GregHorrorShow: The Music Of 2016

music2016-main

As someone who is fortunate enough to work in the music industry, it’s easy to forget that for a lot of people mainstream radio is the main way to consume music. That is changing with the arrival of streaming services that offer new and exciting ways to discover new music, and old music of course. I always like to try and highlight some of the lesser known bands I’ve discovered through the year while showcasing great tunes from different genres in general. And so my playlist for 2017 is bigger than some previous years. Strap yourselves in and enjoy some great new tunes!

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During my working day I’m exposed to a ton of great, fresh music but there were also some returning established artists that had good stuff out too. I wasn’t a huge fan of the new Britney Spears album but ‘Clumsy’ was a good cut, I really liked ‘Hurts’ by Emeli Sande and the return of A Tribe Called Quest was most welcome. Ryan Adam’s new single ‘Do You Still Love Me’ is fantastic and I also thought the latest Primal Scream track is the best thing they’ve done in a while. I really liked Lady Gaga’s ‘Perfect Illusion’ as well, a great single to return with.

music2016-vaults

The best band I saw live this year was Vaults and their album (finally) dropped late this year – it’s definitely well worth a listen. I feel like, for me at least, 2017 has been much more about tracks as opposed to albums but there were some great ones to check out. Savages, Polica and Michael Kiwanuka all delivered amazing albums but I found myself listening to more and more playlists rather than fully fledged albums.

In among all the other regular tracks I’ve included a handful of tracks to highlight my favourite game music from the year. It has been an amazing year for game scores – I’d definitely recommend checking out Spotify’s game section to find some more releases from this year.

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BEST ALBUM

music2016-mk

It had to be ‘Love And Hate’ by Michael Kiwanuka. This album is ridiculously good, possibly the best I’ve heard in years. ‘Cold Little Heart’ is a 10 minute epic that kicks things off but this album is a great experience. Sit down, relax and enjoy!

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BEST SONG

music2016-sigma

I almost gave this to Toothless for ‘Sisyphus’ which is my current jam but I can’t look beyond Sigma for this, which is a surprise to me as I haven’t been a huge work of their previous tracks. Teaming with Birdy for ‘Find Me’ they have a track that ticks a lot of ‘pop’ boxes. And I played this on a loop more than I’d care to admit.

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So there you have it, another year down and with the music industry remaining in growth it should be exciting times ahead!

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GregHorrorShow: The Music Of 2015

Music 2015 Chvrches

It’s been a pretty fantastic year for music in 2015. Returning artists like Adele, Justin Bieber, Florence + The Machine and Ellie Goulding saw huge success and the further rise of streaming took an interesting turn as Apple finally joined the fray.

I have put together a playlist on Spotify of my recommended tracks for the year, give it a click below to listen.

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I saw a lot of new bands this year and while I really enjoyed Clean Cut Kid, Aurora and Solomon Grey, the best new band I saw live in 2015 was Slaves at the Scala. It was a brilliant gig with a friendly, upbeat vibe. Overall though the best thing I saw live was Health, which, with a combined audio/visual performance, really was something special.

Music 2015 Oh Wonder

I really liked what we’ve heard so far from Jack Garrett and I found the Oh Wonder album to be a wonderful listen. Halsey stepped into Lorde‘s shoes and delivered a really great album, for me it lacks a little of the punch of Lorde’s stuff but Castle is a superb track.

Disclosure returned with a brilliant album and, after an extended absence, so did The Chemical Brothers. It’s a really cool album with lots of great featured artists on vocals. As well as being stunning live, I loved the Health album this year – it’s definitely worth checking out.

Tame Impala came back with a chilled out bang and Kendrick Lemar continued his hot streak of releases with ‘To Pump A Butterfly’. Another returning band was Sleater-Kinney, whose album I enjoyed.

Music 2015 Kendrick

Robyn returned with ‘Love Is Free’ which was one of my favourite songs and, of course, The Weeknd‘s ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ was huge. There were also great songs from Petite Meller, Kagoule, Charli XCX and Duke Dumont, among others.

You can check all these tracks out on the playlist above, if you haven’t already.

