Saturday, 31 December 2016

Top 100 of 2016 - The Top 10

And here we are - our favourite ten songs from 2016. Do you agree or disagree with my countdown? Let us know in the comments!

10 Ward Thomas - Guilty Flowers (Released: October)

09 Nina Nesbitt - Chewing Gum (Released: February)

08 Aurora - Conqueror (Released: March)

07 Glass Animals - Life Itself (Released: May)

06 Gwen Stefani - Make Me Like You (Released: April)

05 Robbie Williams - Party Like a Russian (Released: September)

04 Jesse & Joy - More Than Amigos (Released: September)

03 Tegan and Sara - Stop Desire (Released: November)

02 Travis - Magnificent Time (Released: April)

01 Tom Odell - Magnetised (Released: April)

Before we go there's also time to do our top 10 albums of the year!

1. Travis - Everything At Once
2. Ward Thomas - Cartwheels
3. Kaiser Chiefs - Stay Together
4. obbie Williams - The Heavy Entertainment Show
5. We Are Z - Animal
6. Dave Hanson - Almost Horizontal
7. Seafret - Seafret
8. Tom Odell - Wrong Crowd
9. Izzy Bizu - Moment of Madness
10. Dick Valentine - Quiet Time

Top 100 of 2016 (Part 9)

We're nearly there as we reach the top 20!

20 Elle King - Good Girls (Released: June)

19 Bright Light Bright Light feat Elton John - All in the Name (Released: July)

18 Bastille - Good Grief (Released: July)

17 Florrie - Real Love (Released: February)

16 Everywhere - Some Other Dude (Released: July)

15 Hannah Trigwell - Another Beautiful Mistake (Released: April)

14 The Shires - Beats To Your Rhythm (Released: July)

13 Kaiser Chiefs - Hole In My Soul (Released: October)

12 Rat Boy - Move (Released: January)

11 Christine and the Queens - Tilted (Released: January)

Friday, 30 December 2016

Top 100 of 2016 (Part 8)

We reach the top 30 of our countdown of the best songs of 2016!

30 Busted - Coming Home (Released: May)

29 Dagny - Backbeat (Released: May)

28 Justin Timberlake - Can't Stop The Feeling! (Released: May)

27 Juno im Park feat. Hannah Trigwell - Never Gonna Give You Up (Released: July)

26 Tiggs Da Author feat Lady Leshurr - Run (Released: January)

25 Tor Miller - Surrender (Released: June)

24 Dragonette - Lonely Heart (Released: May)

23 Coldplay - Up&Up (Released: April)

22 Janet Devlin - Outernet Song (Released: October)

21 The Strumbellas - Spirits (Released: September)

New Music Review #20

Here's our latest pick of ten songs you should be listening to!

Fickle Friends - Brooklyn

'Brooklyn' is a great bouncy poppy number that shows promise for the band for future releases. (6.5/10)

Hifi Sean Ft. Crystal Waters - Testify

With tinges of gospel, this musically straight forward track wins you over thanks to Crystal Waters' listenable vocals and the building funky backing. (7/10)

Honey G - The Honey G Show 

Having not watched the X Factor (ever) Honey G was only familiar to me through the tabloid pieces and social media. This song will split the crowd: it's incredible cheesy and naff but hasn't a certain catchiness to it. (6/10)

Izzy Bizu - Talking to You 

Izzy Bizu scores highly with another sunny pop number highlighted by her delightfully light vocals. (6.5/10)

Kings Of Leon - Find Me

'Find Me' isn't their most distinctive ever song but it has enough indie-rock love to keep you interested. (6/10)

Lukas Graham - You're Not There 

'You're Not There' is a touching gentle like ballad that brings Graham backs into our consciousness after a while away. (6/10)

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Sick Love

Here is something a little bit different from RHCP, a retro-sounding gentler song that bypasses their usual pop sensibilities but still feels like a worthwhile listen. (6.5/10)

Rick Astley - Wish Away

After a string of single successes in 2016 Rick Astley delivers another great little single. Though less bombastic and memorable than his recent records it still has plenty of heart. (6/10)

Sage the Gemini - Now & Later 

One of the artists highlighted as 2017's must see 'Now and Later' shows there may be some truth to those pieces. A fun, understated piece. (6/10)

Zayn Malik & Taylor Swift - I Don't Wanna Live Forever

Taken from the upcoming 'Fifty Shades of Grey' sequel this doesn't have the catchiness of last year's Ellie Goulding number but it's sultry enough to keep the yummy mummies happy. (6/10)

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Jenn Bostic - Christmas EP

Released as a limited edition CD release, Jenn Bostic's 'Christmas EP' includes five tracks, each beautifully sung and produced, offering a smooth, gentle and choral soundtrack for the festive season. Opener 'Hope of the World' is a powerful, touching and dramatic opener with Bostic's vocals complimented by the building choral sound. 'It's Christmas Time' is a poppy, more jaunty, offering with tinges of gospel flowing into it alongside it's radio friendly guitar, piano hook and chorus.

