Thursday, 26 December 2013

The Metaphorical Boat's Best of 2013 - The Lists

For the benefit of those who don't like musical embeds, or opinions about the music featured, here are The Metaphorical Boat's top songs and albums of 2013 in list form. For those who enjoy cold, hard data.
Top Songs of 2013

  1. Public Service Broadcasting - Signal 30
  2. We Were Evergreen - Leeway
  3. Suede - It Starts and Ends With You
  4. Swim Deep - King City
  5. John Grant - Black Belt
  6. London Grammar - Strong
  7. Vampire Weekend - Diane Young
  8. Kodaline - High Hopes
  9. A Plastic Rose - This Side of Winter
  10. Step Rockets - Kisser
  11. Girls Names - Hypnotic Regression
  12. Ed Zealous - Medicines
  13. Prides - Out Of The Blue
  14. Suede - Hit Me
  15. The Dancers - For Something In Your Eyes
  16. Frank Turner - The Way I Tend To Be
  17. Vance Joy - Riptide
  18. Jakwob - Fade
  19. The 1975 - Chocolate
  20. Franz Ferdinand - Right Action
  21. In An Instant - All Binds Fall Undone
  22. Tribes - Dancehall
  23. Hurdles - Kaleidoscope
  24. Bastille - Pompeii
  25. nano.RIPE - Tsuki Hana
  26. Everything Everything - Duet
  27. Hentai Babies - One Potato Two
  28. Icona Pop - I Love It
  29. Shugo Tokumaru - Katachi
  30. Vampire Weekend - Unbelievers
  31. Primal Scream - It's Alright, It's OK
  32. Shonen Knife - When You Sleep
  33. Superfood - Superfood
  34. The Killers - Shot At the Night
  35. Foals - My Number
  36. A Northern Light - Kill It
  37. Avicii - Wake Me Up
  38. Best Boy Grip - Runaway
  39. Janelle Monae - Dance Apocalyptic
  40. Fryars - The Power
  41. Parquet Courts - You've Got Me Wonderin' Now
  42. Fred V & Grafix - Basilisk
  43. Major Leagues - Endless Drain
  44. Crash And The Coots -  Don't Kill Bugs
  45. Clean Bandit - Mozart's House
  46. Outfit - House on Fire
  47. Arctic Monkeys - Do I Wanna Know
  48. TeamRKT - Break Out
  49. Little Bear - Killer
  50. Daft Punk - Get Lucky

Top Albums of 2013
  1. Public Service Broadcasting - Inform - Educate - Entertain
  2. Suede - Bloodsports
  3. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of The City
  4. Eels - Wonderful, Glorious
  5. Girls Names - The New Life
  6. Swim Deep - Where The Heaven Are We
  7. Melt Yourself Down - Melt Yourself Down
  8. Arctic Monkeys - A.M
  9. Foals - Holy Fire
  10. Franz Ferdinand - Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action

Monday, 23 December 2013

Ethan's Bucket - Crown Me King

Very few people make their way into electro-rock via classical music, but that's exactly the route taken by Dublin native Ethan Kumar, who records under the name Ethan's Bucket. Having released an album of piano instrumentals back in 2012, he decided to change direction, experimenting with guitars and synths in an attempt to emulate The Naked & Famous. 

His first single in this new style, "Crown Me King", may not owe much sonically to those Kiwis, but it's still a rather great tune regardless. If you're a fan of the spacey, dreamy soundscapes of Maps, or the songs by Moby that he provides the lead vocals for, then you might just find something to love in Ethan's Bucket.

"Crown Me King" is available as a free download, and will feature on his upcoming album "Walk on Water".

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Lifecycle - Patterns

When we featured Melt Yourself Down among our Top Albums of 2013, we mentioned feeling like the band were the first act in a whole new movement of music, given that their multi-cultural, all-encompassing style cannot be easily categorised. Although that's not to say people haven't tried to tag them alongside others already, as evidenced by a compilation called "Yes Wave" (described as "the soulful clatter of artistry and community convening and conspiring..."), alongside acts like Superhuman Happiness & Hello Skinny.

