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Ones To Watch: Josephine to The White Album

David Newbury

This week our Ones To Watch make us feel all Christmassy with The White Album, while Towns take us back to the Chart Show and Josephine makes our Sixties dream come true.

Josephine
They say if you remember the Sixties you weren’t there. But what if you weren’t there in the first place? Well you create your dream sound with all your favourite artists. This is what Manchester’s Josephine has managed to perfection. She incorporates the coldness of Nico with the passion of Joni Mitchell, all packaged in the saccharine glamour of Phil Spector’s wall of sound. Her voice reverberates with the empowered strength of rhythm and blues yet will gladly limbo at a tiki-bar while The Shadows play freestyle jazz. Her dignified diction on her debut album Portrait controls the pace of the masterful soundtrack while letting an elegant soul guide her towards something wonderfully unique.

Towns
With the imminent arrival of 4G and a new iPad update probably due it’s easy to get swept away in the now, but this Weston-Super-Mare quartet are the antidote. They are the analogue internet, the kind of band you only discovered during indie-chart week on the Chart Show with zoomy-in-and-outy floppy fringes and a witty bio’. Luckily they have the depth and potency of modern recording to make retro slacker-gaze sound essentially vibrant. The past year has seen a slew of ethereal wimp-gaze bands too afraid the really attack the overdrive, but Towns’ new Sleepwalking EP proves they ready to ride the feedback wave into teenage bedrooms everywhere.

Nadine Shah
In an ideal world the new James Bond film would be in black-and-white, all in Russian with no subtitles while Nadine Shah croons the soundtrack. Her echoing cinematic doom is the sound of Amanda Palmer singing to Warp Records and chain-smoking while the Jim Jones Revue stare across a dusty desert with Trent Reznor. The vengeful tension permeating her Aching Bones EP swells with murder stomps and raven ballads, chiming the end of days. Hailing from the north east and relocating to London has given Shah a sense of claustrophobic wonder which explores adventure and chain-gang tension. Expect her to be next year’s critics’ darling.
Aching bones by Nadine Shah

Petite Noir
Yannick Ilunga, a 21-year-old South African is making uncategorisable music which should put all other musicians to shame. As Petite Noir, Ilunga is creating terror-beat-alt-soul akin to a trip-hop Saul Williams listening to The Associates. He takes Joy Division’s gloom and gives it a post-minimal beat while his deep soul voice and ethereal guitars flutter by blissfully. He may be South African but his music could emanate from loft squats anywhere in hipsterdom, as long as there was a graveyard nearby. There’s a bubbling afro-beat twang underlying Disappear which teases the edgy bass growls towards the dance floor and refuses to let go.

The White Album
Now the evenings are drawing in and thoughts of blanky and sofa become more appealing than venturing out to pop-shows, The White Album are the mittens to get tempt you outside. Their serene Nordic melancholia cuddles your soul more than the silkiest hot chocolate ever could, and make the loneliest Christmas a twinkling snowflake of beauty. The bearded Danish trio’s pagan intricacies have marching band vigour which are as seasonal as Sufjan Stevens singing carols with Low. Get past the awful name to discover their Conquistador EP and you revel in an excitable parcel of acapella dreams and expansive depth.

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