July 1st: Jerry Williams – ‘Mother’
One more thing to note about LANY is that their support acts on both occasions I’ve trekked to London this year to watch them have been impeccable. The tour itself featured Nimmo, a hypnotic dance ensemble whose subsequent single ‘Dancing Makes Us Brave’ landed on a fair few radars for the year ahead, and their one-off sellout at Camden’s newly-renamed Assembly on a rest day from Ellie Goulding’s tour saw Portsmouth singer Jerry Williams take the stage for an acoustic stint. Just three days beforehand she’d joined our friends at Surge Radio for a little session (and did the same again on the eve of releasing her Let’s Just Forget It EP) to showcase her splendid set of tunes. ‘Mother,’ one of the catchiest singles of the year, followed soon after, and on reaching Spotify three million people seemed to agree.
July 8th: The Knocks – 55.5
Hey, remember The Knocks? You’ve (finally) read my thoughts on 55 as a whole, but it was 55.5 that truly stole my heart in the way their previous tracks and edits had done. They honed their craft weaving gold from the mists of The 1975 and Of Monsters And Men, so its self-remixes must have come naturally – five tracks from 55 landed in the early summer, with four extended beyond five minutes to restore my faith in their nu-disco funk, spinning Carly Rae Jepsen linkup ‘Love Me Like That’ into one of the year’s grooviest heartbreak anthems. Within a couple of months of its release, they’d been via Guatemala with Jepsen and were opening for Justin Bieber all over Europe’s arenas. Coincidence? I think not.
July 15th: KDA feat. Tinashe – ‘Just Say’
After her role on Snakehips’ ‘All My Friends’ at the tail of last year, it was indeed a shame that Tinashe’s latest string of collaborations (GTA, Far East Movement “x” Marshmello, Enrique Iglesias, Britney Spears) didn’t even come close to having the same impact. Most confusingly was ‘Just Say,’ KDA’s throbbing followup to number 1 debut ‘Turn The Music Louder (Rumble).’ A big hook? A flashy video? A beat that sounds exquisite for every one of its nine minutes? ‘Just Say’ seemed poised to smash for months. In the end, it peaked at 88 in late November because clearly we don’t deserve nice things.
July 22nd: HONNE – Warm On A Cold Night
Back in January, we picked HONNE as the first of our acts to watch for the year. Here’s what we’ve written about Andy Clutterbuck and James Hatcher since.
- Alice Hearing reviewed ‘Good Together,’ accurately noting that everything they release sounds somewhat similar yet still absolutely gorgeous.
- They headlined July 22nd‘s This Week In Records for two reasons: I’d just found a wonderful vault of press shots that I needed to begin exhausting and a little birdie had told me their debut album was glorious.
- After a week of listening to Warm On A Cold Night on train journeys varied and assorted with little in the way of coherent words emerging, I scrapped all my notes and followed the opening instructions to listen to the thing at 3:17am. The final review was then ready within two hours.
- I previewed the Brighton date of their tour having let the record ruminate delighfully for another couple of months.
- With Kill J in tow, ‘FHKD’ became their latest cracking duet with a female vocalist. Dave Williams wrote about it.
- Ahead of that Brighton show, Polly Marquis and I sat in Liv Dawson’s van to chat with them. We gave them beachballs. They looked so happy.
- That night, I found love in a Haunt-ed place.
- The Warm On A Cold Night remix compendium earned them another This Week In Records chunk.
- We named the record as our ninth-favourite of the year, giving Alex Smith an opportunity to lyrically wax.
- Dave Williams reviewed those remixes, particularly enjoying takes from Riton, gnash, and 4e on ‘Warm On A Cold Night.’
We chose wisely.
July 29th: The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey – ‘Closer’
Here’s a list of questions posed by or regarding The Chainsmokers in 2016 that neither they nor their Bouquet EP could come up with answers for.
- What happened to ‘Roses’ after half a year of little traction to make it become a massive hit? (I’m not complaining, but it’s hardly anything exceptional.)
- Why does ‘Don’t Let Me Down‘ let me down so much?
- Who told Drew Taggart that singing, especially on stage on live TV, was a handy strategy?
- Where does any Rover have room for a stolen mattress? And don’t just say in a song that finds space for liberal tributes to The Fray and Fetty Wap.
- When is that track with Chris Martin coming along? I’m more than a little bit excited.