Lovebox ’17 – Friday Picks

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, Lovebox Festival returns to East London’s Victoria Park tomorrow (14-15th July) with an eclectic line-up spanning across the two days. Friday’s headline act is the one and only Frank Ocean, performing one of his only two UK festivals this year. With the success of his debut album Channel Orange, followed by 2016’s Blonde featuring collaborations from the likes of Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean has wildly become one the most celebrated and critically acclaimed acts of this decade. With a whole host of amazing acts set to kick off Day 1 of Lovebox, celebrating the best of British and international musical talent, here are some of my top picks for Friday:

1) Jamie XX (Main Stage: 7.25pm – 8.40pm)

Jamie xx has the task this year of playing right before main stage headliner, Frank Ocean. However, when you have tracks such as ‘I Know There’s Gonna Be Good Times’, it pretty much speaks for itself. With the massive success of his 2015 debut album In Colour giving us transcendent singles such as ‘Loud Places’, ‘See Saw’ and ‘Gosh’, Jamie xx consistently delivers a wide range of textures & styles, firmly positioning himself as a unique & imaginative contributor to the British dance scene. Jamie xx pushes boundaries and offers up a new realm of possibility from that of his main project, The xx. Whatever you do, make sure you reserve your spot for Jamie’s main stage set.

2) Solange (Noisey Stage: 8pm – 9pm)

Over the past few years, Solange couldn’t be mentioned in an article without being referred to as as ‘Beyonce’s Sister’. However, after years of hard work proving herself as an established, forward-thinking and grammy-winning artist, Solange can finally lose the ‘Beyonce’ tag. Her most recent album,  A Seat at the Table, confidently dealt with the complexities of black womanhood. With stunning singles such as ‘Cranes in the Sky’, ‘Mad’ ft Lil Wayne and ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’ ft Sampha, Solange has made a fearless stance with her empowering body of work.  Having recently performed on Glastonbury’s West Holt Stage to rave reviews (one of the few performances that wasn’t allowed to be filmed for the BBC coverage) make sure you don’t miss her Lovebox set.

3) Rex Orange County (Noisey Stage: 2.20pm – 2.50pm)

Rex Orange County (aka Alex O’Conner) first came to my attention last year with his single ‘UNO’, serving up a refreshing slice of charming lo-fi mixed with witty conversational style vocals. When your talents have been recognised by Tyler the Creator, you know you’re onto something pretty special and unique. With the release of his self-produced debut album  ‘bcos u will never b free’, featuring on Tyler’s recent track ‘Boredom’, to his most recent debut album proper, Apricot Princess, ROC’s material offers up a personable outlook on life, effortlessly blending various styles from pop and indie to jazz and hip-hop. Showcasing  a talent far beyond his years, O’Conner’s melodic hooks are infectious and unassuming as heard in tracks such as ‘Best Friend’, ‘Sunflower’ and ‘Sycamore Girls’.

4) Sälen (Main Stage: 2.45pm- 3.15pm)

Self described as ‘Straight-talking, slightly to the left pop music’’, Sälen is made up of Ellie Kamio, Paul Taylor Wade and Simon Milner. The London trio, whose name is inspired by a small Swedish village with 652 inhabitants, serve up some effortlessly cool vibes with a unique edge. From their infectious synth-pop vibes of ‘Diseasey’ and ‘Heartbreak Diet’ to the saccharine-induced tones of ‘So Rude’ and ‘Copper Kiss’, Sälen’s eclectic influences set them apart from their contemporaries serving up a delectable form of ‘explicit pop’. With their glossy productions, breezy melodies and sweet sugary vocals akin to the likes of AlunaGeorge, this is one act that certainly won’t disappoint.

5) Ray BLK (Noisey Stage:4.00pm – 4.30pm)

23-year-old Ray BLK kicked off the year as BBC’s Sound of 2017 winner and has since gone from strength to strength with her straight-talking, down to earth attitude.  With the success of previous tracks ‘My Hood’, ‘Chill Out, ‘2am’ and her most recent offering ‘Doing Me’, Ray perfectly balances her free style vocals and soulful R&B melodies, delivering a refreshing slice of UK R&B. Having recently featured on Gorillaz’s latest album Humanz alongside Zebra Katz and Rag‘n’Bone Man, as well as previous collaborations with Stormzy and Wretch 32,  Ray is currently working on her debut album, which will no doubt represent her core values from her stage name, BLK (Building, Living Knowing)

6) Joe Goddard  (Corona Sunsets Stage: 4.00pm – 5.30pm)

As one half of house-duo 2 Bears, member of electro band Hot Chip and co founder of the Greco-Roman imprint, Producer/DJ Joe Goddard has released over a decade worth of albums and remixes – even earning him a Grammy nomination for his edit of the Chemical Brothers’ ‘Wide Open’. While his many side projects keep him busy, Goddard finally unveiled his highly anticipated first official solo album, Electric Lines. The album skilfully pays homage to the history of dance music and retro electro. His infectious form of house, disco, techno, creativity and left-wing pop music, has given us gems such as ‘Gabriel’, ‘Taking Over’ and more recently ‘Home‘ and ‘Truth Is The Answer’.