And so to wrap things up I’ll move onto the awards…

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BEST ALBUM

Music 2015 Best Album

It’s no secret to anyone who follows me on social media that I love Chvrches. I thought their previous album was brilliant and I wasn’t sure how they would follow it up. Thankfully ‘Every Open Eye‘ didn’t disappoint. Retaining their trademark sound but varying it enough to sound fresh, Chvrches delivered my album of the year.

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BEST SONG

Music 2015 Best Song

I had to think long on this one as there have been so many great tracks this year but the one I returned to over and over again was ‘Stonefist’ by Health. It’s an assault on the ears in the best possible way, a clarion call that keeps you hooked until the end.

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What you have you guys been listening to? Let me know of any albums I’ve missed or that you think are worth checking out!

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GregHorrorShow – The Music Of 2014

Music 2014 Main

2014 has been a really good year for music, with breakout albums from the likes of Sam Smith, Banks and Hozier. There have also been some great albums from returning artists and even a very interesting film soundtrack collaboration.

Like last year I’ve popped my recommended tracks onto a Spotify playlist that you can check out here:

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I really liked Katy B‘s original album from back in 2010 so I was excited to hear the follow up ‘Little Red’. Keeping a similar vibe to her previous material, I thought this was a good listen. Maybe not as good as her debut but a solid ‘difficult second album.’ From an initial listen (albeit while working) I didn’t click with Beck‘s ‘Morning Phase’ album until a second listen cemented it as being up there with the best of the year.

The Phantogram album is fantastic, with stand out tracks like ‘Fall In Love’ and ‘Black Out Days’ throughout. I was also lucky enough to see them play an in-store gig at Rough Trade which was awesome. St. Vincent delivered a great album and I’ve been told I must check her out live soon because her shows are astounding. I really enjoyed the Dan Croll album, which has some good, laid back, pop tracks.

Music 2014 St Vincent

I think my favourite band this year has been Broods, who released their album ‘Evergreen’ a few weeks ago. I love their sound and they are great live. The stand out track for me is ‘Bridges’ but it’s a very good album overall. Jessie Ware returned with her second album which is among the best released this year. Tracks like ‘Tough Love’ and ‘Pieces’ cement Jessie as one of the UK’s best artists at the moment. Another returning artist was Lana Del Rey who dropped Ultraviolence in the summer. While I didn’t think it was as strong as her debut album it was a good listen and tracks like Brooklyn Baby and West Coast were highlights.

Hozier kind of came out nowhere to become one of the biggest artists of the year, his album is great with, of course, ‘Take Me To Church’ being the stand out track. Sam Smith has one of the best vocal performances I’ve heard in the last few years – like Adele or Florence Welch. Backed up by some fantastic tracks, he’s only just getting started! I’ve listened to the Banks album plenty of times and it’s just a really strong collection of tracks. I was fortunate enough to see her live earlier in the year at Koko and she was excellent in the flesh.

Music 2014 Hudson

On the live front I was lucky enough to check out lots of gigs this year. Aside from Banks and Broods, who I mentioned earlier, the highlights for me were Irish duo Hudson Taylor, Lorde – who was amazing at Shepherds Bush Empire, Ella Eyre, Hawk House and Hozier.

Azealia Banks finally dropped her long overdue album ‘Broke With Expensive Taste’ and while there were plenty of people lining up to watch it crash and burn, she actually delivered a really good, solid album. Would definitely recommend. Royal Blood make a hell of a lot of noise for just two people and I thought their album was brilliant. I’ve always liked The Roots and their new album ‘And Then You Shoot Your Cousin’ is up there for me as some of their best stuff. A great listen from start to finish.

Music 2014 Vaults

Other albums I enjoyed this year came from Vaults, Death From Above 1979 and Ben Howard. Another good listen was the soundtrack to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One, curated by Lorde it had some great artists involved with some cool tracks as well.

I’m sure there are plenty of artists and albums I’ve missed in this round up but shout out in the comments if there’s anything great you’ve been listening to this year.

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GregHorrorShow: The Music Of 2013

Haim

Well, it’s been a great year for music again, with a host breakthrough acts and some great albums by established artists.

As usual I’ve popped my recommended tracks onto a Spotify playlist that you can check out HERE directly or embedded below.

