Lovebox ’17 – Saturday Picks

With Day 1 of Lovebox complete and day 2 just hours away, Chase & Status are set to headline the main stage tonight along with MC Rage, for what will no doubt be an epic live act. Known for their unique ‘UK sound’, rooted in various genres from Dub to Reggae and Garage to Grime, the production duo (Saul Milton & Will Kennard), continue to showcase their never ending versatility. Praised for their unique collaborations such as 2015’s London Bars EP (ft Novelist, Frisco, Giggs), followed by collaborations with the likes of Slaves on ‘Control’ and Blossoms with ‘This Moment’,  might we see some special guests joining them tonight? Maybe Emeli Sande for their new single ‘Love Me More’ taken from their forthcoming third album, Tribe. Either way, get ready to belt out some of their most loved anthems. With a whole host of acts set to close out Day 2 of Lovebox, here are some of my top picks for Saturday.

1) Kano (Main Stage: 6.20pm -7.20pm)

Grime MC Kano, is set to tear up the Main stage this evening after the success of his thrilling Glastonbury set, brought to the next level with the accompaniment of a live band. Having started out as an original member of Nasty crew back in 2000, Kano’s career has catapulted and 5 studio albums later, along with multiple EP’s and mixtapes, he’s still representing the fearless direction and determination of the UK Grime scene. Top that off with a string of impressive singles including ‘3 Wheel-ups’, featuring Grime heavyweights Wiley and Giggs, ‘Hail’, ‘New Banger’ and ‘Garage Skank Freestyle‘. With the release of his 2016 album Made In The Manor, produced by the likes of Fraser T Smith, Rustie and Mele, expect a set filled with raw energy, slick flows, infectious beats and some brass, strings and piano thrown in for good measure!

2) Anne-Marie (Main Stage: 2.30pm – 3.00pm)

Time for the first of my 3 A’s. (see below) Having kick-started her career touring the world with Rudimental as a backing singer, as well as contributing vocals for the likes of Magnetic Man & Gorgon City,  25-year-old singer/songwriter Anne Marie made her official solo debut in 2015 with the infectious Karate EP – an ode to her real life status as three-time world Shotokan-style karate champion.  This was later followed this up with hit singles ‘Do It Right’, ‘Alarm’, her most recent single ‘Ciao Adios‘ and lead vocalist on Clean Bandit’s Number One single ‘Rockabye’. To top things off, Anne Marie kicked off the year shortlisted for the coveted Brit Critics Choice Award, alongside Dua Lipa and overall winner Rag’n’Bone Man. Having worked with the likes of Two Inch Punch, Fraser T Smith and Rudimental, expect exciting things from this rising pop stars’ debut album, which will no doubt be filled with ballsy, dynamic vocals and infectious, synth-happy, pop gems.

3) Andy C (Noisey Stage: 7.45pm – 9.15pm)

Having headlined major festivals all over the world, there are few bigger names than that of dnb legend (and my second A pick) Andy C. As a leading figure in the world of electronic music, specifically the dnb evolution, Andy C has an impressive back catalogue to match, including infectious crossover anthems such as  ‘Heartbeat Loud’, ‘New Era’ and ‘Workout’, as well as his incredible remixes for the likes of Sigala, London Grammar and the smash hit 2012 remix of Major Lazer’s ‘Get Free’ – still sounding as epic today as it ever did. As co-founder of Ram Records and sister imprints, Program & Frequency, Andy has nurtured and developed some of the biggest dnb headline acts including Wilkinson, Sub Focus and tonight’s headliner, Chase & Status. With his own specialist drum & bass show on Beats 1, Andy C there’s no better person to deliver the freshest new music and hottest dnb classics. Don’t miss out on what will no doubt be a stellar set.

4) Annie Mac (Main Stage: 7.50pm – 8.50pm)

My final A pick (see above) has to be the Queen of dance, Annie Mac. While Annie has had the pleasure of kick-starting the weekend off for many years now, tonight she has task of performing right before tonight’s headline act, Chase & Status. With the success of he headline Glastonbury performance on the John Peel Stage, complete with a live Gospel house choir,  Annie is sure to get the entire main stage crowd #raving with her infectious selection of tunes. With the success of her recent club culture documentary ‘Who Killed The Night’, her personally curated AMP Lost & Found Festival in Malta,  and her ever popular primetime weekday evening show on Radio 1, Annie is seen as the premiere tastemaker when it comes to the latest club bangers. Throw in a live gospel house choir and expect plenty of goosebumps, lots of dancing and all around feel-good vibes.

