We Can Beat Them, Forever And Ever.

This morning I wake to really sad news as the enigmatic, always endearing icon of the past 40 years of music has passed. Rest in Peace, David Bowie.

I see true heart-break at his passing from friends and Twitter looks so in sync right now that its almost poignantly beautiful that the world in a rare moment joins together, in this instance to celebrate a genius.

I’m writing a quick blog post because I have something to say that doesn’t fit 140 characters. I really want in my life at some point to have my Bowie phase. I distinctly remember collecting all of his albums before moving to University years ago but I never got round to having the time to play them. I’ve of course familiarised myself heavily with the hit records that will be now forever timeless, but I’m not yet a Bowie super-fan by any stretch.

I am however a super-fan of Heroes. It’s saved me from awfully dark places, as recently as Saturday night (this is Monday morning). It’s ironic that so much of Bowie’s might is on his song-writing and lyricism but for me it’s the enormous wall of sound on Heroes that is, in my opinion, the most powerful piece of music ever written, and I mean that as a final thing, I lock that in as an opinion.
Everything about the way that the music meanders up in pitch does the same to every inch of my well-being, it makes me feel more alive. And when I’ve been down, a lot more recently than usual, I’ve been listening to Heroes a lot. I’ve been doing this for years when I don’t feel so good about things. I listen to Heroes when I feel small or feel insecure about my place in the world. It fills me with hope.
So when I heard today, I made sure I got out of bed and listened to Heroes.

So thank you David Bowie. I’ll appreciate you much more when I’m older I’m sure, but thank you for your timelessness in living and now in death. You’ll never really die though, your music is forever.

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Review: The Hateful Eight

Quentin Tarantino brings us his eighth film to kick off cinema in 2016 with his second Western, The Hateful Eight. The film, which boasts a fantastic ensemble cast led by Samuel L Jackson and Kurt Russell, tells the story of a group snowed in at Minnie’s Haberdashery during a blizzard in a time following the American Civil War. At the centre of this group is a bounty hunter, John Ruth (Russell), bringing the evil and unhinged Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to hang. However, the company at Minnie’s have a fair few secrets and not everybody is who they seem.

I’ll state from the get go that I am part of Tarantino’s cult following, albeit that’s a pretty majority cult following. Therefore when we get a new film from the film-maker, for me it’s event cinema. It’s a matter of needing to go to see the new Quentin film. Based on what I’d seen advertised for The Hateful Eight I was expecting a movie that would fill my Tarantino fix but not change the game. Thankfully for me that’s pretty much what you get.

There is a lot to love here. For one the writing is as usual superb. There’s been much speak of the script’s overuse of racial abuse, a common theme from Django Unchained, but to me it’s a hard truth as I’m sure language and people’s beliefs were as horrid and blunt in the Old West as Tarantino presents them. The story told is one that doesn’t present anything overly original but does put a nice spin on how to portray tension. I think John Carpenter’s The Thing is an easy comparison to make as our group are paranoid and threatening each other through-out. Quentin’s direction was fine and there were many great shots but the film is a bit too long (it does feature an intermission at screenings) featuring some landscape shots early on that might have been avoided. Dialogue is where The Hateful Eight succeeds and I was happy to sit through 33 minutes of set-up for our four main characters before they arrive at Minnie’s.

However the film may be more remembered by great performances over how the story plays out. The action and gratuitous violence is effect-less, the gore fun but again, nothing original.
Whilst not a direct lead, most of the screentime falls upon Major Marquis Warren (Jackson) who is a Civil War veteran turned bounty hunter. He winds up at the Haberdashery and caught in the action due to hitching a ride with Ruth, driver O.B (James Parks) and Daisy. Joining him in hitching a ride is Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins) who professes he is the new mayor of Redrock, the town that our company are headed for. At their stop they meet hangman Oswaldo Mowbray (Tim Roth), Cow Puncher John Gage (Michael Madsen), Senior Bob (Damian Bechir) and the old War veteran General Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern). All have their place in the film and have an air of mystery about them, like a Western version of Cluedo.
Jackson does steal the show with a few monologues to rival his work in Pulp Fiction but his character is a bit slimy. Tim Roth works wonders with an overly enthusiastic English accent to give him just an edge of happy dread. Again though, this weirdness makes him a bit slimy. I will say though, despite not being perfect, it was great to see Goggins given so much work and emphasis in a large film as normally he is a backing player with much to hate about all of his characters.
This is one of the issues with the film however. Despite all of them giving fantastic performances, none have sympathy. I wanted honesty and somebody to root for but as madness and chaos unfolded, the only person who’s morals I could trust was the despicable Daisy Domergue – at least I knew from the get go she was evil. It must be said too that Leigh’s performance, which at times is hysterical but at others demented, makes her a very strong contender for best supporting actress at the Oscars.