This brings us on to London based trio Lifecycle, a band who seem to tread a similar line of all-encompassing music. A self-described alternative tribal fusion band, their new single "Patterns" sees them mix unconventional world-beat rhythms with jazzy bass and slight hints of rock to create something kaleidoscopic, esoteric and wonderful in equal doses. It's not going to be to everyone's tastes, but its a great little adventure of a tune if you're willing to give it a shot.

"Patterns" is out now, coupled with b-side "Lose Control".

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Hibou - Hide Away

On Sunday, Now Playing @6music announced the list of the 25 artists that were mentioned the most on UK-based blogs in 2013, a list that was topped by the wonderful Wolf Alice. Whilst it's understandably unlikely that anyone will like everything on the list (how the heck did Justin Timberlake make it?), there's enough variety on it that there should be something there for everyone. (You can still listen to the show in full until this Sunday on the BBC iPlayer. If you skip forward to 1:19:00, you'll get to hear a contribution by your local, friendly captain).

One artist who I hadn't expected to make the top 25, but am pleased by his inclusion, is Seattle's Peter Michel, aka Hibou, who made it to #21 on the list after the UK blogosphere went crazy over the wonderful "Sunder" back in May.

He's now released a new single, "Hide Away", in anticipation of his debut album, which is due sometime next year. The song moves away from the surf-rock grooves that dominated "Sunder" and instead veers into dreamier territory. The guitar still dominates thankfully, but the production is richer and more layered than in the past, giving off a slight M83 vibe.

The last time Hibou was mentioned here, I commented that the music he was making is good, but he still needed that extra something to help distinguish him from his influences. "Hide Away" seems to be a step in the right direction - there seems to be a distinct sound emerging, which I imagine will be fully realied by the time his album comes around.

"Hide Away" is available to download on a "pay what you like" basis.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Albums of 2013 - 5-1

5. Girls Names - The New Life
(Tough Love Recordings)

And so our favourite album from a Northern Irish band in 2013 comes courtesy of the blogosphere's favourite Belfast band, Girls Names. Their sophomore album "The New Life" might not be the most original or contemporary sounding records to be released this year (almost every review of the album has compared it to either Joy Division or The Cure), but there is no doubting its brilliance. Every irresistible guitar hook hypnotizes you, drawing you into the foggy world created by Cathal Cully & co over tracks such as "Pittura Infamante", "Hypnotic Regression", and the close-on eight minute masterpiece "The New Life". They may sound familiar, but they sound like nothing else coming out of Northern Ireland in 2013.

4. Eels - Wonderful, Glorious
(E Works/Vagrant)

"Wonderful, Glorious" is an album of great duality, showing that ten albums in, Eels can still find the right balance between comfort and shock, light and dark, and rough and smooth. The album contains moments that might be familiar to fans of the band, such as the wounded ballad "On The Ropes" and the scuzzy "Peach Blossom". However, it also contains some surprising new musical developments for E & co, like the 'this needs to be the theme for a 70s game show' moments on "Stick Together" or the title track, which is a fantastic funk-meets-psychedelia moment. 

At this point in their career, unless you've been a fan of Eels up until now it's unlikely that you've given this album much thought. Don't let that put you off - "Wonderful, Glorious" is a worthy addition to the Eels discography, easily their strongest and best album since 2008's "Hombre Lobo". 

3. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
(XL Records)

"Modern Vampires of The City", the third album from Vampire Weekend, sees the band tackling the big topics in life, such as religion, death & the nature of humanity, yet doing so in a way that's not preachy, dour, or sounding like they've spent an extended amount of time living up their own posteriors. 

The upbeat tracks are the highlights of the record - from the defiant sounds of "Unbelievers" and "Worship You", through to the doo-wop helium-pop of "Diane Young". But the slower songs, which form the majority of the album, also have their charm too - the mechanical crunch of "Step" was so much loved it was released as a single twice, whilst "Ya Hey" is such a beautiful, thoughtful track. 

It's a million miles away from the much-aped 'Upper West Side Soweto' sound that helped the band to break out in 2008, but their evolution on "Modern Vampires of the City" shows that Vampire Weekend are one of the most intelligent, thought-provoking, forward-thinking indie bands in the world today.

