- London Grammar, If you Wait
The vocals of Hannah Reid are possibly the best of any British artist out there. Cast on a backdrop of minimalist, sparsely spread pop that triggers vague memories of bands like the X.X, make no mistake, London Grammar are the next big band . ‘Wasting my young years’ is the cream of the crop, easily the best song i’ve heard this year
- Disclosure , Settle
Myspace starlights, Disclosure are two brothers from Surrey who’ve gone all the way to the top and beyond with their debut album. Theirs is a pop-esque, synth-rich universe that evokes dense euphoric landscapes that’ll be the soundtrack of some of the best times of your life if you let them. Epic showings at Roskilde and Vega this year are a testament to this.
- Cut Copy, Free your mind
Australian band Cut Copy are the cool kids of disco these days, fusing a wonderfully vintage disco inclination with nomadic vocals and a lingering synth-kick that runs riot in ones mind. Their previous albums were equally overwhelming, albeit less libertine than ‘Free your mind,’ whose title speaks for itself.
- Agnes Obel, Aventine
Denmark is the land of Kim Larsen, Aqua and Agnes Obel. Of the aforementioned, Obel is by far the most skilled singer and the most emblematic of the three. Dark, minimalist and meandering, ‘Aventine’ features the characteristic compelling piano arrangements alongside petal soft vocals that have come to define Obel’s sound.
- Janelle Monae, The electric lady
Janelle Monae is sheer class and her second album is everything her last one was not. Spontaneous, elegant and diverse, Monae’s sound follows a typical r & b vocal trajectory spread over a varied, gentle backdrop of beats that give her the space to sing loud and clear. Collaborations with Prince and Erykah Badu strengthen the mould of a solid album.
BEST OF THE REST
- The Lumineers, The Lumineers
- Rhye, Woman
- Black Milk, No poison, no paradise
- Jon Hopkins, Immunity
- Daft Punk, Random access memories
Aussies bring back the glory days of acid house
December 13 at Lille Vega
Free Your Mind. The album title of Australian indie electronic band Cut Copy is as self-explanatory as they come – a casual maxim that holds true through all aspects of their addictive synth-filled, strobe-stroked beat landscape. One of four fantastic, varied albums by the Aussies, Free Your Mind is the coming of age of a band that’s up there amongst the very best in electronic music at the moment, a point that their sold-out show at Lille Vega on Friday did its best to hammer home.
Cut Copy stepped on stage before a crowd more curious than anything else and set the ball rolling with new material off the aforementioned album. The album’s recent release date means it’s not that well known so it took some time for people to warm to the proceedings. Several songs in and material off other Cut Copy albums soon followed suit, creating a sense of familiarity that the crowd responded to with warm enthusiasm.
Not so pleasing however was the crisp, almost plastic quality of some of the sound at times, as the vocals failed to hit the emotional high points that they so often do on their albums. Poor transitions between songs also did their bit to dent the evening’s promise though ultimately there wasn’t much that could dampen the rush of blood to the head from the high points of the show, which came and went with the ferocity of waves on a sandy seashore.
Things peaked midway through and once again towards the end, as the Madchester sound of the late eighties that demarcates Cut Copy’s sound, as some of the most ardent purveyors of the bygone days of Acid house music hit home. Epic strobe-light sessions and crowd surfing at the front of the action accompanied the thundering reverberations on stage, rekindling memories of the days when bands like New Order and Happy Mondays run riot on the airwaves, demarcating what music critics of the day charted as the second summer of love (after Woodstock decades before).
After minds were freed and feet were swayed, Cut Copy exited the smokey stage to raucous applause from an audience who’d been taken back in music history in a show that underlined the credentials of one of the most creative bands around.