TRACK REVIEW: Hannah Georgas- Rideback

TRACK REVIEW:

 

Hannah Georgas

 

 

Rideback

 

9.6/10

 

 

Rideback is available at:

https://soundcloud.com/dine-alone-records/hannah-georgas-rideback

RELEASED:
May 2016

GENRES:
Alternative; Indie-Pop

ORIGIN:

Vancouver, Canada

Album cover for Hannah Georgas, For Evelyn

The album For Evelyn can be pre-ordered here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/for-evelyn/id1102991758

RELEASE DATE:

24th June, 2016

LABEL:

Dine Along Records

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BRINGING to mind my featured artist…

and it gets me thinking about Canadian music- especially emanating from Vancouver and Ontario- female artists fighting for equality and voice; the need for something interesting and bold in music. It has been a while since I’ve reviewed a Canadian act- and the first week (in a while) I have been outside of London- and it makes me think about the country. Like Sweden, Canada is a country that we do not necessarily spring to for the best music around. That is an oversite that is excusable, I guess. The media- in this country- does not expend a lot of time promoting Canadian music. Constricted by time and column inches: it is down to the passionate consumer to dig it out and spread the word. Based in Vancouver- as Georgas is now- it is a city that has a rich array of fine musicians. Black Mountains, Odds, and Pink Mountaintops; The Belle Game and The Pack A.D.– so many different types and sounds. Throw The New Pornographers, Skinny Puppy and Art of Dying are popular local acts: the city is a busy and inspiring one for musicians. That is just the bands I have covered. Carly Rae Jepsen, Bill Leeb, and Cory Lee are a trio of Vancouver treasures: you can put Hannah Georgas into that list. Originally from Ontario: that is another area that has heralded some phenomenal acts. In terms of mainstream/established acts: everyone from Alanis Morissette, Barenaked Ladies and Sum 41 hail here; so too do deadmau5 and Broken Social SceneMetric and The Tragically Hip. I have not even mentioned Neil Young, Peaches, and The Band! Crystal Castles, Drake, and Tokyo Police Club– another trio of local acts (Toronto, technically)- have inspired waves of new Canadian acts. It is a nation you cannot pin down and define.

Like the U.K.: Canada has such a variation of artists and sounds; different provinces and areas have different scenes. Whereas Ontario- from the acts I have reviewed- have a heavier, Rock-based scene: Vancouver is a more colourful, varied economy. I love all the Post-Grunge/Alternative bands in Ontario: Vancouver boasts more Electronic shades and Indie-Rock; Pop bands and Folk-Synth. musicians. Perhaps I am overlooking (a lot of Ontario diversity) but Vancouver is an attractive city for many musicians of the moment. The most-populous city of British Columbia: the cosmopolitanism- Vancouver has a large gay community and houses many races/nationalities- vibe of the city is drawing the young in. Beautiful scenery and busy cities are reinforcing this appeal: no wonder so much great music is being produced! It would be impossible- not to mention time-consuming- to list all the great artists coming from Vancouver. Suffice to say it: Canada should not be overlooked as a portal for future-classic sounds. Occasionally, we in the U.K. get Canadian musicians coming over there: a taste of the country’s potential makes its way to us. By and large, we have to hear it from a distance: via social media, SoundCloud or whatever. I mentioned this in my last review- concerning an L.A.-based act- but is seems relevant and pertinent. I guess it is tough ascribing and exposing all the great Canadian acts- more needs to be done, mind you. That subject closer introduces another imbalance: women in music and how they have to fight (harder than men) for recognition. It is a subject brought to mind- vividly this morning- listening to an interview with Laura Mvula. The 30-year-old Birmingham-born Soul-Jazz artist feels there is sexism in music, still. Mvula suffers from crippling stage fright and anxieties- the title of her new album (The Dreaming Room) stems from a saying by her therapist- and yearns to connect with the audience. In today’s world: it is shocking there is a gender imbalance in music.

Perhaps not as rife and evident as past decades: why is there still the need (for women in music) to battle and get their voices heard? Perhaps it is not shocking- considering how women face such prejudice in the workplace and society at large- but you would think music would not be culpable. Female musicians coming through are daunted at that reality: how they have to work harder than their male counterparts; will get less attention. Inspiring and strong female artists provide solace, impetus, and hope. Hannah Georgas is one of those musicians that is leading a charge: compelling a lot of others- to follow in her steps- and making huge impressions. Before carrying on, let me introduce her to you:

Hannah Georgas is a Canadian singer/songwriter. Originally from Newmarket, Ontario, she now resides in Vancouver, B.C. 

Georgas released her debut album This Is Good in 2010 and spent much of the next two years on the road touring to support of the album. Uptown magazine called This Is Good “an expertly crafted and frequently adorable…gem of a pop record, full of infectious hooks and gorgeous vocal gymnastics courtesy of Georgas, who has the ability to go from girlish and sugar-sweet to raw and angst-ridden, sometimes in the same song.” The Vancouver Sun hailed her “bold, quivering voice” and “confessional approach to songwriting.”

In 2012, Georgas toured internationally with fellow Canadian Kathleen Edwards. Her second, self-titled album Hannah Georgas was released October 2012.

Hannah Georgas has earned JUNO nominations in her native Canada for Songwriter of The Year and Alternative Album of The Year, with This Is Good likewise nominated for Songwriter of The Year and Best New Artist. Both This Is Good and Hannah Georgas were long-listed for the Canadian Polaris Music Prize.

 

It is not just Georgas’ determination, strength and music that gets her into the mind- it is the boldness and invention she puts into her art. Whilst she addresses some ultra-relevant, modern songwriting concerns- anxieties and strong feelings in love (quite old concerns, actually)- she does not sing/perform in a formulaic way. Too many artists talk about love, stress and personal doubts in such an ordinary and therapy-setting manner. By that, I mean negatively and with a definite fatigue. They are hard subjects being addressed: it is not to say you should limit the music and vocals. Georgas has big hooks and a range of emotions- from sweet to raw within a heartbeat- and ensures her songs are fresh, engaging and bright. She is not a musician that sticks to these tried-and-tested topics. There is so much variation and flexibility throughout her career. Now- and with new material and fresh impetus- you can hear Georgas at her most astonishing and hungry. National press and blogs are extolling her virtues: her music is reaching international shores and establishing her as a musician with a mighty future. Perhaps I have been a bit loquacious, but my point remains: those who push boundaries and think outside the box will yield the biggest harvest.

When looking at Hannah Georgas’ current sounds- and her album especially- the biggest comparison- or leap forward- regards her eponymous album. Released in 2012: the ten-track album was heralded and lauded by critics. When her debut arrived- This is Good was unveiled in 2010- many commented on the radio appeal and quirky sound of the music. The fact tracks were used in commercials and soundtracks helped her gain widespread recognition and attention. Building from that confidence and faith: her second album saw her explore more territories and showcase new sounds. Straught-forward, powerful songs had driving guitar lines and intelligent lyrics. Crunching riffs and sassy vocals meant Georgas was more than your average Pop star: someone with verve, wit, and panache. Sassy grooves and killer vocals ensured (the album’s 10 tracks) crossed borders and transcended expectations. Blending guitars and electronics; a butter-melting voice and vivacious personality: many fell head-over-heels for the Vancouver resident. Songs like Elephant saw electronic pulsation and emotional honesty blend together- a song that is hard to ignore. That positivity is never immature or shallow: always genuine and grown-up. The album’s magical highs pleased critics; some thought there was too much polish and not enough killer- those tracks that stand out and demand repeated play. Perhaps Elephant is the exception to the rule: things have changed for the latest album.

For Evelyn continues that blend of sweet sensitivity with rousing anthems: ensuring her existing fans are pleased; new listeners will be intrigued and hooked by the confidence and command throughout. From her debut to eponymous album: some of the sharp-tongued, spiked lyrics were replaced by something sweeter and more level-headed. For Evelyn sees a little of that bite come back: a tougher edge makes its way onto the album. The majority of songs are sharper and more instant than her previous record. The compositions are more rounded and nuanced; there is less a drive for the mass market/mainstream- a more unique, personal and free album. Given the expectations following her debut- advertisers eating her music up- perhaps it is no surprise her sophomore album was a chart-seeking record. Hannah Georgas lets loose more (on For Evelyn) and is making music for the masses- more daring and adventurous than she has ever been. Less concerned with fitting into a mould; appealing to the marketing eyes: the album benefits as a result. Georgas’ performances are at their most confident and incredible. The catchy numbers are catchier; the emotional songs more emotional- everything is clearer and more defined. Perhaps down to the fact she is in her early-thirties: we have a more mature, raw and determined. Melting her debut-album sass with the eponymous smoothness: this is Hannah Georgas at her most pure, consistent and loveable.

Raised by Blues parents- her father was a noted musician- and infatuated by sister’s Hip-Hop and House collections: it was the likes of Annie Lennox and Janet Jackson- the Pop stars of her infancy- that compelled her quest and ambitions. Stints in Punk bands- having written music from a tender age; that was always her goal- she evokes the spirit of Feist with the emotive reflectiveness of Regina Spektor. New track Rideback– in a strange but hardly surprising way- brings all these influences together. The opening notes of Rideback have a magisterial and uplifting sound. You are stood to attention and straighten the back. The opening horns put me in mind of various genres and decades. To begin, it starts static and elongated before opening up and employing more Jazz overtones. Elements of Swing and Big Band; ‘70s Soul and Pop all unite. Many would expect piano or strings to open the song- if you had never heard Hannah Georgas- which gives Rideback’s fledgling notes an originality and unexpectedness. Part-graceful romantic melody- an old-style black-and-white film score- part-modern-day experimentation- the likes of DJ Shadow and De La Soul would use it as a subverted jumping-off point- the senses are primed and the body ready. You wonder which course the song will take. Will it explode into action and get off to a swaggering start? Would it mutate into something sensual and moody? The answer to those questions come in a matter of seconds. Riding that languid, luxuriant burr- the horns continue to entrance and entice- our heroine’s voice begins with a sense of eroticism and dreaminess. Positively purring- her vocal is smoky and tongue-teasing- you witness something very unique and special. Detractors of her previous work- who claimed she is too market-driven or lacks spark- would do good to get their ears de-waxed and hear Rideback.

The lyrical delivery and phrasing is exceptional. Presented with a bit of confusion and definite emotion: she wakes in the middle of the night; wondering who the Hell she is. Less sung: the words are practically spoken; a confession that grows hotter and more suffocating with each second. Addressing anxieties we all feel- the heroine feels her life is passing by- we all have those doubts and late-night internal dialogues. Most artists swaddle it in layers, glossy production, and abstract sounds- almost masking the true emotions and purity of the sentiments. Hannah Georgas is a woman who wonders whether the best days are still ahead: whether life is just a Rideback. Even though she has critical success and a solid career; impressive album sales and thousands of fans- she is still kept awake by nagging doubts and insecurities. Anyone thinking the lyrics lack conviction- how could someone this successful feel this way?- will do well to think more about anxiety, depression and self-doubt. No matter how successful you are: we all have reservations and wonder whether are doing the right thing. Rideback never needlessly explodes and descends into juvenile delinquency. The horns continue to blare and hold; a percussive snap clatters and slaps with direction: together, you get a heady blend; something unusual and utterly instantaneous. There will not be a listener who will hear the song- and those instrumental parts- and not come back to hear it again- such is the allure and addictiveness. “Everyone is laughing but me” is a sentiment that is vivid and real- others have a happiness and content; they are seeing things (our heroine) is not. Curious words that could apply to two things. Maybe they see life’s positivity- Georgas wonders just what they are so happy about- or perhaps there is a general cynicism and doubt. Nobody is immune from the unsettled edge and anxiety that comes through. Although the lugubrious brass and striking percussion add a certain colour and vibrancy- Georgas’ vocal is haunted and affecting; something that gets straight to the heart.

Everyone is fighting for a seat”- a part of a magical bus or staying alive on a basic level- which gets the mind split again. Whether referring to musicians- eager and keen to succeed- and the need to keep pressing and seeing the wonder of the craft- perhaps that passion for music has dwindled the last few months. On another plain- something more troubling- our heroine could be looking at mortality and simply holding on- life has chances and better days that need to be seen. What if those glory days have already gone- and maybe not ceased as hard as possible- and life is a ride back home- a pedestrian drive to the starting line? It is humbling hearing a musician- successful and young- that has those common doubts and fears. Casting away simple lovelorn themes- the staple of most musicians is relationship issues- we touch on something more profound and deep. Inside that nervousness and sadness, you get beauty, swagger and astonishing compositional moments. At one venture- towards the end- the horns twist and contort- sounding like The Humphrey Lyttelton Band performing on Radiohead’s Life in a Glass House. Nightmarish and rising to a demented crescendo: the horns sound like a murder of crows; all flying into the sky in a rhapsody of squall and fear.

That chocolate-rich sound- the calmer, more-refined horns- and percussion are still in there. What was once a buried fear is now exploding into life: the sound of a young woman unleashing her inner-turmoil and heartache. Just when you think that car crash horn-blare will end the song; we get another twist. Taking things to land are those original counterparts: the kicking percussion joins with the sensual horns; ensuring Rideback ends on a calming note- one that beautifully bookends the track. Single Don’t Go– available on iTunes– kicked For Evelyn’s campaign off with a bang- and is followed by an even larger explosion. Rideback is one of the most dramatic and astonishing songs of Hannah Georgas’ career. Not rushing the lyrics- there are few words; delivered with incredible care and emotion- and ensuring the composition adds urgency and physicality- it is a song that gets into the brain and will not shift in a long time. I have never agreed with any negativity reviews of Hannah Georgas- thinking she lacks edginess and is too polished- as Rideback is a stunning number. Signaling a more assured and world-beating musician- one that still has self-doubt and fear. She need not fear: Rideback is a wonderful song that is among this year’s finest singles.

Having opened with a brief love letter to Canada- and the richness of their music- it is worth reintroducing that for the final part. It is always great exploring the best British music out there. It is important promoting home-grown artists and their potential- that should not come at the expense of international musicians. Not every nation is capable of developing and cultivating such a variegated and consistent music scene. Australia and Sweden are two of the finest: Canada can be added alongside them; some of the most prodigious and extraordinary (music) nations on earth. Digging deeper into Canada and areas like Ontario and Vancouver will always produce exceptional music. If you have any time free- and get the opportunity to investigate music properly- you should look into Canadian artists. Hannah Georgas is one of the finest in the country. She is playing across the U.S. the next month. Tomorrow, she goes to Portland (Maine) and plays the Molson Amphitheatre. The following day, Providence’s Fete Music Hall; New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago are on the docket- Detroit will on the agenda, too (on July 2nd). Bringing City and Colour and Boy & Bear with her: many new audiences will get the chance to hear Georgas and her stunning music.