2. Suede - Bloodsports
(Warner Brothers)

Well, they're the greatest band of all time, so Suede were always going to feature in this year's list with "Bloodsports", their first studio album in eleven years, but in what position? When I reviewed "Bloodsports" back in March, I'd indicated that although I liked the album, it wasn't the instant classic I'd expected it to be, and was disappointed that it seemed to tread too close to the sounds of previous albums.

So what changed in the intervening time to make it The Metaphorical Boat's #2 album of the year? Well, I realised three things:

1) I dismissed the album based on what I wanted to hear, rather than what I did hear - Suede seemed to roughly channel a different sound on each of their albums - glam-rock on "Suede", proggy-rock on "Dog Man Star", pop-rock on "Coming Up", electro-rock on "Head Music", and forgot-how-to-rock on "A New Morning". So when "Bloodsports" didn't fit into the neat little box I liked to put the band's album, I suffered from cognitive dissonance, as I wasn't hearing the album that I expected to hear. 

I now realise that was unfair - Brett and Mat from the band have said in interviews that it was their intention to make an album that sounds like Suede, rather than trying to reinvent their sound or try new things. With this perspective in mind, it's much easier to enjoy the album.

2) The new songs sound fantastic live - When I saw Suede in Belfast over the summer, I was amazed at how great "Sometimes I Feel I'll Float Away" and "For The Strangers", two songs I'd dismissed when I'd heard the album", came across incredibly strong in between the more familiar songs, with the crowds singing along to them as if they'd known them for years. If that isn't a testament to how great the new material is, then I don't know what is.

3) Suede are awesome - this point does not need clarifying. 

So Suede gave us a fantastic album in "Bloodsports", a record that in most other years would have been the #1 album hands down. Unfortunately for them, 2013 is not most other years. So The Metaphorical Boat's Top Album of 2013 is:

1. Public Service Broadcasting - "Inform - Educate - Entertain"
(Test Card Records)

They've done the double.

The Metaphorical Boat's album of the year is "Inform - Educate - Entertain", the debut full-length from Public Service Broadcasting. When an artist takes such a specialised approach to their music, in PSB's case building songs around samples from public information films, there's a risk that it can sound samey over the course of a full album. It's a testament to the writing skills of J. Willgoose Esq. and Wrigglesworth that "Inform - Educate - Entertain" offers a rich tapestry of sounds throughout its eleven tracks,. Whether it's the Krautrock vs WW2 dogfight on "Spitfire", the soundtrack to the road movie from hell, "Signal 30", through to the dreamy, bottom of the bottle musings of "Lit Up", the album takes you on a journey to many different places, eras, and states of mind in less than 40 minutes.

"Inform - Educate - Entertain" is the album of the year for four reasons reasons. Firstly, there is not a single bad track on the album. Secondly, it sounds like nothing else that has been released in 2013. Thirdly, it shows an amount of innovation that should help inspire and influence other musician for years to come. And finally it is an album that I intent to revisit and listen to again for many years to come, and each time find something new to love about it. 

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Metaphorical Boat's Albums of 2013 - 10-6

After all the fun and hijinks of looking at our favourite songs of 2013, it is time to delve into listageddon once more, by looking at the ten albums that most shaped The Metaphorical Boat's listening habits over the past twelve months.

To repeat the same thing I've said the past two years, it is usually much harder to decide on an order for best albums of the year than it is for best songs. For single tracks, it goes in order of which songs I'd be happy enough to hear again and again in descending order. For albums on the other hand, there are a lot more variables involved. Should an album with lots of decent tracks receive a better placing than an album with two of the greatest songs of the year and some filler? Should an album that works well as a complete work be given preference to an album with better songs, but with more variety and a poorer flow? Should an act who I've loved immensely in the past place highly even if their album from this year didn't match up to their usual high standards?

So after taking these thoughts into consideration, and after much self-deliberation, here is the first half of The Metaphorical Boat's top albums of 2013:

10. Franz Ferdinand - Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action


Franz Ferdinand were undoubtedly the band that most shaped my listening habits during my early teenage years, so any new release from them would always be met with great excitement. Even though it contains some clunkers ("Evil Eye" should never have made the album, let alone got the single treatment), "Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action) is a strong addition to the back catalogue. From the powerful lead single "Right Action", through to the quasi-psychedelic "Wild Strawberries", through to the somber closing song "Goodbye Lovers & Friends", "RTRWRA" neatly demonstrates the sound that made them such indie darlings over ten years ago.

