Category Archives: Features

Top 10 Albums of 2016

N.B. – As I’m a law unto myself, this Top 10 includes albums that were released before 2016. They’re included because I first heard them in 2016. So there.


  1. The 1975 – I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it

the_1975This may have been the easiest decision I’ve ever made. I raved about their debut album in 2013, and was a big fan of this band even before they became The 1975, after stumbling across them when they were called BIGSLEEP and had a couple of tracks littered across Soundcloud. But after hearing the lead out single of The 1975’s sophomore album, I wasn’t entirely sold.

However, something fairly coincidental helped to cement this album as not only my favourite of the year, but one of my favourites ever. Forever? Forever Ever. Forever Ever?

The album was released on February 26th, 2016. I’d spent the previous month working all hours of the day for something work related, that all culminated in a meeting that took place on…you guessed it, February 26th. The meeting just so happened to take place in San Jose, California, and I had the next 8 days to myself, along with a rental car, and one of the most beautiful coastal roads in the world. So after the meeting, I downloaded the album, jumped into my car, and had a little bit of a ridiculous adventure, soundtracked by this album.

Now I can hear what you’re saying. Yes, the album had the benefit of extenuating circumstances.


All I’m saying is have you ever seen them in the same room at the same time?

My journey could have been soundtracked by the seminal Tweenies live album and I’d be sat here ranting and raving about…uh…*googles Tweenies names* Bella, Milo, Fiz and Jake’s gift to the world. But as it was, a stunning California road trip was accompanied by an equally stunning album.

It was an album that just pushed all the right buttons. It was enough of a move forwards from the previous album to be brave, but not disconcerting. The radio-friendly pop hits were there (The Sound, Somebody Else), but the heart of the album, from the tail end of If I Believe You, to Please Be Naked, and lostmyhead, showed off their ear for ambient music.

First of all, look how casually I threw away that ‘radio-friendly pop hits’ line. How hard must it be to write a song as perfect as those two. In particular, Somebody Else is a lyrical and melodic monster. Beyonce topped a shit-ton of End Of Year album lists for Lemonade, which was great lyrically, but didn’t capture me with melodies as much as the 1975 record did.

And then back to that ambient comment. Ambient music helps to capture an atmosphere, without necessarily being obtrusive. If I Believe You and Please Be Naked build to an euphoric climax, which when accompanied by ridiculous views, sunshine, and bearclaws (all the bearclaws), I couldn’t help but feel giddy for most of that trip. Even now, 9 months after the fact, it still sounds as great as ever, and makes me (probably the only person in the world to) reminisce about my Nissan Versa, and that road.



2. Kaytranada – 99.9%

kayIf bees had knees, these knees would be these. Kaytranada is a Canadian born producer, who makes you think “what would J-Dilla be doing if he was still alive?” Probably this. Kaytranada spent the years before 2016 making the whole world want to work with him, and on 99.9%, he worked with the most zeitgeisty list of collaborators. Anderson. Paak before he took over 2016, Craig David before his revival really took hold, Little Dragon and AlunaGeorge as the ‘always there for a feature, but always a good feature’ twosome, and names like Phonte and Goldlink that I’d not heard before. So a perfect mix of collabs, but also a whole blend of styles. ‘ONE TOO MANY’ and ‘GLOWED UP’ are highlights, but the album doesn’t have a single slack second in it.

3. Maribou State – Portraits (2015 Release)

mariCitadel Festival, a one day festival in London landed on my birthday, so I toddled along to review it for Bearded Magazine. Sigur Ros, Caribou and Lianne La Havas were the big draws, but I spent some time familiarising myself with most of the other acts playing. Maribou State were one such act. As it transpired, I didn’t even get to see them perform, but I’ve carried on listening to their 2015 album Portraits anyway. It’s an atmospheric, warm collection of groove based electronica, with a great mix of vocalists and sampling. A perfect summer album that still sounds good in freezing January.

