Macklemore and Ryan Lewis feat. Ray Dalton – Can’t Hold Us

 

You know a song’s popular when it’s gone viral, and the music released afterwards is always subject to comparison and often finds it  hard to live up to its predecessor. Macklemore, however, doesn’t have any problems in this department. Each of his tracks have gained huge online recognition, accumulating millions of hits and a forever expanding army of followers. ‘Can’t Hold Us’ was released as a third single from a collaborative album working with Ryan Lewis and features some soulful vocals from Ray newbie Dalton.  This latest track is proving to be just as popular although it’s hard to believe it’s the same guys who complained about paying 50 dollars for a t-shirt.

 

Katy Jones

London Grammar – Wasting My Young Years

 

London Grammar are a young London 3 piece 21st century band (computers instead of guitars). They’ve been touted by all corners of the music media as “the new xx”. Their songs are regularly played on primetime avant-garde Radio 1 DJ’s shows. Despite this I somehow had managed never to hear a song by them and beyond the xx comparisons, diagnosis I had no idea about what they actually sounded like.

 

The first thing that hits you is the singer, erectile Hannah Reid’s voice. It’s rather beautiful and commands the song’s direction, shifting from gentle crooning into a powerful and strong, if subdued, battle cry.

 

Around the voice the song gradually builds up from straight up 70’s ballad to polite trip-hop euphoria. The Piano transforms from shy twinklings to soft house chord stabs as deep heartbeat bass drum, soft snare drum marches and violin swells surround us.

 

The song also feature amazingly xx-like sunset reverby guitars throughout, which certainly helps to add wood to fire of comparisons between the 2 bands.

 

‘Wasting My Young Years’ is a great song no doubt about it. There’s nothing particularly new or exciting about it, but as an xx substitute it’ll certainly suffice.

 

Jake Gibbon

 

Disclosure feat. Eliza Doolittle – You & Me

 

The Lawrence brothers are seriously showing up the rest of the competition. At the ripe ages of 22 and 19, Guy and Howard have been making waves breaking the UK Top 10 Singles Charts with nearly every single release since their breakthrough ‘Latch’, which featured the stunning vocals of Sam Smith. Not too long after the fantastic ‘White Noise’ rode high in the charts beyond even the guys’ expectations, comes ‘You & Me’ featuring Eliza Doolittle. While the track itself feels very Disclosure, with catchy repetitive drum beats and electronic fiddlings, the use of Doolittle is one that certainly turned a few heads. Known mostly for her 2010 debut album which felt like ‘Lily Allen does bubblegum pop’, she seemed a unusual choice to guest on a Disclosure track. However, ‘You & Me’ really brings something out in Doolittle many didn’t realise she had. Bringing a real soulful vibe to a typical house track, it might not be something you’ll be hearing a lot in clubs, unlike its predecessor White Noise, but it is something that would fit right in your Summer playlists.

 

Chris Taylor

 

The 1975 – The City

 

Let me start this review by simply stating that, mind right now, I can’t get enough of this band. This might put me in an unethical position to write a review, but I’ll try my best to not seem too biased. Manchester band The 1975 have recently released the follow up single to their top 20 hit “Chocolate”. “The City”, originally released in 2012 as a part of their debut EP “Facedown”, combines the synth and guitar pop that made “Chocolate” such a hit. However the former seems to be lacking something, and I can’t quite tell what, that made “Chocolate” as exciting and refreshing. Lyrically, “The City” adheres to The 1975’s common theme of sex and drugs, much like the rest of their tracks. Fans of this band will not be disappointed by this re-release, although there is a big chance that you might already have heard it on Radio 1. While this might not be their best work, it does go to show how much the band has improved in the space of just a year, and is hopefully a sign that they will go on to bigger and better things.

