In addition to being part of easylaughs, I am an absolute and unapologetic music nerd. I love music, it feeds my soul. I may be in my thirties, but I've managed to avoid the cliché opinion that all of the best music ever made happened to be made during my late teenage years. I have written for music magazines such as All Things Loud, Drowned In Sound, Clash, and Scenestr, and since moving to the Netherlands have become an occasional curator for KINK.
Every week scores or releases for genre-splicing artists are released. As the entry point for recording gets lower and cheaper all of the time, voices and styles are able to realise more and more ambitious ideas. If you're not finding amazing new music, that's on you, and maybe some of these tracks will convince you otherwise. Here we go, in reverse order, from 10 to 1.
10. Vadou Game - Zorromi
Genuinely could not stop listening to this album from the moment I heard this song. Absolutely cannot get enough of the afrofunk style splicing, and Peter Solo's wild variation in vocal delivery just takes it to another level. I started an easylaughs warm-up once doing a diamond dance to this song and just couldn't bring myself to stop it short.
9. SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE - THE SERVER IS IMMERSED
It took me a while to get through the intensity of ideas on ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH from Spirit of the Beehive, but right from the start THE SERVER IS IMMERSED stuck out as a highlight. It's lo-fi electro-psych invokes an unsettling vibe that feels like you're idley flicking through late-night TV channels as a figure watches you from the window. Powerful stuff.
8. LUMP - Animal
I've had a soft spot for Laura Marling's music for years, but it's with this collaboration with Mike Lindsay under the name "LUMP" that she sounds more vital than ever. Stripped of the usual complexity of her music, the main synth line that underpins the song is enough to bring you back to this song time and time again. If you like this one, I recommend checking out the whole album.
7. Self Esteem - I Do This All The Time
This song has been so popular in the UK in the last few months to the point of over-saturation, but the benefit of living in The Netherlands means that to me it still feels as powerful as when I first heard it. Rebecca Lucy Taylor is a feminist icon, and her last two albums have been absolute masterpieces in honest self-expression and just happen to be absolute bangers too.
6. Cheekface - "Listen To Your Heart." "No."
What can I say, I've got a soft spot for slacker indie rock. Yes, I like Pavement, and now, yes I like Cheekface. The acerbic simplicity of this just does it for me, and the more attention drawn to frontman Greg Katz's lyrics the better in my opinion. It's not on this song, but the line "And is con man really short for condiment man?" is by far my favourite lyric I've heard in years.
5. Benny The Butcher - Flood The Block
I am neither a boxer nor a wrestler, but if my life had taken a different path where this were the case, then this would absolutely be my walk on music. Sorry Ghostface, I know you've held that spot for years, almost pipped by Run The Jewels but not quite, but that moment that this song kicks in is pure gold. It's only two minutes long because it doesn't need to be any longer. Want more? Play it again.
4. Jazmine Sullivan - Put It Down
I couldn't get over this EP when it came out at the start of the year. Every single song is absolutely choice. It's got more than its share of skits, but deserves every one to make space for the sheer volume of classics on there. I've chosen this one because it feels a little dirtier than the rest, but pick any song off this EP and prepare yourself for something amazing.
3. John Grant - Rhetorical Figure
I love how wilfully weird John Grant gets at times, and when this little slice of Devo popped up on his latest album, I couldn't stop doing ridiculous dances to it. On one drunken evening I tried to convince my fiance to come up with a choreographed dance routine with it. It was going well until we started to feel a bit sick from it all. If you have a soft-spot for cheesy 80s synth pop, then look no further than this one and join me in my quest for the perfect choreography.
2. Wolf Alice - Delicious Things
I'd always had Wolf Alice down as one of those "they're alright" bands with a few good songs here and there, but nothing too exciting. Then they released the album Blue Weekend this year and I take it all back. It has ambition on a Fleetwood Mac - Rumours scale, and has so many highs it's hard to keep track. This is only the second track on the album with a choral vocal performance that transcends space and time. The anthemic way it ebbs and flows is masterful, I still cannot believe this is the same band. Good for them.
1. Genesis Owusu - Waitin' on Ya
I'd never heard of Genesis Owusu before this year, and now Spotify informs me he's my most played artist of the year. The best thing about the Australian's debut album isn't how perfect it is, it's about how many risks it takes. It's exciting to hear an artist trying out so many different styles, throwing different things out there and so many of them landing perfectly. This isn't one of the singles, but it's a personal favourite with an addictive groove that you could sit with for hours. Just amazing.