Skott – Glitter & Gloss

There’s something unusual and pretty special about this alt-pop track from Swedish singer-songwriter Skott. Glitter & Gloss meanders and intrigues but the whole effect is overwhelmingly pleasing.

The track has been deservedly getting plenty of radio airplay and we expect plenty more material along these lines from her over the coming months. You can also catch her live over the coming months on a number of European and US tour dates that include London (7 March) and Brighton’s Great Escape (20 May).

Skott – Glitter & Gloss

LIVE: Rose Elinor Dougall (Village Underground, London, 13/2/17)

We’ve been long term fan of Rose Elinor Dougall since catching her performing her solo material in a support slot for Mark Ronson in 2010, with whom she was also collaborating at the time of his album Record Collection.

Dougall has a crystal-sharp voice and a great range, which is put to good effect throughout her second album Stellular. Several tracks from the album were included in this set which was another supporting role, this time for Boxed In – whose frontman Oli Bayston worked with Dougall on production of Stellular.

The album’s title track was a highlight, performed with flair and energy, as were Closer, Strange Warnings and All At Once. In performance, just as on record, Dougall manages to convey both frostiness and warmth at the same time, with lyrics that let you in to glimpse a deeply romantic, vulnerable persona.

Her latest material is in a similar indie-pop vein to that which made her debut album – 2010’s Without Why – such a strong piece of work, but this time there is extra confidence and bounce from an artist who remains bewilderingly underrated.

LIVE: Boxed In (Village Underground, London, 13/2/17)

DSC_0177 (2).JPGBoxed In wrapped up their UK tour with perhaps their biggest show to date for what was a triumphant return to their home town.

The four-piece, led by frontman Oli Bayston, performed much of their new album Melt, bringing to life an already superb set of material that somehow took on a whole new level on the live stage.

Right from the start, they set the bar high, kicking things off with Jist and, during a set of a little over an hour, included several from the new album, including Shadowboxing, London Lights, Black Prism, and Oxbow. There was also a pick from the first LP too, including Foot of The Hill, All Your Love Is Gone and a majestic performance of Mystery.

After a brief encore, the band returned with Open Ended and False Alarm, before concluding on a real high with the superb Melt.

Bayston was keen to emphasise his gratitude to an appreciative crowd for turning out on a Monday night for this show, but in reality, making such an effort to be here for this one – even at this ungodly start of the working week – was no hardship. The band gave an accomplished performance that was atmospheric, high-tempo, and full of the kind of substance that can be all too hard to find. It also felt way more ‘complete’ than very early Boxed In, with a live sound that brought the very best out of the whole band. It made you glad to have been there to see it, hear it and, most of all, feel it.

For a taste of Boxed In live, see their superb mini-set for Low Four.

 

London Grammar – Bittersweet Symphony

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London Grammar with Radio 1 DJ MistaJam

The Verve‘s Bittersweet Symphony is one of those pieces of work that we would consider ‘untouchable’ – that is to say, it should always be out of bounds for any artists looking to do a cover version.

So the news that London Grammar had taken this iconic song on was greeted with concern at Sync towers. However, we needn’t have worried. The trio have given it a totally different spin and created something very special. Take a listen…

London Grammar – Live Gig for BBC Radio 1 [UK only] (skip to 16:45 for Bittersweet Symphony)

Flyte – Echoes

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Photo: Sequoia Ziff

London four-piece Flyte have released the very dreamy indie-pop track Echoes after a 2016 spent largely in the studio.

The band did break up their year with a few festival appearances over the summer, but the coming months will hopefully see more new material along these lines. The accompanying live video was filmed in St Leonard’s Church in Shoreditch, East London, and adds further atmosphere to an already super-rich sound.

Flyte – Echoes

TRACK OF THE WEEK: Marble Empire – Twenty

marble-empireA supremely chilled out track to start the week, this is Twenty by UK producer Marble Empire (Matt Berry).

The 20-year-old Guildford-based artist – who started out as a producer in 2015 before moving on to performing his own tracks live with a full band – takes inspiration from the likes of Jungle and Nao and you can spot these influences among the many elements going on in this tune. We love it and hope you will too.

