Fran Stephen

The bikini body – I really thought I might achieve this holy grail of female form in 2012, but an excessive amount of hobnobs, rum and the most hideous pair of gym shorts on the planet (they were reduced in JJB) blocked my path. However all is not lost; with the dawn of  a shiny new year, the possibility of actually attending the gym becomes reasonable again and I can promise you 2013 will be better, if not for your arteries at least for your ears. Here are five artists who I hope will brighten your day, or at least whose addition to your playlist might make that session on the treadmill a bit less mind-numbingly boring.

Chvrches are a brilliant electro pop trio from our very own city. Glasgow has a rich musical culture and this band is the one of the latest to breakthrough onto the national scene. Delightfully soaring songs to get you dancing, their music zips, pings and whizzes with energy that is seductively infectious. If you’ve got the winter blues, try out ‘The Mother We Share’ to help you through.

The Heartbreaks
Not an electro lover? Try Morecambe band The Heartbreaks; their new single ‘Hand on Heart’ has strings that bring the sun out. They are superb live and these guys have been working hard since 2009 producing brilliant tunes like ‘I didn’t think it would hurt to think of you’ and ‘Polly’. All at a decent pace to get your heart rate going.

Palma Violets
This next band proves that having a sweet tooth is not necessarily something to complain about; introducing Palma Violets, an indie rock quartet hailing from Lambeth, London. While their name suggests a saccharine soaked sound, this band has unexpected bite.  ‘Best of Friends’ is a tune made for festivals, for shouting at the top of your lungs, up to your knees in mud, dancing while trying to avoid a Tennents shower. If that doesn’t sound like a perfect day to you try ‘Rattlesnake Highway’, great name for a wonderful song. The energetic drum beat will certainly keep you motivated to push through the dreaded exercise wall.

I first saw 1975 several years ago at a gig with my sister and I have loved them ever since. I remember meeting the drummer at the merchandise stand after the gig and yelling at him ‘aahhh you guys are incredible!’. My subsequent meetings with members of this band have been no more dignified or composed, much to my friends embarrassment and amusement. Their songs explode like magnificent musical fireworks in your ears for that one final push in your workout.  Try ‘The City’ or ‘Sex’ or ‘Antichrist’ or ‘Chocolate’ or…please don’t make me choose just one!

Tom Odell
After becoming the first male artist to win the Brit’s critics choice award, Tom Odell can hardly be classed as an underground artist. Unfortunately many people are yet to hear his music, including the beautiful ‘Can’t Pretend’ and mesmerising ‘Sense’. It may not be instantly feel good, but it soars with majestic glory that can’t help but lift the spirits. In an age when a lot of popular music is so candy-coated it could rot your teeth, the rise of artists like Tom provide a welcome alternative. Great for a cool down after that exhausting gym session.


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