"Hold On", the simple, yearning and compellingly poignant Southern Rock opus from one the best new bands of 2012, ALABAMA SHAKES is not necessarily a new song and the band's day one fans will be the first to tell you this but the visuals for the single were released at the start of April to promote the band's début album Boys & Girls which hit shelves on April 10 via ATO Records and Rough Trade. After the huge buzz and hype that Alabama native Brittany Howard and her 4-piece caused at the 2012 SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, the new visuals for "Hold On" didn't only get us excited for their album, it did well to remind those of us who had forgotten just how special this song is and how amazing Howard (Vocals, Guitar), Fogg (Guitar), Cockrell (Bass Guitar) and Johnson (Drums) really are -- no frills, no gimmicks, no pretences - just great music, captivating lyrics and hypnotic vocals and all beautifully crafted.
Manifest! - the forthcoming début album from fast-rising Indie Pop band and BBC Sound of 2012 nominees, FRIENDS is and has been for months, one of the most anticipated records of 2012. Scheduled to be released on June 4/5 via Lucky Numbers and Fat Possum Records, the album has certainly been buoyed by the band's two previously released singles, "Friend Crush" and "I'm His Girl". The anthemic "Mind Control" is the third single from the Brooklyn-based 5-piece band and first single from the forthcoming album. It surfaced earlier in April as the Hottest Record in the World on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show and for good reason too. Heavy on synths, super bass and world music-esque percussions, "Mind Control" is a Disco/Funk opus and very trademark of the band's "Weird Pop" sound which has won them plaudits and critical acclaim. Listen below:
As one of the definite breakthrough genres of 2012, Afrobeats music continues to make waves on the global music landscape and the month of April has gone a long way in making sure the genre is not just a flash in the pan with G.O.O.D Music's D'banj making exploits in the UK securing a deal with Mercury Records UK and Akon signing Wizkid to his Konvict Music imprint. The simple fact that we had about four Afrobeats songs on our long list for this Best New Music instalment goes to show the huge potential and global reach the genre possesses. In the end, "Good Morning" the brand new single from Chocolate City's fast-rising crooner BRYMO slightly edged it for us - produced by prolific in-house producer Jesse Jagz, this laid-back Afrobeats opus sees Brymo in his finest form and finally bringing forth the excellence we first saw in him on the hook of the massive hit "Oleku". Listen below:
Reminiscent of Timbaland's best R&B work with the likes of Aaliyah and Ginuwine, "Precious", the brand new single from emerging Bristol Singer/Songwriter JAVEON McCARTHY - who you might recognize from L-Vis1990's "Lost In Love" and Joker's "Back In The Days" - is a piece of 90's R&B influenced gold. Produced by Two Inch Punch who is superbly channelling Timbaland circa late 90's/early 00's, featured already by the likes of Complex, Pitchfork and Abeano among others and set to be released by PMR Records on June 4, "Precious" sees McCarthy in superb fashion as he showcases his brilliantly understated and heartfelt vocals over one of the most exciting R&B musical milieus I've heard this year. Listen below:
I'm a huge fan of British Genre-fusing Pop duo ALUNAGEORGE! Vocalist Aluna Francis and producer George Reid are simply amazing together and can do wrong in my eyes! Their latest single "Just A Touch" which is off of the duo's recently released début 3-track EP You Know You Like It on Tri Angle Records is laced with distorted electronic beats, a seriously dope head bopping bassline, layered handclaps, a futuristic Pop sound combined with a lush throwback R&B feel to it over which Aluna lays down her alluringly beautiful vocals. Listen below:
Now that was a tasking challenge, how in Heaven's name have we managed to four weeks of some pretty amazing new and emerging music into just five picks is beyond us but we have and these five picks are exceptional in every way. We know that we may/will have missed some of your favourites of the month and do let us know in the C-section of course and we'll try not to kick ourselves quite hard when you show us what we've missed...
Until the Next Time...
Best New & Emerging Music: Week 12 & 13 // Week 10 & 11 // Week 8 & 9 // Week 6 & 7 // Week 4 & 5 // Week 3 // Week 2 // Week 1 // 2011