Shanty | Best New Music

Shanty are a North West London based 7-piece Party-Reggae collective, that as a band, create music compiled of stomping bass, soulful hooks, inspirational aesthetics and party vibes which bring the listener to life. They have a classic Reggae sound that is so refreshing, but it also inhibits infusions of electronic, Hip Hop and Soul, that bound together, make up the signature Shanty sound.

These young guys have already been championed by BBC 1Xtra’s David Rodigan among other industry taste makers, and with the recent release of their debut EP Leave Me Out, which as a project is bursting with flavour, it is not hard to see why they are rapidly garnering themselves an array of support, from fans and critics alike. Shanty are already wading in the water of giants and this emerging band of Reggae brothers look like they are extremely close to paving their own path and becoming a name all of their own.

If you haven’t already checked out Shanty’s EP then I order you to finish reading this article and then step right to it, and pay particular attention to my personal favourite “Rise Up“, which is the third track on the EP. The song starts with a heavy bassline and horn accompaniment and frontman Ben Willis booming vocals that, when they storm into the track, shock the listener and snap them out of the happy-go-lucky haven that previous track “Bohemian Soul” had just secluded them in. This shift in style is something that continues throughout their music, which keeps you on your toes and in suspense for what is next, whilst still maintaining a signature sound that holds it all together.

I have had the pleasure of seeing Shanty live on more than one occasion and they are an act I highly recommend to anyone who loves a night bursting with incredible atmosphere, or who like me just appreciates live music at its best. These guys are a true testament to how live music should sound, as they are over flowing with enthusiasm and fresh beats, and as a group, their charisma is so enchanting, that you get taken on an exotic journey, and for a moment you could be any where. Shanty simply have a knack for crafting music that could make even the shyest person forget all inhibitions and get their skank on.

Willis’ vocals deserve some attention here as well, as they are so infectious that they pull the audience in and make them feel completely at home, and even though he may have that charismatic Reggae tone, he also has the ability to bring a darker edge, which can be heard on the EP’s opening number and title track “Leave Me Out“. This is a great example as the song entails themes of lying and cheating, and yet still going back for more – misery loves company and all that reggae.

Shanty took their modern twist on classic reggae to some impressive festival stages over the summer including Glastonbury, Boomtown Fair, Secret Garden Party, Leopallooza and an array of others, as well as recording their EP in the infamous Sawmills studio in Cornwall, who has had the likes of Oasis, The Verve, Supergrass and The Stone Roses record there, which demonstrates the potential, passion and the damn right talent that these guys have to offer. I can see great things for Shanty and I just hope that as they get more well known and their gigs get more expensive, that bass man, and one of my oldest friends, Jake Butler will still be able to help a brother out and get me in, because every Shanty live performance feels like the first time, and I want to experience it again and again.

One thing is crystal clear after listening to Shanty live, or after hearing their debut EP, and its that Shanty deserve a huge amount of support for their offerings, as it is extremely rare to hear praise about a British reggae band, due to Jamaica and the United States kind of dominating the genre, however if Shanty continue to head in the direction they have started, they will be paving a way and setting an example for British reggae everywhere.

Purchase: Shanty – Leave Me Out EP (iTunes)

This was an original post written by me on behalf of We Plug Good Music, Check out the original post right here!

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Little Simz + Jakwob Ft Caitlyn Scarlett – ‘Time Capsule’ | Best New Music

Little Simz has been paving her own path within the industry ever since she dropped her first bar, and proved that she is a ferocious lyrical genius, that can also be vulnerable and demonstrate slower moments as easily as her infamous high-energy flows. She has also showcased her collaborative abilities, which is hitting the nail on the head with her latest offering, in which she has teamed up with the incredible talents of Jakwob and Caitlyn Scarlett for the drop of this fresh new single titled “Time Capsule“.