 

Calum White

 

Jamie N Commons – Rumble and Sway

 

The presence of this American-influenced British songwriter first grabbed my attention when his short, but rhythmically hard-hitting ‘Lead Me Home’ made an appearance in a scene of the popular zombie apocalypse drama ‘The Walking Dead’. With sounds that resemble blues singers from a previous decade, it was difficult to digest the news that Jamie was in fact British born, but it is the influence of the American culture he emerged himself in during his early years that really stands out in his gritty E.P ‘Rumble and Sway’. The track itself is arguably the standout song, and differs on many levels to that of ‘Lead Me Home’; with its concoction of brass touches and toe-tapping lyrics that you can’t help to tap along to. It seems to me that it’s a track specifically crafted to pick up any mood and simply make you smile about the fact that such soulful, talented and timeless music still exists in days where the majority of music is dominated by overrated, talentless fame seekers. Recently supporting Frank Turner on a leg of his American tour, Jamie N Commons looks to have a bright future ahead, and if this E.P is anything to go by, there could well be a masterpiece just around the corner.

 

Robbie Campbell

 

Hot Natured – Reverse Skydiving

 

With the days getting longer and Beer Gardens starting to fill up I think it’s about time we all start getting our play lists ready for summer. ‘Reverse Skydiving’ from Hot Natured will definitely be making it’s was straight onto my list. Their third single, order features vocals from Anabel Englund who provides an inviting and seductive feel to the lyrics which add to the spacy, healing weightless feel of the song, a strong bass synth leads throughout with a lush breakdown in the middle mixing things up a bit.

 

Hot Natured are definitely a group to look out for and after their live debut at Brixton Academy, the first dance act since Leftfield to do so, they are really getting off on the right foot. With a number of festival dates lined up this season I wouldn’t be surprised if this track slipped into your summer tunes as well.

 

A proper class Deep House Song.

 

Richard Anderson

 

 

The Courteeners – Van Der Graff

 

The new single from the mighty Courteeners’ 3rd album ‘ANNA’ released late in 2012, ‘Van Der Graff’ is a tune that goes out to anyone marking their own way. The title comes from another Manchester band, ‘Van Der Graff Generator’ but why the Courteeners have chosen the 1967 progressive rock band to be the core of their song baffles me slightly. The more I listen to the song the more I feel that the fact both bands formed whilst the band members were still studying in Manchester (the Courteeners started out in college, Generator at University) when they formed perhaps gives this song its inspiration.

 

ANNA as an album is an excellent follow up to their cracking previous albums ‘Falcon’ (2010) and ‘St Jude’ (2008) the band have wisely chosen to stick to what they know of good old rock’n’roll themes and anthem tracks suited to be chanted by any festival or gig crowd. Van Der Graff is a slower, more melodic track on the album, the lyrics of pining ‘I don’t need you in my life, but I want you tonight, Van Der Graff’ perhaps is a hint to looking back, back to an earlier time such as when Van Der Graff Generator were doing the same gig circuit the young Courteeners found their fame on.

 

The entire album is a must have for any existing or new Courteeners fan, or fan of other rock/alternative bands such as The Libertines or The Holloways. By sticking to their rock roots, and linking to an older rock band of the past, the Courteeners have done the impossible and outdone themselves again with this new album and accompanying singles.

 

Georgie Murray

 

Theme Park – Ghosts

 

Theme Park are yet to disappoint their record label Transgressive Records, remedy producing upbeat hit after upbeat hit. I’m yet to find someone who, sales on the basis they like some form of alternative music, dislikes this band. The band consist of a simple drums, bass vocals and guitar set up, giving the perfect vibe you’d want accompanying pretty much any situation, however I personally would prescribe them especially to Summer adventures and powering out those last few paragraphs of an essay that’s due the next day.

 

The song itself ties in beautifully well with their debut self-titled album which the band are currently touring Europe with. It’s the band’s 4th single release and given the standard of the past 3 (their name maker Milk, Two Hours and Jamaica) it had a lot to live up to, but the toe tapping-tropical feel to this track makes you want to listen to it over and over again. The track itself is trademarked by the aspirational lyrics of times gone by, a ghost of a loved girl.

 

I myself don’t tend to look too deeply into lyrics unless the song demands it, this song leaves it open for you to decide. It’s one of the most uplifting songs on the album, sure to brighten anyone’s day.  I thoroughly recommend the single and the whole album to anyone who’s a fan of Friendly Fires, Alpine or any kind of rock-tropicana-folk….if that’s even a genre. A great summer chill out tune, from a great summer chill out album.

 

Georgie Murray

 

Spectacular student radio from the North

Is that not enough?