Fifteen For 2015 #14 - Sophie Jamieson


Another returning 'tip' and an act I've talked about so often on these pages I could almost be accused of turning stalker fan. Sophie Jamieson has long been a huge favourite on these pages and next year when her latest EP drops, the quartet are sure to see their ever increasing number of admirers further grow.

Their latest single "Take" signals a bigger progression to Sophie's intimate songcraft than ever before. Now tackling beautifully constructed, experimental rhythms and spiraling guitarscapes far and beyond her beautifully affecting solo material (that's not to say those tracks aren't still wonderful, see "Waterloo" or "Ode to the East" for proof).

Earlier single, spring's wonderful double A-side single Stain/Other hinted at as much. "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. "Other", a fully realised beauty which highlights her bands influence more than ever. A stark, haunting drip feed of emotion. 

Aside from the EP, I'm not sure what else Sophie has in store for us in 2015, hopefully some more live shows, they've been too sparse of late and the universal acclaim that she so richly deserves follows.. Perhaps 2015 is still too soon for that album, I'll keep on waiting...

Sophie Jamieson #8 - Take

SJ Press Pic Backup.jpg

I doubt I need to reaffirm my love for the music of Sophie Jamieson on these pages. I've spoken at length before about the stunning progression made from what began over two years ago as the solo project of shy singer-songwriter to what we have on their (the quartet, recording under Sophie's name) new single "Take". Here then, I'll simply tell you it's fantastic to have witnessed it from a relatively close distance.

"Take" is brilliant. I don't know if you can call a track that's full of bitter resentment about a doomed relationship enjoyable but the compelling, bold experimental rhythms and shimmering soundscapes here are effortless and immersive, spiraling around Sophie's most aggressive vocal yet, releasing all her built-up emotion in a final burst of anguished desperation. 

"Take" is released as a single on December 8th, with an EP due next year. Sophie plays London's Sebright Arms on December 9th - details - see you there.

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!!

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)

Sophie Jamieson #7 - Other


Those of you who fell in love with Sophie Jamieson's "Stain" upon its release a few weeks ago, prepare to be excited / blown away all over again with the release of the tracks sister song "Other"...

The track can be seen as a continuation of "Stain", the two songs begging to be heard in unison (and for that reason I've included "Stain" again below), effortlessly entwining together and tackling the same subject matter from a different point of view. The result is similarly exquisite, a stark, haunting drip feed of emotions that touches long and hard.

Armed with such incredible songs and a genuine, kind character it fills me with great pleasure to see Sophie getting the recognition her hard work deserves. If you haven't already, you really should be downloading this beautiful single now - you can do that here.

Sophie (as ever) has lots of gigs coming up including a must-see show next week at The Slaughtered Lamb with Wilsen, followed by a slot on the BBC introducing stage at The Great Escape. See you there.

Sophie Jamieson #6 - Stain


I've left this track a couple of days since my return from holiday (if you call running a marathon that, I suppose I do) on purpose, for the simple reason that just about every blog I follow (that's the dozen or so in the right-hand column of this page) has posted about this track already.

Sophie Jamieson has soon become a real favourite of mine, a progressive near-to London based singer-songwriter who has developed before my eyes (and ears) with a beguiling blend of tug at your emotions lyrics, luxorious voice and haunting, swelling instrumentation. The latest result of their (Sophie Jamieson, now referring to a quartet) hard work (and I mean hard work, Sophie must have played around 200 gigs since I first discovered her about eighteen months ago) is the quite exquisite "Stain".

"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 song I talked about back in February, then a live take for Sofar Sounds and now a full realised beauty which highlights her bands influence more than ever (I'm sure I'll be revisiting it when a public stream is made) and is available now on iTunes via Luv Luv Luv Records.

Sophie Jamieson #5 - Other


Last Friday, this blogs fine blogging chum Robin over at Breaking More Waves (along with Adam at Alphabet Bands) did a charity blogathon - what that entitled was basically writing blogs (and all that it entails, checking emails, research etc) for 24 hours straight (I assume toilet breaks and coffee were allowed!). I've not had chance to digest all of the results yet but one that jumped right out of the page was a new track from one of my favourite new artists Sophie Jamieson...

The track "Other" is a live version of a new song (which from seeing Sophie live before Christmas I think I am right in saying is one side of a forthcoming double a-side single - don't take that for gospel though) and highlights the startling progression I've talked about here before.

Now expanded to a full quartet with the addition of ex-Fanfarlo drummer Amos Memon (live UK band dates to follow soon) "Other" combines the original traits of Sophie's music; beguiling vocals, tug at your heart intimacy and finger-plucking acoustic with those increasingly becoming her's, a haunting blend of atmospheric guitar shimmers and now swelling percussion, the use of space and emotion here is quite extraordinary and the result can do nothing but bring goosebumps. I love it.

Tips For 2014 #9 - Sophie Jaimeson


There's been a trend within these tips for a soft, emotive voice full of devastating song-craft and the next pick Sophie Jamieson is no exception...

I first discovered Sophie some eighteen months or so ago now as a bare-boned solo folk artist making tracks across London with a beautiful, contemplative
sound of intricate guitar plucks and a beguiling, pure vocal. Her progression since has been startling, working with Ben Walker on her magnificent debut EP Where released in June through (half) his Folkroom Records, it saw the addition of some haunting, shimmering soundscapes and an increasing maturity to Sophie's music from an artist who'd just left university.

Even though her sound has progressed from that of a sole singer-songwriter there's still a spellbinding simplicity throughout, tracks like the EP's closing "Ode To The East" is delicately delivered but truly moves you, clutching at seldom found feelings with a delivery that oozes with genuine emotion. "Dinah" was Sophie's breakthrough track and is equally timeless, a restrained, slow-motion acoustic waltz that plucks at your hear-strings and leaves you with a warm, evocative feeling of beauty. A genuine folk flag-bearer for the future.

Sophie has a few more gigs yet this year including one at The Slaughtered Lamb (the venue I actually last saw her at her launch show) supporting Bella Union's Sumie on December 11th - details.