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.

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”

It came from SoundCloud: PC Music’s internet pop invasion

Exploring the fizzy world bursting towards the charts.

Originally published in The Edge

Playing a track on SoundCloud is never as straightforward as it may seem. Once non-skippable audio promos subside to gift you 30 seconds and an abrupt ending that reminds you of the firm’s perpetually iffy situation with the industry as a whole, the real fun can begin as it catapults you down a mesmerising rabbit hole of what happens when you give seamless distribution and budget creation tools to the most idiosyncratic budding musicians. Entire self-sufficient niches have established themselves, attracting new prey in this very fashion, and singular hits, especially in the dance world, have flourished from silent launches on the platform, but few lasting trends have managed to escape through into more mainstream vistas. PC Music is ready to be the exception. Continue reading “It came from SoundCloud: PC Music’s internet pop invasion”

This Year In Records 2016

What made 2016 tick, from ANOHNI to The xx.

Originally published in The Edge

Now we’ve finally reached the concluding moments of 2016, it’s time for This Week In Records to splash out a little bit. You may be familiar with our methods – trawling the web for every last morsel of new music worth your attention and delivering it promptly for breakfast every Friday, with an occasional side dish of irritability whenever someone dares to “spill” a piña colada over a marimba and ends up regurgitating a soulless rendition of a decent dance record from the last millennium. Today, to celebrate the end of all things, we’ve cast our glances right back to where it all began.

Elsewhere on this site, you will find serious collections and rankings of the year – albums, films, games, TV shows, etc. – but This Year In Records is for celebrating 2016’s music in all its delectable forms. Over the next twelve pages, we discuss one release from every single New Music Friday. Some are fantastic. Some are abominations. Some will be recalled as the releases that first caught attention from the music heroes of tomorrow. One is a miserable spawn from The X Factor.

If a rapid whiz through 366 days of music sounds appealing, allow me to be your guide. I promise I’ll only rap twice.

Continue reading “This Year In Records 2016”

Single review: Danny L Harle feat. Carly Rae Jepsen – ‘Super Natural’

An exquisite marriage between ultra-modern melodic oomph and delicate yet alluring pop vocals, ‘Super Natural’ is exactly what it says on the startlingly-polished tin.

Originally published in The Edge

For the uninitiated, PC Music is weird. Perhaps ideally described as a production collective set on a synthetic and garish model for a future in which dance and pop and fun and samples of distorted latex are all synonymous, its most forward-thinking and public-facing presentations to date have come courtesy of affiliate Samuel Long, aka SOPHIEProduct, his own compendium of singles and bleeps, and the Vroom Vroom EP he produced for Charli XCX to launch her label of the same name.

Eloquent in interviews without the need for child-like voice pitching, a smiling and familiar face on camera with an avid social media presence, and producing the signature nectar free from any of the potentially bitter points generally there to be unearthed, the movement has found a frontman perfect for their partnership with the venerable Columbia Records in Danny L Harle. ‘Super Natural,’ his third single of the relationship, is the best yet, catapulting the uber-contemporary brand back towards late-millennium raves. Driven by claps and firmly bleating synths rising throughout, this is as much a hyperactive club record as a stimulating, radio-nudging tune. Continue reading “Single review: Danny L Harle feat. Carly Rae Jepsen – ‘Super Natural’”