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Single Review: Tom Odell – Concrete

 
By on Friday, 12th August 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Singer/songwriter Tom Odell has recently released a steamy new single from his album ‘Wrong Crowd’. While the title ‘Concrete’ itself might not inspire lust or longing, the song itself most certainly will, especially if you listen while watching Odell’s accompanying video. Directed by George Belfield, the video features Odell and his band in a loungey, laid-back studio performance centered around Odell and a slim vocal microphone.

Odell’s vocals are sullen as laments his loneliness in the opening verse (“got me in my hotel room / more pillows I could ever use / think they call it luxury / but it doesn’t make a difference to me”). But his tone becomes slinky and seductive in the first repeat of the smouldering chorus (“I’d sleep on a bed that’s made of concrete / just the two of us and no sheet / just your feet / rubbing up against mine”).

The soulful musical arrangement of soft percussion and gospel-flavoured backing vocals adds continuous fuel to the fire through second verse and chorus. Odell bursts into full flame in the bridge, gazing seductively into the camera and venting pent-up frustration in the stubbornly contrary lyric, “I sit on these aeroplanes / but I just wanna walk / play me these symphonies / but I just wanna talk”. Almost more hypnotic than his voice—almost—are his hip-swaying dance moves in the promo.

8.5/10

Odell’s album ‘Wrong Crowd’ was released back in June on Columbia Records. Its lead single ‘Magnetised’ has appeared on both BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 playlists, and I suspect that ‘Concrete’ won’t be far behind. In the meantime, Odell has planned a 40-date world tour in support of the album, including a run of American shows in October, followed by the November UK and Irish shows listed back here. TGTF’s complete previous coverage of Tom Odell can be found here.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/bnZxWpwvFEk[/youtube]

 

Tom Odell / November 2016 UK/Irish Tour

 
By on Friday, 27th May 2016 at 8:00 am
 

Chichester-born singer/songwriter Tom Odell has announced a list of November tour dates to follow his highly-anticipated new album ‘Wrong Crowd’, due for release on the 10th of June via Columbia Records. Odell recently played the album’s lead single ‘Magnetised’ in the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge, and you can watch that performance just below the tour date listing.

The November tour will start in Dublin on the 1st of November and end at London’s Brixton Academy on the 13th of the month. Tickets for the following live shows will be available at 8 today, Friday the 27th of May. TGTF’s previous coverage of Tom Odell is collected right back here.

Tuesday 1st November 2016 – Dublin Olympia Theatre
Wednesday 2nd November 2016 – Belfast Limelight
Friday 4th November 2016 – Brighton Centre
Saturday 5th November 2016 – Plymouth Pavilions
Sunday 6th November 2016 – Swindon Oasis Centre
Tuesday 8th November 2016 – Leeds Academy
Wednesday 9th November 2016 – Manchester Apollo
Saturday 12th November 2016 – Birmingham Academy 1
Sunday 13th November 2016 – London Brixton Academy

[youtube]https://youtu.be/lIptWalikUs[/youtube]

 

Great Escape 2013: John’s Day 1 Roundup

 
By on Wednesday, 29th May 2013 at 1:00 pm
 

As I stepped foot on the platform of Brighton station, I was met with not the 65 MPH winds that I was foretold, but instead with flecks of sunshine and a bustling throng of people ahead of me. So I trundled cautiously down the street wrapped in my cardigan and carrying my rather inconspicuous suitcase, I walked past The Hope, where my first live music experience of The Great Escape 2013 would take place.

Who would be that first experience? Well, a band that I came upon, completely by chance at The Great Escape 2011, by the name of Brother and Bones. Their signature brand of acoustic-driven stompery, which struck a real accord with me then wasn’t the centre point of their set this time around.

Instead, the focal point was that of Richard Thomas’ majestic vocal talents. The all out hoe-downery of their past shows was forgotten in favour of the more sensitive and subtle touch. Whether it was the best approach ion the tight confines of the Hope, is up for debate, but regardless of that Thomas and co.’s elegant harmonies struck an accord with the partisan audience of critics, A & R’s and the rest. Fully acoustic number ‘Gold and Silver’ was a mixture of what is brilliant about Brother and Bones though, fully showcasing the vocal prowess of Richard, whilst drawing attention to the elegance of the songwriting. (7/10)

After a brief interlude for a spot of Tiffin and a change of clothes to more sun-appropriate attire, I headed to The Warren to catch hotly tipped Tom Odell. After a reasonable amount of time queuing for an act, whom I believed was overhyped but worth a listen, I ended up in the staging area of the venue. A kind of Secret Garden Party / 2000 Trees hybrid in the middle of Brighton. Quaint? Yes. But after quarter of an hour longer waiting I lost patience and decided to head to The Prince Albert for some light folk.