4. Brand New – Leaked Demos 2006 (Mastered for 2016 Release)

leakedI’ve written at length about my Brand New obsession before. In 2006, we were three years past Deja Entendu, their second album, and desperately waiting for their third. Somehow, a set of demos got leaked and spread across Limewire (remember that?) and the like. Despite being demos, it still felt like a new album. Because of the leak, those tracks largely got scrapped and didn’t appear on The Devil & God Are Raging Inside Me, bar the odd scrap being used, like on ‘Sowing Season’. Fast forward to 2016, and we were (and still are) in another of those interminable waits for a new Brand New album. What we did get is a release of those leaked demos, now fully formed and mastered (and released on cassette. 2017, we don’t need more of this please). Besides the retro release format, it was like having a new release all over again. Tracks like ‘1996’ and ‘Nobody Moves’ neatly stack into Brand New’s modus operandi of post-emo alternative rock, and sound 10 times better than the demos, as great as they were.

5. Glass Animals – Life Itself

glassOxford has done a decent amount for music. Ride , Radiohead, Supergrass, and Foals to name but a few. Glass Animals will be are the next band worthy of joining that list. Their first album Zaba was full of woozy jungle beats, and Life Itself shows a band full of ideas. I mean, any band that can open up a chorus with “Pineapples are in my head” deserve our attention. It’s another thematic album that just works in its entirety, with the hip-hop influences a little more at the forefront than they were on the previous record.

6. Bon Iver – 22, A Million

I’m still mad at him for cancelling his European tour three days ago.

7. Frank Ocean – Blonde

Not as instantaneous as Channel Orange, but well worth the time, and probably worth the well publicised wait. That outro on ‘Self Control’ is worth the admission fee alone.

8. Asylums – Killer Brain Waves

A really fun rock album full of melodic chops and sing-along choruses, while skewering social trends and society in general at the same time.

9. Makthaversan – Makthaversan II (2013 Release)

Spotify started doing podcasts. Hooray! A series called AM/PM gets musicians to create two playlists, one for the morning, and one for the evening, with commentary on their choices. Indie dreamboat Ellie Rowsell (of Wolf Alice fame) got put onto Makthaversan by a friend, and I got put onto Makthaversan by her. It’s a fiery guitar-driven album by a Swedish band, and that’s about all I know. Other than the fact it’s great. Obviously.

10. Let’s Eat Grandma – I, Gemini

+5 points for the name alone. I heard ‘Deep Six Textbook’ once or twice, but it wasn’t until I saw them on Jools Holland and was equal parts captivated and baffled that I dug a little deeper. A Guardian review called I, Gemini “Nightmarish Fairytale Folk” which just about nails it. The record is made by two teenagers that met when they were four, and can seem to play about a million instruments. One of those bands that you watch and think “what the hell was I doing when I was 16.”

Who is Jai Paul?

Recommended listening while reading:


No, I have no interest in knowing who Jai Paul is. I just thought it’d be fun to throw a ‘who is John Galt’ reference in there just to ensure I shed as many readers as possible before paragraph two.

Well that was a straight up lie. I’m obsessed with Jai Paul. The fact he’s officially released 2 singles in 6 years of being signed to a record label drives me crazy. I want more music. But then I thought of that (pretty terrible) Ayn Rand title // joke and I realised Jai Paul is basically John Galt. And I realised, he needs to stay that way. Enigmatic. No public presence. Perhaps, even, no new music. Ever.


Well, a little background for the uninitiated. Jai Paul is the name of a musician who got signed to the soothsayers of all big things, XL Recordings, off the back of one demo, BTSTU. This happened in 2010. Six years ago. BTSTU got released in Spring 2011 as a single. Another single, Jasmine, was released the following year, again in Spring. And then, in the Spring of 2013, a wedge of demos were hoisted onto a Bandcamp page, priced at £7, and rapidly gorged upon by the needy masses (myself included). You see, we were desperate for more, irrespective of it this was a leak or not. Turns out, according to Jai Paul’s one and only ever Tweet, it was. We all felt a little bad. But then we carried on listening to some of those demos and sat with wonder at how incredible they were. Str8 Outta Mumbai, amazing. A cover of that Jennifer Page song everyone sang while at school (Crush), amazing. Imagine what a real, finished album by Jai Paul could sound like?