5) Kölsch (DJ Set) (Transistor Stage: 8pm – 9.30pm)

Danish tech-house DJ and producer, Kölsch (Rune Reilly Kölsch) is set to close out the Transistor Stage tonight with his stunning form of romantic techno.  The Transistor stage resembles a giant radio, complete with explosive flaming pyrotechnics throughout – so quite the spectacle and one not to be missed. Known for this ability to produce emotion-induced music, Kölsch perfectly combines both mainstream and underground styles, all the while producing luscious, sonic soundscapes. With the success of his critically acclaimed album 1977 followed by 1983, Kölsch consistently delivers with tracks such as ‘Grey’, ‘DerDieDas’, ‘Cassiopeia’, ‘Der Alte’ and recent single ’Speicher 97’ EP – not to mention producing some excellent remixes such as Eric Prydz ‘Generate’, Monkey Safari’s ‘Cranes’ and recent remix of London Grammar’s ‘Hell To The Liars – which is 12 and half minutes of pure bliss and definite contender for best remix of the year.  Currently signed to iconic German electronic label, Kompakt and set to take up residency in Hï Ibiza this Summer, expect an epic set from the Danish Don with his melodic and intimate form of electronica.

6) Raye (Main Stage: 1.40pm – 2.10pm)

19-year-old South London singer/songwriter Rachel Keen, AKA Raye, takes to the mainstage this afternoon for the final day of Lovebox 2017. Raye stormed into the spotlight when her self released 2014 EP, Welcome To Winter, racked up millions of Soundcloud streams, securing her a coveted deal with Polydor. Since then, the dynamic pop star has released two EP’s, a string of infectious singles such as ‘The Line’, Bet You Wish’, ‘I U Us’, co-writing credits on Charlie XCX’s ‘After The Afterparty’, and some quality collaborations with the likes of Stormzy, Stefflon Don, Jonas Blue, Jax jones and Nas. All this at just 19 years of age? Having recently placed third in the BBC’s Sound of 2017 poll, Raye is consistently raising the bar for pop music today, pushing down boundaries along the way and delivering a unique sound full of character and style.  

Like yesterday, with so many incredible acts closing Day 2 of Lovebox, it’s impossible to narrow down my top picks. Notable mentions have to go to AJ Tracey, Kurupt FM, Jamie Jones, Solardo, DJ EZ and Zdot.

Check out my final Lovebox Playlist below and enjoy the final day of the festival.

Barclaycard Mercury Prize – Albums of the Year (Part 2)

Continuing on from Part 1, we take a look at the next 6 albums in the running for the coveted Barclaycard Mercury Prize – Album of the Year.

7) Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again

Home Again‘ is the debut album from singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka, released by Polydor Records in March 2012. It features the singles, ‘Home Again’, ‘I’m Getting Ready’ and ‘Bones’.

The 25 year old Londoner started off the year on a high, after winning the BBC Sound of 2012, beating off tough competition from Azealia Banks and Frank Ocean. His debut album, produced by Paul Butler, is a soulful folk album showcasing Kiwanuka’s rich jazz voice. Having been inspired by Otis Redding ‘Sitting on the Dock of the Bay’, Kiwanuka’s style ranges from the laid-back summery atmosphere of ‘I’m getting Ready’ to the old school retro sounds of his latest single ‘Bones’ and the smooth mellow sounds of his debut single, ‘Home Again’.

Having supported both Adele and Laura Marling on tour, Michael has just set off on his own US tour, with a European tour set to start Nov 9th in Paris. Be sure to check out his new single ‘Bones‘, set for release on September 24th.

 

8) Plan B – Ill Manors

East Londoner Plan B (AKA Ben Drew), released his third album ‘Ill Manors’ through Atlantic Records in July 2012. The album, which was also the soundtrack to his directorial film debut of the same name, includes contributions from Labrinth and Kano and features the singles ‘Deepest Shame’, ‘Lost My Way’, and ‘Ill Manors’.