Now Dancing Years (pictured at top) are an entirely different kind of prospect to what I expected. Going in relatively unprepared, I was expecting some wobbly synths, dodgy time signatures and all the other indie clichés that we love and loathe in equal measure. What I was met with was a touching mix of melancholic folk, but with the focal point of David Henshaw, in a more understated fashion than Brother and Bones earlier. In fact, the show revolved around the man, with the gentle violin being drowned out by his obvious talent.

He came across as a kind of squeaky clean Jack Steadman / Will Harvey hybrid. Resolute in stance, yet face-to-face as personable as any frontman, he makes the perfect central point for Dancing Years. The band’s gentle melodies are only going to see their stock gather strength and with shades of Dry the River interspersed amongst the soaring harmonies, they make for easy listening. Add to that equation that big hitters like Seymour Stein were in the audience and you’ve got ones to watch right here people. The only disappointment was the rather sparse crowd, probably owing to the venues distance from the main swarm of events. (8/10)

The allure of something raw like Dingus Khan was too much after the sheened sounds of Dancing Years, so off to the Hope I rattled my broken body. Only to be met by a sprawling queue, which while being entertaining in the characters I met, who included a Dingus Khan fan from Warner Music, a 19-year old PA for We Were Evergreen’s manager. and two bookers from the Netherlands’ PinkPop festival, who I’d like to note had some fantastic hairstyles.

And while the conversation was stimulating, the popularity of Dingus proved too much, as I was not allowed into the venue. However, I am reliably informed by Ollie McCormack of Top Button Digital that they were brilliant, and that the album is great to shake of the cobwebs of TGE on a Monday.

Following up from the disappointment of missing Dingus, I stumbled into the Hope for the second time that day to catch Dinosaur Pile-Up. Another Leeds-based outfit that in 2011 provided me with the scenes of the most chaotic gig in my memory, with stage invasions galore, circle pits aplenty and an appropriate amount of urine in plastic cups. It’s a festival, eh?

This set was a far more restrained affair, with the audience only really getting into it properly in the final few songs. Dinosaur Pile-Up’s hectic, strangled shredding should have been perfect for this venue, with shoulders pressed firmly against the walls by band and punters alike. ‘Mona Lisa’ kept its attraction and proved the hub of the set for me musically. Nevertheless, the moment of the short set was when a circle pit broke out at the front, and the smile of the veteran moshers face next to me as he watched with glee at the chaos unfolding, albeit momentarily in front of him. (6/10)

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013: Singer/songwriter and folk UK artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Tuesday, 29th January 2013 at 11:00 am
 

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2013 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change.

So here we are, the last week of January. Each Tuesday we’ve been bringing you genre ‘chapters’ of the UK bands that have been given the all important shout for this year’s SXSW 2013 taking place in venues across Austin the 12th to the 17th of March 2013. On the 8th of January, we brought you the pop and pop hybrid acts list, with a follow-up addendum on the 14th of January after the SXSW people updated their books on the 10th. The 15th of January saw the posting of the sound heavyweights, on the list of rock, metal and punk acts. Last week, on the 22nd, we wanted to showcase the wizards of the music world with the list of electronic and electronic-based bands and DJs.

This week? Possibly the genre that is most prolific – and the most crowded: the singer/songwriters and folk artists. Last week it was interesting to read that in an interview with SPIN, singer Scott Hutchinson of Scottish band Frightened Rabbit complained of being compared to current folk rock behemoths Mumford and Sons. Love ’em or hate ’em, they brought folk rock to the forefront of popular music and proved that that brand of ‘popularised’ bluegrass could be popular around the world. There is no doubt a whole new generation of folk rock artists that are being given a second glance, instead of being ignored, thanks to the hard work of Mumford and other acts soldiering on in this genre. And then there are the singer/songwriters: we may romanticise the image of a solitary, guitar-wielding man in front of a crowd, the reality is that there are both men and women who are pouring their hearts out into song, sitting in their bedrooms wondering what might be. In that respect, SXSW does its best in giving these folks the proper credit – and surely the proper platform – that might propel them into the big time.