All in all, The Hateful Eight isn’t special. It’s a decent instalment in a timeless legend’s line of movies. If you’re a fan of Tarantino go and see it, you’ll most likely have a good time at the movies. With the help of Ennio Morricone’s score (because if you’re doing a Western, who else do you want to score your movie) this film is very tense, sometimes in places it doesn’t even need to be. With strong performances all around and some fairly shocking twists, Tarantino has brought a paranoid, deadly bottle episode of sorts to the silver screen in his second, but hopefully final Western.

The First Great Song Of 2016 Is…

It is the 6th January 2016 and for the past six days I have been watching the net like a hawk ready for the first record to drop that makes me smile, nod and shout YUP very loudly. I’ve had numerous records I’ve liked this year so far but nothing has felt worthy of the title; “The First Great Song Of 2016″…Until now. The first great song of 2016 is Adore by Savages.

Four piece indie punk group Savages are returning at the end of the month with the follow up to their 2013 debut album Silence Yourself. It will be called “Adore Life” and from it we have what might be a title track of sorts, “Adore”. Sorrowful and moodily slow paced like the best Savages records are, this one succeeds in perfect builds.

Jenny Beth’s vocals asks questions “Is it human to adore life?” and the lyricism and power harks back to the darker days of The Smiths. Her vocals in the finale of the track are precisely perfect, rising to the occasion of the track’s build.

Distorted guitar and smash drums accompanies Jenny’s vocals alongside the ever predominant bass in Savages’ music.

The final minute and a half of “Adore” are spent repeating the phrase “I adore life, do you adore life?” and there’s real conviction in the message of the track into what is a stunning breaking point. It’s a fine preview of what’s to come from their forthcoming album.

Other Songs Which Are Pretty Hip

As stated above, a few other songs have caught my attention so I should also talk about them. I’m not sure where he’s based but producer Kidkanevil has a good taste in hoodies and producing music (which is handy). I think this record came into existence last year but has breathed its first breath onto the Blogisphere a few days back. Jon Hopkins meets Kawaii for a sublime piece of Asian Glitchy god knows what.

With both super producer MikeWillMadeIt and absolute lads Rae Sremmurd releasing new material this year, they have debuted the first piece of music from both in 2016 and it’s a cheeky trap tune with a dead catchy chorus. #SremmLife

Courtesy of AmazingRadio I have come across a fantastic dream pop duo from Dundee called St.Martiins whose track Bite reminds me of the sweeter sides of Paramore. It has just enough jingle jangle about it for my liking whilst exploding in the chorus for moshing potential. Vocalist Katie’s got a lovely syrupy tone which brings a lovely happiness to the track.

Can we please talk about DRAM for a second? The Virginia rapping crooner had a massive hit with Cha Cha in early 2015 but dropped off seemingly into nothing. However he has started 2016 strong by covering Bryson Tiller’s Don’t and releasing this great oath to succeed this year, 1 Year.

Rosie Lowe has kicked off the year in style by giving us a strong piano ballad about her pride over being female. It’s a great, ethereal, piece of production which surely sets us up for a gorgeous debut album which should finally drop in 2016 after a few years of odd singles.

Novo Amor states on his Facebook page that he’s from The Moon and if that big white ball in the sky is vast and empty its also beautifully bright and somewhat tranquil to look at. That’s a fair assessment of Novo Amor’s Anchor too, which I immediately fell for due to its likeness to Ben Howard and Bon Iver. If you like those kinds of names, you’ll adore this guy.

With driving harmonies like Mamas And Pappas with a blend of soft guitar like Fleetwood Mac, new group Sunflower Bean might be have harnessed the power and sound of the 60s and 70s rock scene better than any band in recent times. It’s decisevely hazey and subtle, but Easier Said will be a track which will excite many classic rock fans.

To finish us off for now I really love the new tracks from Skizzy Mars who is about to release his first major album “Alone Together” on January 22nd. I’ve been a fan for a long time, since I heard Lucy back in 2014 but his music has progressed loads and Crash may just fill the Frank Ocean sized gap in your life right now.

Now that Savages have opened the doors I will be keen to bring you as much new music as I can. All going well I’ll have a weekly New Music Mixtape list for you to read about. Hope you enjoyed these tracks and thank you for reading!

