Friday, 27 December 2013

Albums of the Year: Part One

We're showing our hand pretty late this year and honestly, there's not that many good reasons. But for now, here's some words from Braden.
Hi there, before I begin, let me explain. Toby figured out some form of algorithm that I found to be really very complicated, but, I trusted him and his unwavering vision of some form of democracy and frankly, the results speak for themselves. They're the reason he's in charge around here; why he's asleep somewhere whilst I'm writing the albums of the year introduction. I could write anything...
This year, Robin Thicke made me lose my faith in the public and Miley Cyrus' press made me lose faith in sanity. Luckily, our team here are better than both and they've outdone themselves this year. We're still a small fish in a big ocean, but this year we put a show on on the underground, we talked to some amazing musicians and got allowed to hang out in some of the most amazing fields. This job's not made worthwhile by the money we earn from it; because we earn none. No, this job's made worthwhile by the fact that we get to listen to music, new music, basically every day. It's made worthwhile by you coming to us and telling us that you liked something we wrote/shot. It's made worthwhile by someone at a gig saying they've read your site. Heck, it's even made worth while by the occasional staff gathering for drinks/burritos/records/gigs.
The only thing that's left to ask really is; what happens when music, which is entirely subjective, gets listened to across a year, by people that you trust to bring it to you?
Answer? A top 50.
Shout at us, praise us, point us in the way of something new. Most of all though, incase I don't get the chance to say it again in 2013, thank you.

Braden Fletcher (Co-Editor)

50. Nai Harvest – Whatever
A key factor in Nai Harvest's force is their clear understanding of the genre they are in, their representation of the other genres that represent them and their unabashed enthusiasm to create something passionate and distinctly their own.  
With a few years under their belt and a chance to settle into themselves comes the release of 'WHATEVER', their album. In truth, this album is the album they were supposed to make.
Elliot H


FIDLAR are a four-piece punk outfit from Los Angeles and I use punk in the official sense, not as some kind of fashion campaign by Topshop. They took their name from the skater saying ‘Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk’ and although they won’t change the world on this first outing it is evidence that there is still room for a dumb and brutal rock album. This is a venture into feedback and riffery that isn’t particularly vogue at the moment but clearly doesn’t give a shit.
Paul S

48. The Knife – Shaking the Habitual

47.  Lorde – Pure Herione

46. Jessy Lanza – Pull My Hair Back

45. Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus

44. Anamanaguchi - Endless Fantasy

Anamanaguchi also feature in our Label of the Year feature for Alcopop Records!

43. Daughter - If You Leave
If You Leave proves that Daughter have gone from creating music focused on pain, to creating music that encapsulates pain and acts as medicine. Some may call it depressing, I’d argue they’ve not listened hard enough.
Braden F

42. King Krule - 6 Feet Beneath The Moon
The Zookid's come a long way. He's been on Letterman and he's been around the world. Not something you'd expect from an album so sparse and honest. That Archie's still got such a great buzz around his name after years of toying with the idea of putting a record together, is testament to the pure enjoyability of a record built around the sound of a crumbling capital city. King Krule has the capacity in him to create a life out of this record and he's hardly the kind that's going to get carried away by fame.
Braden F

41. And So I Watch You From Afar - All Hail Bright Futures
Cementing their place as one of the UK's most exciting acts both on record and stage, ASIWYFA's third record is a jubilant celebration of post-rock and alternative music as a whole alike. Swelling from it's beginnings, it quickly becomes the kind of record you can soundtrack only the most enjoyable of lives to. In contrast to their second, darker record, AHBF is magnificent.
Braden F

40. Of Montreal - Lousy WIth Sylvianbriar

Label of the Year: Alcopop! Records

They harbour SI favourites Johnny Foreigner, YouTube Music Award nominees Anamanaguchi, Jurassic Park themed act Jurassic Pop and have the same logo as alcoholic lemonade brand Hooch; but that’s not why they’re our label of the year this year. 2013 has seen one of our favourite EP’s from Katie Malco (think The National, now make it one person, live on a piano) and two of the most fun records of the year from Stagecoach and My First Tooth. 

The former’s debut and sadly only album ever took a decade to form and along the way kicked up some of our favourite live shows at the Great Escape and Alcopop shows across the country alike. It’s Surrey’s answer to Weezer and it’s a shame that they've split just last week.
The latter made the indie-folk album that the public needed. If you’ve come across it this year, it’s hard to deny your want to singalong and dance in a barn whilst burning that Lumineers record your aunt who’s not really your aunt bought you.
Alcopop’s year has produced some of the finest live shows at a host of festivals and joined by Big Scary Monsters on those dates has made both an unstoppable force of the underground. Here’s to 2014.
We were lucky enough to go to the pub and interview label head 'JackPop'. We may have had a few bottles of Hooch; as such, we're presenting our questions and Jack's answers in the professional way... unedited.

