Ciarán’s Top 8 Indie Tracks Of 2014
For any of you that generally ignore my writing on here because it either has something to do with guitar music or me rambling about nonsense, I urge you to actually stick around for this one as you can easily ignore what I'm writing and focus on the great music.
In case you were blissfully unaware I started running a music blog called We Close Tonight about 6 months ago because it gave me a chance to write about music I actually know a thing or two about. It began as an online CV of sorts but I'm now getting more submissions than I could have ever imagined and the site has allowed me to discover some incredible music that I otherwise may have missed. Look, I'm writing a piece where I get to be myself here, it's one of those times I get emotional (see this cringey intro). Anyway, I've had a bit of a strange year but when I look back at it from a music/writing perspective, I can honestly say that it has been the best year of my life.
So thank you, the poor fools that read this crap, to Wil for making sure I can afford to eat, to Kieran for putting up with my relentless questions, to Ian for putting up with nonsense every Wednesday, to Paul Smith for making a dream of mine come true, to all the Ransom Note writers that constantly give me editing work to do and, most of all, thanks to all the bands I've met this year. It's been cracking.
Right, now onto the real business – 8 absolute blinders;
Daisy Victoria – Macbeth To My Lady
I got an email not too long after starting We Close Tonight from this delightful young woman, asking kindly if I'd take the time to listen to her music and potentially review it on the blog. Since then I've seen her perform live on three occasions, written about her music more than anyone else's sounds and had multiple pleasant conversations. Daisy Victoria is an absolute gem and she's even made her way onto Lauren Laverne's show recently as an MPFree. Take that Laverne, I was there first! I'd never come across a performer who I've instantly thought is destined for greatness before I heard Daisy's sounds and, with two brilliant EPs out this year, I found it tough to pick one track. In the end I've gone for this one for the opening baseline. You'll be hearing so much more from her next year.
Savage Nomads – Pinkie's Little Light
Curse Gigslutz for getting there before I did by naming these guys as unsigned band of the year. A thoroughly deserved award, lead singer Cole Salewicz is an incredible hard-worker and he can put on a brilliant live show. There are a couple of lyrics in this track that I'm a little hesitant to endorse but it's an aural delight with plenty of cracking melodies. The video is well worth a watch too. These lads are going far, no doubt at all in my mind.
Faux Château – Betty
A late entrant, having only come across them in the last month or so (I'm on a wee break at the minute so they're still one of the most recent reviews I've written). It's as if The Smiths were back making music but didn't have shitty attitudes towards anything. Rambunctious. Not sure what the word means but it seems to encapsulate the sounds rather well.
Nöme – Nineties Child
There's an unsigned London event that takes place every 6 weeks (I think) called The Indigo Sessions which is run by some very lovely people. I am not one of them, honest. When I went down for their first event I stumbled across Nöme. It's like listening to the stadium sounds of U2 or The Killers without having a lead singer you can't stand. I love the 80s synth sounds marauding over the top of this track which is a sure-fire single. They're ruddy brilliant.
Asylums – I've Seen Your Face In A Music Magazine
The last time I loved a song with a title this long I was listening to Alex Turner's early sounds. This is an absolute corker of a track, full of all the energy that comes with teenage angst and a guitar riff that makes me miss performing. It's a spunky affair (hehehehehe) that will blow you away.
Cavaliers – If I had 50p for every time you stabbed me in the back, I'd be looking at at least £8.60
Alright I lied, THIS is a long name and I came across these guys before Asylums. I even got to premiere the music video for this one, I'm a jammy git. It's as if they knew exactly what I wanted to hear when I was 16 and made exactly that. Just a few years later. Still, really happy to have met these guys earlier this year and they certainly put on an impressive live show. I actually know all the words to this song now, because I'm a cool cat, and regularly listen to it still – I'm committed if nothing else. If you like your music toe-tappingly good, give this a listen. And a boogie. Did I just say boogie? Christ…
I've just realised how impossible it is to pick just 8… Before I give you my final two picks, the longlist I'm working from includes brilliant sounds from Flyte, Thom Morecroft, White Fever, The Bulletproof Bomb (also incredible live!), Pip Mountjoy, The Roscoes and Silent Sleep – not ashamed to say I shed a wee tear at the last one.
Charlotte Carpenter – Take It All
This Northampton-born singer-songwriter is astoundingly talented. There's the gravitas on a Joni Mitchell mixed in with a slither of 90s grunge edge. It's really difficult to place Charlotte's sound into a certain label as it is full of all the things that make me love music. With a stunning voice, clever melodies and a general aura that fills my heart with confidence, I'm incredibly happy to have stumbled across Charlotte Carpenter this year and would heartily endorse her music to anyone.
Alphabetic – Good Lovers
I think this just about edges it as my song of the year (not going to say which others battled it closest, they're all awesome) as it is quite possibly the song that I've listened to more than any other this year. I'd even go as far as labelling it the best song I've heard this year. It's not actually something I'd generally be so into but everything about the song is so perfectly crafted, from the delightful harmonies to the tight-as-can-be rhythm section. I think what gives it that edge is the unique lead vocals from Walter Heale. There's no imitating other voices, it's just him being utterly brilliant. There's not a weak link to this song (in my opinion anyway) and they're as outstanding live as they are on the record.
So those are my genuine picks for the year, didn't think I'd find it so tough but I've been so happy to come across as many absolutely cracking tracks as I have this year.
Alright, no more indie stuff from me on Ransom Note until 2015. Promise.