Neon Jungle

At last, the next great girl band is here. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting these girls a few times over the last couple of months since they played our gig Future Hits Live in Newcastle UT in May. Jess, Amira, Asami and Shereen are a glorious combination of styles and voices and they’re as feisty, fun, engaging and energetic as their incredible debut single TROUBLE.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMIy_PNlAcE[/youtube]

Written by Fear of Tigers and Anita Blay (CocknBullKid) it’s a no messing about launch to the world. It’s not a buzz single, this is it. And it’s awesome. It’s almost like it’s perfectly designed for me. I just wish Miss-Shapes still existed so I could belt it at the peak of the night making everyone go nuts in sweaty ghetto.

People bang on about this band or that band being the new Spice Girls, but I’ve never felt the vibe as strongly as I do in this video. It’s so exciting. I’ve heard a couple more songs and Trouble isn’t even the most mental. Welcome to the jungle.

Little Nikki

The phoenix rising from Soundgirl, Little Nikki, yesterday unleashed what’s to become her first major solo single.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8x9VpIVIrc[/youtube]

I can’t figure out if I like it or not. The verse doesn’t do that much, sounding like a weak Katy B track, but when the chorus kicks in it that’s where Little Nikki Says turns into a belter. As for Nikki, she’s snarling a bit too much in the video and I’m not finding the talking about myself in the third person thing as cute / quirky as I’m meant to. Best bit is at 2.40 when a piano line kicks in. I’d like a full on piano house version please.

Harkive 2013

I’ve always been pretty obsessive about keeping track of what music I listen to. I was an early user of audioscrobbler, now last.fm and get in a total stress if I find that it’s not been logging my music.

Today lots of people are taking part in #harkive, a music research project designed to capture a day of listening from across the globe. It’s been set up by student Craig Hamilton, who’s doing an MA in Music Industry Studies at the City of Birmingham University (I have stolen that line from Mark’s blog who is also taking part, and keeping a diary on his blog. Rather than writing it in a email I have stolen this idea too and will now blog my day. Here goes:

8.20 – Wake up, do bathroomy stuff listening to the new song by Mutya Keisha Siobhan ‘Flatline’. I played it on soundcloud on my iPhone in the bathroom about 4 times in a row. We played it on heat radio yesterday as a spot play and it sounded great.

8.35 – Details of the new Manic Street Preachers album arrived yesterday. I love them but also kind of forget about how much I love them when they’re not about. For my commute home yesterday I listened to their Greatest Hits ‘National Treasures’ and I continued listening to that for my commute in. What a banger

9.00 – Arrive at work, I work at a radio station so at all points throughout the day I can hear a backgroundy head messing combination of Kiss, Magic and Planet Rock radio

9.30 – Someone tweets about a cover of Solange’s Losing You which mixes it with Destiny’s Child Say My Name. Two amazing songs. I don’t know who Mausi is but I listen to this 3 times.

9.55 – Look at our other radio station’s playlists. Kerrang have A listed the new Editors single. My colleague Liz says it’s amazing. I watched a little bit of them at Glastonbury and I really loved their first album so I decide to listen to the full new album ‘The Weight Of Your Love’ via spotify. I go to their website and see that the album debuted at #1 in Holland. GET THEM.

11.31 – Thinking about songs that we’ll listen to in playlist for heat radio tomorrow. The new Ellie Goulding single will be one of them

11.45 – I have a cover presenter working on heat radio this week so I need to have a listen in to make sure all is sounding good. Happily John sounds great. I can flick through his show using our internal monitoring system so hear snippets of lots of songs. One I stop and listen to in full is the classic Rapture by Iio.

14.10 – Taking a quick look at entertainment sites online I spot Digitalspy have a new AlunaGeorge track online. It’s called ‘Bad Idea’ and will be the B side to the great’ You Know You Like It’. This isn’t that great. Aluna’s voice is always interesting to listen to but there’s a lack of killer hook. I wonder what the album will be like. Their set at Glastonbury was littered with as many fillers as there were hits.

