Alternative; Pop; Electro.
IF you want to remain a hot force in the music industry…
there are a few considerations that need to be taken care of. In addition to consistency- a gold nugget that few artists can ever unearth- there needs to be originality, passion and graft. These are words I throw around a lot- never wantonly and lazily- and for very good reason: The artists that (will) remain in music are those who go the extra mile. I know the music industry- the realities of success and the work needed to obtain it- can be gut-wrenching and utterly exhausting. With every passing week, floods of bright-eyed artists are emerging on the scene: All eager to seduce listeners and get their music played on radio and social media. In the course of my reviews- the years I have been doing this- I have heard a lot of great musicians emerge: There have been quite a few- a worrying amount actually- that fade from the memory pretty quickly. I feel new musicians- not all, but many- are playing things a bit too safe and cautiously. Too many solo artists are lacking that necessary distinction and original intent: Many are too content to replicate the mainstream-approved artists of the moment. With regards groups, there is a little more fortune: I am still witnessing too many (bands) that are depressingly uninspired and lazy. Fortunately, I am with a duo who can never be accused of slothful unoriginality or lacking passion: The girls of MissDefiant are ticking all boxes and making a very hard charge. Before I introduce them to you- and bearing their music and objectives in mind- I am compelled to talk about duos and changing Pop music; addressing important themes within songs- completing with a bit about broadening horizons (when it comes to musical tastes). While I scan around for some distinguished new bands- it can be a hard task; worth the effort- there have been some wonderful solo artists fall under my radar- including Brighton-based, Colombian-British musician, Vanessa Forero. Every week, I ‘discover’- or someone brings to my attention- a wonderful young solo artist with a terrific sound. When it comes to duos, you do not see them represented as fairly- mainstream media and blogs tend to favour bands and solo artists. That is not a reflection on numbers and representation: There are a lot of duos coming through; they are struggling to get their names heard. From two-boys Rock duos- inspired by the work of Royal Blood- are emerging around the nation. Yorkshire has the likes of Knuckle whilst the Black Country has God Damn: Two wonderful- and hirsute- duos that are worth keeping your eyes out for. In London, Electro.-Pop duo Them & Us mix Game of Thrones epics- they have a cinematic and panoramic sound- with club-ready sharpness and wonderful lead vocals (from Ami Carmine). That is just the tip of a huge iceberg of do talent in the U.K.: Acts that deserve wider acclaim and grander focus.
I love duos because the central chemistry is always stronger and more engaging- compared to that of a band. Whether sweethearts or friends: You always get something kinetic, electric and wonderfully intriguing. I find too many bands sterile and going-through-the-motions: The chemistry is not quite right whereas the music can appear too singular- not all the band members get in on the writing process. Duos tend to be more collaborative, by nature: You get the sense (in duos) both parties contribute to the music being put forward. In terms of sonic variation: Duos tend to be more adventurous and less rigid with regards their music (a generalisation, perhaps, but there is truth to be found). This brings me to MissDefiant: A stunning two-piece who become stronger and more urgent with every new release. Before I address new themes, I shall introduce MissDefiant to you:
“Since launching in April of 2015 MissDefiant have created an online storm around their catchy music, fun content and engaging social media posts. MissDefiant have already performed at prestigious music venues such as The O2 Academy in Islington and the Brixton Jamm. They have also recently received a social media sponsorship from MAC Cosmetics due to their growing popularity on Twitter and Instagram.
Born in Battle, East Sussex, Emily Rose Adams has had a passion for music from an early age. Trained as a classical soprano, she moved to London at the age of 16 where she met Jordan Cather. Emily has toured the UK and Europe in musical theatre and opera shows such as Carmen, Sopranos vs tenors and Aladdin. She has also had acting roles in popular TV programmes like Broadchurch, Holby City and Grantchester.