Notice how all the events in the previous paragraph took place in Spring? And notice how the last event took place in 2013, three years ago? Well, much has changed since then. The world has changed in leaps and bounds. I think we believe the internet has given people an increasingly powerful voice, for good and for bad. I mean, we’re on the verge of naming a polar exploring ship Boaty McBoatface. Plus, Spring has just sprung again. Things with Jai Paul seem to happen in this time of year. And so just as releasing a Groundhog to see if he sees his own shadow has become a strange ritual, a bunch of people aimlessly wander around the internet trying to sniff out Jai Paul activity each Spring. We shout into the endless void of the internet in the hope it’ll stir something out of him. We are the groundhog handlers trying to drag the Jai Paul groundhog out of his little goundhog cage for our own shortsighted entertainment.

But it’s not the same as with other artists. Frank Ocean said he’d drop his new album in July 2015, and here we are in March 2016, still waiting. But we know he’ll be good for it. We know it’ll be worth the wait. We know he’s still alive, and who he is. And this Frank Ocean wait has become part of the cultural zeitgeist. Memes litter the internet every day as we jestingly post pictures of Frank out shopping when he should be at home, WORKING ON THAT DAMN SECOND ALBUM FRANK! COME ON MAN!

With Jai Paul, we know nothing, about anything, and maybe that’s why he should stay away. We don’t really have a clue who he is. He’s not something or someone to get eaten up and swallowed by the news cycle. A perfect example of this is Kanye West’s Twitter. There was a time when I was a Kanye fan. He was a little bit of a new thing. A bit weird, and made some pretty great music. He tweeted rarely, and it helped to make him more deceptive and unknown, likely for the better. Now that he can’t stop posting, we’ve come to realise that maybe we liked how it was before. EG, how to go from enigmatic to banal AF:



Some like to refer to Jai Paul as an alien who visited us for a while, who’s gone back to his home planet. I’m pretty sure he’s in London somewhere, doing something weird and amazing, like this ‘Foundation’ he’s set up with his brother recently suggests. It gives no information what it is, and just asks you to sign up with your phone number. He could be trying to sell us PPI Protection, but I’d be down for that because the hold jingles would be out of this world.

So are we going to get anything new from Jai Paul this Spring? Probably not. I’m at that stage now where I’m happy for it to never happen, which sounds weird and self-defeating, I know. But how can he beat BTSTU and Jasmine? How can he beat those leaked demos? This level of myth and legend surrounding his music and persona makes it nigh on impossible for him to really succeed in a conventional way, like appearing on a Graham Norton chat show making ‘banter’ with some other famous people.

Jai Paul

And him being this weird deity, with his one-tweet-Twitter, and his insane set-in-space collage of Lizo Mzimba, bears and Gianfranco Zola…. I’d rather never hear from him again, and put him on this untouchable pedestal rather than read what he had for lunch. Besides, his brother seems to make a pretty mean jam anway.






Horses Playing Harps Top 10 Albums 2014

jocoThat strange gap between Christmas Day and New Years. Perfect for hibernating, returning to Netflix for another free month and watching so much Jonathan Creek you’re positive there’s a killer monkey hiding in the rafters. That and reflection of course. Granted, I haven’t looked at mine for quite some time as I’ve given up shaving and would rather avoid seeing just how bad my Celtic heritage is growing out of my chin.

So, a Top 10 album list. My favourite part about it is, despite best laid plans of mice and men, no matter how many predictions anyone can make about a forthcoming year, the majority of music that you fall for just comes from nowhere. And not just brand new bands with debut albums (Adult Jazz, Honeyblood, Thumpers), but also bands that have been around the block a few times (Spoon, DFA1979), or a second album that was my first exposure to them (James Vincent McMorrow), and a noughties rock band stalward going solo (Gerard Way).