I’ve only put one song from each artist but I’d recommend delving into the albums if you haven’t already 🙂

So here are the tracks that I’ve enjoyed in 2013, there are 38 in total so give them a listen:

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On the album front I’d give all of the above a try but there were some stand outs for me. Anyone who follows me on Twitter will have seen me raving about Haim from the get go and although we’d heard a big chunk of the album already as singles ‘Days Are Gone’ was probably my album of the year. Full of summery upbeat pop-rock it just clicked with me.

Despite being a bit heavy-handed lyric wise I also enjoyed the Frank Turner album and Laura Marling delivered a slightly lower key album than previously but it impressed me nonetheless.

Chvrches

Deap Vally’s was an album that I always recommend to people if they like that Queens Of The Stone Age/Eagles Of Death Metal sound. Both Disclosure and Chvrches had fantastic albums and breakout sensation Lorde gave us a great album in Pure Heroine.

I enjoyed the latest Eminem album as well, maybe not quite back to his best but some of it certainly felt in line with the original Marshall Mathers LP, which must’ve taken some doing! Most surprising album for me was 13, the new Black Sabbath offering. What a great rock album! If you like any of Sabbath’s previous stuff make sure you check this out.

As usual I made it to quite a few gigs this year – the two best for me were Black Sabbath and Haim. Sabbath at the O2 were just so good it was unbelievable – considering Ozzy’s long standing issues his vocals were great and it was a great experience, getting to see one of the most legendary rock bands ever. And with Haim, you can tell they’ve been playing music together for a *long* time! It was really tight and they put on a great show.

BlackSabbath

Deap Vally at The Scala were also excellent and even with lead singer Lauren Mayberry suffering from a heavy cold Chvrches gave a great account of themselves at Sheperd’s Bush Empire. I also saw Lana Del Rey at Hammersmith Apollo and she certainly knows how to put on a show for her fans. Mingling with those down at the front and posing for photos during the set!

So there you have it, a nice round up of 2013 and now we can look forward to seeing what 2014 delivers.

What have you guys been listening to this year? Any recommendations?

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GregHorrorShow: The Music Of 2012

NikiDove

2012 has been a pretty stellar year for music and a wealth of new bands have broken through. With streaming on Spotify (among others) blossoming, there has never been an easier way to uncover great, new music.

Here’s my pick of the best albums from 2012:

  • M.Ward – ‘A Wasteland Companion’
  • Lana Del Rey – ‘Born To Die’
  • Jake Bugg – ‘Jake Bugg’
  • Frank Ocean – ‘Channel Orange’
  • Ellie Goulding – ‘Halcyon’
  • Of Monsters And Men – ‘My Head Is An Animal’
  • Niki And The Dove – ‘Instinct’
  • Ladyhawke – ‘Anxiety’
  • Citizens! – ‘Here We Are’
  • Gaggle – ‘From The Mouth Of The Cave’

I don’t think I could pick one favourite if I’m honest. M.Ward ‘A Wasteland Companion’ is a truly superb piece of work. Of Monsters And Men delivered a great set of tracks with an album that grabs you immediately.

Channel Orange‘, for me, is the best R&B album in years – this was one of the albums that soundtracked my summer in 2012. For something totally fresh and out of leftfield give the Gaggle album a spin. I saw them live earlier in the year and it was a great gig. The album does it’s best to convey that ‘live’ vibe and it’s a cool bunch of tracks.

JakeBugg

Many have said it’s over-produced but I loved the Lana Del Rey album, it’s pure pop and very well written. Jake Bugg is a stunning talent and still so young. He is getting the recognition he deserves and his album is one you should definitely check out.

Albums that didn’t make the top ten but deserve an honorable mention would be Django Django‘s ‘Django Django’ (wonderful Hot Chip-esque pop), The Maccabees ‘Given To The Wild’, Cast Of Cheers ‘Family’, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs ‘Trouble’ (worth checking out even if you don’t like electronic stuff), 2:54 ‘2:54’, ‘Give You Ghost’ Policia, Theme Park ‘Theme Park’ (I dare you to listen to this and not wish it was summer!), Two Door Cinema Club ‘Beacon’, Soundgarden ‘Been Away Too Long’ (a real return to form in my opinion) and Kindness ‘Kindness’ (barring a poor cover choice of ‘Anyone Can Fall In Love’ this is great).

It would be remiss of me, given the gaming content on this blog, not to mention a couple of outstanding game scores from 2012. I would highly recommend checking out Health‘s ‘Max Payne 3’ score (here) and also the awesome ‘Drive’-inspired ‘Hotline Miami‘ soundtrack (here). High quality stuff.

