18 year old chanteuse looks set to make 2015 hers!
Sea Creatures three minutes of fantastic dream pop. At 18 years SOAK, Birdie Monds-Watson, is wise beyond her years, and her song writing showcases this. Lyrics such as “They don’t know what love is, Throw it around like it’s worthless, They don’t know what love is!” and “I pray for you, And you know I don’t like Jesus!, Want you to get better… , Please, please get better, For you, for me” show her understanding of the human condition and what it means to love. I can’t think of another set of lyrics written in the past year that have affected me like these.
The track opens with the sound of the sea, when the music kicks in; it follows the ebb and flow of the tide. SOAK’s vocals rise and fall with this pattern. At times Sea Creatures resembles Ben E. King’s classic Stand By Me, but this isn’t a bad thing, as it never pastiches the original.
SOAK is getting some major attention after being included in the BBC Introducing 2015 list. Let’s hope that it isn’t long before SOAK becomes a household name and her song writing is lauded for honest interpretations of life and society. Runour has it that her album is on the way and this this, and last year B a noBody is anything to go by it looks set to be included on 2015’s end of year lists. SOAK is definitely one to watch!
Prolific lo-fi producer shows us a glimpse into his psyche with new album
Miguel Baptista Benedict’s music over the past few years has affected more than almost anyone else’s. The way he combines sounds and textures is unlike anyone else. Since 2008 he has released over 25 albums. Some of them are little more than sound sketches, others are cohesive pieces of work, that tell a story. 2013’s Super(b)-Child-Ran, released on Brainfeeder, is a perfect example of this. Using simple instruments, and production techniques, he created something, that even now, still gets me. There is something about this album that I can’t get over. Each time I play it, it’s like the first time. I still have no idea what some of the songs are about and I’m sure my ideas about the others aren’t right, and the next time I play it (possibly today) I’ll get something else from it. It’s truly a brave and captivating album.
This week sees the release of Benedict’s new album meek(ch)o. Clocking in under the half hour mark it’s thirteen tracks are full of Beneditct’s trademark analogue/digital production. Third track Maik displays this in abundance. Guitars slot in seamlessly with haunting synths, repetitive beats and dream/nightmare like vocals. Busk contains a swirling loop that engulfs the mix, but just under something bubbles, slowly builds and pushes through until a simple, but emotional guitar takes over and pushes the track in an unexpected direction. Surf Face sounds like an unused track from the Akira soundtrack. It’s murky and slow building drum intro, gets bathed by swaths of synths, until its abrupt conclusion.
meek(ch)o is one of the surprise releases of the year. Considering its experimental nature, the album is an enjoyable listen, but it’s not immediate and has to be given repeat plays. However once it’s code has been cracked, and once it’s secrets have started to be yielded, each play you notice something new and the album, like its predecessor, starts to take on a life of its own. Congratulations Miguel Baptista Benedict you’ve just made the end of year list.
Number four with a bullet Ed
This week’s number four in the chart is Ed Sherran with his latest offering. Sticking to form, it’s another bore-fest. I don’t mean to jump on the Ed-Bashing Band wagon, but this is pretty dull. I totally understand that Ed’s vibe is heartfelt, emotional ballards, but c’mon Ed! Where is the inventiveness? Where is the cleverness? This sound’s like it could have been a bad Britpop b-side in the 1990’s.
Sadly this isn’t the most worrying about the track. The fact that it’s number four (last week’s number two and previously number one). This is a worrying sign as it shows that the British public, have, well let’s face it, bad taste in music. If this was once our most popular song, it shows that instead of embracing the musical diversity that has been going on for the last few years, we’d rather play it safe and go for something that we’ve heard before, and was done better then.
There is another more comforting reason for this slow burners rise to the summit of the charts. Perhaps, perhaps it was a slow music week in the run up to Christmas? Something has to be number one right? So why not let Ed have his moment in the Sun after another ‘successful’ year? Sadly I don’t buy this 100%. I had a sinking feeling Ed would have been number one anyway. Come on England, pull your finger out. Next year let’s try and have a better selection with our high charting singles!
Lo-fi home recordings alienated fan originally, but make the perfect soundtrack to a Sunday
For years I was very anti-The Boss. It had nothing to do with my parents over playing him in the car on holidays. Far from it. We’ve never spoken about him, but I don’t think they are that bothered. I didn’t have his music rammed down my throat by housemates at uni either. Nor did any of my friends ever have an obsession with him growing up. But somehow I’d just got in my head that, to put it short, he wasn’t very good. This is an opinion I held for years. Then something happened. I heard this album and I finally ‘got it’.
Nebraska was recorded and in 1982 on a basic four-track recorder. Originally the tracks was meant to serve as demos to show the rest of the E-Street Band what his new material was like. However after hearing these stripped versions Springsteen really liked this new sound and direction and decided to release them as his next album.
When they album was originally released it divided opinion. Fans and critics weren’t prepared for the Boss sounding this intimate and stripped back. Over the years though the albums true beauty and importance has been understood. Stripped back albums weren’t anything new in 1982, but they were for Springsteen. After a run of loud and fun albums the Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle, Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town and the River an acoustic lo-fi album wasn’t on the cards.
So this leads me to today. I woke up in a slightly reflective mood. I wanted to listen to something that wasn’t going to be jarring. I originally thought a bit of Philip Glass was in order, but at the last minute I thought better of it, as he can be, well, a bit hypnotic, psychotic and grating if you aren’t in the mood. I then thought about Kate Tempest-Brand New Ancients and Tom Waits-Nighthawks At The Diner, but while they are fine albums that suited my mood, they were a bit too long. In the end I decided on Nebraska. It was a fitting album for the day. If there is a better way to start a Sunday then I need to be told about it. This is an album that I recommend everyone to hear at least once. It shows a great artist and song writer at the height of his powers. The fact that he chose to make an album that was the opposite of what people were expecting should be commended and praised.