Listening Post #2

by Emily Pratten

As the first week of term draws to a close, there are probably mixed feelings amongst us all. Freshers Week may have severely injured some of you. The first week of lectures and seminars might have struck fear in the hearts of others. Despite such difficulties, we have managed to get through it. Well done, team. As usual, the world continues and goes on outside of our lovely little city, and it’s been on form recently with the sheer quality of the new music it’s producing. Here are the top picks from the last two weeks; may they alleviate hangovers, get you through that hefty PDF file you need to read for that painstaking 9am, and have you feeling content and ready for Autumn. The rain is holding off so far. Long may it continue.

1. Seinabo Say - Pistols At Dawn

This is probably the most epic track we’ve had on the Listening Post so far. This isn’t too bold a claim considering this is only the second, but humour me. It sounds like the soundtrack for the latest Tarantino film, the title track that plays over the credits while we sit and watch a lot of Japanese cartoons. It sounds like the music that could play over a montage of deep red fiery sunsets as the camera pans over the Savannah. It’s slow and powerful, it vibrates and echoes and rumbles, it’s punctuated with gunshots. It’s a soulful and intriguing pop song from the Swedish songstress, a very, very strong follow up to the very successful single Younger, the Kygo remix of which was hugely successful. It ends on one of the gunshots and then echoes into the silence, leaving you with one feeling and one feeling alone: let’s listen to that again.

2. Elliphant ft. Mø - One More

You may have already heard of Mø, another Scandinavian artist whose debut album, No Mythologies To Follow, released earlier this year, is a hot contender for Album Of The Year. She adds an excellent layer of vocals to this vibey synth track from Elliphant, another Swedish artist, which starts off with a very basic beat and the plea from the artist: “I really don’t wanna go home”. Over this simple beat comes the line “I got money”; it’s so horrendously catchy that I’ve been singing it all week. Which is a bad thing, because it means I’ve been walking around lying. It’s an eclectic and alluring song, perfect for before, during, and after a night out.

3. Sir Sly - You Haunt Me

Sir Sly are an electro-indie trio from LA, who have been building up a fanbase slowly but surely, and their debut album, You Haunt Me, is a masterpiece of quirky basslines, interesting guitars, synth elements, and hip-hop style drum beats. It’s obvious that the band have drawn from a plethora of influences. The album is incredible, and it’s namesake track, You Haunt Me, has made the Listening Post as one of the most accessible tracks, as well as a good introduction to the band were you not already familiar with them.

4. Indiana ft. Rhodes - Waves

I don’t know if I’m allowed to have covers on the Listening Post but I’ve decided that, even if it’s not, this week we are going to make an exception. When I heard that this cover had occurred on Radio 1 just a few days ago I squealed a little. Everyone’s heard the summer hit that was Waves by Mr Probz, or most likely the Robin Schulz remix of it, an upbeat pop anthem that repeated “Wave after wave, wave after wave” - it had all the components to be a contender for anthem of the summer.

Rhodes is one of my artists of the year without a doubt. Songs such as Your Soul and Raise Your Love are examples of some of the best songwriting his genre has seen in a long while. He teams up here with Indiana, whose album is also very new and very good, to provide one of the best covers I think the live lounge has ever seen. They take the tempo right out of this one, slow it right down, slowly move it onwards with intricate guitar work from Rhodes and the interesting but beautiful vocal from Indiana. Ironically, it now actually sounds like waves. When slowed down, the song is far more emotional than we could have expected. They really have done a wonderful job. Listen to this song, listen to Rhodes, listen to Indiana. It’s perfect music for the Autumn showers Exeter is soon going to experience.

5. Ben Howard - End of the Affair

Anyone that knows me personally could probably have put money on me putting a Ben Howard track on this listening post. On Xfm a few nights ago, Ben and a band of very talented musicians played a live stream of the entire new album, which is hotly anticipated by many. I will happily get into a very heated debate with anyone who says this man is underrated, or those who compare him to Ed Sheeran. It’s intricate and elegant and moody and the layers make his sound altogether far more textured and have so much more depth than his contemporaries, not including the poetic and powerful lyrical and vocal performances he provides. This song has had radio play, and is a good example of what the second album holds in store. It teases and builds effortlessly, it’s emotional and intense. Unlike upbeat Old Pine or Keep Your Head Up from his debut, Every Kingdom, this album is a lot more serious. Ben has actually expressed concerns about how it will be received when played live due to how serious and moody he has made this album.

This song is honest and emotional and raw. Mr Howard has not withheld any punches with this one, or with the album as a whole. This song is a feat, an 8 minute long journey that changes tempo and mood in a few places, keeping you on your toes and, if you’re anything like me, very emotionally invested. By the end he is almost shouting “What the hell?” into the void - I almost feel bad listening to it because it feels as though we’re witnessing a wholly personal and painful moment. It then drops back into an upbeat and dark instrumental before crashing out. It’s an experience.