Circuit Sweet Interview, Feature, Reviews

Rad Releases 19 – Silent Forum

December 24, 2019

It’s that time once again, as the countdown to the end of 2019 rapidly approaches and we somehow end this decade- we take a personal look back on familiar names, features and musicians’ best releases of the past 12 months. In what has been another crazy year filled with plenty of highs and lows- it’s the releases that have once again pulled a lot of people through the year.

Now in it’s 9th year, we let our favourites take over the site to tell us the records that have made their end of year lists. Telling us their most loved events/gigs and what we can look forward to from them next year.

Photo-credit: The Shoot

Our next addition comes from Cardiff based Post-Punk / New Wave Silent Forum. This band have had such a rewarding year with the release of their standout debut ‘Everything Solved At Once’, which was unveiled to the world earlier this month via Libertino Records. Silent Forum are experts are creating structured and flawless noise art at it’s finest. We hand the site over to Richard, Silent Forum‘s vocalist to find out about his year in music and top releases of 2019….

Top 5 albums of the year:

#5 – Little Simz – Grey Area

Occasionally an album comes along which I realise I’ve needed for a long time. Little Simz is a compelling and original voice coming out the UK Hip Hop scene whose flows are set to traditional instrumentation – beautiful drum patterns, trumpets, a bass guitar. She is hard hitting and ballsy when she needs to be (‘Boss’) and able to whip out quick fire lyrical miracles (‘Venom’). She can rap at an incredibly high pace with impressive control but is also capable of emotive and relatable low key verses.

#4 – King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Infest the Rats’ Nest

Through their 2019 Boogie Rock and Stoner Metal albums King Gizzard have proved that the core essence of a band does not lie in its genre. Despite their obvious aesthetic differences, both albums “feel” like the same band. Their tendency to write spectacular long form songs which fully explore every crevice of an idea is equally apparent on both LPs. They playfully over-egg their songs, luxuriating in theatrical, unlikely concepts, whether it epically proclaiming “there is no planet B!” or sweetly protesting “I feel so sorry for fishies”. They are not afraid of tackling big ideas. Hilariously on ‘Venusian 1’ they explore the journey of humanity escaping an uninhabitable Earth and moving to Venus. Whilst humour is clearly a key feature of King Gizzard’s music if you were to remove it you would still be left with an impressive record.

#3 – The Comet Is Coming – Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery

I adored what Nu Jazz legend Shabaka Hutchings did with Sons of Kemet last year. Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery subverts our expectations again. The band whip you from safe and subtle passages into erratic and aggressive ones, pummelling you over the head with cascading drums. ‘Timewave Zero’ might just be the most crazed and dancey thing the group have ever dreamed up. UK Hip Hop/ Spoken Word artist Kate Tempest joins them on a track to verbalise the feelings their music conveys, she chooses to talk about the state of the world in 2019 – it’s a powerful speech.

#2 – Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising

It’s hard to believe that this record was only released this year. There’s something about the ethereal, slow moving drama of Titanic Rising that makes me feel like I’ve been listening to it since childhood. This is a cohesive record that is far, far greater as a whole than any of the lead singles suggested prior to release. It also benefits considerably from repeat listens due to some of the oddities that Weyes Blood demands you accommodate – you have to learn to speak her language. For example, Natalie Mering’s perceived meekness on the mic is revealed as a compelling idiosyncrasy which sets Weyes Blood apart from comparable Art Pop artists. She is not spoon feeding you.

#1 – Black Midi – Schlagenheim

Black Midi have mastered the art of taking simple ideas and contorting them into complicated shapes. They flex from fevered, chase sequence whirling guitars to gentle, brittle, awkward production. ‘Speedway’ gives us a curious and satisfying version of minimal Post-Punk. ‘Of Schlagenheim’ runs instead with a caustic form of Noise Rock, it has a jittery rhythm which both sounds like it could spark a conga line and summon a demon.

