So I've been away for a little while, but there's no better place to start upon my return than with Skepta's latest single 'SHUTDOWN'.

The latest taste from highly anticipated #Konnichiwa returns the love that Drake recently gave to Skepta (having referenced lyrics from 'That's Not Me' on the track 'Used To') by using two different Drake samples. However, the samples aren't from any of his songs, instead favouring one of his vines during the intro, and Drake's recent short film Jungle at the end of the song.

The track itself focuses on Skepta's recent success and his own knowledge that he's killing everything he touches at the moment. Apparently about seven different instrumentals were made by Skepta and fellow producer Ragz Originale before deciding on this particular number, and I soon found it on loop both in my head, and on my laptop, so clearly it was a good choice.

Grime is taking over people. Trust me, just ask Drake or Kanye.


Supergroup 'Sounds Of The South' Features Justin Vernon, Sharon Van Etten & More

Justin Vernon appears to be very active at the moment, and that's great news for everybody. Somehow, in between curating Eaux Claires (his new hometown festival) & joining The Staves onstage in London, he's found time to head up and release a single with a new supergroup called Sounds Of The South.

The group, featuring Vernon, Sharon Van Etten, Matthew E White, Fight The Big Bull and Megafaun, have unveiled a track entitled ‘Trials, Troubles, Tribulations’ which is due to feature on a compilation called MusicNOW - 10 Years, which, you guessed it, celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Cincinnati based MusicNOW festival, founded by The National’s Aaron Dessner.

Dessner is also helping to curate Eaux Claires, so there's clearly a lot of collaboration between the two going on. I'm praying this will result in a Bon Iver/The National crossover of some type, the thought of which excites me greatly.

The new track hardly sets the world alight which is slightly disappointing, but now that Bon Iver are set to play their first show since 2012, I can only hope it spells new music for the group, and brings about further tour dates.

The rest of the MusicNOW - 10 Years tracklist features some big names, so there should be something of interest on there:

01 Sounds Of The South: “Trials, Troubles, Tribulations”
02 Robin Pecknold: “Silver Dagger”
03 Sufjan Stevens: “The Owl & The Tanager”
04 eighth blackbird: “Omie Wise”
05 My Brightest Diamond: “I Have Never Loved Someone”
06 Dirty Projectors: “Emblem Of The World”
07 Tinariwen: “Imidiwan Ma Tenam”
08 Tim Hecker: “Chimeras (Live) 2011”
09 Colin Stetson: “Nobu Take”
10 Owen Pallett: “E Is For Estranged”
11 Erik Friedlander: “Airstream Envy”
12 Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy: “Love Comes To Me”
13 Grizzly Bear: “While You Wait For The Others”
14 The Books with Clogs: “Classy Penguin”
15 Andrew Bird: “Section 8 City”
16 Justin Vernon: “Love More”


Nai Harvest - Sick On My Heart & New Album

Nai Harvest have announced the release of their second album Hairball, and have released 'Sick On My Heart' as the first glimpse from the record.

The latest track goes further towards reinventing the Sheffield two piece, who have come a long way from their early twinkly emo beginnings, sounding more like Wavves than American Football these days.

I was a fan of the band's last EP Hold Open My Head so it'll be interesting to see if they stick with the surf rock/punk feel, or if they continue to branch out into new genres.


Jack White - Blue Light, Red Light (Someone’s There)

Jack White has shared his cover of Harry Connick Jr.'s track 'Blue Light, Red Light (Somebody's There)' which serves as the B-side to his latest single 'That Black Bat Licorice', which in turn comes from the 2014 Grammy Nominated album Lazaretto.

Just last week, the University of Oklahoma printed what was allegedly White's contract and tour rider, which featured a homemade guacamole recipe and the classic line "This is a NO BANANA TOUR. (Seriously)."

Monotone Inc., Jack White’s management company, have since refuted the claims in an open letter on the artist's website, but either way, the ordeal hasn't been the best publicity for the ex White Stripes frontman.

For all intents and purposes, the guacamole recipe is actually said to be quite good, but that's beside the point...


Swim Deep - To My Brother

Swim Deep are back, with the release of 'To My Brother'. The Birmingham boys have been quietly working on their follow up to their debut album Where The Heaven Are We which came out in 2013.

The new album is said to be heavily inspired by the Acid House scene of the eighties, and the single sounds just like the Happy Mondays. The album is still unnamed and without a release date, but the band have announced a short UK tour of intimate venues, presumably to test drive some of the new material.

31.03.15 Manchester Deaf Institute
01.04.15 London Electrowerkz
02.04.15 Birmingham Oobleck
03.04.15 Glasgow King Tuts

I'm never opposed to a band taking a new direction, but I just hope that Swim Deep bring something new to the table, with an album so heavily influenced by the past.


Chance The Rapper & The Social Experiment - Lady Friend

Chance The Rapper is an old romantic at heart; the Chicago rapper yesterday released 'Lady Friend' which just so happened to be Valentine's Day.

It's the most platonic love song I've heard in a long time, and the comments seem to be split between "This is amazing" and "RIP Chance" so it's safe to say that this track isn't for everybody. It may (or may not) be featured on the long awaited Chance/Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment record Surf which still has no set release date.

For me, the sentiment is quite nice although the track itself is a bit weak, but you should make up your own mind.


Father John Misty - Heart Shaped Box Cover

Father John Misty is hot property at the moment, having just released his brilliant new album I Love You, Honeybear. However, he's refusing to rest on his laurels, and in his continued media takeover (he really is everywhere currently), he took to American radio station Sirius XMU to cover Nirvana's 'Heart Shaped Box', which can be heard above.

The former Fleet Foxes drummer provides a faithful rendition of the original, that is well worth a listen. If that takes your fancy, then listen to one of his original compositions, 'Bored In the USA' which he performed on David Letterman's Late Show, and features one of my favourite lyrics from this year - "Save me white Jesus."

I still plan on reviewing I Love You, Honeybear at some stage but don't wait around for me to tell you that it's great, have a listen when you get the chance.


Four Tet & Floating Points - Six Hour Plastic People Closing Set

On January 2nd 2015, Shoreditch club Plastic People hosted it's final public event before closing their doors for good. The closure seems to come as a big loss to both club goers & DJs alike, and to commemorate its passing, Four Tet & Floating Points have shared their six hour long set from the night for all to stream.

The reason I'm sharing the above is because up until the closure, I had spent the past two years working literally 50 meters away from the venue, and yet had never stepped foot in there. For the first six months, I doubt I even realised it was there, as it was unassuming and easy to miss, just a simple door with a small sign above it. Only late one night did I first take notice, with a queue leading down the road awaiting entry. I told myself a few times I'd go, but clearly never did.

It's sad to see any live music venue shut, but it seems as if its a trend that is set to continue; with real estate in London becoming too expensive to buy and maintain, and even more difficult to hold onto once you realise the value in some locations. While I wasn't part of the scene that grew within Plastic People's walls, it's heartbreaking for art to lose out to big business, and I just wish I had made it to at least one night there.

So it doesn't matter how close you are to something important, these things can still be easy to miss. Go and support your local venue/band/DJ/scene/whatever have you have an interest in, otherwise, it might just pass you by.