Scott

What The Coachella Line-Up Tells Us

Festival season seems miles away but Coachella wasted no time in 2016 to announce their line-up after seemingly confirmed rumours spoilt regrouping headliners LCD Soundsystem and the classic Guns N Roses line-up. Whilst these headliners have been confirmed alongside dance super heavyweight Calvin Harris, there’s a lot of interesting things to notice about the line-up.

As you can see from the line-up there is a lot to dissect, so let’s crack into it!

Returns Imminent?
High on Friday’s line-up we can see The Kills which seems to suggest that Alison Mosshart’s main project will return with their 4th album in 2016 alongside playing the festival and no doubt others on the circuit.
One of my favourites, Bats For Lashes is present on Saturday’s line-up suggesting that Khan has met her plan of finishing the new album in time for release this year. Joining her on Saturday are gorgeous indie rockers Alvvays and R&B princess SZA who may well be working on new stuff!
The most exciting potential return however belongs to dance duo M83 who may finally follow-up 2011’s immaculte ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’ with a new record in 2016.

Jumping The Pond
Its always interesting to take a look at Coachella’s line-up and try and predict who from the UK can achieve fame or have a fair crack at it. The name which sticks out straight away is James Bay, as he is on the top line of Saturday’s line-up. There’s no doubt that the US will love his hits Let It Go and Hold Back The River as much as we have in the UK.
Low down but important on Friday’s line-up is Grime King, Skepta, who will no doubt further the genre’s influence on US rap from his appearance at Coachella. Expect there to be oodles of famous people side of stage for his performance.
Much like Bay, The 1975 are top line of Sunday’s line-up as they take their sophomore record to the US to dominate the same way they have in the UK thus far. Joining them on the Sunday from the UK are Wolf Alice who look to take their popular Grungey indie to American shores and Scottish alternative Hip-Hop Mercury Music Prize winners Young Fathers, who should both put on an outstanding show.

What does this mean for the UK Festival Circuit?
If I had to guess, I would predict that Download Festival will be kicking themselves that things didn’t fall into place to book GNR as an exclusive which makes me think that Glastonbury may be interested in putting on a heavy rock band to headline this year, be it GNR or the previously hinted AC/DC. A dream would be for Reading & Leeds Festival to manage to add GNR to Red Hot Chili Peppers but that seems unlikely. I’m not convinced LCD Soundsystem will headline any of the UK majors but I could absolutely see them sub or headline a second stage. Alternatively I could see Latitude playing a blinder by booking them to headline.
From the undercard it seems that Foals will continue playing live heavily this year and I could actually see them taking the step up to headline a major UK festival (I predict Reading & Leeds).
There are lots of acts announced for Coachella who fall into the ‘2nd stage headliner’ pot including The 1975, Disclosure, Chvrches, Major Lazer and Jack U who I think T in the Park, Isle Of Wight and Reading & Leeds would be mad not to approach.
For the more specialist festivals I think Sia and Ice Cube exclusives for Wireless would make sense and be a hot ticket. Zedd would probably put on quite a show for a festival like Wireless of V-Festival too.

Lastly, thoughts on the line-up?
I think Coachella 2016 will be a lot of fun. It has a lot of artists I’d be interested in watching on the ever-reliable YouTube coverage and there’s a fair few I’m crossing my fingers announce UK shows as mentioned previously. I think in all honesty having seen both Axl’s GNR and Slash’s solo project that a GNR reunion will look great but sound terrible and be a let down for those expecting the heights of the late 80s. I don’t also know what to expect of the other headliners. LCD Soundsystem returning is nice but not ground-breaking for me personally. I guess the line-up is a bit bland with sparkles of goodness about it.

As always with every year, I will hide away in my room come festival time for three days and live-blog the performances I see in COUCHELLA 2016!

TV in 2015: A Review

I swear I’m wrapping up the end of year lists and reviews but before I do it would be rude not to take a look at the best Television and Film from 2015. *spoilers ahead*.

There were a fair few shows that I didn’t manage to catch yet. It looked a strong year for comedy and I recommend you join me in catching up with the finale series of Parks & Recs as well as checking out Looking. Having been impressed by earlier seasons I’ll also be looking for time to catch up with Girls and especially Silicon Valley which is probably my pick of the punch. Despite not hugely enjoying the first season, I’m going to give The Leftovers another go as I’ve heard incredible things and also I’ll be looking to give Empire, House Of Cards and Better Call Saul another go after they all bummed me out on early episodes this year. Lastly the one show I want to see which I missed this year was Mr.Robot. From what I’ve read it does sound like one of the best pieces of TV from 2015. I am tempted to check out Amazon’s WW2/futuristic show The Man In the High Castle and lastly despite it looking a bit lame, I’m going to give Supergirl a chance to win me over.

