Friday, 28 December 2012

MUSIC LIBERATION TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2012

Here's this year's top 10 albums list from Music Liberation. Whilst we didn't quite get to review all of the albums we'd have like to have this year, I feel the records we did get to were all really strong and as a result it was a difficult but wholly enjoyable process of narrowing down the final list you see before you. Hopefully you'll discover something new here you might have missed this year, and at the bottom of the post we also mention those albums we really rated but didn't quite get round to reviewing. 2012 has been a superb year for new music and fortunately for us it only looks like continuing into the new year and beyond. 

Thanks for reading, listening, and engaging with Music Liberation this year, we'll be back in 2013 slightly fatter, older, and in some cases greyer, but we'll promise to keep up our desire to review and support the best in new music from across the globe. If you'd like to submit your music to us then please head here, and if you'd like to join the team and write some reviews then go here.

Cheers! x

Jon Sidwell (Editor)

1. Tall Ships - Everything Touching // Reviewed by Jon Sidwell


"Tall Ships have been on our radar for quite some time now, with us first covering them back in March 2010 with a review of their self titled EP. The trio from Falmouth (now based in Brighton) are signed with the impressive Big Scary Monsters, and Everything Touching is their debut record out as a split release with Blood And Biscuits...Everything Touching is quite possibly one of the best albums you'll hear all year, you just don't know it yet, and for that matter, neither do I, yet. You see this is a complex album which requires several listens to really grasp the depth of ideas this band have put forward over the ten tracks. Some moments are instant, others might take a while longer, but I'm deadly sure that at some point the penny will drop for all...To sum up this album I'll use a vastly overused word - EPIC."

   

2. Cloud Nothings - Attack On Memory // Reviewed by Clive Rozario


"Just listen to the opening couplet of 'Attack On Memory' – and you'll barely recognise them. 'No Future / No Past' is slow-burning, moody alternative-rock – not a million miles away from Pixies, with grumbling bass and eerie whining building to an exhilarating last minute in which Baldi screams “no future, no past” repeatedly. Darker, angrier, and a damn lot better than anything Baldi has written before. However, the second track 'Wasted Days' is not just the best song of their career, it's the best alternative song of the last few months. At nearly 9 minutes, it's much longer than anything else on the album, but it never feels excessively strung-out. Starting off as a simple garage-punk number with a massive vocal hook, it soon gets stuck into a progressive, vocal-less groove, with bubbling sonic textures and climbing, post-hardcore guitars. It’s sprawling, but the climb is never without precision, and the heavy conclusion features Baldi's best ever vocal performance – barking-then-screaming “I thought I would be more that this” over and over with some mighty, mighty passion. It is huge."

 

3. Negative Pegasus - Looming // Reviewed by Moker

 

"It’s a giant of a record; greater than the sum of its rackety and screeching parts, greater even than the crazy trio that fused it all together in a seaside lab full of smoking, bubbling liquids in glass beakers. The twisting, rich guitar riffs dance around horrendously huge staccato rhythms in some kind of punk / dance insanity that that gives zero fucks to what genre it may or may not fit into, whilst echo-drenched vocals occasionally wail out between the ensuing carnage...Look, whatever, it’s stunning. Words are limited, music is infinite and this is one of the most exciting records in years. It it self indulgent? Yes. Is it inaccessible? Most probably. Is it genius? No doubt. Think Holy Fuck. Think Sleigh Bells. Think World’s End Girlfriend. Think about every electro-punk-rock crossover that you’ve had the displeasure of hearing and then listen to an entire genre being saved by an epic, breath of fresh air that is this album. Inspired, passionate, adventurous and uncompromising, music really doesn't get much better than this."

 

4. Beat Culture - Tokyo Dreamer // Reviewed by Jon Sidwell

 

"Released earlier this year through Bad Panda Records, 'Tokyo Dreamer' is the new album from 17 year old South Korean Sunik Kim. Going under the moniker of Beat Culture, this exceptionally talented young man is already onto album number two, after releasing his debut LP 'Goldenbacked Weaver' in July of last year when he was just 16. His new record, 'Tokyo Dreamer', is a collection of 10 tracks which demonstrates Beat Culture's impeccable knowledge and skills in electronica...The songs that make up Tokyo Dreamer have a great deal of complexity to them and yet somehow Beat Culture seems to make it all sound so simple, and for any audio fan its literally like food for your ears. Taking inspiration from the likes of Burial, James Blake, Fourtet, and Gold Panda, Beat Culture fuses a range of electronic styles such as dub, hip hop, house, and breaks, to create songs which not only get you moving, put you in a really fucking good mood, but can also transport you wherever you'd like to go."