Jordan, originally from Plymouth, has danced with artists including Charli XCX and Years & Years, inspiring her to pursue a career in singing and songwriting. Jordan is currently studying music production at BIMM London, and together with Emily started to write music to release as MissDefiant. Jordan has also modelled for London Fashion Week, danced with comedians such as John Bishop and Paddy McGuinness and taught commercial dance classes at Pineapple Studios.
Mike Tournier, brings musical experience to the girls raw and electric sound, having previously helmed bands Fluke and Syntax. Fluke’s first release was in 1989, with their music being featured on soundtracks to Tomb Raider and Sin City 1 and 2. When signed to Virgin, Fluke released 6 albums, performed at Glastonbury and toured with David Bowie and Prodigy. He then went on to start Syntax in 2000, signing to Sony in 2002 which made music that featured on soundtracks to The OC, Nip Tuck, Bones, Conviction, Driver 3 and the In Time trailer. His highlights of Syntax were appearing on Top of the Pops and touring with the Scissor Sisters. Mike enjoys working with Emily and Jordan who hope to emulate the success of bands that Mike has remixed in the past like the Rolling Stones, Bjork, Smashing pumpkins, New Order, Talk Talk, Frankie goes to Hollywood, Yellow and Simple Minds”.
133T is a new song from a duo who are picking up waves of fans and a lot of press attention. Hearts, minds and ears are being turned onto stunning music that packs energy, dance and gritty edges. Working within the Electro./Pop realms: The girls have stunning voices and a clear commitment to what they perform. With every track, you get impassioned performances and a real nuance: Words, ideas and lines keep popping into the brain (long after the song has finished). A lot of modern Pop/Electro. leaves me a little cold, to be honest: The music might be bracing, yet the messages are rather juvenile and immature. MissDefiant are a duo that has maturity and a social consciousness to their music. Their latest single is not only a memorable and get-to-your-feet jam: Its core messages touch-upon very important issues and problems. Hooking up with Über-producer Mike Tournier: The girls look at the nefariousness of drug culture and the glamorisation that occurs. In a society where late-night binges and hedonistic behavior is celebrated- the stupidity of the human race- it is refreshing seeing musicians rebel against this habit. MissDefiant are determined to change perceptions and embrace something safer, purer and far less dangerous: 133T delivers its messages with punch and huge memorability. The girls’ latest track is almost a political manifesto: It contains an important plea that is intended for the masses. Unlike a political manifesto, they are not bull-sh****** and dull-as-dishwater. There is no preaching and sanctimoniousness: Every word and vocal is portrayed with genuine spirit and authority. MissDefiant are a duo that has a terrific future ahead. Jordan Cather and Emily Rose Adams are just starting out but are making huge impressions: They get stronger and more compelling as the months elapse. I cannot wait to see what this year holds for them: Whether an album is forthcoming- that would be amazing- it is worth keeping your eyes on this phenomenal duo.
133T is the most arresting and memorable track MissDefiant has created. It is great there is a logical progression and growing confidence. They are not your average Pop act that has a team of writers behind them- penning cliché love songs- and very little imagination. With every MissDefiant song, you get something new and stunning. Mess With You (released last year) saw the girls at their sauciest and more sensuous. Backed by pinging beats and processed vocals- for effect rather than necessity- the track owed more to modern-day acts like Lady Gaga than anything else. An impressive track, it showed the girls had plenty of passion and urgency to their music. To my mind (Mess With You) did not do the girls full justice. Whilst the lyrics had tongue very much in cheek, there was just something lacking: It felt too similar to the current mainstream. Fortunately, subsequent releases saw the girls embrace their own voice more. With less Auto-tune and static electronics: Get Out was a more energised and impressive cut. Perhaps straying close to the current crop- that breakthrough hadn’t happened yet- the girls were experimenting more and sounding more confident and engaging. It wasn’t until the release of Venus & Mars (about a month ago) that the girls started to hit their peak. Maybe it is Tournier’s influence- bringing in a tougher and tighter sound- that has brought the best from MissDefiant. I would like to think it is a combination of subject matter and production. The girls toured quite a lot- between the release of ‘older’ songs and Venus & Mars– and were picking up new influence and momentum. 133T is another step in the right direction that proves my point. Their latest track shows great social awareness and wins points with originality alone. There are no tales of heartbreak and fantastical: It is a slamming track that attacks drug glamourisation and the ‘elite’ that proffer its ills. The vocals are stronger and more natural- processing is gone, which gives the song more authority- and the compositions stray away from the radio-friendly vibe of Lady Gaga et al. Their latest cuts show how evolving and varied (the girls are). It is the introduction of ‘80s sounds- a bit of Madonna and Kylie Minogue- that gives the track charm and evocation. Marry that to very modern production values and relevance and you have a multi-layered song that shows the girls in peak form. Given their progression and rise: It will be fascinating to see what future tracks contain. Few modern Pop artists experiment with subjects and go deep enough. For that reason, MissDefiant deserves some serious acclaim.