I also watched some shows this year which weren’t new but I hadn’t seen before. Leading these were It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia which I can honestly say is now one of my favourites of all time. Charlie Day as a human is the funniest person on Earth. I smashed through all TEN seasons and never tired of the ridiculous situations that our five anti-heroes, who are literally the worst five people on the planet, get up to.

I shall talk about my favourite Ten shows of the year a little bit but before I do there are others that I watched which deserve honourable mentions. It was a fantastic year for Netflix original shows and whilst some make it into my Top 10, some just miss out. Most recently Marvel’s Jessica Jones is a change in tone and finally a show I love Krysten Ritter in (god I hated her in Breaking Bad!). David Tennant also does a fine job as the antagonist for the season Kilgrave. Netflix also gave us brilliant new sci-fi show Sense 8 which was impressive and likeable despite sometimes feeling weighted as the season progressed. Some characters I didn’t connect with as much as others but I was left wanting more Will, Riley and Sun and less of Lito and Nomi who seemed to dominate most of the season. Capheus was pretty badass though. Lastly on the Netflix train was Orange Is The New Black season 3 which didn’t really get up to much. I can’t actually remember the plot, I just remember getting a bit closer to characters I hadn’t before so if I could call it anything, OITNB was pleasant this season.
Continuing seasons of Arrow and Elementary had different outcomes. Arrow had a very difficult, but over scrutinized, season 3. The same can be said for Elementary but where the latter has still been dull into season 4, Arrow has come out fighting with enough twists and new characters to re-freshen things up. Entering its second season Fargo took the interesting approach to solve it’s “How do we make a multi-season show based on one film?” question by doing an origins season for a supporting character from season 1. It worked for me and Patrick Wilson was fantastic in the lead role.
And finally, two shows finished this year which I have been with from the beginning. Glee wrapped up its troubled-self with a fairly subpar season which gave fans all they could hope for in a relaxed and overly safe manner. What was way more interesting was creator Ryan Murphy’s new project Scream Queens which is a one off show, completely unique and cheesy but kind of essential viewing. And then to Community which finished (again) after the dream Six Seasons! Thank you to Yahoo for keeping the fans’ dreams alive and despite the show missing too many parts to make a whole (Pierce, especially Troy and now Shirley), there was still some magic moments to be had. Now let’s have a movie!

10. Gotham (Season 1 & 2)
Favourite Character:
Penguin is electric to watch in every episode
Favourite Episode: Season 2, Episode 2: Knock Knock (aka the raid on the GCPD)
Gotham has been far better than I expected it to be. I watched all of Season 1 this year and grew quickly to some characters (Penguin, Fish Mooney) but others annoyed me and I couldn’t hugely get into our lead, a young Jim Gordon. It’s difficult to have a superhero show without a superhero, but many humanized villains. There’s a lot the show can’t do with its budget and therefore some week-to-week villains have been fairly weak sauce but when the stakes are high and death comes to visit, the show can be fairly shocking at times. Hopefully the second half of season 2 picks the stakes back up well as the show isn’t anywhere near suspenseful enough at the moment.

9. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Season 1)
Favourite Character:
John Hamm’s villainous Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne was a laugh and a half.
Favourite Episode: Episode 10: Kimmy’s In A Love Triange due to the side story of Titus learning how to act as a straight character by the brilliant guest star Dean Norris (Breaking Bad’s Hank).
Who would have thought that a show about a survivor of a kidnapping religious cult would have been so light and easy. Tina Fey does the trick with a great sit-com surrounding the beautiful Ellie Kemper’s titular character as somebody finding their feet in a new world, which just so happens to be New York City. With her sassy gay flatmate Titus, her quirky landlady Lillian and a show stealing Jane Krakowski as the very blonde boss for Kimmy’s maid job, the supporting cast were all great too for a show with a lot of heart.

8. The Walking Dead (Season 5 & 6)
Favourite Character:
Abraham’s had quite a lot of good screen time but I gotta give it to returning Morgan.
Favourite Episode: Season 5 Episode 9: What’s Happened And What’s Going On. The swansong episode of fan favourite Tyreese, this is arguably the best episode the show has ever made.
Don’t get me wrong, The Walking Dead has had a year of up and downs. With the exception of Tyreese’s passing, Season 5B was actually quite boring and never picked up from when the group found Alexandria. Even Noah’s horrific ending didn’t seem like essential viewing. However the show has come back strong with 6A by the style of storytelling. Not a lot has actually progressed in the story. We have had a failed walker herding and two raids (one human, one walker) but that’s happened across eight episodes. The way that the direction team have gotten around this is to have centralized episodes for characters. This has worked well for everybody to be honest. Daryl and Morgan have had singular episodes devoted to them whilst Glenn, Abraham, Maggie and Michonne have had enough time to be fleshed out. Glenn’s quick brush with death was an awesome moment in pop culture with everybody talking about it, and bringing him back was not a cop out at all. Season 6B should hopefully keep up the danger levels but I’d like to see more storytelling from Carol and Rick’s perspectives.

