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  1. Best Albums of February 2013

    Monday 11 March 2013, 11:40

    Mike Diver Mike Diver

    What an amazing month for new album releases that was. Cutting my initial list of over 20 standout records down to the 10 you see below was no easy task.

    So, please, also direct your ears the way of excellent recent sets by John Foxx and the Maths, Night Beds, Thought Forms, Amateur Best, Iceage, inc., Matmos, Eels, Atoms for Peace, Day, Jim James, Mogwai, Ron Sexsmith, Ed Harcourt, Darkstar…

    Basically, go and have a rummage through February’s releases, as you’re certain to be rewarded. Find everything that BBC Music has covered lately on our reviews pages.

    - - -

    Kilo Kish - K+ Kilo Kish - K+
    (self-released; released 7 February)
    Recommended by: Huw Stephens, Rob da Bank, Semtex

    “Kish here recalls both Lauryn Hill’s guard-down emotions, articulated brilliantly on The Miseducation of…, and the solid narrative structure that served Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city so well. Her promise is reaching fruition. So let that download take its time. Genius should never be rushed.”

    Read the full BBC review
    On YouTube: K+ (A walk through the process of creating the K+ installation and album) (external link; contains strong language which may offend)

    - - -

    Nick...

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  2. The Liberty of Norton Folgate - A drama

    Thursday 7 February 2013, 17:30

    Mark Davies Markham Mark Davies Markham

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    The Liberty of Norton Folgate is Radio 4's Saturday Drama, 2.30pm Saturday 9th February 2013.

    Suggs, of legendary ska popsters Madness, is married to a brilliant singer. She’s Bette Bright of Deaf School fame. I’m at a Deaf School reunion gig - I see Bette and seize the moment  to thank her for letting me use two of her songs in a musical I had written for The Liverpool Everyman.

    Flattered, she invites me to have a lager shandy with her old man, Suggs. Hunched up tight in a cosy corner of The Hope Street Hotel I pitch an idea to the cheeky chap.

    "BBC Radio 4. A play created around a classic concept album. What do you reckon?"

    Madness in the studio Madness in the Radio 4 studio

    "Hang about," barked the bard of Camden Town. "I bet you been to Bowie for Ziggy Stardust?"

    Spooky and uncannily true.

    "And he turned you down?"

    "Er. Well, his management did."

    "Pink Floyd for Dark Side of the Moon?"

    The man has a crystal ball. Nay two.

    "And now you want Madness to let you loose with your grubby maulers on our classic, critically acclaimed, mega-selling The Liberty of Norton Folgate?"

    OK, make that three. One for luck.

    "Absolutely, old son..."

    We discussed how this might work. I would not only...

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  3. Best Albums of January 2013

    Monday 4 February 2013, 14:31

    Mike Diver Mike Diver

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    Ten of the best albums from the month of January 2013...

    Click to the BBC album reviews pages to read more, as well as hear track previews and leave your own comments.

    (Yes, we know the first pick is an EP.)

    - - -

    Solange Knowles - True Solange Knowles - True

    (Terrible Records; released 7 January)
    Recommended by: Nick Grimshaw

    "These songs give more with each listen; Solange's vocal arrangements keep revealing an extra melody or another ear-snagging lyric. The result is an incredibly addictive pop record that's comparable to no other contemporary release. From a singer who's always been defined by comparisons to somebody else, that's quite an achievement."

    Read the full BBC review

    On YouTube: Losing You (external link)

    - - -

    Serafina Steer - The Moths Are Real Serafina Steer - The Moths Are Real

    (Stolen Recordings; released 14 January)
    Recommended by: Tom RavenscroftFreak Zone

    "Like the droll yet odd tales weaved by David Thomas Broughton, Steer sings deliciously barbed songs about the city - and, you know, space abduction, skinny-dipping, that sort of thing. She asks for too much when she wants to be aligned with Alice Coltrane instead of "this folky-girly-pigeonhole-harp-thing". But she is harder to define (and more...

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  4. Gearing up for the Folk Awards

    Wednesday 23 January 2013, 11:53

    Mark Radcliffe Mark Radcliffe Presenter

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    This week on my new BBC Radio 2 Folk Show, I’ve got some undisputed legends in session: electric folk pioneers Fairport Convention. A band who, despite their fair share of troubles, have continued to be a welcome presence on the folk scene for more than 45 years.

