Tag Archives: Editors

10 best tracks of 2016

Charles Bradley – Aint It A Sin

The man described as the “closest living equivalent to James Brown” by Pitchfork released 3rd album ‘Changes’ back in April, with its title taken from Bradley’s majestic, heart-wrenching cover of the Black Sabbath classic. The whole album is drenched in retro-soul sounds, peppered with post-funk grooves and hip hop elements, forming the perfect background to Bradley’s signature garble. This, for me, a particular highlight of many to be found in the soul star’s best release to date.

 

Massive Attack feat Tricky – Take It There

Forming part of the band’s Ritual Spirit EP release in January this year, Take It There featured the long awaited return of Adrain ‘Tricky’ Thaws – his first appearance on a Massive Attack record since 1994’s Protection. An intoxicating, trip hop waltz that reaffirms the assertion that Massive Attack are the masters of their own creation.

 

Minor Victories – A Hundred Ropes

A refreshing addition to the ‘supergroup’ tag, Minor Victories, comprising Rachel Goswell from Slowdive, Stuart Braithwaite from Mogwai, Justin Lockey from Editors and James Lockey of Hand Held Cine Club. Their self titled, 10 track debut release arrived in June to much critical acclaim, and the organic, lush synth-pop orchestral sound of first track ‘A Hundred Ropes’ made for a surprising and thoroughly welcome addition to this year’s music scene.

 

Van Ts – Blood Orange

Glasgow’s premier surf rock exporters The Van Ts – based around twin sisters Hannah and Chloe Van Thompson – have taken the city, and Scotland, by storm in 2016, thanks to their energetic shows, surefire swagger and most importantly, scuzzy, scorching musical output. None more so evident with the chaotic, raw beauty of  ‘Blood Orange’, taken from July EP ‘A Coming of Age’. Ones to watch for sure in 2017.

 

Mitski – How Deep Is Your Love (cover)

2016 has without doubt been the year of Mitski, with her Puberty 2 album appearing in the top 10 of album lists both in the UK and the US. Her fourth release is more a personal statement than album proper, with the Brooklyn singer-songwriter addressing her own views of the world with vigorous lyricism washed over with folk-punk, emo, and even 60s pop hooks. A live favourite, ‘How Deep Is Your Love’ takes Calvin Harris’s original and adds a velvety, rich layer with teeth.

 

Deutsche Ashram – Little Matter (extended version)

Perhaps the best find of 2016, Ajay Saggar’s (King Champion Sounds/The Bent Moustache) new project – a two piece with singer Merinde Verbeek…, released LP ‘Deeper and Deeper’ in November this year. Full of transfixing waves of shoegazey post-punk vibes that cut deep on first listen, Verbeek’s vocals and Saggar’s industrial soundscapes marry perfectly to deliver dark swathes of experiemental dream pop of the highest quality.


Bon Iver – 33 “GOD”

Stark and stirring, Bon Iver returned to our ears with perhaps his most powerful and eclectic music to date in the form of 3rd LP ’22, A Million’. Rich in experimental textures that speak of optimism and melancholy in equal measure, 33 “GOD” features samples from the likes of Paolo Nutini, The Browns, Sharon Van Etten and Lonnie Holley, and perfectly encapsulates Iver’s hard to pin down ragged soundscapes – the likes of which only Bon Iver could create.


White – Step Up

If there’s a party going on in Glasgow, White will either have started it or will appear at some point in the night, such is the presence they have carved out for themselves in the city. Sharp dressers and even sharper musicians, their infectious, frenetic disco pop takes distinct elements of LCD Soundsystem, Prince and Franz Ferdinand and wraps it up in a shimmering cloak of attitude. The aggressive, pulsating Step Up – from recent EP ‘Cuts That Don’t Bleed’ marks a exception to the rule, and in doing so showcases the band’s talent for experimentation and desire to chart their own course.

Ulrika Spacek – Beta Male

A standout of British experimental band Ulrika Spacek’s debut LP, ‘The Album Paranoia’ – released in February this year, was for me the song of 2016. Labelled by DIY as “the soundtrack to a trip through space-time”, the band’s sound is an abrasive mix of distortion, repetition and fuzz that made their debut release nothing short of remarkable – as evidenced by the epic, 6+ minutes of  ‘Beta Male’.


Anohni – Drone Bomb Me

Sung from the point of view of a cilivian, the second single o Anohni’s ‘Hopelessness’ release is an intimate portrayal of the faceless nature of drone warfare, against synth beats provided by Hudson Mohawke and Oneohtrix Point Never. Seductive and sublime in equal measure, the subversive quality of the release marked a level of beauty few, if any other artist captured this year.