This latest track, which was produced by Jakwob combines fusions of Little Simz’ more stand out, aggressive and menacing side with an intimate captivating, sure to be infectious hook from another fast rising star Caitlyn Scarlett, which is such a beautiful combination. The two elements of tone and style weave together so perfectly, and completely compliment each others sound, so effortlessly, that it is clearly another win Simz can add to her collection.

“Time Capsule” is pretty much what the title depicts, with the 20 year old London emcee relaying her different thoughts of ambition and then reflecting on herself as a younger girl and giving her advice and knowledge. These different thoughts are portrayed through different elements of the song, and the different sides of Simz, with her softer more vulnerable side talking to her younger self and then the more spitfire, aggressive side is Simz as the more ambitious passionate rapper we know her to be. All these styles are fused together by the dreamy hook courtesy of Caitlyn, and act as Simz inner voice, of which seems to balance out the different elements and styles portrayed in the single.

“Time Capsule” was premiered by Zane Lowe on BBC Radio 1, and comes as a celebratory release for Simz and Jakwob, after their previous release of “Devour” reached 1 million streams on Soundcloud. Which to me is a great thing in itself, because if after every release together, they hit 1 million listens and decide to release another track, does this mean their collaborations will never stop coming? Because if so, lets be sure that “Time Capsule” follows in the same footsteps, so their releases never stop coming. Listen to “Time Capsule” below and pre-order it on iTunes here.

This was an original article written by me on behalf of We Plug Good Music, Check out the original review here!

Grouper – ‘Ruins’ | Album Review

It has been about twenty months since Portland artist and producer Liz Harris or more commonly known in music as Grouper, released her critical acclaimed The Man Who Died In His Boat album, and now she is back with a brand new exceptionally different record titled Ruins, that is a real stretch away from previous works. That being said, one factor still remains clear throughout the eight solitary tracks is that her voice is still as haunting, textured as ever before if not more so.

Some of Harris’ previous works including 2008′s incongruously titled album Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill and of course last year’s The Man Who Died In His Boat, which were both put together from the same recordings and received similar praise. These offerings come layered in darkness and intriguing depression, however as soon as you delve deep into her intimate, textured tone, the appeal of Grouper’s sound becomes overwhelming. However these past records have relied on endless acoustic based, guitar and vocal-centred, droning records with feedback and production techniques to pave her way, but on Ruins, the entire aesthetic of her compositions have altered and you hear Harris stationed at a piano for the entire record.

Ruins was recorded in the South of Portugal back in 2011, and is a documentation of Harris in her surroundings, and instead of what we have become familiar with, Ruins sees Harris bare it all. There is nothing unseen or unheard, you can hear background noises serendipitously captured including cicadas on several tracks, a typical Southern European storm on songs “Holofernes” and “Holding” which create natural percussion, and at the end of “Labyrinth“, there is a very clear microwave beep.

All these features add embellishments that help mould the album to its full potential, creating a raw, honest and beautiful record that allows the listener to enter her musical journey, making Ruins even more intimate and simply real. As a listener, it helps you to imagine every story told, as you feel like you are there with her in a little rustic old cottage in Portugal, with beaten up floorboards and dusty shutters, as themes of the album begin to surface and bare themselves, which is what Harris has done – bared her soul.

There has never been a question as to Harris’s vocal capabilities, but in Ruins, her lyrics are what stand out and become the real beauty of the songs, as they have never been so clearly perceptive, nor have they been so focused around love. This lyrical talent is highlighted so brilliantly on the first track “Clearing” where Harris whispers breathtaking lines,

maybe you were right when you said I’d never been in love“..

..and this sets the tone for the rest of the album and sends ripples through every track that follows, which shows the power of the song.

There is one song on the album however that carries its own sound and takes you back to the Grouper you felt you knew so well, and that is the 12 minute finale “Made Of Air”, that holds her classic sound and returns you to the sombre drifting world before. This is not just a pleasant coincidence I’m afraid as the track was recorded 10 years ago before the album, and even though it doesn’t carry through with previous tracks, it holds a nice reminiscent nostalgic end to the album, and makes the listener feel that the old Grouper is still there, she is just evolving and adapting to new things. What is also great about the way in which she chose to complete the album is that there is a constant theme in Ruins where the past is continually being reassessed through the spectrum of the present, which makes “Made Of Air” (a past song) a real poetic conclusion to her present album.

