C. SHIROCK – Stand With Me Tonight

17 Dec

It’s like someone mashed up the ‘Drive’ soundtrack with every love theme from an 80s bratpack movie. The outcome is the divine ‘Stand With Me Tonight’.

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Moonlight Breakfast – Look Up

17 Dec

Somehow these guys are up to album #3 without me hearing them. I have put that to rights by giving new tune ‘Look Up’ a spin. It’s a gorgeous, twinkling bit of appropriately undercooked, minimal electronica. Simple and lovely.

Teases & Dares – Top 50 Non-LP Tracks 2018

15 Dec

And now for the best non-LP tracks of 2018. The rules are a bit loose but it’s basically singles and EP tracks which didn’t feature on an album released in 2018 and are not part of an album already up for pre-order in 2019 (apols in advance for any oversights here!). One track per artist only.  In many ways this list is even harder to put together but here we go and as always I hope you find something you like.

  1. Mt. Si, Annie
  2. Holiday Sidewinder, Leo
  3. Lana Del Rey, Mariner’s Apartment Complex (we have an album title but no pre-order so yes it’s in!)
  4. Chloe Black, Spaceman
  5. Eleni Foureira, Fuego
  6. Hedband & Thorisson, One Night
  7. Florian, Sweet Devotion
  8. Queen Sessi, Never Give Up
  9. Aurora Shields, Only You Can Make Me Blue
  10. Westerman, Confirmation
  11. Kelli-Leigh, Do You Wanna Be Loved Like This?
  12. Millie Turner, The Shadow
  13. Charlotte Qvale, Oslo
  14. Morabeza Tobacco, TTYL
  15. Sandra Kolstad, Halflife
  16. Dmmyy, The Hush
  17. Ora The Molecule, Sugar
  18. MorMor, Heaven’s Only Wishful
  19. Magdalena Bay, Ghost
  20. Scavenger Hunt, Rip Tides
  21. G Flip, About You
  22. Maja Francis, Girl Is A Gun
  23. Vivienne Chi, Blood Brother
  24. Shaed, Melt
  25. Janet Jackson, Made For Now
  26. Fatrat & Laura Brehm, Mayday
  27. Lou Hayter, Cherry On Top
  28. Joyeur, Heartbreak At The Disco
  29. Dresage, Center
  30. Zac Sunset, Rose Gold iPhone
  31. Lovers Of Valdaro, Lost Forever
  32. Chelsea Lankes, Easy
  33. Caitlyn Scarlett x Segal, Nightmares
  34. Tobtok & Adrian Lux & Charlee, As I Sleep
  35. Leon, Baby Don’t Talk
  36. French Horn Rebellion & Jody Watley, Just Werrrk
  37. Roisin Murphy, Jacuzzi Rollercoaster
  38. Yumi Zouma, Crush
  39. Academie, Battles
  40. Britt Rion, Hide
  41. Georgia, Started Out
  42. Purple Disco Machine, Dished
  43. Graace, Kissing Boys
  44. Alice Chater, Hourglass
  45. Storme, Be My Drummer
  46. Marlene & Ji Nilsson, Ear Candy
  47. Miljon, What Does It Take
  48. Peach Body, Boy In Love
  49. Tanners, This Crazy
  50. Calvero, Vanishing Streets

 

Teases & Dares – Top 50 Albums 2018

15 Dec

So here we go! Another incredible year of music and the (almost) impossible task of compiling a list of my most favourites. These lists are always controversial but I try to stay true to how I genuinely feel about each album and place them accordingly. That said, each and every album on this list has brought something different and wonderful to my musical ears and I’m grateful to all the artists for sharing their work with us.

As per last year there is a Spotify playlist with a highlight from each record included. Enjoy and happy holidays to everyone who has teased and dared with me in 2018.

Teases & Dares – Top 50 Albums of 2018

  1. Kim Wilde, Here Come The Aliens

Yep, probably the least surprising placement on the list! Dame Kim came roaring back onto the UK’s musical radar and into the charts in 2018 with an all out sonic assault containing some incredible pop and rock moments. Like any Wilde album, there was depth and subject matter beyond the usual pop fodder. Mental health in young people, internet bullying and deeper questions about the meaning of the life and universe were pondered. Of course there are out and out bops and bangers on this record just begging to be played live and wowzers did they explode when the flawless Wilde band let rip on the biggest UK KW tour we’ve ever seen. My musical highlight of 2018 is undeniably ‘Pop Don’t Stop’ (in the full length album version) – a song which spoke to me like no other; it made me cry the first time I heard it and it has brought light and love ever since that first listen. It’s a simple message regarding the power and joy of pop music and in 2019 boy are we going to need to hold on to that in this crazy world we find ourselves in. The biggest thanks this and every musical year of my life goes to the Wilde bunch.

  1. Kacey Musgraves, Golden Hour

In a non-Wilde year, ‘Golden Hour’ would have been top of any list by a (pop) country mile. Kacey challenged the boundaries of the genre and in the process made a timeless future classic with some of the most divine songwriting and warm production we heard all year. From the roller disco country of ‘High Horse’ to the sublime ‘Oh What a World’ this is a collection of songs from which I will never tire.

  1. Mariah Carey, Caution

Totally didn’t see this one coming. Whilst always a fan of Mariah I doubted 2018 would see a career highlight record from MC. ‘Caution’ is an album from an artist not chasing a hit or on trend rather it’s clearly the record she wanted to make. Tracks like ‘Giving Me Life’ (with Blood Orange) are as experimental as we have heard from Mariah and whilst the album does close with a ballad, ‘Portrait’ is a subdued, dark song which is up there with ‘Petals’ as one of the best she’s written.