Rideback is the opening track to her forthcoming album, For Evelyn. Named for her grandmother- a kind, compassionate 98-year-old- it brings together Graham Walsh (Holy F***) on production duties: collaborations with Ryan Guldemond (Mother Mother) and Andy Shauf. Musicians like Hannah Georgas and Laura Mvula are not only making a noise on behalf of all female musicians; they are doing it by creating some of the most original and interesting music you’ll hear. Music is a meritocracy that, in spite of its openness, is still ignoring young women emerging. No idea why this is occurring- and how little we have progressed- but it must end in years to come. Regardless, let’s embrace the brilliant and brave, regardless of gender, age and race. If the last few months have taught us anything- the horrors of the world and violence we have seen- is how important togetherness and humanity is. Hannah Georgas is a musician that does not write songs for herself and a small group of people. She writes for the world and pens themes we can all relate to and understand. Allowing her dramatic, sweeping voice to entrance and fly: Rideback is a beautiful glimpse into For Evelyn’s themes, dreams, and ideas. An album that is overflowing with memorable moments and unforgettable numbers: it will cement Georgas as one of Canada’s finest new artists.

Already JUNO/Polaris Prize-nominated- heralded and celebrated by the press- that success and attention is just the start. Her latest album will build on that and see her name reverberated around the world’s press and public. After touring the U.S.; it seems she owes Europe a little bit of time. I keep mentioning London- and how it welcomes in great artists- but it would be great if she popped by; the options seem limitless for her. Whether taking a break after touring- she will be exhausted, one will imagine- new material is likely to follow. A determined and multi-talented young artist that has a solid reputation and fan-base: exciting times for the Indie-Pop star. Look at her social media feed- Facebook especially- and you get the vibe of a woman who is laid-back and in-control. She exudes positivity and relaxation: a sunset-laden casualness that connects with fans and makes her seem very tangible and human. So many artists hide behind personas and egos; display little common touch with the fans- always liable to put some people off. That is never the case with Hannah Georgas. She is a woman that loves people as much as music: the combination of the two makes her live performances spectacular and highly memorable. Always eager to update her followers- pictures on the road and news- a musician that deserves a lot of love and long-term success. If you have not discovered Hannah Georgas then ensure you check out her latest sounds and discover someone with a lot of years left. Already accruing award nominations and press fascination: one imagines festival headlining and mainstream accomplishment are following closely behind. For Evelyn will go a long way to make sure that happens: Rideback is its confident, instant opener; a song that grabs listeners and brings them into her world. That world is one you will not want to escape from anytime soon. Buckle yourself in; press play; Hannah Georgas…

IS just getting started.

 

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Follow Hannah Georgas

 

Official:

http://www.hannahgeorgas.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/TheMusicOfHannahGeorgas/

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/hannahmusic

____________________________________

Music

https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/hannah-georgas/id416231378

 

TRACK REVIEW: Forebear- Delroy Lindo

TRACK REVIEW:

 

Forebear

 

 

Delroy Lindo

 

9.4/10

 

 

Delroy Lindo is available at:

https://soundcloud.com/forebearband/delroy-lindo-2

RELEASED:
May 2016

GENRES:
Future-Rock; Dirt-Rock; Indie

ORIGIN:

Los Angeles, U.S.A.

PRODUCER:

Eric Lilavois

____________________________________

PERHAPS it is inevitable that I am back in L.A…

and will dispense with the pretense- being able to resist its lure. I am still caught in the haze of the quick-release, short-notice artists- Radiohead dropping their album out of nowhere- and the excitement music has provided the last few months. From the artisanal, back-to-their best cuts from De La Soul and The Avalanches- who knew they were sequestered making music the last few months?- there is a lot of positivity and quality in mainstream music. I use Radiohead as the case study- and will abandon the parable in the coming reviews- but they show just how it is done. Their dystopian- but romantic- gems unveil beauty and fresh layers after every listen: songs you reveal yourself in; Yorke’s diaphanous, soul-on-my-sleeve delivery makes everything he sings sound utterly profound. Away from the Oxford band’s latest masterpiece: there is a great buzz vibrating around the neon signs of music- all proffering fascinating back alleys and vivid smells; fascinating sideshows and entrancing attractions. In spite of a few recent-weak releases- Jake Bugg seems to be disappearing up his own arse- you cannot fault 2016, thus far. The world has shouldered a lot of tragedy and heartache- musicians’ deaths and terrorism- and we need music to keep us safe, comforted and positivity. This outcry and supplication has not fallen on deaf ears. The new bands/artists of the underground are responding and bringing people together.

I shall not go into depth about the L.A. music scene- you have heard that too much- only to say how consistent and vivid it is. There is no such thing as an ‘L.A. sound’. A huge, multi-coloured city: it is impossible to visit Los Angeles’ music scene and not find anything to adore. The filigree Pop acts and mystical Electronica artists; the rude-awakening Rock rabblers and the sweat-inducing Dance masters- that is just the tip of the iceberg. These musicians- that play out of L.A. – are not bifurcated: they have a focus and accomplishment that is to be commended. I am always going to be loyal to London- that patriotism will never die- yet L.A. always comes up with the goods. I have ignored the band market over the last few months. Concentrating on solo acts and their wares: it was as a result of fatigue and predictability. There are still too many modern bands that blend into one another: do not push too far outwards; seem somewhat stagnated. The finger of culpability points firmly at Indie and Alternative acts: many are too beholden to curate something over-familiar and unoriginal. Maybe it is difficult to be distinct in 2016. So much music has passed already; how much room is there for true distinction and enlightenment? Forebear are a band who understand this- not falling into that trap- and have formulated a sound that blends widescreen Rock and cinematic lushness- a melting of euphonic harmonies and nerve-jangling steel. This dichotomy and contrast never seem forced or unnatural: the band deftly weave them and stitch a marvelous, eye-catching tapestry. Before I continue on, let me bring Forebear to your attention:

Scott Goldbaum (vocals/guitar)

Mike Musselman (drums)

Molly Rogers (viola/vocals/keys)

Nick Chamian (bass/vocals)

Forbear flawlessly weaves together cinematic rock with a truly unique voice and spectacular harmonies taking listeners on a surreal experience.  Capturing the struggle between our interpersonal crises and living in the age of constant awareness of global tensions glooming overheard, Forebear puts into words the feelings that are always so difficult to express ourselves. 

Composed of some of LA’s most prolific musicians, the band met in early 2014 in the Los Angeles professional music scene. Scott Goldbaum (formerly of Wise Cub) leads the band with beautiful vocals and melodic guitar, while classically trained Molly Rogers viola adds a layer that is truly captivating.  Mike Mussleman (drums) and Nick Chamian (bass) round out the four piece with one of the most impressive, and methodical rhythm sections in indie rock today.  Individually band members have worked with artists/bands including Feist, Bastille, Kamasi Washington, Randy Jackson, Keith Urban, Kimbra among others.  

Less than a year later, Forebear quickly caught the attention of famed producer/engineer Eric Lilavois (Saint Motel, Atlas Genius) when he saw them perform at the legendary Troubadour in Los Angeles. Lilavois produced their upcoming release Good God and recorded it at the famed London Bridge Studios in Seattle.  Good God begins with the commanding single “Delroy Lindo” which touches upon a somewhat darker tinge to the sunny promises of California. “It’s about two people who moved to the West Coast to be together, only to have the illusion of what they thought waited for them be eaten alive by their false romanticism” Goldbaum. 

Good God is set for release August 26”.

From next week, I will be looking to other cities- apart from Los Angeles- for music inspiration. For the moment, it is great hearing yet another U.S. band that rivals the best we have here. There is something deep and novelistic about Forebear’s work. Characters and people that get consumed by misguided love and ideals; the conflict between internal struggle and confronting global terrors. Not quite as pretentious as you might imagine- you might shrug and think they are one of ‘those’ bands- the guys embrace concerns we all share. Aside from the mainstream champions- the likes of which I have already mentioned- I have struggled to find a lot of great bands. There is a focus on solo artists; they seem to be producing the strongest, most distinct material right now. Forebear are ensuring groups are not completely forgotten. In the run-up to the album release: the guys are hot on the campaign trail and bringing their music to the local masses. The reason I brought up Radiohead early- and will desist in doing so (gritted teeth and all) – was because of the texture and depth in their music. Orchestral beauty and dark grooves; piano confessions and pizzicato Middle Age drama. Our L.A. heroes expend as much attention and depth in their music. You do not get- like you would with lesser acts- something surface and basic. There are so many different explorations and sides; nuances and colours- a rhapsody of emotions and mini-dramas. Delroy Lindo– the title alone gets you thinking and interested- marks them as one of those bands you need to watch and follow. Eyes and ears will be ready and keen for their new album- Good God will surely not disappoint.

People’s Champ is a song I have been listening to for a while. Released last year: it begins with such fascination and intention. Vibrating, buzzing strings and determined percussion: a groovy, dark cinematic swathe that leads to haunting vocals. Perhaps distilling some of the clarity- the moodiness and processing of the voice distort some of the words- the song kicks up a gear and become spiked and sparring. Bracing, rousing strings are just the start of things. The track has such an emotive drive and sense of drama. Instruments and vocals are thrown into the mix yet never seem undisciplined and wayward. Codas and confessions (“I’ll miss you when you go”) get the mind wondering- just what the song is referring to.

Eon– released around the same time- starts with spiraling drum rolls and stuttering guitars. Aching strings join and create a head-spinning, dramatic mood. You get caught in the vibrancy and sting of the percussion; the jagged guitars and yearning romance. Complete with heartfelt and impassioned vocals: one of the longest songs of the band’s career. So much musicianship and thought is put into the composition. Low orchestral notes and pummeling percussion: few other bands are capable of fusing these sounds and making them sound completely natural. Two different, both exceptional, songs from a band that are like nobody else. It might be something I repeat: I cannot stress their originality and distinct sound.

After such a sturdy and stunning background: expectations were high with regards Delroy Lindo’s release. Knowing how the band haa developed and the sound they have cemented- is their latest single a step forward or do they keep things similar? Pounding, heartbeat bass and finger-picked strings make the introduction something lustful, playful but austere. There is a grandeur and stoicism that is all-too-happy to flirt with something dreamy, navel-gazing and languid. It is easy to become enveloped in the notes: let them transport you somewhere; take the imagination on its own path. In the sapling phases, I was instantly in L.A.: imagining a meeting-place; a beauty spot, perhaps? Bathed in the subtle warmth of a spring evening: two lovers make their way to a near-by bench. Whatever your interpretations: the initial words have an intellectualism and philosophical side to them. “You got caught in the misanthropic/ nihilistic way of/interacting with human nature’s nomenclature” has some rather dark and accusatory undertones. Essentially- bursting through the florid language- there is a toxicity and poison that hangs in the air. The song’s heroine is happy to engage in vitriol and destructive behaviour. With little compassion in care in his heart: our hero is looking for an escape; disillusioned and scarred by this current love. Maybe things started more optimistically: the coming-together would be harmonious, blissful and wonderful.

Whether time has revealed the short-fallings- or things seemed idealistic; never bathed in reality and truth- I am not sure. Perhaps the lovers met online and this is their first meeting? Whatever the song’s origins: you can detect that hurt and suffocation. The composition tees the words and projects true emotions. The percussion rolls and strikes: sparse and hollow; it is a heartbeat and injection of nerves that sends tingles up the spine. In the background- never muted by the vocal or drums- is that gorgeous, soulful string sound. The blend of Classic and Contemporary- presented in a bare and unique way- adds electricity and anxiety to the foreground. Not only driving the vocal: it bleeds into the lyrics and projects something very raw, real and tangible. Our hero understands the hatred and negativity of the relationship. Which one of them has the guts to call it quit, he muses. Presenting a fragile, feminine vocal: shivers are elicited at every point; it gives the song an etherealness and sense of grace. Despite the early words and clear conflict: there is a lust and yearning as the story unfolds. “I want you” are words you might not expect in these sort of times. Maybe the lovers have extinguished conversations and get caught in (a daily series) of arguments and fights. Teasing the girl’s neck- “I’ll try to break the silence with a sweet-tooth“- it is all for nothing. A lonely nation and unforgiving island: the heroine is cold and intractable. Someone who has caused her share of pain and hurt: there is that need to make sense of things are rekindle some of the passion.

Even before the 1:00 mark: so much ground has been covered; with so few words. The introduction has been laid and the circumstances explained. Two lovers have come together and it has not worked for the best. “Day to day we avoid the topic” suggests they go through the motions and seemed trap. Perhaps the man is deluded into thinking things are fine and solid. The heroine wants to escape and make a clean break of things- it seems that is not going to happen. Our man is no Delroy Lindo– a British-American actor who has starred in Spike Lee films such as Malcolm X. A cool black actor who can command respect, love and attention: someone many people would aspire to be. The girl is looking for someone Lindo-esque: a man that has that confidence and cool; the gravitas and sexiness. It makes you wonder how the duo started their lives together. If the 63-year-old actor is desired- by the girl at least; or our man is being sarcastic- one imagines an Internet-based relationship was started. Maybe things looked promising and prosperous on the screen. The conversation and chat were natural and charming: it was only natural they would meet and have high hopes. That is the thing with Internet dalliances: they do not give you a sense of how things really are; who a person really is. The girl has given into someone else- before then; our man wants her to “listen to me” when speaking in clear tones- who can see through the rage and passive-aggressive nature. Still backed by that compositional directive- the spattering percussion and cinematic strings- the vocal shifts between delicate falsetto and full-bodied soulfulness- ensuring every word connects with the listener and highlights the urgency of the situation. The band demonstrates their fine wordplay- “You have a need to be held without holding back/To be seen without saving face”- not only have a cleverness and economy; they reveal more about the song’s anti-heroine.