7. Game of Thrones (Season 5)
Favourite Character:
Kit Harrington stood up tall for Season 5 making Jon Snow THE hero to back.
Favourite Episode: Season 5, Episode 8: Hardhome. The shock battle sequence which took up the final half hour of the episode was the best thing I’ve ever seen on television and made my mouth water for more.
I’m not wholly convinced that there has been a drop in quality for Game Of Thrones but Season 5 has been the least enjoyable season by some mark. This may be due to the source material turning very bleak around this time but there isn’t a lot excitement coming to our various groups week to week. Kingslanding has certainly taken a hit with Tyrion leaving for Khaleesi land, Jaime leaving for Dorne and Tywin leaving for hell. This leaves very dull Cersei Lannister vs all story which I couldn’t get into. Dorne and Khaleesi tales were also really boring with Bronn and Jorah being the saving graces in lands I just didn’t care about. All of what matters seemed to happen in the North. The Boltons did some horrible things to Sansa and then did horrible things to Stannis after he did horrible things to himself, the tool. Arya’s adventures in the Braavos are passable and I’m interested to come back to see her struggles in Season 6 but the winning formula was all north of the wall. I could have happily watched ten episodes of Jon Snow, the one true hero of Westeros as he led the Nights Watch against the horrors of the cold night. Let us never forget that despite people fighting each other, the true coming evil lies North of the Wall and Hardhome makes us remember that. The shock at the end of the season hints towards me not enjoying season six a lot, please let him be alive!

6. The Flash (Season 1 & 2)
Favourite Character:
Tom Cavanagh’s Harrison Wells is a great sympathetic bad guy but it’s got to go to Barry’s foster father Joe West for being Dad of the Year.
Favourite Episode: Season 1 Episode 15: Out Of Time in which things reach breaking point with Barry telling Iris he is the Flash as well as Wells revealing his identity. The episode ends with a tsunami heading towards Central City. Shame they copped out and reversed it all.
The Flash for me has hit the ground running at a great pace. What makes it good is that despite it feeling like a week-to-week catch the bad guy show at times, the central plot does run through every episode and there is a good, sometimes great, cliffhanger at the end of each episode. This culminates in brilliant mid and full season finales and great villains in Reverse Flash and now Zoom in season 2. Long may consistency continue for this brilliant show.

5. Daredevil (Season 1)
Favourite Character:
I was rather fond of Kingpin’s first in command and friend Wesley.
Favourite Episode: Season 1 Episode 2 – Cut Man. With it’s incredible one shot action sequence in the final act, this episode was the best starters guide to the show.
Marvel’s best TV show yet, Daredevil offers much in the style department with the setting of Hell’s Kitchen looking marvelously deadly and also offers some fantastic action sequences through-out it’s season. Comedy comes from Matt’s law buddy Foggy and there is real depth in both Matt Murdock but also his enemy Wilson Fisk. If Season 2 can make The Punisher half as interesting as Kingpin then we will be in for a treat.

4. Fear The Walking Dead (Season 1)
Favourite Character:
The only junkie I’ll ever love, Nick.
Favourite Episode: Season 1 Episode 6 – The Good Man. The finale of Fear The Walking Dead was genuinely terrifying and gave several characters, namely Travis and Liza, good resolves to their Season arcs.
Fear The Walking Dead was a very successful project which ended up being far consistent than its main show was in 2015. Fans of The Walking Dead’s world have always wondered what the end of the world looked like for other people and not only did we get that but we also got to see what it was like as the outbreak happened in a big city and residential area. Perhaps the most intriguing part of the show was finding out how the military reacted to the outbreak which was scarier than the walkers themselves. The new characters aren’t quite Rick and Carl but still likeable enough for us to care about their survival.

