Earl Returns

Having spent 2011 out of the spotlight (some say in a young offenders institute, others boarding school or even prison), Earl Sweatshirt, the youngest member of the OFWGKTA clan has returned. Possibly the most sought after rapper on the planet up to this point, all that was known of Earl was his self titled album and appearances on other OF productions. The single Orange Juice, sampling the beat from Super Duper Lemonade by Big Sean was Earl’s most played song, suggesting the young artist had a serious amount of talent stored up in preparation for the future.

in his reemergence, Earl appears to have established his own Tumblr and Twitter accounts claiming 'Nigga need followers. Give me 50000 and I'll release this shit for everybody'. Unsurprisingly the followers came, and true to his word Earl threw Home to the sharks. 

Sounding very much like many other Odd Future productions, sampling jazz drums and soft melodies behind lyrics such as ‘Knock-knock, it’s that prodigal pen-throttle, bitch’, Earl’s latest outing seems well set to conquer as Tyler and Hodgy have done, and with the talent he possesses, I wish the best of luck to him.







New young talent, hope you like it.

1. We Were Children - Tribes £££££ [PICK OF THE WEEK]

Had this track stuck in my head for weeks now, it’s an absolute classic and I think will become one of the defining records of 2012. Think London Indie rock, with big melodic choruses reminiscent of a more emotional Clash.

2. Comeback Kid - Sleigh Bells ££££

After hearing Infinity Guitars [LINK] by this band, and loving it, i feared they may fall into the age old ‘one hit wonder’ category. However, they’ve come back with another absolute banger and blown my pompous judgement completely out of the water. Bloody great heavy tune with female vocals, highly recommended.

3. Gold On The Ceiling - The Black Keys £££££

I now understand why this group are fit to headline Coachella later this year. They have perfected their sound completely, and mix American folk with classic rock guitars. This song strongly reminds me of the Skate era music of early Bowie (e.g. Suffragette City), T.Rex and Ted Nugent, which I bloody love!

4. Midnight City - M83 ££££

Surely one of the most hipster things nowadays is a song taken from a TV show? As the theme tune to the E4 hit Made in Chelsea, this track is so fucking indie it’s eyes burn when it sees soap.

5. The Wolves (Little Dragon Remix) - Ben Howard £££

Second only to tracks from TV shows on the Indie scale is a soft male vocal put on a heavy dub track. See James Blake (Limit to Your Love) or Ed Sheeran (The A Team) for reference.

6. Arrows of Eros - Golden Silvers £££

Recommended to me by a friend, the chorus of this track is so infectious you’ll be humming it for days. The video isn’t half bad either, giving a professional feel on a likely low budget.

7. Paddling Out - Mike Snow ££££

Having heard very little of Mike Snow in the past, this is a great tune to discover him through. Eery effects and great production make this a track highly worth a listen

8. Black White & Blue - LadyHawke ££££

LadyHawke, a female (duh) singer-songwriter from New Zealand, bursts back onto the indie scene with this debut track from her new album, Anxiety, and if the rest of the record is anything like this absolutely cracker, it’s going to be a fantastic piece of music.

[NB: Using £, ★’s are just so mainstream]


Album Review- Lonely Are The Brave: Maverick Sabre

Michael Stafford aka Maverick Sabre hasn’t had the usual route into making popular culture music. Born in Hackney but moved to Ireland as a youngster with his family. He did however in his late teens move back to London to pursue a career in music. Whilst in Ireland, he was playing his guitar, singing, and was a big influence on the underground Irish hip-hop scene.  One of his early supporters was Plan B. Being a white male, neither of them had the greatest chance of succeeding in the hip-hop market. Luckily for both of them, they can both sing, and rather well at that. Plan B let him stay with him in London whilst he was gigging all round the capital. Finally getting some radio publicity from the likes of Mista Jam and Huw Stephens, he began to make a name for himself. He released a few EP’s but on the side he was working on this much anticipated album. He kept on playing show after show, and over 2011, he supported the likes of Snoop Dogg, Professor Green, The Script and Cee Lo Green.This level of variety has given the opportunity to expand his fan base all over the world.

The first single from “Lonely Are The Brave”, “Let Me Go” did relatively well in the charts, getting as far up as 16. Second release “I Need” also did well and is probably the most iconic of his songs.

The album itself is no less than a masterpiece. Critics have claimed that he is not at his best on this record. Many have also said that it’s too ‘samey’. I have to completely disagree. Listening track-by-track, you get a real sense that this whole record is something that anyone can relate to. He sings about subjects only some people are even perhaps comfortable enough to talk about. The thing with the record also, is that it will appeal to so many different genres of music lovers. Whether you are a hard core hip-hop fan, a soul enthusiast or an avid chart follower, there is something here for everybody. His song writing exceeds any of his competitors, and his voice oozes originality, which is exactly why I am so passionate about Mr. Stafford.