  1. Confidence Man, Confident Music For Confident People

The most fun record of the year. These Aussies land somewhere  between Haysi Fantayzee, Scissor Sisters, The Tom Tom Club and The Ting Tings. They totally injected some spark into indie dance and their own routines are as shambolically endearing as the early Bananarama performances. Don’t be fooled though – they know their way around huge pop hooks and this is the album to pop on around 10pm on NYE to really get things going.

  1. Farao, Pure-O

This one is a really luxurious listening experiencing and pretty much unlike anything else on the list. Eastern European disco and vintage synths are the inspiration for this modern indie classic. One of those albums best heard through headphones where you get to pick up a new and intricate little find with every listen.

  1. Lykke Li, So Sad So Sexy

I was nervous about this one before it was released. The rumours circulating at the time suggested this was a significant shift in sound for Lykke and I feared it was one I wouldn’t embrace. I needn’t have worried because Lykke’s unique brand of sad pop loaned itself beautifully to the dark RnB production it meshed with. ‘Two Nights’ is as heartbreaking as anything in her back catalogue.

  1. Jack River, Sugar Mountain

Not since Sheryl Crow’s first three records has an album managed to duck and dive between sounds and genres yet manage to feel like a cohesive record. There are big pop moments as well as festival-ready indie rock anthems and some stripped back to their bare bones. One of the truest lyrics of the year is right there on ‘Ballroom’ – “all these people in the room, and I just want to be alone”. Also – ‘Sugar Mountain’ is a contender for album artwork of the year. I want a very big poster of that on my wall.

  1. Robyn, Honey

Well the wait was worth it on this one. No-one does throbbing electronic pop quite like Robyn. From the pulsating ‘Missing U’ to the delicious ‘Honey’ there is magic everywhere. The more out there moments like ‘Beach2k20’ intertwine quite wonderfully and help make this a short but compelling listening experience.

  1. The Midnight, Kids

At the very peak of their game, The Midnight have spearheaded the synthwave/retrowave movement and have set the bar ridiculously high in terms of attention to detail musically and aesthetically. ‘Kids’ is a nostalgic yet very present set of songs with soaring vocals and quite simply breathtaking production. There is absolutely no novelty element to this – it’s just very, very fine pop music. Coming to UK for live shows very soon too which I am so there for.

  1. Laura Jean, Devotion

My favourite nighttime album of the year. This is the one I go to when I need to clear my headspace. You’ll find some of the most breathtakingly beautiful music of the year on this record – highlighted on the playlist by ‘Northerly’ which transports me somewhere far away although I am not clear where I land. Whilst the record envelopes you like a full warm bath it also manages to very gently unsettle too which is some feat.

  1. Fleurie, Portals
  2. Ariana Grande, Sweetener
  3. Paper Kites, On The Corner Where You Live
  4. Metric, Art Of Doubt
  5. Poppy, Am I A Girl?
  6. Rae Morris, Someone Out There
  7. Amy Shark, Love Monster
  8. Ralph, A Good Girl
  9. Toni Braxton, Sex & Cigarettes
  10. Tracey Thorn, Record
  11. U.S Girls, In A Poem Unlimited
  12. Jenn Champion, Single Rider
  13. Thea & the Wild, Ikaros
  14. Nina, Sleepwalking
  15. Mitski, Be The Cowboy
  16. Beach House, 7
  17. Tove Styrke, Sway
  18. Natalie Prass, The Future And The Past
  19. Janelle Monae, Dirty Computer
  20. Goldilox, Very Best
  21. Kylie Minogue, Golden
  22. Sarah Nixey, Night Walks
  23. Hayley Kiyoko, Expectations
  24. Tash Sultana, Flow State
  25. Sabrina Carpenter, Singular Act I
  26. The Aces, When My Heart Felt Volcanic
  27. The Night Game, The Night Game
  28. All Saints, Testament
  29. Marie Davidson, Working Class Woman
  30. Owlle, Heavy Weather
  31. Alice Ivy, I’m Dreaming
  32. Henry Green, Shift
  33. Christine & The Queens, Chris
  34. Rebecca & Fiona, The Art Of Being A Girl
  35. Maribou State, Kingdoms In Colour
  36. Caitlyn Smith, Starfire
  37. Eves Karydas, Summerskin
  38. St Lucia, Hyperion
  39. John Grant, Love Is Magic
  40. K.I.D, Tired All The Time

Fleurie – Love Has No Limits

9 Dec

Not content with one of the albums of the year (spoiler: ‘Portals’ will feature in my top 50 of the year list coming soon), Fleurie treats us to more new music before 2018 comes to a close. ‘Love Has No Limits’ is her Imogen Heap meets Kate Havnevik moment and yes that means it’s enchanting yet dark and very emotive.

 

Scavenger Hunt – Rip Tides

9 Dec

Yet another flawless single from Scavenger Hunt. ‘Rip Tides’ is dreamy yet powerful 80s tinged pop with top notch production and a swoonsome vocal.

Satin Jackets – Lost In Japan (featuring Niya Wells)

7 Dec

SJ thanks his fans for a fabulous nu-disco year by dropping this free giveaway track. It’s obviously a cover of Shawn Mendes’ recent tune but given the glittery Satin Jackets treatment complete with glossy smooth vocals from Niya Wells.