3. Doctor Who (Season 9)
Favourite Character:
Clara bless her soul
Favourite Episode: Season 9, Episode 11 – Heaven Sent: Doctor Who’s attempt at a one-man bottle episode was a huge success in my opinion with The Doctor having to work his way out of an impossible trap whilst being pursued by a big scary monster. Let’s call it Time.
Season 9 of Doctor Who was one of my favourites since the show returned in my lifetime. Peter Capaldi really has settled into his role and is doing incredible work as the titular character. We did have Missy and Osgood return amongst others and we had Maisie Williams join the show in a large role but it was Clara who stole the show for this season and she will now be sorely missed. The re-introduction of double episode stories mostly added to the quality of the episodes but when you get a naff story you have to sit through two episodes of it which is the bad side of that double edged sword.

2. Fortitude (Season 1)
Favourite Character:
DCI Eugene Morton, the best character on television all year expertly played by Stanley Tucci.
Favourite Episode: Season 1, Episode 9. The non-weird supernatural storyline finishes in the penultimate episode with DCI Morton finding out who killed Pettigrew and why.
Fortitude was my favourite new show of the year with Sky Atlantic bringing a sub-zero, supernatural version of Cluedo to us. After a grisly murder in a lovely Arctic Circle town, everybody is a suspect (with the exception of American DCI Morton) and everybody has motives. Strange things happen, it’s not all completely sane and it’s a bit gory at times. The reason it’s awesome is that each character is deeply explored so we really are unsure who to love and hate week after week.

1. Hannibal (Season 3)
Favourite Character: I loved the arc for Hugh Darcy’s Will Graham.
Favourite Episode: Season 3, Episode 7 – Digestivo. The mid-season finale ends the first half of the season and the Verger/Italy acts perfectly. They say the enemy of my enemy is a friend and that’s exactly the attitude that Hannibal takes when using Will and co. to take down Mason Verger once and for all.
It’s difficult to describe just how incredible Hannibal has been over the past three seasons. People are put off thinking about The Silence Of The Lambs and the horror parts of the legacy of Hannibal Lecter but the show is beautiful. It makes gore and death something to love, something pretty. It’s cast including Lawrence Fishbaurne have been stellar and at the centre of it is a love story between a psychoticly stoic and stylish therapist Hannibal Lecter and his FBI Crime Scene Investigator patient and friend Will Graham. We come into season three with Hannibal on the run after he was discovered and hurt our three heroes really bad (broken back, slashed throat and a gutting respectively) but they are not dead. Hannibal lives in Italy and is chased by Will, Alana and Jack each on their own terms. Will also goes to Hannibal’s home and becomes a killer himself, becoming closer to Hannibal. The season hit’s a turning point as Mason Verger, the baddie from season 2 catches up with everybody and plans to exact his revenge on Hannibal. Ofcourse it all goes sour for Verger, with the season’s best episode. Once this is done we are set up for one last ride with a famous villain from the source material, The Great Red Dragon played by the strong and scary Richard Armitage. This sees the whole show out with style as Hannibal and Will must work together to take him down and the finale is truly beautiful with just the right amount of potential for the cancelled show to return in the future. For now though, this is Hannibal’s design.

20 For 2016

Happy New Year everybody. Welcome to 2016 which from a music stand point promises to be very exciting. I’ve picked out twenty brand new artists I’m excited about and that I believe you should get accustomed to in 2016.

Billie Marten
This year the lovely Billie Marten of Yorkshire turns 17 but by her birthday she has already toured the UK, had music playlisted on Radio 1 and amassed a lot of support on line (13k Facebook followers, 5.6k Twitter followers). That’s a hell of a resume already but ignore her age because she writes with the intelligence of somebody much wiser. Her music has the charm and wit of Laura Marling with the sweetness in tone of Lucy Rose with more of a traditional folk twinge to her voice than both of those talented ladies. With a debut EP already out, I think we have a lot to look forward to next year from Billie. I believe she will be music we go to in the darkest and loneliest hours.

Post Malone
Dallas newcomer Post Malone is somebody I’m really excited about heading into 2016. White Iverson was the perfect debut single, impressing people in the same way that ILoveMakonnen’s Tuesday did and with Drake, Rihanna, Kanye and more releasing albums in 2016, there is plenty of room for Post Malone to sneek a few guest spots and grow his profile even more. What I love most about Malone though is that his chilled trap and pop mix sounds like an integral sound and a natural progression from styles that have been prevalent over the past few years, meaning he could hit the top soon.

Samm Henshaw
Very few voices intrigue me more as we enter this year than a London boy brought up in Gospel with a fresh twist, Samm Henshaw. Already supporting the likes of James Bay on tour and already signed to Sony there is no doubts that something special is about to happen with Henshaw. And whilst we wait to see if he will release a big breakthrough record there’s absolutely no harm in falling for his already released music like Autonomy and Only Wanna Be With You.

