Peter Doherty – ‘Hamburg Demonstrations’
Released on: Clouds Hill
Recommended because: Lyrically, this is his most personal work yet. Hell To Pay At The Heaven Gates, the track about the Bataclan attack, might sound musicially like one of his jolly anthems, but its desperation lies within him singing about ‘religious fanatics with military minds’. Hamburg Demonstrations pairs a minimal, nearly acoustic instrumentation with DOHERTY‘s yelling voice. Flags Of The Old Regime is a homage to WINEHOUSE while Kolly Kibber presents blurred German lyrics. Hamburg Demonstations is not only in terms of PETER DOHERTY a good singer/songwriter album. (Louisa)
Songs to check out: Hell To Pay At The Prison Gates, Kolly Kibber, I Don’t Love Anyone
The Last Shadow Puppets – ‘The Dream Synopsis EP’
Released on: Domino Records
Sounds like: Alex Turner and Miles Kane reactivating their side-project romance once again before heading back to their ordinary artistic lives. This EP is even more about the fun of playing together than their latest album was.
Recommended because: The four cover versions and two new versions of songs from this year’s Everything You’ve Come To Expect album were recorded live in one day at the Future-Past Studios in Hudson, New York. And that setting gives them a special edgy intensity. Turner, Kane and their band clearly enjoy this little off-day after playing countless shows throughout 2016. It’s a playful and entertaining encore to the album. Now, can we please get that new ARCTIC MONKEYS album ready ASAP? Merci. (Norman)
Songs to check out: Aviation, Les Cactus, This Is Your Life
Marika Hackman – ‘Wonderland EP’
Released on: Transgressive
Sounds like: A little Christmas EP that doesn’t want to be pretentious or shallow but spreads joyful and authentic holiday feeling via one of Britain’s most talented songwriters.
Recommended because: It’s always interesting to see how different artists approach the idea of a Christmas-themed release. MARIKA HACKMAN is another special case as her melancholic undertone delivers an EP that is more of a bleak and intimate version of the concept. Yes, she might head a bit for CHRIS REA territory in Driving Under Stars but songs like Paper Clown or her version of Winter Wonderland sound less festive than other artists might deliver it. Therefore this EP is an enjoyable intimate alternative draft, one that calls for introspection on the holidays this year; something we definitely deserve after this year. (Norman)
Songs to check out: Driving Under Stars, Paper Crown, Winter Wonderland
Slowcoaches – ‘Nothing Gives’
Released on: Leisure &District
Sounds like: ‘Slack metal’ (as they self-labled themselves) which is a perfect way to describe their sound. It’s grunge metal but more meaningful. It’s upbeat and laid back but full of seriousness. It’s a raw record, it encapsulates personal problems and creates a noisy rock record that really resonates with you. Dressed in Dr Martens and leather jackets, its cool but unsure.
Recommended because: SLOWCOACHES were a feature of my post university summer. Standing in back rooms of pubs, drinking pints and rocking out to the loud grunge that SLOWCOACHES brought. Every gig was different but still twanged with that angry noise rock. The London based trio totally feel their music and Heather, the lead vocalist, is a real performer. Grunge music should be effortlessly cool and Nothing Gives is just that. From 2010 standing tentatively in the crammed Brudenell to watching explosive videos in 2016, SLOWCOACHES continue to ooze noise. (Hannah)
Songs to check out: Get Ripped, Normas and Values, Drag
Raf Rundell – ‘The Adventures of Selfie Boy Pt. 1’
Released on: 1965 Records / PIAS
Sounds like: Soulful feelgood house music vibes with pop appeal, entertainingly compiled by 50 percent of THE 2 BEARS.
Recommended because: Even without his musical partner, HOT CHIP‘s Joe Goddard, RAF RUNDELL knows a thing or two about how to lift your mood. His first solo EP focusses more on his elaborate songwriting skills although he never forgets about the groove as foundation for everything. On top of it you get great song titles like Llama Farmer and Poor Bitch. Selfie Boy teaches us that you don’t need to take pop too seriously. (Norman)
Songs to check out: Right Time, Shoppin’ For A Shaman, Cosmos Boss