As the chorus comes back in; one wonders how things worked out between the two. The girl has fallen for someone else but is still causing tremors and fracturing. Our hero has seen enough and wants to get away from things. Even at the worst points: there is that need to inject some passion and compassion; a little bit of harmony and resolution. In spite of things, the heroine seems icy and noxious. Unwilling to compromise and bend: things have been torn and blown beyond reconstruction and reconciliation. Life is not a film, it seems. She was seeking a chiseled, cool-as-crap film star with unnerving swagger and confidence- her new man might be closer to the mark. It brings me back to the opening sentiments- that sense of nihilism and destruction that seems so common in today’s society. What happens from here is anyone’s guess. Delroy Lindo is a song that addresses love’s lack of virtue and harsh representatives. The lovers moved to the West Coast to be together. It all looked good and wonderful: the fact it has turned sour was maybe unavoidable. It is certainly not the fault of our hero. He has been honest and tried to make things work- it is his girl that has shown a lack of humanity and honesty. In the midst of such a heartbroken and angry song: you get plenty of light, beauty, and melody; intelligence, wisdom, and memorability. A song you will want to come back to again and again; Delroy Lindo shows Forebear at their absolute precipice.

Tomorrow, the band will be hosted by Harvard & Stone: a local gig that is just the start of things for them. In July, they head to Silverlake Lounge for a trio of performances. It cannot be long before gig requests come in from around Europe. London is a competitive and bustling city: that is not to say Forebear could not find fans here. Yes, there are challenges getting your music recognised in any big city. The reputation they have in L.A. will create enough momentum and intrigue to wet the mouths of London promoters. I hope the gang does make it across our way: plenty of people would brave the summer heat to pack themselves into small venues; get a taste of the group up-close. Delroy Lindo has already picked up a lot of great reviews- scheduling and all means I am a bit late to things- and that is hardly a shock. Building from solid foundations- their previous material is hardly slap-dash- it seems the Los Angeles troop are in fine voice. They are not a traditional, straightforward act by any means. Just reading their biography and you need a moment to untangle the phrasing. Essentially, they do things unlike anyone else. Brooding solos and existential dread sit with gorgeous harmonies and Cinematic-Dirt- a sub-genre that they have created. Do not view them as an arty band that cannot connect with the people. They are the epitome of the common-man band. Their music is not abstract and impressionistic; their lyrics not oblique and intangible.

Everything they do has a reality, urgency, and relatability. They address common themes- fears around political implosion and modern violence- yet ensure their music has a utilitarian, conquer-any-plains drive to it. All topped off with luscious, supernova harmonies: a group that will inspire many others out there. Picking up paen and respect around L.A. – the gigs are not drying up any time soon- this faith and reputation surely will lead to great things. When their album is released: it will give the larger world a chance to treasure and embrace their addictive cocktails. I have speculated their London-appeal future: I shall try and spread the word around the city. In the larger sense, the guys should set their sites across the continents. L.A. has plenty of opportunity and places to play- I can imagine it is impossible to be bored there. In spite of the loyalty to the home crowds: chances and exposure await them. I am unsure whether they have any other U.S. dates- maybe a chance to get to the east and play New York? – but there are plenty of nations that would take them to heart. Perhaps budget- another theme I explore with new bands- will limit their horizons and see them stalled for a little while. An expensive and unpredictable ambition: maybe in years to come their itinerary will take in more nations and cities? There is so much to love about Forebear. Their drama and heartache is always organic and never forced. The highs and electric peaks are not forced or insincere. The polyrhythmic instrumentations and state-of-the-world lyrics integrate together and transform the songs.

Their latest single is a worthy addition to their back catalogue. Perhaps their finest-ever track- depending on what you look for in the band- the signs are all very bright and positive. The portmanteau aesthetic and exceptional performances make Forebear one of the acts to look out for. They have not been around too long: they are sure to remain for many more years. If their latest cut is more shade than sun- going against the typical image of L.A. cheeriness- then do not be aghast. The band has so many different sides and songs; they are never too maudlin or introspective- capable of eliciting warmth and beauty when called upon. Delroy Lindo has been explained by the band- the origins of the song and what it means- but can be extrapolated in a number of different ways. Their movie-hero-moniker song hides dark romance and false expectations: heartbreak and jadedness; two people- from separate ends of the geographical track- that are consumed in disappointment and reality. It may all sound rather dark and foreboding on the page: hearing the track will change your impressions and expectations. Love songs are always hard to get ‘right’. With so many being written- every band and artist who ever lived has to do them- putting a new spin on (a worn and heavy genre) seems like a mean feat. Luckily, the Los Angeles band have more imagination and depth than your average musician. It is not just their story-telling and words that get into the mind. Having been lauded to high degrees: the vocals are exceptional and entrancing throughout. The composition is busy but never too cluttered; the production has a richness and gloss to it- without making everything sound ultra-glossy and vulgar. Let’s hope the boys (and girl) of Forebear come to our shoes, as truly, there is nobody…

QUITE like them.

 

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Follow Forebear

 

Official:

http://www.forebear.la/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/forebearband

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/forebearband

Instagram:

http://instagram.com/forebearband

_________________________________

Music

https://soundcloud.com/forebearband

 

INTERVIEW: Words & Noises

INTERVIEW:

 

 

Words & Noises

 

______________________________

I have always had a great love of Manchester and the music…

coming from the city. Words & Noises are one of the hottest musical acts of the moment. Their latest single- Play Your Cards– is released on Friday and already picking up effusive reviews and acclaim. With comparisons to the likes of Vampire Weekend: certainly a duo you want to keep your eyes on. Simon Williams and Chris Selman have been hard on the campaign trail. Interviews and performances have nestled alongside promotional duties: they are passionate about their music and keen to bring it to as many people as possible. I was lucky enough to chat and see what they had in store; what inspired The Collector (the upcoming E.P.)- how the guys like to unwind…

_______________________________________

Hi guys. How are things? How has your week shaped up?

Simon Williams: Good! Just back from a holiday in Cornwall – it was sunny 90% of the time so even managed to pick up a tan.

Chris Selman: This week has been the last push before the single comes out so I’ve been keeping super busy! Lots of interviews and keeping the social media up to date.

For those new to your music: can you tell us a bit about Words & Noises?

S.W: I think that we make very accessible music that hopefully gets inside people’s heads and stays there. The lyrics (and I have nothing to do with these so I can say this) are always a little story or about things that most people can relate to – and are worth listening to a few times and thinking about. The drumming is good too.

 

 

You’ve probably been asked this multiple times: what sparked the creative fuse for Play Your Cards?

C.S: The original spark was mishearing a lyric on a track by The National, which I was listening to in Simon’s car when we were driving home after a gig in Leeds. I misheard “everything I love is on the table” as “everything I have is on the table”. I liked the analogy of love/dating as a gamble and wrote a story around that.

Your music has been hailed as “Highly entertaining and enjoyable Pop music” by B.B.C. 6 Music. How did that make you feel?

C.S: Comments like that are lovely, of course! Our aim is to entertain; we want people to enjoy our music, so to receive feedback like that – from such a respected tastemaker – is fantastic.

The Collector (the new E.P.) is out shortly. What themes and subjects influenced its creation?

C.S: The main theme, I suppose, is growing a bit older. My original solo work was all written in my teens and early twenties; the two previous Words & Noises E.P.s were written during my early-to-mid -twenties. These new songs have a bit more of a grown up perspective: they’re a bit more mature, more reflective. Love is a regular theme, but there’s a fair bit of social commentary and storytelling here.

The songs have a playfulness, humour and child-like glee to them. Do you think (a lot of modern music) is too negative and downbeat?

S.W: I think there’s a place for all kinds of music so that you can play things to suit your current mood. Hopefully the stuff we do can either cheer you up when you’re down or make a good mood even better – but people need different moods from songs at different times and I don’t see that as a problem.

In terms of influence and inspirations: which artists were important to you guys growing up?

S.W: I grew up during ‘Britpop’ – so that’s the music I most relate to big life events from my early years – and I think that always sticks with you. The stuff I listen to now is probably being made by the people who also grew up with the likes of Oasis and Blur – which is probably why I listen to them! If I had to give you an all-time top 3 band list (and this changes day to day) – I’d have to say (in no particular order) Elbow, Fleetwood Mac and Oasis- so make of that what you will.

C.S: I, too, grew up surrounded by ‘Britpop’. I was a little young to get into it in the mid-‘90s, but my older brother had all the Oasis, Blur, Pulp (etc.) albums and I’d always hear them around the house. During my teens I was into The Strokes, The Libertines and Arctic Monkeys. I’m also a big fan of classic British Rock music, like The Beatles and David Bowie; I love the lyrics and storytelling style of some American singer-songwriters like Ryan Adams and Sufjan Stevens.

Your previous E.P.s-2 2013’s Beating Heart and 2014’s Loaded Gun– gained you a lot of fans and attention. How would you say your music has changed since then? How have you guys evolved as musicians?

S.W: I think the evolution is more to do with how we work together. There are only two of us – but most of the time we both know what sort of journey a song is going to take from the initial rough version to the finished product after it’s been slaved over in the studio. It’s a mostly unspoken organic process now – we’d not really been able to rehearse together much before the sessions for this record but hopefully that doesn’t come across!

Words & Noises are taking off right now; you are busy boys.  What do you guys do to unwind?

C.S: We certainly are busy! To relax, I like to take in as much British culture as possible; I listen to music, go to gigs, the theatre, galleries, get around and see the countryside. I find it relaxing and, at times, pretty inspiring. I’ve also started a little media sideline – which I thoroughly enjoy – I write culture features for a few magazines and blogs.

S.W: I don’t, generally. I have an 11-month-old daughter who takes up a substantial amount of time- in a good way obviously. There’ll be time for unwinding in 17 years and 1 month, maybe.

You guys released a political single last year- Stay Silent or Get Violent. Given the unfolding events in the U.S.; the proliferation of terrorism and the E.U. vote: any plans to write something politically-motivated?

S.W: That felt very much like a one-off to me. It was a completely different approach to the way we usually do things – we wanted a rough garage-rock type sound to it so we recorded it all in the dining room of my house – and then mixed it all in my lounge. The whole thing took maybe 12-18 hours in total – and then was almost immediately online. It’s nice to know we can do that kind of thing at short notice if something makes us want to do it again – but there are no plans at the moment.

C.S: It was very much a one-off indeed. It was released to coincide with the run-up to the general election and it was a vehicle to express disillusionment with politics at that time. That’s not to say we’re not interested in world events – just no plans to release any politically-charged music right now.

As musicians; do you gets get affected by the troubles and negativity in the world? Do you block it out or does it drive the positivity and uplift in your own music?

S.W: I think we’re more of an escapist band – the songs are more about people and characters that hopefully you can relate to – so to allow too much of what’s happening in the world to seep in would change what we’re all about. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing by any means – some of the best music ever has been created by people angry at a world event or political situation – it’s just not us at the moment.

Words & Noises is based out of Manchester. Some of music’s greatest hail from the city- from The Smiths to Oasis. What is about Manchester that nurtures such wonderful music?

C.S: I wouldn’t dare to define it. There’s often a sense of optimism and the lyrics are usually very direct. But I wouldn’t like to try and say it’s one specific thing or that there’s a formula…

S.W: I think if you try to define it you risk losing whatever it is. There’s always something about playing live in Manchester compared to the rest of the country though – it usually feels more communal – like everybody’s there to have a good time and there’s an instant positivity before the first note.

In terms of acts around Manchester: which would you recommend we go check out (apart from Words & Noises)?

C.S: Oh, there are so many great acts right now! Blossoms are fantastic, but they’ve really started to take off in the last few months, you’ve probably heard of them already. But if not, do check them out. I think Liam McClair is a strong singer songwriter – not quite sure he’s written ‘the song’ yet, but he has some nice tunes; a distinctive voice and is building a steady following. The Travelling Band are also superb – they put on a great live show.

You have a new E.P. ahead; touring dates are sure to follow. What do you guys hope to achieve by the end of this year?

S.W: I try not to think of it as a business, so setting targets isn’t something I’m going to get involved with. The aim really is just to try and get as many people as possible listening to the songs and hopefully good things happen from there.

C.S: Yeah, we don’t really set specific targets. It’s always nice to go one better than last time, though. The second E.P. got more press and radio than the first, so we’re aiming to build on that, but we’ve not sat down with a spreadsheet and said “we need to sell X units” or anything like that.

Finally- and for being good sports- you can choose a song each and I’ll play it here (in addition to Play Your Cards)

S.W: I’ll go back to my ‘Britpop’ roots and pick Cast No Shadow by Oasis.

 

 

CS: My favourite song from last year was The Art of Getting By (by) The Go! Team – so let’s say that.

 

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 Follow Words & Noises:

 

Official:

http://www.wordsandnoises.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/WordsAndNoises/?fref=ts

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/wordsandnoises

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHCFrj3E-ZIIZC01FUKeFxg

SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/wordsandnoises

TRACK REVIEW: KMF- Young You

TRACK REVIEW:

 

KMF

 

 

Young You

 

9.8/10

 

Young You is available at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N50ugwIegBk

RELEASE DATE:
13th June 2016

GENRES:
Indie/R&B

ORIGIN:

Bergen, Norway

____________________________________

JUST today I have managed to make a few decisions and experience a lot of…

different music. This morning, I started things off with a look at Jimmy and the Mustangs’ track, Cherry Bomb. A melting of Rockabilly swing and current Blues: a song that has left an impression and introduced me to a terrific U.S. band. A couple of hours later I get to dig into a Norwegian summer-ready band who differ completely. Music’ mystical unexpectedness and vast arrays continue to produce incredible artists. Before I come to the Bergen band; I wanted to look at Norwegian and Scandinavian acts; being ready for summer and what is to come; the way this year is shaping up (in terms of great new sounds). It has been a while since I visited Norway- a few years ago was the last review- and am very familiar with the artists coming from there. In the past, I have investigated Danish and Swedish artists: they have a different way of working and way of life; personalities that explode from the page and intrigue the listener. When we think of Norway and music our minds instantly race to Black-Metal and Thrash: heavier music that projects images of face-painted men and scream-a-thon tracks.