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The Twilight Sad and a bright future ahead.

The Twilight Sad are 4 dates into a slot supporting Editors on their European tour, and basking in the fresh critical acclaim coming their way in light of the release of ‘Oran Mor Session’ – a compilation of stripped back renditions of songs that mostly made up last year’s Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave.

James Graham emits a relative calm amongst the storm, as the frontman and I sat down for a chat within the not so glamorous surroundings of Glasgow’s Laureston Bar, to talk about New York posters, Glasgow crowds, and social networking.

As the pints arrived, James gave us the lowdown on the Editors tour and winning over new fans.

“It’s going really good so far, we are going to try and win new fans and make an impression on people as opposed to playing to people who know who we are.

There’s a confidence in showing these people what it means to you but at the same time there is the scary element of, thinking ‘this crowd could hate us’.

As we have been playing people have been cheering louder, so I guess it feels like we are winning them over with every song.”

The impending gig that night, however, up the road at Glasgow’s 02 Academy, may have required a different mind-set.

“I think because our other Glasgow gig is sold out, which is mental, some people are coming to see us here just to see us. Glasgow is different in that at the gigs you see the same faces you’ve seen since day 1 and the support is always amazing… I’m basically a big back of f@£$ing nerves.”

Not that he was showing any signs of it. The excitement was evident. The recent filtration of the mammoth 25 date support slot for The Cure in America – with a three night stint at both the Hollywood Bowl and Madison Square Garden – still had the band swimming in awe and anticipation, an opportunity James described as ‘mad’, coming off the back of frontman Robert Smith’s cover of ‘Girl in the Corner’.

“I must have listened to his version around 500-1000 times, and I remember when we heard it for the first time in a van in San Francisco. We just sat there in silence and said ‘What the f£$k just happened there’. I had to stop listening to it because I was getting obsessed by it.

As for the tour, I saw a poster in NY someone tweeted us that had our name on it…I don’t think doing Madison Square Garden will sink in until we stand on the stage and start sound-checking.”

The offer to play alongside a band they consider as being one of their favourites says a lot, to James, about the kind of band The Twilight Sad they see themselves are…

“We seem to be more of a band’s band where people in other bands like us. As far as the other sh@£e is concerned we are not on their radar completely and I’m quite happy for it to stay that way.

It shows me that we are doing things in the right way as bands should do and not just be there on hype.”

To him the success hasn’t allowed them to deviate from the ideas and philosophy from which they began writing and recording songs…

“I hope we can become a band that can go and play places and has a room full of people who want to see our music. At the same time, we won’t change even if people’s perception of us change. I don’t care about anything else apart from writing music and playing gigs.

It’s the reason why we started the band in the first place, to make music that we thought kind of mattered, and that’s why we do it.”

Through the European jaunt with Editors, alongside a handful of concerts on the continent, the Barrowlands end of year gig looms as large and bright as the venue’s famous exterior…

“It feels like we have joined a club we have always wanted to be a part of, like a badge of honour or seal of approval from where we live. The gig feels like it will be the end of a chapter for us, so we can give the record (2014’s Nobody Wants To Be Here…) the send-off it deserves. We’ve got to make sure that it is the best gig we have ever played”.

With that in mind, James feels that the city itself has had, and continues to have, a definite influence on the band.

“We say we are from Glasgow and we are proud of that. That’s where our favourite music came from. Plus the fact that all those folk we listened to have taken us under their wing. To even be mentioned in the same sentence as some of our favourite bands is just as big an honour as anything.

We have always been a band that shies away from any kind of scene or group, but I’m very happy to be part of the ‘Glasgow Gang’ along with them. I’d be quite happy to be the tea boy for that group.”

Another interesting point to note, is The Twilight Sad’s use of social networks to further spread the word and maintain that very ‘real’ contact with fans and doubters alike, a role that James taken on personally.

“The first thing I do before I go to bed or when I get up is see what people have been writing or tweeting about us and I do try my best to respond to it. If someone shows an appreciation for us I like to respond and say thank you.

On the same note, if someone is being a fanny I will tell them they are a fanny, you have to take it both ways”, he says.

As for any further musical developments to look forward to come 2016, fans will be happy to know that they seem intent to keep the Sad momentum going.

“Andy and I started writing some stuff over the summer. There’s a few concrete tunes in there, in as much as I can see the (new) album opener and another two at least. All going to plan we will have the album recorded before we go away with The Cure.”

With so much on their plate for 2016, and with the enthusiasm for making records and playing live shows as strong as ever, it sure seems like it is gearing up to be the year of the Sad.

Especially if their blistering performance at the 02 Academy was to go by, it seemed that they were in full ‘Barrowlands’ mode a full two months early.