With so many incredible acts kicking of Day 1 of Lovebox, it’s impossible to narrow down my top picks. Notable mentions have to go to Sampha, Eats Everything, Bicep, Seth Troxler, Kaytranada & DJ Jazzy Jeff – all of which I’ll definitely be checking out throughout the day. So to get you in the mood for some sun and music this weekend, check out my Lovebox Playlist below. Check back soon for Saturday’s picks!

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June Selections

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What a month June has been for music. We had the wonderful return of Jessie Ware with her new single ‘Tough Love‘, not to mention new music from Duke Dumont, Jamie xx, Porter Robinson and the reworking of Yogi’s ‘Christian Bale’. Festival season got well under way with Parklife and Isle of Wight but it was Glastonbury Festival that took center stage this month, with headliners Arcade Fire, Metallica and Kasabian thrilling audiences, not to mention fan favourite Dolly Parton. It’s safe to say Glastonbury Festival went down a ‘storm’ … excuse the pun. Yes even the weather took center stage which interrupted Rudimental’s set and briefly closed the Pyramid stage. What would a festival be without a bit of rain, mud and an electrical storm? Roll on next year! Catch up on the highlights here.

The official charts saw a bit of a shake up with streaming sites such as Spotify, Deezer and Napster to count towards Official Chart rankings for the first time. The home of the Official Chart, yes Radio 1, has also seen a bit of a shake up. Longtime broadcaster Edith Boman,  Rob Da Bank, Jen Long and Ally McCrae are among some of the presenters axed from the schedule (Sad times!). This has paved the way for exciting new changes, such as an evening new music show with Huw Stevens, B Traits joining the Friday night dance lineup, while Annie Mac and Pete Tong’s shows have been increased by an hour. #Raving. Read the rest of the changes here.  The BBC also announced details of their new BBC Music Awards, set to take place in Earls Court Dec 11th and hosted by Chris Evans and Fearne Cotton.

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Itunes UK celebrated their 10th anniversary this month. To mark the occasion, they released the all time best selling albums and singles, which included Adele’s ’21’, Ed Sheeran and Emeli Sande, while Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ topped the best selling single. When Zane Lowe isn’t conducting incredible interviews on Radio 1, such as the recent Rick Rubin feature interview, he’s announcing an exciting new music show on MTV called ‘Soundchain’, which is set to feature artists from Ed Sheeran, Queens Of The Stoneage, Chase and Status and Kasbian. Speaking of which, Kasabian announced their UK and Ireland tour starting this Autumn. If that wasn’t enough, there’s plenty of new music releases lined up such as new music from Rudimental tipped by end of the year, Florence and the Machines third album, new Snow Patrol in 2015, a debut album from Hozier in September and even more Haim greatness in the pipeline. Oh and incase you’re not aware, June 10th has officially being named ‘Drake Day’ by the Mayor of Houston ….put it in the diary!

July surely has to be dubbed ‘Festival Month’ with a whole host of Festivals lined up including, Wireless, Festibelly, British Summer Time Festival, Latitude, Longitude, LoveBox, Eminem at Wembley, T In The Park and even G In the Park. Last but not least, don’t forget the continuation of Annie Mac’s Superstar Djs on Channel 4.

Ok, now on with the music. Check out my selections below:

1) Calvin Harris – Summer (Diplo & Grandtheft remix)

What better way to kick off June favourites than with the aptly titled track ‘Summer‘ from Calvin Harris with Diplo and Grandtheft  on the remix. This is the second collaboration from the duo having previously remixed Calvin’s ‘Sweet Nothing‘ ft Florence. While retaining Calvin’s original idea, the two drops allow the heavyweights trademarks to shine from their tantalising trap vibes, grime-heavy bass lines, defined percussive beats and some intermittent bed squeaks … always keeping it interesting. Be sure to catch Diplo pretty much touring everywhere this summer, while Grandtheft is currently on his ‘Keep it 100’ tour. The ‘Summer‘ remixes are available here.

 

2) Jack Garratt – Worry

London singer songwriter Jack Garratt unveiled his new single ‘Worry‘, taken from his debut EP ‘Remnants‘. The single serves as the follow up to ‘Water’, where Garret delivers moments of pure chilled out R&B before hitting us with some heavy synth drops and a fuzzy infectious hook. Garratt’s soulful vocals has great range highlighting his impressive falsetto ability. Currently in the middle if his UK tour, upcoming dates for Garratt include Secret Garden Party and In The Woods. ‘Remnants‘ is due July 14th and is available now.