Whilst that is a part of the country- Sweden has a big Metal economy, too- Norway is a lot more deep and varied than you’d think. Consider Bergen and you everyone from Edvard Grieg, Kings of Convenience and God Seed hail from here- three very distinct and unconnected acts. Kings of Convenience, in fact, are one of my favourite acts from the last couple of decades. I love their gentle Acoustic Folk and gorgeous harmonies: how they can transport the listener somewhere beautiful and riparian. Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe are the brains behind Kings of Convenience: they take you around the west coast principality; across the fjords, mountains, and cityscape- so many different sights and scenes for the listener to enjoy. Those not keen on the ‘acquired’ taste of Dimmu Borgir, Gorgoroth and Enslaved have plenty of gentler, more accessible options. Röyksopp is one of Norway’s most-celebrated acts. The Electronica/Trip-Hop duo provide emotionally resonant and maudlin songs: tracks that have a sorrow but never drag you down. They are reflective tracks and balance whimsy and emotional intellect. With Sweden producing so many tremendous Electro.-Pop artists- those that can bring sunshine and warmth into music- Norway is not exactly second-fiddle. Aurora’s dreamy Pop and Awill’s lo-fi-set rapping are setting the nation alight: Emilie Nicolas and Comet Kid are names to watch. The latter is a band who write heartfelt, catchy songs. Mixing Soul, Blues, and Pop: they are a band that has an international future. Nicolas has a warm, entrancing voice that has resonated with fans and critics in Norway.

Farao and Highasakatie are national favourites that provide contradictions and variation. Sparse, hollow moments lead to rich, dramatic highs. Kid Astray’s catchy Pop and Samsaya’s infectious India-Swedish mashing (she hails from India) are garnering serious attention and praise (thanks to website Highsnobiety for recommendations). KMF- or Kakkmaddafakka (a tenner for anyone who can pronounce that first time!)- are one of Norway’s finest exports. Before I plod on; let me introduce KMF to you:

Members:

Axel Vindenes – Guitar and Vocals

Pål Vindenes – Cello and Vocals

 Stian Sævig – Bass and Vocals

Kristoffer van der Pas – Drums

Sebastian Emin Kittelsen –Piano

Lars Helmik Raaheim-Olsen-Choir / Percussion

The band hail from the beautiful city of Bergen, where they have grown from a small local group to an internationally recognised act. Their Facebook band page currently has over 150, 000 likes.

Having toured all over the world, KMF regularly play to 5000 fans at their own club shows across the continent and have appeared at and headlined stages at renowned festivals such as Melt! Festival, the Montreux Jazz FestivalArenal Sound in Spain and Hurricane FestivalWith support constantly coming their way, they seem destined to continue onwards and upwards and are not likely to stop until their out the stratosphere 

The group proclaim themselves to be ‘sauna extremists’, having gone so far as to perform naked in a sauna once on Norwegian national news!

Amongst sauna-extremism, the band’s other hobbies include football, gaming and Djing (two of the members Axel and Pål run a popular club concept ‘Klubben’ and a hip hop night in Bergen – proof of a band with eclectic musical tastes).

On May 31st the band will be playing an exclusive UK show at the prestige O2 Academy Islington. 

‘Young You’ is out June 13th and is set to appear on the group’s upcoming self-titled album KMF set for release July 3rd.

 

The guys have been playing since 2004 and are growing in stature and potential. Their social media numbers and accolades speak for themselves. The fact they have amassed vital festival dates and support/headline slots: the band is going nowhere any time soon. Their eponymous album is released on July 3rd and will include the new single, Young You. The band is capable of enthralling muddy festival-goers and getting bodies jumping- helpless to resist the lure and power of the songs they hear. When needed, the boys can tone it down and lead you somewhere comforting and nature-set- a safe place you can rest your head. The summer is coming- apparently so- and the sun will come out at some point. I am not sure what the weather is like in Bergen today: here (London-way) is a typically cloud-strewn, rain-lashed day. When summer finally does rock up: we need to discover musicians that soundtrack that weather. Today- a juxtaposition and odd synchronicity- is seeing me listening to Dizzee Rascal and watching Made in Chelsea (don’t judge me; it’s an illness!).  The fast-flow, slick raps (of Rascal) and authoritative performances have summer written all over there.

Fire-cracking slammers like Fix Up, Look Sharp– complete with industrial beats, awesome samples, and endless swagger- are backed with instantly memorable tracks and intelligent, near-genius lyrics. The Made in Chelsea gang- idiots and nauseating as they- are always decked in sunshine and expense; there is something compelling about the whole thing. Weird as my listening/viewing clash is: it gets me thinking about warmer days and the city. I know a few people in music/P.R.- D.J.s and promoters- who are enjoying city breaks and taking their music across the world. KMF are already primed for the hotter months: they latest offering is an instant tune that gets the head spinning and the arms pumped. The guys seem eternally cheery and optimistic: a band that makes you smile; whose music does thing rather wonderful to the soul. This year has seen wonderful albums from the likes of Paul Simon; fantastic tracks from The Avalanches, De La Soul and The Stone Roses. Things are hotting-up and some of this year’s finest achievements are being crafted. KMF are a band who could rub shoulders- in terms of quality- with legends like Simon and De La Soul.

 

Over the past few years; KMF have released the albums Down to Earth (2007), Hest (2011) and Six Months is a Long Time (2013): five singles have been spawned (including their latest) and has keep the quality level high from the very start. Previous tracks like Your Girl– from the album Hest– boasts catchy chorus lines and an eye-catching video (lots of in-love couples kissing). It is one of those festivals tunes that is simple and effective: a song you can sing along to and lose yourself in. The song’s lyrics of confusion, sleeplessness and caution are balanced with a glistening, effervescent vocal and composition. Restless (from the same album) is a racing, stuttering track that has such attack and drive. The feather-light guitars are frantic and spirited. The band- who creates another evocative video- put in a stellar performance. A modern-sounding track- that could fit into this year’s sounds- shows how ahead and intuitive the band is. Between Down to Earth and Hest: the songs become stronger and distinct; the performances tighter and emotive.

This qualitative leap reappeared on Six Months is a Long Time– it goes into their eponymous album. To be fair, the boys were astonishing and complete from their debut. Subsequent albums did not need leaps and vast improvements. The changes and developments are small ones. Songs are tighter and more disciplined. The sense of nuance grows and the confidence has climbed. The songwriting itself is more wide-ranging and the instrumentations show more depth and difference- never becoming wayward, unfocused and generic. It is the consistencies- rather than the changes- that impress me most about KMF. The band is one of the most reliable and dependable in all of music. With each album, you do not get weak moments and filler songs. KMF is their most eclectic and revelatory album to date. For a group that enjoys gaming, football and D.J. nights- two of the band members perform at a Hip-Hop night in Bergen- it is not a surprise their music reflects this eclecticism. I know blogs and reviewers will be lining up to sum the album up and see how the music has evolved. It is an exciting time for the Norwegian band. They are in inspired form and have taken influence from different countries and cultures. Mixing love songs with personal investigation: the songs balance bright and brash with restrained and tender. This inspiration feeds into their latest single, Young You.

Racing piano notes- almost evoking the sound of ‘80s/’90s club floor-fillers- get Young You off to a galloping, light-hearted start. The piano has a vibrancy and richness that contains romance, soul and vibrancy. It is the energy and catchiness that builds and grows: the introduction blossoms and bubbles; you cannot escape its sparkle and exuberance. The initial words are a paen to a girl: someone who has caused a stir and acting as a life raft. Our hero recalls when they first met. He was blown off his feet and amazed by her beauty and presence. His “something new”; a person that came along at the right time. There are arguments, doubts, and tears- in a night or two she’ll be fine; the tears will dry- there is that defiance and expectation. The couple was going to prove them all wrong- perhaps their naturalness and compatibility have been met with dubious sighs- and you can feel that rebellion and stubbornness. Lying on the grass in the park “all day long” is an idyllic scene that is a perfect romantic vision: something that seems less tangible as time goes on. Perhaps a rift or passage of time has put a strain on the relationship. You get the impression the lovers are apart and need to sort things out. Perhaps other people’s input and negative reactions have taken their toll; damaged something that was pure and strong. Our hero has optimism things will work out and everything will right itself. There is a detached, almost nonchalant, demeanour to the early vocals. The girl is crying but she’ll be fine soon enough: it is delivered matter-of-fact rather than sensitively. You forgive these oversites as there is purity and compassion in the voice: you know how much his girl means and how he wants their love to survive.

The composition is a light and breezy. Supporting the reverb-heavy vocals and creating a perfect summer backdrop: you imagine yourself under a tree by the river; watching people go by in the heat of the afternoon. Groovy bass and precise percussion ensure there is that commingling of tight and loose: the song is never tense nor is it bleary. The Shakespearian, Romeo and Juliet-esque bond start to grow as the evening draws in. After the afternoon lazing and dreaming: the sweethearts sojourn to a club where they can dance away their troubles. Doing things many would “consider wrong”- your imagination will have its own limitations of what that involves- there is youthful recklessness and frivolity. Against the doubting tongues and naysayers: they are embracing their passion and living whilst they are young. It is mysterious why the relationship has met with such disapproval. It is clear the two have overcome hurdles and faced conflict- with others and themselves. Stronger together than apart: you are drawn into their movements and are walking along with them. “Watch the sunrise from the rooftop” is a line that very easily leads you to imagine and envision. Underneath the perfect images and scenarios, there is that teary-eyed coda. The heroine will be fine in a night or two- she’s crying but it is never explained why- and you wonder what has occurred. That is when the title starts to show a malevolent undercurrent. Young You leads me to think about two different girls: the new flame is a younger version of a former love. The forgotten ex-girlfriend is wiping away the tears whilst the new girl- more agile, fresh and desired- is gaining the spoils of war. It is a cynical approach but everyone will have their own interpretation of events. Whatever the circumstances of the song you forget about it and get caught in the beautiful vocals and composition. That central performance has heart and passion: such is the projection and accentuation; every line is brought to life and given a distinct spin. The bouncy, upbeat backdrop sees jubilant piano and punchy beats spring into life. It is the piano which steals focus at the half-way mark. Again, recalling the likes of Black Box- a little Ride of Time comes into the mix- you are transported back to the ‘90s Dance scene.

A needed break- giving people a chance to collect their thoughts and put the pieces together- the compositional break has its own merit and gravity. That glorious, strident piano line transports your mind across the oceans- at this point in the music video; we see a plane soar against a sunset sky. “Young you/I’m leaving you/in a year with a stranger” (apologies if I have misquoted) throws up more possibilities and ideas. What do those words mean? Part of me was thinking of two girls and new love: a newer version of an old girlfriend. As new lines come through; perhaps there is something less obvious at heart. Whatever the true nature and reality of the lyrics: you cannot deny how well-crafted and unique they are. Few bands have such a way with words. Every sentiment seems obvious but then you doubt yourself: change your mind and have different opinions. Our hero is crying tonight- leaving no room for ambiguity- and will be fine in “a year or two”. Heartbroken and affected- more so than his girl, it seems- that defeat and crushing blow is never brought into the vocal. The lead keeps things buoyant and above-the-surface: never allowing his inner-demons and anger to come out. A wounded soul that is making sense of things- perhaps unable to reconcile what has happened- yet more mystery comes in. KMF are masters when it comes to complex/obvious lyrics; easy and light compositions- the combination is hugely evocative. Young You continues where Six Months is a Long Time leaves off- the three-year break has not seen any lack of quality- and is, perhaps, their most instant track ever. That is no small part because of the composition which continues to yield gold and emotion.

That Ride on Time-piano dance has energy, youth, and rapture; the bass is teasing, swooning and grooving- the percussion keeps firm and ensures discipline remains in the song. The final minute sees the instrumentation exploited and fostered. Yearning, aching guitar and rampant piano take us into the night. By the close, one wonders how things worked out for both parties. Heavy emotions are being traded and explored: the exact origins and realities are open for debate. After mentioning Made in Chelsea– not as derisively as you’d think- Young You seems like a song that could soundtrack a scene. A typical M.i.C. set-up: two ‘lovers’ revealing a misadvised kiss; a tense conversation unfolds before one storms off- the other is left looking on pensively. Maybe that would cheapen KMF’s music but my point remains: their music has that popular edge that is going to be snapped-up by T.V. shows and radio. Young You boasts one of the best outros. I have heard in many years. On its own merit is could exist: extend it for several minutes and you’d have a club jam on your hands. The third track from their self-titled album: Young You shows just how mature and accomplished the Norwegian band is. Few acts- regardless of how long they’ve been together- create songs as universal and loveable as this. A catchy, play-it-until-it-loses-all-meaning song that is going to be the soundtrack for the summer.

Since their debut album Down to Earth: the band has been working hard and ensuring they are in the public consciousness. Not just confined to Norway’s audiences and press: the guys have a huge international reputation and have toured around the globe. Last month, the chaps played O2 Academy Islington– a gig that was very well-received and introduced them to a lot of new, British fans. I hope the band comes back to England when it gets a bit sunnier. I can see them effortlessly slotting into the festival rotation. In the huge parks and on the big stages: their brand of music is likely to get the audiences unified in ecstatic dance; capable of bringing sunshine where there is rain. I looked at a few Norwegian acts in the first half of this review. Truls’ high falsetto, hook-laden, Electro.-Pop beauty has already won the nation’s heart. Mr. Little Dreams is another stunning Norwegian singer (although Mr. Little Dream’s heroine has relocated to California). The nation has been producing game-changing artists for a long time. The new wave of young, talented artists- from Electro.-Pop to Folk and Indie- are rivalling the best the U.K. and U.S. have to offer.

I have always loved Swedish music- and reviewed a lot of acts there- and Norway should not be overlooked. Perhaps dispelling the clichés we associate with the nation- the Heavy-Metal acts and harsh sounds- there are so many elliptical, summer-tinged artists poking through. Songs that have an alacrity and anthemic quality- able to get festivals enflamed- are making their way to Britain. It has been great assessing KMF and I will follow them with eagerness and scrutiny. It is difficult paying close attention to every country with regards music. The media do their best to promote openness and disclosure: not just sticking with homegrown acts and chart sounds. I am in a rarified position- a reviewer who gets sent all sorts of acts- but more people are starting to look beyond British borders. Our music scene is fantastic but it is always wise to embrace other nations and what they are producing ensuring our tastes are not homogenised and rigid. If you have always considered Norway a minor player on the music world’s stage: you might need to think again and reassess that viewpoint. Young You is a sumptuous taster from their new album. The group has always commanded respect and is synonymous with their consistency, quality, and stunning songs. Every new album from KMF brings something new and daring. Their self-titled L.P. is their most confident and anticipated. Legions of new fans will be eager to see what they can come up with- they will not be disappointed, for sure. Early buzz is talking about the record is heated and fevered tones. Young You is a typical example of what to expect. The group do show variation- more introverted moments among the high-energy songs- but show what a proposition they are. Perhaps the British mainstream has not fully embraced them: that has got to change with their new album. Their festival-ready, radio-primed music pushes nobody away and takes no prisoners: tracks that urge you to get moving and involved. The band have just come back from a tour of Europe- taking in Spain, Switzerland, and Britain into their itinerary- and will be back on the road before too long.