133T starts out with immense urgency and vibrancy. A huge electronic rush vibrates and stridulates with volume, power and immediacy. There is no time to bed-in and wait for the build-up: You get that hit right from the first second. Representing club music and the chaos of the floors- the headiness and sweatiness among the noise- the listener is shocked by the buzz and drill of the rush. There are elements of Lady Gaga to the early sounds. In past releases, MissDefiant would have used this- the sounds of ‘Gaga- without irony and employ it fairly heavily- understandable given her popularity and influence. In this case, any suggestions of Lady Gaga are used as backdrop and scene-setting- the sounds you might hear in every club- and less to do with their current ideals. That swirling and canine bark is the backdrop on which the girls work from. When arriving at the microphone, the messages and clear and unfettered. “You don’t want that stuff” is an anti-drug message without mystery and misinterpretation. Delivered with half-sarcasm- a moody teen swagger- and plenty of oomph: That vocal alters and shifts within a few seconds. Keeping the song moving and nimble- just like a dancer at a night club- the vocal shifts to a more Rap-like delivery. Young people want to “get in with the hype”- take drugs because it’s seen as cool and must-do- and surrender themselves to something they know nothing about. In urban parlance, ‘133t’ means ‘elite’: It is used by ‘script kiddies’ to make themselves feel like hackers. It is a clever and appropriate name to give to drug-peddlers and fakes: Those who push pills and spike drinks without any conscience. Our girls are not impressed by what they are seeing. Being approached by some random guy: “That’s not me, Charlie” is the spiky retort. There are some that want to get off their face and commit to a life unpredictable and insane. In the early stages, you are not allowed breath and reflection. The buzzing, pulsating beats create a whirlwind that you are helpless to resist. You will not be able to avoid moving your feet and nodding along to the insatiable, rushing electronics. The vocals see MissDefiant at their most confident and unique. Gone are electronic processing and any distortion: These are messages that are vital and need to come through clearly. 133T is a song that shifts and develops with every passing second. When one phase is done; another duly arrives in its wake. It- the changeable nature of the dynamics- is almost like an embodiment of the club life. People go from person-to-person: New conversations are heard and it is a conveyor belt of changeable sounds, sensations and sights.