'Light A Candle', the longest track on the piece, has echoes of Alicia Keys on its stripped back, slower feel, giving Bostic's powerful voice time to shine. 'Love You This Christmas' is the black sheep of the record, offering something a little different in sound, feeling like the most jovial on the record. Things wrap up with the gospel-heavy 'What Love Feels Like', a great number and one of Bostic's best.

If you can still grab a copy of the record then make sure you do. The Christmas EP has five great tracks on it to get you in the seasonal mood. (7.5/10)

The Killers - Don't Waste Your Wishes

After eleven years we finally get full quality copies of the Killers' series of charity-fundraising Christmas singles, collected together as 'Don't Waste Your Wishes'.

Included in release order the songs do hold up as a solid album rather than a collection of one-off singles. The track-listing does live and die on the order and the best songs do come at the start, the first trio the highlights of the record particularly the opener 'The Great Big Sled' which is, in my eyes, already a Christmas classic.

That said later songs like 'Christmas in LA', 'Dirt Sledding' and particularly the Jimmy Kimmel-featuring 'Joel The Lump of Coal' are stand-outs and even lesser tracks like 'Boots' and 'Dirt Sledding' slot into place nicely. Only the last and most recent track, part-monologue, part-song, feels like a mis-fire but somehow comes to life more as the closing shot.

In a time when Christmas records are having a resurgence, this is a brilliant example of what one band can achieve over a decade. I just hope this doesn't mean the end of their annual treat, but if it does at least this is a superb record of the songs. (8/10)

New Music Review #19

Another ten tracks we recommend!

Adam Lanceley - Those Rose Tinted Days

'Those Rose Tinted Days' is a driving indie-number with a positive vibe that lifts it up, creating a strong indie feel to the piece. (6.5/10)

Chromatone - Fever

With a funky seventies vibe, 'Fever' boasts a catchy chorus and a great electro-synth vibe. Great. (7/10)

The Everly Pregnant Brothers - Chip Pan

There's a bit of a karaoke feel to this record that makes it less appealing but in terms of witty lyrics and a retro throwback it's hard not to laugh and enjoy the parody of Kings of Leon. (6/10)

Fancy Cars - Set Me On Fire

'Set Me On Fire' is a soaring indie-club number that builds up and avoids some of the expected tropes as it gets a little more dance-focussed. (6/10)

Hayley McKay - Unspoken

McKay boasts some great vocal chords and when combined with this touching, well written stripped back pop ballad it shines. (7/10)

The Imagineers - Utopian Dreams (Radio Edit)

There's a bit of a Muse feel to this dark sounding record, before it gets into more of a sixties-indie feel. Great and different. (6.5/10)

Janet Devlin & Jason Nevins - Outernet Song (Remix)

Here is a great bouncy remix of one of our favourite songs of the year, keeping the message whilst adding a more club-friendly feeling. (7.5/10)

The Lancashire Hotpots - Hotpot Funk (Don't Forget The Red Sauce)

We don't really need another Uptown Funk parody, especially one year on, but the Hotpots have recorded a cracking little parody, and though the music is more karaoke backing track than their usual offerings this is very funny and even boasts a sing-a-long section. (7/10)

Steve Aoki & Louis Tomlinson - Just Hold On

It's perhaps a little generic but there's something upbeat and likeable about the record that keeps you listening. A good one for the clubs. (6/10)

Tony Shaw - Take Me Away (Karrades Club Mix)

'Take Me Away', in its remix form, is a catchy, fast club track that grows with each listen. Well worth a punt. (6/10)

Top 100 of 2016 (Part 7)

It's time for our next countdown of the best songs of 2016 as we enter our top 40!