When the L.P. is released; the demand will be there and they are going to have a very busy summer. The sun is absent from London- and U.K. in general- and many are seeking something warm, enriching and flavoursome. KMF provoke so many different emotions it is hard to take it all in. You cannot listen to one of their songs and be in a bad mood- it should be prescribed as medication; it’s that powerful! As my afternoon ticks away- Dizzee Rascal’s music still spinning; Made in Chelsea’s stars bemoaning failed relations and cheating ‘friends’- it is great having Young You at the forefront. I will grab their album when it is out and know it will be met with passion and praise. Their three previous albums have shown they’re a band that is adaptable and ever-changing. Whilst you get that reliable concoction of positive sunshine and more reflective tracks: the band keeps growing stronger and more confident as they go along. It is hardly surprising they are so convincing and urgent given the amount of tour dates they have accrued. We look forward to the summer months and what the band will be doing. Of course, more tour dates will come but where will that take them?  I am not sure how widespread their name is in the U.S. It seems like KMF could easily fit into L.A. and New York. Both cities have vibrant, multicultural scenes that would welcome the Bergen-based boys into their bosom. L.A. is particularly hot when it comes to KMF’s brand of music. Maybe the following year will see them gain dates in the country. The band has a loyal and heavy following in Europe: surely Asia and Australia will fall under their spell? That possibility is quite a daunting one for a young band. After just putting their feet back on home soil; they are faced with the possibility of worldwide tours and commitment. It is perhaps their own fault: were their music not so wondrous and spellbinding they would not have that pull. If you look out the window and see clouds, rain and something very un-spring-like: put Young You on; close your eyes…

AND forget about it all.

 

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Follow KMF

 

Official:

http://www.kmfband.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/kakkmaddafakkamusic/

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/kakkmaddafakka

_________________________________

Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBabbpsL4gvTfFjdHuSN0g

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Music

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TRACK REVIEW: Jimmy and the Mustangs- Cherry Bomb

TRACK REVIEW:

 

Jimmy and the Mustangs

 

 

Cherry Bomb

 

9.6/10

 

 

Cherry Bomb is available at:

https://soundcloud.com/jimmyandthemustangs-1/cherry-bomb

RELEASED:
2015

GENRES:
Rockabilly

ORIGIN:

Los Angeles/Texas, U.S.A.

The album Another Round can be purchased here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/another-round/id1041561684

RELEASED:

1st October 2015

TRACK LISTING:

Roll the Dice

Cherry Bomb

Ready, Set, Go! (A Tribute to Gene)

Her Love is Gone

Rock My World

I Won’t Cry for You

Hotel San Jose

Bourbon Street

Love is Just Pretend

Long Black Train

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THERE are so few Rockabilly artists out there…

making their presence curious and interesting. Music seems to work on the assumption everything needs to be forward-thinking and modern. You find comparatively few artists that look back and revoke the sounds of the past- genres that have been overlooked and passed by. I get to review so few ‘mature’ bands that have been playing for a while: evolved their music and lived an incredible life. So much of music is transitory and temporary. With the pressure on musicians and succeeding instantly: so few last for decades and manage to exist. It is a sad sign of the industry that a lot of bands and artists are crumbling under pressure. Those that overcome the hurdles and pitfalls of music- the fortitude and talent to remain and prosper- are to be congratulated. My featured artist- who I shall come to in a moment- has been playing since the ‘80s: emanating from the Californian Punk scene to their current base of Texas- playing Rockabilly sounds that date to the early-‘50s. Rockabilly itself started in the South of the U.S. and brought together genres like Country, Rhythm-and-Blues, and Bluegrass- a portmanteau of ‘Rock’ and ‘Hillbilly’. Boogie Woogie, Jump Blues, and Western Swing. Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, and Buddy Holly were the forerunners of the initial movement and opened it up to the masses. The ‘60s saw Rockabilly decline- it sounded outdated and out-of-touch; artists like The Beatles did try to keep it alive, in some respects- and saw its number decline.

During the 1970s and ‘80s, bands like The Stray Cats re-sparked the flame and brought (the music) back in vogue. Since then, there have been various movements and genres- Rockabilly has mutated and spawned genres like Punk-Rock and Neo-Rockabilly. The latter is represented by bands like Kings of Leon, The White Stripes and Morrissey. Whilst it might be hard to draw a line from Rockabilly to those artists: each were influenced by the genre; taking a little something into their own music. Whether the north-of-the-Mason-Dixon-Line examples like Bill Flagg; Tennessee acts The Burnettes and Burlison (and) Presley; Tennessee’s Carl Perkins– you cannot deny the effects and inspiration these musicians provided (to the current crop). While Punk-Rock and Neo-Rockabilly have replaced Rockabilly: there is a clan of revivalists that are ensuring Rockabilly’s core and purity is kept alive. European interest in Rockabilly has seen musicians like Imelda May update and polish Rockabilly. Before I continue my point, let me introduce Jimmy and the Mustangs to you:


Jimmy and the Mustangs is an American roots rock band fronted by Jimmy Haddox. Emerging from the Punk Scene in Southern California during the 80’s, Jimmy and the Mustangs played their first live show to a sold out audience opening for the renowned all girl band, The Go-Go’s. At the time, the band’s “root’s music” was fueled by fury driven; gut wrenching guitars, not unlike their punk contenders of that era. As the band progressed, a more definitive sound began to evolve and Jimmy and the Mustangs carved out a style of Rockabilly and Swing unlike any other band in Los Angeles at the time. World famous Hollywood Nightclubs like The Whiskey, The Roxy and The Starwood began booking Jimmy and the Mustangs as an opening act for L.A. bands such as X, The Blasters and Los Lobos as well as touring bands such as Chuck Berry, The Stray Cats and Joe Ely, just to name a few. It wasn’t long before Jimmy and the Mustangs were headlining the same clubs with sold out shows of their own.


In a 1982 Los Angeles Times review of their sold-out Roxy show “filled with uaff-headed rocking cats and their petticoated kittens”, the group was described as “not just a band. The Roxy show featured a full-scale production number, complete with guest musicians, guest singers” and others.
Not long after being hired by Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame to perform at his own private party, the band was sought out by Bruce Springsteen who joined them onstage. An East Coast Tour followed. Upon returning home to L.A., the band received its first record deal with Vanity Records, which sold an excess of 40,000 copies. Television and Movie appearances followed. A self-titled E.P. was released on the Curb/MCA label and included the song “Justine” which was made into a video and received play on MTV (back when it was cool). Jimmy has a new lineup and is playing to great audiences throughout Texas. Look for exciting things in the coming months
”.

 Jimmy  Mustangs One2One-77

Jimmy and the Mustangs is a band that adds shine and freshness to Rockabilly: something bracing, electric and new. Imelda May has ensured Rockabilly is kept in the mindset and forefront: critics have latched onto albums like Tribal (her last, released in 2014): the music reverberates with energy and declaration- it is impossible to ignore the force and authority of the songs. Jimmy and the Mustangs are playing Rockabilly in its natural location: the South of the U.S. Exciting and enthralling artists in Texas; the guys released Another Round at the end of 2015. The album is packed with tracks that introduce colourful characters; ‘50s-influenced romances and combustible, get-your-feet-dancing tunes. Texas is not the first location you’d look to for brilliant, exciting music. It might be naïve but states like California and New York are higher in the rankings: the natural leaders for the best new music in America. Texas should not be overlooked. If you want something gritty, raucous and Outlaw-Folk: Dirty Rover Boys from El Paso are your bag. Hip-Hop master Fat Tony has excited Houston (and Texas) with his exceptional music. San Antonio’s Hacienda are an Indie-Rock band on the rise; The Tontons (Houston) thrill you with Indie-Rock swagger- Wild Moccasins evoke the spirit of Blondie and Talking Heads. You can’t ignore the quality and variety coming out of Texas. We tend to get too obsessed with California and New York for our U.S. music: that comes at the detriment of other states. Jimmy and the Mustangs are one of the most unique and exciting bands playing Texas- their fan numbers are solid and they have a great local reputation. Playing in Austin: they are in a city that has seen some exceptional acts come and go. 13th Floor Elevators, Butthole Surfers, and Explosions in the Sky call Austin home. Throw in Black Angel and Spoon and it is a city well worth closer scrutiny.

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Another Round is the band’s most up-to-date record: we can look back and see how they have changed and adapted. The line-up for Jimmy and the Mustangs has changed over the years- along with their sound. Another Round is a more adventurous and compelling collection- compared with older work- and shows more urgency, depth and memorability. The songs are fresher, wittier and more intriguing: the vocals are at their peak and the band is as exceptional as you could imagine. The band began life (with an older line-up) opening for acts like X, The Blasters and Los Lobos– when they started life in L.A. Playing clubs like The Whiskey and The Roxy: the gang toured with the likes of The Stray Cats and Chuck Berry: establishing themselves as one of the best bands on the West Coast. By 1982, Jimmy and the Mustangs exploded. Their shows were productions that featured quaffed, quaff-headed guys and beautiful women; full-scale replications of 1950s Rockabilly- a time-warp that seduced critics and put them on the map. Given their status and reputation (in the ‘80s): the likes of Robert Plant and Bruce Springsteen hired them; lined-up to work with them. The band toured the West and East Coast: they signed with Vanity Records when they returned to L.A. T.V. and film appearances- getting their music to the wider audience- lead to M.T.V. exposure and support. The ‘first phase’ of Jimmy and the Mustangs- 1982’s Hey Little Girl to their eponymous E.P. in 1984- saw them at their peak. The original line-up made some incredible music and clearly resonated with U.S. (and international) audiences. Having moved to Texas; the new- improved, to my mind- band is something you need to hear.

Jimmy and the Mustangs might not enjoy the same success they enjoyed in the 1980s- that is not to say they have lost their step. If anything, they are at the peak of their powers. Another Round is an album that digs into music’s past and comes up with many gems. More expansive, wide-ranging and impassioned than ever before- it is their greatest work so far. Back in the ‘80s; Rockabilly was enjoying something of a resurgence- it started to die-off and crumble in the 1990s. Given the demand and popularity: it was not surprising Jimmy and the Mustangs accrued fans, airplay and T.V. attention. In today’s scene; Rockabilly is less-popular and has to work harder to stick in the mind. There are a lot of similarly-minded acts playing: the mainstream and popular stations have embraced other genres- Rockabilly acts are seen as niche and underground. For that reason, sticking in the imagination is a harder task; it takes more talent and drive. Another Round is not just an album that does Rockabilly proud: it could challenge with any of the best albums from this year- or last year; if you want to dabble with semantics.

Jimmy  Mustangs One2One-63

Cherry Bomb is the song I want to focus on: I feel it best represents the sound and personality of Another Round. The defiance and get-to-the-dancefloor attitude are personified in this track. Blogs and the media have been heaping praise of Another Round. I was keen to see if the band- who started as a Punk-Rock act, remember- approached Cherry Bomb. Before you can prime your senses- and get your head together- the band rock in with a rousing, call-to-arms celebration. The horns blare with sassiness and ripe receptiveness; the percussions get into the groove and give the song a definite kick and drive. Such a tropical, colourful and dance-worthy introduction- part of you is inside an island-vibe conga; the other in the milkshake parlours of the 1950s- ensures you’re fascinated and smiling. I love a song that gets down to business right away. Jimmy Haddox is a man who is direct and clear: he wants the listener engaged and dancing in the first seconds. When our hero comes to the microphone, he has some heavy burdens on his shoulders. Cherry Bomb– perhaps the name of his sweetheart: you wonder who is causing such stress and anxiety. Cherry Bomb is a title that has been employed by a number of artists- in addition to being the name of a firework. A 1976 single from Punk band, The Runaways; a 2009 film; a recent album by Tyler, the creator- few have taken that name and created something as spirited and jubilant. Even when assessing something scornful and deceitful- his girl is treating him badly; his heart is being torn- there is no depressive undertone or sorrowful mood. The band ensures things are light and breezy- without cheapening the sentiments or burying true emotions. “Come on baby light my fuse” is a declaration that had me intrigued.

Despite being poorly treated or teased- you imagine there is a flirtatiousness that is getting our man hot- Haddox is ready to sweat and explode- ready to get down and dirty. One wonders whether Cherry Bomb looks at a girl or a car. Perhaps a sobriquet for a cherished muscle car: something that is unreliable but provides growl and excitement; a ride you can pound through the desert landscapes. That said, the lyrics must lead many to more obvious conclusions: a special woman is in the frame; someone titillating and pure; kitten-like and sexual- a brilliant fusion of ‘50s innocence and modern-day sexuality. “Your love is driving me insane” as it is told. Enraptured and caught in a spider’s web: will our hero be able to set himself free? The composition continues to swing with reckless abandon and a gleeful smile. You picture petticoat-wearing girls serving at a diner: the jukebox blaring and patrons chatting and reveling. Other tracks on Another Round have more modern, gritty sounds: Cherry Bomb is a pure, unfettered nod to the halcyon days of Rockabilly. The hero is burning for the girl but, like Icarus flying towards the sun, he has got too close. Perhaps she is a temptress that lures men to their fate- a Siren on the rocks- but Haddock is keen to take a chance and sacrifice his heart. Tones that remind me of early-days Elvis Presley- there is that same burr and Memphis drawl- you hope (the hero) gets satisfaction. Few modern songs have that blend of innocence and sex: a chaste and courtship-like romance with the intention of satisfaction and sweat. It is a cocktail that gives Cherry Bomb a two-level appeal. The “firecracker” and dynamite- at this point; comparisons to the firework are most pertinent- is burning our man. Unable to get too close- maybe our guys are swarming- every listener will have their own view. I imagined a blonde girl in a red dress. A red lipstick-wearing heroine with red heels and an alluring smile: a Marilyn Monroe-cum-Jean Harlow figure that gets the guys swooning and blushing. Imbued with a fiery edge and sharp tongue- elements of Dorothy Parker to her, maybe? – I can understand the appeal. Jimmy and the Mustang’s lead wants his fuse lit- it is a firework metaphor but you can’t help thinking of smuttier images- and satisfaction.

