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Andrew Lockwood's Top Ten Albums Of 2016

Nick Cave Regina Spektor James Blake Joan as Police Woman David Bowie Bat For Lashes PJ Harvey

There is no way to aptly mark the passing of some of the very best artists of any generation but in amongst the untimely deaths has come some inspirational and ground breaking music.

My albums are all ones I have enjoyed immensely and continue to play. Whilst Radiohead, M.I.A, Peter Doherty and many others may have missed the cut it wasn't really a difficult choice this year. It may not be all that eclectic but there are some great albums in there. Nick Cave's Skeleton Tree is not only this years best album but also an album that is rapidly becoming one of my all time favourites, it's just so good.

Regina Spektor, Slaves and James Blake

Continue reading: Andrew Lockwood's Top Ten Albums Of 2016

James Blake - The Colour in Anything Album Review

It feels like no coincidence that the recent heatwave we've had in the UK is met with rain clouds and grey skies upon the release of James Blake's third album 'The Colour in Anything'. An album that is so focussed and dedicated to its melancholia that it finds the listener surrounded by a bleak landscape, whether grey windows tapped on by rain or oppressive buildings as you find yourself walking down claustrophobic and damp alleyways. His third LP, which has been anticipated and sought for by many finds Blake at his most mature, particularly in reference to his infallible production style and restrained electronic murmurings of sub-bass and echoes of British dance music. Echoes which become so alien to their reference points its mesmerising to retrace tracks and still find rewards within his incredibly spacious and phenomenally textured songs.

James Blake - The Colour in Anything Album Review

Blake's familiarity is present in its seemingly old-fashioned approach to electronic music; a concoction of auto-tune, expressive percussion, minimalist piano and throwback sub-bass of a dub era. What makes this familiarity refreshing is the collaborative efforts which bleed into Blake's distinguished and wholly unique sound. Partnering with Rick Rubin as co-producer, with assisted vocals by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver on 'I Need A Forest Fire', instrumentation from Conan Mockasin and writing credits from Frank Ocean, we find James Blake maintaining his monomania of prior releases but with its brilliance hidden within the detail. Those tonal shifts that skirt and whimper within each song act as moments of light within a thick fog seeming impossible to navigate. They creep in from the corners, and as a result 'The Colour in Anything' sounds like an artist content with his sound and at a point of meddling with it to achieve something much richer than we've heard before. As a starting point for what is on the cards for James Blake, it is incredibly exciting to see where else this collaborative process will take him in the future.

'The Colour in Anything' contains some of the best material he has released to date. Album opener 'Radio Silence' perfectly sets the tone, beginning with sombre piano and his glass-like howl, opening with the line "I can't believe this/you don't want to see me." Echoing Bill Withers' sentiment in 'Hope She'll Be Happier' about overcoming romantic disinterest. 'Timeless' expands on the darker dub sounds of the album by incorporating a half-trap percussion on one of the stronger tracks. However, 'Put That Away And Talk To Me' is probably his most interesting song here, a dissociative lullaby about weed dependency and obsession in regards to his introspective nature and artistry. 'I Hope My Life' will be likened to other big hitters like 'Digital Lion' and 'Voyeur' from 2011's 'Overgrown', and will no doubt be a fan favourite when it comes to his live shows. There is consistent quality throughout the album, songs such as 'I Need A Forest Fire (feat. Bon Iver)' which is one of the best white boy duets of recent memory, the harmony between James Blake and Justin Vernon is beautifully soothing.

Continue reading: James Blake - The Colour in Anything Album Review

James Blake - 2015 US Open Tennis - Women's Final against Flavia Pennetta and Roberta Vinci at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at Billy Jean King National Tennis Center - New York City, New York, United States - Sunday 13th September 2015

James Blake

The 15th Anniversary Line-Up For Primavera Sound Is Finally Here!

Primavera Sound Festival Ride The Strokes Black Keys The Replacements Antony and the Johnsons James Blake Richie Hawtin Simian Mobile Disco Alt-J Patti Smith Belle And Sebastian Damien Rice Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti Perfume Genius The New Pornographers Julian Casablancas Interpol Underworld Caribou Foxygen The Eels Babes In Toyland Sleater-Kinney Albert Hammond Jr

Fans and hopeful attendees of Barcelona's Primavera Sound were delighted to discover that the preview app they downloaded was a video game displaying the full line-up for the festival's fifteenth anniversary.

