The 10 most popular posts of the year.

Everyone else is doing it so why not I. This end of year round up is one based purely on statistical factors, i.e. the most reader hits on the post, the idea of my personal preference is a moot point as I tend to only write about music that I really like so if you made the site it means I already like your work. Think of me less as a critic but more a champion of new, underground and slightly off the radar music. As the by-line says, “rescuing musical virtue in distress.”

 

10. Guard Down – Salute the Sun

10846314_358156134309199_3971624639670358907_n“Overall, the five tracks on offer are put together in an almost mini-concept sort of way, building, for me at any rate, a sense of being at a club gig over a whole night, starting with funky upbeat energy, through intense atmospherics, and on into end-of-night chill out. I like an album that sounds like it’s been put together with some sort of narrative. It’s old-school, like recordings used to be before the age of the “shuffle” button.”

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9. Broken Hip – Echo Boom Generation

10959674_405221096319140_3170334261304849129_n“Big riffs, solid grooves and break-neck deliveries abound and yes, you can hear some of the classic moves in there but think of this as the logical conclusion of an evolutionary line that started with the likes of Led Zeppelin and ends somewhere near Royal Blood. But the bottom line is that this video has just about everything that todays rock scene needs. Anyone who doesn’t fall in love with this band immediately will just cause my opinion of todays rock fan to fall even further.”

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8. After All The Wishing – Jim Johnston

10671375_793096057412980_7221351230385609334_n-1“If Voyage… was the sound of blues and psychedelia meeting in a cold, clinical embrace in a disused dockside somewhere along the Severn Estuary, this is the sound of David Bowie scoring the bleak worlds of Bret Easton Ellis’ novels and Damien Moran’s hypnotic narrative that threads it’s way between, around and through the songs immediately puts you in mind of Diamond Dogs spoken opening salvo.”

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7. Mystery Glue – Graham Parker and The Rumour

mystery_glue-33249667-frntl“Reminiscent of the more casual moments of their earlier career and imbued with a more Dylan-esque vibe in places, the original line up shows that they still have what it takes and if at times you can hear a chilled out Springsteen, a balladeering Elvis Costello and any number of punk and post punk templates, it is because Graham and the boys were often the source material, the unwitting patrons to a generation of musicians that would go on to redefine music.”

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6. Change, Nothing To Lose – L.A. Davis

12408869-la-davis-change-nothing-to-lose“Shards of electronica pierce a shimmering guitar line as shuffling drums drive the dynamic. But it is Davis voice than makes this stand apart from other pop prodigy’s. His soulful and gravely tones come as a welcome change (pun intended) from the chirping pop crooners that we currently are being presented with.”

Read/Watch Here

5. Prospero – Alasca

18269_10155236619385300_333489058529746417_n“But even within this late 60’s tinged underground melting pot of lush west coast country rock and poignant Newport folk festival vibes, other musical flavours keep you guessing, the mariachi trumpets of In Media Res that kick the album off, seedy and archaic, bar-room piano, the anthemic spaghetti western twang that is The Prophet, bluesy introspection and lyrics that could go toe to toe with Cohen or Waits in their subject matters and messages, name-checking Rimbauld and Shakespeare along the way.”

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4. Baby 126 – Ruby Confue

11118053_920625011322019_934685032983518008_n“Baby 126 sounds like distilled essence of summer, joyous dance grooves and brazen brass blend with street soul choruses and blasts of Shakespeare re-imagined as a hip-hop act to produce a brilliant and totally infectious feel good, future classic.”

 

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3. Fearless – Kat Perkins

20140923__140926wl-ross_kat_300“If Fearless is the song that has real mainstream potential, existing as it does in a place cool enough for the serious rock fraternity and accessible enough for the chart aficionados, it is the inclusion of a cover of Hearts early classic, Barracuda, that really speaks volumes. Anyone who can not only capture that early Ann Wilson vocal but at the same time make the song their own is someone that you have to take notice of.”

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2. Blind Faith – Black

blindfaith“Prophets may be without honour in their own land, profits may also be similarly elusive, but I think that anything that compromises the outstandingly gorgeous music that Colin Vearncombe makes under the name Black, is something the world can do without.”

 

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1. 10 Gig Etiquette Failures

Members of the audience take pictures on their mobile phones during a set by British singer-songwriter James Blunt who is performing a concert in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday June 27, 2011. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Although I only posted this article yesterday, it has proven so popular that it has gone to the number one spot overnight, I guess it must contain things that everyone can recognize from going to gigs, both amongst the audience around them and if we are honest, probably ourselves.

 

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The Top Three – The most read articles on Dancing About Architecture for March ‘15

Gold Medal Position: The Primitives E.P. – Art Nickels

1441514_1019462014746241_7446409939196448411_nAs they skitter across psychedelic, ambient and krautrock genres they weave a sound tapestry of fuzzy discordance, washy electronica and hazy vibes that seem to be tumble in and out of each other rather that be set to a pre-ordained pattern.

Full review here

 

Silver Medal Position: Start at The Finish – The Sums

10806237_10154758298730526_1475424889455222043_nThe Sums stay very much on the expectant guitar driven path but it is a path that meanders wonderfully, taking in psychedelic vibes, indie-folk approaches, a skewed Brit-pop slant and an accessible underground pop vibe. For all their connections with Gallagher senior, this is no Brit-pop pastiche, in fact as it snakes through strange new musical landscapes it is difficult to say exactly where it fits in.

