The Music Venue Trust has just launched a new initiative to try and help at least 556 grassroots music venues around the UK that are in danger of shutting their doors for good (like Bush Hall, pictured above, which has been my local venue pretty much most of my adult life) as a result of the Corona Virus lockdown.
Head on over to the Save Our Venues National Campaign Crowdfunder and try to support with whatever you can. These smaller venues have to stay open so we can continue nurturing the quality of home-grown talent that the world has come to expect from UK.
“The UK live music industry is staring into the abyss right now. I’m not able to save the whole thing on my own, but I decided to do a series of livestream shows to raise money for specific independent venues that I know and love, and that are in serious risk of disappearing right now. The success of these shows demonstrated the love that exists between music fans and their favourite grassroots music venues so the #saveourvenues campaign is a brilliant way of building on that and hopefully giving artists and music fans a chance to get involved and play a big part in helping them survive.” – Frank Turner
Moyka carries a powerful synth pop sound in a way that Norwegian talent only can. Watching this kid live felt like a polished cross between Robyn and Ingrid, only with a naivete charm which makes the whole sound so unique.
I think I speak on behalf of a lot of people around the world when I say that this year was messy. I don’t know about you, but for me, nothing seemed to be straightforward over the last twelve months. So this year’s Random List should be interesting…
Astrid S – Emotion. I have surprised with myself on this one. Since it’s release a couple of months ago it’s had 110 plays. I like the idea that the song balances between a retro and kitsch vibe and spins it into a more current twist with a soulful edge. Then there was the (bonkers) performance of the song on Norway’s equivalent of the Brits which gave it another fresh take…
This has been the year for Troye Sivan. We started 2018 with this understated pop banger and the hits came through over the next twelve months. Managing to balance commercial pop with the slickest delivery, I really can’t wait to see what’s next for this kid.
I haven’t had the time to go out as much in 2018 but if there’s one gig that’s stuck with me then it has to be Daniel Adams-Ray (also known as ‘Human’ and one half of ‘Snook’) earlier this month. He’s unheard of outside of Scandinavia since most of his hits are in Swedish, but he is one of the reasons why I fell in love with Scandi music as a kid. In a venue almost entirely full of Swedish millennials in east London, his setlist spanned his entire career and more than anything made me realise that: A – I am weird, and B – that Swedes still push pop’s boundaries pretty hard.
MOST UNDERRATED K-POP BANGER
(G)I-DLE – HANN. In what’s been K-Pop’s breakthrough year, this one song didn’t get as much love as I think it should have. I know it’s been viewed 38-million times on YouTube, but that’s barely anything for the genre these days. Anyway – it’s a strong pop track with a strong essence of melancholy that you wouldn’t expect from K-Pop.
BIGGEST SUCCESS STORY
TEN Music Group. For those of you who aren’t too familiar with Swedish pop, TEN is the powerhouse behind Zara Larsson (and damn, what a huge year she’s had). Take a look at their other roster of artists because I genuinely believe they are the new wave of Scandinavian talent… Keep an eye on Felix Sandman‘s unique vibe in particular…
Jeremy Zucker.While still relatively unknown, I have nothing but total love for this talent. Give the track above a spin, it’s really quite special.
Female Soloists! This was the year we saw talents like Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande, Zara Larsson, Rosalia, Robyn make a huge impact. Not only through the release of consistent hits, but also through reminding us that we can all be strong even through turbulent times that make us vulnerable.
MOST DESERVING OF A BIG BREAK
Grace Carter. While Grace has been put on the longlist for BBC’s Sound of 2019, I’m not sure how likely she is to win it in January 2019. I, however, would love to see her become a huge success over the next twelve months.
And that, friends, is the Random List for the year. I can’t wait to keep sharing new music with you, and as always, thank you for following the site!
For previous editions of The Random List, head here.
The reason the photo above sucks is because watching Swedish pop institution Daniel Adams-Ray perform alongside his new outfit HUMAN in London last night got energetic and bonkers so fast that the whole set barely stayed still the whole evening.
Blending a mix of well-known hits alongside some new material from the latest record ‘IRL’ to a sold-out crowd, this was one of the best acts to watch live from Sweden this year.
I haven’t been to watch newcomers at Gold Dust for quite some time but it was great to finally go back to see that this showcase evening still has some of the most promising talent out there. I caught a stripped-back set from Denmark’s Ea Kaya, which was delivered beautifully. Other acts included the (amazing) ASHS, Curtis Walsh and Average Joe.
Norwegian super-duo Lemaitre hosted an intimate Q&A and short set this evening inside London’s YouTube Space, ahead of their gig with Dagny tomorrow at Heaven. If you’re in London and haven’t got a ticket yet – get one!
Now in it’s sixth edition (yep… I’ve been around that long), my Random List seems to be the most visited post on this blog every ear.
Due to life being hectic I haven’t had much time to reflect on the last twelve months much, but I feel that while people are claiming new music is losing it’s direction – well, it’s good to shake things up every so often.
I’ve found myself mostly being drawn to pop in 2017, although there was a lack of those ‘massive’ hit singles that we usually see in previous years. Nonetheless, credit given where it’s deserved…
Banger Of The Year
The older I get, the more I start to dig Justin Bieber. I don’t know why. It is what it is. I think this is one of the best radio hits of the year.
Norway (they managed this accolade back in 2015 as well). I mean it couldn’t be anywhere else this year. In the last year we’ve seen some excellent music from Astrid S, Sigrid, Dagny, dePresno, Smerz… The country even has it’s own museum dedicated to pop (it’s the cool building you see up there). That’s saying something. Check out my full list of Norwegian talent here.
ALMA! Finnish talent has never been so exciting! The hair’s even got it’s own (amazing) song.
Most Tear-Jerking Music Moment
Portugal’s Salvador Sobral winning Eurovision this year. Whatever you think of this TV show, the kid (who was struggling with heart problems) single handedly commanded a huge arena and a whole world to listen to this blissful and simple melody.
Best Track Not Sung In English
Cezinando’s ‘Håper du har plass’ is undoubtedly my most loved song of the year. Entirely in Norwegian (see, Norway getting another mention on the same List), this mellow hip hop sound mixed with some strings had me emotional all the way through. I still feel warm when I listen to it now. And it took his home country by storm too. Just look at the love from the crowd on this…
Jessie Reyez put on a very short set at London’s tiny Miranda venue back in May this year, and the buzz in the room was inspiring. Powerful vocals, intensely sharp lyrics and beautiful melodies.
Most Played On My iTunes
Yep – Swedish music had to make an entry on this list somewhere. I honestly don’t know what the deal is with We The Kids aside from the fast that they released this great piece of Scandi pop earlier in the year, and that they came from the Tenacity label which is run by mega-important Swedish production company Ten. Believe it or not, this clocked up 170 plays on my iTunes since July so I really hope more comes in 2018!
Likely To Be Huge In 2018
This is a tricky one because there’s a few on my radar. I think a safe bet will be the UK’s Tom Walker. I’ve seen him live a few times this year and I honestly think he has great mainstream appeal.
But I also want to mention a Danish talent called Maximillian, who’s been on my radar for some time and I can’t fault any of his releases to date…
And there we have it! I hope you’re all as excited as I am about the next twelve months, and thank you for logging on and enjoying the music that I post – it gives me so much life!
For previous editions of The Random List, head here.
After catching Ady Suleiman this evening at London’s Jazz Cafe, all I can say is it seems this kid has managed to garner a cult-like following of happy fans right now… One of the best shows of the year!