Danny L Harle
One of the more mystical picks on my Tips list is producer Danny L Harle who has been on the scene the past few years primarily working as one of the big names behind PC Music. If you’re unaware PC Music are a fantastic independent label which releases British dance and pop music which sounds like the sort of cheesy ringtone music you’d hear on the back of a stagecoach bus in the mid noughties. With all music though, it manages to sound relevant to now. With Danny, he has just released his debut EP featuring the fantastic Broken Flowers (and even better rework Awake For Hours). I have a feeling he could be about to spread his wings and leave the nest.

Loyle Carner
To call Loyle Carner a rapper doesn’t quite seem enough as he has a really infectious way of telling his stories with his soft South London tone. We’ve already had a fair amount of tracks from him so far but he seems to be going into 2016 with the intention to make it his year. His beats are hazy like dreams and you can really get yourself lost in his tales of life. Whilst most spoken word artists and British rappers are an acquired taste, Loyle Carner is very pleasant on the ears, so just get stuck in.

Misty Miller
Gliding the fence between indie pop and indie punk perfectly, the wonderful Misty Miller is one of my favourite new artists to look out for beginning 2016. Her music is very easily accessible and as a character she certainly has a lot to offer, and is very likeable. We’ve already had a brilliant EP called Sweet Nothing in 2015 as well as brilliant singles Next To You and Happy which you need in your life. If you get a chance too make sure to listen to Best Friend which is a hugely emotional punk ballad. If you like your more rocky Florence & The Machine tracks then Misty is for you.

Cape Cub
From all of the artists I have heard working in the North East music scene this year, Cape Cub are one that I have loved from the get go. Singer main member of the group, Chad, has a superb falsetto and ability to craft warmth in dark, empty music much like their early track Lantern, new single Keep Me In Mind and the incredible, Hype Machine topping slow ballad, Swim. Perhaps they need a bit more time than most in this list but I really believe in what Cape Cub are doing and I want to see as many people be affected by their music the same way I have. Fans of Coldplay and soft emotional rock will dig these lads.

Kiko Bun
In 2016 Reggae music will return and as far as exceptional new artists go, Kiko Bun will be at the British forefront of that. He has already proved his worth with the jam of the century Sometimes and the equally beautiful Where I’m From so I can’t wait to hear more. With other acts like Jamie XX, WSTRN and Popcaan bringing the vibes in, I see Kiko having a fantastic year. If you loved that late year banger from WSTRN called In2 or even if you just like the Sunshine, you will love Kiko Bun.

Conrad Sewell
You will already no doubt recognize the powerful lungs of Conrad Sewell from his vocal feature on Kygo’s Firestone, which proved to be one of the bigger advert tracks of last year. In the UK, Conrad is no more than that so far but in Australia he has broken through charting with great hits like Start Again and my personal favourite of his, Hold Me Up. Now that his sister Grace has hit the UK properly with You Don’t Own Me, it is Conrad’s turn so make sure you get on him early. I reckon if you like John Newman you will love Conrad.

Pierce Fulton
This dude is a producer coming out of Vancouver who is making some of the crispest and catchiest EDM on the planet. He caught my attention early last year Kuaga which initially was a pretty decent track before vocals were added onto it to make it a huge Summer record. From there he has remained quiet in the UK but has released a few more tracks on line to acclaim from EDM fans. Landmines is beautiful and No More is a great anthem which will no doubt appeal to fans of Pendulum, Madeon and Porter Robinson.

Jack Garratt
The most high profile name on this belongs to this bloke, Jack Garratt who is the BRITS Critics choice winner for this year. He’s already given us a plethora of great singles from The Love You’re Given, through Chemical and Weathered to newest single Breathe Life. Most of these have been playlisted on Radio 1 amongst others, so why is Jacky G on this list? I put him as a Tip for 2016 because I have a really good feeling that we’ve actually on seen glimpses of what’s to come from this extraordinary diverse artist. We will get Garratt debut album in 2016 which I am super excited for. In the meantime here is one of his lesser known records, Worry.

Spring King
Up next on my 20 for 2016 Tips list are the brilliant Mancunians Sping King who made history last year by being the first artist played on the worldwide radio station Beats 1. Zane Lowe called on something forward-thinking, exciting and full of new music excitement and their track City is exactly that. They have not let this get to them though and have taken their time making new music. We got a little bit of that towards the end of the year in Who Are You? which echoes some of the best 80s Punk sounds whilst still maintaining a new, much needed indie rock ethos. The sax solo is also damn sweet.

