James Blake – ‘Wilhelm Scream’
A few weeks ago, I got a text from my friend Dave telling me that I should check out the work of one James Blake. I was surprised this guy had slipped under my radar, especially seeing as there has been ample discussion of him across Blogland over the last few months.
The 23-year-old Londoner, whose sound is described on his MySpace page as “Dub / Grime / Melodramatic Popular Song”, is causing an even bigger stir in the music universe at the moment with the release of his self-titled debut album. Seeping with an unlikely mix of piano with electronica and bass-heavy beats, James Blake is an atmospheric and engaging album that will completely sweep you away. To top it all off, Blake’s voice is remarakable; completely captivating and pure. He’s been compared with The xx, Bon Iver and even Moby, but try not to get caught up in those comparisons on hearing the album.
I can already say now, without a shadow of a doubt, that James Blake will be appearing on my Best of 2011 list. It is powerful stuff. The beauty and intimacy of this debut is best appreciated alone, even more so in the dark. So kick back with some oversized headphones (I favour my electric pink Skullcandy Lowriders) and take this guy in. As my aforementioned friend Dave would say- multiple eargasms await you.
Here’s the stunningly fragile ‘Wilhelm Scream’:
Wiz Khalifa – ‘Black and Yellow’
When we first devised the idea of Ear Worm, one of the things we talked about was including songs that we disliked as much as those we liked. That’s what an ear worm is, a song that gets into head and won’t leave.
This week, in one of my other ventures, I’ve been looking a huge amount of American football games. One of the teams in this weekend’s Super Bowl – the Pittsburgh Steelers – have this Wiz Khalifa song as their theme tune. It’s very annoying, but I dare you to listen to it once and not go around singing it for the rest of your day.
Toro Y Moi – ‘New Beat’
Toro Y Moi hasn’t made a big impact on this side of the Atlantic yet, for some bizarre reason. His debut album, Causers Of This was overflowing with ideas and took the listener to a couple of other dimensions. His second album is coming out in a few weeks.’New Beat’ is from said album, Underneath The Pine. And if it is any indicator of what lies ahead, it could be the dance album of the year. Until Holy Ghost! release their debut album anyway…
Toro Y Moi – ‘New Beat’
Jamie Lawson – ‘Wasn’t Expecting That’
This week’s earworm has somehow become about more than music, it’s become seeing someone who has done the slog do well.
I first met Jamie Lawson when he was a guest on my radio show on DCUfm last September. He seemed like a nice genuine guy and although our interview was interrupted by stilt walkers, megaphones and the usual rowdy students, he took it all in his stride.
He gave me a copy of his album which hasn’t been released in Ireland. I listened to it for about two or three weeks before I wrote a review. The more I listened, the more I liked it.
Jamie lived in Ireland and even worked in Tower Records for a time. Even though he is from England, Ireland, as it has done to many before, as become a second home to him. Between here and the U.K., Jamie has been doing gig scene for years, just wanting people to hear his music.
When he recorded ‘Wasn’t Expecting That’ little did he know that it would enter the Irish singles charts at number 3. Signed to a small UK label and without any PR, Jamie ended up being on Today FM, The Late Late Show and interviewed for The Sunday Times in 3 days. The video for Wasn’t Expecting That’ has now received over 102000 hits.
Why has the song struck such a chord with so many people? Listening to the lyrics, it tells the story of a couple’s lifetime. I’m not sure any track has captured this since Christy Moore’s The Voyage.
Erin K & Tash – ‘Oh Well’
This week has been one hell of a journey on the learning curve of life. The one oasis of calm I had was the few hours I spent last Sunday morning researching an article for ‘For The Turnstiles’. I came across Erin K & Tash who make fantastic fun folk music with superb vocals and lyrics to really get into. The London based songwriting duo Erin Kleh and Tash ter Braak have been writing songs together for just over a year and have begun to get some deserved attention from BBC London and BBC 6 with Tom Robinson.
There’s a few great tunes to check out on bandcamp such as ‘The Amsterdam Song’, ‘This Boy’ and the funny ‘Jiggy Miggy!’ Here’s the best of the bunch ‘Oh Well’.