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20 Top Nottingham Music Releases of 2016

30 December 16 words: Paul Klotschkow

A rundown of some of our favourite Nottingham-related music releases of the year, in alphabetical order...

Alice Short - These Small Towns Are Stranger Than Paradise
Poet, rapper, lyricist - whatever way you wish describe Alice Short, it probably still doesn’t truly do her justice. This, her debut album, proved that she is a writer and performer of some talent.

Babe Punch - Control EP
After a brief line-up change, this young Notts-Derby band followed up last year’s Snake Tongue / Fixation release with this spiky collection of songs that showcased the band’s growing confidence and songwriting power.

Be - One
Originally conceived to soundtrack Wolfgang Buttress’ bee hive pavilion at the World Expo in Milan last year; this collaboration between musicians, bees and artists is a beautiful meditative soundscape, while the accompanying live shows were a truly immersive experience.

Church of the Cosmic Skull – Is Satan Real?
Their debut (and to date we think only) gig was described by our reviewer as “mind-melting”. If you listen to this album you’ll see why. We hope their cultish behaviour is a big joke, although we’re not 100% sure. Either way though we like the music.

Crosa Rosa - Candy Eyes
These grungy garage rock weirdos firmly cemented their reputation as one of Notts finest bands with this riotous fuzzy racket of an EP.

Gallery 47 - Clean
We might just think this because we are totally biased (and also right), but the third solo album by the artist sometimes known as Jack Peachey saw him firmly cement his reputation as not only one of Nottingham’s, but as one of the UK’s most gifted singer-songwriters. Finger-pickin’ good.

Great Raven - MAGNETICSMOKE
Documenting the summer solstice from daybreak to sunset, a short listen but intriguing nonetheless, this is unlike anything else released all year and all the better for it.

Harleighblu x Starkiller - Amorine
Following on from her Futurespective series of EPs that showcased a more electronic sound, Notts premier soul singer continued her sonic adventures by teaming up with the production duo Starkiller for this album of futureristic R&B. 

Heck – Instructions
The band formerly known as Baby Godzilla started the year with a new name, thanks to a legal wrangle with a Japanese media company. They capped it off, however, with the release of their raucous, shouty and brilliant debut LP.

Hhymn – In The Small Hours
We first came across this band in 2008, so why it’s taken them so long to record their second LP we don’t know. But right from those first gravelly vocals from Ed Bannard on The Bearer, it’s brilliant, heartfelt and dripping with pathos. Let’s hope we get album three before 2025 kicks in, huh?

The Invisible Orchestra – Champagne Taste, Lemonade Money
I can’t really imagine what it must be like trying to tour a band with this many members. However, conductor in chief James Waring (actually he plays the guitar) seems to manage it. They’ve been played all over the country this year and word is spreading. The album is like John Barry gone funk!

Keto - What We Do
Enchanting melancholic indie-folk that sparkled and glimmered with heartfelt truths and bittersweet laments, all sang and performed as if soaked by candlelight.

Lone - Levitate
Arguably the electronic producer’s strongest release to date, a euphoric mix that hoovered up a mix of styles and spat them back at the dance floor in bright technicolour.

Rattle - Rattle
Over multi-layered drums and cooing vocal harmonies, the drumming duo captured the repetitive magic of their spirited live shows with hypnotic grooves.

Scorzayzee - Gangtsa Wraps (Take The Throne)
Along with Get Rich Or Die Fryin’, Notts' premier MC got all up in the grill of the fast food giants taking on the likes of that creepy clown and the Rolf Harris look-a-like Colonel. 

Ski - War Of Art
With impeccable samples supplied by The Elementz, the Notts rapper had no other choice then to bring his A-game to this EP which saw him flex his lyrical flair with poise and skill on what sound like largely autobiographical stories.

Sleaford Mods - TCR EP
The mouthy grot-hoppers kept their powder dry for much of the year, but as 2016 rolled on they couldn’t hold their tongues much longer and the results were this EP, their first for Rough Trade Records, with the title track battling with the monotony of going out on the lash. New album is due in 2017…

Snowy - Knots EP
The Notts rap scene hasn’t been this strong in years and one of the artists leading the charge is hyper grime bar-spitter, Snowy. This EP, released in collaboration with Red Bull Records, saw the rapper fired-up and showing off his dexterous flow over some suitably heavy-duty beats, proving that anger is indeed an energy.

Trekkah – The Enlightening
The ‘featuring’ list of vocalists on this album, from former Afterdark Movement maestro Trekkah, reads like a who’s who in the Notts scene. Lowrie, Motormouf, Bud, Bru-C and Percy Dread are all on here, as well as half a dozen other up-comers. It’s chilled and it’s beautiful feel-good stuff.

Vandal Savage - Savagery Over Everything
One third of Notts hip hop supergroup VVV along with Juga-Naut and Cappo, Savagery Over Evereything saw the wordsmith doing his own thing in typical free-flowing style over the top of groovy laid-back old-school soulful beats.

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