracks, as there are vocal styles, the aptly-titled cover "Janine", sees the PTR gender games continue, a distorted masculine track while “#9”, a slower paced ballad adds beautiful, sensual depth to this quite superb album.


13. I Break Horses - I Break Horses
Facebook / Order CD/LP

I Break Horses released their debut full length 'Hearts' via Bella Union back in August, the Stockholm duo (as a side note, perhaps the best packaged LP of the year too) have crafted a beautiful record of pulsating beats and luscious, glistening soundscapes, icy electronica shrouded in layers of ghostly guitars and subtle, atmospheric sythns.

"Hearts", for me at least, is the signature I Break Horses track, perhaps because it's what hooked me first, it's simply heavenly. Frozen beats sparkle while pulsating rhythms add a slightly sinister tone (my initial reaction was The Terminator theme way back in July 2010) all softly woven amongst echoey drums and the hushed yet, ethereal coos of Maria Lindén. Her voice, as beautiful as it is, acts as another layer of the instrumentation where the lyrical content matters little.

"Winter Beats" glistens like sun over a snowy landscape, where gorgeously dreamy synth pulses and reverberating layers of noise collide. Maria's vocals barely more than a whisper, it's celestial, otherworldly and undeniably beautiful.

The album continues in similar luxurious fashion, a sonic orgasm of swoon-some atmospherics. "No Way Outro" closes the album with dramatic effect, fast-paced drumming and the spectral fragility of "I Kill Love, Baby!" show a more refined style that is infinitely gorgeous. Though, I could have just as easily said "Cancer" and "Empty Bottles", this really is album that demands whole consumption rather than cherry picking, 'Hearts' is completely and undeniably luxurious.

I Break Horses - Hearts by Bella Union

12. St Vincent - Strange Mercy
Facebook / Order CD/LP

'Strange Mercy' the third album by St. Vincent and the first after the critically acclaimed 'Actor' saw Annie Clark confirm her talent and reach new levels of unadulterated fan-boy loving amongst people like myself, her combination of seemingly endless talent (personal opinion put her as the finest guitar player I've seen this live this year - over 150 gigs), incredible intelligence (read her interviews) and poster-girl looks combine to make her one of the most dazzling performers both on-stage and on record.

'Strange Mercy' is a fusion of what made her previous two albums so fantastic, vocals one minute beguiling strong, the next serenely sweet and dense inventive melodies prone to frenzied, rock spikes now with an added experimental, electronic edge. Take opener "Chloe in The Afternoon", part savage rock assault, part complex structures all brought together so fascinatingly by off-kilter rhythms and Annie's rich vocals, it can't but make you go 'wow'. The enchanting single "Surgeon" starts as beautiful as they come before the looping, guitar noodling closes the track in flawless manner, a track that brings genuine goosebumps.

The album continues in a consistently high standard where Annie's bold approach not to stand still is displayed for all to see, the poppy hook of "Cruel" and the softer moments such as the beautiful "Cheerleader" and the smoothly sung title track "Strange Mercy" are equally celestial and then she only goes and blows your socks off with the fuzzed up dirge of the full-on rocker "Northern Lights". Spellbinding.

St Vincent - Surgeon

11. Chelsea Wolfe - Apokalypsis

Facebook / Order LP

We've been spoilt by two albums within just eight months by Pendu recording artist Chelsea Wolfe, the second 'Ἀποκάλυψις' / 'Apokalypsis' came out in August and is genuinely breathtaking, cloaked with mysterious, eerie melodies and beautifully sinister sounds taking its lead from the album titles two Greek meanings ("apocalypse" and "revelation") for amongst the droning electronics, reverberating ambience and thunderous rhythms are these delightful otherworldly moments, for tense and harrowing it maybe, it is also soothing and quite beautiful too

A dark and distorted organ intro gives clear intent, bone-chilling and hauntingly moody,  the desolate and distant drones of "Wasteland" combine a gentle drum machine beat and a windy howl to create an intense ambience all wrapped around Chelsea's ethereal whispers. Intense is definitely the right word to describe the listening experience, her craft and soul is laid bare for all to see. The vocal range is superb, equally capable of soft and delicate whispers and demented, intense cries.

