Starting from the New Year I’ll be compiling a list of five artists, in no particular order, that have stood out for me recently. This won’t be genre specific and will most likely be a mixed bag of underground and more exposed artists/bands; old and new. I’ll be providing short descriptions and reviews for each song and also any necessary links for you to find your way to said artist.
These posts will also be open to suggestions so don’t be afraid to make any, whether it’s your own work or just your favourite tune at the minute.
Anyway, let’s get started…
1.) Rag ’N’ Bone Man
First up is Rag’N’Bone Man, also known as Rory Graham. I first crossed paths with this man from Brighton a couple of days ago when an email crept in to my inbox suggesting I check out this guy and his new album, ‘Wolves’. Or maybe I saw an advert for it, my memory is hazy, but nonetheless I took the time to listen. Graham’s gravelly voice gripped me instantly as I was taken on a journey soundtracked by his unique twist on the blues.
As evidenced by the opening song, ‘Reuben’s Train’, this album is heavily influenced by Blues, Soul and Gospel music, which can be heard as elements of the genres creep in to the guitar driven, drum heavy tracks that Rag ‘N’ Bone Man sings over. Graham’s music encapsulates comforting ‘home cooking’ with a sprinkling of distortion, plenty of organ and gospel style backing vocals topped with thick, beefy vocals, which serve as the gravy. The album has a dirty, rough and ready homegrown vibe to it.
Here’s a link to the opening track on the album, which is a good indicator of what’s to come in the remaining songs. Also available on iTunes if you choose to support the artist.
2.) The Mouse Outfit
As a man residing in Manchester, it would be rude for me to leave out any of the talent currently sprouting up all over the city. The Mouse Outfit, a 9-piece band and Hip-Hop production team, have just achieved enough backing on their Kickstarter campaign for a new tour bus. Backers were rewarded with a variety of items, which included their latest album appropriately named ‘Escape Music’.
Track by track, the group effortlessly plays with a variety of styles and genres as they mould their influences in to an easy-going Hip-Hop album. The band also have a strong arsenal of MC’s and rappers at their disposal with the likes of Sparkz, Black Josh and Dr. Syntax all blessing the mic with a flurry of catchy hooks and playful lyricism.
Another strong offering from the U.K.’s Hip-Hop scene:
In comparison to some others on this list, Bonobo is a considerably more well-known artist, having not long finished a big two year world tour which ended at Victoria Palace in London. Not long ago I saw the man himself accompanied by a live band at the Warehouse Project in Manchester, which was worth every penny and more.
His latest single ‘Flashlight’ is a funky number comprised of twanging guitars, a loose and relaxed four-on-the-floor drum groove and a variety of synths layered expertly to create a signature sound; a sound that people familiar with Bonobo have come to recognise and love.
This man has paved a way for himself by drawing influence from a variety of genres to create a distinct style nestled within electronic music; one that incorporates a huge variety of traditional orchestral samples, percussion, live instruments and synths.
A downtempo, yet dance floor orientated vibe would be the best way to loosely summarize Bonobo’s music.
Hypho, a dance music producer (more specifically, a House and Garage producer) based in Manchester is cranking out dance floor destroyers like there’s no tomorrow. He’s gradually gained recognition from some high profile names such as EDM.com and Marcus Nasty from Rinse FM.
One of Hypho’s latest releases, for which he teamed up with fellow producer Teo. C and vocalist Chesqua, caught my ear the most. The track starts off as smooth as you like, with Chesqua’s gentle vocals gliding over a typical four-on-the-floor house beat, and some atmospheric pads, before coming to a breakdown. The song quickly reaches a climax before dropping into the song that the guy next to you, gurning his face off, was waiting for.
I’m looking forward to seeing what else Hypho has to offer:
5.) ? ? ?
Last, but certainly not least, here is the section of the post where I will link a song that won’t be accompanied by any sort of rambling from myself. It’ll be a mystery and you’ll have to take it upon yourself to listen.
So, without further ado…