It’s the first of November – turn on the heat, fill the water bottles – get the woolly hats and scarves knitted. We’ve literally teleported through 2021 at rapid speed. Gigs returned in the Summer and London has swiftly returned to itself again – the highlight gig of my year thus far has to be seeing Jungle live at the O2 Brixton. That group know how to hit their niche sound on every track and had a London crowd screaming, swaying and coming out of themselves (anyone in London will know just how rare this is). Seeing Biig Piig open for them on the night was pretty outstanding too – her development in 2021 has been mega (her year was topped off by landing a collaboration with Metronomy – mad that). It’s been a big year for music, and especially so for those two cherished West London acts.
Underground/Grassroots live music has been getting back to its former self too. Sam Bowcher, founder of BARK has been upto his old tricks again, booking the best upcoming gigs at an array of wonderfully intimate venues around the city. Community Sessions was formed in September, a recurring charity gig night HQ’d in The Finsbury, raising funds for the homeless. And….. I’ve been running around the place like a possessed music-loving animal lapping up dozens of other gigs along the way. It’s great to have it back. There’s nothing like hearing music live – the vivid joyous memory of an exceptional live gig stays with you eternally.
Quinn Christopherson / Bubblegum
A guy called Blake randomly messaged the blog about two years ago asking to contribute some content to it. At the time I wasn’t ready for someone else to hop on board and scribe things – but I did check out his Spotify playlists to gauge his music taste. Within his ‘New Release’ playlist I found Quinn Christopherson‘s chillingly honest single ‘Raedeen‘ and that was where I came across this outstanding Alaskan for the first time. I’ve since become a massive fan – constantly checking up to see if Quinn has anymore new music out….
Up until last week Quinn only had two singles on Spotify, the aforementioned Raedeen and another classy track called Erase Me. These two were giving me my fix just about but word filtered through about an album on the horizon (which was recorded in London) and I’ve been awaiting it’s arrival patiently. Finally last week, a new single arrived titled Bubblegum. After such a long wait, there was quite a lot of pressure riding on this new work – it passed the test. I like it a lot.
Check out my interview with Quinn – HERE
Ollie Chanin / Rooms
NYC’s Ollie Chanin has been firmly on my radar here at The Sound Sniffer for as long as the blog has been in existence. He is one of those naturally talented song-makers who can churn out high end music for fun. I used to have a friend called Conor Sheehan that I went to school with: sometimes I’d head over to his house after-school and he’d show me his home studio he constructed in his garage. I used to sit and marvel as I watched him make tunes from scratch in double quick time. He is/was a genius (I don’t know if he’s still producing now). Ollie Chanin is that same sort of individual – someone who was born to make music and write songs. His latest single is Rooms and it’s a quality thing. I also did an interview with Ollie – find that HERE
Neev / Lovesong
New music from a member of our Community Sessions team – so exciting. Scottish songwriter Niamh Downes (Neev) is one of London’s best folk imports and her chilled music has been witnessed by many in the Capital over the last three years or so. A consistent live performer and a woman with unrivalled passion for her craft, Neev is a singer steadily rising on the scene in a natural, authentic way. Whether you’ve heard her sing at a Sofar Sounds gig, taken in her music within a Mahogony playlist or simply come across her strumming her guitar down your local – she is a musician not to be overlooked. Lovesong is the second single (following the luscious A Mother Knows) – taken from her forthcoming EP Currants (which is to be her most assured collection to date – I can vouch for that).
Lisa Gorry / It Was You (and Me)
Sticking to the folk side of life again with some new work from Irish songwriter Lisa Gorry. One of Ireland’s purest voices, Gorry has made a handful of absolute gems in recent times and has just released a four-song bank of work titled It Was You (and Me) and the title track is the one I’ve singled out for special attention.
I was sent over this new work a few weeks ago (right in the middle of a period of sheer manic workload with my day job). I didn’t get the chance to boil the kettle, lean back in my chair and take it in back then. Things have levelled off lately and I finally found the right time to listen and enjoy Lisa’s new stuff. I wasn’t disappointed – these four songs are top shelf and I could have picked either one of the four to write about.
It was You (and Me) is sits right up there with Down (2020) as my two favourites from Gorry so far.
Alewya / Play
Early in the summer I met a similarly music-obsessed chap from London called Ollie and we sometimes exchange music that’s tickling our fancy with one another. Alewya‘s latest single Play was the latest track to come from him and it certainly has energy and floor-filling ability. Alewya is a rising talent based in London with Egyptian and Ethiopian roots – fusing strong intense production with catchy melodic vocal ideas. I can envision a full room of dancers bopping away to this one in a swanky nightclub somewhere exotic. This is a sexy track and it showcases this young prospect’s repertoire nicely – it’s perhaps just a little too cool and trendy for me though, my rigid dance moves wouldn’t do it any justice.
About ‘The Sound Sniffer’
The Sound Sniffer is a music blog that’s still only a baby – Founded in early 2019 by Kevin Coakley, a music writer and ghostwriter. ‘The Sound Sniffer’ also runs gigs and showcases in London since Oct 2019. The showcases are picked from artists found in the blog’s submission inbox.
Check out my Interviews HERE