Upending the notions of jazz, Jamie Cullum is the splash of colour that redefined the world of melodic pop.
Surly vocals and elaborate chops on the keys, Cullum has achieved critical acclaim for his vibrant mix of originality. His depth of character is fully flourished in his music too, with his ability to swoon us with emphatic ballads to witty pop in a matter of song listings. Cullum first broke into the scene back in 2002 with Pointless Nostalgic and 2003’s Twentysomething. Dazzled with classic retellings of jazz classics and emotional originals that slotted beautifully within each, Twentysomething broke the foundations of the complexity of jazz and Cullum became a household name over night.
His complexion to intermingle within genres didn’t stop there though. Cullum subsequently released Catching Tales in 2005 and The Pursuit in 2009, which embraced his soft rock – pop progressive ballads and careened beautiful showings of his songwriting material with bold-and-brash Get Your Way, witty ramblings of Nothing I Do, and of course, sombre ballad retellings with Love Ain’t Gonna Let You Down.
For fans of both enjoyable soft pop work and the establishment of jazz with orchestral styles, Jamie Cullum is a singer-songwriter for the ages. His most recent release in 2o19, Taller, established Jamie’s talents and allowed him to break the top ten in record sales. My favourites from this record have to be the fancy-and-fast of Usher and the enchanting dazzle of Marlon Brando, that is seen to be on the B Side for this one.
Prolific in sound, voice and immense piano chops, Jamie Cullum is a redefining motion in the industry.
Cullum ultimately cements himself further as a music anomaly every new record he releases.
Subtle eccentrics of indie rock with complacent sound-experiments, bring Alt-J into the spotlight as critically acclaimed and award-winning.
An Awesome Wave
Alt-J: a name raised from the delta symbol that is made when hitting Alt and J on a Mac keyboard, their smoothie blend of folky dub-pop became their signatory work and was first brought to attention in such singles, Matilda and Fitzpleasure in 2012.
Oddly arranged in structure and the ample choosing of percussion, we were pleasantly surprised to find out they had done a full-length debut album using those same sounds.
An Awesome Wave was released in the same year of 2012, and amassed a worthy following instantly –
Being one of the first to purchase the album via iTunes … trailing through the Earth’s atmosphere or merely jumping amongst cityscapes with your earbuds in … is how I would describe Alt-J’s music tellings.
Musically, it’s simple but it’s genuinely clever.
Doing something that hadn’t really been done anything on this scale before – certainly not from an original quartet of artists – An Awesome Wave allowed them to earn their first prestigious Mercury Prize in the world of music – not to mention three nominations from the The Brit Awards.
With a 14-piece artwork that does not require a single skip – favourites including Something Good and Dissolve Me – it has soon become a staple of this pleasurable folk-indie vibe sort of music.
Its such a rarity to explore experimental sounds, odd in structure and percussion to deliver such an album that resonated with so many people. I think the sheer simplicity of it and the ever-so-present relaxing setting you get in there music has been there from day one. Wherever the band manages to end up on their next work, their art of morbid curiosity is a sight to behold.
This is All Yours
Despite the temperament changing in the Alt-J camp after the bassist of Gwil Sainsbury’s departing in 2013, they remained true to their colours and followed up with their second, This is All Yours, in 2014.
Rhythm and space were their desired bread and butter – and that certainly didn’t change or deter at all with this follow-up.
Whilst This is AllYours did not share the same involvement concerning numbers or critical acclaim compared to that of the first, it just so happened to feature elements of extended beauty in songs that stretched for more minutes, which left the band to experiment more, without the worry of having to hold back to suit the status quo with the dreaded second album. It hinted at moments from their debut, with playful Left Hand Free and Every Other Freckle …
… but also hinted at a changing landscape for the band, a maturity to their music, almost. Elluring two-parter, Arrival in Nara and Nara, which draws up a playing time of 9 minutes, allowed the band to create conceptual moments that translated well in a far deeper song structure. Overall, This is All Yours had an 8-minute longer playing time than An Awesome Wave, but you could say had a deeper meaning behind it.
In early 2017, they soon departed ways with their vibrant colours and approached their third studio album with a somewhat darker presence, with the release of the trio 3WW, In Cold Blood and Adeline in 2017. Same year, in June? Enter, Relaxer.
Although short in a track listing of just eight, it certainly makes up for its playtime of 38 minutes. Although not doing as successful as the prior two, Relaxer is a diluted version of their sounds – but nonetheless equally ambitious. House of the Rising Sun and Deadcrush are beautiful moments that I will always wish were longer, despite them being long enough as they are.
It may also feature future sounds that we may expect to hear from their potential fourth studio album? Last Year and Pleader delves into far more traditional sounds of other orchestral instruments – including the uproar of a choir during the lasting moments in Pleaser – and even has a female vocalist adding elements into the fold that we hadn’t really heard of before.
Whatever they have in store for us in the coming year or so, I’m sure it’s set to be a delight for all of us.
Equally delightful in sound and presentation, Alt-J are a folk-inflected, indie-smooth topping that is perfect for any casual music listener.
The Work of Island: Problems from an ever-changing line-up whilst working in dingy London studios …
… Comes a new tale in the alternative.
From the fibres of the alternative rock scene – loosely translated as a much more tame beast as opposed to its distant relative of hard rock – ISLAND are a prestigious band gleaming with prospect.