Jimmy  Mustangs One2One-56

Many reviews have compared Another Round’s music with Grease and its flair. When listening to the songs- especially Cherry Bomb– you cannot help but transport yourself to a past time. At his most wracked and edgy: our man elicits a wolf-like howl; the horns blare with intensity and the entire band is at their (electric) best. If you isolate the composition; one will notice all the little details come together. A piano roll here; neat little drum fills and nuanced brass. The band does not sit in the background and merely provide support for their leader. Instead, they create a wonderful, rich score that gets the imagination wondering and projects a film scene in the mind. Jazzy, riffed horn lines add urgency and force: you get a real burst and thrust from the instruments; adding such a vibrancy and candour to the song. Whilst the hero takes a few seconds out- needing to regroup and recharge the batteries- the band step forward and provide a beautiful interlude. A carnival-like atmosphere gives Cherry Bomb such a sway and swagger. After the horns have done their thing- very assuredly and wonderfully- the electric guitars come forth. Blues-flavoured and meaningful: catchy, barbed-wire riffs get under the skin and will invigorate the senses. From the sexual, intense sound of the horns- representing desire, seduction and inner-tension- the guitars evoke firework crackle and explosive vixens- the effect the girl is having on the hero. Soon enough, Haddox has come back- taken a cold shower and had a beer, perhaps?- and is back for more. It seems the two have a history together- “Every time we kiss…” suggests they are in a relationship- and he is completely smitten. Every kiss sends shivers and shakes through his bones; the blood runs hot and the head spins.

A cross between Have Love Will Travel (The Sonics) and Little Willie John’s I’m Shakin’: you get such much grove, bravado and confidence come through. From the wise-stepping and cautious openings- our hero standing in line and desperate for release- he is a more satisfied and contented place. The final minutes sees a reinterpretation of the opening sentiments. Whilst in her thoughts and affections: those heart-melting, soul-shaking ruction is still occurring. The sweat drips and the nerves are frayed. Even when together and in a relationship: the girl is still causing this pain and tease. Maybe things will never be different. Perhaps she will always keep him at arm’s-length and be a temptress. By the closing notes- the band are still fully primed and tight- our man lets out a howl and seems completely bereft. Cherry Bomb gives Another Round personality, zest, and dance. There are other tracks that have a similar energy and charm: none has quite the same effect and aftertaste. Polished, rich production values ensure all the instruments and vocals burst into the brain. You can imagine what a fun time the guys had in the studio. Never a static and phoned-in performance: one envisages the musicians smiling and dancing as they played. Jimmy Haddox sounds like a man possessed. He must have been rocking and moving all around the vocal booth- recalling a particular girl who has left her mark on his heart. You know (the song’s heroine) is not intentionally cruel: she is one of those women who could have her pick of men. Let’s hope our man managed to win the girl and felt more relaxed down the line. Cherry Bomb is a track that never loosens its grasp and continues to impress- long after it has ended.

Jimmy  Mustangs One2One-22

The guys from Jimmy and the Mustangs have been a little quiet lately. Their album was released last year: since then; they have been touring it and promoting it. In terms of new music, I am not sure if they have any plans for the rest of this year. Perhaps another album will come (in 2017) or a single: something that keeps them in the mind and ensures momentum remains. You would forgive the guys for taking a break and letting the dust settle for a bit. Having performed since the ‘80s: Jimmy Haddox is not someone who takes time out and puts his feet up. From his days in the Punk-Rock scene to Jimmy and the Mustangs: a musician that has survived and prospered; giving inspiration to many out there. I began by stating how many musicians are short-term and temporary. Given the financial and commercial pressures (new musicians) face: many are unable to meet demands and collapse under the strain. Even the finest, most-original acts find it tough going. Jimmy Haddox has lasted so long due to his evolving songwriting and dedication to music. From the woozy brass and romantic vocals of Hotel San Jose; the jive and dance of Roll the Dice; the Blues stomp of I Won’t Cry for YouAnother Round has something for everyone. While Rockabilly will find it hard appealing to everyone- it might never make its way fully back into the mainstream- it should not be ignored or mocked. Far from it. Given the tremendous energy, positivity and retro. charm of it- it is a style of music that provides smile and uplift. Even if you were not alive in the ‘50s- I, for example- that does not mean Rockabilly will be lost on you.

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Jimmy and the Mustangs hop between genres. Blues, Rock, Punk, and Pop are in there with Country and Folk: no two songs sound the same; the muscular and joyous songs will appeal to the stoniest of hearts. It doesn’t matter what your tastes are and what you are used to. Great music- regardless of origin and genre- should be heard and appreciated. Another Round has enough shading, diversity, and emotional balance to ensure it speaks to everyone. I Won’t Cry for You is a chugging juggernaut that is among the most exhilarating and intense songs of the band’s career. Bourbon Street has Country tones and sees our hero craft a love song to alcohol. Whether sipping gin or downing bourbon: maybe his troubles are intense; maybe a girl is on his mind. Even when subject matters get dark and heavy: there is enough bonhomie and wit in the lyrics to keep things fun and un-suffocated. Her Love Is Gone and Love Is Just Pretend are two highlights from the album: exploring the true depths and abilities of the band. If you need a pick-me-up and lift: you can do no wrong buying Another Round. The songs brim with character and frivolity; a sense of purpose, fun, and merriment. The band does go into more introverted and love-lost territory- even those songs have spirit and vibrancy. There is never a dull moment with the Austin clan. Mixing the purity of Rockabilly- the true ‘50s sound- with modern vibes and elements- it is a stunning album from start to finish. Many will see the word ‘Rockabilly’ written down and have their assumptions. Maybe they picture the likes of Buddy Holly and assume we will have a 21st-century version of Peggy Sue.

I feel too many artists are being ignored because of stereotypes and ignorance. Too few actually cast a wide net and embrace everything music has to offer. We all have our favourite genres and bands: how often do we take gambles and spread our wings? Maybe diehard music fans do; the rest are perfectly comfortable staying with what they know. Jimmy and the Mustangs have been playing around Texas since the release of Another Round. One wonders whether the band will come to the U.K. and play here. We have affection for older styles of music and acts that bring the fun. Even when the Austin band takes the lights down- and provides something emotional- you are with them and invested. Jimmy Haddock is a man who has seen music change greatly. Many- who started out decades ago- would struggle to evolve with the times and adapt their music. Haddox has a voice that makes everything sound completely wonderful and hypnotic. The compositions have so much life and texture; many strands and ideas that come together naturally.

The band has a connection and love that makes the music so enthralling and beautiful. Haddox is a front-man that has many years ahead of him and will take The Mustangs with him. Another Round is not a throwback to the ‘50s and the sound of men who hate the modern age. Jimmy and the Mustangs take us back to a simpler time but never keep their music there. ‘90s Blues-Rock and modern Country fuses with Rhythm-and-Blues and ‘60s British Invasion Pop- a compendium of brilliant songs that compel you to sing along wildly. I earnestly hope the boys come to Europe and spend some time touring here. We have plenty of pubs and venues that cater for this kind of music: plenty of British acts that play similar sounds. Against the ultra-modern and urgent Electronic.-Pop/Post-Dubstep that has defined 2016- the best albums at least- it is nice to hear an act that takes you back in time- something more comforting and spirited; not quite as intense and brooding. Another Round is a drunken pleasure- see what I did there?!– that is addictive and energised. On a rainy day- it is England; what do you expect?- Jimmy and the Mustangs provide…

Jimmy  Mustangs One2One-1-2

JUST what you need from music.

 

___________________________________________

Follow Jimmy and the Mustangs

 Jimmy  Mustangs One2One-61

Official:

http://www.jimmyandthemustangs.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/JIMMYMUSTANGS

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/jimmymustangs

_________________________________

Music

https://soundcloud.com/jimmyandthemustangs-1

TRACK REVIEW: Darla and the Blonde- In Admiration of the Female Spy

TRACK REVIEW:

 

Darla and the Blonde

 

 

In Admiration of the Female Spy

 

 

9.5/10.0

 

 

 

In Admiration of the Female Spy is available at:

https://soundcloud.com/darlaandtheblonde/in-admiration-of-the-female-spy

RELEASED:
May 2016

GENRES:
Alternative-Rock

ORIGIN:

London, U.K.

The E.P. Eugeina is available at:

https://darlaandtheblonde.bandcamp.com/

TRACK-LISTING:

In Admiration of the Female Spy

Vampyr

The Article

Hexenhammer

End of the Party

RELEASED:

May 20th 2016

RECORDED AT:

 Heart of Gold Studios

 PRODUCED BY:

 Tom Loffman

 MUSIC PLAYED BY:

 Darla and the Blonde

MUSIC AND LYRICS BY:

 Nina Lovelace

____________________________

IN the coming days the nation will decide…

whether it wants to remain in the E.U. or not. It is, as everyone keeps telling us, the most important decision to face this generation- perhaps the most vital box-tick of our lives. Whilst there is hyperbole and over-exaggeration in there: there is also some fact and truth. I know which way I am going to vote- none of your g-darn business, to answer the question- but there is referendum and decision-making in music. Rock- whether Alternative or plain-old Rock- used to occupy a rarified position in music: the go-to genre for new bands and musicians; sounds that were celebrated by critics with Devil-horned regard- the most sought-after sound at festivals and events. Over the last few years- whether signaling a decline of quality or change in tastes- other genres are becoming popular and dominant- leaving Rock to fight for its status. To be fair, there are a lot of hungry, young Rock bands making impressions- in the mainstream, their numbers are becoming fewer. As I have explained in these pages- and shall do so for the final time this month- British wonders like James Blake and Radiohead have thrown down the gauntlet in 2016: producing the (two) finest albums of this year. When the nominations for the Mercury Prize are announced: not only will both be nominated (they should: Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool and Blake’s The Colour in Anything) but they should be odds-on favourite for the win. Electronic and Post-Dubstep artists are becoming more prominent: Radiohead have abandoned their Rock glory days- when The Bends and OK Computer ruled the land- and embracing something more textured and experimental.

Festivals- aside from those who specifically cater for Rock acts- are seeing their line-ups reflect a broader, lesser-seen range of genres and acts- in the past, Rock/Alternative were staples of these festivals. It brings me back to an age-old question: Is Rock Dead? Hell no! Rock will continue to rock until the end of time: we just need to give it a kick in the posterior. There is a bit of a vacuum in the mainstream. The likes of Royal Blood– busy working on their new album- and other titans seem quiet and M.I.A. for a bit: how many great, current Rock bands can you name? Yuk, Drench and Car Seat Headrest: Loose Meat and Downtown Boys are worth watching out for. Rock is not dead: it is just developing body hair and starting to grow up. Away from the Punk revivalists and straight-ahead, go-for-the-guts Rock acts: the genre is evolving, expanding and becoming more textured. Bands are introducing other genres in- primarily Electronica, Indie and R&B- and giving Rock more contour and layers. It may sound like a gentrification, but you’d be wrong: acts that stay true to Rock’s values are capable of rubbing shoulders with the best bands out there. More bands- who play Rock and Alternative- are mixing genders- rather than the depressing slew of all-male acts- and becoming a lot more interesting.

All of this brings me to Darla and the Blonde: a beautiful moniker that sounds U.S.-based; perhaps a sunshine-coast band or highway-wandering band of dreamers. Before I continue- and dispel that romantic vision- let me introduce Darla and the Blonde to you:

Encompassing the seductive glamour of goth, the catchy harmonics of pop, the experimentalism of prog and the narrative traditions of folk, Darla And The Blonde are a broad-based five-piece who craft their influences into a bold and distinctive brand of dramatic alt-rock.

Formed in East London by chief songwriter Nina Lovelace (rhythm guitar and backing vocals), the band are completed by Jen Demaris (lead vocals), Rob McCabe (lead guitar), Craig Page (bass) and Tom Loffman (drums). While Darla And The Blonde’s sound is influenced by the likes of Nick Cave, Patti Smith and PJ Harvey, and their live performances take cues from musical theatre, Lovelace’s lyrics are primarily inspired by the concerns and experiences of inspirational women, both real and fictional, all set to the band’s impassioned and inventive alt.rock sonics.

Having shared taster track ‘The End Of The Party’ in March 2016 – whose searing glam-rock groove underpins an infectious lyrical riff on revolution – to much acclaim, radical Hackney rockers Darla And The Blonde reveal the details of their first full EP, ‘Eugenia’, released on 20 May.

The first of five eclectic but equally invigorating indie-rock nuggets, ‘In Admiration Of The Female Spy’ is a melodic musing on the escapades of feminine espionage set to a forceful three minutes thirty of edgy new wave. The dexterity of the band is to the fore as Craig Page’s intricate bass shadows the catchy vocal harmonies through the verses before the chorus is announced by a crescendo of crunching overdriven guitar.

Follow-up ballad ‘Vampyr’ has an air of fragile beauty that belies its themes of age, decay and mortality, its celestial vocal pattern meandering across a metronomic tick-tock rhythm that lends the song a further touch of the fantastical.

’The Article’ tells the story of Eugenia Falleni (after whom the EP is named), a female-to-male transgender man who was falsely tried for murder in the early 20th century. Atop the song’s heavyweight folk-grunge score, Jen Demaris and Nina Lovelace’s voices ring out a powerful shanty-like tale to resound long in the mind.

Part prog-rock, part widescreen gothic-pop, ‘Hexenhammer’ was originally released as a single on Halloween 2014 and its unorthodox melody lines are a fitting fabulist homage to the novel ‘Dark Aemilia’ by Sally O’Reilly, in which the protagonist dabbles in the dark arts. “If you say his name I’ll lay a Hexenhammer at your door” runs Demaris and Lovelace’s anthemic chorus.

From their party manifesto: it is clear the East London band do not do things in a predictable manner. They have the heart of Alternative-Rock beating in their chest: their soul and blood contain a range of different shapes, sounds, and ideas. Able to fuse (catchy) vocal harmonies and melodic Pop; Gothic darkness and Progressive-Rock experimentation: they are the perfect representation of a modern-day Rock act. When they want to- and that is quite often- they can dispense a brutal, ball-shaking, three-minute assault to the senses. Being a savvy and intelligent band: they do not drag knuckles and aimlessly slam; they inject hooks, nuance, and kaleidoscopic energy. Basing themselves out of Hackney, one could be forgiven for thinking they are an uber-cool, hipster band that are all words and no action. On paper, there are few that can rival the individuality and fascination of Darla and the Blonde. When you dig deep- and read interviews they have conducted- the band are cool, down-to-Earth folks that are exceptional musicians. The kinship and closeness feed into their stunning, instantly-addictive tunes. Eugeina is the band’s new E.P. and is crammed with festival-ready tracks full of personality and contrast. Among the masses of new, fresh-faced band; Darla and the Blonde offer something distinguishing and unexpected. Part-frightening, part-welcoming: the polemics and contradictions ensure everybody is on board. You do not have to be a die-hard Alternative-Rock fan to appreciate Darla and the Blonde- they are a group that blends so many sounds and ideas together; few will be able to fault their ambition and range.

