This week’s Seven Plays sees another awkward time for me, not because I couldn’t find tracks, but more that I couldn’t decide which track by which artist to include. Take MRo, a female producer and vocalist; her stuff is so great and so varied that I essentially had to pull together a panel to help me choose. What you see now before you is the result of a lot of grimacing, whining, and rearranging. I’m pretty pleased with it, and I reckon you will be too.
Check out the full playlist here, or scroll on down for a track-by-track.
Fredericks – George Clinton’ll Sort It
A member of one of the South West’s most prolific Hip Hop collectives, MK Cultured, Fredericks is without doubt one of the classiest producers I’ve heard, and that’s not just South West-centric. Employing layered jazz and instrumental samples and working them hard throughout, Fredericks achieves the kind of soulful, mellow jam so many try to make and frankly, fail at miserably. With a piano hook more effective than expensive angling equipment, you’ll be feeling ‘George Clinton’ll Sort It’ for hours after the event.
Check out Fredericks’ Soundcloud here
MRo – Factory
This is one of those brilliant tracks that lures you into a false sense of security before leaping on your back like a deranged munchkin. Opening with that delicate, eerie piano line, the thrumming bass leads you into the equally matched snap of the beat and MRo’s ( or Maddie Rose Davidge as she’s actually known) fragmented, circuitous and stunning vocals. Sticking to one line, she weaves it in and out of underwater piano, orchestral settings and the sheer appetite of the beats in the final third. After the debacle of last week’s lady-less spectacle and this week’s comments by Jackmaster on the rife sexism not only in the music industry, but to female producers in particular, MRo am I happy to see you.
Check out MRo’s Soundcloud here
Find MRo’s Youtube Channel here
Ryan Keen X Yeah Boy – Guidance
This track was a real Uploader surprise. Having never heard of Ryan Keen I had no expectations. Those non-expectations were still blown out of the water. With a sound like a lighter Jack Garratt, the soulful vocals of a Garratt/Ben Howard (with whom Ryan has already toured) hybrid and the hooks of an imminent success, ‘Gratitude’ is astounding. There’s a moment in the bridge when the fullness of the verses gives way to the sparsity of an XX style riff, driving the title line into a stunning crescendo as refreshing as a wave breaking on a hot beach. I figure that aspect’ll be a pretty welcome factor when it’s a major summer hit, which, having toured with not only the aforementioned Ben Howard but also Ed Sheeran not once but twice, seems like a fairly safe bet. Be that smug person in the know: put him in your playlists now.
Keep up to date with what Ryan’s up to on his website
Follow Ryan on Twitter
Check out his Soundcloud here
Twiggy – Time Alone (Radio Edit)
It’s kind of rare to find Hip Hop in the Uploader that isn’t really overproduced. It’s easy to see where the temptation lies; mainstream music’s oversaturated with these over-polished, over edited and overzealous tracks which go down so well blasting from a cruiser or from some branded hat shop. Twiggy though manages to maintain restraint, barely rapping over a haunting simple synth and percussion track. While the radio edit will definitely be necessary for the show, Twiggy’s taking Devon’s urban scene in exactly the right direction.
Empty Eyes – Eat Up
If I were in charge of Urban Outfitters’ playlist, I’d probably just play ‘Eat Up’. Whether Will AKA former BBC Introducing DJ/Producer of the Month Empty Eyes thinks this is a decent shout or not is beyond me, but ‘Eat Up’ just makes me yearn for the days of looking horribly cool as a student in London (the latter part’s true, the former very much up for debate). Pulsating, brooding, and with the sort of beat that makes you look like you’ve just done some mandy whether you have or not, ‘Eat Up’ is sneakily huge. With support for Empty Eyes already flooding in from the likes of Monki, it’s looking like this House wunderkind is going places. Oh, and if you like this, check out his Elephant Mixes on the link below. They’re pretty good.
Check out Empty Eyes’ Soundcloud here
Keep up to date with everything Empty Eyes here
Double Denim – Ian
I first saw Double Denim play at our BBC Introducing Invades UPSU night. Admittedly I wasn’t, at the point of their headline slot, entirely sober, but I was still completely blown away. Not only is their music good to the point of absurdity, but front-woman Chelsea is perhaps one of the most mesmerising performers I’ve ever watched. Completely submerged in and besotted by the music, she’s captivating on a Karen O level. Reasonably, I didn’t think this could be captured on record. Instead, what we see with ‘Ian’ is just as with previous single ‘Discotheque’: a track which seems to live autonomously, constantly lurking on the quiet side of a howl. Sounding like the beauty of Beach House mingled with some of the eclectic madness of Los Campesinos, Double Denim are without doubt one of the most exciting, diverse and authentically brilliant bands in Devon right now.
Watch the official video for ‘Ian’ here
Check out Double Denim’s Soundcloud here
PATRONS – The Art Of Conversation
If you’re in the first few seconds of the track, I apologise. You might still be deluded, but this isn’t a mellow tune. Instead ‘The Art of Conversation'(a disconcertingly polite title to match the subtle opening) takes everything that PATRONS do so well and spreads it across 3:15 of cathartic bliss; the huge riffs, the plaintive howls of vocalist Danny and perhaps most importantly, the sheer dynamic range. A track which sounds like the embodiment of ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’, what starts out as almost a warped rock ballad of discontent soon becomes the screams of the disenfranchised with a full hard rock tempest to back it up. Affecting and almost terrifyingly cathartic, PATRONS are a testament to proper Rock done right, and I for one can’t wait to see what the album brings.
Check out the official video for ‘The Art of Conversation’ here