Inspired from their distant adventures on the road, the band released their 2018 debut, Feels Like Air. Since then, they have kept themselves busy with European tours, stretching as far as the coast of North America, even. Whenever they have had time off the road, they’ve been knuckling down in the studio, creating joyous tales once more. In 2019, they released coveted EP, When We’re Still with Editors-inspired plateau, Just That Time of the Night.
Prior to all this however, it seemed that regardless of their reverent line-up, the name of ISLAND would prevail throughout as 2015 was the year when they such things to be true. With feelings of maturity and a hope filling the air, they released Girl in 2015. Who knew the beautiful simplicity of Stargazer would rise the band to new heights?
Bringing a completely new set of tools and brand to the wares of alternative music that seem simplistically beautiful in creation, they are bringing a fresh perspective to musical songwriting and ask for those to join the congregation.
Forged from the inspired thoughts due to their extensive time on the road, Feels Like Air, champions exactly that.
Music that is so effortless and seemingly made so emphatically, it is equally fair to listen every bit the same, too.
I’m sure those echoic guitars first thrilled the studio when they heard them.
Feels Like Air
Ride (a powerful album start-up)
Try (For fans of Grizfolk and Circa Waves)
The Day I Die (for fans of Editors and Radiohead)
Horizon (for fans of JAWS)
We Can Go Anywhere
God Forgive (empowering moments make it my favourite amongst the list)
Feels Like Air (self-titled makes it a close second)
Lilyflower (light acoustics settle the album to a close)
Flawless in creation, The Slow Rush is an episodic concept that draws on temporal themes of the unending cycle of life.
Similar to that of a slow rush in itself, we seemingly crash through our lifetimes – without actually having a sense of feeling about them at all.
I felt like I heard Tame Impala’s deep dive of The Slow Rush for the first time, in a fever dream. More so a surreal escapist than that of your generic music artist, it is no wonder his ravenous audience is lapping up every morsel Tame Impala (Kevin Parker) gives us to consume.
After all, we hadn’t spoken about Tame Impala (Kevin Parker) elusive acts of music since his commercial corner of Currents. That was back in 2015. 2020, and we have the return of said fever dream with The Slow Rush 5 years later.
Drawing on ideas witnessing your own lifetime whizzing by in a mere lightning bolt, The Slow Rush is a piece of work that praises the unending cycle of life. This unending – and simply unnatural feeling – is ever-present in its song names too, as it draws on elements of oxymorons with Instant Destiny, Tomorrow’s Dust and Lost in Yesterday, that as phrases, give you no feeling of resolve or – dare I say it – a formative ending. The album concept name itself Slow Rush, gives us an impression of these temporal themes, perceiving the problematic feeling of rushing our passage of time without actually feeling it at all.
The album even ends on Parker longing for One More Hour – despite seemingly wasting his time, as he originally requested a longer duration of time at the beginning of the album with One More Year. This emphatic illustration draws on us as humans to unduly ask for more and more time – despite already having it.
But, of course we come to the eventual realisation about it all with, Is it True and It Might Be Time – with Parker reciting, “something doesn’t feel right” when we do realise it is our time to eventually face the music.
With that said, Tame Impala’s ebbings and flowings of creating stills in music has been prevalent since his first experiment with InnerSpeaker in 2010. Giving the music project name of Tame Impala, insinuating that it is indeed a band behind the music, Parker’s approach to psychedelia, dystopia and surrealism has reached the breaking point of the genre we know it as, “psychedelic rock”, and ultimately smashed Parker’s music into a genre of its own.
Despite the disjointed efforts of Parker recording one half of the album in Los Angeles and his own home studio in Fremantle, Australia, the album concept is anythingbut. The Slow Rush just adds to the ever-existing beauty that fulfils Parker’s music already.
Fresh, bold and stark-raving mad, cleopatrick are a worthy accompaniment to murder.
Not a murder in the ordinary sense of the word, no. The murder of a genre we once knew as rock – a genre which had become far too complacent with the drip-tap of pop trickling through its cracks. The Ontario best-buddies hard rock duo are becoming the known from the unknown with their blistering slap-in-the-face boom that makes Royal Blood‘s new music work of Limbo sound like a pansy. Although dressed as the fashionable duo – similar to those as Royal Blood and the White Stripes – their music has a beautiful sense of youth, hostility and freshness that we’ve not really heard before.
Hoping to collate their work into a debut album this year – rather than the feral singles we’ve received so far – they’ve forewarned us not only to watch this space, but to start chipping away their mark within the rock halls of fame too, as they’ll soon be entering them.
Anarchic favourite hometown, explosiveGOOD GRIEF, shrill-thriller of youth and doom-and-gloomy sanjake, top the bill of the band’s extent to writing future-cult classics – and we can only imagine there’s room for more.
More importantly, they have shown us they can’t just create quick-biters worthy of four minutes or so – but can create the dirty lingering types, too. Divining inspiration from the likes of Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, belly button blues is an instant favourite that tops the lot for me.
My friends are wasted And I don’t even care I’m in my basement Texting girls that aren’t even real My youth is gone and I know it
After hearing their most recent, THE DRAKE, which was released in early March this year, we can certainly expect their debut in the coming months – especially after picking up so much traction after their first EP via “14” in 2016.
Pulled straight from the archives of an old hometown gig they played, THE DRAKE‘s official video perfectly showcases the rampant display of their telling of a high-school bully story.
It’s all quiet in the cleopatrick camp for now … but we’ll hear the notorious thumps de thumps soon I’m sure.