Music Reviews: December 2023

Words: Gemma Cockrell, Bassey, Maddie Dinnage, Phil Taylor, Roxann Yus
Saturday 16 December 2023
reading time: min, words

This month, we review new tunes from Emily Ashberry, PASTE., Catmilk, The Cost of Loving, Baby Tap, and Michael Vickers...

Emily Ashberry
Bonfire Night (Single)
A song of delicate, timeless, folk-imbued beauty, Bonfire Night tells an honest and touching story of a couple’s love, made special through its ordinariness. From a gentle start of finger-picked acoustic guitar, the song picks up pace, carries it on with an accompaniment of subtly glitchy drums, and takes it through to a lilting conclusion. Meanwhile, as she sings about her parents, Emily’s soulful vocals wash the whole scene with clarifying, guiding light. It’s a whole lifetime in a four-minute song, and a superb example of what modern folk songwriting can achieve. Phil Taylor

Hockley Hustle (Single)
Previewed and officially released on the very day of the festival that it is named after, which saw the band headline the BBC Introducing stage at The Bodega, Hockley Hustle is the second single from PASTE., following the release of Drain earlier this year. The instrumentation of the track perfectly captures the beautifully organised chaos that defines the festival, and demonstrates that PASTE. are definitely a band to keep a close eye on. It is heartwarming to see a band representing Notts’ local scene in this way and the song serves as a proud tribute to one of the most-loved events on the city’s musical calendar. Gemma Cockrell

Artichoke (EP)
When an EP starts with a spoken word piece, I’m instantly sold. This collection feels like a love letter to the soul, complete with all the wobbly nuances of complex human emotion. The instrumental portion at the end of Hailstones, Clocktower, Hummingbird was a nostalgic strike to the heart in itself, strings and percussion locked in a deadly embrace. Meanwhile, Dreaming of Brooklyn is a six-minute-long powerhouse in which Catmilk really flex their experimental muscles, playing with a slow and deliberate bluesy sound. No doubt, Artichoke is the best EP I've listened to this year. Maddie Dinnage

The Cost of Loving
Esports Player (Single)
It was the name of this band that drew me to them in the first place, but it was the music that made me stay for longer. Their most recent single Esports Player is smooth and atmospheric, yet simultaneously catchy and uplifting, and it is guaranteed to stay both in your head and your rotational playlist for a long time. Integrating influences from genres including dance, indie, electronica, pop, and more, this three-piece band are onto a winning formula with this one. Gemma Cockrell

Baby Tap
Enki (Album)
The chaotic energy that derives from a relentless, unforgiving identity sounds like Enki. The fourteen-track album exudes sci-fi ballroom (Up The F*ck), gabba sarcasm (Owie), and digital hardcore styles, all of which combine to create Baby Tap’s take on ancient futurism and to simply ask: what would the ancient god, Enki, think of our modernity? Would he resort to a carefree rave atop the crumbling debris of society? Enki takes this hypothesis and rewrites the rules of music and society, which was evident at the album’s electronic queer rave release party which took place at Rough Trade last month. Roxann Yus

Michael Vickers
A Life In A Day (Album)
Folk singer-songwriter Michael Vickers received high praise from BBC Introducing’s Dean Jackson when he released the first single from this album, I Already Love You, so we just knew we had to check out the full thing, which is titled A Life In A Day. Taking things back to how he fell in love with music in the first place, Vickers recorded these acoustic tunes by simply playing them live in the studio. The result? A raw, heartfelt, and personal project, which leaves everything right there on the table. Gemma Cockrell

If you’re from Nottingham and want to get added to our list of music writers, or get your tunes reviewed, hit us up at [email protected]

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