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Once again I’ve collated my favourite tracks into a Spotify playlist which can be found here if you’re interested:

GregHorrorShow: The Music Of 2012

My tracks of 2012 (in no order) are as follows:

  • ‘Family’ – Cast Of Cheers
  • ‘National Anthem’ – Lana Del Rey
  • ‘Black, White and Blue’ – Ladyhawke
  • ‘True Romance’ – Citizens!
  • ‘To Be The Best’ – Tenacious D
  • ‘Lightning Bolt’ – Jake Bugg
  • ‘Me and My Shadow’ – M.Ward
  • ‘Little Talks’ – Of Monsters and Men
  • ‘Somebody’ – Niki And The Dove
  • ‘American Dream Pt II’ – Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
  • ‘Boy’ (Hostage Remix) – Nina Nesbitt
  • ‘Default’ – Django Django
  • ‘Dark Star’ – Policia
  • ‘Super Rich Kids’ – Frank Ocean
  • ‘Jamaica’ – Theme Park
  • ‘Lovers Of The Light’ – Mumford And Sons
  • ‘Sleep Alone’ – Two Door Cinema Club
  • ‘Figure 8’ – Ellie Goulding
  • ‘House Of Balloons’ – Weeknd
  • ‘212’ – Azealia Banks
  • ‘Pickup Truck’ – Willy Mason

It’s even more difficult to pick your favourite track than it is album but the one that has bought me the most joy this year is definitely ‘Me and My Shadow‘ by M.Ward. It’s just such a great song – nice structure and the introduction of the female vocal in the chorus is a great touch.

MWard

I saw some really good gigs this year. I already mentioned Gaggle above and I was lucky enough to see Nina Nesbitt at Dingwall’s in Camden, I suspect she’ll have a big year ahead in 2013.

Some of my other favourites were Of Monsters And Men at Scala, which was brilliantly intimate and M.Ward who had a great, tight band with him and put on a great show at Koko.

I enjoyed Michael Kiwanuka at Sheperd’s Bush Empire but that night was stolen by support act Jake Bugg, who was the best artist I saw live in 2012. The sheer effortlessness of Bugg’s performance was insane as he rocketed his way the set. Amazing stuff.

So there we go – check out the playlist (link here again) and let me know what you think – and what you’ve been listening to/loving in 2012 – in the comments below.

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GregHorrorShow: The Music of 2011

2011 has been a bumper year for music with lots of strong albums and plenty of great tracks.

Here are my recommendations:

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ALBUMS

  • ‘Circuital’ – My Morning Jacket
  • ‘A Creature I Don’t Know’ – Laura Marling
  • ‘Yuck’ – Yuck
  • ‘On A Mission’ – Katy B
  • ‘Welcome Reality’ – Nero
  • ‘Volume 2’ – She and Him
  • ‘A Different Type Of Fix’ – Bombay Bicycle Club

Katy B, who had one of my singles of last year, dropped her album early in the year and what a great one it was. Like taking a trip back to my younger days 🙂 And that trend of old skool 90’s style tunage continued with Nero – although they added a huge dubstep influence as well.

Laura Marling returned again with ‘A Creature I Don’t Know’ which is another wonderful slice of folk. She and Him ‘Volume 2’ arrived last year but I only heard it in the summer so it makes my list (and if you’re feeling festive their Christmas album is great as well).

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TRACKS

  • ‘DJ Ease My Mind’ – Niki And The Dove
  • ‘Goldstar’ – Cashier No.9
  • ‘Old Pine’ – Ben Howard
  • ‘Blue Eyes’ – Ladyhawke
  • ‘Scarlet’ – 2:54
  • ‘Be Your Man’ – Willy Moon
  • ‘Pelican’ – The Maccabees
  • ‘Young Blood’ – Naked And Famous
  • ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.’ – Noah And The Whale
  • ‘Holdin’ On To Black Metal’ – My Morning Jacket
  • ‘Crush On You’ – Nero
  • ‘Down With The Trumpets’ – Rizzle Kicks

Wow so much awesome stuff to get through – where to start? Well while Ladyhawke is poised to return in 2012 I was lucky enough to hear some new tracks with the stand out for me being ‘Blue Eyes’ – check out this link to see a live performance.

