Portishead - Dummy (1995)
This album came left of centre and was a refreshing side step from the pretty generic Britpop that was beginning to dominate the charts at the time. Portishead’s Dummy really threw me, it was such a fresh, intriguing sound... Dark, melancholic in places and moody, all shades which spoke to me during my teenage years! The album still sounds great today, the sign of a seminal piece of work.
The Invisible - The Invisible (2009)
The Invisible are one of those bands many people have heard of but haven’t actually listened to. The fact they were nominated alongside the likes of Bat For Lashes, The Horrors, Kasabian and La Roux further highlighted the fact that they were a band creating music far removed from many of their fellow nominees. Off kilter yet surprisingly danceable, The Invisible are the type of band who skip to their own beat, managing to step away from the current trends, creating a brand of melancholic, yet uplifting, music that they would build upon, and possibly better, through their brilliant 2012 release Rispah.
Amy Winehouse - Frank (2004) and Back To Black (2007)
As a singer, Amy Winehouse has always been one of my biggest inspirations. Her ability to write heartfelt, harrowing lyrics combined with her musical influences of jazz, crooners and motown are incomparable, in my opinion. I actually never realised that both Frank and Back To Black were nominated and how neither of them won it is beyond me. The latter obviously being her more famous album but Frank I think is equally as important. It shows Winehouse at her most unpolished and unsure and the more I listen to this album, the more I fall in love with it.
Leftfield - Leftism (1995)
A fresh exciting album that was a game changer in a lot of ways. Leftfield were one of the most innovative dance artists to come along at the time and for an album like this to be produced and stand out in 1995 when it was one of the strongest years for new music is testament. The production on this is stunning and the ideas behind each song are mindblowing.
The Klaxons - Myths Of The Near Future (2007)
Described as acid rave sci-fi punk funk, Klaxons have churned out an eclectic mess of indie party anthems over their tenure in the spotlight. The album Myths Of The Near Future was released the same year that I turned 18, so I vividly remember hearing the single ‘It’s Not Over Yet’ in every indie and alternative club night that I began to attend whilst growing up in the Midlands. This album was full of energetic mayhem from start to finish, incorporating electronic synths that lifted your mood with every listen, alongside fast paced drum beats that made the whole room spontaneously dance. The rigorous feel and nature of Klaxons has never left me and I continue to compare bands to their electronic fuelled energy to this day.
PJ Harvey - Rid Of Me (1993)
In my opinion, one of the most important albums ever made, PJ Harvey's Rid Of Me is a barrier-breaking, era-defining creation that continues to set the bar for what an innovative rock LP should be. Today, twenty four years after its initial release, it is as powerful as ever. Those distinctive gritty, impassioned vocals and thrashing riffs that shine through in tracks such as 'Man Size' and '50 Ft Queenie' get me every time and, as Polly Jean repeatedly howls "Hey, I'm king of the world", I can't help but agree. She continues to be an immense presence in the world of music, and a role model to many, as this album continues to stand out as one of the best ever made.
Check out our Mercury Nominees playlist below:
So, if you're thinking of heading over to Glasgow Green this weekend, be sure not to miss these three acts:
Scottish indie four-piece The View celebrated the 10th anniversary of their debut album Hats Off To The Buskers with a 10th anniversary limited edition vinyl release for Record Store Day earlier this year.
Since their debut, the band have gone on to release five albums in total, 2015’s Ropewalk being their most recent release, produced but The Strokes’ Albert Hammond Jr. and Gus Oberg. The band have been praised for their trademark indie rock style that has matured through their last five releases but has never succumbed to music’s ever changing fashion trends.
Glasgow based four-piece The Van T’s have imposed their reverb-laden brand of alt.rock upon the musical landscape over the past twelve months or so. Their relentless sound has resonated on both sides of the Atlantic; picking up impressive support both at home in the UK and Europe as well as some of the most notable North American tastemakers. The Van T’s continue their impressive run of releases with their raucous new single Fresh Meat, out now via LAB Records.