Full Review Here

Bronze Medal Position: Everything Changed – L.A. Davis

cover170x170At a time when popular music seems to be created in a calculated and mathematical way by teams of writers and producers working to tried and tested formulas, the songs on this album spark with a vibrancy that such musical engineering seems to lack. Just listen to the old school disco funk drives of 365, the sultry late night grooves of Behind Closed Doors or the sheer infectiousness of 10 Rounds With Tyson and try not to dance, go on I dare you.

Full Review Here

Everything Changed – L. A. Davis (Spectra Music Group) reviewed by Dave Franklin

cover170x170If Changes (Nothing to Lose) acted as a teaser for this release, it only hinted at what musical treats were going to be served up with the elbowroom that a full-blown album affords. And although Everything Changed stays within the template described by that first release, meandering between contemporary dance floor commerciality and the ingrained soulfulness of a more honest time, it does nothing less than owns the genres it splices together. Between the infectious funk of Blood Out of A Stone, the dynamism yet reflective soulfulness of Behind Closed Doors and Time Wasters, a song that is so of the now it almost sounds futuristic, the album becomes a vital lesson in making a dance record.

 

At a time when popular music seems to be created in a calculated and mathematical way by teams of writers and producers working to tried and tested formulas, the songs on this album spark with a vibrancy that such musical engineering seems to lack. Just listen to the old school disco funk drives of 365, the sultry late night grooves of Behind Closed Doors or the sheer infectiousness of 10 Rounds With Tyson and try not to dance, go on I dare you.

 

Not only does this album celebrate the history of dance music, infusing the timeless sounds of Motown, funk and soul with the slick and sassy strut of the digital age, wonderful textures and layered harmonies with more minimalist approaches it also never over plays its hand and always offers something fresh with each song. The sign of how great an album Davis has created here is borne out by the fact that it already sounds like a greatest hits album, each track having the hall mark of a classic single release and if you can do that with your debut album, imagine what lays in store for the future.

The Top Three – The most read articles on Dancing About Architecture for January ‘15

Gold Medal Position: Change – Nothing To Lose – L.A. Davis (London, UK)

12408869-la-davis-change-nothing-to-loseBut it is Davis voice than makes this stand apart from other pop prodigy’s. His soulful and gravely tones come as a welcome change (pun intended) from the chirping pop crooners that we currently are being presented with. Add to that a dual vocal that is grounded in the classical world and you have not only all the elements required of a current chart single but also enough innate quirkiness to appeal to the underground dance world as well. Effortlessly cool and brilliantly positioned just far enough off the beat to lead a whole new dance.

Read the full review here

Silver Medal Position: It’s Not What You Need, It’s What You’ve Got. (So Shut It!) – Oui Legionnaires (Cheltenham, UK)

oui-legionnaires-its-not-what-you-need-coverForget all those awful bands who line up behind the title pop-punk, a genre that seems to promise so much but deliver so little, it is in bands like Oui Legionnaires that the beauty and infectiousness of pop meets head on with the garage band attitude of punk. A soundclash that is the equivalent to gargling a cocktail of honey and steel bolts or of using a shotgun to try to create topiary, a mix of the sublime and the ridiculous with unexpectedly great results.

Read the full review here

 

Bronze Medal Position: Night Visions – White Lilac (Swindon, UK)

16761_431631416987699_3056823681859735426_nChiming electric guitars replace the acoustic strum of before and her voice suddenly seems framed by exactly the right musical surroundings. Cymbals wash in the distance and as a brooding cello helps build the atmospherics you find that where her music was filled with fading summer light and a warm breeze, now there is a moonlit ethereality, a gothic beauty and a spine-tingling expectation. Then the secret weapon is brought into play and a sonorous and sensual saxophone drifts by before the band rock out to a glistening crescendo.

Read the full review here

Change – Nothing To Lose – L. A. Davis (Spectra Music Group) reviewed by Dave Franklin

12408869-la-davis-change-nothing-to-loseSo, here we are, first review of the year and so lets start with something both outside our normal brief but also lyrically poignant as the kick off point for a new year of writing about new music. L.A. Davis is a London based soul-pop singer who has used his music as a biography of the events that have shaped his life. Having sung with Mark Ronson’s band and shared the stage with the likes of John Legend is an indication as to where Davis’ fits in the scheme of things as he combines the smooth soulfulness of the latter with the more pop edged, experimentation of the former.

His new single, Change – Nothing To Lose, walks a perfectly crafted line between edgy alt-pop and mainstream commercial acceptance. Shards of electronica pierce a shimmering guitar line as shuffling drums drive the dynamic. But it is Davis voice than makes this stand apart from other pop prodigy’s. His soulful and gravely tones come as a welcome change (pun intended) from the chirping pop crooners that we currently are being presented with. Add to that a dual vocal that is grounded in the classical world and you have not only all the elements required of a current chart single but also enough innate quirkiness to appeal to the underground dance world as well. Effortlessly cool and brilliantly positioned just far enough off the beat to lead a whole new dance.

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