Primavera Sound 2015 logo

Already announced were Friday and Saturday's headliners Ride and The Strokes, and now they've been joined by a host of other equally incredible artists. Thursday sees The Black Keys leading the bill alongside The Replacements, who are hitting Spanish stages for the first time and Antony and the Johnsons, who've been doing plenty since their last Barcelona gig. Bringing some variation to Thursday proceedings are electronic virtuosos James Blake, Richie Hawtin and Simian Mobile Disco.

Continue reading: The 15th Anniversary Line-Up For Primavera Sound Is Finally Here!

Jabberwocky Update: Two Companies Kick Off Legal Proceedings Against ATP

James Blake Neutral Milk Hotel

The debacle that is the Jabberwocky has taken a fresh new turn. In addition to the ballyhoo created by cancelling the festival at short notice (it was due to take place this weekend) two companies involved in ticketing and PR have reportedly launched legal action.


Dash Tickets - involved in the selling of tickets for the event - last night issued a statement to customers claiming that it is "in no way responsible for ATP's financial problems, nor with their conduct post cancellation." The company added that "substantial advances to ATP which remain unpaid, as do considerable fees for the work we have undertaken on their behalf."

Continue reading: Jabberwocky Update: Two Companies Kick Off Legal Proceedings Against ATP

What Can We Expect From The New XX Album?

The XX Jamie XX James Blake London Grammar Drake

The XX are a band who have achieved the rare accolade of matching their critical success with a commercial viability after the minimalist electronic strains of 2010’s self-titled record altered the face of popular music forever. Without the prevalence of The XX’s sultry and deeply affecting electro, artists so clearly influenced by their sound would have turned out hugely different than they did today. The likes of James Blake and London Grammar, for instance, would certainly be viewed with wholly different eyes has The XX not impacted so extensively.

The XXFans can expect a change in direction and mood on the new XX record.

For their upcoming third release, tentatively entitled LP3, the group have decamped from their native London confines to the climes of some fairly unorthodox locations. In-house producer for XL Records Rodaidh McDonald, who previously worked with the band on second album Coexist, has revealed the band has worked on the new record in Texas and there are trips planned to Iceland and France during the coming summer. As the band absorb the sounds of different continents, McDonald has indicated such international influence will greatly affect the direction of the new record. “There are songs which came out of our experiences in New York and Texas that would never have come out in London” he stated, “the colours and the ideas and the moods on some of these songs are just not things you could write in London.”

Continue reading: What Can We Expect From The New XX Album?

Keep Calm And Party On! London's Ten Most Exciting Festivals For 2014

Field Day LoveBox The Pixies Metronomy Neutral Milk Hotel James Blake Camden Crawl Atari Teenage Riot Ghetts Chase and Status Mia Wireless Festival Kanye West Drake The Subways Somerset House Kodaline Calling Festival Aerosmith McBusted Black Sabbath Eagulls Polica LeeFest The Great Escape

If you want a unique festival experience this year, London could be the place for you. Featuring a diverse range of events from the independent ethics of Jabberwocky to the mainstream attitude of Wireless, 2014 is not all about the States.

The UK is home to some incredible, highly respected music festivals such as Isle of Wight Festival, Leeds and Reading Festival and, of course, Glastonbury - but just what do we have in store from the nation's capital? London is unquestionably the UK's most vibrant city and, when it comes to music, there's really no denying that. The rest of the world may have SXSW, Coachella, Ultra and Exit (to name but a very small few), but London has a plethora of unique local events with line-ups and atmospheres that really prove their worth - and we're here to share them with you.

Jabberwocky 2014 logoJabberwocky (August 15th-16th)
All Tomorrow's Parties present this brand new festival for 2014, co-hosted by Pitchfork and Primavera Sound and set to take place at The Excel Centre this August. For its inaugural event, Jabberwocky will see headline acts from Neutral Milk Hotel, James Blake, Darkside and Caribou, not to mention support from Kurt Vile & The Violators, Hookworms and Electric Wizard. Like many of the best festivals, it's not all about the music as Jabberwocky will be hosting some film events and, as the name suggests, there'll be plenty of art to enjoy too. Tickets are priced at £38.50 per day.

Continue reading: Keep Calm And Party On! London's Ten Most Exciting Festivals For 2014

Hayley Fox's Top Albums Of 2013

Bastille Vampire Weekend Jon Hopkins James Blake Disclosure Peace Haim Foals Arctic Monkeys

Darkside - Psychic

Darkside 'Psychic' - After an EP in 2011, Darkside released their debut album this year. The duo - the project of Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington - gave as good as they got on 'Psychic', honing their talents as individual musicians. Wonderfully crisp textures ride over its entirety, creating a rich, confident ambience. 