I spend (probably too much) time thinking about why a debut album by a new band can be so much more impactful than a second or third album, and I think part of it is the allure and shinyness of all the new parts. A new vocal sound to wrap your head around. A fresh take on a genre. But much of my list this year is actually just disparate parts of things that have existed before becoming better. The two guys  in Thumpers have been a part of Friendly Fires previously. Gerard Way was of course the front man of My Chemical Romance. And interestingly, my number one album of the year – while offically speaking a debut – comes from the ashes of an older band.

Sorry #10-6, only #5-1 get a write up. Mainly because I’m getting a little hungry:

#10 – Cloud Nothings – Here And Nowhere Else
#9 – Thumpers – Galore
#8 – Spoon – They Want My Soul
#7 – Death From Above 1979 – Physical World
#6 – Gerard Way – Hesitant Alien

#5 – Superfood – Don’t Say That

hoSuperfood, a Birmingham-based four piece, and Britney Spears, that one who shaved her hair n’ that, are more similar than you might think. Britney Spears is currently some (too lazy to research) months into her Las Vegas residency (maybe it’s finished already, who knows). Superfood have spent the past 14 months or so playing a residency in Oxford. If memory serves, they played the Art Bar at the tail end of 2013, and in 2014, have played in support of Wolf Alice, in support of We Are Scientists, and headlined the NME New Breed Tour with #4 on this list), all at Oxford’s O2 Academy. So, practically a residency. I have the Superfood popping candy. I have the Superfood coasters. I’ve seen them more often in 2014 than most of my own family.

Nonetheless, when I saw them at the Wolf Alice show and the We Are Scientists show, I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of them. Their debut came out just before the NME New Breed Tour show in Oxford, and I fell for it. I wasn’t really expecting to either. I’d heard scraps and scrapes of singles online, but it wasn’t until I heard the whole thing that I really got it. It’s a happy-go-lucky kind of record, channeling the likes of Supergrass, with memorable hooks and hazy lyrics. Here’s hoping they come back to Oxford even just once more, they must be sick of us by now.

#4 – Honeyblood – Self Titled

skelI always read about a band’s history, almost as much as I always remember how I first got to listen to them. Sadly, and inexplicably, for Honeyblood, I cannot remember. I heard ‘Killer Bangs’ somewhere, I’m just completely lost as to where/why/how. What I can remember is seeing their debut self-titled LP was available to stream before its release on Pitchfork Advance, and I found myself listening to it several times a day for a week. The opening 20 seconds on the first track, ‘Fall Forever’, instantly told me that this was going to be something I was going to enjoy. Honeyblood are one of many two pieces that I have an affection for. In their case, with just a guitar and drums, they still contrived to create something so big, so noisy, and so smart. But more than that, it was probably the album whose lyrics I enjoyed the most out of the Top 10 I’ve put together. Replete with savage witticisms, snarking jilted exes, and wrapping it all up with a 90’s alt-rock gazing sound. I also had the enormous pleasure of seeing them play live, with their performance of ‘All Dragged Up’ a highlight, played at double speed with such energy.

#3 – James Vincent McMorrow – Post Tropical

postPoor James Vincent McMorrow. I came so close to forgetting to including this, not remembering that it came out all the way back in January 2014. But fortunately, somehow, I remembered. Despite January typically being the most depressing month of the year by quite some distance (for us Brits at least), this record helped. For whatever reason, I never heard his debut LP, but i caught ‘Cavalier’, the opening track on Post Tropical, on a ride home from work. Probably through pouring rain, grey skies, umbrellas. You know, how they usually portray England in the movies. Well, they are right, some of the time. Another lazy comparison ahoy-hoy, but I was quickly reminded of Bon Iver, one of my al time favourites. The falsetto voice, the brass channeling through the tail end of ‘Cavalier’, percussion leaping from timid to thrashing. The album plays a similar trick but is still completely captivating. I adore ‘Gold’ (the track below) for that melody in the chorus, as his vocal leaps several steps higher, all within two words. And now January 2015 is almost upon us, it’s probably a good a time as any to give it another listen.