Marble Empire – Twenty

Lots Holloway – World’s On Fire

lots-hollowaySinger-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lots Holloway has unveiled her debut single, World’s On Fire.

It’s a powerful track in more ways than one. Despite its obvious pop qualities, Holloway’s lyrics still carry real weight, exploring the issues and concerns faced by her generation and tying it in with a feeling of togetherness, determination and empowerment. “I wrote it back in the summer of 2016 when a lot of strange and sad things were happening,” explains Holloway. “Brexit, the Orlando shooting, the Bastille Day attack, the US presidential battle, the refugee crisis and the ongoing war in Syria, to name just a few. The song wasn’t inspired by any particular event, but more the amalgamation of them as a whole, it’s an observation of the world in which we’ve found ourselves.”

She adds that the accompanying video is a direct reflection of the lyrics. “I wanted to show examples of the chaos I speak about in the song. We shot the video in an old farm building with no heating and at one point it was below 0 degrees – you’ll see just how cold it was from how visible my breath is in some of the shots.”

Born in a small town in Cornwall, Lots spent most of her childhood writing lyrics and teaching herself how to play different instruments after being inspired by some of the songs in her parent’s vast collection of music. First the drums, then the guitar, the bass, and finally the piano. She began to merge them, along with her lyrics, and started crafting and arranging entire songs.

Now living in London, Holloway will continue recording material during this year with plans to release her debut album in late 2017 and a string of UK dates to be announced.

Lots Holloway – World’s On Fire

LIVE: Fun Lovin’ Criminals (o2 Academy, Bristol, 10/2/17)

It always feels like a Friday night when Fun Lovin’ Criminals are in town… only this time it actually was. As ‘the man with the plan’ of the trio, Fast, said in a recent interview we did with him for 365Bristol.com, the band try to make sure their shows are scheduled towards the end of the week: “No-one likes going to concerts on Monday nights do they!”

The guys were on absolutely top form for the Bristol leg of the Big Night Out tour, which follows last year’s dates marking the 20th anniversary of their debut album Come Find Yourself. Our full review of the gig appears on 365Bristol.com so do have a read. In the meantime, here is a selection of our shots from the photo pit.

 

Anne-Marie – Ciao Adios

A hugely popular track amongst fans at Anne-Marie‘s recent UK tour, it was inevitable that Ciao Adios would get a single release… although the middle finger hand gesture that became synonymous with its live performance may have to be left out of the video!

With her debut album (working title Breathing Fire) still not released, this single will doubtless get extra traction given the singer’s collaborative success with Clean Bandit‘s single Rockabye which maintained a chart number one spot for nine weeks late last year.

Anne-Marie – Ciao Adios

Plaitum – Ovation

Here’s a monster of a track from London electronica duo Plaitum. We first caught sight of the band when they supported Phantogram on their UK/Europe dates late last year and they certainly blew the cobwebs from the arches at London’s Heaven.

Ovation is taken from their forthcoming debut album Constraint which is due for release on 7 April. We predict it will be a noisy, essential and life-affirming affair!

Plaitum – Ovation

LIVE: Ladyhawke (Marble Factory, Bristol, 7/2/17)

DSC_0350 (2).JPGAnother long-standing favourite of ours to tick off the live list, we finally got the chance to see Ladyhawke. Thankfully, she was everything we expected and more. A cracking performance of a set that included a real mix of old and new, with plenty of time given over to her self-titled debut album as well as some of the newer songs from last year’s Wild Things.

Particular highlights were probably Let It Roll, Paris Is Burning, and of course, she wrapped things up with the brilliant My Delirium.

Our full review for this one is over on the superb 365Bristol.com website so do have a read. In the meantime, here are a few of our photos from the show…

ISLE – Faults

Hailing from the Scottish Borders, ISLE are electro-pop duo Liam Rutherford and Ben Singer. Their latest track Faults has been included in the latest Sync List for no other reason than because it is superb. It’s a well-produced, uplifting tune of the type we’re always partial to.

The band are currently on tour supporting Ladyhawke with a string of dates kicking off in Bristol tonight.

ISLE – Faults