40 Jazz Mino - Suffocate (Released: June)

39 Kate Rusby - Big Brave Bill (Released: July)

38 The Slvr Tongues - Johnny Cash (Released: August)

37 Twenty One Pilots - Heathens (Released: June)

36 Walk The Moon - Work This Body (Released: February)

35 Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Come With Us (F9 Radio Edit) (Released: July)

34 RagnBone Man - Wolves (Released: June)

33 Lola Coca - GQ (Released: April)

32 Sia feat Sean Paul - Cheap Thrills (Released: February)

31 Axwell and Ingrosso - Dream Bigger (Released: May)

Friday, 23 December 2016

KBPS Interview: Basco

Basco is a fiddle-scraping, box-belting, cittern-smacking folk/roots band with members from Denmark, Sweden and Australia. They are performing in Settle on 22nd January and we got to speak to Andreas from Basco ahead of this live gig.

How would you describe your live set?
Our music is Nordic but when we tend to play domestically – in Norway or Sweden – people tend to hear us as more Celtic, so basically it’s a mix of these two worlds. Two of us are pure blood Danes, one is from Sweden and our fourth guy – Hal - grew up in Australia, his dad’s Scottish and his mum’s English, and now he lives in Denmark! He’s written most of the music up to now and he’s influenced by wherever he’s been and where he’s lived. I’d say [our music] is like a melting point of lots of different things.

Our instrumental music is all original then on top of that we play some English folk songs, primarily, which Hal was brought up with, songs that his mum used to sing to him. Just to add to the confusion of the diversity, we tend to have four or five English folk songs.

What is about folk music that attracts you to playing it?
It’s different for all four of us. My approach was originally classical music. Hal has been interested by both folk and classical music, but his parents listened to a lot of folk music. Ale is very much into folk music and Swedish traditional music, whilst Anders is very much influenced by jazz. He plays the accordion as well as the trombone and plays with a big band. The inspiration is many, and our interest in folk music, if you say one general thing for all of us, was a spring board or starting point. The melodies are very important to us, and our roots are based in traditional melodic tones, and they’re the core of our songs.

Does having all those influences make your music more unique and distinctive?
I’d say yes, even if it sounds like we’re thinking high thoughts of our own music! I think it does add something. When we go abroad to England people think it’s Scandinavian, and when we play here people think it’s Celtic. I think it’s pretty good as we sound as refreshing over here as with you guys, but at the same time there’s always something to refer to. It’s not completely unusual but it at the same time it’s new, and that’s what we get. A lot of the time we get inspiration from pop music, rock music, jazz music. That takes the music new places.

In terms of inspiration, your biography says that all your music is ultimately about sex. Is that correct!?
It’s not all about sex! But I’m not lying when I say that some of it is inspired by personal experiences. Some of the English folk songs are very much centred around sex. One song is about a horny sailor who tries to get in bed with a noble woman, and we sing a sea-shanty called ‘The Hog-Eye Man’ which is about a man getting into bed with lots of women! Some of the music is about sex, or at least it has a big part of the story. Even the instrumental is sometimes inspired by sex! It’s not like [our live set] is like a freak show or an orgy but some of our entertainment is referring to the subject of sex!

You have a new album out in 2017; how is that coming together?
In the beginning of February we’re going to record two or three more tracks and then we’re going to decide what goes on the album, and the plan right now, it’s not official, is to have the release on 4th May, which is also going to take place in the UK through Proper Music distribution.

Has any song stood out as a potential lead single?
We haven’t talked about it but a good guess would actually be an English folk song we’ve recorded. The music has been newly written by Hal but it’s an old Scotch song and he re-wrote the verses, and added things. It’s a song about Patrick Spens. We’ve already played it this Autumn so when we come over in January it’ll be our English debut for the song.

Do you have any plans for videos to go with the album?
Yes! We haven’t finished that but we’ve written a new tune for our set. It’s a Swedish inspired tune, but it’s not been giving a full title yet. I think the plan is to make a crazy music video for that and release it together with the album, to [help with] publicity.

Do you have any real big ambitions for 2017?
We are going to accomplish one of them – which is we’re playing a tour with the Danish Radio Big Band, which is unique. It’s on the last weekend in March and we’re going to play three gigs with those guys and they’ll be three real big concerts! We’re aiming for some of the English festivals. We are dreaming of playing the Cambridge Folk Festival, Folk East, Dartmoor, Sidmouth, some of these festivals. We already have two confirmed festivals in August and September but they’re not official yet! We will be back in June playing more gigs in the Borders area between England and Scotland.

