Xylaroo – Sweetooth review

Xylaroo are Holly and Coco Chant: two sisters making marvellously imaginative music which draws from an exotic cocktail of musical influences. The two sisters have lived in half a dozen countries, including Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka, before settling – for the moment – in Canning Town, London. Their debut album, Sweetooth, is a journey that’s profoundly broad, wildly original and downright delicious on every level. Continue reading

Best albums of 2015: 30 to 21

AOTY 2015 30-21 college: Courtney Barnett, Wolf Alice, Flavia Coelho, Leon Bridges (1448x815)In part three of this year’s albums round-up, we have old-new soul man Leon Bridges, the ethereal excellent of Wolf Alice, the everyday empress of garage rock Courtney Barnett, a whole lotta funk, and a Brazilian funkstress that is more than a match for Shakira’s hip-shaking.

30. Mark Ronson – Uptown Special
29. Florence and the Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
28. Wolf Alice – My Love is Cool
27. Flavia Coelho – Mundo Meu
26. Earl Sweatshirt – I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside
25. D’Angelo – Black Messiah
24. Leon Bridges – Coming Home
23. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
22. Jazmine Sullivan – Reality Show
21. Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators – Happiness in Every Style
Continue reading

Jam of the Week: Gwenno – Chwyldro

Gwenno Saunders, press photo (672x372)It feels as if cultural preservation has been central to Welsh music for probably as long as Welsh speakers realised their language is in danger of disappearing. Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys has said in the past that the band’s early albums were a way of keeping the Welsh language alive. Continue reading

Tunage: Pearls Negras – Nossa Gang

Pearls Negras, press photo, 2014 (724x408)Brazilian hip hop doesn’t get much of an airing outside of its Latin American homeland and diasporas. A real shame, because the rappers and beat-makers of the Rainbow Nation have plenty to offer.

Pearls Negras, originally from Rio’s Vidigal favella, are a proud example. This female trio, now based in London, is serving up attitude-filled, baile-funk (the dance music borne of Rio’s nightlife) for the party goers who arrive fashionably late and aren’t afraid to tell the host to “bow down”. Still in their teens, Alice Coelho, Jennifer ‘Jeni’ Loiola and Mariana ‘Mari’ Alves rap with a fiery confidence that comes from growing up fast in the often unforgiving slums of their hometown. The beats are punchy, bearing similar elements to soco or bashment (Rihanna comes to mind; though the trio’s own non-Brazilian influences include Beyoncé, Ciara and Nicki Minaj). Continue reading