Danielle’s Top 20 Tracks of 2017

Picking only 20 of of my favourite tracks of the year was never going to be an easy feat but I was hopeful that my ‘top tracks of 2017’ playlist on Spotify was going to help me sort the TUUUUNEs from the ‘This is my jam’s. Sadly this was not the case because most of the songs on the list were actually released last year or even the year before.

Well anyway here’s the list and for your listening pleasure  there’s a Spotify playlist too.

20. Kicks – Barns Courtney

19. When Did It All Go So Wrong – SUGARTHIEF

18. Man Behind The Sun – Callum Beattie

17. Blank Dice – Flawes

16. Champion – Barns Courtney

15. Umbrella- Natalie Holmes

14. Higher – Outlya

13. Wires – Kovic

12. Feel It Again – Hudson Taylor

11. Fickle Game – Amber Run

10. Friends- Marsicans

9. The Kids Don’t Want To Come Home – Declan McKenna

8. Do It – Rae Morris

7. My Side –Tom Speight

6. Long Road – Jake Isaac

5. Heart Starts Beating – Coasts

4. Reborn – Rae Morris

3. Gave You All – HAUS

2. Tokyo – Dan Croll

1. Take Me Back Home – Coasts

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Danielle’s Top 5 Albums of 2017

What Do You Think About The Car? – Declan McKenna

At the age of 15, Declan McKenna was the youngest solo artist to perform at Glastonbury winning the Emerging Talent Competition in 2015. His debut album ‘What Do You Think About The Car’ has  a certain maturity to the lyrics and topics that it explores for such a young singer and did I mention that they are ridiculously catchy.

Top five tracks:

The Kids Don’t Want To Come Home
Paracetamol
Humongous
Brazil
Why Do You Feel So Down

Attractions Of Youth – Barns Courtney

Barns Courtney has certainly come a long way since I saw him at a very intimate gig at the Oporto last February. Putting Barns Courtney in a single music genre is a virtually impossible task and ‘Attractions of Youth’ just goes to show what a diverse musician he is. From rock to folk(ish) and then rap this album is a treat for your ears.

Top 5 tracks:

Glitter and Gold
Fire
Hobo Rocket
Little Boy
Kicks

Emerging Adulthood – Dan Croll

Dan Croll’s second album has been a long time coming and I can assure that it was certainly worth the wait. ‘Emerging Adulthood’ cwas released in July and with catchy hits like ‘Bad Boy’ and ‘Tokyo’ was a definite favourite for my summer playlist.

Top five tracks:
Tokyo
January
One Of Us
Bad Boy
Educate

 

Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect – Sundara Karma

On twelfth night the three wise men came to a stable in Bethlehem bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh and on the 6th January 2017 Sundara Karma gifted the world with their debut album ‘Youth is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect.’

This album has become such a ‘go to’ soundtrack for me that I often forget that it was actually released this year!

With highs…..and more highs, because there literally aren’t any lows when it comes to the infectious sound of Sundara Karma, this record is all I need for dancing round my room.

P.S introducing Mandy to SK’s music remains, to this day, my greatest achievement in life.

Top 5 tracks:

She Said
Flame
A Young Understanding
Watching From Great Heights
Lose The Feeling

This Life, Vol. 1 – Coasts

Who are we kidding, of course Coasts were going to be on my list of Top 5 Albums and taking the top spot too!

Coasts second album ‘This Life, Vol. 1’ has a certain maturity to it, exploring themes that have often challenged the band. All of this is done whilst maintaining a distinct Coastsness and includes some absolute belters.

Top 5 tracks:
Take Me Back Home
Heart Starts Beating
Chase The Night
Make It Out Alive
White Noise
(I wanted to put all ten tacks on my ‘top’ list but Mandy said that I had to choose five)

Gig Review: Marika Hackman

Featured Image: Marika Hackman

On November 17h Marika Hackman brought an alternative 90s sound to Leeds with support from Our Girl.

The solo performance of Our Girl had a low key, stripped back feel that was inviting and personable.

The Wardrobe quickly filled up for Marika and the amount of glitter in the room was inspirational.

Marika Hackman brought the house down on a Friday night with her unique sound. Personal highlights included  ‘Time’s Been Reckless’ and public debut of ‘When You Sleep’

Did you know that Marika Hackman used to be in a band with model turned actress Cara Delevigne.

Gig Review: Joe Dolman

Featured Image: Joe Dolman 

On the evening of the 15th November, I crossed over to the Fox and Newt pub in Leeds for a relaxed folky evening with Joe Dolman, Sunflower Thieves and Amy J.

3 pints of squash later and Amy J was ready to ‘Rock The Boat’ with a beautiful set mixed with her own material and covers including Passenger’s ‘Let Her Go.’

Sunflower Thieves aka Lily and Amy mix stunning close harmonies and heartfelt lyrics in their serenely calm duo set.

It was the penultimate night of tour and Joe Dolman brought ‘Something Beautiful’ to Leeds. With a mix of old and new songs and injection of soul with a Ray Charles cover Joe delivered a pure an unforgettable night.

Coasts This Life Vol.1 Album Review​

Featured Image: Coasts

It’s here, it’s finally here! Coasts second album This Life Vol. 1 is released today and I am absolutely loving it!