We’re trying to actually bring the whole Big Band project to England and we’ve been talking with the band about it. In the end it was put aside, at least for now, but we might be able to take it over sometime in the future!

Finally, your logo features a flat cap. Is that to help appeal to the people of North Yorkshire?
I hope it will! When we’re over there, it’s always a genuine pleasure. We love the musical culture which you have, and we feel at home. It’s just a great place to go and part of going over to [North Yorkshire] is to be part of that fantastic atmosphere!

Basco perform at Settle Victoria Hall in January. Click here to buy tickets.

KBPS Interview: Desmond John

Desmond John is a singer-songwriter from Atlanta and we got chance to speak to him about his new single.

You have a new single out called ‘Untradable’. How would you describe it?
It’s an uptempo song; an energetic dance track that’s really meant for the clubs and to get people into a good spirit. It’s a really feel-good track.

Where did the inspiration for the song come from?
When [the producer] played me the track it all came together well. I really wanted my first single to be something uptempo and something fun. I’m obviously young and I thought that was really important, to get people into a good mood!

On your Facebook page you have uploaded videos that are more just you and a guitar, as opposed to the dance focus of ‘Untradable’. Are you changing your direction or doing both styles?
I like to mix it up; I like to thing I don’t just have one genre as long as it’s good music. Sometimes it’s more dance, sometimes RnB. I have lots of different influences with artists so I don’t really have a specific sound that I’m going for.

Do you have any video plans for Untradable?
Yes, we actually shot the music video recently in the States and that’s being released in January. I’m really excited about that! It’s still under wraps now but I’ll be releasing new details in the next few weeks!

You’ve lived in many places across the world; has that helped shape you musically?
Yes sure! I’ve been lucky enough to live in Africa, Europe and America now so I’ve got lots of influences and a global outlook on the world. That definitely helps my sound and my attitude towards everything I do.

As well as your music you had ambitions when you were younger to be a footballer; is that something you still like to dabble in?
I do still play, but just socially! My dream was to play for Manchester United!

What are your plans for 2017 in terms of EPs or albums?
I’ve recorded lots of songs but we’re just focussing at the moment on singles and promoting those. I have another single coming out after Untradable. I’ve got a lot of cool material coming out [but] I’m really focussing on social media; it’s going to be really exciting! I’ll be travelling a lot and spending time in the UK and, of course, the US, as well as a few territories in Europe so it’s going to be really fun!

Have you got any touring plans?
I haven’t planned any of that yet but I’m sure there will be!

Finally do you have any big ambitions for next year?

Nothing specific, but in the next few years I do want to win a Grammy so I guess that’s my [future ambition]. I’m aiming for the stars!

Untradable is available to download now from all good music providers.

New Music Review #018

Here are another ten tracks worth listening to!

Alex Da Kid feat. X Ambassadors, Elle King, Wiz Khalifa - Not Easy

A record that's not really as good as the sum of its parts, the emotional inputs from Alex Da Kid and Elle King give it its heart and Wiz Khalifa's rap adds a neat little urban flavour. Not bad but a tad generic in parts. (6.5/10)

Creeper - Hiding With Boys 

'Hiding with Boys' is a bouncy, rock number that stays on the right side of listenable compared to over the top rocking. (6/10)

DJ Fresh vs. Diplo - Bang Bang (Official Audio) feat. R. City, Selah Sue & Craig David

The 'Bang Bang' riff is actually better than much of the contributions from the extended song cast list but it holds together enough as a piece of club-dance even if it's a little bit too familiar (7/10).

Friends of Jo Cox feat. MP4, Steve Harley, Ricky Wilson, David Gray & KT Tunstall - You Can't Always Get What You Want

I'm not quite sure how the message of the song connects with the issues based around the sad murder of MP Jo Cox but this collaborative song is nicely done, though the mixture of voices is as messy as these records can become, but the cause is great. (6.5/10)

IDER - King Ruby

'King Ruby' is a funky little dream-pop track with more electronic ambitions. It makes for a solid chill-out track. (6/10)

Kelvin Jones - As You Wake Up

Kelvin Jones can usually be relied on for a listenable slice of indie, and this is no exception. It's perhaps not as noteworthy as some of his recent material but it's still worth a punt. (6/10)

KT Tunstall - It Took Me So Long To Get Here, But Here I Am

Taken from her latest album this is a catchy pop-indie track that matches up Tunstall's loveable vocals with a fast-paced indie riff and a happy, positive vibe. (7/10)