Highlights are evident throughout, the exquisite "Moses" with its doom-laden drums, heavy guitar chords swathed in distortion, the equally slow paced "Pale on Pale" highlights the sinister foreboding atmosphere that Chelsea creates best and "Mer" with its hypnotic rumbling beats and creepy fast-paced guitar comes close to letting in sunlight amongst the gloom, but then I'm neglecting to mention the Gothic cries and off-kilter guitars of "Demons" and the sheer beauty of album closure "Movie Screen"

Get the limited edition vinyl from Pendu now. The debut LP 'The Grime and The Glow' is equally worthy of this slot (check out my album review here), it's vinyl release is now sold-out (although a CD repress is due) so don't dilly-dally for too long.


Tips for 2011 – One Year On (Part Two)

6. Kitten
Part one saw me go through five acts that released albums in 2011 and everyone one of them has made my 40 album long short-list (an oxymoron for you) for my top 25 albums of 2011 (which depending on how I've structured these posts after writing them towards the end of November will either be posted soon, or has already been posted), part two is a little different.

Kitten, a band that jumped onto my radar in October 2010 haven't released anything officially in 2011, there's been a handful of live videos shared and numerous shows (included a return to the UK in May where I saw the band perform a fiery, energetic and possibly slightly too enthusiastic set) as well as a CD re-issue of their EP 'Sunday School'. Signed with Atlantic Records they are clearly taking their time with the young band - I think there has also been a line-up change with their facebook referring to them as a trio.

So nothing new to review really, though on "Kill The Light" Chloe and Kitten show the sort of promise that still leads me to believe that Kitten is definitely a band worth keeping an eye on with their debut album due in 2012.

Kitten - Kill The Light

7. Let's Buy Happiness
Another act I've gone all gooey eyed for numerous times in the past eighteen months are Let's Buy Happiness, while they've yet to release their debut album the four part Geordie one part Mackem blog-darlings have still had a pretty successful year cumulating in a support slot for Primal Scream in Brixton last month.

What they have released in 2011 has continued their 100% success rate with my ears, in February came the wonderful "Fast Fast", tropical, fast drums, shimmering guitars and celestial vocals, it earnt them mainstream airplay and numerous glowing reviews, live festival shows over the summer further enhanced their reputation and September saw "Dirty Lakes" released as a digital single, a joyous melody and delicious chiming soundscapes, the band can do no wrong as far am I'm concerned.

The development on stage has been equally encouraging, it might be a little OTT to say Sarah resembled a deer caught in the headlights the first time I saw the band but I've now seen them play seven times and I'd definitely say they've all grown in confidence and ability, their live show is a genuine joy. Though guys,  please put "Devil's Show" back in the set!

With tracks like "Skinny Moon" and "Clean Mistake" still sitting unreleased the future looks even brighter, ones to watch 2012? Almost definitely (giving away a future post here!).

Buy 'Fast Fast' and previous release 'Six Wolves' from the band on their bandcamp.

Let's Buy Happiness - Dirty Lakes

8. Terror Bird
Terror Bird sound tracked the first part of my 2011, I discovered the band at the back end of 2010 and quickly snapped up their 'Shadows in the Halls' and 'Shame Is On Your Side' EP's, the combination of dark haunted gloom-pop arrangements, the catchy, upbeat melodies and the hypnotic voice of Nikki Never were enough to melt my heart and encourage me to approach the band with the view of releasing their material on via my own living-room run label.

