Monday, 1 February 2016



Promise is the fourth album from Emily Wells, a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and songwriter from Texas, USA. The new LP follows up her previous albums 'Beautiful Sleepyhead & The Laughing Yaks', 'Symphonies: Dreams, Memories & Parties', and the most recent from 2012 - 'Mama'. This latest record is the first to come out through Emily's own Thesis & Instinct Records.

As you might expect from someone who started in music as a 13 year old, where she wrote, produced, played, and released everything herself, there's many influences and styles that can be found on this album - from classical, folk, and electronica, Promise has little boundaries. The album's lead single is 'You Dream Of China', but for us its the middle tracks of the record that really stand out with 'Pack Of Nobodies', 'Take It Easy', 'Come To Me', and 'Fallin In On It' flowing effortlessly.

In total there are 11 tracks on this album, with the shortest coming at just under the 4 minute mark - meaning there's a lot for the listener to take on board. That's part of the beauty of 'Promise', there's a journey to be had, whereby you get to know these intimate songs which aren't necessarily going to grab you straight away, but with some time and effort you can really appreciate the work Emily Wells has put in here. It's a body of work that must be incredibly personal for her, and to share that with the world would have been daunting, but ultimately it's a significant release and her strongest to date.

Monday, 25 January 2016



Punching Swans are a London 3-piece with two albums ('Punching Swans' / 'Mollusc') and a split EP ('Mr Insipid') under their belt, all through the Medway record label Skingasm Records (Medway refers to the Kent area if like us you didn't know that!). This year the band are releasing their third record 'Nesting' digitally and on a hand numbered limited edition CD/Book run of just 30.

Nesting is an impressive collection of 10 tracks which fit neatly within that often forgotten noses turned up at strand of rock - math (or noise or art) - which basically means I'm meant to use phrases like 'angular guitars' and 'off kilter song structures', you know the drill here. So let's try not do that, instead lets focus on an album that at times is sonically challenging yet is ultimately damn rewarding.

Self produced by guitarist/vocalist Greg Webster, Nesting begins with 'Cuckoo Cuckold K-killed' instantly thrusting at you from numerous angles - the groovy beat, biting guitars, and varied vocals. This is just the starter though as 'Man Nest' really gets things going with it's incessant snarl not letting up throughout it's 2 minutes length. In fact that tempo and direction doesn't drop throughout the album with frenetic drumming of Pablo Paganotto and intensity from bassist Joe Wise

'Ovulations' and 'Beak Throat' are perhaps the more easily accessible of the opening tracks, cleverly placed midway through the album to enhance the others. 'Headless Chickens' carries on the bird theme of the album, 'Kiwis' sounds so much like The Fall its uncanny, and similarly lead single 'Pecked To Death' is traipsing into Pulled Apart By Horses territory. Nesting finishes with Flight which must be the closest Punching Swans get to a pop song, with the dual vocals and slightly less caustic guitars helping to finish the album on a high.

Nesting is out now, whilst you can catch Punching Swans on a UK tour in January/February.

Monday, 18 January 2016


We didn't do our regular 'Future Sounds Of'' post last year, after we produced ones in 2010, 11, 12, 13, 14, so I guess last year we were being lazy or something, and I'm so sorry, really. Anyway let's forget about 2015 now though as it's time to reveal Music Liberation's Future Sounds Of 2016!

Junk Son - A one man band from London (we say band as when Junk Son plays live there's another 4 members) who's real name is John Dunk, a graduate from the music uni of Goldsmiths (James Blake et al), that plays new wave pop with layers upon layers of lush electronic samples, beats, and synths. We've been hooked ever since we caught him supporting Ghostpoet on his UK Tour last year.

Petite Noir -  Yannick Llunga aka Petite Noir released his debut album last year through Domino Records titled 'La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful'. Personally it was one of my favourite albums of the year which seemed to surprisingly miss a lot of 'top 10' album lists. However with a UK/European tour on the horizon I have high hopes that the 25 year old South African will break through in 2016.

Jaws - A Birmingham 3-piece who blend nostalgic indie pop of the 80's with their own modern day ideas, Jaws released their debut album in 2014 with 'Be Slowly', and will follow that up this year with a new record. The first single 'What We Haven't Got Yet' builds upon their previous work, sounding bigger, more confident, and ever so ready to propel the band to pastures new.