 

Darla and the Blonde have not been playing for long: usually, I would look back and see how a band/artist has changed/improved. When it comes to the Hackney collective: Eugenia is the best place to start. Not only is- their five-track E.P.- a jam-packed creation with anthems all over the place- it shows how confident and together the band are. You would not imagine they have only been around a little while. Inspired by the likes of PJ Harvey and Nick Cave: you get that inimitable blend of dark and light; Gothic and fantastical; dreamy and hard-hitting. For a band who have so many different sides- and weapons in their armoury- you would assume they’d have little focus and ragged edges. In truth, that is not the case. Nina Lovelace writes songs that reflect the needs/issues of men and women. She is never defined or tied-down: not a songwriter that can be predicted. Whether looking at historical, transgender heroes or female espionage: every song has such personality, originality, and charm. The band has such an affection and intuition it means every song gets straight to the core- stone-cold anthems that will get the crowds unified and excited. The big test is whether Darla and the Blonde will continue their hot streak and maintain their cool. Many bands- that start off with distinction tend to succumb to mainstream tastes- lose their identity and that initial spark. I feel Darla and the Blonde will only grow stronger and more distinct. They are a band that has commercial appeal but a loveable quirkiness.

With the band’s E.P. having been dropped last month: the band released In Admiration of the Female Spy to give a taste for fans. Reviews have noticed the riotous, defiant sound and powerful swagger: the breath of fresh air that has been put into Rock. Keen to separate myself from other blogs/reviews- and form my own opinions- the opening seconds had me fascinating. Woozy, Grunge-influenced guitars ensure the song gets off to a gentle- if extremely intriguing- start. The guitars build, fleck and shine- so many different little ideas and notes into a glorious collage- whilst the percussion adds heartbeat and anxiety. Perhaps the band’s attempt at a Bond theme- it would be a super-cool, if slightly ironic, twist on the format- the sense of restraint and tempoirisation is to be commended. Too many Alternative-Rock bands go for the jugular from the off: it makes the songs too intense, too soon. Darla and the Blonde build Rome with more care and discipline- ensuring the track does not crumble and crack. There are so many clues out- so many that will drown the heroine- which instantly leads your mind in many directions.

On the one hand, you imagine espionage and spies about town. The song’s protagonist- a female Bond that is hunting down a traitor or villain- is prowling the city (perhaps in the cold of night) and looking for answers. That would be an easy- if perhaps accurate- assessment of the song. The band is laying down a paen to female espionage: the escapades and adventures that can be found. In another sense, there are emotion and romantic possibilities. Maybe- the song’s heroine- is trying to piece together a break-up or hard time; making sense of why things went wrong and seeking happiness. I am not sure whether Lovelace employs a spy figure as a metaphor: the early words are certainly compelling. Bubbles of doubt have formed- our heroine is keen to prick it- and there are obstacles, sweet ripostes, and come-hither possibilities all around. Maybe (the song’s heroine) is faced with her male counterpart: someone who’s a cliché and stereotype; the traditional embodiment of a spy. Here is a fresh and bold alternative who does things her own way.  A sassier and more eye-catching option: the song’s anti-hero dispenses “sweet nothings”; they have no effect on our girl; she is immune to cheesy lines and flat sentiments. The heroine is calling the shots- a “sweet dumb boy” has his cheeks red; laying his smoothest rap down- and completely in command.

Driven by rumbling, galloping drum and detailed, melodic basslines- the composition adds so many different emotions and visions into the mix. As the story unfolds; we learn more back-story and revelation. The only one (the heroine) ever loved has been condemned to the grave. Maybe the result of cross-fire or caught in a trap- a pawn in a dangerous cat-and-mouse game- he has paid the price. A treasured and loved sweetheart: that sense of regret and longing comes out in the vocal. “The same dogs/in the same starting trap”: life is not as simple and clear-cut as all that. Whilst blame could be assigned and culpable parties hunted down- maybe honest mistakes were made and nobody is really to blame. That explanation never washes and you become more invested in the song. The composition starts to build and brood in the background- you know something combustible is afoot- whilst the vocal has an anger and malevolence to it- a woman that is about to unleash Hell. “Better dead” is a bellicose taunt that is chanted with fierce determination and aim: the spy is on the prowl and hunting down the perpetrator. Whoever took her man- perhaps taking a bullet for his lover- will pay dear and have their day. The immediacy and tightening tension is exemplified by the rise in volume and force.

The drums and guitars get heavier; the bass more stinging and viper-like. After a melodic- if dramatic- opening half; the song reaches fever-pitch. Caught in a whirlwind of pain and nightmares: our heroine wonders when she will wake up. A bad dream that never seems to end: you empathise with her plight and hope she can find solace and answers. There is that need to track down the culpable and see justice done. Coming face-to-face with her man- the one she is tracking- there are similarities and reflections. The two are very similar and not too uncommon. If you stick with espionage themes- the female spy going in pursuit of vengeance- there is a slight U-turn and about-face. Packing up her bags- and starting to assess the future- there might not be the cliffhanger we predicted. Taking it down another route- something dealing with heartache and more everyday: you start to wonder whether the “better dead” projection refers to (the deceased) or our heroine. Judging by the wracked and intense vocal performance: one would assume there is heartbreak and regret.

In Admiration of the Female Spy has plenty of mystery and obliqueness underneath its raw and primal growl. A song of two halves- the slow-building and atmospheric opening; the burning and crunching second-half drama- it is the standout track from Eugenia. Nina Lovelace proves what a stunning songwriter she is. Her lyrics are never formulaic and predictable. Together with Jen Demaris Tom Loffman; Rob McCabe and Craig Page: they form one incredible unit. There are a lot of terrific bands in London: few have the personality, talent, and originality of Darla and the Blonde. I know the guys will keep the pace up and go on to create some wonderful music. In Admiration of the Female Spy is a marvelous example of what they are capable of. Always entrancing and together- one of those bands that are unbreakable and has that telekinetic bond- they put a smile on the face and get the feet kicking.

Although I have expended time assessing In Admiration of the Female Spy– coolest title ever- their Eugenia E.P. does the business. Vampyr has yearning, aching beginnings: a Country-Rock/Pop beginning that is dreamy and enticing. Complete with vivid images- our heroine will “kick your shin/and spit in your eye”- it is a celestial, twilight song that has such fragility and serenity. Juxtaposing a beautiful mood against lyrics of age, decay and death- the band never do things the way one would expect- the song is a haunting thing. You are drawn in- the first few times- by Lovelace’s spellbound vocal. Few listeners could resist the contrast of stark and tender: you get washed inside the vocals/composition; the lyrics paint fascinating/unforgettable images and burrow in the head. The Article begins more prominently and with austerity. Grunge/Alternative notes open the song with restrained- if rather imperious and threatening- strings. The twin vocals of Lovelace and Jen Demaris tell the tale of Eugenia Falleni- after whom the E.P. is named- who was a female-to-male transgender man in the early-20th century. Such a unique and unexpected source of inspiration would stymie and restrict other bands.

Inner-stress and turmoil- the song’s mercurial centre- are balanced by shanty-like sway and beauty- a song that could only come from Darla and the Blonde. Hexenhammer builds and builds- a song that grows hotter and more rushing; a fabulist lament that (sees the heroine) dabble in dark sciences- replete with a knock-out, quotable chorus. End of the Party is a swaggering and cocksure track that blends Progressive-Rock and Punk: one of the heaviest songs from the E.P. Kick-ass riffs and endless confidence go into a song sure to be a live favourite. “All apologies are lies” our heroine explains: a cynical assessment that you (somehow) buy; it seems completely compelling and right. The band comes together in a song that- whilst never exploding and unshackled- has a lingering bite and real electricity. One of the most-played tracks on SoundCloud– fans and followers have bonded with the track- it is a beautiful end to Eugenia. Over a five-track E.P.; Hackney’s Darla and the Blonde show just what a special proposition they are. They are never divisive and off-putting- if Gothic sounds are not your thing; there are plenty of light moments and ‘traditional’ elements- the group has a future ahead of them. They have not been playing long but already seem like a complete article- a band that has been pounding the tour circuit for decades. Festivals like Reading and Leeds will showcase some of the world’s finest Rock and Alternative bands. From Red Hot Chili Peppers and Fall Out Boy to Eagles of Death Metal and Cage the Elephant will take to the stage.

Anyone who thinks Rock- and bands that play down harder, edgier avenues- is dead better think again. Darla and the Blonde will play their E.P. launch at Finborough Arms (The Cellar) on June 24th. Try and get down and see the band in their element. Eugenia is a stunning effort from a band that definitely stand out from the rest. If their character-filled, literary lyrics do not get you; the stunning vocals and tight performances will- failing that; their anthemic songs surely will. It will be interesting seeing how the London band blossom. Given the reaction to their new E.P. – and the fact they are a new band- things will only get better. So much depth and authority (on their E.P.) means they have no need to retool and adapt their sounds. The road, people, and life will provide fresh song inspiration; live dates and touring will galvanise and strengthen their performances- ensure they are as natural and tight as possible. Right now, the quintet sounds completely whole and fully-formed- how much better can they get? If they get the support they need- increased social media numbers and people going to their gigs- it cannot be long before festivals and venues come knocking.

I have been a bit ambivalent towards bands lately. Someone who loves traditional Rock and heavier acts: perhaps I have ignored a lot of great acts; had my head in the sand. Whilst there are fewer bold, original bands than a few years ago- what with the proliferation of solo acts and changing sounds- that is not to say we should give up. Far from it. If you want head-pounding, fists-in-the-air Rock then there are options out there. Those who seek deeper and more layered bands have a lot more options (than a few years back). Darla and the Blonde are one of the most interesting and unique bands I have heard in a long time. Their music has so many details and fascinating parts; the compositions switch genres without losing focus; the vocals are consistently bold and beautiful. Altogether, it goes into a glorious band that seems natural in London. Given the competition and quality in the city: the guys will have to fight hard for market share and fans; their music is already recruiting many followers and eager listeners. In Admiration of the Female Spy is a song I will be playing for a long time: there is something inescapable about it. Take time out of your day to…

DISCOVER your favourite new band.

 

 

_______________________________________________

Follow Darla and the Blonde

 

Official:

http://www.darlaandtheblonde.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/darlaandtheblonde

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/darlatheblonde

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/darlaandtheblonde/

_________________________________

Music:

https://soundcloud.com/darlaandtheblonde

______________________________

Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/user/scowlinowl

 

TRACK REVIEW: Lánre- Human

TRACK REVIEW:

 

Lánre

 

 

Human

 

9.4/10

 

 

Human is available at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IH_AuFU073I

RELEASED (video):
30th May 2016

GENRES:
Folk; Soul

ORIGIN:

London, U.K.

The E.P. Human is available at:

https://itunes.apple.com/album/id1099234987?ls=1&app=itunes

TRACK LISTING:

Human

Fire

Dreams

My Soul

RELEASED:

April 29th 2016

LABEL:

Lanre Nioku Music

____________________________________

I am a little late to the ball when it comes to…

extolling the virtues of London-based singer, Lánre. She is being talked about as one of the finest upcoming Folk-Soul singers we have to offer. Before I come to her- and her style of music/subject matters in mind- I want to look at Soul and Folk- how the British are leading the genres- the multiculturalism of the music world; singers that evoke the spirits of legends past. Depending on when you were born- I am an ‘80s child, myself- will probably enforce your views and preferences for music. We all grow up on a blend of chart music and our parents’ record collection. In today’s world; there is greater access to ALL music has to offer: niche stations, social media, and Internet availability means every style and flavor of music is free for the young, impressionable music explorer. Given this multitude and bounty: there is still a leaning towards the mainstream sounds/stations. This predation of unspectacular- if popular- music is something that needs to be changed and developed. I understand the safety and comfort of something radio-friendly and mainstream-approved. It is not just a folly of the young: too many older listeners are getting stuck in a rut; assuming modern music offers little when compared with the past. If we all become more adventurous and less honed: music is something that can provide surprise, revitalisation, and life-affirming sensation. Do not assume (certain genres) should be overlooked and ignored- just because they do not get the radio-play they deserve. Folk and Soul are examples of genres that have always had to struggle for true recognition. From past legends like Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder (Soul); Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell (Folk): some of music’s most influential have played these genres.

Today, that legacy has inspired musicians to pick up the torch and keep the flame alive. Although new artists- who are Soul/Folk acts- do not get the same recognition as other musicians- Rock/Alterative etc. – that will all change. Britain, to my biased mind, has some of the best Soul and Folk acts in the world. The last decade has seen everyone from Amy Winehouse, Florence Welch, and Adele put British soul onto the map. A female invasion that has kick-started the Soul genre: we are seeing an explosion happen right now. Folk artists are enjoying a similarly prosperous time. I have been proffering the likes of Laura Marling for years now: she is, as far as I’m concerned, the finest Folk artists playing right now. She is playing Meltdown Festival in the coming days- she was Guy Garvey’s (curator) first call when assembling the line-up- and will bring her magic to the capital. London is becoming more open and cosmopolitan as the years go by. In the past, it may have been the case there were homogenisation and limitations: the city is keen to embrace all tastes, cultures, and nations. This open market is seeing London lead British music- the most sensational and original acts are coming from the capital.

Lánre has to be considered among the brightest talents in London this year. Before I continue, let me introduce our featured artist:

“Headlining we had the beguiling Nigerian songstress Lánre, who held the auditorium in the palm of her hands. Armed only with her personality, her smile and an acoustic guitar, she took us on a journey back to her homeland (via Stoke-on-Trent) painting many vistas and drawing on many emotions with bright African colours – absolutely spellbinding”  John Drummond – Brewery Blues

Relish in her soft yet soulful vocals…” – MTV UK

“This utterly soothing new single is well worth a listen.” – MOBO Awards

I was born in Stoke-On-Trent England many years ago to an amazing mum and an adorable dad. Some people say they can trace their earliest memory to way back in their mama’s womb but mine was on my first birthday trying to blow out the candle on my cake, strapped in a walker!