What I had envisioned this weekly guide to be was simply a handy resource if you were wondering which acts to catch at this year’s marathon week of showcases, parties and secret shows. But even if you’re not attending the big event, I hope it’ll also introduce you to the solo artists and bands you haven’t heard of, because that’s the most exciting thing about SXSW: at any one moment, you could walk into a bar, a club, a hotel, a warehouse, wherever…and you might just discover the next big thing in music. And that isn’t limited to one place or one event. You can find new music anywhere. And without further adieu…

‘Allo Darlin – Australia collides with Britain in this folk pop band fronted by Elizabeth Morris. Their songs are so cute, you wish you could just pinch their cheeks! Martin caught them at the End of the Road Festival in 2011.

Sounds like: the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, with a female lead

Read our previous coverage of the band here.

Lauren Aquilina – This 17-year old is from Windsor, but knock off the Royal Family jokes, please. She independently released her debut EP ‘Fools’ in October, so what a coup to get the SXSW nod when you’re still unsigned!

Sounds like: Lucy Rose, Ellie Goulding (but minus the synths)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uodUCtmCRME[/youtube]

Jake Bugg (added 10/01/13) –Noel Gallagher’s young protégé who has already found fame in the last year at the Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City, the Nottingham native has made folk and country guitar rock popular again with his debut album

Read our previous coverage of Bugg here.

Bo Saris – blue-eyed soul delivered in a falsetto. It’s difficult for me to listen to, but if a Dutchman described as ” the new, male equivalent of the late Amy Winehouse” doesn’t make you shrink in horror…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-cUVZThQVs[/youtube]

Bwani Junction – Edinburgh band invoking the Afrobeat spirit of Vampire Weekend with their jaunty guitars. They even describe themselves as “Big Country were from the Soweto”. They made their Great Escape debut in 2012 with the Scottish contingent, so it seems only fitting that they make their SXSW debut this year.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbYjSamxS30[/youtube]

Matt Cardle (added 10/01/13) – the winner of the 7th season of the UK’s X Factor, it’ll be interesting if his popularity in Britain will translate into fame in America.

Jamie N Commons – Has singing the blues, just like plaid shirts, become trendy again? If yes, then Jamie N Commons is its poster boy. And if for some reason you miss him and you live in America, don’t fret: he’ll be supporting Lianne La Havas (his fellow BBC Sound of 2012 longlist alum also at SXSW) on her North American tour directly following the festival.

The Dunwells – it is unfortunate that in the post-Mumford and Sons world, other folk bands that came out in 2009 were left behind. Hopefully, Leeds’ Dunwells will use this opportunity in Austin (and New York in January and Colorado in March post-SXSW) to show everyone just how talented they are and they’re not Mumford wannabes.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDuv-cG5rtM[/youtube]

Paloma Faith – imagine my surprise to hear that Paloma Faith is now on my mum’s approved list, after watching her perform on Graham Norton. I’m kind of interested to see what kind of people would show up to see her in Austin: Amy Winehouse fans?

Read our previous coverage on Paloma here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvHiflzabHg[/youtube]

Fossil Collective – If you transported the Byrds to Leeds, what would they sound like? Probably something similar to Fossil Collective. I might have compared them to Fleet Foxes, except that in the press shots I’ve seen of Dave Fendick and Jonny Hooker, only one of them has a beard so…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYPBPVoACgE[/youtube]

For some mp3s and John’s review of their EP ‘On and On’, head here.

Goldheart Assembly – Having loved their 2010 debut album ‘Wolves and Thieves’, I felt like it’d been nearly forever since I last heard anything about Goldheart Assembly. When I checked on TGTF, the last thing I’d written on them, a post about their single ‘Harvest in the Snow’, was posted in March 2011. It’ll be 2 years, then, when they make their way to Austin, and not a moment too soon. Were they waiting for the Fleet Foxes love – and expected backlash – to die down? We’ll never know for sure, but I for one will be eager to see them live for the first time.

Catch all our previous Goldheart coverage here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeRse7-lXM4[/youtube]

Ed Harcourt – Compared to the other singer/songwriters on the SXSW list, Ed Harcourt is a relative granddaddy – at 35, he’s released five studio albums to date, with an sixth, ‘Back into the Woods’, to follow in late February 2013. ‘The Man That Time Forgot’, the first song to be offered up from the new album, can be downloaded for free here.

