Is it just me, or was the Christmas period a blur? I mean, all the Christmassy stuff happened, and then we had New Year's, but looking back now it seems like it was pretty much all gone in a flash. As you've probably figured out, the world didn't end on December 21st, which is good, because I wasn't able to inform you that New Music Friday itself, as well as the 405, went on a Christmas break. No localised catastrophes happened, we just got festive for a few weeks - so anyone worried about us need not have concerned themselves with my/our wellbeing. Happy New Year, by the way.
That sound you just heard was my knuckles cracking. This is my first NMF column in four weeks, but as you'll soon become aware, I've decided to take things up a notch this year. The format remains the same, of course - 15 songs from around the world, and three of my favourites getting a whole paragraph all to themselves - but some other things have changed. I'm more prone to doing special features here and there, so you should keep an eye out for one before the end of January. Let's get down to business.
Track of the Week: Ryan Hemsworth - 'BasedWorld'
But for a late-night tip-off, I might never have stumbled across this. Canadian producer Ryan Hemsworth has been in the game for a while, but rang in the New Year with an absolute gem of a track. 'BasedWorld' surfaced on SoundCloud last week while we were AFK, but I've been playing it to death since I discovered it. Featuring a powerful M83 sample ('Moonchild' from Before the Dawn Heals Us) and an excellent beat, it's Hemsworth taking his sound to the next level. I'll be keeping a close eye on him this year, and I would suggest that you do the same.
The Vestals - 'Perfect Pain'
These guys are also intent on getting 2013 off to a flyer. This song's been doing the rounds for a while, but it's been touched up considerably in advance of a February 11th single release on Killing Moon Records (a double A-side release with 'Seventeen', which I just as easily could have included here, since it's every bit as good). The Newport-based quartet will be of interest to fans of Fanfarlo, and 'Perfect Pain' is a brilliant mix of bombast and beauty, its sky-scraping hook one of the most potent I've come across in a while. While the yearly round of 'guitar rock is dead' columns haven't yet begun in earnest, we still have this, and it should be treasured. The Vestals are in for a great year.
Lost Souls - 'Black Eyes'
This Lincoln-based band are putting out this song as a single on January 21st, and it's already been making all sorts of good noises, with Artrocker and the BBC getting on board. It's not difficult to see why, either: Lost Souls are hardly as directionless as their moniker might suggest; they have an intensely driven air about them, and this is clearly audible in 'Black Eyes', which is a tight and focused slice of electronica-infused rock-and-roll. A fascinating mixture of two genres that, as it turns out, go together really well. I can't wait to hear what they do next.