Tuesday, 31 January 2012

January Round Up

As starts of years go, 2012 has started with a bang in the musical world.


January saw some major shifts in the ways people listen to music, with the proposals of US congressional bills SOPA and PIPA dedicated to eradicating internet pirates illegally uploading copyrighted material, which in fact threatened to damage blog and mixtape culture significantly. Luckily the act wasn't passed, but the removal of major file-sharing site Megaupload came as a shock to the system.

The internet also received (and continues to receive) significant backlash over the hyping of one Lana Del Rey. It's been well documented, the sudden rise of signature track Video Games leading to slanderous comments on Lizzie Grant's image, background and her less than thrilling Saturday Night Live performance. If anything, this shows how powerful the internet has become with influence over new artists, Lana Del Rey acting as an unwilling puppet to demonstrate the brutal nature of the modern hype machine. 

Elsewhere, legendary singer Etta James saddened many with her passing, Michael Stipe of REM kicked up a fuss about Youtube's removal of the tastefully homo-erotic Perfume Genius album promo, Michael Kiwanuka surprised many by scooping the BBC's sound of 2012 poll giving hope for boring lounge music everywhere and Disney got hipsters hot and bothered over a badly judged Joy Division t-shirt.

In terms of album releases January hasn't been too shabby either. Here are some choice picks we at Sound Influx have been particularly enjoying:

The Maccabees - Given to the Wild

"This should be the album that catapults The Maccabees to greater things, whether it’s higher chart placements or bigger festival crowds, it will guarantee one thing; more fans of this beautiful music."
Check out Calum Stephen's full 9/10 review here

Islet - Illuminated People 
"But for all its failures, Illuminated People remains a ferociously sturdy and confident debut, because it isn’t really a debut at all, it’s the logical next step in Islet’s story. And that’s the album in a nutshell, a ball of frenetic contradictions and clashing ideas. This isn’t the first message to the world, this is them having a shot at mass communication and telling people to get ready, because no-one knows where they’ll go next, not even themselves."
See Ned Powley's full 8/10 review here

Lana Del Rey - Born To Die

 "Already developing into a major artist on the strength of her first two singles alone, Born To Die will push her further into the spotlight. The only question is whether she’ll thrive or squint her eyes and hope for a moment of darkness."
Read Aurora Mitchell's 8/10 review here

Howler - America Give Up

"Howler have crafted a very promising record, which will no doubt strike a chord with many due it's undeniable sense of fun and Jordan's witty and wholly likeable lyrics and personality. Howler have dealt with the threat of hype impeccably and the Rough Trade signed band are certainly worth investigating."
 Read Toby McCarron's full review here

Roll on February!

By Toby McCarron

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