Following the scat-sharp delivery of before: A mantra is unfolded with pace and punctuation. “irrational, passional, fashionable, international, impractical, fanatical, mechanical, supernatural” are smart and to-the-point words that define the drug culture we are witnessing. Bering part of this so-called ‘elite’ is irrational and fashionable: There is no logic behind everything; many participate because others are doing so. The girls ensure this irony and stupidity is given appropriate delivery: There is a sense of anger and boredom to the lines which shows annoyance and bafflement. When the girls delivered the coda “Get in with the hype” you get recollections of Something Kinda Ooooh (Girls Aloud’s 2006) single only with more relevance and depth. Unlike Girls Aloud, MissDefiant are event more vibrant, passionate and memorable. Like Girls Aloud- teaming with Xenomania for that cut- the girls create a head-spinning song that ranks them among Pop’s finest. Those lunging, racing electronics- the type you might do Zumba to- bond ‘80s music with modern-day Dance. The resultant coming-together creates such a huge amount of force and conviction. You are still helpless to stay motionless: The beats and electronics implore you to get off your feet and lose yourself in the rush. After the clamber and compositional highlight, the voice is very much back into focus. With a sassiness in the voice, Instagram, Snapchat and ‘selfies’ are brought into view: Club-goers and elite-chasers hashtag-ing “I’m so wealthy”. While some U.S. stars champion this lifestyle- the pouting photos and deplorable, money-chasing, shallow souls- here there is no such approval. MissDefiant are tired of the plastic princesses and worst aspects of modern life. Once more- and packing a huge chorus in- the opening themes are reintroduced. The coda- drugs life being “pasional” and “fashionable”- meets with that stand-out kiss-off- “That’s not me, Charlie”. 133T is conversely complicated and simple. The girls reintroduce themes and ideas- making it memorable and easy-to-remember- but there is so much going on, too. The composition has so many colours and elements: Swooping, swaying and endlessly hypnotic. The vocals switch between distorted and quick-fire: Sneered put-down and defiant boldness combine and ensure the song is constantly engaging and addictive. These ‘august’ people- that subscribe to the 133t life- are being given sage advice and warning. As we ride to the conclusion, there is no let-up in energy and potency: 133T remains focused and resounding to the very last.
MissDefiant are on a hot run of form that sees them deliver their most electric song to date. 133T clearly means a lot to the London duo: Every line comes with urgent delivery and meaning. The girls are addressing a subject- those chasing a bad way of life- that is rarely touched-upon in modern Pop. With certain musicians portraying a contrasting viewpoint- celebrating the fools that indulge too much- our intrepid duo is on a noble quest. Cather and Adams are at their most impressive and determined, here. The vocals are free from electronic clutter largely: It means the words and sentiments come through boldly and with huge resonance. Mixing club-packing dizziness- the rushing electronics are endlessly compelling- with ‘80s-and-‘00s blends (Girls Aloud with Madonna, strangely) there is so much to recommend. I believe MissDefiant are going to follow 133T with equally impressive moves very soon: This is not a one-off, fluke of a song. Cather and Adams want to emulate the success of some huge bands: They are not thinking about calling it quits at any point; they want to grow and inspire. Mike Tournier- who has an impressive reputation- brings the best from the duo. Augmenting that edgy and boldness the girls have always displayed: Tournier brings all their assets the fore and ensures the listener is treated to something special. Tournier has remixed artists including Bjork, The Rolling Stones and New Order: A man with a fantastic pedigree and knowledge of the music industry. I hope the trio- Cather, Adams and Tournier- continue on and collaborate across future releases. Together, you have an epic force that is among modern music’s most solid, assured and promising. 133T arrives in a matter of day: When it is released, there will be a rush for reviews (a few have arrived already) and fans will be satisfied, for sure.
It is crystal-clear Cather and Adams have a wonderful connection and affection. The girls have very different childhoods: Adams’ East Sussex upbringing saw her tour in musical theatre productions; Cather’s path has been different, but no-less impressive. Coming together in London- where their friendship blossomed- it is clear they are kindred spirits. I am not suggesting bands lack that friendship and solidity- many are among the most galvanised musicians I have seen- but the duos tend to have that closeness and commitment. The fact- a lot of these duos- are lovers speaks for itself: You would expect to detect connectivity and bonded souls. It is this building block- the close-knit friendship- that makes MissDefiant such an infectious and effect proposition. I have been following their music for a while- noticing the progression between songs- and just know they will go onto big things. With a great team around them- including producers like Mike Tournier- MissDefiant are among the most agile and arresting duos in the U.K. On paper, you must assume they are another made-for-the-charts-random-Pop-act- with no substance and distinction. That is far from the case here: The London-based duo are a genuine force that will mix-it-up with the very best. Venus & Mars– the last effort from the girls- impressed me for a number of reasons. The breezy and beautiful vocals put me in mind of ‘80s Pop leaders: The likes of Madonna, Kate Bush and Kylie Minogue came through in the vocals. The busy and multi-layered composition brought together ‘80s Pop with modern-day Electro.-Pop urgency. 133T has that consistency- that unique vocal D.N.A. and effusive composition- but digs deeper (than Venus & Mars) and shows another side. There is caution and criminality lurking in today’s club culture. From drink-spiking to recreational drug-taking: A ‘simple’ night out can turn into something horrific and dangerous. There are too many musicians- not just Rap and Hip-Hop acts- that glorify the drug scene. The Mike Tournier-collaborating months are seeing the girls create their finest work: Let us hope this hook-up remains solid for 2016.