Vodun - A band that describe their sound as 'Afro, Heavy, Psych, Soul' are always going to grab our attention! Vodun come from London and have recently become the first signing to a new label - Riff Rock Records. Their debut album is due to be released in March and after having a sneaky listen we can tell you it's an absolute corker! Produced by Tom Dalgety too. Yeah that's right!

Thursday, 14 January 2016


Music Liberation is once again pleased to be supporting the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition, which today revealed the first details behind this years event.

Glastonbury Festival has today announced details of its EMERGING TALENT COMPETITION 2016, which will give new UK and Ireland-based acts of any musical genre the chance to compete for a slot on one of the main stages at this year’s Festival.

The winners of the free-to-enter competition will also be awarded a £5,000 Talent Development prize from PRS for Music Foundation to help take their songwriting and performing to the next level. Two runners-up will also each be awarded a £2,500 PRS for Music Foundation Talent Development prize. 

Acts from any musical genre can enter the 2016 competition FOR ONE WEEK ONLY from 9am Monday 18th January until 5pm Monday 25th January 2016 via

Recent Emerging Talent Competition entrants include hotly-tipped R&B singer Izzy Bizu (a 2016 BRITs Critics’ Choice and BBC Sound Of 2016 nominee) and fast-rising young rapper Isaiah Dreads. Last year’s winner was singer-songwriter Declan McKenna, who has since signed a management deal with Q Prime, who also manage Metallica, Muse and Foals.

To enter, acts will need to supply a link to one original song on SoundCloud, plus a link to a video of themselves performing live (even if it’s only recorded in a bedroom).

Once the entries are in, a panel of 40 of the UK’s top music writers will help compile a longlist of 120 acts. The longlist will then be whittled down to a shortlist of 8 artists by judges including Glastonbury organisers Michael and Emily Eavis, before the live finals at Pilton Working Men’s Club in April decide the winning act. In both 2014 and 2015, all eight of the finalists were offered slots at that year’s Festival.

Says Glastonbury co-organiser Emily Eavis: “New music has always been a huge part of what we do at Glastonbury, and the Emerging Talent Competition has become an incredible way for us to discover - and help draw attention to - the very latest talent.

Vanessa Reed Executive Director of PRS for Music Foundation says: “This is a brilliant opportunity for up-and-coming music creators from across the UK to get vital support at an early stage in their music careers, to develop their talent and also perform at the iconic Glastonbury festival. We’re looking forward to seeing which talented new artists apply.

Friday, 8 January 2016


Some exciting news to kick off 2016 with, as for the 5th year running Music Liberation has been chosen as one of the judges for the annual Emerging Talent Competition at the world renowned Glastonbury Festival.

We'll be able to reveal more details on this years competition next week, for now have a look at the story behind last years event, whilst you can listen to 2015's winner Declan McKenna below.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016


We are pleased to help reveal the top 5 acts from this years Blog Sound Of 2016, along with this year's winner - Mura Masa. We'll be revealing who Music Liberation voted for in the next week or so in our Future Sounds Of 2016 post.

From the longlist of 15 revealed in December, the artists who scored the most points were:

1st Mura Masa
2nd The Japanese House
3rd Aurora
4th Aquilo
5th Loyle Carner

Mura Masa is Alex Crossan, a 19 year old electronic producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist originally from Guernsey. His tracks such as Firefly, Love For That and Lovesick F*ck have all been hugely successful on blog aggregator Hype Machine and he has gained millions of plays on Soundcloud. This is the first time in the history of the Blog Sound poll that a male artist has topped it.

Many thanks from Music Liberation to Robin over at Breaking More Waves for once again organising this years Blog Sound Of poll.

Monday, 21 December 2015


1. Turbowolf - Two Hands

'Two Hands', produced by Tom Dalgety (Royal Blood, Band Of Skulls, Opeth), comes full loaded with riffs aplenty, delivered with a real swagger and enthusiasm from a band that have clearly always had the talent but finally also now have the platform to deliver and showcase to the world!