Be Charlotte are fronted by teenager Charlotte Brimner who is already regarded as one of the most prestigious and cutting edge songwriters on the Scottish music scene, illustrating a rare ability to transcend genres with ease; incorporating pop, hip-hop, beatboxing, electro and indie pop, crafting unmistakable soundscapes that are as playful as they are poignant. Tackling social issues her listeners can easily identify with, Be Charlotte creates vibrant, captivating music while skilfully integrating intelligent, affecting songwriting.
FUCK ART, LET’S DANCE!
They were on the ABoF roster a few years back and I’m still in love with this band. Catch them on Thursday, 18th May at Sticky Mike's Frog Bar at 2.30pm and at Latest Music Bar at 1.15pm.
Honey Lung have kind of creeped up on me in the last 6-months and I’ve dug everything they’ve put out so far. These guys are great. Catch them at Bleach on Friday, 19th May at 8.30pm.
I’ve got a major girl crush on Noga Erez - such a talented musician and producer! Catch Noga Erez at Komedia Studio, Friday 19th May at 10.30pm.
One of Scotland's most exciting talents, Be Charlotte have been making waves all over the world with their innovative sound. A sound that incorporates pop, beatbox, hip-hop, indie pop and electro. Their live performances are electric and certainly one worth catching at TGE. Catch be Charlotte at at the Brighthelm Centre on Thursday 18th May at 3.30pm and at Komedia Studio on Saturday 20th May at 1.15pm.
Indie folk singer songwriter has such a poignant, ethereal sound. Her delivery has a purity and grace that effortlessly pulls you in. There is a fragility to her voice that allows Maria to create a well of emotion through every single lyric she delivers. Catch Maria Kelly at The Hope & Ruin on Thursday 18th May at 1.45pm.
The garagepop vibes flowing from female duo Gurr is a must see at TGE. Lo-fi chiming guitars and vocal harmonies akin to 80's female pop heavyweights of the past blend together to create catchy melodic contemporary indie rock. Catch them on Thursday, 18th May at Sticky Mike's Frog Bar at 3.30pm and at Green Dorr Store at 9.15pm.
This girl's haunting voice is absolutely stunning. Already a huge hit in her home country Ireland, she is definitely one to watch for 2017.Catch Aine Cahill at One Church on Friday, 19th May at 10.30pm.
I stumbled across this band completely by accident but I'm so glad I did. Hailing from Perth, Australia, these guys are full of energy, bolshy guitars and all around fun. Catch them on Thursday, 18th May at Komedia at 12.50pm, on Friday 19th May at Bleach at 10.30pm and again on Saturday, 20th May in Patterns at 12.50pm.
I've been following Amelia Murray aka Fazerdaze for a while now and am so glad to see that she's back in Brighton for The Great Escape. Bedroom dream-pop at its best. Catch them on Thursday, 18th May at Queen's Hotel at 1.30pm and again at The Arch at 11.30pm.
The Van T’s
They are going to be huge. Their melodies, tenacity, musicianship in general and approach to what they do is notable. I look forward to see them in stadiums serving people their dinner. From Scotland and probably in the top 10 bands playing Great Escape this year. I am far from biased, this is a true story. Catch them at the Brighthelm Centre on Thursday 18th May at 2.30pm and again at Sticky Mike's Frog Bar at 7.30pm.
Everyone is talking about Sigrid. The Norwegian artist has the hooks. She is like a Robyn for the next generation. Norway is producing some of the best music in the world right now and she illustrates why. This is quality pop. Lyrically, this is also a strong two fingers up at everyone in your life you need to get rid of. It’s defiant and beautiful. Catch her on Thursday, 18th May at Coalition at 8pm and again at Wagner Hall at 4.30pm on Friday the 19th.
My favourite band of 2016. They fill a really big gap in terms of harsh, relentless alt rock. Every single song they have released is a banger. From Newcastle and two of them used to be in the incredible Let’s Buy Happiness. I thank God they are doing well, as they are guitar music, they are new ambassadors for guitar music and they show guitar music is far from dead. Catch them live on Friday, 19th May at Horatio's at 8.15pm and again at 7.15pm on Saturday, 20th May.
L. A Salami
Lookman Adekunle Salami conveys poetic words and emotional messages through the beauty of folk and soul. I first heard of him in 2014 when he released ‘Nazi’s on the Northern Line’ and since then never questioned his ability to produce such beauty through creative story telling. Melancholic tones like his are what attract me to folk music and make me want to write in a similar vein. Catch him at the Fender Paramount Stage on Thursday, 18th May at 2pm and again at the Unitarian Church at 9.30pm.