#2 – Adult Jazz – Gist Is

gistMore than anything, I’m enjoying the dichotomy between my #1 and #2. But you’ll get to that soon. Adult Jazz are a Leeds based band who take ponderous indie-rock to the absolute edges of its possibilities. Every note, every vocal, every song structure just gets pulled apart like Stretch Armstrong. And that’s why I love it. We all want instant gratification these days, but the way they form a song, it makes it all the more worth the wait. Like that trade-off between taking a beer out of the fridge before it’s cold (yeah I’m thirsty, what of it). Some comparisons have been made to Alt-J, but these lot are a whole lot loopier. Somewhat indecipherable lyrics, coupled with coy little guitar lines which occasionally descend into marvellous off-kilter breakdowns. Like #1 in this list, it’s not a record I’d want to break down and divide, as it’s such an excellent listen as a whole. However, below is ‘Donne Tongue’, which spirals into its sticky end from about 3:20 onwards. All aided and abetted from that softly-softly-catchy-monkey opening.

#1 – Issues – Self-Titled

issuesIt’s a bit of a leftfield winner from me. I’ve spent the last year and a half expanding my knowledge of what might be called post-hardcore / metalcore / etc from my affection of Alexisonfire years ago. What they did so well was, even with all the noise and heft of their sound, they’d create such excellent melodies and hooks, blended with the clean and heavy vocals.

As for Issues, I have the wonderful Daniel P Carter of radio / a million bands / general rock god fame to thank for setting me onto them. I heard ‘Sad Ghost’ thanks to his radio show and was suckered in on that oh-so-soulful clean vocal hook in the chorus. As for the album itself, it’s still yet to grow old for me. It plays that neat trick of presenting you with a couple of songs you think are your favourites straight-up, but further listening changes your perspective. Sure it’s heavy, but it’s life-affirming stuff. A deserved number one.

July 14 Spotify Playlist

Hey! You! You know there’s a new How To Dress Well album out, right? Of course you do, because you’re au fait with all the latest happenings. Right? Right? Well, it’s pretty darn excellent. Whereas in previous records, Tom Krell has worked hard to fuzz up his lyrics and music with a cloud of production, this record has such clarity and openess. It’s a doozy, and one of a whole truckload (well, if 9 constitutes a truckload) of excellent newy-newness in July’s Spotify playlist. Leading the way is the excellently heavy Shrine track, ‘Say You Will’. So dive in.

June 14 Spotify Playlist

Que tal people of the internet? I’m pretty swell myself, helped enormously by all that NICE WEATHER we’ve been having. So much NICE WEATHER it almost makes you forget how completely MISERABLE the rest of the year can be. So let’s keep using CAPS FOR NO REASON and enjoy the blazingly sunny June Spotify Playlist I’ve thrown together for your earholes. Caution, apply suncream first, it’s a sunny one.

So much of that sunniness comes from Scotland’s ‘Prides’, not to be confused with Scotland’s Pride – which will probably be ABUNDANT once the Commonwealth Games get going. There’s also a great collab track with Frank Ocean, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, and Diplo. And buried in there is a new Deadmau5 track, possibly sounding like a better version of Daft Punk than Daft Punk currently sound like. Quick, start WRITING IN CAPS AND NO-ONE WILL NOTICE I SAID THAT.

Zombie Basketball in North Korea (Or why music is so important to running fast)

zombieWell yes, this is primarily a music blog. But we’re allowed to cross genres from time to time. Donald Glover flipped from playing a goofy high-school dropout in Community to being, well, a bit of a goofy rapper . Dennis Rodman went from being a basketball player to fronting some kind of basketball-diplomacy weirdness in North Korea. The point is, change is good. And usually goofy.

As well as writing content on here, and writing for the wonderful Bearded Magazine and Music In Oxford, I’m one of those strange creatures who likes to fill their time by running. Once just a pastime of neanderthals escaping from bigger and scarier things, running is now something many of us actively choose to do. We could be sat on the couch, watching people on The Walking Dead run away from zombies, or playing computer games, running towards zombies. But that’s not enough for me. It’s a tortuously addictive habit to have, particularly when you start getting involved in organised races as you just want to run faster.