Robyn Hitchcock – When your own Web site is called ‘a museum’, you know you’ve paid your dues to the music industry. This is where cult singer/songwriter Robyn Hitchcock finds himself, revered in the UK for his English eccentricity, though I am very curious at the kind of turnout for his shows at SXSW and indeed, where they will have him play.

Jesca Hoop (added 10/01/13) – to some of us, she’s better known associated with Elbow. Not actually British (she’s a Californian transplant to Manchester after Guy Garvey discovered), she started with a very eclectic sound which turned decidedly poppier with ‘Hospital (Win Your Love)’, the last time we checked in with her.

Read our previous coverage of Hoop here.

James Hunter – from the same town as Lammo (Colchester) comes this r&b and soul singer, previously nominated for a Grammy for his 2006 album ‘People Gonna Talk’. This is exactly the kind of music I don’t usually seek out, so I’m rather keen to see him play. I’m imagining the scene to be as hopping as JD MacPherson’s at last year’s Great Escape.

Josephine – if Morrissey was a young black woman, he might just sound like Josephine. (And yes. I didn’t believe Paul Lester either until I heard ‘What a Day’.) I haven’t heard her debut album but I’ve been told the rest of it doesn’t sound Smiths-esque, so you can’t blame Manchester for it.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hngRpjPafI[/youtube]

Kodaline – Gary Barlow’s favourite new band from Dublin doesn’t show any signs of slowing down after getting a BBC Sound of 2013 longlist nod, We’ve written quite a bit about this band, so you can read all of that here. They have new EP out in March, and the promo video for its title track ‘High Hopes’ is below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4povfmX144[/youtube]

Cate Le Bon – Cate Le Bon is a breath of fresh air compared to most of the other Welsh acts tipped for 2013’s SXSW, which appear to all be thrashy, hard rock bands made up of men.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swJNnYHFPWA[/youtube]

Sounds like: Beth Jeans Houghton with a fixation on death

Let’s Buy Happiness – happy guitar rock/pop band from Newcastle.

Sounds like: ‘Allo Darlin, without the harmonies.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-1nLr6Gl4I[/youtube]

Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun – Jim Lockey sans band was the first band of the Xtra Mile Recordings showcase on my first night at SXSW 2012, so let’s see if he can manage to bring his entire band out for 2013. I think of his as ‘Frank Turner lite’, if that helps you imagine what he sounds like.

Read our previous live coverage of Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun here.

My Darling Clementine – ‘country/soul’ duo from Birmingham by husband/wife coupling Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish. Long Facebook profiles seem overdone to me, so…

Willy Moon (added 10/01/13) – placing #6 in the TGTF 10 for 2012 readers’ poll, signing to Jack White’s Third Man Records, having one of his songs play on a new iPod advert in America? Willy Moon’s life just gets better and better. A little bit pop, a little bit soul, a little bit ‘50s styling for one hip sound.

Read our previous coverage on Willy here.

Tom Odell (added 10/01/13) – Having already won the BRITs 2013 Critics’ Choice award, the sky’s the limit for this Chichester-born singer/songwriter.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwpMEbgC7DA[/youtube]

Christopher Rees – Cardiff singer/songwriter that NME describes like this: “It’s not easy to achieve noise metal god status accompanied by a cello but Christopher Rees makes an awesome, bloody fist of it. Pumped up and snarling but managing to wrench beautiful tunes out of the wreckage… This is seriously amazing stuff”. This description has us intrigued!

Roo Panes – ‘classical folk pop’ is not a genre normally explored here, but I’m always up for a challenge. This is Andrew ‘Roo’ Panes’ project with a strong backing and voal harmonising band. He has already been singled out for his handsomeness, as Burberry chose him to model their autumn/winter 2012 collection. Given Mumford and Laura Marling‘s recent meteoric rise to fame in America, Roo Panes is the odds-on favourite to follow in their footsteps.