Bastille - Bad Blood

Continue reading: Hayley Fox's Top Albums Of 2013

Contactmusic.com's Top Albums Of 2013

Vampire Weekend Hookworms Justin Timberlake James Blake My Bloody Valentine Blood Orange Kurt Vile Daft Punk Arcade Fire Queens Of The Stone Age Joanna Gruesome Janelle Monae Nick Cave Chance the Rapper Haim Rhye Arctic Monkeys The National

Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampire in the City

Vampire Weekend 'Modern Vampire in the City' - 'Modern Vampires in the City' makes it three for three for the New Yorkers and their latest release could very well be their best yet. It shows evolution for the band, but they have retained that essential quality that made 'Contra' and their self-titled debut such wonderfully upbeat and genuine pleasures to listen to each time. 'Modern Vampire in the City' is also the release that marks Vampire Weekend as a band that should be taken seriously, but one who you can still have immense fun with. 'Diane Young' is yet another indie floor filler, standing shoulder to shoulder with previous bangers 'A-Punk' and 'Cousins.' Where the album really excels, however, is when VW reach out to new quarters and sound completely inimitable. The yelps of 'Ya Hey' bring fun to a song that essentially deals with the theme of lost conviction, the graceful 'Hanna Hunt' erupts in the most complete song released this year and album opener 'Obvious Bicycle' sets the whole thing in motion with its refreshingly angelic melodies and steady, train-like clunks that lie beneath all the splendour. Vampire Weekend are no longer the Brooklyn minions rattling at the gates of eminence, the gates have been swung open for them and the welcoming committee should have made them feel rightly at home. 

Hookworms - Pearl Mystic

Continue reading: Contactmusic.com's Top Albums Of 2013

Grammy Awards 2014 Nominations: Who Are The Notable Absentees On The Nominee's List

Arcade Fire Arctic Monkeys Jay Z Kendrick Lamar James Blake Earl Sweatshirt Haim Imagine Dragons Pink Daft Punk

The 2014 Grammy Awards will take place in January 2014, with the full list of nominees being revealed over the weekend. Jay-Z was the most capped nominee, with nine nods in total, whilst Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kendrick Lamar and Daft Punk were also among the list of potential winners, but there were a number of artists who were nowhere to be seen on the list of nominations.

Arcade Fire
After their shock win in 2011, Arcade Fire have been ignored this time

Despite their last album, The Suburbs, being a runaway success at the 2011 Grammy Awards, Arcade Fire are nowhere to be seen on next year's list. Their fourth album, Reflektor, was met with almost universal praise and some critics noted that it was an improvement form their latest release, but it seems as though the Grammy committee weren't as impressed as everyone else. The Canadian band don't even appear in the Best Alternative categories, however it is pleasing to see Tame Impala and Vampire Weekend among the nominees in this category, especially considering VW released one of the albums of the year with Modern Vampires of the City.

Continue reading: Grammy Awards 2014 Nominations: Who Are The Notable Absentees On The Nominee's List

James Blake, Rob McAndrews and Ben Assiter - James Blake performs at the Roseland Theater. - Portland, Oregon, United States - Thursday 21st November 2013

James Blake, Rob Mcandrews and Ben Assiter
James Blake, Rob Mcandrews and Ben Assiter
James Blake
James Blake
James Blake
James Blake

James Blake Wins Mercury Prize For 2nd Studio Album 'Overgrown'

James Blake

James Blake earns the 2013 Barclaycard Mercury Prize for his second studio album 'Overgrown'.

The annual trophy is awarded to an artist from the UK with the best album from the past year.

James Blake received the award at the Roundhouse in north London on Wednesday (Oct 30th).

Continue reading: James Blake Wins Mercury Prize For 2nd Studio Album 'Overgrown'

James Blake - Barclaycard Mercury Prize held at the Roundhouse - Press Room - London, United Kingdom - Wednesday 30th October 2013

James Blake
James Blake
James Blake
James Blake

James Blake Thursday 25th August 2011 12th Annual BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis held at the W Hotel - Arrivals New York City, USA

James Blake
James Blake
James Blake
James Blake
Guest and James Blake

James Blake Friday 28th August 2009 The USTA & Heineken kick-off 2009 US Open with a party held at Skyline Studios New York City, USA

James Blake
James Blake
James Blake
James Blake

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James Blake

Date of birth

26th September, 1988








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