Anohni – Hopelessness review

Hopelessness is the first album from independent musician Anohni, who was previously known as Antony Hegarty of the pop group Antony and the Johnsons. It’s an album that’s heavily political, but it is also intensely beautiful. Continue reading

Laura Mvula – The Dreaming Room review

Laura Mvula’s powerful and nuanced Sing to the Moon was a remarkable album made even more remarkable by the fact that it was her debut. Her second album doesn’t manage the all-out excellence of her first time, but it still a superb album in its own right that shouldn’t be missed. Continue reading

The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It review

If you thought The 1975 were just another group of tween heart-throbs, think again. This Manchester band certainly have a legion of teenage followers, but they are also responsible for a sizeable chunk of genuinely innovative alternative pop and rock reaching mainstream audiences in the last few years. The running time of their second album is almost as long as its unpronounceable name. Thankfully, it’s also surprisingly splendid.

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Skepta – Konnichiwa review

It’s been hard to miss Skepta’s latest album this year, even if hip hop isn’t your thing. The independent rapper has lead the long-overdue acceptance of grime as one of UK music’s most influential movements, and was also the surprise winner of the 2016 Mercury Prize.

Skepta’s Konnichiwa is a stonker that puts you in the mood to skank and flex like there’s no tomorrow. Continue reading

Kano – Made in the Manor review

Hip hop artist, Kano, is one of the UK grime scene’s godfathers. He’s had hits such as ‘Typical Me’ and ‘This is the Girl’, and has appeared on albums by Chase & Status, Gorillaz and many more. Made in the Manor is his fifth album, and pulls no punches in reaffirming the MC’s greatness. Continue reading

Jam of the Week: Speech Debelle – Running

speech_debelle_breathe_ep_1200x675Corynne Elliot is Speech Debelle, a singer and spoken word artist from London. At the time of writing, I have only heard a handful of songs from this innovative wordsmith and winner of the 2009 Mercury Prize.

Since winning the auspicious British music award, Speech Debelle has repeatedly been discussed in a negative manner as an example of a recent artist who has not gone on to huge commercial success. In other words, favourable commentary about her is difficult to find – in the main, at least – unless you seek it out. That’s hardly fair. Especially because Speech Debelle is an artist of serious poise and verve, as this week’s chosen jam demonstrates. Continue reading

Is the Mercury Prize 2013 shortlist ‘too commercial’?

Laura Mvula in WFUV studio, by WFUV (Apr 2013) (585x329)

If it was any other awards ceremony, commercial success would be applauded. But it’s the Mercury Prize, so, naturally, it’s another reason for the pundits to get their soapbox on.

There are no obligatory ‘token’ albums from folk and jazz acts this year. And no indie starlet, sneaking in at the last minute to become the bookies’ favourite – as The xx and Alt-J have done in the past. Continue reading