Sounds like: he should be signed to Communion, if Ben Lovett hasn’t come sniffing round yet

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGP-TnIoejk[/youtube]

Lucy Rose – We, of course, already knew how talented she was. But 2013 could just be the year that Lucy Rose breaks out of Bombay Bicycle’s shadow and becomes a huge worldwide success in her own right. Though I worry what would happen to Lucy if she suddenly became massive; would she stop doing the things like Tweet at her mother on Steve Lamacq’s Roundtable that make me go, “oh, bless!”? A scary prospect…

Read our previous coverage on Lucy Rose here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adBPg8Zdp2g[/youtube]

Paul Thomas Saunders – it must be hard to be Paul Thomas Saunders, a Leeds singer/songwriter in his late twenties and allergic to alcohol. But I guess he must use all that extra free time not boozing at the pub to write. Evidently I missed a “triumphant” appearance at last year’s Great Escape. Need to rectify that.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EILsIxupmcM[/youtube]

Jack Savoretti – part Italian, but that’s where any comparison to Paolo Nutini ends. Savoretti has already been on the road with Corinne Bailey Rae and shored up Radio2 support, but why isn’t he massive? Just wait until one of his songs gets synced on a major film soundtrack.

Sounds like: a harder, more pop Bob Dylan, a gentler Bruce Springsteen

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umBAmzf0SXs[/youtube]

Skinny Lister – this London folk band have already made quite an impact on America, through a previous appearance at SXSW and then an even more surprising appearance last year on the Vans Warped tour of North America. Could they be riding the Mumford wave? Possibly. Their debut album ‘Forge and Flagon’ gets an American release this month, so we’ll see if the momentum lasts.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsqaLfWMcp8[/youtube]

The Staves – three harmonising sisters with guitars from Watford who are no stranger to America, having toured here a couple times now with the (now defunct?) Civil Wars, I was surprised to see them get another turn at SXSW. If they do get an opportunity to sing in St. David’s again like in 2012, go, go, GO. You won’t be disappointed.

Story Books – Kent band sounding at times haunting and at times bombastic. Not really sure why they’re not more popular or, frankly, why we haven’t heard of them yet.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLumIFt_tFQ[/youtube]

Richard Thompson – like Robyn Hitchcock, I’m not entirely sure what Richard Thompson is doing on a list of acts scheduled to perform at SXSW. Having already made a name for himself as a member of Fairport Convention and then with his wife Linda and now as a solo artist, I suspect he’ll be using the guest spot to advertise his latest album ‘Electric’, out in February.

Washington Irving – jaunty folk rock wrapped around a Scottish accent.

File next to: Arcade Fire

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvKKXbgCnyc[/youtube]

That’s it for the genre chapters in the TGTF Guide to SXSW in January. To not miss any of our SXSW 2013 coverage, bookmark this tag and of course, keep it here on TGTF for even more great content in the weeks leading up to the big event in March!

 

BBC Sound of 2013 – Yea or Nay?

 
By on Wednesday, 2nd January 2013 at 11:00 am
 

Editor’s note: The BBC Sound of 2013 longlist announcement garnered mixed reviews from our writers, which led me to commission this unusual interplay – between John, holed up on his home island of Guernsey, and Martin, holed up similarly at home in Gateshead – just about the merits – or lack of? – in this Sound of 2013 list. For an alternative list, check out the TGTF 10 for 2013 poll winners, as voted by our lovely readers. As I prep this post in WordPress New Year’s Day, Welsh electropoppers CHVRCHES and Laura Mvula have been announced as #5 and #4, respectively. Before we get ahead of ourselves, John and Martin get stuck in their discussion…

So what is the BBC Sound of 2013? Is it a jumped-up product placement list, or a true representation of the best innovation to come out of the UK in the next year? Can the tips from the 213 so-called ‘tastemakers’ truly gauge who is going to break boundaries and inspire us this coming calendar year, or is it just a script that each BBC Radio presenter needs to stick to? Martin Sharman and I will be discussing this over this transcript:

John: So Martin, the BBC Sound of 2013 list is out and I quite frankly, I am bored and uninterested in what they’ve thrown up, what do you think?

Martin: Well, John, it’s easy to be cynical about these things – people like you and me spend a lot of time seeking out and experiencing new music, and could well be able to come up with a list of our own that would be just as virtuous, and certainly more to our own tastes, as this one. But I think this list has a good stab at covering a lot of bases, and I’m sure a lot of the artists on the list are grateful for the increased exposure it will generate for them. Quite how and why the acts are chosen we will never know – I fantasise that a lot of PR puffery and not the odd glass of champagne have been involved in its genesis – but if one is prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt, I’m sure most people who look at the list will be able to find something that they like.