14.30 – A big job I need to do at heat is look through all the music we play and make sure it’s the right music. We update the playlist every week but this is our back catalogue of songs. At the moment I’m listening to our recurrents – these are songs from this decade that come round about 5 times a week. I flick through various songs briefly and stop on a few I really like but haven’t heard in ages like Mike Posner ‘Cooler Than Me’ and Pink ‘Please Don’t Leave Me’. Then while crunching some music numbers I listen to Florence & The Machine

Rudimental

I have shazam’d the same song three times this morning. This says a lot for my attention span.

But hey, this is the song and it’s AMAZING. It features Azealia Banks disser and dissee, Angel Haze.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uw5kU8zCoeg[/youtube]

Rudimental have been one of the UK’s most exciting new bands of the last 12 months and I can’t wait to see them in the sunshine at Glastonbury complete with their honking horn section. They’ve scored their 2nd #1 this week with Waiting All Night, even scoring the biggest first week single sales of the year, with the album ‘Home’ out next week.

Emeli Sande fans have no fear – she’s on the album – TWICE! Another interesting, and unexpected feature is Becky Hill – a The Voice UK alumni. I thought she was ace so will be good to hear what her track ‘Powerless’ sounds like.

Kate Boy

Tegan & Sara produced by The Knife. This is Kate Boy.

In a shock twist for a country renown for a real lack of good music, Kate Boy are Swedish. Well three of them are – the charmingly named Hampus, Oskar and Markus – and they’re joined by Australian Kate Akhurst on vocals.

Whether they are pop svengalis who have discovered a singing puppet remains to be seen. They are currently running the ‘oooh we’re mysterious’ template.

Banks

Please can someone educate musicians in SEO? This is Banks.

‘Before I Ever Met You’ is the B-Side to her first single. The B SIDE! The A side ‘Fall Over’ is good but this is the one.

Before I ever met you I never knew I could be broken in so many ways.

Youch.

Dramatically dark and brooding. Soft yet snarly. It practically makes my eyes roll into the back of my head.

Banks is LA based and signed to Seb Chew’s label Good Years in the UK.

Lion Babe

This took a couple of listens, but the vibes have got me.

Lion Babe is producer Lucas Goodman and vocalist Jillian Hervey, daughter of all round amazing woman Vanessa Williams. This is reason enough to have a listen.

I could happily leave this on loop for hours.

Imagine growing up with this – WHAT A TUNE

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EdmHSTwmWY[/youtube]

Chloe Howl

Chloe Howl is properly ripe for mischief. I have no doubt this girl is going to become a tabloid fixture very soon.

Just look at that face.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBZBz04KMHY[/youtube]

I was lucky enough to go to Columbia this week to hear some of Chloe’s forthcoming stuff. She was signed when she was 16 and brought to the label’s attention by someone from Republica who is now her manager (not Saffron!) Since then she’s been in the studio with the likes of Eg White and generally done some growing up into an incredibly confident young woman.

She’s definitely got a touch of the Kate Nash & Lily Allen about her but I love that. Kate’s first album was such a girly listen, full of tales of friendship and things going ‘shit’ and Chloe has that same totally ‘one of us’ vibe about her. Girls will love her, boys will want her. Total win.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfGcim3NYKk[/youtube]

Very exciting. She’s rehearsing with a live band now and things will begin properly happening I think around May time. For now, download her ‘Rumour’ EP for free right now. It’s brilliant.

Lulu James

A classy slice of electro soul is ‘Closer’, the 2nd single from Lulu James. It sounds like it could have been on that Beth Ditto solo EP and screams new diva loved by the Horsemeat Disco crowd. It slides in nicely next to Jessie Ware, but with nastier nails.

The only complaint is that it could certainly do with ‘going off’ much more when it hits the chorus, but this is an exciting start. Lulu is 21, from South Shields and newly signed to RCA – she was one of my picks for the Sound of 2013 poll and I’m really keen to see what comes next.

Her first single was the much smoother ‘Be Safe’ and it came out on, of course, Black Butter Records