Album highlights for me include his breathtaking cover of soul legend Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” and brand new single “No One”, which is a song about simply in Stafford’s own words “being cheated on by a woman” and is heavily influenced by throw-back soul form the likes of Aretha Franklin and The Temptations.

In my humble opinion, this is pure brilliance, and Maverick Sabre is one of the most underrated artists around.


Summer On FaceNoise

The perfect companion to your Summer. Everything we think you need for hot days and long nights. Enjoy.

Find it on our YouTube channel here.

1. Diane Young - Vampire Weekend

2. A + E - Clean Bandit

3. Something Good (Chesslo Junior Remix) - Alt J

4. Bill Cosby - Tj Atoms

5. Suit & Tie (Aeroplane Remix) - Justin Timberlake

6. Pumped Up Kids (Acid Invaders Remix) - Foster The People

7. Valentine’s Day - David Bowie

8. Friday Nights Ft. French Horn Rebellion - Viceroy

9. White Lies - Max Frost

10. Let Me Show You Love (Kevin McKay Remix) - Romanthony

11. The Mother We Share (Miaoux Miaoux Remix) - CHVRCHES

12. Who Did That To You? - John Legend

13. Quicksand - Jacques Greene

14. Get Lucky (M-Rock’s Bangin’ Disco Mix) - Daft Punk

15. Boardwalk - Tijuana Panthers

16. Entertainment - Phoenix

17. Aubrey Plaza (Shields Remix) - Bear Cavalry

18. Kartoon Emperor - Chester Watson

19. Lolie Pop - Travelling Day

20. Second Summer (RAC Remix) - Yacht

21. White Leather - Wolf Alice

22. Colourful Day (Seams Remix) - Alan Pownall

23. She Changes The Weather - Swim Deep

24. Fly Away (Poolside Edit) - Laid Back

25. Hours (Teen Daze Remix) - Tycho

26. Heavy Feet - Local Natives

27. Take Me To The Sea - Salt Cathedral

28. Fantasy - MS MR

29. Little Sister - Drop Electric

30. Cannibal - Marika Hackman

31. Master Hunter - Laura Marling

32. From Above (Jack Steadman Remix) - Rae Morris

33. Wasting My Young Years (N.D.M.A Remix) - London Grammar

34. Late Night (Koreless Remix) - Foals

35. Back To Black - Beyonce x André 3000

36. Mirrors - Justin Timberlake

37. LA Again ft. Michna - K.Flay

38. King Wizard - Kid Cudi

39. Mast (Yale x Classixx) - DJ Topsider

40. Inhaler - Foals

41. Mozart’s House (XXXY Remix) - Clean Bandit

42. Sun (Viceroy Remix) - Two Door Cinema Club

43. $100 Bill - Jay Z

44. Only For Tonight (Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs Remix) ft. Sasha Keable - Zinc

45. Electrified - Young-Wonder

46. Electricity - FMLYBND

47. Honey - Swim Deep



Hidden Gems

Week three of Hidden Gems from XS, only on FaceNoise.

1. Me And My Drummer – Phobia (BretonLabs Remix)

London based multimedia artists Breton, last year released Other People’s Problems - an imaginative and unique culmination of guitars, electronics and even some field samples from their local market. More recently, they produced a mix for BBC Radio 6, a thoughtful affair including Jamie XX’s remix of Four Tet’s Lion. The mix came to a finale on this little beauty – a buzzing, crackling piece on which swooning, dreamy vocals wind themselves around pulsating electronica.

2. Spook Houses – American

“Right now I don’t feel like it. I’m drunk and I feel like shit.” Distorted, dirty, brilliant.

3.  Is Tropical (Ft. Get People) – Venezuela

Just as exotic as the name would suggest!

4. Ter Haar – Avus

Hyped up German experimental, instrumental music. This is a good thing in case you were unsure.

5. Alan Pownall – Colourful Day (Seams Remix)

Berlin based electronic artist James Welch AKA Seams, is perhaps best known for his 2012 two part release, Tourist/Sleeper. Despite this, some of Seams’ earliest works still remain my favourite, like this blissful remix of Alan Pownall’s Colourful Day or the clicking, sparkling Dog Is Dead - Hands Down remix. 

6. Glass Animals – Golden Antlers

Glass Animals combine winding vocal coos, classy electronic beats and, every so often, a sniff of dub-step. Very exciting!

