Welcome along team, to a week of absolutely smashing releases. We had a lull, we're all aware of it, but like a failing marriage we said nothing, diligently hired the babysitter, and forced ourselves out for date night. And by jove it's worked as we're rewarded with tracks from Hyde and Beast, Beth Jeans Houghton and 2:54. Hooray etc. And still no Christmas nonsense. Fantastic. Let us know your favourite in the Comments at the bottom.


Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny - 'Lilliput'

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She has been about for absolutely ages, as in for too long to only just be releasing her debut album, but for an artist as talented as Beth Jeans Houghton it has only served to build the fervent hype around the record, with 'Lilliput' offering a glimpse into what promises to be one of the strongest releases of the first half of next year. This is a track that draws on all that has made Houghton such a an exciting talent, combining a Florence theatricality with the pop sensibilities of Theoretical Girl, but never approaches predictable. This has been a year that promising British acts have stepped up to their potential with wonderful albums, and this is a track that goes length to suggest that next year will be more of the same.



Hyde & Beast – ‘You Will Be Lonely’

I think that Hyde & Beast have been a bit of a surprise act to emerge in the latter part of this year, with little promotion and originally sparse coverage, but have gained a perhaps surprising following based solely on their songwriting, harking back to the skiffle sixties in both sound and attitude. It only fuels the secret that a lot of bands pushed so strongly by PR companies are actually wank – Brother anyone? Hyde & Beast write understated gems that are attracting plaudits on the very basis of their music; music is ultimately about the music, and irrespective of image and all that other nonsense this is a band who deserve to be big.



The Twilight Sad – ‘Sick’

As ever, a bleak, confessional track those perennial harbingers of sorrow and unenviable misery, that sits ever so appropriately with the gathering winter. The rich Scottish brogue of James Graham layers the song in a rich wall of evocative imagery, with the relatively sparse backing serves to conjure up images of walking in the snow, and probably then dying horrendously alone. Very, very alone. But if you can stomach a little angst on a Monday afternoon then this is perfect, and hints at Christmas without approaching crass.



2:54 – ‘Scarlet’

There is a lot of attention around 2:54 at the moment, but I'm not certain that 'Scarlet' necessarily justifies it. Failing to hit the dramatic heights of the operatic charm of Beth Jeans Houghton, this track feels like it drags on and on, in the clichéd guitar solo, and the drawling, monotonous vocal. There is certainly hope for the future, but with so many bands threatening to break through at the moment, you have to wonder whether 2:54 have squandered their chances.