There aren’t many British bands that give me the same ‘feels’ as Wild Front. They create emotional music that swings towards an american influenced sound - ambient and lo-fi whilst being boisterous and epic from song to song. Wild Front are obviously a band that has spent some time together musically and deserve all the attention they’re getting at the moment. I hope they continue to do what they do. Catch them at The Hope & Ruin on Thursday, 18th May at 3.15pm.
Ever since I first heard the eerie harmonies and rhythmic sounds of ‘Deep Green’ I’ve been hooked on Marika Hackman. I haven’t had a “pop crush” on anyone since the Avril Lavigne days (get over it I was 12/13), but this girl just oozes talent and a sense of coolness that only perspires from the greats. Her new single ‘Violet’ is one of her best yet as Marika tends to have a great ear for unusual harmonies that send shivers down your spine. I would love to see this girl live! Catch her at Paganini Ballroom on Thursday, 18th May at 8.15pm.
I recently saw the Cardiff collective of awesome women supporting The Orielles at The Social and was completely blown away! I just can’t get enough of their smooth soulful vocals, gorgeous grooves, utterly flawless harmonies and empowering vibes. Catch them on Friday at Latest Music Bar at 2.15pm or Jubilee Square at 7.30pm.
Following the success of last year’s EP Are We There Yet?, Amsterdam-based artist Pip Blom has received acclaim from the likes of Huw Stephens on Radio 1 and a whole load of love and multiple airplays from BBC 6 Music’s Marc Riley. I just love her jangly, lilting melodies and scuzzy vocals. She'll be playing on Friday at Komedia at 2.30pm and Brighthelm Centre at 8.30pm
I recently heard a live session with the Scottish band on Marc Riley's show on 6 Music, and it was love at first listen. Creating epically catchy, twinkling indie-pop anthems oozing the distinctive, sultry vocals of Carla Easton, they're definite ones to watch this year. They'll be live at Brighthelm Centre at 12.15pm on Friday and in Jubilee Square at 2.30pm on Saturday.
Check out our Spotify playlist below:
Mew - Frengers (1LP)
Unbelievably released fourteen years ago this month, Frengers is still an absolutely cracking album that I still listen to today. Mew are one of my favourite bands and I think this record still stands up today despite the band cultivating a more mature, honed sound as they have progressed through each album.
Sugar - Copper Blue (3LP)
Sugar’s enduring presence on the alt-rock scene and the bands it spawned is borne out through this timeless record. Led by Hüsker Dü’s Bob Mould, Copper Blue is a fantastic record from start to finish with tracks like ‘Changes’, ‘A Good Idea’, ‘Helpless’ and ‘Hoover Dam’ not only standing out, but illustrating their influence on contemporary alternative rock bands.
Baby Metal - Metal Resistence (V12x2)
This is Baby Metal’s second album, which was released last year. I’m a sucker for a massive riff and I’ve been quite secretly captivated by the Japanese metal idol band since their debut in 2014.
Coheed & Cambria - Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV (x2 LP Vinyl)
The first time I came across Coheed & Cambria was the video for ‘Welcome Home’ on MTV2 (yes, when MTV actually played alternative music!). I didn’t know quite what I was listening to but I liked it and I’ve got a major soft spot for an epic rock tune (being a huge Queen fan, would you expect anything less?). I thought I’d inject a little prog into ABoF’s RSD list - bring the metal!
The Cribs - Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever (LP)
I’m not that up to speed with The Cribs’ newest material, but this album was the first I’d heard of them and definitely played a part in the soundtrack of my teenage years. Filled with jangly guitars and that signature noughties indie sound, I will always feel nostalgic listening to this record. Personal favourites include ‘Girls Like Mystery’, ‘I’ve Tried Everything’ and ‘Ancient History’.
Mungo’s Hi Fi ft. Johnny Clarke - Rain Keeps Falling (7")
I was introduced to Mungo’s Hi Fi when I was at university as they were quickly becoming regulars on the Brighton live circuit. These guys always put on an incredible show and have collaborated with some awesome artists. This new release with Johnny Clarke, from what I’ve heard, sounds like another feel-good reggae tune with Johnny Clarke’s smooth, warm vocals blending in perfectly. Summer needs to hurry the hell up now please!
