Who are the next up-and-coming artists we should get work by now?
As I’m currently in the grips of an all-consuming obsession with Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, which is rendering me almost incapable of enjoying any other music, you have picked a tough time to ask for recommendations. However, casting my mind back a fortnight to the pre-Daft Punk era, I do dimly recall enjoying some other stuff that was Actually Very Good Indeed, most of it from right here in Nottingham, aka The Nation’s Most Exciting And Vibrant Crucible For New Music.
With that in mind, and mindful of my civic ambassadorial duties, I’m going to confine my recommendations to Nottingham-based acts. Let’s start with the earthy hip-hop soul of Harleighblu, whose debut album Forget Me Not is due out in late summer. This is the radio premiere of her first single, “Enough Now” – so good, that the DJ played it twice.
Next up, we have Kagoule, an astonishingly mature trio of seventeen year-olds who take much of their inspiration from early Nineties alt-rock. This track is from their debut 7″ single. You can also read my interview with the band for the Nottingham Post, who ran with the headline “Not Lightweight, Not Foldable”. And how could they not?
On the acoustic singer-songwriter tip, here’s Gallery 47, aka Jack Peachey. Jack is an outstandingly good songwriter, lyricist and guitar player, and this track, taken from his recent giveaway EP Dividends, is one of my most played songs of 2013 so far.
Indiana has sprung from total obscurity twelve months ago, to being possibly Nottingham’s most hotly tipped breakout act. Her songs explore the darker, more dysfunctional side of human relationships. Fuelled by cold-eyed revenge, “Smoking Gun” is her brand new release, although I was tempted to opt instead for her last single “Bound”, a tale of an ingenue losing her innocence in a sado-masochistic love affair.
There’s more claustrophobic darkness to be found in the work of synth/guitar duo I Am Lono, whose love song to Leland Palmer from Twin Peaks is the nearest they get to a four-to-the-floor banger. Here’s my interview with them.
In stark contrast, Injured Birds are a banjo-led troupe, that combine a listener-friendly lightness of touch with meaty lyrics and uncommonly fine vocals. This isn’t a genre in which I usually dabble, but their album is now nearly six months old, and I’m still playing it constantly. Forget your Mumfords, your Lumineers and your Passengers: this is the real deal, folks. (N.B> They are usually a good deal more mellow and reflective than this out-and-out stomper.)
Or, if you fancy some retro-futurist post-Krautrock in 10:4 time – and who doesn’t? – then let me introduce you to Cantaloupe.
I know nothing about Loophole Project – they’re brand new, and yet to perform a live gig – but this track has earned them a place at the finals of the Future Sound of Nottingham competition, which takes place at Rock City on Sunday 7th July. I was one of the four judges for Round One of the contest, and took great pleasure in voting this through.
Fists have been around a few years, but have only just got around to releasing their debut album, Phantasm. It’s out on July 8th, on the mighty Gringo label (as featured in The Guardian a couple of weeks ago). They’re a bloody fantastic live band, too.
Some of Fists also play in Grey Hairs, whose current set-opener “F.S.D.T.” (released on 7″ for Record Store Day) is a testament to just how much can be done with a single chord; so much so, that when the second chord finally drops, it feels like the most exciting moment in music EVER.
Kirk Spencer‘s Wonderland EP offers atmospheric downtempo electronica with Indian, trap and even EDM influences. Unable to pick a favourite track, I’m letting you hear the full EP.
Finally, let’s close this Nottingham playlist with the ever-bewitching Ronika, known far and wide as “the Madonna of the Midlands”. This is her current single, which sits well with our Brave New Post-Daft Punk World.
And there we have it: Notts in a nutshell, surfing on an unprecedented wave of talent, variety and collective good feeling.
Which one of these twelve fine releases was YOUR favourite, oh readers of Uborka?