On discovering new music: How I found and fell for London Grammar, plus my other recent musical picks

Alanis Morrissette, and other people I’m not “supposed” to admit to liking 😛

It’s not often that I discover completely new music. As many have testified, my music taste ranges from the “ridiculous” (Taylor Swift) to the supposedly “awful” (Phil Collins, Alanis Morrisette, James Blunt, Coldplay), via some classics picked up from my parents’ old record collection (Elton John, Fleetwood Mac), some country and western discovered on the internet “radio” Last.fm (Johnny and June Carter Cash, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Tim McGraw), and a few of the poppier chart hits from years and months past (Katy Perry, Beyonce, Bruno Mars).

The fabulousness that is Kate Rusby

I also absolutely love English, Scottish and Irish folk music (Eliza McCarthy, Cara Dillon, Kate Rusby, the Lakemans…), and think jazz, soul and blues, preferably the kind you could imagine in a dark, smoky bar (when that kind of thing was allowed, of course – so Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Peggy Lee, Etta James…) is life-changingly great.

I like my music to mean something, for the lyrics to be poignant, clever or cheeky; for the melodies to be so powerful that you have to stop to listen; or so catchy that you find yourself utterly compelled to nod your head despite being sandwiched on all sides on a packed tube train.

Many would knock my music collection (and many have…) but for me, it’s the near-perfect blend of happiness, sadness, euphoria, nostalgia, beauty, skill, talent, and just good old-fashioned, toe-tapping cheesy, ridiculous rubbish. I love it.

But I add to it gradually. I am usually part of that new breed of consumer who downloads one-off singles (legally, I might add – music-wise I am a sad and addicted slave to Apple) and hardly ever does albums. I hear something I love, I Google it, I download it. The end.

But yesterday I was impulsive. Snoozing, half-awake, on the sofa, at about 2am, having characteristically dozed off after Graham Norton – the already-legendary June Brown and Lady Gaga episode ‒ I awoke to an advert for London Grammar, which I’d never heard of but was instantly certain was my new musical addiction.

“If You Wait” by London Grammar

Still clutching my phone from hours earlier, like a mouse on a wheel I searched, and instantaneously bought. The entire album. Not just the single advertised. The whole thing. Having previewed just 3 seconds of the thing half-asleep on a TV ad. Without even hearing on the radio or gradually letting a tune grow on me over the course of several days or weeks. Nope. The whole thing. Right there and then.

This never happens. I’m not sure what came over me, but ladies and gentlemen, meet my new favourite jam. It’s not often that I get that feeling of complete certainty about something, but suddenly, unexpectedly, there it was.

It’s ethereal, compelling, atmospheric, sexy, melancholy and uplifting all at once. The vocals are fabulously smoky; other-worldly. I’m not yet at the stage where I can sing along (I learn songs extremely quickly, but it’s not yet been 24 hours, give me chance) or know exactly what’s coming, so it still feels all unexpected and new, like I’m unwrapping something extraordinary every time. I realise I’m massively late to the party, but who gives a crap when it sounds this good?

One out-of-character decision with a TV and an iPhone, and I’ve suddenly discovered a whole new world of music I didn’t know was there.

Yup, here we are

OK yes, so they’re incredibly amazing and successful and, oh, THREE WHOLE YEARS’ YOUNGER THAN ME, having apparently met in their FIRST YEAR OF UNI in 2009, yes TWO THOUSAND AND NINE (MAJOR quarter-life crisis underachievement alert – it’s only going to get worse, this sense of underachieving doom, isn’t it?!) but hey, you can’t have everything.

PLUS, their name combines two of my favourite things: the fabulousness that is the capital city and the wonder that is correct punctuation and non-ambiguous linguistical constructions. Bliss.

My boyfriend called it a mixture between Florence and the Machine and the XX; I just call it fan-bloody-tastic. If you’ve discovered them already, more power to you, if you haven’t then you’re VERY WELCOME.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the serious awesomeness that is London Grammar.

My favourites so far….

ps. I have also recently discovered (how could I not, she’s everywhere) and loved new media favourite Lorde, rather latterly downloaded Katy’s Perry’s Roar (pure cheese, so bad it’s just GREAT) and RnB vocalist Natalie Duncan who I randomly heard on the radio at the gym!…I am, I realise, *massively* late to the party on all these things but that doesn’t mean they come any less highly recommended 🙂


Natalie Duncan

Katy Perry

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