    Folk audiences hold their elders in particularly high regard and aren’t easily distracted by fashions or fads. This was writ large at last year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, when the fruitful collaboration between June Tabor and Oysterband – two acts who first collaborated 20 years ago – swept the board. This was mostly considered...

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  5. Vote for the greatest song in 6 Music's history

    Monday 7 January 2013, 16:30

    Elisha Sessions Elisha Sessions

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    What's the greatest song in 6 Music's history?

    From guest writer Gary Bales, editor of BBC Radio 6 Music

    Hello there.

    Since the launch of 6 Music on March 11th, 2002, our brilliant presenters have played nigh on a million records into your ears (seriously....based on an average of 240 tracks a day we are nearly at a million... maybe even over. Amazing, eh?), and many of those tracks were new at the time. So as we say farewell to 6 Music's 10-year anniversary celebrations, we here at the station thought it was high time we looked back at all the brilliant new music we have played on air during our eventful life so far.

    One day in the...

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  6. 6 Music Albums of the Year 2012

    Friday 28 December 2012, 08:15

    Matt Everitt Matt Everitt

    2012 seemed to be a fractured year for albums, there were no overriding genres or styles that dominated the end of year lists. Likewise few of the big established bands came up with career-defining records. However this did give new styles and artists a chance to flourish and grow through the cracks into popular taste. And when we compiled the 6 Music Top 15 Albums Of The Year List (Top 10s are so passé and a Top 5 just doesn't cut it) it became very obvious how diverse people's tastes had been this year.

    The presenters and staff put forward their top five albums, the list was compiled, an album...

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  7. Six of the Best: EPs of 2012

    Wednesday 19 December 2012, 17:51

    Mike Diver Mike Diver

    Positioned between the quick-fix single and the longer-commitment album, the extended play release is often a perfect chance to check out an artist's work in depth, but without taking too much time out of your day. And, every so often, a standout EP makes it to BBC Music's album reviews pages. Here are six of the best to have been covered in 2012...

    - - -

    Kwes - Meantime

    Kwes - Meantime
    (Warp Records; released 30 April)

    "Londoner Kwes is embarking on what can be a hazardous path for any behind-the-scenes sort: out from the studio and into the spotlight as a solo artist. But if these four tracks are an indication...

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  8. Six of the Best: Mixtapes of 2012

    Wednesday 12 December 2012, 13:46

    Mike Diver Mike Diver

    Look at the BBC Music Top 25 Albums of 2012 and the BBC Sound of 2013 longlist, and it's clear that the hip hop mixtape community is producing artists and albums - as these collections are, often, every bit as much long-players proper as commercially released sets - with real mainstream reach.

    Across the two lists, a number of artists with mixtape backgrounds are evident: Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, Death Grips, Miguel, Angel Haze. And this year, several high-profile artists from Rick Ross to Wiz Khalifa, 50 Cent to Gucci Mane, have delivered new material via the free-to-download mixtape...

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  9. BBC Music's Top 25 Albums of 2012

    Thursday 6 December 2012, 13:22

    Mike Diver Mike Diver

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    Welcome to the top 25 albums of 2012, as voted for by a wide selection of BBC Music critics, DJs, and presenters from Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3, Radio 1Xtra, 6 Music, BBC Scotland and BBC Ulster.

    How was this list compiled?
    Each voter was asked to submit their own top five albums of 2012. These could include DJ mix CDs, downloadable/free mixtapes and, of course, brand-new releases; but could not include reissues and deluxe/expanded editions of older albums. Each position in these top fives was worth a points score: first place was awarded 10 points; second, six; third, four; fourth, two; and fifth...

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  10. The Best Albums of November 2012

    Saturday 1 December 2012, 11:59

    Mike Diver Mike Diver

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    The Best Albums of November 2012

    Straight to business... Below you'll find details on 10 standout releases of November 2012. Do click through to the relevant review pages to read more about these great records; and keep them peeled for our very special Top 25 Albums of 2012, which will pop into place on these here Music Blog pages in early December.

    - - -

    Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream

    Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream

    (RCA; released 12 November)
    Recommended by: CJ Beatz

    This second long-player is actually Miguel's fourth release of 2012, tying together the loose ends of a trilogy of EPs titled Art Dealer Chic Volumes 1-3. Those...

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