IYA huns.

It’s 2017, it’s January, it’s miserable right? WRONG. Because this month and this year has kicked off with a whole smattering of exciting new releases from some of my absolute favs. Two sentences in and I think it’s time to talk about the xx, the enigmatic trio of critical and cult acclaim return with their highly anticipated album I See You after five years away. It melds the frothing, forward thinking of Jamie as a producer with the confessional songwriting style of Romy and Oliver in a manner more masterful than ever before. The anxious, infectious, repetitive garage shuffle contrasts wonderfully with an invigorated vocal presentation from the nocturnal pair as they begin to embrace their status as global alternative icons.

Meanwhile Rennen, the underrated second album from producer extraordinaire SOHN barely broke the top 100 despite delivering another ten song suite of his atmospheric noir pop. This collection melds his previous collaborations with artists such as Aquilo and Banks with his own tender perspective on worldly topics including politics, environment and heartache. Read our review to find out more.

Ray BLK topped the BBC Sound of… poll operating almost entirely independently up to this point, an important statement to the modern music industry that the digital age offers a far fairer playing field for artists to share music with fans, critics and tastemakers alike. Her lyrical voice is something entirely refreshing, melding the harsh poeticism of Kate Tempest with the sophisticated R & B tone of Neneh Cherry and Aaliyah. See why we agree that she’s one to keep an eye on.

It has been a strong start to the year for live music in London with a whole host of publications including Line of Best Fit and DIY Mag throwing showcases of their tips for 2017. We caught the latter’s new names for 2017 at the Old Blue Last in Shoreditch headlined by the brilliant Swimming Tapes. An introspective band both in stage persona and music, their dream pop draws instant comparison to the likes of Real Estate with shoegaze sprinklings of Low. A band we are also tipping for great things this year, you can hear their brand new single ‘Cameos’ below.

Brighton grunge rock outfit YONAKA celebrated their signing to Atlantic/Asylum last week with a crowning headline performance at Birthdays in Dalston with exceptional support from the manic, chaotic FREAK. The female fronted four piece arrive shyly to stage yet with instruments in hand, they explode in a flurry of fury, unleashing riff, attitude and a potent anger on their onlookers. The live highlight of this month was undoubtedly JoJo at KOKO, the teen pop superstar arriving onstage like a RuPaul wet dream and tearing through sultry R & B bangers from albums past and present. There is also an unrivalled joy to hearing 1,500 exuberant fans all bellowing the recognisable chorus to ‘Get Out’ and I feel I achieve a star on my gay card for seeing ‘Too Little, Too Late’ live.

These are my stand out singles of the month that I wholeheartedly endorse:

      Anna of the North – ‘Oslo’
      AUGUST – ‘Ghosts’
      Get Inuit – ‘Barbiturates’
      Be Charlotte – ‘One Drop’
      Nadia Rose – ‘Tight Up’

I’m especially excited for brand new releases next month from Sampha, Electric Guest, MUNA and many more and I expect to be raving about them same place, same time.

Also I’m MOST excited to be launching Born Music’s new club night taking place at The Finsbury, North London on February 18. We have the spectacular Superglu headlining with two phenomenal support acts to be announced very soon. It’s all free so keep it in your diaries and see you on the dancefloor, I’ll be the one with a double gin off key screaming to ‘Dreams’.

T’ra,

Sean xo