7. TOPS – She’s So Bad

Lead vocalist Jane Penny’s beautiful drifting falsetto combined with glittering guitar riffs and floating, 80s inspired synths make this a master class in original dream pop.

8. Calvin Love – Magic Hearts

Indie pop at its most simple… and most cool.

9. Wolf Alice – Fluffy

Wolf Alice share record label with indie favourites Swim Deep. Their debut single, Fluffy, is a sign of good things to come; it’s manic, but it never loses its way. Frontlady Elli Rowsell does a sterling job, sounding as sweet as Paramore’s Hayley Williams one minute, and as crazed as Sleigh Bells’ Alexis Krauss the next.

10. Generationals – Spinoza

Generationals capture a sound that seems to have gone out of favour recently, but in my opinion their new song Spinoza comes as a welcome return for toe-tapping American indie sparkle.

11. Bear//Face – Taste My Sad

Ok ok ok… so this is a massive tune! For the sake of anyone who’s yet to hear of him, I just had to alert you to this 19 year old producer from Belfast, who combines chill-wave with hip-hop to create something totally spell binding.

12. Ra Ra Riot – Dance With Me

Perhaps this one is my guilty pleasure for this week. It’s oh so sickly sweet but hard not to enjoy.

13. Popstrangers – Heaven

These Kiwis certainly have punk influence, but it’s their sensitive pop qualities that make you want to listen over and over.

14. Isaac Tichauer – I Forgive You

Not hard to imagine me dancing suggestively (and probably scantily dressed) to this new one from French Express signed house sensation Isaac Tichauer. Most of you are fortunate enough not to know me, but for those of you that do, it doesn’t make a very pretty picture does it?

15. Casablanca – Echoes In A Shallow Bay

With a chorus as sing along-able as I’ve heard in a long time, this teenage five-piece sure know how to write an indie rock banger.


Interview: Splinter

Growing up in Longsight, Manchester, Splinter sadly became homeless when he was just 15. He gradually got himself together then went travelling for a few years. These days you can find him in South London, for the time being anyway.

Splinter was making music from an early age. He played drums on pots and pans and whatever else he could find that made a “loud noise”.  He always loved the sound of a piano, and amazed him how you could get across so many different emotions on just one instrument. He managed to get a hold of a cheap Casio keyboard from somewhere so he started to learn to play on that.

“I think there’s good in most types of music which is probably why my sounds or selections don’t stick to one style. I don’t like the word genre. It’s limiting and doesn’t reflect life. For me anyway.”

“I’m always trying to add a conscious or positive vibe to my sound. There’s a lot of quality out there but much of it gets drowned out by the disposable shit that gets played unfortunately. Too many egos around too. Self-gratification aint ever cool man. I know there’s underground movements and I hope there will always be, but I think much of our culture has deteriorated big time. So I guess I try to do my bit to help out in my own way. I write stuff almost every day or whenever I get the first chance to. Got 3 new tracks I’m working on which I hope I can get out in the next few weeks. Can take me ages to finish a track. Sometimes it can take me an hour (like the Rokhsan remix), sometimes weeks, sometimes months.  Maybe even years with 1 or 2 of them.”

One of the things that drew me into Splinter’s music is the name. Why “Splinter”?

“I’ve always gone by various names. I wanted a name which said something was different. Kinda like ‘splintered’ from the rest of the pack. Sounds pretentious when I say it like that, sorry about that.” (I chuckled, don’t worry.)

“I’ve seen a few people around with the same name since (or were there before him) so I thought about changing it. But that was before I started getting a few hits lately from people digging my sound so I’m not sure I will now. But you never know with me.”

Given Splinter’s tough background, I find it hard to believe he had an easy route into the producing business.

“I did the band thing and we used to use this recording studio over in Greenwich. I knew then I wanted my own set up so I could produce stuff how I wanted and whenever I wanted. Once I got my own place a few years back I got some money together and bought myself an old pc, a synth and got a cracked copy of Cubase off a mate. That was it for me, I was in my element. I’ve probably written a million tracks since. Anyway time passed and I worked hard to gradually buy more stuff/new computer. Nowadays the set up I got is nothing pro but I’m lucky it’s pretty decent. Well, it does the job for me anyway.”

There are a huge number of producers around at this present time. The indie or alternative dance music scene is in huge transition, which firstly came from the dubstep generation which is filling up every dance floor throughout the world. The post-dubstep or whatever you want to label it as, it’s a new wave of elelctronic music, led by the likes of James Blake, SBTRKT, Four Tet, BuriaI and Star Slinger.

