Best albums of 2015: 40 to 31

AOTY 2015 40-31 college: Oshun, Years & Years, Sherika Sherard, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis (1448x815)The countdown continues with Disclosure, Songhoy Blues, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis and two rising stars from different sides of the Atlantic.

40. Disclosure – Caracal
39. Marina and the Diamonds – Froot
38. Kitty, Daisy & Lewis – The Third
37. Belle & Sebastian – Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance
36. Songhoy Blues – Music in Exile
35. Years & Years – Communion
34. Oshun – Asase Yaa
33. Sherika Sherard – Just Saying
32. Gengahr – A Dream Outside
31. Everything Everything – Get to Heaven
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Sherika Sherard – Just Saying review

Sherika Sherard, 09, by Daniel Quesada (1920x1080)Jake Bugg has got nothing on Sherika Sherard. She doesn’t go about attempting to convince people of her musical authenticity. Because she is authentic, that’s who she is. This London-born singer-songwriter caught the attention of thousands – myself included – when a video of her busking went viral in 2014. Since then, her music has taken her around London and beyond UK shores. Her debut album – crowdfunded by her early supporters, and produced and mixed by Phil Holloway – represents a triumph for independence and authorship, even if the end result could use some technical adjustments. Continue reading

Sherika Sherard review – destine for big things

Karamel, LondonSherika Sherard at Karamel, London, Apr 01, 2015 by Aaron Lee (3264x1836)The more Sherika Sherard plays, the more it feels like she is destine to capture the hearts of thousands – if not millions – the way her viral song, ‘Give Me a Job’, has done. Call it conjecture. Call it quadruple-S (subjectively succumbing to singer-songwriters) syndrome. But no other acoustic soul singers are capturing London, and tales of its inhabitants, at the stop-motion pace of this songstress from the south side of the River Thames. Continue reading

Singer-songwriter: the label of authenticity that’s lost all meaning

Jake Bugg, Brussels, Apr 30, 2012, by Kmeron / Vincent Philbert, 01 (2048x2394)What goes through your head when you hear the term: singer-songwriter? Is your mind filled with images of ginger-haired Ed Sheeran, innocent Nina Nesbitt and boyish-looking George Ezra? Or perhaps passionate Laura Marling, the watchful Bob Dylan or a smiling Carole King?

All of these musicians are frequently described as singer-songwriters. But the degree to which they are responsible for the creation of their songs – in other words, songwriting – is where the real distinction lies. Continue reading

Music acts to watch in 2015

Sherika Sherard, Southbank Centre press 01 (1024x576)For the mainstream and specialist music press, the annual ones to watch lists are a bit like betting horses for the Grand National. And, of course, they are bets that come with a sneaky bit of insider knowledge as well as a healthy dose of experience and independent judgement.

Apart from avid and discerning music junkies, most people aren’t going to stray beyond the round-up on their preferred media outlet of choice (BBC Sound of, The Guardian, London in Stereo, DIY, Gigwise, Pitchfork, Stereogum, Bonafide, Mixmag, Time Out London, Fact, Loud and Quiet, Echoes, Wax Poetics, The Wire, The Quietus, Pigeons & Planes, Consequence of Sound, The Line of Best Fit, et al). See what I mean?

So expect to hear plenty more about already pipped acts, such as Deers, Shura, Years & Years (this year’s BBC Sound of winner), Aquilo, Raury, Låpsley, Soak, Girlpool, Tei Shi, Coasts, Genghar, Shamir Bailey, Tkay Maidza, Vaults, Sinead Harnett, Rae Morris and Layla.

But for those of you that still aren’t satisfied, here are eight recommendations for 2015 that will give you something else to enjoy alongside this year’s track favourites. Continue reading