Jam of the Week: Beyoncé – Formation

Beyonce - Formation_music video still 01 (951x535)So the internet’s been steaming about Beyonce’s new song ‘Formation’, and its accompanying music video this week.

This “black consciousness” anthem is seemingly a direct response to the racial tension that has flared monstrously across the United States in the last two years. Continue reading

Jam of the Week: Nick Brewer – Never Say Never (ft. Sinead Harnett)

Nick Brewer - Never Say Never single (2480x1395)Nothing brings the summer months back like a hot collab’. Leytonstone-born rapper Nick Brewer has joined Sinead Harnett for an exhilarating appetiser for the summer in the form of ‘Never Say Never’. Continue reading

Jam of the Week: Throwing Shade – Hashtag IRL

Throwing Shade - Hashtag IRL single (1200x675)This week we learned that social networking monolith Facebook is still making ludicrous amounts of money – despite some of us being over it, and many others just seeing it as part of the furniture. So-called “social media” can have plenty of benefits, but it’s also a distracting, unforgiving cesspit, full of trolls, acquaintances you don’t actually know and random people lusting for approve by way of subscriber numbers.

London producer and radio DJ Throwing Shade knows this, and she isn’t a fan. Continue reading

Jam of the Week: Kanye West – No More Parties in LA (ft. Kendrick Lamar)

Kanye West - No More Parties in LA single (640x360)“I know some fans thought I wouldn’t rap like this again, but the writer’s block is over” hollers a defiant Kanye West on new single, ‘No More Parties in LA’. The ever-opinionated rapper shrugs off criticism of his recent eccentricities, and his last album, Yeezus – which critics loved, but some fans detested – with this dangerously confident track. This is West returning to the funk loops of his early records, courtesy of Madlib, and the effect is immediately enticing. Continue reading

In memoriam: David Bowie

David Bowie mural, Brixton, Jun 22, 2015, by Maureen Barlin (1920x1080)News that David Bowie, the musician, fashion iconic and eccentric innovator, passed away today, after an 18-month battle with cancer, has shocked the world.

As I write, tributes continue to be posted by millions on social media, and if all the Bowie obituaries and editorials that have appeared in the last 12 hours were printed out and pasted together there could well be enough paper to cast a tether into space to rescue Major Tom. Continue reading

Hinds – Leave Me Alone review

Hinds 2015 press photo 01, by Salva Lopez (1920x1080)What do you get when you cross four ordinary-looking girls, with crappy smartphone photos of nights out and amateurish, yet endearing, home recordings? You get Hinds (fka Deers): a girl group enthralled by the garage rock of Mac DeMarco, Ty Segall and the Black Lips. While their intentionally rough sound presents an approachable façade, debut album Leave Me Alone is more fuzz than punk rock originality. Continue reading

Various Artists – 30th Century Records Volume 1 review

30th Century Vol_1 - custom, banner, background grey (1440x810)Long-time fans of musician and producer, Danger Mouse, will know that his musical palette is as wide as his hair is big. 30th Century Records is a brand-new imprint label set up by the Mouse to look for “things that I like or that I connect with in some way that maybe other people are not”. This inaugural release features 11 unknown, or barely known, artists, and is a stimulating appetiser to what 30th Century may bring us in the months and years to come. Continue reading

Best albums of 2015: top 10

AOTY 2015 10-1 college: Ghostpoet, Andreya Triana, Little Boots, Blur (1448x815)Here we are: after 40 albums, we’ve reached 2015’s top 10. Before we get to the albums themselves, allow me to briefly reflect on the year that was and what it meant for music.

In more ways than one, 2015 has been a year of conservatism: UK voters elected the Conservative party for its second consecutive term; acts of terror have caused many to adopt conservative, even prejudicial, attitudes towards those that do not share their skin colour, beliefs or culture; and, in the world of music, known quantities continue to attract the most marketing dollars, media attention and consumer sales. On the surface, it would seem that the nonconformists, the mavericks, the idealists and those that would dare to dream have all been ignored.

Accept they haven’t. From the millions of artists and creators honing their talents and sharing them with the world via the numerous online avenues, to musicians and technologists combining their expertise to change the business of music royalties, and perhaps make it easier for people to make a living off of their creativity in future, 2015 has been a year of perseverance.

Hopefully these final 10 albums will express what I mean by that, each in their own way.

10. Ibeyi – Ibeyi
9. Benjamin Clementine – At Least for Now
8. Little Boots – Working Girl
7. Blur – The Magic Whip
6. BadBadNotGood & Ghostface Killah – Sour Soul
5. The Skints – FM
4. Ghostpoet – Shedding Skin
3. Denai Moore – Elsewhere
2. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly
1. Andreya Triana – Giants
Continue reading