London – Welcome to a new feature in which we recap some of the week’s music highlights.
The week kicked off with the 59th annual Grammy Awards. Adele and Beyonce may have hogged the headlines but it was good to see some Best New Bands alumni get among the mainstream plaudits. It was second time lucky as two-time nominee Cage The Elephant (above) received its first Grammy for Best Rock Album for its 2015 album, Tell Me I’m Pretty. Chance The Rapper went even better when picking up no less than three Grammys: Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance (“No Problem”) and Best Rap Album for Coloring Book. In doing so the fiercely unsigned Chance became the first Grammy-winning act to triumph without selling physical product, following a relaxation of the rules to allow albums just released on streaming services to qualify.
Twenty One Pilots scooped Best Pop Duo/Group Performance with “Stressed Out” eclipsing the much-fancied mega hit, “Work” from Drake and Rihanna. The duo celebrated by collecting the Grammy in their underpants declaring that the award was proof that “anyone from anywhere can do anything”. Yes, even drop trousers.
Following its breakthrough with 2013’s If You Dare, UK trio London Grammar signalled its return when dropping two sparkling new songs, “Rooting For You” and “Big Picture,” in January and February. This week the band comprising Hannah Reid, Dot Major and Dan Rothman announced two special live shows at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever in Los Angeles on 27 February and New York City’s Good Room on (2 March). A string of summer festival dates is also on the horizon.
Ahead of the release of her greatly anticipated debut album, Golden Eagle, on 3 March, Holly Macve has shared her video for the lovelorn “Heartbreak Blues” which pitches the 21 year old Irish born and Yorkshire bred singer-songwriter into inevitable comparisons with the likes of the great Patsy Cline. There is a surety to her vocal delivery that belies her years and a tone that will set hearts racing. Holly Macve is performing at SXSW in March before embarking on a headline UK tour with her band in April.
Another act with a debut full-length in the offing is Swedish indie pop quartet Hater. The new cut “Cry Later” is the third single from the band’s upcoming debut album You Tried, which is out on 10 March. The song is an atmospheric piece with singer Caroline Landahl‘s yearning vocal adding a certain fragility above a disconcerting, shrill guitar groove.
Belfast, Northern Ireland duo New Portals has premiered the video for new single ‘Stereo’, the title track of its debut EP due on 10 March to coincide with a show at SXSW. The staccato song is a wistful take on blossoming young love with an unusual and faintly irresistible electronic hook. Graffiti lovers as well as fans of Irish woodland and coast may find something in the video to cheer too.
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Tony’s great passion in life is music and nothing gives him more pleasure than unearthing good, original new music and championing independent musicians. His association with Best New Bands brings great opportunities for this. He also writes for Consequence of Sound and is a judge for Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent Competition.
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