This was an original review written by me on behalf of We Plug Good Music, Check out the original review here!

Ed Prosek – ‘Hold On Tight’ | Best New Music

After randomly coming across the sensational Orange County native Mr Ed Prosek live for the first time back in September, which led me to no other choice than to have to write a glowing review because I was utterly inspired, it came as quite the nice surprise when I received a message from Ed on Twitter with the link to his new song – “Hold On Tight”.

This new and once again stunning single from Ed, which was officially released on October 5, is a beautiful pop-folk ballad that reflects upon his journey both as a young man and as a musician, and it focuses on how to make it in this world, and the certain people that help make that possible. “Hold On Tight” is a real honest, raw and powerful song that is driven by pure energy, enchanting vocals and honest lyrics that really seem to speak to everyone, providing a song that can be appreciated by people from all walks of life.

“Hold On Tight” precedes Ed’s forthcoming EP Riverbed that should be with us sometime in November and is a song that truly demonstrates Ed’s singing and song writing capabilities as he created the music, lyrics and the arrangement of the entire track, with Charlie Mclean who produced the single and helped layer and weave the array of instruments that create such a perfect backdrop for Ed’s pitch perfect vocals.

Ed is currently on a UK tour to help support the release of his new EP, which kicked off on the 2nd of October, at his now hometown of Brighton, and will be heading through Liverpool, Manchester, Coventry and many more cities until he ends up back in Brighton for his final date on the 16th of November, tickets for the tour can be purchased here.

Ed appears to be on the brink of greatness with his previous critically acclaimed California EP, his cover of “Homeward Bound” which was the soundtrack for the huge Cathedral City Cheese advertising campaign, his ever growing fan base and the abundance of support from critics and tastemakers alike. And now with the release of this new single and the imminent EP release, I am certain Ed is on his way to new heights, I just hope he will still drop me a tweet from time to time with his latest masterpiece.

Purchase: Ed Prosek – “Hold On Tight” (iTunes)

This was an original post written by me for We Plug G.O.O.D Music and can be viewed right here!

Cajsa Siik – Higher | Best New Music

Let me take you higher with a brand new song from beautiful Swedish Pop songstress Cajsa Siik, who was recently named as one of the hottest prospects of 2014 by NME. That’s right, another sensational musician to flourish from the ever blossoming Swedish music scene and even though her name doesn’t immediately role off the tongue, after hearing her stunning and highly captivating vocals in this latest track, her name will be the only thing on your mind.

Siik’s fan base may be modest but its constantly expanding, and with every release she garners more and more support, and I think it’s about time this beautiful Nordic secret is set lose on the world, and with her latest release “Higher” which was co-produced with Tiger Lou’s producers Rolf Klinth, and Calle Ekerstam, along with Siik herself, I think this track will relinquish the ultimate secret turned star! Siik comes with innocent beauty, freckles that captivate, and a voice so dreamy that you are left hypnotised, and her sound is so unique and genre defiant, that at one end she fits under indie pop but she also takes you into darker roots, which as a subtle combination is close to perfection.

“Higher” is the second single to be taken from her forthcoming album Contra which will be released on November 3rd via SpinnUP/Universal and follows her first single “Relentless Delight” which had an array of support from the likes of NME, Clash and Indie Shuffle. “Higher” is definitely a worthy follow-up and should see Siik gather further support from fans and tastemakers alike as it is a true demonstration of Siik’s sensual vocals overlaying so effortlessly to the stunning yet simplistic orchestral backdrop, and with an essence of Kate Bush in her voice, you can imagine how breath taking this dark-pop arrangement really is.

 

This was an original post written by me for We Plug G.O.O.D Music  and can be viewed right here!