 

5. Hysterical Injury - Dead Wolf Situation // Reviewed by Jon Sidwell


"Dead Wolf Situation is the debut full length album from Bath's Hysterical Injury, a band that should need little introduction to you Music Liberation regulars...My favourite song on the album is 'Bitch's Balls' (great title), a track which starts stripped back but is slowly added to with a growing intensity, made up of wild guitars, prominent drums, and far out vocals. Concluding with the monstrous 'Rainbow Thunderclap', the 'Dead Wolf Situation' experience is one that leaves you feeling part exhausted, part overwhelmed, part enlightened, but in the end wholly satisfied and entirely captivated. As debut albums go its certainly sets the bar high, which will not only challenge those bands around them, but also will surely push the Hysterical Injury onto even greater things in the future. A thought which I hope you'll agree is more than tantalising..."


 

6. Citizens - CTZNS // Reviewed by Clive Rozario

 

7. Whirr - Pipe Dreams // Reviewed by Sarah Rayner

 

8. Grimes - Visions // Reviewed by Sarah Rayner

 

9. Luke Ritchie - The Water's Edge // Reviewed by Jon Sidwell

 

10. Mia Sparrow - Mee-Ah-Spar-O // Reviewed by Jon Sidwell


Some records we missed, but deserve a mention:-

Desolated - Verse Of Judas
Egyptian Hip Hop - Good Don't Sleep
Exlovers - Moth
Hold Your Horse Is - Frimley
Kyla La Grange - Ashes
Lucy Rose - Like I Used To

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas 2012 : First Aid Kit - Blue Christmas

Merry Christmas from all at Music Liberation! Here's First Aid Kit with this years song, their cover of 'Blue Christmas'.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

MUSIC LIBERATION - TOP 10 EP'S OF 2012

1. Ninetails - Slept And Did Not Sleep // Reviewed by Jon Sidwell

"Slept And Did Not Sleep is gloriously experimental but still retains a clear melodic and accessible edge. Comparisons could be drawn with the likes of Wu Lyf, Foals, Late Of The Pier, and Everything Everything, but really Ninetails have their own independent sound. You'll pick up different things on each listen of this record making it a real joy for the ears every time. The potential for this band on a full length release is quite tantalising, as is the impact these songs must have on a live audience."


2. Wolf Alice - Wolf Alice // Reviewed by Jon Sidwell

"This debut self titled EP from Wolf Alice has a really strong 'feel good' quality to it, with plenty of summery vibes emanating throughout amongst a lush futuristic far away sound-scape . It's perfect for dipping in and out of as the dreamy folky pop songs carry you whether you'd like to go, almost catching you by surprise at how well put together, thought out, and open they are. It's a tantalizing glimpse at the potential this group clearly has, and we look forward to watching them develop over the time to come."


3. Salo - Salo // Reviewed by Clive Rozario

"Salò’s debut EP is certainly a necessary listen for any fans of the bands name-checked in this review. They have struck an ideal position between math-core experimentalism and melodic post-hardcore – all the while clinging onto a straight-up, hardcore-punk-rock essence, and even splicing some garage-y jangle into the guitars."


4. Samoans - Elevated Reflections // Reviewed by Jon Sidwell

"Samoans are a three-piece from Cardiff in Wales that have been on my personal radar since 2009-ish when I caught them playing the infamous Clwb Ifor Bach in the Welsh capital. Their style of math-rock inspired guitar music caught my attention straight away and I've been following them ever since. It has been somewhat of a wait then until 'Elevated Reflections', their debut EP to come out, however the wait has been more than worth it. The music is melodic, heavy in parts, but also tender too, with the standout track being 'Catamaran'."


5. Es Muss Sein - Es Muss Sein // Reviewed by Moker

"This simple record is nothing if not brave as Wilson’s self-indulgent approach to music may leave some frustrated. These three solemn songs could struggle for mass appeal as they are cyclical in nature, without the salvation of catchy hooks or crowd pleasing string accompaniments. Yet her basic – almost amateur – approach to writing and recording is her strength. In a genre full of cover songs and faux emotion here we are offered sincerity and truth on a plate with what feels like a healthy disregard for popular expectation. It’s refreshing."

 

6. Cara Mitchell - Have You Ever Wondered // Reviewed by Jon Sidwell 

7. mothbites - mothbites // Reviewed by Jon Sidwell

8. To Kill A King - Word Of Mouth // Reviewed by Mark Slater 

9. Vices - Hotel Monsoon // Reviewed by Jon Sidwell 

10. Trim The Barber - Trim The Barber // Reviewed by Jon Sidwell

Monday, 17 December 2012

MUSIC LIBERATION'S SINGLE OF THE YEAR 2012

This years Music Liberation 'Single Of The Year' award goes to the ever impressive, hugely hard-working, and insanely talented Crushing Blows, with their single 'Hiding Place'.