John: I will indulge that a lot of bases are covered here, you’ve got your British guitar bands (Palma Violets and Savages) so the tabloid media can pander their fantasy that institution of ‘the Great British Guitar Band’ lives on. You’ve got your ‘strong independent’ woman type in the form of Angel Haze who already stinks of Jessie J and even a Michael Kiwanuka 2.0 (this time a girl!) in Laura Mvula. It feels almost formulaic to me?

Martin: Formulaic? This is the BBC we’re talking about, of course it is! There have undoubtedly been umpteenth meetings, focus groups, and quotas developed to exactly proportion each aspect of this list: genre, gender, ethnicity, hair colour, shoe size. But that’s not the fault of the artists who ended up being picked. Indeed, if Angel Haze, oozing with street smarts from the wrong side of Detroit, who can properly rap like Azealia Banks leavened with Odd Future‘s blunt lyrical themes, was to know she was being compared with the over-privileged, under-talented, Brit school rent-a-common-denominator Jessie J, she’d just as likely head across the Atlantic and whup yo’ ass. And Laura Mvula’s ethereal vocal work, presumably influenced by her a capella background, appeals to me a lot more than Kiwanuka’s homely schtick, but that just reinforces the subjective nature of all of this. What does make me yawn is the aforementioned Palma Violets – if I see another archly lo-fi video again, I’ve seen too many. The Libertines happened: deal with it. Although they may make more sense live. But there must be something on the list that appeals, John?

John: As a BBC employee I better watch whose toes on which I tread, but formulaic probably is hitting the nail on the head there. RE: Palma Violets and another ‘archly lo-fi video’, you’re going to absolutely have kittens for the video for ‘Best of Friends’, which people for some bizarre reason are gushing over? Not me, nope, I’m not buying into this Vaccines-lite that they seem to be publicising themselves as. I can get at least get a bit giddy about Gary Barlow’s favourite Irish crooners, Kodaline. The music and video to ‘All I Want’ is tear-jerkingly beautiful, and with the backing of Mister Barlow, I just feel like they could do very well for themselves. [They’ve also gotten a shout for SXSW 2013. – Ed.] While if she’s finished whooping ma ass, I feel like Angel Haze could at least be something edgy, exciting and a little bit sexy. Which is what I feel this list is missing… Who stands out for you then, Martin?

Martin: I’m with you on Kodaline: a deceptively simple song is enhanced with a brilliant, and indeed rather moving, visual story. Little Green Cars have a similarly powerful marriage: the video is made with a photographer’s eye for composition, and the song adds a much-needed bitter twist to the usual romance narrative. AlunaGeorge deserve mention for their sultry, mature approach to the urban pop genre, and visuals which positively drip 2013 London cool. The jury’s out on Tom Odell: he’s certainly a talented chap, but it’s so early on in his career to say for sure whether he’s got genuine depth, or simply blessed with an approximation of Chris Martin’s voice and demeanour. Gary Barlow’s finely-coiffed head pops up again with his signing A*M*E, who I can’t decide whether is bringing a decent bit of synthpop back to the charts or is the most derivative thing I’ve heard for ages. Either way, her video is a jolly bit of pastel-coloured candyfloss to liven these dark nights. And of the highlights for me that just leaves Haim’s ’80s-revival New York soft-rock, and (#5 band on the 10 for 2013 poll) Peace’s very British widescreen guitar jollity, one of very few bands who can invoke Talking Heads – and that’s a very good thing. Both acts were doing fine before this nomination, but it’ll do their career no harm either. Just pondering the winner…

John: We can ponder and discuss all we want, but it just feels like the cards are already stacked in Mr. Odell’s favour, he’s been named Brits Critics’ Choice Winner 2013 and we all know what that means. The talent is there, undoubtedly so: the Chichester-born musician seems like exactly what the BBC will want from their winner. Someone who’ll look well-placed on Jools Holland, while also being able to make fangirls swoon at festivals in the summer. We’d obviously like it to be somebody like Fenech-Soler, or a TGTF backed band, but hey we can dream.

Martin: I suspect you may be right. If they go for a band, and with all the talk of bands being back in fashion they may decide to buck the Brits trend, then my money’s on Kodaline. Great connections, great hairdos, great cheekbones. And although it’s easy to get all snobby about their ability to generate crowd-pleasing ditties, pleasing the crowd is what it’s all about. My personal choice is AlunaGeorge, on the basis that they might just turn into the next big urban crossover – there’s hints of that Tricky / Martina Topley-Bird interplay that gets me all excited. Well, we’ll find out soon enough!

 
 
 

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