We (the SI editorial team) have penned ourselves up in the top alcove of Spoons Tottenham Court Road. We may or may not have a Hooch to hand. I think we're ready if you are?
Lets go you Hoochie mammas

SO! Talk us through, in a Tweetable 140 characters; how you think 2013 went for Alcopop!
It was a whale of a year thank you! We got invited to more free bars than ever before, which is a strong measure of moving the right way I feel

And the drinks of choice at said bars?
Hooch. Natch. Where available. Otherwise, we're not particularly discerningBlue nun champagne with gold sparkles in it was interesting

Excellent! In terms of alcohol and music, there's been plenty to shout about. There was of course the Pav Tav's ever interesting Great Escape and we're about to encounter the world famous £101 round in Brixton this weekend. What were the blurry highlights of the year for you?
Oh man! Big times... I think winning the AIM Award for best small label was a personal highlight, so unexpected, but the stages at Truck, 2000 Trees, Y-Not, Southsea and TGE were massive too! Best festival summer season ever Also loved being on XFM live with John Kennedy who's a bit of a hero, and putting out The Crimea's final album was very humbling
 Couldn't pick with releases though mind you. They are all my children and i love em equally

Great stuff, the stages this year were shared mostly with BSM; how deep is the bromance at this point?
Ah man - Kev... Well, he's very mean and I hate looking at his generic face. But in all honesty, he's bloody brilliant to work with!I think we gel well together

One of the boldest signings you made this year was Anamanaguchi; how did this all come about and how did it make you feel watching them sell out the Garage?
Well Kev knew their manager, they sent us the album and it was one of the best things we'd ever heard - so we had to work with them they're such a lovely bunch! We sorted some shows, they came over and were unbelievable. Sold out show with JoFo, Axes and more. 700 people loving every moment!!! That was a real fun day.

It was incredible. What's next for Anamanaguchi?
They're currently on a massive tour with Dillon Francis in the States, then back over to the UK in Feb Headlining Heaven in London which is gonna be huge along with shows in Manchester, Glasgow, Dublin and Belfast!
xpect a new single too

Looking forward to it, anything you can tell us about it?
Wish i could but no deets till the new year sorry sworn to secrecy

Secrecy accepted. Radstewart; now Rod's most likely had some babies conceived to his music in his time, but how do you think Radstewart's 2014 is looking? Any baby making music on the way?
I imagine that any bump in population in 2014/early 15 will be pretty much solely down to the sweet, sensual grooves of Radstewart's new hits! These boys are sensational.. Very excited about them next yearThey've only been gigging a year, and everyone seems to be getting VERY excited about them! It's going to be a super year for them.

Yeah, it's been a pretty quick rise even to this point for them. Who else is on the horizon for you; anything you've got your ever eager eyes on?

Well we've got two new signings to be announced in the next month, one super new and the other something of an indie household name. A new JoFo album in the offing, Fight Like Apes and Radstewart EPs, annnnnd Alcopop100 - our 100th releaseWhich is OBVIOUSLY going to involve a lot of booze.We're in for a massive start to the year.

You know you can leak some sort of clue to the indie household name and POP100 surely?
Haha - you can search for the hows and whys of the band but I'm not gonna tell you! I will however let you know that PoP100 is going to be more of an experience than your average release.... It's not just going to be your standard record

They never are! First a bike and now an experience? Where are you taking us mr Pop?
To fuckin' indie heaven and back Actually, not back... Let's just stay there

I'm content with that!
Then we have achieved!

Now, to wrap this up, a quick fire round?
hit me

Top three releases you're looking forward to from Alcopop in 2014?
eek, I can't discriminate dude. I'm looking forward to every single one!

Your opinion of My First Tooth as a live band in less than 6 words?
Absolute engagingly wonderful sugar coated bastards

How much Akabusi would Kriss Akabusi Busi if Kriss Akabusi could Busi?
If Akabusi could Kris Kross? How many hits would make Kriss Kross?

If Lomana Lua Lua could do anything for Alcopop in 2014, what would it be?
To Acknowledge my many letters I'd just love him to know that without him we would be NOTHING...

Congratulations Alcopop!
See you in the new year.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Sound InPhotos: Public Service Broadcasting - The Forum

Public Service Broadcasting have had one hell of a year and you'll hear a lot about that in the interview we've been saving for you since August, later in this month. They topped it all off last week with an incredible show at Kentish Town's Forum, the venue we usually see artists playing Greatest Hits sets. With just one album under their belt, PSB took to the stage with quiet confidence and played to a hugely diverse crowd as if this was every other show. Of course, it was the "Ruddy Bloody Forum" to them and the clincher to what must have felt like a life-changing year. Here's to another one like it!