Released back in February, it was actually a double A side with 'You Will Always Be Lonely', and was the build up to the band's latest EP which came out in November of this year. The Derby duo are sure to have lots more exciting projects in store for us in 2013, but for now just sit back and enjoy this incredibly catchy tuuuuune!

To read our original review go here // Crushing Blows // Facebook


Monday, 3 December 2012

THE BLOG SOUND OF 2013

Music Liberation is pleased to announce the results of this years Blog Sound Of 2013 poll. For those unaware of this interesting snapshot from the blogosphere here's Robin from the Breaking More Waves blog to explain more.

"The Blog Sound Poll was first published in 2011. The concept of the poll wasn’t to criticise the established BBC Sound of list, but simply an experiment to see if UK music bloggers could come up with its own list of emerging artists that was more representative of their community and give the artists that were nominated some extra publicity. Indeed the idea was to compliment the BBC list in many ways by providing an alternative to compare and contrast.

Last year’s final long list provided some interesting alternatives to the BBC list; most notably it included Alt-J, this year’s Mercury Prize winners, who didn’t feature on the BBC list at all.

The Blog Sound of 2013 poll has expanded with 49 UK blogs nominating their 5 favourite emerging artists. Just over 170 acts received at least 1 vote. The winning act received votes from around 25% of all bloggers. 

The poll was organised by Robin Seamer (Breaking More Waves) and Andy Von Pip (The Von Pip Express). Each blog was allowed to vote for five acts and the diversity of the nominations was staggering. Based on the evidence of the spread of votes anyone that says that music bloggers are sheep and are all writing about the same artists has got it wrong. However, the results of the poll show that certain artists do have a lot of support and love from a significant portion of UK bloggers and those artists make up the Blog Sound of 2013 list,”.

So here's the results! (We'll be revealing the top 5 and winner of the Blog Sound of 2013 on January 3rd, and we'll also let you know who Music Liberation picked in our customary Future Sounds feature, suffice to say that one of our picks has made the long-list, you can probably guess who!)

AlunaGeorge - Infectious R&B influenced pop from London
Curxes - Dark industrial-pop electronic duo from Brighton and Portsmouth
Chvrches – Scottish electro pop trio formed from a variety of other bands
Daughter – Minimal / ambient sounding folk
Haim – Classic rock from LA with pop sensibilities
Laura Mvula – Jazz / soul singer hailing from Birmingham
– Hip soulful female vocal electronic pop from Denmark
Palma Violets – Raw and energetic indie rock band
Pins – Edgily cool and raucous all female indie band from Manchester
Randolph’s Leap – Glasgow based indie folk pop with a twist of brass
Rhye – Smooth and blissful pop duo 
Savages – Intense post-punk with female vocals
Seasfire – Modern rock band from Bristol who mix electronic beats with guitars
The Neighbourhood – Atmospheric Californian 5 piece rock / pop band
Tom Odell – Piano based singer songwriter originally from Chichester

The 49 blogs who voted in the poll are:-

A New Band A Day, A Pocket Full Of Seeds, All Noise, Alphabet Bands, Both Bars On, Brapscallions, Breaking More Waves, Brighton Music Blog, Details Of My Life So Far, Don’t Watch Me Dancing, Dots And Dashes, Drunken Werewolf, Eaten By Monsters, Electronic Rumors, Faded Glamour, Folly Of Youth, Flying With Anna, God Is In The TV, Harder Blogger Faster, Howl, In Love Not Limbo, Just Music That I Like, Killing Moon, KowalskiyLove Music : Love LifeMudkiss, Music Broke My Bones, Music Fans Mic, Music Liberation, Music Like Dirt, My Bands Better Than Your Band, Not Many Experts, Peenko, Real Horrorshow, Scottish Fiction, SkeletorySong By Toad, Sounds Good To Me Too, Storm’s Brewing, Sweeping The Nation, The Blue Walrus, The Electricity Club, The Mad Mackerel, The Metaphorical Boat, The Music Hoarder, The Recommender, This Must Be Pop, Von Pip Musical Express, 17 Seconds
 
AlunaGeorge – Your Drums, Your Love Curxes – Spectre Chvrches – The Mother We Share Daughter – Medicine Haim – Don’t Save Me Laura Mvula – She MØ – Pilgrim Palma Violets – Best of Friends Pins – Shoot You Randolph’s Leap – Hermit Rhye – The Fall Savages – Flying To Berlin Seasfire – We Will Wake The Neighbourhood – Let It Go Tom Odell – Another Love