It's been three years since I've featured Lucy Rose here, not because I don't like her music any more just because of time and when presented with twenty acts to post about, I tend to favour those with less 'exposure'. Let's face it, the chances are you've read about this post on ten other music blogs but perhaps not the brand new, debut track I featured the other day. I decided to buck that trend with Lucy's latest track "Like An Arrow" for the simple reason that I like it and it made me feel all fuzzy and giddy and after another busy weekend, a happy release of emotion is just what I need as I sit down for the evening and thoughts turn towards the next week.
Lucy has shed much of the lonesome fragility of her pre-debut material and instead "Like An Arrow" is full of an impeccable, uptempo sheen that's impossible not to tap your toe along too, and when coupled with Lucy's wholly beautifully, intoxicating vocal, a smile cannot help but follow.
Lucy Rose releases her second album Work It Out on July 6th.
When you start off a tip for 2012 with "there is every chance when I come to review these tips in 2012 I'll be saying 2013 will be their year"
you know deep down that it's highly unlikely that band will have sufficient time to create sufficient material to turn themselves from a band who hadn't released a demo until December 11 to one of 2012's breakthrough acts. Manchester's Embers blew a lot of us away (quite literally) with a trio of demo tracks that led to a last minute entry into my tips of the year, a year which saw the band play a handful of dates mainly in their home-town and release their debut vinyl release in the autumn...
That release fulfilled the promise of the demo tracks with both "Tunnel Visions" and "Sins Unknown" continuing with the bands epic sized ambience, where screeching guitars and a fury of beats caused avalanche after avalanche of rushing distortion and indescribable euphoria, loud and enormous it signalled the bands intent. Yet it's with their latest release, the utterly incredible (live version of) "Hollow Cage" where the band really have set the pulse racing, a truly affecting monster, from humble serene beginnings to the cacophony of noise which follows as instruments and voices merge under the crashing of colossal drums and skyscraper sized guitars, it well and truly announces the arrival of Embers. I'm quite sure labels are lining up to sign them for the new year...
In one way I was right about Fear of Men, their two releases this year (the "Mosaic" and "Green Sea" singles) have followed up on the promise of their early demo tapes. Sparkling melodies and irresistible vocals are the Brighton/London quartet's signatures and they are on display throughout "Mosaic", a track amongst the best singles of the year in my opinion, so while 2012 hasn't seen the band deliver a debut album, the promise is there for 2013 to be the year the band truly deliver.
I don't think I've failed to post about any Fear of Men track to date, such is the affection I feel towards the bands music, bright and pure with a sense of wistful longing, there's not much of a better sound if you ask me, so yeah, expect to see Fear of Men featured here again real soon.
2012 was the year iamamiwhoami stopped playing with us all and got on with the serious business of music, after being drip-feed released as a series of audiovisual clips via YouTube the debut full-length Kin came out in the summer with an accompanying DVD which adds much to the albums experience. It also saw Jonna Lee and contributors (primarily Cales Björklund) put on their first London show with an autumn gig on the south bank and in all honesty, the live airing satisfied my desire somewhat more than the album (perhaps I'm underplaying that, the gig was amongst the best of the year).
The mystery and hyperbole that followed iamamiwhoami is one sure to become Internet legend and as much I enjoy listening to Kin, it's a very stimulating and aesthetically sound album, it also perhaps misses a little something that the earlier tracks had, the likes of "O" or "Y" or "John", were enigmatic and euphoric, Kin is slightly less instant and more of a combined experience. The likes of "In Due Order", "Good Worker" and "Sever" are evocative and emotional sure and showcase the boundary pushing creativity of the project but sometimes you want a killer hook too, which is something the live show had, a dramatic contrast of a white, pure opening half of glistening mood before switching to dark, black and sinister in the second.
Hopefully 2013 will bring more live shows and some more development of this extraordinary project.