2. Mo Kenney - In My Dreams

In My Dreams is a confident, thoughtful, and wholly satisfying collection of tracks which contemplate each other, and ultimately lends itself to an enchanting listening experience. Lead single 'Telephones' has some lovely harmonies, whilst you'd be forgiven for thinking that 'Untouchable' was sung by some big band diva such is the power and rawness that comes out. It's not all about the vocals though, Mo is a very talented guitarist and this is evident throughout this record.
 3. Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

'Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit' is an absolute delight and showcases an artist in Courtney Barnett who is clearly making the strides and sounds that refreshingly she wants. Barnett has an interesting vocal style, half spoken word, half sung, but always delivered with a clear sincerity. Her lyrics tell stories and are full of life anecdotes and humorous one liners. Aside from the humour though there's humility and honesty to her work, revealing intimate sides to her character which are hard to not get swept up by.
 4. Pigs - Wronger

The 11 tracks that make up Wronger are an uncompromising collection of noise rock - drawing upon hardcore and punk, as well as moments of psychedelia, instrumental, and math rock. Pigs sound pissed off, and although that anger and aggression clearly comes out through their music, there's also a certain groove to their songs and a feeling that this isn't just noise for noise sake. Each track has an identity and a meaning, with the dynamics the group are able to create leading to a comprehensive and powerful listening experience, none more so than on the album's final track, the near 8-minute long 'Donnybrook'.

 5. Torres - Sprinter

With the 9 tracks on Sprinter coming in at over 45 minutes that gives you an indication that the songs have time and space to breath and envelope you, with much to be had on repeated listens. The album is heavy and tender in equal measure, basically Torres has yet again wowed us!

6. Farao - Till It's Forgotten

We first picked up on Farao (Kari Johnson) earlier last year with the release of her self titled EP through Something Nothing Records. We were suitably impressed with that effort and so therefore the arrival of her debut album 'Till It's All Forgotten' has been high on our 'must listen to' list. Imagine a Radiohead and Bat For Lashes type equation and you'll be getting somewhere close to how this album sounds. It shimmers and moves effortlessly between tracks, with genres and ideas blurred together creating something quite special and rewarding on those repeated listens!
 7. Heyrocco - Teenage Movie Soundtrack
The ten track album is released through Vital Music Group (Old Flame Records in the states), and it sees the band put together a highly energetic, well-constructed, and ultimately well received debut record. There are pop hooks aplenty throughout Teenage Movie Soundtrack but there's also some rather meaty guitar parts which allow for an appreciation of both elements.

8. Warm Brains - Big Wow

'Big Wow' is a wide ranging album that spanning 14 tracks and touches the 45 minute mark. There are clear reference points along the way, most notably 90's brit pop or indie, with the vocals in particular giving off that sort of vague, uninterested style that many of those bands of that time were adept at. That however is just a smokescreen on this album, with Attwell almost using the vocals to slide his clear song-writing talents under the radar, as his songs offer great melodies, adept anecdotes on life in 2015, and some quite experimental song structures. There's a lot going on and it's fair to say that Big Wow is an album that may require a little work from the listener to unlock its secrets, with multiple listens a probable requirement, but trust us it really is worth it!

9. Marika Hackman - We Slept At Last

'We Slept At Last' was produced by long term collaborator Charlie Andrew (Alt-J), whilst the booklets with each CD/Vinyl versions feature a series of images taken by California photographer Glen Erler. The album begins with 'Drown', which is the opening single from the record, and is a perfect introduction to a contemporary folk album that has equal nods to the past, present, and future incarnations of the genre. Marika's softly spoken voice is perfect for the haunting music and ideas she creates, and over the album's twelve tracks you can easily lose yourself as the record swirls around amongst a combination of ghostly guitars and keys, with my favourite track and example of this being 'Open Wide'.

 10. Algiers - Algiers

Algiers are a 3-piece from Atlanta, Georgia, who earlier this month released their self titled debut album through Matador Records. The 11 track album provides a platform for the bands political commentary which is underpinned by a collection of post-punk, gospel influenced, highly thought out songs, that when listened to as a whole body of work really lends itself to a challenging yet highly rewarding experience.

Thursday, 3 December 2015


We are pleased once again to help reveal the longlist for this years Blog Sound Of 2016 poll. It's an interesting list this year, the first time in the 5 years that none of our chosen artists have made the final 15 longlist, make of that what you will! As a side note we're pleased to see the reformed Mt. Wolf appear again after making the 2014 poll and abruptly spiting up, we've got high hopes for them in the new year. We'll reveal our picks in early January in our Future Sounds feature. For now here's Robin from the Breaking More Waves site who can explain more about this years list.

"The Blog Sound of 2016 is a poll of UK based bloggers to determine the most popular and favourite emerging acts among those polled.