Rizzle Kicks, who were astounding live – definitely check them out, had a smash with ‘Down With The Trumpets’ and Naked and Famous ‘Young Blood’ was everywhere at one stage. Willy Moon looks like one to watch, with his retro, 50’s sound. And check out his dance moves.

In terms of other new bands I’d recommend both Niki and The Dove and Cashier No.9, along with 2:54. My Morning Jacket struck gold in my opinion with ‘Holdin’ Onto Black Metal’ but at the moment I am loving the new Maccabees track ‘Pelican’.

Like last year I’ve put together as many of these tracks as possible on Spotify, so if you have that then head over HERE to have a listen through.

So there we go some tunes for you to check out, as usual throw any recommendations you have my way in the comments.

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GregHorrorShow: The Music of 2010

So it’s time for the musical instalment of my look back at the year.

I’ve broken this down into tracks and albums, with recommendations for each – in no particular order:

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ALBUMS

 

  • Ellie Goulding – ‘Lights’
  • Laura Marling – ‘I Speak Because I Can’
  • Kanye West – ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’
  • The Courteeners – ‘Falcon’
  • Johnny Flynn – ‘Been Listening’
  • Red Dead Redemption OST
  • Mumford And Sons – ‘Sigh No More’
  • Detroit Social Club – ‘Existence’

Lots of great albums this year, with Laura Marling and Ellie Goulding being stand outs for me – along of course with the Red Dead Redemption soundtrack. Kanye West makes a late appearance with what could be, in my opinion, his best album yet ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.’ The Courteeners and Detroit Social Club bring a little UK swagger to proceedings, it’s been a great year for UK music overall.

 

TRACKS

 

  • Katy B – ‘Katy On A Mission’
  • Eminem Feat. Pink – ‘Won’t Back Down’
  • Jose Gonzalez – ‘Far Away’
  • B.o.B Feat. Hayley Williams – ‘Airplanes’
  • Blood Red Shoes – ‘Don’t Ask’
  • Ellie Goulding – ‘Starry Eyed’ (Jakwob Remix)
  • Taio Cruz – ‘Dynamite’
  • Jamie Woon – ‘Night Air’
  • Metric – ‘Help, I’m Alive’
  • Mumford And Sons – ‘Little Lion Man’
  • Fan Death – ‘Phantom Sensation’
  • Interpol – ‘Barricade’
  • Crystal Castles Feat. Robert Smith – ‘Not In Love’
  • Johnny Flynn – ‘Barnacled Warship’
  • Chase and Status Feat. Liam Bailey – ‘Blind Faith’
  • Detroit Social Club – ‘Kiss The Sun’ 

Again some great stuff out this year but my track of the year has to be Katy B ‘Katy On A Mission.’ Totally reminds me of my younger days listening to dance music and this track presses all the right buttons for me. I’m a Paramore fan anyway so with Hayley Williams featuring on B.o.B’s ‘Airplanes‘ I was always likely to give that a spin.

Eminem was back on form and his track ‘Won’t Back Down’ with Pink was the highlight of his album for me.

Best remix has to go to Jakwob for his huge mix on Ellie Goulding’s ‘Starry Eyed.’ Incidentally Ellie was the best gig I’ve seen this year – at Shepherd’s Bush Empire she put on a great show.

Taio Cruz wouldn’t normally be my first choice but ‘Dynamite’ is a great tune. I know I’m late on Metric as that was last year but I heard it in 2010 and if you haven’t heard any of their stuff check them out – a vastly underated band.

Fan Death could be one to watch, ‘Phantom Sensation’ is a brilliant little track. A touch of genius from Crystal Cstles to get Robert Smith involved – consequently ‘Not In Love’ comes off as a stunning tune.

‘Blind Faith’ by Chase and Status, with the vocal talents of Liam Bailey, is a haunting track with a great sound and likewise ‘Night Air’ by Jamie Woon delivers something different.

Overall a strong mix of genres and tracks have meant 2010 has been another brilliant year for music.

I’ve put together as many of these tracks as possible on Spotify, so if you have that then head over HERE to have a listen through.

Roll on 2011!

So there we go some tunes for you to check out, as usual throw any recommendations you have my way in the comments.

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