9. Foals - Holy Fire


It's hard to believe that the Foals who recorded "Holy Fire" in 2013 are the same Foals that gave us the messy, angular "Antidotes" back in 2008. "Holy Fire" is a highly focused, meaty indie-rock record that seems to tread the fine lines between brooding and upbeat and between accessible and experimental with great results. For every irresistibly hooky song, like their biggest hit to date "My Number" or "Bad Habit", there's a few darker tunes lurking, like the dank, powerful opener "Prelude" or the almost-ambient closing number "Moon". And then of course there's "Inhaler", a song that the band will struggle to ever match.

It'll be a struggle for Foals to make an album as consistent and brilliant as "Holy Fire", but if there's one thing that they're good at, it's taking us by surprise. 

8. Arctic Monkeys - A.M


It would be an insult to call "A.M" the fifth album from Arctic Monkeys, a return to form. After all, every single one of their albums has hit the top spot, with sales that most bands could only dream of. But it does seem to have been their first album since their sophomore effort that has attracted considerable attention outside of their (massive) fan base. 

And rightly so. Although it does seem to owe more to the sound of their last two albums than their first two, "A.M" shows that the band haven't lost their knack for a great big rock hook. The dirty guitar riff of "Do I Wanna Know?" sounds as if it has been around forever, held in stasis since the 70s until thawed out by Alex Turner, "Arabella" likewise. Elsewhere, "Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?", a song which became their first top 10 hit in 6 years, sees the hip-hop influences that had been hiding in the background since their debut come to the forefront, whilst "No.1 Party Anthem" and "I Wanna Be Yours" sees a softer side to the band. 

Although it's a million miles away from the sound that helped them break through in 2005, "A.M" by Arctic Monkeys is the best, most consistent album they have put out to date, and should replace their debut as the quintessential record from the band.

7. Melt Yourself Down - Melt Yourself Down

(The Leaf Label)

The self-titled album from Melt Yourself Down sounds like it is the beginning of a whole new movement of music. The sextet contain members of various jazz/world music acts (like Polar Bear, Acoustic Ladyland & Sons of Kemit), and their sound encompasses these influences, as well as elements of funk, electronica, and even a little bit of screamo to create a multicultural, cosmopolitan, unique saxophone-led sound. Although the best descriptor of their sound comes from their own label, who describe them as:

"...(T)he sound of Cairo ‘57, Cologne ‘72, New York ‘78, London 2013. North and south and east and west."

Melt Yourself Down might be a little bit too esoteric for some people's tastes, but there is no denying its earworm-inducing hooks on songs like "Fix Me Life", the bass vs sax dual of "We Are Enough", or the wonderful "Kingdom of Khush".

6. Swim Deep - Where The Heaven Are We

(Chess Club)

Birmingham early 90s revivalists Swim Deep sure know their way around a great pop hook, if their debut album "Where The Heaven Are We" is to be believed. From their monster calling card single "King City", the sparkly "Colour Your Ways", through to the more introspective sound of "The Sea" and the great baggy-infused closer "She Changes The Weather", the band shows off a great songcraft that belies their youth. 

What I found interesting whilst reading reviews of the record is that some critics have suggested that whilst they enjoyed "Where The Heaven Are We", they still think that they band still has a world-beating album still to come in the future. In all honesty, if their follow-up album is only half as good as this one, it will be worth listening to. 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Assorted Tunes - Round-up #21

It's been nice being a bit nostalgic, looking at some of our most favourite songs of the year over the past two weeks, but it's also great to be able to keep the fantastic new tunes coming, especially in the run-up to Christmas. Here's a few assorted tunes that have been floating The Metaphorical Boat recently:

Clean Bandit ft Jess Glynne - Rather Be

2013 isn't even over yet, but Clean Bandit are staking their claim early for the biggest radio hit of 2014 with their new single "Rather Be". The song features guest vocals from Jess Glynne, and sees the band continue with their trademark mix of orchestral music and dance, albeit in a more commercially-minded manner than they have attempted before. "Mozart's House" was one of the oddest songs to make the top 40 in 2013, but if "Rather Be" does not spend many weeks in the top 10, then I will be very surprised indeed.