The aim of the Blog Sound of poll is identical to the BBC Sound Of list; it attempts to showcase new and emerging artists, but it differs in so far as many of the voting bloggers do not work in the music industry, they are simply fans who have a passion for writing about the music they love. In previous years the Blog Sound poll has identified a number of acts such as Alt-J and Bastille that didn’t feature on the BBC list, and has been slightly ahead of the game, featuring the likes of Wolf Alice a year before they appeared on the BBC Sound of list. Each year there is also some cross over with the BBC list and this year is no exception.

For the 2016 poll 58 music blogs each voted for their 3 favourite acts and the top 15 of those acts form the Blog Sound of 2015 longlist. To qualify for a vote any act chosen must not have had a UK top 20 single or album, either in their own right or as a named collaborator prior to 6th November 2015.

Here’s some of the data from the voting:

  • This year 142 acts received at least 1 vote from the 174 total votes cast, showing that the UK music blog scene has a wide range of taste.
  • This years voting was the closest and broadest ever – the winning act only received votes from 8.5% of the 58 voters.
  • The vast majority of acts chosen were UK based even although the bloggers could choose acts from any part of the world. There are no American acts on the list, although there are acts from other European countries.
  • One of the acts on this years longlist (Mt Wolf) already featured on the the Blog Sound of 2014 poll, but then promptly split up. Now reformed they find themselves once again on the Blog Sound of 2016 list.
  • 5 of the acts on the BBC Sound of 2016 also appear on the Blog Sound of poll, namely Billie Marten, Loyle Carner, Mabel, Mura Masa and Nao.
  • Jack Garratt, winner of the BBC Introducing Award, Brits Critics Choice Award and a nominee on the BBC Sound of Poll didn’t receive one vote from the voting blogs, even although he qualified. However, last year Garratt almost made the Blog Sound of 2015 poll, missing it by just one single vote and finishing in sixteenth position. This is probably because bloggers no longer consider Garratt as emerging.

The full longlist is:

AQUILO - Calm sounding electronic pop duo from Silverdale, Lancashire.
AURORA - Norwegian singer who covered Oasis for the John Lewis Christmas advert.
BILLIE MARTEN - Yorkshire based acoustic singer songwriter.
GEORGE COSBY - London based singer songwriter with a deep voice and brooding songs.
HAELOS - A band who describe their music as dark euphoria
LISS - Four piece from Aarhus, Denmark who make slick sounding pop.
LOYLE CARNER - A spoken word artist with his own unique confessional style.
MABEL - The daughter of Neneh Cherry who is producing her own brand of soulful pop
MURA MASA - An electronic producer and multi-instrumetalist originally from Guernsey
MT WOLF - A reformed band who also featured on the Blog Sound of 2014 longlist.
NAO - Solo singer who mixes funk, soul and electronic sounds in her work.
PLEASURE BEACH - Indie rockers from Northern Ireland
THE BIG MOON - London based four piece alt rock / indie band
THE JAPANESE HOUSE - Amber Bain's solo project of electronic ambient songs
YAK - Energetic rock group with elements of punk, garage indie and psychedelic blues

The most voted for and top 5 acts on this longlist will be revealed on the 5th January 2016.

The blogs that voted in this years poll:

A Pocket Full Of Seeds, A World Of Music And Madness, Across The Kitchen Table, Alphabet Bands, Beat Surrender, Bratfaced LDN, Breaking More Waves, Brighton Music Blog, Buzz Unlimited, Cruel Rhythm, Chord Blossom, Daisy Digital, Dive, Details Of My Life, Dots And Dashes, Drunken Werewolf, Digital Shuffle, Echoes And Dust, Electronic Rumors, Encore Northern Island, Even The Stars, Faded Glamour, Get Into This, Get Some, God Is In The TV, I Love Pie, Just Music I Like, Kemptation, Killing Moon, Little Indie Blogs, Love Music: Love Life, Metaphorical Boat, Monkey Boxing, Music Liberation, Music Like Dirt, Music Umpire, Neon Filler, Not Many Experts, Popped Music, Pursuit Of Sound, Rave Child, Record Rewind Play, Scientists Of Sound, Some Of It Is True, Spectral Nights, Sweeping The Nation, Synth Glasgow, The Blue Walrus, The Devil Has The Best Tuna, The Electricity Club, The Evening's Empire, The Mad Mackerel, The VPME, This Must Be Pop, Thoughts On Music, Too Many Blogs, What If I Had A Music Blog, When The Gramophone Rings