Music has always been a key part of the experience. It prevents me from hearing my own out-of-breath panting, and a track with a decent BPM (beats per minute) is like a giant fork poking you in the backside to go faster. But what has intrigued me as this hobby has grown into a full-blown addiction is the limited effect that perceived fitness actually has on your performance, and how much of an impact peripheral elements like a well-curated running playlist can make.

I ran my first half marathon in October 2011. My primary aim was to finish, and beyond that, to run under 2 hours would be a bonus. I ran 1:47:54, and was immensely proud. One year later (after having run a marathon during the intervening year) I ran two more half marathons on two consecutive weekends. I wouldn’t have said my fitness was overly better than the previous year. The only difference was that I knew what running 13.1 miles felt like, and knew how to deal with that. I was no longer running to finish, I was running for a quick time. I ran 15 minutes faster than the previous year, clocking 1 hour 32 minutes at both the Oxford and Birmingham half marathons.

The following year I had one goal – to run under 1 hour 30 minutes for a half marathon. It’s a number that means nothing to people who don’t run. But to people who run long distance, it’s such a huge milestone. Again, I don’t think I was any fitter than the previous year, but I had a few more of those peripheral tricks up my sleeve, to trick my body and mind into achieving this goal. October 2013. Oxford Half Marathon. Peeing down with rain. Twelve seconds. I finished twelve seconds under the 1 hour 30 mark in a torrential downpour. 1:29:48. It’s probably my proudest achievement to date.

This is what 1:29:48 looks like. 50% zombie.

This is what 1:29:48 looks like. 50% zombie.

Well, how could I run 1:47 in 2011, and under 1:30 in 2013 with a similar level of fitness? This is a bit of a brash statement to make, but I think actual fitness contributes to 50% of your achieved time. Part of that 50% is knowing how to pace a run, and what your absolute limitations are. 10% comes from getting your food and drink intake before the race right. 10% comes from getting your food and drink right during the race. 20% can come from a perfect music playlist. And 10% from complete bloody-mindedness and grit. That October 2013 half marathon race had pace runners running certain times. I blitzed ahead of the 1 hour 30 minutes pace runner early on. I had a couple of bad miles at mile 7 and 8, and the pace runner came past me. I felt I had nothing left at that point, but the combination of food (an energy gel), music, and that 10% of “you’re not running away from me you 1 hour 30 minute sign-holding bastard” meant I managed to piggy-back the pace runner and cross the line just 12 seconds ahead of my goal.

To prove I’m not crazy, this scientist claims music helps runners perform 15% better with music. And this I found after coming up with my hilarious 20% theory.

I have a 10k race in a month’s time, and I’m starting to build a playlist. I’m actually getting into the science of stacking together a playlist based on BPM, trying to start off at a steady and metronomic 170 BPM and building towards a 190 BPM finale. Now I’ve made up this fantastical percentage of 20% that a playlist contributes to overall performance, it seems all the more important. There’s some free software floating about that will analyse your music library and tell you the BPM of your tracks. One track that’s been a part of my running playlists consistently over the years has been Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Smiley Faces’. The speed and pacing of it is just perfect – there’s no slowdown for a bridge, it’s relentless without being overpowering. And it’s just a damn good song. Which is what this whole site is all about, as opposed to zombies playing basketball in North Korea.

Below are a few more 170-190 BPM tracks for people to terrorise themselves with, if they so choose:

HPH Top 11 Albums of 2013

End of year list time. Granted, it’s now 2014, but I like to give the previous year time to Settle, to let the Arc of the year finish. I mean, for Yeezus’ sake, this year wasn’t anything like (The) 1975? Well, the idea of trying to shove album names into this intro died a death as soon as Lorde made my list.

After much thought and deliberation, I decided I couldn’t make a top 10 album list. I had narrowed it down to 11, and couldn’t kill another one off. There were plenty more albums I was tempted to include, but generally it was because of one or two standout tracks on the record. Instead, I wanted to reflect the complete nature and structure of an album.

Of course, taste is completely subjective, and several of these records ran parallel to events in my own year, helped but not necessarily indebted to their position in this ranking. For example, I listened to the Lorde album endlessly as I went to and from Istanbul in November, and the Disclosure album soundtracked my trip in the summer to Canada. But these two records in themselves are faultless and flawless things.