I have genuine hopes the girls keep plugging and putting out terrific music. I am always left cold by the ‘best’ mainstream Pop has to offer: There are few gems to be found in the mine. One of the problems- with regards the quality of mainstream Pop- is the established order. From Rhianna to Adele: The ‘queens’ of Pop are going through the motions, it seems. Adele’s once-golden status- that huge voice and instancy- sound samey and recycled. She is determined to put out the same material without altering and updating it: Her latest album showed very little originality and nuance- songs just pass you by, somewhat. Rhianna’s Anti, whilst not a commercial disaster, hardly matches her best days. The boys are not faring better, let’s face it. There are peripheral Pop artists that look set to make headway: Some newly-formed acts that have potential to make impact soon enough. Given the instability and inconsistency (of Pop music), listeners are looking out for new heroes/heroines. For that reason, people should be looking to the underground. MissDefiant have that ready-made mainstream sound that is radio-friendly yet edgy. They could well be among the huge names to watch- the artists tipped for success by the media- in 2017. This year, they are ensuring their purple passage keeps getting brighter and more indelible. 133T is effortlessly effective and urgent in its plight: It packs a vital message and some seriously addictive moments. The song balances fun and seriousness; the uplifting beats and insistent vocals. Pop music has plenty of mobility and potential if you work hard enough. It (Pop) does not have to be sugar-sweet and vague: Add some Electro. and Alternative ingredient in and you can elicit something wonderful and rich. MissDefiant are making all the right moves, right now. Their official website is among the most professional and eye-catching out there. It lays out all the information you can need with clarity and concision. I admire musicians that tackle issues greater than their own concerns. Yes, we need love songs- tales of heartache and separation- as, strangely, it provides relevance and comfort. The trouble is- when it comes to these type of songs- if you have heard one, you’ve heard them all. You can find some originality if you look hard enough, but musicians need to be more inventive and thought-provoking. MissDefiant have penned tales of love but are not a one-dimensional duo. Their latest track proves just how conscious and socially aware they are. Few musicians are addressing drug culture and those who glamourise it. Not only can 133T inspire other acts to think more widely: It will compel listeners to think more deeply about such issues- braggadocio drug boasting and a rather seedy sub-culture. Among the wonderful duos emerging throughout London: MissDefiant surely stand among the very finest. The girls are going to be unveiling 133T on 1st April: I urge everyone to listen to it (upon release) and see the progression of a wonderful young duo. I am not sure what move the girls will be making next. Investigating their social media pages, it seems like they have a growing army behind them. Reviewers and press are lining up to pay testament to wonderful voices in modern music. Given this momentum and patronage, you have to ask: Can we expect an E.P. or album very soon? Cather and Adams will want to tour- to promote their new single- and will have plenty of options ahead of them. Given the possible song choices- Venus & Mars, Get Out and Mess With You could easily sit alongside 133T– I am excited to see what comes next for MissDefiant. If Cather and Adams- alongside Mike Tournier- stay focused and ambitious, there is no telling what they can achieve. Given the uncertain nature of mainstream Pop, MissDefiant are…
EXACTLY what the music industry needs.