Our Krypton Son - Can't Make You Come Back

One of Derry's most poetic singer/songwriters, Chris McConaghy, aka Our Krypton Son, will be releasing a new mini-album "A Graveyard of Stars" in the new year. On the 16th December, he will be releasing its first track, "Can't Make You Come Back", a song that sees Chris wearing his heart very firmly on his sleeve.


Freak's - Old Piano

Strabane's Freak's made their E.P "...With An Apostrophe" available as a free download last month. Taken from it is "Old Piano", a quirky little lo-fi indie-rock song about how the ivory-infused instrument is left unused because guitars are awesome. At least that's what I think it's about.


Liam O'Donnell - Nothing That I'm Scared Of

Liam O'Donnell has taken some time away from fronting indie-rock group Various Cruelties (the band who deserved to have a monster hit with "Great Unknown") to record some music in LA under his own name. If the first song he's made available, "Nothing That I'm Scared Of", doesn't help to increase his profile, then I will be very disappointed. He's always had a great voice, but now he seems to have tailored it to a sound that is very much of the here and now. You could almost imagine Sam Smith or John Newman performing "Nothing That I'm Scared Of" at Radio One's Big Weekend.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2013 - Number One

1. Public Service Broadcasting - Signal 30

There's trouble ahead,
Trouble that may, or may not be, a Signal 30.
What will we find? A minor mishap?
Or will we look on the stark face of death?

And so The Metaphorical Boat's Top Song of 2013 goes to London duo Public Service Broadcasting with their stunning single "Signal 30". Taking vocal samples from a smattering of over-the-top road safety films,  the song saw PSB at their heaviest, rockiest, and most mosh-enducing, with guitars and drums firmly set to 11. It has been highlight of their live sets, the one moment when their fans tend to go just a little bit mental.

Now sit back, press play of either of the embeds below, and enjoy the best song of 2013:

Monday, 9 December 2013

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2013 - 5-2

We're very nearly at The Metaphorical Boat's favourite song of 2013, but before that here's the songs that just fell short of the top spot:

5. John Grant - Black Belt

There hasn't been a better, funkier, F U song in 2013 than "Black Belt" by John Grant. Over a minimalist electronic beat, the song's antagonist is told that "what you got is a black belt in B.S," among other insults. Ouch. Irresistible, sharp tongued, and bloody brilliant. 

4. Swim Deep - King City

This is how pop music should be done. Birmingham band Swim Deep released a re-recorded version of "King City" back in June, and periods of great joy were ushered in. They've taken a very familiar chord progression, added youthful lyrics about a crush on Warpaint's bassist and topped it all off with the most earworm-inducing pop hook of the year. Why it didn't become a massive hit, especially after the buzz surrounding the band earlier in the year, is incredibly puzzling, but at least it's one over quite a few people regardless.

3. Suede - It Starts and Ends With You

When you're releasing your first official single as a band in 10 years, you'd better make sure that it's just as good as it was then. Thankfully, Suede, the greatest band of all time, were never going to let us down, giving us "It Starts And Ends With You", a song that harks back to the best moments of their career whilst still sounding like it belongs in 2013. It's got quite a strange structure, given that depending on what way you look at it, in consists of only choruses, or only verses. It's a song that has slotted very nicely into their live sets, and definitely proved the naysayers who said that they had no place in the current musical landscape very wrong indeed.

2. We Were Evergreen - Leeway

"Leeway" by French trio We Were Evergreen one of the quirkier twee-pop songs to be released in 2013, and by far the best. The song takes doo-wop vocal samples, toybox keyboard sounds, xylophones and cute vocal harmonies to create something as sweet and delicious as a Battenberg topped with Caramacs. 

Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2013 - 10-6

We now plunge straight into the top 10, with some of the best songs of the year, from 10-6, plus a little bit about why exactly they float The Metaphorical Boat

10. Step Rockets - Kisser

For rock music to survive, it must evolve beyond its roots. Like their contemporaries Imagine Dragons and AWOLNATION, Minneapolis band Step Rockets have a sound that is recognizably rock, yet is augmented with layers of keyboards and synthetic drums to create something more accessible to the masses. This formula payed off earlier this year when their fantastic single "Kisser" topped the Hype Machine earlier this year, and it's not hard to hear why. Just listen to that soaring guitar solo, a feature that has been much neglected in recent times.

9. A Plastic Rose - This Side of Winter

Very few songs get a double digit amount of spins of Radio 1 solely on the love of individual DJs without ever making the playlist, but that is exactly what happened with "This Side of Winter" by Northern Irish group A Plastic Rose.

And it's not hard to hear why it received so much love, as "This Side of Winter" is, their poppiest, most accessible, and best single to date. The loud guitars and angsty vocals of APR of old are still intact, but on this occasion it has been utilized in an incredibly radio-friendly manner. There are lovely Britpop vibes coming from the song, which is particularly welcome from someone who has long worshiped at the feet of that movement, and is also reminiscent of a heavier version of the similarly influenced Tribes.

8. Kodaline - High Hopes

Yes, the promo clip for "High Hopes" might be the most gratuitous example of emotional manipulation I've ever come across in a music video, but there is no denying that the song by Dublin band Kodaline is one of the finest of the year. It's a soft-rock masterpiece, using familiar yet effective chord structures to create a song to pull at the heartstrings. It gave the band their biggest hit to date, making the top 20 in the UK and topping the charts in Ireland. 

7. Vampire Weekend - Diane Young

Vampire Weekend are by far the finest band to have emerged in the past five years, taking indie guitar music and twisting it in ways that are both unique and enjoyable. "Diane Young" sees the band do their own take on familiar rock & roll chord progressions - with intelligent lyrics, unusual rhythms and THAT pitch-shifted vocal making this their best song of the year, and their 2nd best song ever. 

6. London Grammar - Strong

Sparse emotional indie meets trip-hop on “Strong”, the fantastic single from one of the most critically celebrated breakthrough artists of 2013, London Grammar. The song is carried by the fantastic, almost operatic vocals of Hannah Reid, whose voice belies her young years. If you listen to this song without a tear running down your face, then you’re a stronger person than I am. 

Saturday, 7 December 2013

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2013 - 15-11

Nearly into the top 10 now, but first here are the songs from 15-11, who just fell short of the mark, but are wonderful songs regardless. This section features a French trio, a Scottish trio, two Northern Irish bands with very different sounds (electro-rock vs post-punk), and the greatest band of all time: 

15. The Dancers - For Something In Your Eyes

14. Suede - Hit Me

13. Prides - Out Of The Blue

12. Ed Zealous - Medicines

11. Girls Names - Hypnotic Regression

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2013 - 20-16

We're into the really serious stuff now, songs that we've ranked from 20-16 in our favourite songs of 2013. The part features the band of my early teenage years, a song that was massive on the blogosphere before racing its way up charts worldwide, one of the biggest new bands to break through this year, an artist who just keeps on getting bigger and better with every album he releases, and a 90s dance revivalist sound that I actually can get behind:

20. Franz Ferdinand - Right Action

19. The 1975 - Chocolate

18. Jakwob - Fade

17. Vance Joy - Riptide

16. Frank Turner - The Way I Tend To Be

Thursday, 5 December 2013

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2013 - 25-21

We're nearly into the top 20, but before that, here's songs from numbers 25-21. In this section, we've got one of the biggest "rock" songs of the year (despite it not having any guitars), the ending theme from a Japanese TV series, sadly departed Britpop revivalists, and two more Northern Irish bands: 

25. nano.RIPE - Tsuki Hana

24. Bastille - Pompeii

23. Hurdles - Kaleidoscope

22. Tribes - Dancehall

21. In An Instant - All Binds Fall Undone

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2013 - 30-26

Next up in the countdown, we hit the halfway point with songs from numbers 30-26. Here we find the final #1 single to make the grade, the favourite band of all the indie kids, Japanese post-modern pop (with a superb video), a Japan-inspired duo, and a moment of accidental brilliance from EE

