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A Magazine for Sheffield

December 2019

We're very excited to present this new PROLE JAZZ feature, a monthly round-up of the incandescent songs borne of the Cosmic Citadel of Magical Sheffield.

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Friends! 2020 is upon us, the year of Dawson, and we're very excited to present this new PROLE JAZZ feature, a monthly round-up of the incandescent songs borne of the Cosmic Citadel of Magical Sheffield.

December is often a quiet time for releases but not this month gone. It followed the insanely high bar set by 2019 for musical productivity and sonic panache (read here & here for our PROLE JAZZ round-up of songs of the year).

The twelfth month here in the Steel City witnessed the appearance of noise nuggets aplenty, a rainbowed and eclectic smörgåsbord of melodies and textures to set your earlobes aflame and feet a-tapping. Enjoy!

Duck - Sirens

Synth-grunge gurus Duck embrace their inner eighties with this fantastically atmospheric single from their upcoming sophomore album. The woozy keys and drum machine hold court until the chorus, when a tidal wave of overdriven shoegaze guitar washes everything away and you're lost in a fuzz-dream of hypnotic overdrive. Sensational stuff from one of the most creatively exciting bands in Sheffield.

Minimal Animal - Barely Seeing

Art-pop maestro Nick Cox (Screaming Maldini / Sheffield Beatles Project) released his second EP of 2019 under his new Minimal Animal moniker in December. 'Barely Seeing' is the opening track and it's an electronic feast, bursting at the seams with energy and ideas, an innovative mash-up of genres with a killer melody. Lovely stuff!

Frank Birtwhistle - Komorebi

'Komorebi' is the sound of light streaming through the sunlit canopy of trees, casting fragments of shadow and lambence across the leaf-strewn ground. It's a beautiful piece of finger-picked guitar, evocative and languid, a daydream of a song, and over almost before it's begun.

The Chalice Crew - Blessing the Chalice

This is old-skool dub junglism at its blunt-heavy best. It's a vinyl-only release, a smoke haze of bouncing sub-bass, ghostly synth and mad snare-wild beats. 'Blessing the Chalice' has all the hallmarks of an instant classic: the production is top-notch, the now-vintage pitch-shifting snare hits skip and jitter like some kind of staccatoed dervish-prayer, the nuanced polyrhythms of the cymbals wend and weave and all over a pulsing reggae heartbeat. Rewind!

Louis Berlin - Friends Re-United

Louis dropped this infectious slice of cheeky electro-pop mid-month and it's the musical equivalent of a SAD lamp. It's a chirpy, tongue-in-cheek, nineties-referencing joy tune, all quirk-drenched keyboard and Fresh Prince beats. There's even a mid-song rap breakdown! Imagine DIMITRI with an injection of funk and early nineties hip-hop and you won't be aesthetically too far off. If you want some summer in your winter this is a good place to start. Great vibrations here!

Jackson Swaby - 3 weeks 4 days

Jackson Swaby, the most prolific of Sheffield's electronica producers, was back at it in December, releasing the juicy 3 weeks 4 days EP. The eponymous title track is a click-house classic, replete with a beautifully dirty bass wobble and gasps for hi-hats. There's something intimate and immersive about this track, right up until the layers disintegrate and it's all phoenix jive and skitter-funk and the extended, hypnotic head-nodding outro ends with a whispered "Three".

Floodhounds - Out of Time

The Floodhounds return with their jaunty brand of post-Libertines rock. Lots of classic indie touchstones to identify here in this electric tune, which doesn't quite escape the long shadow the Arctic Monkeys still cast over the city's trad-indie scene. It's a wormhole that many lesser local bands have vanished into and never returned - the question is whether Floodhounds can sidestep the trap and find their own voice free of the Turner-isms that pepper this track. By the sound of it there is everything to play for: 'Out of Time' has great guitar and chunky production, and lacks only the idiosyncracy and adventurousness that is the hallmark of all transcendently fantastic music.

Next from PROLE JAZZ

Songs of January 2020

The relentlessly prolific musicians of Sheffield have been working overtime this January, seemingly determined to top the creative magic of…


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