In early 2011 and the band were unrelenting with their output, their debut full length 'Human Culture' picked up some great reviews from those in the know, thirteen synth/piano and drum lo-fi through reverb and Nikki's stirring, emotive vocals. Then there were two UK releases to support a European tour in March, firstly the ghostly synth wonder 'Outside / When I Woke Up' released by the excellent Night School and then (full disclosure via my label) a four track EP 'Waiting For Nothing'. I love it, it's obvious I do so I'll just give you a track to listen below instead of my .

Terror Bird shouldn't be overlooked, the band are preparing more releases going into 2012 and hopefully more European shows to come too. All the bands 2011 releases are available in Rough Trade or Norman Records now.

Terror Bird - She Kissed Me (And I Fell Ill) by Verulamium Records

9. Summer Camp
It's impossible not to like Summer Camp, their music delights on every listen, joyous and uplifting while their online presence on twitter and numerous interviews / sessions shows them as two of the nicest people in the industry today. Seriously, how many other bands can you name that have given their fans an audio book of an entire Adrian Mole book!

The band have had a pretty busy and spectacular 2011 by all accounts, a few UK tours both as support and headlines in their own right on the release of their debut album 'Welcome to Condale' in the last quarter of the year, a brilliant mélange of straightforward bouncy pop-hooks on tracks like singles "Better Off Without You" and "Down", where catchy beats and gorgeous vocal harmonies do a good job of hiding the love turned bad lyrics, a common theme throughout the album and darker, heavier tracks like "I Want You" awash with a fizzing synth pulse.

The Glastonbury sets were spectacular, Jeremy's spontaneous acoustic of rendition of "Karma Police" was a genuine highlight of the festival, their overall whole package is perfect for an 80's kid like myself, retro imagery and sounds that offer ideal memoirs of youth, some sepia coloured blinkered memories of sometimes falsely remembered events that's ideally fantasised, romantic and thoroughly enjoyable.

Summer Camp - Better Off Without You

10. I Break Horses
From the instant I heard the initial demos from I Break Horses in July 2010 I knew we were in for something special, snapped up by Bella Union (of course) we had to wait until May to hear any concrete news but from the moment I heard the final versions of the stunning "Hearts" and "Winter Beats" I knew my early optimism was completely redeemed.

"Hearts" for me is the signature I Break Horses track, perhaps because it's what hooked me first, it's simply heavenly. The glistening, frozen beats the fizzing, pulsating momentum, the echoey drums and the hushed yet stunningly ethereal vocal of Maria Lindén . Her voice, as beautiful as it is, acts as another layer of the instrumentation where the lyrics matter little. The album continues in similar luxurious fashion, a sonic orgasm of swoonsome atmosphere. Personal favourites are "No Way Outro" and "I Kill Love, Baby!" but really this album demands whole consumption rather than cherry picking for the whole thing is nothing short of completely and undeniably luxurious.

I Break Horses are about to make their live debut, excitement overload in anticipation of Cargo on December 5th.To tease we've been treated to a few live videos, 'bedroom sessions', the slow-building beauty is slowly, surely delivered. Everything about the project has been so exquisitely crafted and delivered and surely I Break Horses have delivered one of the finest debuts in a year of incredible debuts.

I Break Horses - Winter Beats by Bella Union

News Round Up - 1st October

A Saturday round-up follows, I've fallen way behind again thanks to month-end overload and a hectic schedule of gigs, I'll catch up as and when I can. Here are some quite wonderful things I've discovered this week;

I've mentioned Erika M. Anderson, better known as EMA quite a bit recently, I'm doing so again because another breathtaking session has turned up, a new version of "Butterfly Knife". I mentioned just how much I love EMA's normal live version of the track here, this one sees the dissonance of frenetic, grungey guitar shredding and crashing percussion shift for an equally intense version of droning guitars and moody grand piano. EMA, you are truly amazing.