What I find really interesting with the list that I’ve ended up with is how many are debut albums. It’s why I’m so passionate about this music hunting thing, and why I adore the irreverence of predictions for the year ahead. I mean, who knew of Lorde 12 months ago?

So my list shows the Lorde album as number one. It’s a record that I’m still yet to get tired of. There’s such simplicity to the record, never going too far beyond vocals, percussion and synths or guitar. But every track has such intricate depth and beauty. Lyrically it’s smart and acerbic, no more so than on the album closer, ‘World Alone’ where our internet-fatigued generation is pulled into focus with lines like: “Maybe the internet raised us, or maybe people are jerks.” In a year with so much media content generated as a result of popstars and artists behaving like idiots, the opening and closing lyric of the album crystallises the irrelevance of it all. “Don’t you think it’s boring how people talk // Let ‘em talk.”

Top 11
Lorde – Lorde
Disclosure – Settle
The 1975 – The 1975
Paramore – Paramore
Arcane Roots – Blood & Chemistry
Foals – Holy Fire
Everything Everything – Arc
Danny Brown – Old
Local Natives – Hummingbird
Kanye West – Yeezus
Peace – In Love

December 2013 Spotify Playlist

What’s up Planet Earth. Good weekend? I’ve been snootily browsing a few ‘Best Albums of 2013′ lists, and as usual I’m annoyed by how early they get published. Some were out in November. I mean, come on! Since then we’ve had a new Childish Gambino album (a strong 6/10 for me) a new flippin’ Beyonce album (which admittedly I haven’t listened to yet). I may end up trying to figure out my top 10 at some point during the holidays (hold tight for that fans), but what’s waaaaaaaaaaaay more exciting is to use the arbritrary time event caused by the speed of the earth’s orbit around the sun is to look ahead to 2014. And so that’s where the Horses Playing Harps December 2013 playlist handily comes in.

I’ve made one playlist every month this year, but I think this is my favourite to date. It’s jam packed with all sorts of exciting bands and artists, so dive in and see what you think. And if you like it, follow me on Spotify, by clicking HERE! for plenty more brand new playlists next year.

HPH September Spotify Playlist

There is a ridiculous amount of brilliant new releases floating about right now. And best of all, festival season is over! Bands are back on tour  in cities, instead of £200 muddly fields! Huzzah!

Here’s September’s Spotify playlist. It’s a doozy. Leading it off is the excellent Temples, soon to be playing at the sure-to-be-wonderful Gathering Festival, coming up in October in Oxford. And whaddaya know, so are Waxahatchee!

So on the topic of new releases (which we weren’t, really), The 1975, The Weeknd, King Krule and letlive. all have fairly new releases. Some of my own personal highlights from those records are here.

Released today is The Naked and Famous’ second LP, ‘In Rolling Waves’. I’ve given it a couple of listens already and I’m already a little amarous over it. It’s interesting that it’s been released on the same day as the 3rd MGMT record. Both bands had debut albums with a couple of big singles on. MGMT followed up by going completely off-piste, and doing their best to avoid accidently including anything remotely resembling a hook. Thankfully, The Naked and Famous have created something really compelling with this record. It doesn’t have the standout singles like before, but it feels like more of a complete record for it. It’s filled with subtle naunce, and some beefy breakdowns.

So basically I’m a fan. Have a listen to this and more in the playlist.

Horses Playing Harps – March 2013 Playlist

The usual collection of claptrap nonsense that I’ve been enjoying listening to in the last month or so has been thrown together haphazardly in a Spotify playlist for your pleasure. I’m particularly proud of my segue from the timidness of Daughter trailing into the ferociousness of Bring Me The Horizon.

Also included is a little trail of music that leads into new releases I’m excited for the world, and myself to hear. I’ve already heard the Peace album and think it’ll be a sticky in the brain-er, if that’s such a thing. Plus an EP from Axes is forthcoming, and a new Cold War Kids long length! Woop!