When a band’s fourth and fifth ever gigs are playing at Reading And Leeds Festival, something special is going on. That much is obvious within moments of hearing Amber Run, who wowed the startled crowds at the festival, where they were on at the same time as Deftones and Bastille.
There’s a communal spirit to the band’s music, evident in future festival anthems like new single Heaven and the shivering Spark.
That sense of community is evident in Amber Run’s five members too, which has gathered since they formed in Nottingham last December.
In the early morning hours of Tuesday the 8th January 2013, David Bowie released his new single titled 'Where Are We Now?' exclusively launching in the iTunes Store in 119 countries. January the 8th is of course David Bowie's birthday, a timely moment for such a treasure to appear as if out of nowhere.
Throwing shadows and avoiding the industry treadmill is very David Bowie despite his extraordinary track record that includes album sales in excess of 130 million not to mention his massive contributions in the area of art, fashion, style, sexual exploration and social commentary. It goes without saying that he has sold out stadiums and broken ticket records throughout the world during this most influential of careers.
In recent years radio silence has been broken only by endless speculation, rumor and wishful thinking... a new record... who would have ever thought or dreamed it! David is the kind of artist who writes and performs what he wants when he wants... when he has something to say as opposed to something to sell. Today he has something to say.
Are the rumours true? Have Everything Everything gone for the melodic jugular? Is their new single Cough Cough actually a muscular sing-a-long triumph (albeit one about "the injustices that our culture has created for the rest of the world"), and is their second album Arc really the sound of the Manchester-based adventurers turning into radio-friendly unit-shifters?
No. But: "I love radio," states bass/keyboard player Jeremy Pritchard, and he means it not just because the band placed high on the BBC Sound of 2010 long-list. "I think it's still the spearhead of British popular culture".
Why the title Arc?
"There's this microcosm, macrocosm view of it," says big-thinking, big-picture Jon Higgs. "It's this journey full of peaks and troughs. Are we, humanity, on a rise or are we on a fall? Looking at history there are good parts, bad parts. And there's the personal character arc of my life - I am on crest of a wave, or am I down here
For Everything Everything it's the hour for Direct Action. It's Clarity O'Clock. Or, No Bullshit time. Arc will even feature the band's faces on the cover.
"On Arc," concludes the frontman, "it's more a case of: this is who we are. We're not dressing up as pirates. Here we are, in jumpers. Trying to just keep it real. In," he smiles, "the most un-hip hop sense..."
With 2013 being named as the return of the guitar band, Kodaline have timed their arrival perfectly. A good job too, because the Irish four-piece haven't got a plan b.
Steve and Mark, along with bassist Jay Boland and drummer Vinny May Jnr, have had an explosive start off the blocks. In three months, their debut track 'All I Want' is approaching almost 100,000 copies sold. Written by Steve about an ex who broke his heart, he explains, "I was with this girl for about two and a half years, who went away on holiday and said 'we'll talk about it when we get back' and she came back with a boyfriend, so it was like 'oh shit', so I wrote about it."
The song, coupled with the story of a modern day 'monster' winning over a blonde colleague, has racked up over 1.5 million views online. It was also hand-picked for the Google Zeitgeist ad, which has been watched by an audience of 13 million, bringing with it a solid army of fans.
'All I Want' is part of their debut 11-song opus In A Perfect World, which they've spent the best part of the last year making, and is an album of honest, melodic, soulful and romantic songs.
Although very different men, their bond is solid.
"The most important thing as cliche as it fucking is, is the music," says Steve.
"If you put us in a cave or anywhere, we're always going to write," adds Mark. "We write because it's fun, it's never crap, if it ever gets like that, you know it's time to take a break."
"But we can't see that ever happening," adds Vinny.
The album In A Perfect World is out 1st April. 'The High Hopes EP' is out 17th March.
Critically acclaimed new artist Laura Mvula has gone from studying and teaching classical composition in her native Birmingham to being hailed as The Voice Of 2013 in little under a year.
With a unique sound that has left critics describing her as a combination of Nina Simone, The Beach Boys and Bjork, she has already acquired a prestigious Brits Critics Choice Award nomination and a place on the BBC Sound of 2013 shortlist. Mvula's astonishing debut album 'Sing To The Moon' is a mixture of soothing melodies, enchanting harmonies and fuses orchestral soul with emotional vocals.
'Sing To The Moon' is out 4th March.
Hotly tipped Danish songstress MØ aka. Karen Marie Ørsted is stirring up a buzz throughout the global blogosphere these days.
Tastemaker media such as Pitchfork, The Guardian, The Fader and NME wrote about her and according to many of the “Sound of 2014” lists,
the 24-year old chanteuse is in for one hell of a year.
Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter/producer Pharrell Williams has made history for being one of the most successful and prolific artists to emerge during the last decade.
As part of the beat-making duo The Neptunes with Chad Hugo and the alternative rock trio N.E.R.D. with Chad and childhood friend Shae Haley, Pharrell has helped A-List pop stars sell millions of albums
and even earn Grammy Awards for the likes of Justin Timberlake, Nelly, and Usher.
Over the last twelve months Post War Years have been championed for their unique brand of rich and innovative melodies and irresistibly squelchy, electronic basslines. Following two critically acclaimed EP's 'Glass House' and 'The Bell', Post War Years announce the release 'Galapagos' – a vivid, emotive, and audacious second album, coming out on the 25th February on Chess Club Records/RCA Victor.
'Galapagos' produced by long-term collaborator James Rutledge (MGMT, Grizzly Bear, Late of The Pier, My Bloody Valentine, The Kills) sees the band tapping into a new and rich stream of subversive and frequently delightful Avant-pop.
Packed full of rampant ideas, inexorable grooves, variation in tempo, nuance and arrangements, 'Galapagos' signals a major evolutionary leap for Post War Years.
To bolster this confident new direction, the band enlisted the talents of Philadelphia's far out animator and filmmaker, Tobias Stretch (Efterklang and Radiohead).
Tobias has duly bestowed his brand of dream-logic surreality upon the band. On top of making all the bands videos, Tobias is working across the entire visual content for 'Galapagos'. Alongside the work Tobias is creating will be 10 DIY videos, one for every track on the album, created by the band and filmed on their phones.
From humble beginnings come great things. For Swim Deep, their roots lie in chance meetings through part time jobs and in the clubs of their hometown of Birmingham.
Following exhilarating appearances at festivals such as The Great Escape, Tramlines and Beacons over the summer, they announced a deal with Chess Club/Sony RCA.
They joined Spector on their extensive UK tour in 2012, and Swim Deep don't look likely to be stopping any time soon. Once their stint on the road is complete, they head to Brussels to record their debut album, working with Charlie Hugall, the producer who lent his magic touch to second single 'Honey'.
"It's gonna be a real bonding thing for us, all being together," says Austin. "I'm really looking forward to making the album. It's the first album, it can only be made once".
Looking further into the future, Swim Deep's ambitions are grand but - with their talents - attainable. "I want to be something original," says the singer. "I want to have a massive influence on pop music. Not to be the biggest band necessarily, but I want to be the most influential. I want to be a band that someone looks up to."