The Knocks
I’ve always had an incline that New York City was pretty darn funky but I had no idea that they could make me groove like this. The NYC disco funk duo The Knocks have been kicking about for a few years and first caught my attention with 2014’s Classic. They seemed to take forever away and I was wondering if they’d ever return but the gorgeous gospel disco feel good tune Collect My Love was a welcome return and with the announcement that their debut album The 55 will be out next year, it was impossible not to think they’re destined for big things in 2016.

Clean Cut Kid
I love a bit of oddball indie rock and despite the genre seemingly being about being ‘cool’ there have been lots of my favourite bands make a huge name for themselves being their own kind of cool. I’m talking about Vampire Weekend and Phoenix and MGMT. Clean Cut Kid are one of those rare bands with real charm and charisma in their tunes and the incredible Vitamin C proved that last year. A debut album is surely on its way so now is the time to get them into your life.

Kehlani
A certainty to do incredible things in 2016, Kehlani is presently one of my favourite artists. Her name was unavoidable in reviews from SXSW 2015 which led me to finding FWU, an absolutely sublime vintage sounding piece of Cali hip-hop, as it was drenched in sunny vibes. She gave us a full length mixtape album last year called You Should Be Here and followed that up with a few teasers at the end of the year which is surely for a proper debut album to follow this year. The R&B/Hip Hop world is in safe hands this year with Kehlani leading the American break out artists. And she’s *ahem* extremely hawt stuff.

Sundara Karma
I have nothing but absolute love for Reading’s Sundara Karma, the best new indie band in the UK. They have more than proven themselves and deserve a place on this list with two great EPs in 2015 with such great summery tunes like Vivienne, Flame and my personal favourite Loveblood. Fans of The Maccabees and early Peace will adore them and they already have a good following on social media so these guys are going absolutely everywhere.

Kojey Radical
From the moment I saw London’s spoken word newcomer Kojey Radical support Young Fathers on their UK tour I knew that he was onto something special. I was utterly captivated his whole set listening to all of the stories he was telling us with his gruff deep voice aside the slow reminiscent riffs, heavy percussion and subtle synths. From here he has put out his first few proper releases such as the excellent Bambu and the newer Open Hand. There’s no doubts he is continuing to get more confident and he seems to be building towards this being his year, so listen out for more of his vital stories hitting the net.

Fort Hope
It feels for me that we’ve not had a great new proper rock band in years with the exception of Royal Blood, but then they have a lot of indie sensibilities. What I mean is where is the next Muse or Enter Shikari? From what they’ve released so far, I think we have the answer with Fort Hope who blend tremendously chunky riffs with operatic falsetto. There’s just enough of Shikari’s electronics and the drama of System of a Down. Basically Fort Hope have the perfect blend of all of my favourite heavy bands. And what we’ve had so far has been top notch. Skies is brilliant tune which changes it’s pace through-out but Plans, our debut single from them, was a game-changer.

Grace Mitchell
From the first fuzz of Jitter I knew Grace Mitchell was something that I’d be talking about heading into 2016 as a vital pop star.The rest of the song confirmed that, and her Raceday EP kind of made it a bit too obvious, but yes, Grace Mitchell is going to be huge. She hails from Oregon and makes electronic pop music with an urban edge. As I stated her debut track Jitter, which was immediately Zane’s World Record on Beats 1, is a storm of a record with an epic glitch-pop chorus. Her follow up single No-Lo shows great songwriting talent as the song gives a new take on being heartbroken. 2016 is Grace Mitchell’s to take and if you’re a fan of label mates Lorde or Taylor Swift you might just have your new favourite singer in Grace.

Troye Sivan
Okay so globally Troye Sivan is already a megastar but I do honestly believe that his time in the UK is still to come and his name will be household in the UK by Summer. He has just released his debut album Blue Neighbourhood which is sublime, full of potential singles and smooth cuts. His voice is delectable and sweet and overall the guy is very likeable. Radio 1 have already tested the waters playing Happy Little Pill and Wild but wait until the UK gets Youth as a single. As I say, I do believe Troye could be the biggest new artist in the UK for the first half of the year. Here is Wild if you don’t believe me.

And that concludes my thoughts on who I think will take 2016 by storm from the music world. I do believe that this year’s crop is really strong and a lot better than last years. From an abundance of credible indie bands (when there were only a few last year) to real pop stars to intelligent rappers with important stories to tell, 2016 is shaping up to be special. Make sure you know these names, you’ll be hearing about them a lot more. If you want to hear more I’ve put some alternative tracks by all into a Spotify playlist for you below.

spotify:user:hastie121:playlist:63BXQIynxthQGiZrbJP245