#90 Chance The Rapper
In Strictly’s crash course in Hip Hop we chose Chance The Rapper’s stunning “Paranoia” to showcase the best in modern hip hop. This emerging star has the entire industry salivating. A Chicago native, after receiving a 10 day ban from college Chance launched a rap career and he hasn’t looked back since. He mixes the grandeur, sophistication and imagination of Kanye West’s production with the intensity and persona flipping mic skills of Eminem. His sound is fun and loose but his word play is tight and undeniably clever. He’s been producing anthems with ease and already has a stunning 5/5 Mixtape under his belt named Acid Rap. He’s an obvious star, who’s more than a collection of cool influences. He has all the garish blurts of modern rap, his sound is defiantly forward thinking, and best of all he exudes personality in every verse – you can practically hear him smiling on each track.
#91 London Grammar
There have been a whole range of hotly tipped and talented artists emerging in 2013, but the press has been wary of becoming too excited. Perhaps they were burned on two years of worth flops or maybe they finally realized that burdening young bands with unrealistic expectations wasn’t remotely helpful to either band or publication. London Grammar are bucking the trend, the indie sites, the culture blogs and the pop taste makers are all licking their lips. A more straightforward, less challenging and frankly more marketable answer to The xx is how London Grammar have been described, and well, that’s pretty on the nose. “Wasting My Years” and “Rust And Bone” are perfectly albeit safely sculpted. The vocals are certainly grand but they struggle to scratch the surface and don’t come close to leaving deep impactful wounds. Still, Hannah, Dot and Dan are extraordinarily precise, each note of ever arrangement feels massaged to within an inch of its life. The talent and effort is apparent, but perhaps they lack that hint of spontaneity and dash of fragile individuality that seperates the good artists from the great ones.
Too precise? Too safe? Not words that are likely to be applied to the raucous and undeniable sexy rawk of Findlay. The beats might be metronomic and her verses may be sloganistic, but Findlay truly inhabits each track. Darkly letching in each snatched silence, drawling or over enunciating every syllable, and letting notes hang for longer than any rational human being would. We’ve certainly been here before. Minimal Proto-retro-rock outfits littered the indie landscape in the mid-2000s, and Alison Mosshard might well claim royalties for “Sister”, but “Off And On” feels more modern and refreshing. Findlay’s vocal feels less indebted to her heroes and as such she feels less like a rock’n’roll cliche. Overall, this most recent addition to the Reading line up should impress with the brutish simplistic of The White Stripes and The Stooges, but more importantly a giant smear of unrestrained personality.
#93 The Family Rain
Bath three-piece The Family Rain are currently on tour with Leeds favourites The Courteeners and it’s easy to see why. These rockers have a classist feel. There music feels earthy while retaining the lightness of touch you’d associate with modern indie. The vocals have a rich American feel and the band’s 2012 single “Trust Me…I’m A Genius” felt like an British alternatively to “We Used To Vacation”. The potential is obvious, and in a age obsessed with nostalgic inflections The Family Rain shouldn’t have any trouble carving out a niche in a lucrative market. In truth, the band are nowhere near that cynical, their making the infectious and punchy music they love, embracing their influences and delivering the kind of swagger laden rock that plays well up North. Could they be the Britain’s own Cage The Elephant?
London’s Must are making serious waves in new music circles. Give “Just Wait” a listen and try to resist. The gorgeously infectious guitar sound would be impressive enough, but it’s married to deliciously laid back vocal and a surprising choice of harmony. Must seem adept at pulling off that most troublesome of contradictions: they sounds enthusiastic and listless at the same time, they feel ironic and ernest – and that’s incredibly impressive. In fact, Must deliver the kind of vocals that make made teenage girls fall in love and teenage boys declare them the best band since the last best band ever. “The Devil Lives” comes complete astute with a delicate pre-choruses that feels oddly specific. When they coo “don’t take it out on me sweetheart” an intimate and undeniably real moment is conjured, unfortunately the chorus is flimsy. At this stage, Must have little to offer but half developed cuts and incredible potential. Nevertheless, it’s imperative that you watch this space.