Top 5 EPs of the year:

#5 – The Physics House Band – Death Sequence

The Physics House Band is Nu Jazz meets avant-garde Prog Rock meets Psychedelic Rock. Anybody who thinks that the shorter length of an EP inherently constricts its ambition and scope should listen to Death Sequence.

#4 – Bree Runway – Be Runway

2ON’ is hardcore Trap from a different universe. The dirty, boppy verse beats are in stark contrast with the serene, drawn out choruses. It acts as a platform for Bree to show off her versatile flows. She goes from hyper aggressive to chilled out in seconds. ‘X2C’ sees her knuckle down and flesh out her intimidating persona without the Trap influence. She is equally comfortable rapping over dark Garage beats. 

#3 – Squid – Town Centre

Squid made a name for themselves earlier this year with the gloriously deranged and quirky Post-Punk single ‘Houseplants’ which has been stuck in my head since it’s release. Ambitiously, their hit single does not feature on this EP, a welcome sign that the band has plenty of material to work with and are building towards a nuanced and detailed debut album.

#2 – Guerilla Toss – What Would the Odd Do?

This is an electrifying, ADHD-infused Synth Rock release. ‘Future Doesn’t Know’ is particularly skittish. I love the key change towards the end – it’s a psychedelic rollercoaster. ‘Moth Like Me’ is a much shorter but no less relentless cut – blaring mathematical guitars and an angular jittery approach to rhythm deliver yet another distinctive performance.

#1 – GoGo Penguin – Ocean in a Drop

‘Control Shift’ is totally different to anything we’ve ever heard from this dance music inspired Nu Jazz group. I have never heard a Double Bass fast played like a Bass Guitar before. Add into this the glitchy, manic, time signature defying piano break halfway through the song and you’ve got a stone cold classic.

Top 15 Hip Hop songs of the year:

  1. YBN Cordae – Have Mercy
  2. Clipping. – Nothing is Safe
  3. Little Simz – Venom
  4. Hemlock Ernst – Down
  5. Boogie – Silent Ride
  6. Noname – Song 32
  7. Slowthai – Dead Leaves
  8. Injury Reserve – Three Man Weave
  9. Bbymutha – Heavy Metal
  10. Quelle Chris – Straight Shot
  11. Schoolboy Q – CrasH
  12. 2 Chainz – Money in the Way
  13. Bree Runway – 2ON
  14. Zac Flewids – Hugs & Kisses
  15. Wiley – Boasty

Top 15 Rock songs of the year:

  1. Squid – Houseplants
  2. Pronoun – Stay
  3. Black Midi – Speedway
  4. King Gizzard and the Lizzard Wizzard – Mars for the Rich
  5. All Your Sisters – Self-Medicating
  6. Sleater-Kinney – Hurry on Home
  7. Fontaines D.C. – Big
  8. Wand – Walkie Talkie
  9. Guerilla Toss – Future Doesn’t Know
  10. Elbow – Dexter & Sinister
  11. Deerhunter – What Happens to People?
  12. The 1975 – People
  13. Tropical Fuck Storm – Who’s My Eugene?
  14. Yeasayer – Ecstatic Baby
  15. SeeYouSpaceCowboy… – Self Help Specialist Ends Own Life

Top 15 Pop songs of the year: 

  1. Charli XCX – 1999
  2. Weyes Blood – Wild Time
  3. Ariana Grande – Thank u, Next
  4. Katy Perry – Never Really Over
  5. Caroline Polacheck – So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings
  6. Kitten – Memphis
  7. Mabel – Don’t Call Me Up
  8. Carly Rae Jepen – Julien
  9. Shura – The Stage
  10. Lana Del Rey – Fuck it I Love You
  11. Billie Eilish – Bad Guy
  12. Taylor Swift – The Man
  13. Bon Iver – Hey, Ma
  14. Mark Ronson – Find U Again
  15. Lizzo – Juice

Top 15 Electronic songs of the year:   