 

3) HRLY & Bosey – Take Me

Brighton based producer/ DJ’s HRLY & Bosey have collaborated on an exciting new trap banger. ‘Take Me‘ serves up some infectious trap stylings and an incredible drop that takes the track to the next level with its trap infused horns, bass heavy beats and echoed/distorted vocals. ‘Take Me’ is packed with plenty of edge and attitude and marks an impressive effort from the duo.

 

4) Keaton Henson – Elevator Song

When London singer/songwriter Keaton Henson unveiled his debut album four years ago, he presented a personal and stunning selection of folk ballads. Despite Heatons crippling anxiety with performing, Henson has since unveiled his new body of work, which presents a vast change of direction for him; a classical piece titled ‘Romantic works’. Recorded in his bedroom, ‘Elevator Song’ opens the collection of work. The purely instrumental track takes us away for 3 minutes to a place of pure tranquility with simple piano and strings. If only all elevator rides were as blissful as as this. ‘Elevator Song’ is available now from his ‘Romantic Works‘ album.

 

5) Isaiah Dreads – You See Me (Prod. Preditah) Make way for some serious rising talent in the form of 16 year old Grime artist Isaiah Dreads.  His new single ‘You See Me‘ sees Dreads going in on the Preditah produced banger. Dreads delivers some serious skills and spitting over the impeccably produced beats from Preditah. You might remember Preditah from some of his incredible remixes from Danny Brown’s ‘Dip‘ to Disclosure’s ‘Stimulation‘, and now he’s done it again with the infectious trap-hop hooks dominating ‘You See Me‘. Dreads and Preditah prove to be an exciting collaboration. ‘You See Me’ is set for release July 21st and is available to pre order now.

 

6) Crystal Fighters – Love Alight

Time for some sun-drenched music from electro pop quartet Crystal Fighters.  ‘Love Alight‘ is the first new material to surface since their 2013’s ‘Cave Rave‘ album and what better way than with this uptempo track, filled with soaring melodies, flamenco style guitars, euphoric vocals and hypnotic beats. No surprise it featured as Zane Lowe’s ‘Hottest Record’, as it will no doubt be the summer soundtrack for many this summer. Upcoming dates for Crystal Fighters include Lattitude Festival and Lovebox. ‘Love Alight’ is available now.

 

7) Kwabs – Into You

Kwabs has unveiled his new single ‘Into You‘, taken from his ‘Pray for Love’ EP. The single serves as the follow up to ‘Last Stand’ and ‘Wrong Or Right’ produced by SOHN. Now Kwabs has teamed up with producer Chris Loco to deliver yet another impressive single with some infectious production from Loco. Kwabs sure knows how to pick his producers. Kwabs stunningly emotive and soulful vocals are delivered with such passion, especially the rousing hook with defined, tribal percussive beats. Upcoming dates from Kwabs include Latitude and a headline date at London’s Koko this October. ‘Pray for Love‘ EP is available now.

 

8) Redlight – Cure Me ft Lolo

Bristol based Producer Redlight (aka Hugh Pescod) has unveiled his new single ‘Cure Me‘, featuring the sultry vocals of Brooklyn singer Lolo. With deep house dominating the music scene, ‘Cure Me‘ is set to follow in the same path as Redlight’s previous singles from ‘36‘ to ‘Lost In Your Love‘ and ‘Get Out My Head‘. ‘Cure Me‘ delivers some punchy deep house vibes, signature house piano and an infectious hook you’ll be singing all day. Having recently signed to Polydor Records, the Bristol producer is currently working on his debut album due later this year. Upcoming dates for Redlight include Creamfields and Jersey Live. The ‘Cure Me’ EP is set for release August 17th via Polydor Records, featuring remixes from Actress, New York Transit Authority and DJ Die. Pre order your copy here.

 

9) Apexape & Chris Lorenzo – Got To Give

Apexape, aka Benny Kane and Dr Specs have teamed up with Chris Lorenzo of Cause and Affect, to deliver their monstrous bass heavy single ‘Got To Give‘. With its pulsating basslines, eerie synths and suspenseful descending riffs and rolling drops, ‘Got To Give‘ delivers on all fronts. The single is available now via MistaJam’s Speakerbox Records. Upcoming dates for Apexape include Ibiza and Mallorca rocks this July.