Coasts took to their social media channels at midnight last night/ this morning for a listening party. Sadly my phone battery died about 30 seconds in so all I got to hear was that the guys from Coasts went to bingo last night – as if I needed any more reason to love them.

When I first heard the singles from the new album including ‘Come On Over’ and ‘Paradise’ I thought that they had a kind of tropical sounding vibe to them yet that was bringing the party to my door.

Yet compare this to the thought-provoking and often chilling  ‘Let Me Love You’  ‘Chase The Night’ and ‘Born To Die’ you have a well-rounded album that has a more grown up feel to it, referencing topics that are often ignored to great effect.

I loved the constant surprises and curve balls that This Life threw out, I mean like can we talk about the choir in ‘Born To Die’? Totally majestic and so unexpected.

This Life Vol.1 is a revealing insight into issues that many of us face including dealing with mental health demons and highlights that (this) life is not all sunshine and daisies.

So what’s your favourite song from the new album?  I literally can’t decide, I love them all but at a push, I’d have to say from the  singles: ‘Take Me Back Home’ ‘Heart Starts Beating’ (affectionately  known as High Stakes Blackjack) and from the newer songs ‘Born To Die’ and ‘Make It Out Alive’.

I took to Twitter to see what other people’s faves were:

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This Life Vol. 1 charts at No.14 in the iTunes Alternative Album Chart and people of the UK can look forward to Coasts epic 38 date tour in September/October.

I obviously can’t tell you which dates I’m going to (because the guys might find out and that would ruin the surprise of randomly turning up)

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Give This Life Vol.1 a cheeky listen here.

Gig Review: Saint Motel

Featured image: Saint Motel

Funky, fresh and recognisable from a number of TV ads including Uber, the 2014 Phones 4 U campaign and most recently Now TV. Music from Saint Motel has featured multiple times on FIFA in both 2015 and 2017. Some readers amongst you may know that Coasts were on the 2016 version. Having never played FIFA myself (maybe once but I’m pretty sure I was rubbish) I’ll have to take the internet’s word for it.

The music genre of the LA foursome has been described as a variety of different styles from indie pop, progressive indie and (my favourite) dream pop. By bringing together a number of different styles and instruments, Saint Motel create an effervescent style which is sure to make you ‘move’

Local Leeds lads Happy Daggers brought the toe tapping, feel good vibes which were simply falsetto-tastic. Personal favourites included
Closer and dance floor filling (ok there were four of us but that still counts right?) Get Yourself Together. Another worthy mention in the keyboard player’s Game Of Thrones t-shirt proclaiming that ‘Winter Is Here’

Victors (also from Leeds) had that electronic pop sound and a whole lot of bass (literally my whole being was vibrating)

‘Stay With Me,’ the first ever song that the band wrote together was an uplifting booty-shaker and I particularly enjoyed ‘Holding On’

Finally it was time for Saint Motel and there were slightly more than four of us on the dance floor, quite an impressive turnout for a Tuesday night actually.

It has been two years since Saint Motel were last in Leeds so to saw that their presence was eagerly anticipated would be an understatement and I was jostled around quite a bit by die hard fans to get to the front. I won in the end.

If I were to describe Saint Motel’s set in three words it would be: explosive, awesome, saxophone.

Really though the sax was one of the highlights of the set and the instantly recognisable intro to ‘Just My Type’ has got me hooked.

There was so many great moments of the night including AJ joining the audience during the encore, high- fives all round and stellar sax solos.
Saint Motel are known to have said that they aim to deliver a ‘big, crazy experience whenever [people come] to see us.” Well they certainly delivered!!! If you are in the U.K. You can catch them at Latitude fest on Friday.

Top tunes of the night included
‘You can be you’ the hippyish ‘Benny Howard’ and the fan favourite ‘My Type’

 

Gig Review: Rupert Stroud

Featured image: Rupert Stroud

Rupert Stroud’s latest EP Heart and Soul has been a long time coming and it was with bubbling excitement that I entered the Belgrave last night.

Jade Helliwell opened the stage with a smattering of country classics and songs from her EP. The northern singer impressed with array of new British country sounds interlaced with pop beats.

Next up were The Dunwells or half of them in any case. The pop/rock band from Leeds have been on my radar for quite some time now but up until last night I had always managed to miss them.

With a sound that is bright, bold and somewhat heroic Joe and Dave Dunwell reminded the crowd that we are ‘The Lucky Ones’

Their acoustic cover of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ was really something else and perfectly showcased Joe’s incredible vocals.

The disastrous floods of Boxing Day 2015-16 affected many of music studios around Leeds and Rupert Stroud was unfortunately one of those artists. It was therefore perhaps not surprising that Rupert has been fairly quiet over the past year, opting instead to play at a number of private venues.

Rupert’s intense, gravelly vocals (even when he’s not doing his batman voice) will instantly grab you, reeling you in.

I loved hearing songs from Rupert’s widely acclaimed back catalogue including the anthemic ‘Way Back Home’ which is pure Yorkshire gold.

‘Trouble’ has always been a particular favourite of mine and I was excited to hear that the song has had a bit of makeover as ‘Demons’

Songs from the ‘Heart and Soul’ EP have a introspective take on what it means to be alive and I loved the acousticy feel of ‘Believe’

Grab your copy of the ‘Heart and Soul’ EP here or on iTunes.

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