The new breed of producers are also a huge force at the moment. The likes of Lancaster duo Bondax spring to mind, as well as Disclosure who are enjoying a lot of attention right now.

“I don’t class anyone as competition because music is no race. Music is there to be heard and felt. The more music out there the better. Not everyone’s the same and not everyone has the same taste in music so the world would be dull if everything sounded the same. I dig Bondax and Disclosure. Those guys got different flex to the standard dubstep/post-dubstep whatever it’s called and I like that. I get a buzz from finding new sounds, you know hearing things being adapted and people putting on their own slant. Then again I love hearing any track whenever I hear emotion and heart’s been put into making it. That’s what music is about to me. I always wanted to play my music out to people. When I was in that band and we played the pubs, the feeling I got from people’s reactions to our sound I just can’t describe it. I’m not famous and I’m not saying I will be, but I don’t like the fame game. It’s just not me. I prefer to let the music do the talking. But it’s every musicians dream to earn a living from what they love to do and I’m no different.”

Splinter is probably most well-known for his breath-taking remix of Rokhsan’s “1000 Yrs”, which he claims she may not even like.

“I’ve been known to spend hours online scouring Youtube, SoundCloud, wherever really, always seeming to look for someone up and coming or unsigned. I guess you could say I favour the underdog. And where I can I try adding my vibe to their sound hopefully to get it sounding where more people would listen to them. I stumbled across Rokhsan during twilight hours a few months ago. Instantly I knew there was something about her voice and her lyrics on her track “1000 Yrs”, it resonated with me big time. Whenever I get that feeling it inspires me to write there and then. So I set about trying to put what I heard in my head into sound. I think I made that remix in a couple of hours, not long anyway. It was rough cut and I sent it off to her hoping she would hear it and maybe like it. I never heard back from her so maybe she hates it! I know there might be some errors on there but I guess I was excited by the sound of the track so I just posted it up and left it at that.”

Having moved around a lot, it’s not always certain where Splinter is. At the moment he’s based in London, near Camden.

“Throughout my life I moved around so sometimes I get this feeling I need to move on, but for the time being I’m staying in London yeah. I love Manchester, it will always be my hometown but I like the London scene too. You can live and breathe life on the street here. Sometimes it can turn around and bite you on the ass though if you’re not careful. But that’s what I like. It’s like being on the edge. There’s this cool looking place in Camden called Inspiral, they asked me to do a set there so if that works out it might be another reason for me to stick around London for longer.”

When I asked Splinter who his biggest influences are, he described it as the “billion dollar question”.   

“I grew up listening to all sorts. Literally you name it I probably dig it. These days producers like Burial, Four Tet, SBTRKT, Boards of Canada are all heavyweights and I got massive respect for them.”

There is a certain mystery behind Splinter, which I find very intriguing. From his humble background, it seems he hasn’t lost where he came from and how he got to where he is now. Although he may not be as well known (yet) as other UK electro producers, he gets my vote as one of the most promising talents around at the minute.

This is Splinter’s official SoundCloud.

This is Splinter’s official Facebook page.


Forgotten Fridays: Stars Of CCTV-Hard Fi

Forgotten Fridays" is a brand new feature for FaceNoise. The basic logistics to this new addition, is to reminisce and remember an album from the past, that you may or may not have forgotten about. The first edition of "Forgotten Fridays" is "Stars Of CCTV" from Hard Fi. 

Its hard to think that Hard Fi first came onto the scene in 2004. The band from Staines, England, were a ‘pub band’ for years, before self-releasing “Stars Of CCTV” in October 2004. The 500 copies they made sold out rapidly. They haven’t looked back since: UK indie imprint Necessary reissued the nine song record in June of the next year. Singles “Cash Machine”, “Hard To Beat" and "Tied Up Too Tight" were all chart hits. UK tour dates with the likes of Kaiser Chiefs, Ordinary Boys and The Bravery were all successful, as well as winning over festival crowds not just in the UK at the likes of Glastonbury, but at the prestigious Texas festival SXSW. 

Before the end of the year Hard Fi were nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize. They went onto to earn two Brit Award nominations in 2006, one for Best British Group, and one for Best British Rock Act. In January of 2006, “Stars Of CCTV” hit the number 1 spot in the UK. Which is a very, very mean feat. 

Other than the singles that were previously mentioned, the album as a whole is superb.Usually on a British indie rock record, there are some poor tracks, even from the likes of heavyweights such as Kasabian and Kasier Chiefs. But not on this record. In my honest opinion, they could all of been released as singles. Its that good. Favorites of mine have to be “Living For The Weekend”, which, is the probably the most iconic and accessible track for the listener. The name of the track says it all. Its simpleness and anthem like nature to the chorus is so ‘true-to life’

If you have, or haven’t ever listened to this record, then you must.