  1. Anna Meredith – Inhale Exhale
  2. Thom Yorke – Dawn Chorus
  3. James Blake – Can’t Believe The Way We Flow
  4. Underworld – S T A R
  5. Guerillia Toss – Plants
  6. Daphni – Sizzling
  7. Bibio – Old Graffiti
  8. Pixx – Andean Condor
  9. Jessie Ware – Mirage (Don’t Stop)
  10. ogHolyGhost – Fantasy
  11. Gloo – Drown U
  12. Floating Points – Anasickmodular
  13. Hot Chip – Positive
  14. Metronomy – Lately
  15. Yeasayer – Ecstatic Baby

Top 15 Folk songs of the year:

  1. Big Thief – Not
  2. Jesca Hoop – Red White and Black
  3. Purple Mountains – Margaritas at the Mall
  4. Big Thief – UFOF
  5. Bibio – Curls
  6. Lana Del Rey – Mariners Apartment Complex
  7. (Sandy) Alex G – Hope
  8. Glen Hansard – I’ll Be You, Be Me
  9. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Bright Horses
  10. Esther Rose – Only Loving You
  11. Aldous Harding – Fixture Picture
  12. Villagers – A Trick of the Light (Mahogany Sessions)
  13. Threatmantics – First Things
  14. The National – Not in Kansas
  15. Taylor Swift – It’s Nice to Have a Friend

Top 10 R&B songs of the year:

  1. Sudan Archives  – Confessions
  2. Shura – Religion (U Can Lay Your Hands On Me)
  3. Dominic Fike – Phone Numbers
  4. SG Lewis – Throwaway
  5. Jorja Smith – Be Honest
  6. Rich Brian – Yellow
  7. Teyana Taylor – Morning
  8. Blood Orange – Good For You
  9. Yuna, Little Simz – Pink Youth
  10. AMA – Slip
  11. Tyler, The Creator – I Think

Top 5 Jazz songs of the year:  

  1. GoGo Penguin – Control Shift
  2. The Comet is Coming – Summon The Fire
  3. Algiers – Can the Sub_Bass Speak?
  4. The Physics House Band – Death Sequence iii
  5. Shabaka Hutchings, Kojey Radical – No Gangster

Top 5 Soul songs of the year:    

  1. Tyler, The Creator – I Don’t Love You Anymore
  2. Michael Kiwanuka – You Ain’t the Problem
  3. Durand Jones & The Indications – Morning in America
  4. Anderson .Paak – King James
  5. Solange – Almeda

Emo Rap shout outs:

  • Trippie Redd – Under Enemy Arms
  • Doja Cat – Bottom Bitch 

Best songs that do not fit into any neat category:

  • Kate Tempest – Hold Your Own (Poetry)
  • Richard Dawson – Jogging (Avant Folk Rock) 
  • Lingua Ignota – Do You Doubt Me Traitor (Neo-Classical Darkwave)
  • 100 gecs – Stupid Horse (Bubblegum Bass)

Best show we’ve played this year

We played a show with one of our favourite bands at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach in July, US post-punk/ gospel act Algiers. They had a great audience and we were delighted that Algiers themselves clearly loved our set. Post-punk can be quite an old and dusty genre, so it meant a lot to be part of an evening which was modernising and pushing the genre forwards.

Best show I’ve attended this year

I will never forgive myself for missing the first 30 minutes of New Order‘s 90 minute set at Blue Dot Festival in July (even though it meant I got to see the amazing Jazz act GoGo Penguin – what a clash!) The hits were massive. When they closed out the set with a couple of Joy Division songs I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I cried – obviously.

Plans for the New Year

We will be doing a UK tour in the new year to promote our debut album Everything Solved at Once which is released on 6 December. We’re not resting and will be back in the studio recording new material in March. 2020 is going to be a big year!

Looking forward to seeing you guys out on the road and congratulations on the outstanding release. Good luck for 2020.

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