It got me again. Richard Ashcroft warned us a long time ago that the drugs don't work, but I naively thought that late night iTunes browsing came without the threat of addiction. Wrong, I was. Foolish, even, says my debit card.
I was fortunate enough to catch James Bay at The Yardbird in Birmingham a couple of weeks ago, as the headliner at one of their free Sunday evening gigs. With a head full of tinnitus and a belly full of beer, I went straight home and purchased his The Dark Of The Morning EP, at a measly £1.99 for five tracks. As I said, the gig itself was free, so, like, support your local team and all that.
Vocally, you can file Bay in the James Morrison, Paolo Nutini, John Newman category, only as his voice bounces over the top of authentic, bluesy riffs - with ten awarded for technique and eleven for delivery - you can do nothing but feel it echoing in your bones. Man’s got soul. He’s off to support Kodaline on tour, so expect bigger things. Here is When We Were On Fire, from The Mahogany Sessions.
Love music? Take a look at Tom Pell's review of Vance Joy's Riptide here.
Outside of the iTunes trap, and when left to my own devices to stumble upon new music, I'll always pay some attention the the annual BBC Sound of whatever-year-it-is poll. Mainly, because being the BBC, whatever is in it will end up being thrust in your face whether you like it or not, so you may aswell try and see it coming.
Past winners have thrown up such enormous mainstream delights as Adele, Jessie J and even 50 Cent, whilst a huge number of household names have finished lower in the rankings, such as Bloc Party, Plan B, Foals, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Last year's top ten featured Kodaline, Haim, AlunaGeorge, Chvrches, Laura Mvula, Peace, The Weeknd, Savages and Tom Odell. They don't mess about, basically.
So this year, after being originally gobsmacked by winner of the poll Sam Smith's acoustic version of Disclosure's Latch, but subsequently feeling cheated that he sang on the original and already had two other massive singles last year (good detective work, BBC, keep up the good work...) my own ears have been recently latched on to Royal Blood.
The band consists of just two friends going by the name of Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher, the latter presumably not the bloke who once hit Pedro Mendes with the ultimate reducer.
Picking up where The White Stripes and The Black Keys left off, the lads fuse blues and garage rock into brooding, foot-stomping, angst-fuelled songs. Their first single, Out Of The Black, skulks around like a thug in an alley, leering into the light like Jack Nicholson's face, walking through the maze in The Shining. "I got a gun for a mouth and a bullet with your name on it," yells Kerr. Woof.
Little Monster, their follow up that was released towards the end of last month, follows suit. Crunching drums and a bass on overdrive - that's it - again swaggers with oozes of attitude, as the songs flicks between highs and lows. Though the aforementioned White Stripes laid the groundwork, it is somewhere between the grooves of The Black Keys and the ruthlessness of also-newcomers Drenge, where Royal Blood sit. The chorus of Little Monster, melodically, conjures Hospital Beds by Cold War Kids, only if it had been chewed up and spat back out. Of a cannon. Check out the video, below.
On iTunes, 99p will obtain you such musical delights, while Out Of The Black is currently perched at 79p, the universal monetary equivalent of ‘oh, go on then’.
As usual, leave comments and suggestions below, or come and have a chat with me on Twitter. What has your phone suggested you listen to this month?
If you're looking for the best phone to listen to your tunes, then take a look at the best smartphones for music fans!