Goldie - Inner City Life (12")
I was and am obsessed with Bjork, and through being a fan of her I was turned onto Goldie back in 1995. I then started to develop a really big love of trip hop and drum n bass in general. This is a seminal track and really made a lot of people sit up as did his album Timeless. It seemed to bridge the gap between the mainstream and the more underground and sometimes harder to access aspects of the drum n bass genre. The fact that there is a Burial remix of this as well on this release just makes it a must buy.
Super Furry Animals - International Language Of Screaming (7" Coloured Vinyl)
I have a tattoo of this band on my foot. That’s how much I love them. They are quirky, colourful, clever, funny, dynamic, innovative and one of the best bands to ever have come out of the UK. End of.
The The - You Can't Stop What's Coming (7")
Ever since I heard the song ‘Uncertain Smile’ from the 1983 album Soul Mining, I knew I’d fallen in love with The The. Their unusual mix of new romantic '80s reverb and world instrumentals, along with vocal melodies that are easy to repeat, You Can’t Stop What’s Coming can’t come soon enough for me.
Pineapple Express (Various Artists) (2x12"LP)
This movie is definitely in my top ten comedies of all time and the soundtrack certainly does it justice. With absolute classics like Eddy Grant's ‘Electric Avenue’ and Cypress Hill’s ‘Dr. Greenthumb’, you go on a journey with Franco and Rogen into “Stonerville”. Grade A baker's paradise.
Elastica - Elastica (LP + Flexidisc + Fanzine)
Although I was only ten when this album was originally released, classics such as ‘Connection’ and ‘Stutter’ accompanied my teendom and beyond, with ‘Waking Up’ becoming somewhat of a personal anthem over the years. I think Justine Frischmann and co. first came to my attention when I saw ‘Waking Up’ on an episode TOTP, with none other than Damon Albarn appearing on keys/posing; and that was it – I was instantly in awe of the immense sense of cool that oozed from the three guitar-wielding women on stage.
The Duke Spirit - Serenade (12" EP)
Having been a long-term fan of The Duke Spirit (but falling even more in love with them since being blown away by their completely captivating sets at Field Day and The Scala last year), it would be pretty dreamy to own this EP on vinyl. Filled with four sweeping, cinematic creations, including the utterly beguiling title track, this EP showcases front-woman Liela Moss' enthralling power perfectly. Plus it's pink. A must have.
The View - Hats Off To The Buskers (1LP)
Filled with one catchy indie-rock anthem after another, the debut album from Dundee's The View is now a decade old. To celebrate, the band are re-releasing this exclusive version on transparent vinyl, with limited edition original artwork to match. Originally hitting the number one spot in the UK charts in 2007, the album introduced the world to the band’s upbeat, observational indie-rock and frontman Kyle Falconer’s signature youthful energy and proudly emphatic Scottish vocals. So, put on some old jeans and turn this up loud.
It's that time of the month where we at A Badge of Friendship are here to give you a taste of what we're listening to. Whether in the office, on public transport or in the comfort of our own homes, here are the tracks that we, the ABoF team have had on repeat for the past month or so. Finally, 2016 is over and we can start getting on with our lives and make a fresh start as 2017 can’t get any worse than last year, which is why (at least in my head) I’m optimistic about this year and the music yet to be released.
Here are some great tracks that we named our top picks for January:
Homeshake - Every Single Thing
Jay Som - The Bus Song
Spoon - Hot Thoughts
WHY? - Proactive Evolution
Antonio Williams // Kerry McCoy - Dark Denim
Pile - Texas
Beach For Tiger - Black Buddha
Penelope Isles - Cut Your Hair
Loyle Carner - Damselfly
Agnes Obel - Its Happening Again
Bonobo - Bambro Koyo Ganda feat. Innov Ganda
Sleaford Mods - BHS
Blond Maze - Antarctica
Dream Nails - Deep Heat
Young Romance - Wasting Time
The Shins - Name For You
Japandroids - No Known Drink Or Drug
Wilsen - Centipede