Ghost Loft - So High

For most of you, Ghost Loft will be a new name. The LA producer has been on my radar for a while now, and he dropped his first single last month which was called “Seconds”. “So High” is a new track from him which he shared via his Soundcloud, and his amalgamation of ambient melancholy with some cracking vocals make us crave for more.

Listen here.



Arguably the four worst dressed men in modern music - Swim Deep - have come out with the video for their newest single The Sea. At 3 minutes 43 the audiovisual experience is a wonderful insight into the lives of the band, showing both the naivety of youth so prevalent in their music and also what life was like for the Birmingham boys pre indie explosion.

Fans of their previous work, such as Honey and King City, will surely enjoy this video, and anyone into quintessentially British indie music with a strong 90s feel will also appreciate.

Peace, MB

Hidden Gems

Week four from XS, the man is on a hype. Hidden Gems, only on FaceNoise

1. Mausi - Move

Following on from their success with summery favourite Sol, Mausi return with Move - an explosive, strangely numbing record with a screeching dance hook and catchy pop sensibilities.  Oh, I want to move indeed!

2. Haim – Send Me Down (Dan Lissvik Remix)

LA trio and recent BBC Sound of 2013 winners get the disco treatment from Swedish producer Dan Lissvik.

3. Valerie June – You Can’t Be Told

Co-produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, it’s easy to draw similarities between You Can’t Be Told and 2012 rock favourites such as Lonely Boy and Howlin’ For You; but the likenesses only really go as far as to say that both artists are hugely inspired by Johnny Cash, gospel music and the Deep South - June’s honey sweet country vocals are a whole new wonder in themselves.

4. Blue Hawaii – In Two

Angelic coos hang over bleak electronic basslines. At its best it’s somewhere between Grimes and Purity Ring.

5. Benjamin Gibbard – Bigger Than Love

Coming in with crackly acoustic guitar and banging drums that sound as though they’ve been recorder in next door’s garden shed, one can’t help but feel slightly nostalgic. Soon though, it explodes into an uplifting alternative rock anthem.

6. Axis Of – Lifehammer

One for friend and father of rock CM. An absolute stormer.

7. Team Ghost – Dead Film Star (Para One & Tacteel Remix)

Team Ghost create dark, electronic based shoegaze, with a sound not unlike fellow French artist M83 (not surprising seeing they’ve shared a former member). On this remix of their latest single, Para One adds a glistening electronic bubble to energise the song to its most lively and listenable.

8. Twigs – Ache

There’s beauty and mystery surrounding this piece from R&B artist Twigs. The bass warbles and throbs around you, the drums flutter in and out and whispered breathily into your ear – “I ache for you. Uh uh uh uh.” Addicting stuff.

9. Foxygen – Shuggie

Foxygen make music with an air of MGMT (think Congratulations), topped off with overtones of psych and glam swagger.

10. Orae – Sightlines

A delightful blend of acoustic and electronic sounds, with elements of soul for good measure.

11. Bear In Heaven – Sinful Nature (CYAN VENA & Kit Monteith Remix)

As Yannis might put it – this one is swampy. Mr VENA’s also had success with NZCA/LINES’ Airlock creating a vast and throbbing, chill-out tune. Is that an oxymoron?

12. Elephant – Ants


13. Criminal Hygiene – Blak Water

Honest DIY rock straight outta LA. One can’t help but get the sense of being at your favourite dingy basement party.

14. arao – Forces

Norweigian singer/songwriter Kari Jahnsen, AKA Forces, recently did a magnificent version of Walking In The Air in aid of Norway’s Christmassy Alternativ Julekalender. (I’m sure Aled would’ve loved it!) She continues to demonstrate great talent with the sweet and delicate, folk-inspired Forces.

15. Peers – Guilt

It’s been 7 months since anything’s been heard of from the Reading four-piece. I’m praying that this is purely down to the fact they’ve been squirrelled away writing new material because their upfront style of indie rock music is something special and exciting. In particular, Guilt is a sensitive and consuming piece where haunting vocals take centre stage amongst simple bass and synth lines.


Emily Underhill-Lost In Me (Splinter's eMotion Picture Remix)

This is South London producer Splinter’s newest offering, and what a track this is.

His signature atmospheric, dark basslines, with the soft vocals of relatively unknown singer/songwriter Emily Underhill makes for a almost perfect track. This guy is seriously, seriously underrated. Get listening! Listen here.

You can read an interview I did with him too HERE.

Follow him on his official SoundCloud page.