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.
Dry the River's origins lay with Norwegian born Peter Liddle who formed the band in 2009. Embarking on a solo tour under the name Dry The River it wasn't long before long the unaccompanied project grew to include guitarist, Matthew Taylor; violinist, Will Harvey; bassist, Scott Miller and drummer, Jon Warren. Each musician brings to the table a myriad of different musical influences that Liddle describes as "folky gospel music played by a post-punk band".
This five-piece band has all the hallmarks of the latest folk sensation: elemental name, beards, acoustic guitars and even a violinist. But what sets Dry the River
apart is a background in hardcore and post-punk bands, hence the tattoos, lyrics that read like a Steinbeck novel and a sonic palette that sweeps from gentle to giant like an incoming storm.
After two EPs, and significant early radio support from BBC Introducing, the band released their debut single, "New Ceremony", in March 2011. Since then, the quintet has enjoyed a successful 2011, confirmed as being one of 15 artists on the prestigious BBC Sound of 2012 shortlist.
The group have also supported Bombay Bicycle Club on their UK tour
and a recent run of headline dates culminated sold-out performances at London's Scala and Electric Ballroom. The band have also played some rapturously received festival gigs on both sides of the Atlantic, highlights being their shows at SxSW in Texas, Reading, Glastonbury and most recently End of the Road and Bestival.
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..."
Imogen Heap, an eclectic, eccentric and innovative British musician, is considered by some as the epitome of a digital diva. Her talents span from the craft of song writing to elaborate live multi-instrumental improvisations, fusing her unique voice, classical training and unusual tech-saviness.
Blurring the boundaries between pure artform and creative entrepreneurship, self-produced Imogen uses her knowledge of the web and social networks to communicate, engage and collaborate with her loyal following in pioneering ways.
The Grammy and Ivor Novello award winning artist is an accomplished performer, having toured the world
with four albums: iMegaphone, Speak for Yourself, Details (produced and written with Guy Sigworth in their duo, Frou Frou) and Ellipse.
Her graceful tunes, including signature track 'Hide & Seek' have populated movies and TV shows, accompanied dance and theatre performances and as of more recently, Heap is being sampled by a whole new generation of young rappers and producers.
Now, in demand and at the peak of already 15 years of diversified career experiences, she is enjoying exploring how her 'musical ecosystem' can have a positive impact by getting involved in creative projects that think big and outside the box.
In 2011, she decided to approach her 4th solo album very differently. Every 3 months, a new song is released that invariably connects to the unique projects she has found herself involved in.
So far these projects have taken her to India, China and Bhutan. She's also developed an app and created interactive physical items including her 'Musical Gloves' and 'The Listening Chair'. Along the way, the creative songstress has also collaborated with her online community to create many of the pieces of artwork, video and in one case music.
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.
Lulu James is a 21 year old singer hailing from the North East of England. Her emotive 21st century soul sound is making waves across the world.
Raised on Whitney, India Irie, and Aretha - raved on Fly Lo, Mount Kimbie, Jamie XX; the music Lulu wanted to make, like most things in her life, was never going to be simple.
Born at the foot of Kilimanjaro, raised on the mouth of the River Tyne; it was apparent from an early age that life was never going to be normal for Lulu James.
At 7 years old, Lulu was strolling along a beach in Tanzania, the next she found herself in the more inclement confines of South Shields in the North East of England. Seismic change was to prove to be the only constant in life.
After a period of soul-searching through her testing teens, Lulu turned to music to help keep her grounded. Soon, early memories of life at the foot of the mountain and singing in her grandmothers choir came flooding back, and reminded her what made her feel at ease, empowered and showed her the path she was destined to tread.
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."