Incredible young talent Amahla makes neo-soul music with pure heart.
In times of hardship, authentic voices, stories, and creativity can always thrive, so I suppose there is at least one silver lining to Brexit and the issues of immigration and women’s rights.
Amahla has put together a playlist of a few songs that have influenced her recently. They differ in genre, but all put great vocals to the front.
Nick Drake – River Man I’m new to Nick Drake but I absolutely love this one, his voice takes you on a journey through the song
Alicia Keys – If I Ain’t Got You There is so much class in this record, killer pre chorus, chorus and the dynamics flow just right.
Don Bryant – How Do I Get There? I only discovered this song last week but i’ve not been able to stop playing it! Turns out Don was a songwriter at Hi records (Al Green, Ann Peebles) it just fills me with warmth every time I listen.
Ed Sheeran – Supermarket Flowers Ed’s language choices in this track are so powerful especially about such mundane things. I guess when you lose someone you do tend to focus on all the little things
Beyonce – Get Me Bodied I love this song, once it hits the middle 8 it reminds me so much of Chain of Fools by Aretha. An underrated song from B 100%
Brother Brothers – Colorado I really love the way the melody line sits above the guitar, it glides so effortlessly and makes their sound feel new.
Amahla – Consider This It’s lovely because every time I play this live I get to reinvent the arrangement, this is definitely a style that I’m hoping to build on in future releases
You can listen to her deeply personal EP below.
Sounds like: Mary J Blige, Erykah Badu, Grace Carter, Caswell, Lauryn Hill
Sticking their middle fingers up to social media, rising four-piece October Drift are causing a stir amongst the gigging scene.
Kiran from October Drift has put together a really great playlist together for us.
Nick Drake – Hazy Jane II
Got this album (Bryter Layter) for a birthday sometime in my early teens. Took me a couple of years to really get into it, I don’t think it was instant enough for me to appreciate its subtleties at the time. Nick Drakes music gets better the more you hear it – which is the right way round, obviously.
The Velvet Underground & Nico – Sunday Morning
Easily one of the most important records of all time in my opinion. And this track is the go to for me. Not sure what it is about it but its so warm and dreamy. I’ve found myself the owner of one of the early editions of the vinyl where Andy Worhols banana peels. Apparently it could be worth some money, although I’ve accidentally ripped it a little trying to peel it!
Bob Dylan – Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright
Bob Dylan’s songwriting constantly surprises and impresses me with every listen (not ALL of his stuff, I have to say). The intricacy to his story telling from song to song and the imagery and descriptions can blow my mind and make me smile.
Simon and Garfunkel – America
Simon and Garfunkel have such a clarity and innocence in their style and again are instantly recognisable. The imagery and story of this young couple hitchhiking their way across the states is full of hope and optimism and as the song progresses maybe a sense of disillusionment creeps in as they try to ‘Look for America’ – trying to chase a false American dream perhaps.
Neil Young – Down By the River
Neil Young – Also extremely nostalgic for me, Neil Young got played a lot in the house while I was growing up. His voice is thin and kind of winey but its really emotive, the same goes for his guitar playing – he’s not the best in the world but he’s got a really distinctive sound and style which is far more important than being technically good. That’s important. His songwriting and melodies seem really natural and not over thought if that makes sense.
David Bowie – Five Years
The opening track to one of my favourite albums by one of the most inspiring, iconic and important artists ever.
Leonard Cohen – Suzanne
Leonard Cohen’s baritone voice and sad songs have without question directly influenced us and many more of our biggest musical influences (NickCave, TheNational to name a few).
The Beach Boys – I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times
A look into the messed up genius head of Brian Wilson. It’s a really sad song, but its got The Beach Boys happy sheen on it. I think there’s something really interesting in that – the juxtaposition of the care free surfer kid image and the troubled reality. I read his autobiography a few years ago, it’s really sad.
Steve Harley – That’s My Life In Your Hands
I heard this song for the first time in years and years not too long ago and it really took me back to my childhood, my dad used to play this album and this song I particularly liked. Really great melodies and an emotive chorus.
Sammy Davis, Jr. – Mr. Bojangles
I really like the story telling of this song. I don’t think it is originally Sammy Davis Jr’s but it fits perfectly with his character. It’s a sad story really of an old alcoholic dancer or entertainer Mr. Bojangles who from within a prison cell tells the story of his life and does a dance. I guess it could be a worry of most performers, be it bands, musicians or whatever that they’ll end up washed up, telling story’s of what they used to be.
Johnny Cash – I Walk the Line
The man in blacks influence on modern rock and pop music is un-chartable. There’s something so sincere and confident about this particular song. His work with Rick Ruben too at the last part of his life is so powerful and cemented that he will never be forgotten.
Syd Barrett – Baby Lemonade
I loved Pink Floyd growing up and they certainly have an influence on what we do, although it may not be as direct as other artists. They can be at times a bit too cliche druggie stadium-y but that came much later than Syd. This song is from after he left the band and put out some solo records. His story is very sad, yet has this (false) romantic side – the tortured artist kind of thing. He was very out there and original for the time and at the forefront of psychedelia.
JULY 2016 9th / LIVERPOOL CALLING FESTIVAL, LIVERPOOL
15th / HUDDERSFIELD, THE PARISH
16th / HARWORTH, THE BLACKSMITHS
17th / BLACKPOOL, BOOTLEG SOCIAL
18th / EDINBURGH, THE ELECTRIC CIRCUS
19th / HULL, THE ADELPHI
21st / DERBY, THE VENUE (Radar Love Club Night)
22nd / NOZSTOCK FESTIVAL, THE HIDDEN VALLEY
23rd / TRAMLINES FESTIVAL, SHEFFIELD (Crystal Stage)
24th / THE SUMMER WESTIVAL, ALDERSHOT
25th / TUNBRIDGE WELLS, THE FORUM
26th / LONDON, THE LEXINGTON
28th / ST ALBANS, THE HORN
29th / PLYMOUTH, UNDERGROUND
30th / READING, OAKFORD SOCIAL
AUGUST 2016 6th / KAYA FESTIVAL, PORT TALBOT
Sounds like: Interpol, The National, Editors, White Lies, Future Islands, Spector