30. Vampire Weekend - Unbelievers

29. Shugo Tokumaru - Katachi

28. Icona Pop - I Love It

27. Hentai Babies - One Potato Two

26. Everything Everything - Duet

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2013 - 35-31

We're up to numbers 35-31 of our top songs of 2013, and features two top 30 hits from two great rock/indie artists, upcoming Britpop revivalists, a band who were around during the original Britpop, and a girl-band cover of a My Bloody Valentine track:

35. Foals - My Number

34. The Killers - Shot At the Night

33. Superfood - Superfood

32. Shonen Knife - When You Sleep

31. Primal Scream - It's Alright, It's OK

The UK Blog Sound of 2014 - The Longlist

The Blog Sound Of... Poll was first published in 2011. The concept of the poll wasn’t to criticise the established BBC Sound of list, but simply an experiment to see if UK music bloggers could come up with its own list of emerging artists that was more representative of their community and give the artists that were nominated some extra publicity. Indeed the idea was to compliment the BBC list in many ways by providing an alternative to compare and contrast.

The 2011 list contained some interesting alternatives to the BBC list including Mercury Prize winners Alt-J and Bastille who have found huge commercial success in the UK in 2013. The 2012 list was more similar to the BBC list with Haim being the runaway winners, followed closely by Chvrches.

The UK Blog Sound of 2014 poll is the biggest yet with 59 blogs each nominating their 3 favourite emerging artists. It has been retitled to give emphasis to the fact that it is a list created by UK bloggers, although the choices of music can come from around the world. This year however, 15 of the 16 most voted for artists are British.

The winning act and close runners up will be revealed on the 2nd of January in a short list of three.

This list contains a range of artists that have all received strong coverage from UK bloggers over the last year and can therefore be seen to be a good representation of what music bloggers have been enjoying listening to.

The sixteen artists that made this year's UK Blog Sound of 2014 longlist are:

Banks - Sultry electronic music with a hint of soul from Los Angeles - the only non-UK act on the list.

E M B E R S - Cinematic and vast indie rock from Manchester

George Ezra - Singer songwriter with a bluesy voice

Hella Better Dancer - Dark and fiery indie rock band

Hockeysmith - Genre hopping sister duo from Cornwall

Honeyblood - Raw DIY indie rock two piece from Glasgow

Iyes - Edgy sweetly melodic pop duo from Brighton

KHUSHI - Endearing East London singer who sits somewhere between pop, indie and folk

Lyla Foy - Previously known as Wall, creator of delicate, brooding, intimate pop

Marika Hackman - Singer songwriter with haunting folk references

Mt. Wolf - Dreamy sounding band that combine electronics, acoustic music and ambient atmospherics with near operatic vocals.

Royal Blood - Brighton duo that play gritty lo-fi rock with attitude

Rhodes - Stripped back acoustic singer songwriter

Sivu - Idiosyncratic singer songwriter

Sophie Jamieson - Calm, atmospheric folk musician

Wolf Alice - Edgy rock band who take references from grunge and indie.

So those are the sixteen acts that the collective hive mind of the UK blogosphere are most excited about for 2014. So what does this blog think of it? There's some great acts on the list, although the only one we've featured on the blog this year has been Rhodes. We also love George Ezra, who's song "Budapest" is something pretty special, and Marika Hackman, whom we kept meaning to write about but just never got around to. And of the acts we weren't too familiar with beforehand, the soaring E M B E R S are the ones who tick all our metaphorical boxes.

In terms of what we would have liked to have seen on the list, we're slightly gutted that no Northern Irish artists made the longlist, especially considering that two out of our three selections were from here and especially considering the wealth of talent 'our wee province' has to offer. But I guess it was to be expected, given that (to the best of our understanding) The Metaphorical Boat was the only NI based blog to vote in the poll.

Maybe one year there'll be an artist from here who'll make the list, or there'll be a few more bloggers from here contributing, but for the moment we're glad to have been a part of something this brilliant. Hopefully a few of these artists will be doing excellent things in 2014.

The music blogs that took part in the voting were: