101 songs that prove 2017 wasn’t entirely awful after all

Don’t worry, there’s no Lil Pump/Big Shaq/Katy Perry/Chris & Kem/Ed Sheeran here.

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2017 has been quite a year. To celebrate three things – its musical goodness, me finally getting things in order on these pages, and a year of better playlisting that’s allowed me to bring all the best bits together without it taking approximately a million years – here’s a collection of 101 of the best songs it’s spawned. There’ll be many more words, playlists, and things appearing here over the coming months, especially if I can figure out how to make Spotify embeds look as nice on WordPress as they can elsewhere, so do say hello if there’s anything you think I’ve missed.

Continue reading “101 songs that prove 2017 wasn’t entirely awful after all”

Festival review: Thursday at The Great Escape 2017

Reporting from new music Narnia.

Originally published in The Edge

To an early Great Escape performer caught in a light drizzle performing to a non-existent audience on a stage so makeshift that it was just four stickers on the ground opposite the Theatre Royal, in passing I heard five demoralising yet crucial words: “Do it for the art.”

Brighton, for all its multicultural wonder, is not the most thrilling place at 12:45 on a Thursday afternoon after all, even if it is hosting the start of festival season. Sure, some things are new – posters congratulating the Albion on Premier League promotion, dodgy phone shops flogging fidget spinners, the retail outlet long home to my questionable CD purchasing undergoing a rebirth as Victoria’s Secret, a chap on a bench by the station swearing at the floor with The Sun in his pocket – but the closest anything gets to the traditional brand of summertime debauchery is someone slumped in the doorway next to a bank-turned-Wetherspoon with a two litre bottle of Blackthorn. It was at this point that a man from SoundCloud gave me a bloody delicious marshmallowy ice cream from their branded van, a who’s who of industry folks that I might have emailed once congregated in a queue for the conference portion of it all, and I picked up a wristband from an Airstream trailer in time to completely miss the first of Raye’s three sets of the weekend. In pondering, I decided to take a punt on Crimsons – a band the festival app likened to Jimi Hendrix – as they were on at the first obvious venue I see. Naturally, it’s at capacity, so it’s chicken katsu curry time with Lorde on the radio to plan my next move to. (And yes, to confirm your ridiculous ideas of Brighton, the venue in question was indeed one that sells vegan barbeque from a caravan in the corner of its pub portion. I love this city.) Continue reading “Festival review: Thursday at The Great Escape 2017”

Acts you should catch at The Great Escape 2017

Overwhelmed by a 400+ artist lineup? We’re here to help.

Originally published in The Edge

Imagine the kind of festival that would nonchalantly complete its lineup on a Tuesday morning by adding 150 new names and you can begin to get a sense of what The Great Escape is all about. Forget faffing around in a muddy field and missing out on your favourite bands because your friends are making you wait in a half-decent perch for one headliner – The Great Escape is three days of the music industry converging in over 30 of Brighton’s finest venues to celebrate and be introduced to everything new and ready to take over. The archives are packed with household names who appeared before their big breakthroughs – from Adele in 2007 to The xx in 2009 via Christine And The Queens in 2013 and Bon Iver in 2008 – and this year’s bill now boasts well over 400 names ready to feature in the same conversations. Slaves will kick things off by gigging on the resplendent pier, local lad and two-time performer Rag‘n’Bone Man has already sold out his headline slot at the Dome, and Kano will take over the Old Market for some grime time on Friday night, but here’s just a little taste of the acts that you should keep a particular eye out for.

Continue reading “Acts you should catch at The Great Escape 2017”