The continued rise of Azealia Banks


I think it’s fair to say at this point in 2012 that Broke With Expensive Taste, the forthcoming debut from Azealia Banks, who I have featured on here several times, is one of the releases I am most looking forward to this year.

Having been voted the coolest person in music at the end of 2011 by NME (Which can be a poisoned chalice), she has been hanging around the UK charts with ‘212’ seemingly pretty much since then, and her new EP 1991, is due soon.

Before the album comes out (due in September), there will be a mixtape entitled Fantastic. Taken from it is this rather fine track called ‘Jumanji’ which is another fine example of why listening to her is -in the finest way possible – like being on the receiving end of quickfire. It’s co-produced by Glaswegian Hudson Mohawke, friend and associate of Rustie, who I championed on this blog back in 2008.

play it loud…

More music from my inbox

Yet again, I’m hearing lots of new stuff and hardly having time to write about it all.

So here’s a things that have taken my fancy that I have heard recently.

First up, Azealia Banks continues to surprise and delight. Having hosted her free single recently, I was impressed to see that a huge number of people had downloaded it.

This is her latest track ‘NEEDSUMLOV’ which bears little or no ressemblance to ‘212.’ At this stage of her career, that’s probably a good thing. She’s getting a lot of coverage in the UK at the moment, to the extent that she’s moved here. Check her Soundcloud for more


NEEDSUMLUV (SXLND) by Azealia Banks


Not content with putting out Howler’s debut album, Rough Trade have picked up Alabama Shakes and will release their debut album on April 9, Entitled Boys & Girls. The band are vocalist/guitarist Brittany Howard, guitarist Heath Fogg, drummer Steve Johnson and bassist Zac Cockrell, and count Jack White among their growing band of admirers. Stream ‘Hold On’ below…

This is a Dubstep remix of The Beatles’ ‘A Day In the Life.’ To some this will be little short of Blasphemy. It’s my favourite Beatles’ track and I love what’s been done here by Voodoo Farm.


Finally, this track by Gotye has only just come out in the UK – but I’m making up for lost time:



PJ Harvey – my artist of the year

…farewell to 2011.

On a personal level, I know that a lot of people have had a tough year. Given that 2009 pretty much brought me to my knees, I sympathise. My highlight of the year has been the birth of my first (and QED so far only) child in March, though inevitably things have been soundtracked pretty continually.

So, if you want a track to soundtrack your night tonight, may I recommend this?

Azealia Banks -‘212.’ mp3

And for tomorrow morning, the title track from a new album out in 2012 that’s been getting a lot of play around 17 Seconds Towers:

First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar by Wichita Recordings

Have a good one. 17 Seconds will be back next year with more music (new and old) and much more besides…

Azealia Banks – really the coolest person in 2011?


This week, the NME has published its’ annual cool list. Now, I’ve no issue with the inclusion with the likes of PJ Harvey, Dave Grohl and Jarvis Cocker, though I’m puzzled at the high ranking of Hurts’ Theo Hutchcraft (wake up, hipsters! They sound like a Shit Go West), and both Gallagher brothers.

But the no.1 on the list is not the frontperson of some indie-by-numbers band, beloved by the Hoxton mafia. Instead, it’s one Azealia Banks, a mere twenty years old, and resident of New York. She was trying to break into acting. Her cover of Interpol’s ‘Slow Hands’ has been doing the rounds for a while (it’s quite impressive) and ‘212’ is an impressive track (big in the clubs, apparently, which you can’t even buy yet).

That Interpol cover:

Slow Hands by Azealia Banks

I love the cover and think ‘212’ is pretty cool (although it’s pretty blue). She’s working with Paul Epworth who made Florence a massive star – but will she build on this (considerable) promise or be well away from the music scene this time next year?