Let's Buy Happiness are a band I've been following for a while, I've been smitten with the bands shimmering guitar lines and Sarah Hall's heavenly vocal purr since I first saw the band at The Great Escape in 2010. I originally picked them as one of my 'Tips for 2011', a year which saw them releases a couple singles ("Fast Fast" and "Dirty Lakes") and play a few high billing sets. I expected 2012 to be the year the band released their debut album and fulfilled all the blog praise received from people much more in the know than me. However, it hasn't quite turned out that way, besides a digital only single in June it's been pretty much silence from the North-East quartet.
The track was actually a re-working of an old Let's Buy Happiness too, "Works Better on Paper" was originally released on the debut LBH EP in 2010, this version was pared back from the original version with a gentle, languid tempo and delicate instrumentation making Sarah Hall's soft, celestial vocal the main instrument. It worked to perfection, magically complimenting sleepy drums and guitar effects, "Works Better on Better" was just overwhelmingly beautiful.
More good news is that the album looks to certainly be on the cards for next year, a series of in the studio shots on facebook confirm as much, one (more) for the 2013 list then!
In short, Lucy Rose fulfilled the promise she'd shown during the previous couple of years in 2012. A heap of gigs (included selling out the rather massive Brixton Electric a couple of weeks back) throughout the year highlighted her soft, sensual vocals with a full touring band increasing her live dynamic from that on her (predominately) delicate record. Possessed with the type of voice that could soften even the hardest of souls, Lucy effortlessly melts hearts with her intimate songs that are often heartfelt, tender and soothing.
Her album Like I Used To came out in September and contains many of the tracks that propelled Lucy to UK blog darling status, "Middle of the Bed", "Red Face" and "Lines" all line-up alongside the likes of "Night Bus" and "First" which had both previously been fan favourites via some heavenly YouTube live videos, of the new tracks the beautiful "Shiver" impresses with fragile guitar lines and haunting emotion.
In 2012 Lucy has taken one step along her path to being a UK treasure.
There isn't too much I can add to what I'm previously written about Lucy Rose, her beautiful voice is the sort that's effortlessly able to melt hearts with its soft beauty, in 'Lines', Lucy's upcoming single (her first with new label Columbia/Sony, released 23rd July) there is a marked progression from her early, tender acoustic demos with a full band sound, particular highlighted by bombastic guitar riffs and a gentle rhythm section groove, that's not to say Lucy has changed her style, "Lines" still retaining her most important identifiers, her angelic voice and intimate song-craft.
With a wealth of incredible singles behind Lucy already (the previously mentioned 'Middle of the Bed', 'Red Face' and 'Scar' to name but three) and her debut album 'Like I Used To' to follow on 24th September, the ever growing number of new admirers are sure to prove that all those 'insiders' / bloggers who tipped the sublime singer/songwriter for success for a while back now were surely right.
Lucy is on tour in the UK right now with a show at London's Heaven next Wednesday - tickets.
Following straight on with part two of my Camden Crawl preview, where part one concentrated on Saturday's acts, this part focuses on the final day Sunday. No beating around the bush, here are my six tips to watch. Venues and times currently unknown.
Another band I'm yet to catch live despite a few near misses are London based five piece Evans The Death, I'll aim to readdress that with their show at the CC, thunderous drums and urgent, scuzzy guitars make the bands blend of grungey power-pop some of the most intelligent and well crafted around at the minute and then when you factor in Katherine Whittaker's sublime vocals, both in terms of voice and delivery, you've got a band that really should be seen.
Lucy Rose has already melted by heart and mind countless times, during 2012 she is set to do it many more (her debut full length is due later this year). I'm not the only person saying this and her show is (I imagine) set to be very busy, especially if her ever increasing facebook fan count is anything to go by.
If you've let Lucy pass you by so far, listen to her now, she has the type of voice that will soften even the hardest of souls and her beautiful, intimate acoustic songs are heartfelt, hushed and soothing, don't miss her.
