The lovely people at the station the BBC wanted to kill but the public wouldn’t let them, 6music, asked a select few (hundred) music bloggers their favourite three artists as we reach 2012′s half way point. On Sunday the 24th of June (6-8pm) they’ll join forces with blogging zeitgeist’ers The Hype Machine and
declare Purity Ring the winner unveil the top 25 artists of the year so far (according to pale white guys who spend far too long on their computers).
It’s always very nice to be asked to participate in these kind of things, but as someone who makes a fine art out of indecision I’m spectacularly ill-equipped to narrow anything down to three. My end of year charts always include at least 200 tracks for this very reason.
After much gnashing of teeth I’ve mostly just gone with the artists my computer informs me I’ve listened to the most. They’re not necessarily tips for the top, just artists I love for various reasons, their lyrics, the beats, the innovation, the anger, or a simply beautiful voice.
Apologies to regular readers for the repeat selections.
THE TOP THREE
Fabiana first appeared on the radar when providing the swoon inducing vocals for Ghostpoet’s “Survive It“ and then a few months ago, “Young Thing” the first of a series of demo’s appeared on her Soundcloud.
it’s got fretless bass on it WOAH. 80′s throwback ting — FABIANA PALLADINO (@fabipalladino) April 22, 2012
Fretless Bass alert! As Fabiana herself put it “Young Thing” has a wonderful 80′s soul feel courtesy of the lesser spotted fretless bass. Not just any bass either, Pino Palladino is her dad. Pino’s bass supplied the bottom end for the entire Neo Soul movement featuring on D’Angelo’s classic “Voodoo“ album as well as Erykah Badu, Bilal and Common.
Fabiana is blessed with a beautiful voice, the song is understated but reels you in and the production has more than a hint of Paisley Park.
New demo “For You” is equally splendid.
Based on the Stone Foxes reworking of the blues standard “I’m a King Bee“ Dolan delivers a polemic statement of intent, “I don’t practice in the mirror, don’t rap to a focus group” over a sound that you’d imagine Rage Against The Machine might be capable of again one day if they ever got off the festival circuit and wrote material new material.
“Still Here” is an ode to his father who passed away after being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010.
THE MELTING ICE CAPS
Despite a Twitter description that reads “Charming London-based laptop chamber pop chanteur“, the debut Melting Ice Caps LP find’s David Shah letting the dust settle on his laptop more often than on the nine previously released singles (most of which are still available for free).
“Keep Both Hands Behind The Cutting Edge“ features the full Ice Caps band and turns a health and safety message “Nobody wants to see your fingertips, Detached from your piano fingers” on its head with a tongue in cheek end barb of “… At least not yet“.
I can’t limit my selection to three so here’s a few more that would be probably be in the top three if you were ask me tomorrow.
JUST OUTSIDE THE THREE BUT WOULD PROBABLY BE IN IT IF YOU ASKED ME TOMORROW
The first Benin City single “Baby” has an odd but charming video (below) featuring Deanna Rodger’s being followed round by a man with a Zebra’s head while the song itself can be filed under bitter-sweet love songs. Its actually far more bitter than sweet, being an ode to fucked up love but delivered with such a slow building beauty and mournfulness that it knocks you sideways.
Starting with just an electronic rumble and Joshua’s voice, by six minutes in drums collide with trombones and sax in a gorgeous soup that recalls the Cinematic Orchestra at their peak. ‘Baby’ is gorgeous and available to download here
While mentioning Benin City I’ve got to tip my hat to the magnificent “Passport” by former band member and now The Kings Will’s leader Musa Okwonga.
Techno, Techno, Techno. A massive dollop of 80′s/90′s Techno nostalgia that’ll have ravers of a certain age reliving getting off their tits in sweaty clubs.
Lone’s fantastic “Galaxy Garden” LP is far more than just a rehash of 808 State or Boards of Canada but it still had me reaching for a 12″ of “The Only Rhyme That Bites” (which may or may not be a good thing).
ENVY / AKIRA THE DON
In Envy, Akira appears to have found something of a musical soulmate, and as the number of collaborations mount up she must be wishing Virgin offered railmiles between Manchester and Akira’s Hackney home – or Nu Olympia as the Don has renamed it. Last years duet “Nothing Last’s Forever“ takes some matching but the tone of “Give Me Something” is very different with Envy taking the lead delivering a heartbreaking tale about the loss of her mum.
The chorus samples Rufus Wainwright’s song about the September 11th attacks, “11:11″ to superb effect (and there’s some Gene and The Only Ones in there too apparently) but it’s the raw honesty of the lyrics that really hit you.
“If I have kids I’ll be gutted they couldn’t meet ya
but ill show them all the pictures of us smiling in Ibiza”
Oh have I mentioned Barbarossa.