If you cast your mind back to late last year, you might remember me talking about how I wanted to diversify the content of the blog in the new year. This post will hopefully be the start of that; a run-down of all the things I heard AND saw in the month of January that made it...a little less shitty than January usually is.
Usually, January isn't really up to much on the new music front, perhaps with the exception of 1 or two records...but not this year. Last month saw the release of 5 great records, all of which I expect to see on my year-end list. Chairlift's Moth is without a doubt the best pop record I've heard since Grimes' Art Angels, in fact I'd consider the two records to be on-par with each other at this point. Moth contains the perfect balance of hook-laden uptempos (Moth to the Flame, Romeo, Ch-Ching, Show U Off) and shimmering ballads (Crying In Public, Unfinished Business). An absolute stunner of a record.
Blouse frontwoman Charlie Hilton also released her debut solo album last month, the beautifully-titled Palana. The album is packed with gorgeous indie-pop with bubbling synth-led production, the track 'Pony' is my personal favourite. Extra props to Charlie for her epic twitter handle (@Palanadelrey), and of course the gorgeous artwork. Speaking of which, I also enjoyed the new Daughter album Not To Disappear, although not as much as their debut.
Another sophomore album that was released last month was Savages' Adore Life, which saw a more uplifted and optimistic side of the band, but with all the stoicism and badassery that I've come to expect from them. And finally, the long-awaited debut album from Spanish four-piece Hinds also impressed me, but something tells me that I won't truly appreciate it until the summer.
(Image courtesy of Orla Dunlop)
For many music fans across the world, January was a month of sadness and mourning, for we lost one of the greatest artists of all time - David Bowie. As a South Londoner myself, I had the privilege of hoping on the bus into Brixton in order to view the magnificent mural in person. I could not think of a better tribute for the legend than that, it's a must-see if you're ever in the area.
The social enterprise
Also last month, I had the pleasure of attending the Top Drawer exhibition at London's Kensington Olympia. For those of you who don't know, Top Drawer is a trade show which showcases brand new and exclusive products to buyers and retailers before anyone else, and has become somewhat of a nerdy family tradition for me.
As a lover of the arts, I found it highly encouraging to see so many upcoming designer-makers all in one space. The stall I was most impressed by was the Turner Prize-winning collective Assemble, who recently gained traction for their Granby Workshop project on Liverpool. What was unique about their products was the incredible backstory behind them; the Granby Workshop is a social enterprise in which high-quality home wares are designed and sold to fund the restoration of homes in Granby, Liverpool. As a budding social entrepreneur myself, seeing two of my greatest passions combined in such an innovative way was inspiring. I also loved how they were conscious to train and employ local young people, something I feel a lot of social enterprises fail to do.
Find out more about the workshop here: http://www.granbyworkshop.co.uk/
Stay tuned for more reviews and another monthly round-up!