 

10) Broods – Mother and Father

New Zealand siblings Broods, aka Georgia and Caleb Nott, unveiled their new single ‘Mother and Father’, which serves as the follow up to the successful ‘Bridges’ EP. The single is taken from their forthcoming debut album ‘Evergreen‘, and delivers a soothing synth driven track. Georgia’s light, airy vocals and heartfelt lyrics are effortless and provide a nice contrast to the defined percussive beats throughout. Set to support Sam Smith on tour this autumn, further dates for Broods include Hoxton Square Bar and Longitude in Dublin. ‘Mother And Father‘ is available now, while their debut album is set for release August 22nd via Polydor.

 

11) My Nu Leng – Knowing (Break remix)

Time for some epic drum n bass from Symmetry Recordings owner Break, as he takes on My Nu Leng’s ‘Knowing‘.  The remix serves as the followup to his ‘Moving On’ EP and delivers a beast of a track with its bass heavy vibes, glitchy production and growling bass lines. Break retains My Nu Leng’s original charm, from the serene piano motif and ambient effects throughout, before ramping up the tempo to delivery a high energy drum n bass monster. Break’s ‘Knowing‘ remix is set to feature on My Nu Leng’s ‘The Masterplan Remixes EP‘, which includes remixes from Lorenzo and Zed Bias. ‘Knowing’ is available now via Black Butter Records.

 

12) Méron – Somebody Like Me

Prepare yourself for some epic progressive dance beauty. Rising producer Méron has has unveiled his latest offerings ‘Somebody Like Me‘, which serves as the follow up to ‘Along With The Stars‘. The track delivers with such force and impact, from its soaring house piano vibes, stirring strings and rousing builds throughout. A definite hands in the air track that you wish would never, ever end. Presenting a stunning vibe and drawing comparisons to Prydz, Méron is one producer to keep a close eye on. In the meantime, check out his soundcloud here. Somebody Like Me is available now via Spinnin’ Records.

 

13) Avan Lava – Last Night (Copy Paste Soul Remix)

Having recently released his ‘Like This’ EP, Copy Paste Soul has since remixed ‘Last Night‘ from Brooklyn trio Avan Lava. With his infectious whomping bass line, soulful vocals and feel good vibes infused throughout, Copy Paste Soul has already received great support from the likes of Annie Mac, Scream and Disclosure. Check out his soundcloud page here to hear ‘deep things growl and whompy things warm’. Upcoming dates for Copy Paste Soul include Lost Records at Fire London.

 

14) Grimes – Go ft Blood Diamonds

Yes, Grimes is back after almost two years and has unveiled her new single ‘Go’, ft producer Blood Diamond. Originally written for and thankfully rejected by Rihanna, ‘Go‘ paves the way for her highly anticipated return and serves up the first new material since 2012’s album ‘Visions‘, and the remarkable single ‘Oblivion’. With its moody, atmospheric vibe, and trap infused stylings, Grimes has certainly peaked our interest for what’s yet to come. Currently working on her new album, ‘Go’ is available now. Upcoming datea for Grimes can be found here.

 

15) X Ambassadors & Jamie N Commons – Jungle remix ft Jay Z

American rock band X Ambassadors and British artist Jamie N Commons, have made quite the impact with their single ‘Jungle’, which featured in the World Cup inspired ‘Beats By Dre campaign. Giving the single a reworking is n one other than Hov, yes Jay Z now features in the remix, bringing ‘Jungle‘ to a whole new level of epic proportions. The hard hitting track serves up a sense of empowerment with some ferocious skills and lyrics from Jay Z ‘If your god is bigger than my god up there, and my god is bigger than your god down here, whom shall I fear?’. The new jungle remix is available now.

 

16) Pharrell – Frontin’ ft Jay Z (Disclosure remix)

Brotherly duo Disclosure recently reworked on of their favourite songs ever. Yes Pharrell’s ‘Frontin‘ ft Jay Z has been given the Disclosure remix which sees the boys breath new life into the 2003 classic. The duo deliver an upbeat garage infused remix, with Pharrell’s infectious vocals mixed seamlessly throughout. Even better, the track was offered as a free download as a result of reaching 1 million likes on Facebook. Be sure to catch Disclosure touring everywhere this summer including Ibiza, Reading & Leeds and Bestival as well as featuring on Annie Mac’s ‘Superstar DJ’ programme on Channel 4.

 

Check out the full playlist below with over 90 minutes for your listening pleasure.

Jamie xx – All Under One Roof Raving

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Jamie xx, unveiled his new single ‘All Under One Roof Raving’, which premiered as a ‘Special Delivery’ with Annie Mac on BBC Radio 1.

Having written the song while on tour with the xx, the sample heavy track was inspired by the nostalgia of the 90′s rave scene. The record samples Mark Leckey’s 1999 documentary ‘Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore’, mixed with some steel drum samples and crowd ambience effects to perfectly conjure up the golden era of rave.

Currently working on his solo album, the single ‘All Under One Roof Raving’ is available now.