Saturday, 11 February 2012

5 Reasons To Be Cheerful :)

So..Christmas is over and its time to go back to work but the weather outside is cold wet and windy and everything is on a downer so why bother?

What the new year also brings though is a brand new year in music so to help banish those winter blues and warm your cockles here are 5 of the UK's freshest talents to kick off your 2012

Enjoy :)

1. Dry The River

If Mumford and Sons are a bit too twee for you with their smart dress and overplayed banjos and crass lyrics then this new London quintet could just be the antidote. They are a gospel folk band but although like Mumford they are masters of the quiet/loud dynamic are a darker proposition and their tatooed members look more like a punk band than a folk band.

Add this to their brand of music which like their previous release 'New Ceremony' indicated starts off with a carefully plucked acoustic and heartbreaking vocals and swelling strings whilst a bass lingers in the background morphs into a full on chest-thumper of a track which is more along the lines of what a band like the Killers would do rather than a folk band.

The same trick is repeated on their recent track 'No Rest' which starts low key with vocals that are more akin to the falsetto of Cumbrian band 'Wild Beasts' as more and more instruments join the fray the track turns into a rock gospel with frontman Liddle's impassioned vocal 'I loved you in the best way possible' permeating the chorus and its hard not to feel his pain.

Stirring and epic stuff from these new folk rock band hopefuls.

Be sure to check them out when they arrive in Manchester this month!

2 Ren Harvieu

One listen to the sultry smooth vocals and jazzy backing of this new 21 year old female singer-songwriter and you feel instantly transported the days when dusty ruled the charts and soul music was the flavour. Its only when you look at her bio and see that this isn't just some other bog standard american singer who is trying to mimic the past but one that comes all the way from..Salford.

That's right our Ren was brought up in broughton and where she stands out in a pool full of industry pleasers is that she was not a brit school graduate,but honed her talent,trying out for contests which she was shunned out of because she was apparently not good enough.

She's also diced with death when she had an accident last summer and was told she may not be able to walk again.

So its fair to say she's had her fair share of knocks through to her finally making it and her new single 'Through the Night' showcases a stunning vocal turn and a swooning string backing which almost makes you forget how young she still is with such a confident track.

The mellow 'Forever in Blue' with its hauntingly beautiful vocals is a gorgeous slice of jazzy soul goodness

There's definitely more to come from this northern lass.

She is also supporting Dry the River on their Manchester date in February

So check her out

3. Dan Croll

In a world full of singer-songwriters who feel the only way they can connect with their audience is by cloaking their tracks in glossy production.Dan Croll is the master of the understatement as he chooses the minimalist approach as its mostly just man and guitar but he knows when is best to add more to the mix which is also credit to his producer and fellow band member Joe Wills who lets the songs breathe rather than be drowned out by heavy production which allows Dan to express himself.

This project is as far from his day job as frontman of Liverpool math rockers 'Dire Wolfe' (also worth a look) as this is Dan spreading his wings and showcasing his own talent as a singer-songwriter.

'Closer' entices the listener with its pared down approach as its melody slowly worms itself into your brain 'Its Always Like This' has a lovely low key country folkish warmth about it which draws the listener in and in 'Home' Dan might just have his signature track with its carefully strummed acoustic backing and melodic vocals together with carefully placed harmonies which then evolves into a chugging anthem of sorts and its clear that this is a special artist.

so simple yet blindingly brilliant

No news of any release date or Manchester date yet - watch this space

4. The Slow Show

 No doubt readers of this very blog will be familiar with 'The Slow Show' but for those who aren't here is a few words that might explain why 2012 might just be the year that they make their mark.

They are an Indie Folk band from Manchester who take their influences from American traditional folk and jazz but are able to mould this disparate genres into something fresh and timeless.Frontman  Rob has one of those world weary vocals that is akin to John Bramwell's of I am Kloot  which automatically captivates but its his band of able musicians that really make this a special outfit.

With their instrumental prowess they propel the songs forward which makes laments like 'God only knows' sound stunning and the jazzy folk of 'Mr Blue Tie' (link below) sound familiar and relevant.

Their Midnight Waltz EP is available to purchase from

By right this band should be the next big Manchester band

Make sure you check them out when they come to Manchester next month

5 Emeli Sande

Unless you've cut yourself off from the current music climate you will no doubt be aware of Emelie Sande the scottish singer songwriter who has dominated the charts.She has written songs for Susan Boyle (meh) and  Tinie Tempah and Alicia Keys to name but a few whilst also dueting with uk urban act Chipmunk and Eminem wannabe 'Professor Green' on the No.1 hit 'Read All About It'.

It was really when she released 'Heaven' last year which went to No.2 that I switched on to her sound with its massive attack like  production and booming soul vocals reminiscent of yesteryear this seemed to have everything american attached to it.

To find out that she was actually a UK singer songwriter who had a track that it was ok to like,to love even was a breath of fresh air. This was a credible artist who not only had a stunning vocal but also was a former medical student - talent and brains in equal measure.

She recently won the Critics choice award and a worthy winner unlike last years recipient.

With her peroxide blonde quiff she stands out from the pack and there is an assuredness about her which should see her go straight to the top.

Its her unmistakable vocal and confident persona that makes Emelie one of the sounds of 2012.

You can check out her smash hit single 'Heaven' below.

She comes to Manchester in April

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