‘Ill Manors’ skillfully depicts the underside of London and the harsh realities including protests, drugs, racism and violence.  Combine that with soulful choruses, stirring strings, classical samples, bursts of dialogue and drum ‘n’ bass and you’re in for a brilliantly perceptive album.  We’re presented with a genuine sense of frustration and hopelessness in ‘Lost My Way’ and although the album is relentlessly grim, it offers a somewhat positive message in ‘Live Once’ to ‘follow your dreams’.

Plan B recently performed at the iTunes festival last week, but if you weren’t lucky to get tickets, you can catch him on his UK tour starting February 2013.

 

9) Richard Hawley – Standing at the Sky’s Edge

Standing at the Sky’s Edge‘ is the 6th album from Richard Hawley. Released through Parlophone Records in May 2012, the album features the singles ‘Down in the Woods‘ and ‘Leave Your Body Behind You

The Sheffield based singer has worked with the likes of Pulp, Robbie Williams and Red Hot Chili Peppers and has gone on to create 5 critically acclaimed albums. ‘Standing at the Sky’s Edge‘ refers to an area in Sheffield that once boasted amazing views of the city, but is now over-run with council estates and crime. Again, not the most uplifting subject matter, however the music captures this perfectly with its echoed vocals and distorted guitar solos.

Hawley really lets loose in this album, from the hazy distorted echoes of ‘She Brings The Sunlight’, to the rock n roll vibes of ‘Down in the Woods. Don’t Stare at the Sun’ presents us with a chilled out track highlighting Hawleys melodic vocals that builds to one of his statement guitar solos. His recent single ‘Leave Your Body Behind You’ allows Hawley to rock out, as the reverb almost overpowers Hawleys vocals. The constant repetition of Hawley and the choir chanting ‘Leave Your Body Behind You’, adds to an extremely effective finish.

Be sure to catch Richard Hawley at one of his many upcoming UK and EU dates.

 

10) Roller Trio – Roller Trio 

Roller Trio consisting of James Mainwaring (tenor sax and electronics), Luke Wynter (guitar) and Luke Reddin-Williams (drums), released their self titled debut album in August 2012, through F-IRE Presents.

The trio, who are previous recipients of the 2011 Peter Whittingham Jazz Award, are a dynamic group filled with rhythmic patterns and melodic riffs and also combine elements of hip hop, rock and funk. Roller Trio think outside the box, to deliver a fresh take on contemporary jazz that is greatly influenced by popular culture.

The 9 track album features the tracks ‘Deep Heat’ ‘R-O-R’ and ‘Where’s my Whip’. Keep an eye out for one of their many upcoming UK dates from September 23rd.

 

11) Sam Lee – Ground of its Own

North London’s Sam Lee, released his debut album in July 2012 through The Nest Collective and  features the singles ‘The Ballad of George Collins’ and ‘Goodbye My Darling’.

‘Ground of it’s Own’ is a compelling and uplifting debut album, that breathes new life into old songs from the Gypsy traveller communities. He celebrates the British tradition of the ever changing British folk song, and sings with such charm and beauty. His interpretations of the songs, allows him to explore both lost and current sounds. In ‘The Ballad of George Collins‘, he incorporates the use of a jaws harp, to propel the once mellow track into a more trance-like song. His rich baritone voice further highlights the storytelling aspect through out the album.

From The London Jazz festival at The National Maritme Musuem in London, to the Folk Aliance in Toronto, Sam has plenty of upcoming performances to look out for.

 

12) The Maccabees – Given to the Wild

Brighton based five-piece band, The Maccabees, released their third album ‘Given to the Wild’ in January 2012, through Fiction Records. It features the singles ‘Pelican’, ‘Feel to Follow’ and their latest single ‘Ayla which was released September 10th.

Given to the Wild’ is a creative and lyrical album that captures your attention throughout. The album serves as a nice change from their typical acoustic origins, and shows how the band has matured by incorporating a variety of different influences to evolve their sound. The wonderfully structured album presents us with a varied selection of tracks, from the soft ghostly echoes of ‘Child’, to the beautiful melodic harmonies of ‘Heave’.  ‘Pelican’ packs some quirky punches with its infectious energy, upligting chorus and angular guitar riffs, while the laid back vocal style of ‘Feel to Follow’ builds to a transcendent, uplifting moment.

Currently in the middle of their US tour, the band are set to support Florence + The Machine in their upcoming North American Tour.