Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Top 10 Singles of 2015

10) Disappointing - John Grant feat. Tracey Thorn

9) Speedline Miracle Masterpiece - Tunde Adebimpe feat. Sal B & Sinkane

8) Mystery - Boxed In 

7) Loud Places - Jamie xx feat. Romy 

6) Future People - Alabama Shakes 

5) Keep Me Alive - All We Are

4) Hot Scary Summer - Villagers 

3) X Marks The Spot - Ghostpoet feat. Nadine Shah

2) Man on Wire - Stornoway 

1) Gibraltar - Beirut 

Monday, 31 August 2015

Introducing: Post Louis

Having recently released 30m Pool, five-piece Post Louis showcase their unique genre of summery guitar rock sharpened by the wintry chill of leadsinger Stephanie Davin's ethereal vocals. The band are currently in the pre-production stage of their forthcoming debut LP, preparing in the Norwegian church in London, and will be playing at The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington on 12th September. 

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Album review: Bonnxie - Stornoway

Album: Bonxie
Rating: 9
Record label: Cooking Vinyl 
Release date: 13th April 

Having firmly established themselves within the British music scene, this week Stornoway have released their third album, Bonxie. Over the past few years, the quartet have become one of Oxford’s biggest exports, with a wide following not just in this country but around the world. Crowdsourcing their newest album, the amount raised is a testament to the popularity of the band, and Bonxie is perhaps their most anticipated album yet.

As their sophomore album, Tales From Terra Firma, marked a clear progression from their debut, Bonxie also shows a new direction for the band. For the first time, they’ve completed the album with the help of a producer, Gil Norton, who has worked with the Pixies and Foo Fighters  in the past. Where on the second album, each song seemed a ballad, with many clocking nearly five minutes in length, album number three takes a step back, returning to a more traditional Stornoway sound; however, there is a fresh take to the music showing the development of their style.

The theme of nature takes on an even larger importance in Bonxie than in its predecessors; the album title takes its name from a large Hebridean seabird. Leadsinger Brian Briggs’ previous work as an ornithologist plays a significant role within the album, for the band not only create music with their extensive array of instruments,  but the songs of over 20 species of birds are also entwined with the music on the album.

Between the Salt Marsh and the Sea opens with a foghorn effect, part of the mysticism of Stornoway’s music. It’s a haunting tune, but perhaps is a slow start to the album. However, second track ‘Get Low’, is vibrant showcasing the best of Stornoway with harmonious vocals, intricate instrumentation and catchy choruses; the band at its best.

Man On Wire is the standout track of the album. Inspired by the eponymous documentary film about a man walking on a wire between the Twin Towers, the song has an epic, expansive sound which does justice to the subject matter. Briggs sings, “When the morning mist lifts away you’ll see me reaching for invisible thread. For a momentary burning dream I’ll be remembered.” Lyrically, it’s perfect, with poetic metaphors and dreamy images.

After the frenetic energy of Man on Wire, The Road You Didn’t Take, provides a refreshing juxtaposition. From the bustle of New York City to a more personal single road, the band move from a worldview to a more introspective look at man in relation to nature. The song has images of a journey through the wilderness, with references to summits, mountains and waves. The album takes a more whimsical turn with ‘Lost Youth’, whilst Sing With Our Senses offers the best of Briggs’ soaring vocals. Starting with a simple and gentle melody, the song crescendos throughout building up to a rousing, spine-tingling finish.

Part of Stornoway’s appeal lies in the band’s range of genres, with the anthematic ‘When When You’re Feeling Gentle’ greatly contrasting to the lullaby feel of We Were Giants, with Briggs singing, “tell me of the time there were deep dark lakes in the scree torn valleys” adding to the romanticism of the album of the whole.

The Heart of The Great Alone has a dramatic, marching quality, contrasting with the dulcet tones of ‘Josephine’ that follows. For those who have seen the band play live over the past year, the unplugged acoustic version of ‘Josephine’ has been a highlight; the studio recording retains the stunning rawness and sheer emotion that the band convey in a live setting through their flawless vocal harmonies. Love Song of the Beta Male is a triumphant closing to the album, with exhilarating trumpets and bells. However there in an extra treat right at the end of the album as it closes with a minute of birdsong, providing a moment of peaceful reflection. The vibrant mix of Stornoway’s music is encompassed here, catering for all moods as they move from fast-paced upbeat music, to the tranquillity of nature.

The interweaving of instruments, vocal harmonies and melodic quirks make it a delightful album, each listening unearthing more musical pleasures in the rich tapestry of sounds. With another wonderful album added to their already exceptional repertoire, the Oxford quartet prove that with Bonxie they’re soaring high.  

Read NotAnotherRainySunday's interviews with Stornoway's bassist and drummer, and for more information visit the band's website

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Sweet Baboo announces new album, The Boombox Ballads

Released on 14th August on Moshi Moshi, The Boombox Ballads will be the fifth album from Sweet Baboo (aka Stephen Black). After the widespread critical acclaim for his 2013 album, Ships, the follow-up has been hotly anticipated for a while. For the latest album, Black has stuck to his roots with ambitious instrumentation and melodious vocals. On 'Sometimes' the first single taken from the album, Black provides all the instrumentation himself apart from the strings proving his impressive musical ability. 'Sometimes' will be released on 18th May and the music video can be watch below. Read NotAnotherRainySunday's interview with Sweet Baboo here

Monday, 6 April 2015

Introducing: Tremorheart

WHITE TAPE cover art

Genre: electro-pop 
For fans of: Twin Shadow 

Tremorheart first came to NotAnotherRainySunday's attention at a BBC Oxford Introducing evening at Oxford's Cellar back in January. The band formed in 2014, but that night was the first time they had performed together in front of an audience, after a year of writing and recording material. Despite it being their first appearance, the harmonies were tight and the set as a whole was impressive and at a level some bands can only aspire to reach. The 80s influences on their music are clear, but Tremorheart provide a modern twist creating a fresh and exciting sound. The band have already released a cassette with tracks, 'Don't Talk About Paula', 'Be Still' and 'There's Nothing More', which can be ordered here. You can listen to 'Don't Talk About Paula' below. 

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

New video: Get Low - Stornoway

Ahead of the release of their much anticipated third album, Bonxie, next month, Oxford band Stornoway have released the video for their new single, 'Get Low'. With an ornithologist for a lead-singer, birds are often a theme within the band's lyrics, but the new video takes it one step further with geese following the band as they drive. The band have stuck with trusted director, Hilary O'Hare who has directed several of their videos in the past, creating continuity with the band's major theme of exploration in the natural world.  The shots are stunning - typical of a Stornoway music video, which often feature natural landscapes to match the sense of freedom within the music. You can check out the video below. 

Bonxie will be released on Cooking Vinyl on 13th April and can be preordered now.
Visit Stornoway's website for more details. 
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