We asked Jamie Otsa from Liverpool-based Wall of Sound PR to let us in on the music he’s listening to most right now. The result? A shed-load of new artists across hip hop, punk, pop, folk and electronica, referencing everything from historic slavery to Donald Trump …
Dream Wife: FUU
My current highlights include Dream Wife: one of the most exciting punk bands I’ve stumbled across in a while at Wall of Sound. Taking influence from the likes of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Grimes, Anna Calvi, Le Tigre and more, this is angry, exuberant stuff from a raucous bunch of ladies with absolutely zero fucks to be given all round. Bad bitches indeed.
The Menzingers: Lookers
With echoes of The Boss and a healthy dose of Philadelphia punk, the new record from The Menzingers is one of their best. Whether it’s a beer-swilling, basement-crowd-inciting anthem, or an introspective whisky-stained sway-along, this lot know their onions and by God, do they like ‘em blue collar, wistful and rose-tinted.
Allred & Broderick: The Ways
One of the most impressive and touching a capella performances in recent memory, this sprawling and ambitious composition features multi-instrumentalist and composer Peter Broderick and his musical partner David Allred. A rumination on the current state of the world, it’s stark and compelling in its simplicity.
Johnny Flynn: Raising The Dead
Originally part of the alt-folk movement that swept the likes of Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling to the dizzying heights they now occupy, Johnny Flynn always had something a little more authentic to offer. New song Raising The Dead is no different, channelling the protest songs of the ‘60s in the wake of the birth of his new baby. Beautiful stuff.
Changing Faces: In The Woods
Fresh on the electronic music circuit, this Slovakian drum and bass producer is alarmingly young to be churning out liquid D&B as slick as this. Already putting many of her peers to shame, it’ll be exciting to see where things can go on future releases – if this is anything to go by, the future’s bright.
If their very moniker literally means “deserts” in the Tamasheq language spoken by the Tuareg people of Timbuktu, their music is anything but as arid as their namesake. On their latest record, Elwan, this band of recently-outlawed musicians sound as immediate as ever, bursting with ideas and musical themes that throw influences from blues, folk, rock and North African Tishoumaren (aka “desert blues”) into an irresistible melting pot.
Rhiannon Giddens: At The Purchaser’s Option
This alluring mix of trad-folk, bluegrass and blues is perfectly offset by Giddens’ ethereal and wispy vocal that wraps itself around the track like silk. A powerful and humbling piece of writing based on an advertisement from the 1830s for a young black woman for sale, Giddens says of the new song: “Thinking about her, and how she had to maintain her humanity against horrific odds inspired this song named for the end of the ad: ‘She has with her a 9-month old baby, who is at the purchaser’s option.’”
Sampha: (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano
This absolutely stunning track from Sampha could easily smash its way straight into the Great American Songbook, as instantaneously memorable as it is. Unique and beguiling, it’s up there with anything Elton has ever written. The South London songwriter has collaborated with Kanye West, Solange and more, and is now more than deserving of his own spotlight.
Loyle Carner: The Isle of Arran
One of UK hip-hop’s brightest young lights, Carner is blowing up this year with the release of his debut album. A soulful and beautifully honest set of missives on being a young carer, broken homes, poverty and race issues, his is an important new voice on the scene.
Forward-thinking Iranian-Dutch pop artist Sevdaliza recently released this new track written in response to Donald Trump’s recent ban on citizens from seven different Muslim-majority countries entering the United States. Among those countries is Iran, where she was born. Haunting and dark, the choice to sing in Farsi sends a deliberate, formidable message.
Wall of Sound PR is an independent Liverpool-based press agency specialising in alternative music, working with Kerrang!, Rock Sound, Louder Than War, Vive Le Rock, Artrocker, Upset, DIY, NME, PROG, Classic Rock, Q, Clash Magazine, Metal Hammer and many more
Image: Dream Wife, courtesy the artists