Yeah, I did not walk unaided until after my first birthday, I figured I would be walking all my life anyway, why the rush. (LOL!)

My parents thought it was a good idea to learn about my heritage and to grow up knowing the rest of my extended family, so at age four I traveled to Nigeria with my parents where I spent the next twenty years studying, learning and living.

My first public performance was at the age of eight when I got picked to lead the song ‘Don’t do that to the poor pussy cat’ at the local radio station. My teacher chose me to lead because according to her, I sang like an Angel. Awwwwwwwwwwww!

Growing up in Nigeria meant music was a hobby and passing my Maths, English and Sciences with flying colours became high on my priority list. I picked up my love for writing and music again in year 2002 when I joined the award winning UK collective GK REAL and that musical journey took me around the world singing and performing with amazing singers, writers and producers.

Discovering the guitar and freedom to express my thoughts is why you’re here reading my story which is to be continued…

so who am I….?

I am a writer

I am a singer

I am a wife

I am a sister

I am a daughter

I am a friend

I am African

I am British

I love God

I love reading

I can play a few chords on the guitar

I tend to go into my own shell even in the midst of a crowd

I have loads of stories locked up in my head

I am on a journey of discovery and I am excited!!

PRESS Bio

Two years after the release of her critically acclaimed EP Home, British singer, songwriter Lánre has come out with her 3rd record.

‘Human’ a 4-song EP is a collection of uplifting songs which encapsulates the message and depth of Lánre’s artistry.

Lánre as well as touring Canada, France, NYC and Sweden has taken her unique sound of Acoustic Soul, Folk and captivating storytelling influenced by her Yoruba heritage, to the Royal Albert HallGreenbelt FestivalEdinburgh FringeBath Music FestivalFolkstock FestivalMusicport Festival and the Brighton Fringe among others.

Lánre currently curates a monthly residency at the Omnibus in Clapham Common”.

Human (the title track) has been out for a while: it demonstrates a sensational voice and deep soul; a burning passion and compulsion to succeed. With every song, you know how important music is: how much Lánre wants to push on and grow. The Human E.P. is out and already picking up impassioned reviews and praise. The four-track collection is economical- the tracks are all one/two-worded- and instantly gripping. Lánre is not your traditional Soul-cum-Folk artist. Bringing her African roots to the music: we span continents and are provided with some of the freshest, most evocative music, you will hear this year. Human (E.P.) is perfect for getting lost in- a record that can accompany you on a long drive; you will not tire of the songs’ beauty and grace. London is constantly evolving and growing with regards its music. In the course of my reviews; I get to witness all sorts of vibrant, colourful artists- the city never ceases to amaze me. Whether you are a fan of hardcore Electronic music or deep Jazz vibes: you will find musicians/venues to take care of you.

 

What impresses me about Lánre is how she is fresh and current: inside her voice, you can detect little bits of musicians past. Tracy Chapman is probably the strongest name- when comparing voices- and someone who has influenced Lánre. There is- inside Human– a mix of human emotions and political motifs; a drive for positivity and humanity- in addition to contemplations of love and sacrifice. Chapman remains of the most inspiring and remarkable musicians of the past: someone whose influence can be heard in many of today’s musicians. Lánre is going to be someone to watch very carefully. There are so few musician that can seduce you the first time you hear them- make you want to keep listening and discover everything they have done. Once Human has been fully appreciated and played- new fans are discovering the E.P. by the week- our heroine will be very busy, indeed. Gigs and interviews will arrive: fresh faces experiencing her music up-close and personal. That is the think (with Lánre): she is a musician that brings you into her heart and world- not someone who is distant and happy to hide behind her songs. Human’s title track is the personification of that: a number that goes around the head and will affect everybody who hears it.

Human is the latest work from Lánre. If you- like I was, until a few weeks ago- are foreign to her stunning songs: make sure you investigate everything she has done. There are no weak songs from Lánre: everything she touches is gold and possesses wisdom; a glimpse inside a strong woman and beautiful soul. Beautiful was released four years ago now and showed a different side to Lánre. The song looks at a heroine who wanted to “be like everyone else”. A skippy and upbeat track- that mixes Folk and Pop elements- it is a typically intelligent and wise song. The song’s heroine sees herself ugly and insignificant: when she looks in the mirror; the truth comes through- she has grown to “be a swan”. The central coda- “You are beautiful”- is delivered with clarity and drive; backed by wordless vocals and driving percussion. A song that has a summery vibe and intoxicating skip: all framed by Lánre’s gorgeous, heartfelt vocal performance. As the tale progresses (the heroine) wonders whether true love exists: if someone will love her and see the beauty she possesses. Towards the end, things come together- she is spreading her wings- and realising her self-worth and potential. An impressive song that delivers a gorgeous message- something that gives hope and inspiration to those listening.

Home is another stunning song- unveiled a couple of years ago- that differs from Beautiful. Aching, laconic strings sees Lánre with a torn heart and a sense of loneliness. Differing from the positivity and overt kick of Beautiful: we find our girl in more pensive and restless mode. Her soul needs satisfaction and direction: she is at a crossroads and seeking a safe haven. Going more into Folk territory- not as Pop/Soul-driven as Beautiful– there is so much beauty and tenderness in the song. An aching and exceptional lead performance gets inside the heart and elicits something wonderful. Inside a song that has doubts and strains: there is that desire to change things and become positive; Lánre never wallows and basks in defeat. Strength, persistence and hope go into the track: one of the finest and most memorable songs to date.

Human (E.P.) contains a little bit of her previous work but shows new confidence and inspiration. The messages seem deeper and sharper: there is more soul, philosophy, and direction; the most impressive and resonant set of words Lánre has created. The vocal performances are at a predictable high: never has she sounded as meaningful, beautiful and compelling. Those who are unfamiliar with Lánre’s work need to start from the beginning and see where she began. You can see that transformation and evolution unfold: how each song (as time elapses) takes in new direction and confidence. It is that strength and authority that defines Human. The entire E.P. overflows with quotable moments and gorgeous melodies; stunning performances and rich, rewarding songs. By the end, you are a more educated and better human. The songs’ themes and lyrics teach us valuable listens and provide a glimpse into a gorgeous musician. I know Lánre will be planning new music for the next year: following on from Human; there is likely to be new music down the road.

I opened this review by stating how late I was to Lánre’s party- many reviewers have already written about Human’s title track. Given scheduling conflicts and a one-man army approach- just one boy a laptop- it is only today I have had chance to write about the song. That said, the momentum is strong and the song is gaining fresh appreciation- every week, people are realising what a wonderful thing it is. Evocative, dramatic electronics open Human. “Over and over again” are early words that pertain to mistake-making and poor decisions. Our heroine- normally campaigning positive, life-changing messages- is in more heartfelt and haunted mood. If talking about love and bad relationship decisions: a pattern is unfolding that she cannot get out of. The composition is sparse and bare-naked: it allows the vocal to stand tall and tell the story. Injecting a huge amount of drama and urgency into the voice: Lánre is seeking answers and trying to change things. Perfect lies and deceit are subjects few would be able to present in a positive and hopeful light. Lánre’s knows we are all broken so light can come in: every bad day will lead to good; better things will arrive. Holding onto a story “that never was”: there is that sense of fairytale romance and something false. Always hard on herself and self-critical: maybe she has high expectations for a relationship; thought it would grow into something long-lasting and spectacular. Whether speaking directly about a lover- or a way or life she has pined for- there are no accusations and anger- just self-reflecting words and maturity.

Most love songs- that deal with break-ups- have a kleptoparasitism approach: a scorned lover jabbing at the ex- not letting it go and taking bits of them. Our heroine is a stronger and more hopeful human. She is not getting bogged down in vitriol and depressive anxiety. Seeing the bright side of disappointment- mistakes and heartbreak allow us to grow and learn- is not something we see often. It is not just that central vocal that gets to you. Backing it up is a gospel- almost choir-like- shiver that adds electricity and mysticism to the song. Once more, the composition takes a back seat to the majestic and hypotonic pull of the voice. Lánre is one of the most astonishing and bold voices in modern music: this is exploited and perfectly represented throughout Human. This central message- being broken so light can come in- leads to the song’s most full-bodied and explosive point. Before you know it, the composition charges in and the song kicks up a gear. “Let there be light!” is delivered with effusiveness and purpose: a coda that becomes more scintillating and strong with each delivery. The vocals rise and the strings race; everything becomes a lot more charged and heady. Caught in the spell: the listener cannot help but smile and move along with the song. Wordless vocal coos and bubbling electronic undertones sit with hand-clap percussion- a perfect combination that emphasises the vocal and adds so many different colours. There are few singers that can keep you hooked and awed from start to finish. So many love songs have a dolorous and predictable sound; the lyrics are often claustrophobic and tormented- the overall experience is unrewarding and harsh. What Lánre does is opens her heart- expressing her pain and confusion- but does not let things get her down.

She has mourned and questioned herself: been through the emotional mill and is not bitter. Whether enforced by her family heritage or religion: Human encourages positive messages and seeing things from a different side. We may feel splits and disappointments will lead to bad things: from the cracks and darkness; light can come in and create better things. It is wonderful hearing a songwriter that has that healthy approach to life- not wallowing in misery and accusing others. Lifted by an exceptional production sound- it has a great, raw live sound to it- Human is the perfect distillation of Lánre’s many talents. A song that defines the E.P. – and what she is about as a human- it will be stuck in your head for days. If you are not blown away by the strength of the vocal- might want your ears syringed- the positivity and redemptive messages will surely get to you. By the end of the track, you cannot resist but smile, reflect and bask. Human leaves a wonderful aftertaste and ensures you will go back time again- if only to hear that immense closing vocal. Whoever has motivated the song’s creation- maybe a past love or current friend- they cannot weight our heroine down. From a harsh and unpleasant situation, she has managed to create something truly wonderful. Taking in elements of ‘70s Soul and ‘80s Folk- together with some contemporary Soul- Human is a deeply affecting song that signals the arrival of an immense talent.

In the next few weeks, Lánre will be playing across London- including a couple of appearances at Omnibus Unplugged Sessions– and the opportunity for you to hear Human. The reception garnered so far has been positive and praise-filled. Commentators have noted the depth, nuance and vividness of the songs: the detail and emotions that are portrayed; all made golden by Lánre’s sensational voice. Lánre is someone who wants to inspire other people and make the world a better place- offering motivational words to her social media followers. This beauty, thoughtfulness, and humanitarianism can be found throughout Human. The finger-picking arpeggio of My Soul frames Lánre’s fiery and intense voice: one of the strongest vocals on the E.P. Her soul will not be broken and defeated: she has run in the past; escaped pain and life; she is fighting strong and defiant. The band comes together in one of the most magical and spiritual performances across Human. Our heroine battles against silence- she will speak and have her voice heard- and there is a wonderful choral effect. The song is almost like a religious sermon: something that has great spirituality and etherealness; wisdom and guidance. Fire and Dreams have a similar quality and immediacy to them. Allowing that sensual, powerful voice to climb, stir and motivate: you cannot listen to the tracks and casually shrug them off. Every note and vocal have meaning, depth and purpose: whether documenting an important message or unearthing soulful confessions; you become involved in the song and immersed.

After listening to Human, I was instantly revisiting it and replaying the songs. Human and My Soul are the most-played and mentioned: Fire and Dreams are two of the most beautiful songs. Within the four-track E.P. there is so much variety and scenery. Songs tackle myriad themes and give us a glimpse into Lánre’s soul. By the end, you almost want more: maybe another couple of tracks to keep the appetite satisfied? The mark of any great artist is one who can leave the audience satisfied but wanting more- hopefully, we will hear more material in the next year or so? Until then, the London-based musician is getting her sounds to the crowds: every live performance leaves it mark and established her as one of the most treasured artists in this country. It is that humanitarian, love-filled personality that gets to people. Every review I read- of the live performance she gives- remarks how personable and friendly she is. “Will you light a fire for me?” goes Fire: a sentiment that seems ironic and pertinent. Lánre has lit a fire in the music scene- apologies for being a bit cringey- and has set many hearts ablaze. Few musicians are as giving and motivational as Lánre. Every week: her social media feed offer sage words and positive vibes; a sincere love of her followers and life in general.

Music is often defined by a negativity and insularity. Too many songs recall broken love and strains: hurt and heartache are popular commodities; the strains and woes of musicians. When it comes to Lánre; there is no such slight: an artist that wants to bring light, passion and positivity to the world. That is to be commended and congratulated. Not only does this attitude compel others to be better and think about the wider world- new musicians will hear these words and change their way of working. We need more acts like Lánre to make the music world- and life in general- a more love-filled and better place. Human’s title track is something I felt I NEEDED to review: a song that showcases one of our most unique and beautiful artists. Dig deeper- and hear the entire E.P.- and you hear the many sides to Lánre. The kind-hearted poet and African queen: a soulful singer who brings elements of Tracy Chapman together with something modern and current. London is becoming more popular for young musicians. There are opportunities and audiences waiting: plenty of places one can perform and experiment; masses of fellow musicians and a wonderful scene. I can see the lure- and am looking to move there soon- as the city provides so many different styles, sounds, and musicians. Inside the capital, there is a growing Folk and Soul scene. No longer (are the genres) predictable and underground: they are evolving and different from the past; we should dispense with misconceptions and cliché opinions. Folk, to some people, is defined by the gentle strummer at one with nature: a tender, if unspectacular, style that is too gentle and slight to appeal.

To many, Soul is seen as something that peaked in the ‘70s and ‘80s- a genre that has few modern treasures. You would be wrong on both fronts. You only need to tune into a credible radio station- away from the chart-obsessed options- to hear how many wonderful artists play these genres. I mentioned the likes of Amy Winehouse and Laura Marling: two names that have made a huge impact on music. Lánre is a musician that adds authority, beauty and originality to the genres. Her African heritage has taught her some important values. That love of the world (and her fellow man) go into the music: her songs have such a warmth, embrace, and positivity. Even when the lyrics reflect something pained and sad: you always get a redemptive undertone and that desire to overcome negativity; change things and return to a happier place. The beautiful musician posed- on the track, Fire– whether a fire would be lit for her. She has already lit one in the music industry; one that…

IS burning with the intensity of a thousand suns.

 

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