At just 19, Alex O’Connor aka Rex Orange County, has every record label chasing him, had a gig in Frank Ocean’s touring band last summer, performed onstage with Skepta during the Mercury Awards and is now being announced as BBC’s Sound of 2018. With two albums out already, playing with a genre-mix of jazz, lo-fi and indie-pop, Rex has placed himself as creatively brilliant through his surfy melodies which play on romance, young love and teenage emotions. Reminding us a little bit of Frank Ocean as well as Mac Demarco, outlets have described him as the vibrant and vulnerable songwriter our generation needs, I now see why.
Situated on the harbor front of Hong Kong’s island, facing the tall skyscrapers that touch the clouds and light up the night, Clockenflap Festival opens its gates for its 10th year anniversary with great acts promised for the upcoming 3 days. Featuring the likes of Stormzy, Kaiser Chiefs, Jungle and many more rising bands, its vast selection of genres with many UK artists making it all the way here meant a good time to be had. Surrounded by water, buildings, various stages, it’s no surprise the locals love what is one of Hong Kong’s favorite music getaway.
The English singer/songwriter Jake Bugg from Nottingham returns with his 4th studio album, blowing up at just the age of 17 with his self-titled album which earned him a lot of praise and rewards, especially with tunes like “Two Fingers” as well as “Lightning Bolt”. Since then, we’ve seen Bugg mature as he continues to discover his sound, which to some has been a delight and to others a disappointment. Nevertheless, at just 23, he’s opened for acts like Lana Del Ray, Example, Michael Kiwanuka as well as earning a contract with label Mercury.
Following many live performances as headlining act across the world, Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters are back with their ninth album ‘Concrete & Gold’. Whilst their last two records ‘Sonic Highways’ and ‘Saint Cecilia EP’ were more conceptual, the 2014 one inspired by legendary US cities the band would visit, this album shows different sides to Foo Fighters that pull you in, all whilst straying true to their sound.
They’re back! The Brooklyn, US band fronted by the brilliant James Murphy, who re-grouped in beginning 2016 finally gift us with their 4th studio album, a long awaited 7 year since ‘This Is Happening’. Headlining Coachella, Lollapalooza and more festivals along the way last year, we’ve had to wait a bit longer than what was planned for ‘American Dream’ which was originally set for 2016, however the band as well as Murphy continuously kept fans updated and took time from their tour to finish it off.
For the last few months, Archy Marshall, aka King Krule, has been reappearing at festivals such as Primavera Sound in Barcelona and FYF Festival in Los Angeles, his name in the line-up at Paredes de Coura has been sparking excitement for new King Krule material. His last album was under his name with “A New Place 2 Drown” in 2015, before teaming up again with Mount Kimbie with the song “Blue Train Lines” this July but this time, under the name King Krule.
As most people have heard by now, the music streaming company Soundcloud is reaching a critically low point in its 9 years of existence, following reports this summer that it faced bankruptcy with potential to shut down and having laid off 40% of its staff, closing offices in London and San Francisco. Problems such as a lack of monetization, costly record labels and misplaced business decisions come into hand when analyzing their downfall, maybe a sign of need to change the way we listen to music and the lessons we can learn from this.
Jack Steadman, Bombay Bicycle Club’s front man has taken flight under the name Mr Jukes, releasing his debut album ‘God First’ under the label Island Records. Inspired for his love of jazz, funk and soul, he took on the role of composing, producing as well as playing on this album, including a lot of sampling records from all backgrounds. His discovery for musical tastes go from Japan to North London, never stopping short of surprising listeners with what he can do in one track.
Selfridges, a flagship department store in the heart of London has begun a campaign for the next couple months called ‘Music Matters’, hosting events and collaborations with different musical talents across its stores. Having built an Ultralounge, a modern stage/area for live acts to perform, a donation will be made by Selfridges to the Music Venue Trust for every ticket purchased from events and performances they will host. To kick off this campaign, a panel hosted by singer, song-writer and BBC Radio 6 broadcaster Cerys Matthews was held at the Ultralounge to discuss the concern of the closure of music venues across the UK as well as its impact on the music industry.
Started as a solo project when he was 16 in his bedroom, London-based Will Dorey, bass player for Palace and co-founder of the reggae record label Horus Records, is continuing to flourish as well as nourish his incredible music. Having released 3 albums, his latest one ‘Life & Love’ in May, the confidence, warmth, laid-back and freshness of his material considering he plays most instruments, produces as well as records this in his own studio is marvellous and dreamy to say the least.