EMA - "California" (Daytrotter Session)

I Break Horses released the second (of three) 'Bedroom Sessions' videos yesterday, this one is for "Hearts" and just like "Winter Beats" it's stunning. Staying quite faithful to the studio version, a beautiful contrast of light and dark through glistening soundscapes, soft keys, pulsating rhythms and echoing guitars. Maria stands almost trance like, gently swaying with both hands on her microphone as she sings her beautiful, ethereal vocals. Incredible.

The embed seems to crash my computer at the moment, but you can view it at the following link; I Break Horses - 'Hearts' (Bedroom Sessions)
I Break Horses - Winter Beats

Zola Jesus performed one of my favourite gigs of the year on Monday at Toynbee hall, she was phenomenal, her stunning voice and entracing stage presence combined perfectly with the foreboding synths (all three of them) and military drumming, it was quite wonderful. I cannot wait to see Nika again at Heaven in November (especially as she's backed by EMA!). The encore version of "Run Me Out" was stunning, her voice would give Simon Cowell sleepless nights, thankfully this star is already shining much brighter than anything that has come from him 'show'. Her frenetic cymbal bashing at the end of "Collapse" and the majestic "Night" other highlights. Zola Jesus released her second album 'Conatus' last week, it's quite wonderful, I've listened to it about a dozen times already, expect it to feature high in my year end lists. Get it here.

Zola Jesus - Run Me Out (Acoustic Version)

Brighton's finest (well up there anyway) Esben & The Witch have annouced something to be released on November 7th via the teaser trailer below, I've seen speculation that it's an EP called 'Hexagons' and will contain six exclusive tracks, if that is the case consider me excited. The band are set to play London's Corsica Studios on Wednesday 16th November - tickets. If you haven't got their debut full-length Violet Cries and the Record Store Day 12" get them asap because they are quite simply exquisite.

Esben and the Witch - Marching Song

Fanfarlo produced one of (in my opinion) 2009's most consistent and impressive albums with 'Reservoir', they've taken some time to record the follow-up but recently shared a video for the first single "Replicate, it's safe to say that it's excellent. Wonderfully produced throughout with sporadic noises, luscious orchestral arrangements and harmonious vocals. Incredibly addictive after a couple of listen, I for one can't wait to hear more. Fanfarlo were really great when I saw them live at Dalston's Servants Jazz Quarters before the set out to record the second album so I'll be excited to catch them again at Cargo on November 21st - tickets.

Fanfarlo - Replicate

I Break Horses #4 - Winter Beats Live in Session / Album Release / Facebook

I Break Horses released their debut full length 'Hearts' this week via Bella Union, the LP looks stunning (mine has been ordered and is being awaited with baited breath). We've previously been treated to a couple of the magnificent tracks from the album, "Hearts and "Winter Beats", both placing the Stockholm synth duo amongst the fine purveyors of dream-like loveliness, the album gifts us seven more.

I Break Horses have crafted a beautiful album of pulsating beats and glistening soundscapes, frozen electronica shrouded in layers of ghostly guitars and subtle, atmospheric sythns. Maria's vocals barely more than a whisper, celestial, beautiful.

Further stand-outs are the final version of "Wired", the sumptuous wonder of the slow building "I Kill Love, Baby" and "No Way Outro" which closes the album with dramatic effect, fast-paced drumming and Maria's gorgeous sighs. I could have just as easily said "Cancer" and "Empty Bottles", the entire album is simply exquisite.

Maria is yet to perform live, a live show is certainly highly anticipated by me (amongst many others). Today however did see the release of a video that gives the first indication of a 'live performance', a stripped back rendition of 'Winter Beats', it's great. Delicate drums, Maria's ethereal vocals and frozen, echoey beats. Glorious, exquisite and whichever other superlative you can find in the dictionary. Watch:


Do yourself a favour and get hold of the album for yourself here. Listen to "Hearts" below (again, you've probably heard it by now but alas!)... and expect to see IBH back on the blog soon.

I Break Horses - Hearts