Little Mix feat. Charlie Puth - Oops (feat. Charlie Puth) 

'Oops' with its whistle riff, retro throwback and Charlie Puth guest slot make this sound a little like his work with Meghan Trainor but that's not bad when it's as fun and poppy as this. (7/10)

Stevie Wonder feat. Ariana Grande - Faith

Taken from the upcoming 'Sing' film this a catchy, funky seventies throwback that, though not particularly revolutionary, is a fun number and the best thing Ariana Grande has done in a while. (6.5/10)

The Weeknd feat. Daft Punk - I Feel it Coming

Vastly better than 'Starboy', this slow and sensual collaboration with Daft Punk takes a few listens to enjoy but soon demonstrates its catchiness and sexiness. (6.5/10)

New Music Review #017

It's another selection of ten songs we'd recommend you listen to!

Banks - This Is Not About Us

Banks can be often relied upon to deliver a great electro-pop tune and 'This Is Not About Us' is no exception, cranking up the catchiness alongside her great vocals. (7/10)

Hannah Trigwell - Filthy Rich

Leeds-based Hannah Trigwell is a good bet for a catchy, touching, well written song and though 'Filthy Rich' doesn't quite reach the heights of her recent 'Another Beautiful Mistake' it's still beautifully sung and delightful. (7/10)

Jerry Williams - Boys Don't Cry

'Boys Don't Cry' is a beautiful stripped-back song that is well sung, nicely written and produced into a strongly mixed package that is touching and smooth in equal measure. (7/10)

Jessie J - Can't Take My Eyes Off You X Make Up For Ever

Jessie J returns after a considerable absense with this sexed-up and funked-up take on the classic song. Purists will hate it but this is surprisingly interesting and fresh from its cut-up vocals to DJ skips. (7/10)

Loop - Losing My Mind

Boasting some great vocals and a simply, but funky, electronic riff, this has a great pop vibe with hints of RnB. (6.5/10)

Sia - Angel By The Wings

'Angel by the Wings' doesn't have the same buzz as her big ballad belters, but it's another great showcase of her vocal chords on a nicely touching song. (6.5/10)

Sigala x Digital Farm Animals - Only One

It might not be exactly the most revolutionary in today's column but it has enough joy and club funk to keep you moving for its three minutes of electro-club-pop. (6.5/10)

Simple Minds - Sanctify Yourself (Acoustic)

Another great acoustic take on a Simple Minds classic, this is a fast, bouncy take on the song. (6.5/10)

XL feat. Elesia Limura - Down Low

Far too summery in sound for this time of year, perhaps this will be a good antidote to those of you sick of mince pies and snow. Catchy and with a great beat, you will indeed want to 'turn it up'. (7/10)

Vei - Rolling On Your Romeo

With a delightfully listenable voice, 'Rolling On Your Romeo' is a smooth, gentle, laid-back track that is the definition of laid-back pop. (7/10)

Top 100 of 2016 (Part 6)

It's time for the latest part of our countdown of the best songs of 2016, entering the top fifty!

50 Will Joseph Cook - Girls Like Me (Released: February)

49 Dave Hanson - Midday Sun (Released: June)

48 The Allergies - Rock Rock (feat. Andy Cooper) (Released: April)

47 Teddybears - Best You Ever Had [feat Gorilla Zoe] (Released: August)

46 Rick Astley - Dance (Released: October)

45 Kirsty Churchill - Who You Gonna Call (Released: March)

44 P!nk - Just Like Fire (Released: April)

43 KT Tunstall - Maybe Its A Good Thing (Released: August)

42 Blossoms - Charlemagne (Released: August)

41 Emeli Sandé - Hurts (Released: September)

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Top 100 of 2016 (Part 5)

It's time for the fifth part of our top 100 countdown, taking us from 61 to 50. Don't forget to leave your comments below!

60 Michael Bublé - I Believe in You

59 Kerri Watt - The Wild

58 MIAMIGO - Everyone I Know

57 April Towers - Silent Fever 

56 Cody Chesnutt - I Stay Ready

55 Clean Bandit feat. Sean Paul and Anne-Marie - Rockabye

54 Madness - Mr Apples

53 Skyler feat. Snoop Dogg - Fire

52 Paige Monroe - Call It Love 

51 Smoove & Turrell - You Could've Been a Lady