A new discovery for me (the band have been together for five years), the south London sextet Melodica, Melody & Me produce a charming and rich sound that flutters between nu-folk and roots influences but is very much their own.
What immediately strikes you are the beautiful vocal harmonies. The dual male / female voices perfectly compliment each other , soft and irresistible, it's not all about the vocals of course, the backing instrumentation is equally impressive. I won't start to attempt to cover all the instruments or sounds they make, just say if you've got this far reading this, then you're going to enjoy what lies below.
Some of the bands I'm aiming to see are pretty straightforward choices and have been covered here on numerous occasions, one such instance is Novella. Another of my tips for 2012, I've been recently enjoying their debut self-titled EP (though the vinyl release has been delayed), the band, perfectly capable of producing dreamy, psychedelic guitar lines with luscious vocal harmonies one moment and then seconds later making a whole lot of noise, with sprawling, fuzzed out grungy guitars and big pounding beats. Novella are a great live band, see them for yourself.
If you want to see an act that will grab you by the balls (figuratively) over the course of the weekend may I suggest a trip to see Throwing Up. The London based trio are sure to deliver a show full of raw, blistering pop-punk energy with distorted guitar fuelled noise and fast, punchy drums.
To see what I mean, take a listen to their wonderful single "Big Love" below, leave the coat at home, this one could get sweaty.
On of the bands of 2012 so far Toy heir first single "Left Myself Behind" summed up the buzz, an eight minute runaway rollercoaster that combines the best bits of psyche, krautrock and shoegaze in one glorious track, gorgeous shimmering guitars duel with the korg keys and the consistent drum beats, to keep it simple, it's one of the essential tracks of the last six months.
Their second single "Motoring" is due April 16th (on 7″ and download via Heavenly Recordings) and confirms TOY as one of the UK's hottest new properties, aptly titled overloading fuzz-filled guitars and gaudy keyboards make for a slick, infectious ride. Truly superb, hard, dense, melodic, brilliant.
There we go, twelve acts to see over two days, I'm sure I'll manage to squeeze more into the weekend too.
You can view the full Camden Crawl line-up and purchase day / weekend tickets via the CC website.
Lucy Rose today announced (and released) her third single "Red Face", Lucy's melt-your-heart voice and intimately beautiful song craft has already won over more than 13 thousand fans on facebook and (perhaps not quite so impressively) a place on the UK bloggers' 'Blog Sound of 2012' poll, this before the release of her debut album (due summer 2012), I've been taking in "Red Face" all afternoon an it's safe to say it's only going to win her more friends...
Backed impressively by a full band it's Lucy's grandest song yet, taking the melancholic vulnerability displayed on 'Middle of the Bed' and 'Scar' and complimenting it with stirring instrumentation, purposely propelled by wonderful rhythmic percussion and chiming guitar, Lucy's soft, smoky voice equally impressive, fragile and emotive before rising to be more emphatic than I've ever heard it.
Lucy plays two London shows in the forthcoming weeks, firstly January 31st at Camden Barfly and on February 4th at Jazz Cafe - tickets. "Red Face" is available now on iTunes. Stream below: Photo Credit: Claire Campbell
and here is a more 'stripped back' version of the track recorded towards the end of last summer, Lucy's pure vocals and genteel arrangements which kick on towards the end, so gorgeous:
Another predictable choice for long-time followers perhaps, Lucy Rose showcased her rare talent on two gorgeous singles in 2011, both 'Scar' and 'Middle of the Bed' highlighted her spine-tingling vocals, effortlessly pure and beautiful and an extraordinarily intimate song craft. Her songs, though simple in melody, backed by hushed guitars and soothing percussion the effect of her music is calming, heart-warming and one that induces the most beautiful of thoughts.
2012 promises to bring even more from Lucy, her debut album for starters, guaranteed to bring goosebumps to thousands of listeners up and down the country. Already renowned for her live show (she sold out London's Cargo without a release to her name) Lucy is sure to be a word on every radio station DJ's lips next year, before that, you can see her at Camden's Barfly on 31st of Jan - tickets.
The only one of my list to make the 'official' one, the BBC's Sound of 2012 (Lianne La Havas was very close), Niki and the Dove have featured in almost every 'Ones for 2012' list I've read thus far and with good reason, their flamboyant electro-pop is bright and dramatic, energetic and genuinely refreshing, N&TD make quite the change from the drab, dreary music which often finds its way into prime-time radio these days, the Swedish Duo an act with clear homage to 80's stars like Prince, Madonna and (uh-oh) Kate Bush are uplifting and fun.
There are elements of so many things in there the result could be horrendous; euro-dance, power pop, afro-rhythmic drums, yet horrendous is as far removed as possible from the end result, "Mother Project" showcases their more experimental side, distinctly Scandinavian atmospheres based around icy vocals and chilly beats (and not forgetting the pan-pipe solo) and "The Fox" the theatrical, with its anthemic arrangements and flickering synths, everything thus far has been eagerly lapped up and is quite, quite delicious.
Signed to Sub Pop, their new found fame will mean more is expected from them than perhaps just a month ago, still, I'm looking forward to hearing the result next year.
Novella could be another case of a tip too soon but I don't care, with just one 7" to their name (the perfect 'Oh Brian') to date the London trio/foursome (I'm not sure, their pictures / facebook seem to suggest it's a three piece but the three times I've seen them they've been a four piece backed by an exceptional, hard-hitting drummer -perhaps he's just for live-shows) are firmly amongst my favourite new bands.
The live shows point to my excitement surrounding the band, an intoxicating concoction of wholesome noise, a grungy assault of three way guitar fuzz and pounding beats with an added veneer of melodic sheen that's bewitching and brilliant.
Their latest track "Santiago" (from an incredible split record including Echo Lake and The History of Apple Pie released just this week (details and order here) and celebrated with a live show tonight - I'm going) gives a perfect indication, slightly more urgent pacing, led by galloping drum beat, thick guitars and girl group vocals, simply delicious.
Tips for 2012? I hope so, though 2013 will do me just fine. Santiago by Novella.
Lucy Rose has one of those beautiful voices that hits you every-time you hear it. Soft and delicate with a slight husk, it melts your heart with every note.
She returns with her second single 'Scar, released next Monday, 19th September on iTunes. I probably don't need to tell you this if you are familiar with Lucy, but it's absolutely gorgeous. 'Scar' is a gentle, acoustic track which wears its heart on the sleeve, deftly backed by some calming instrumentation, its intimate and melancholic vulnerability is displayed for all to see, stunning.
Expect to see Lucy on endless 'tips for 2012' lists, she'll deserve all the success that comes her way.
I saw Lucy Rose last year at the Borderline and her gentle, sweet voice really struck a chord with me. Textured, warm and overwhelming beautiful, without any releases she's built up a strong following through live shows and some stunning video clips over the past 18 months or so and now she's finally ready to release her debut material.
Her first single "Middle of the Bed" is just heavenly, a melancholic folk-pop track that's a perfect summation of the powerlessness vulnerability of unrequited love, Lucy's mellow voice is the focal point backed by a gentle, acoustic guitar and some clickety-clack (?) percussion. It's a heart-breaking song that will send shivers down many a spine.
The single will be launched with a special gig at London's Cargo on Tuesday July 5th - full details. To warm you up you can download two acoustic tracks for the price address here.
Here is an absolutely gorgeous acoustic track entitled "Night Bus", a perfect antidote to sooth me after a stressful evening of packing for Glastonbury (this is it from me until next Monday / Tuesday... Fingers crossed on the weather front! Review next week).
Actually another one, this is just as good, I am definitely in love. My daughter would love this park, I think I might have to visit soon! If you recognise the male guitarist it's because he was in Razorlight.