Tag: Blur

New Video: Bat For Lashes Release a Cinematic and Wistful Visual for “Kids in the Dark”

Natasha Khan is a Brighton, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, best known as the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed solo recording project Bat For Lashes — and for being the vocalist for Sexwitch, a collaboration with the members of British psych rock act TOY and producer Dan Carey. Born to an English mother, Josie and Pakistani squash player Rehmat Khan, Natasha Khan traces some of the influences of her musical career to attending her father’s and her uncle’s Jahangir’s squash matches, which she felt inspired her creativity: “The roar of the crowd is intense; it is ceremonial, ritualistic, I feel like the banner got passed to me but I carried it on in a creative way. It is a similar thing, the need to thrive on heightened communal experience.” Her father left when she was 11, and she taught herself to play the piano, which quickly became an important channel to express things, to get them out.

Khan’s debut single “The Wizard” was released digitally through Drowned in Sound Records and on seven-inch vinyl through her own imprint, She Bear Records — and by 2006, she caught the attention of Echo Label, a record label owned by Chrysalis Records that acted as an incubator for emerging artists and assisting their careers while moving them to major labels. Echo released her debut, 2006’s Fur and Gold. The following year, Khan and Echo signed an international licensing deal with Parlophone Records, who re-released Fur and Gold that year. The album reached #48 on the UK Albums Charts and since its release, it’s been certified gold. Building upon a growing profile, the British singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer played at Glastonbury Festival and toured across the States. The album was shortlisted for that year’s Mercury Prize, losing to Klaxons’ Myths of the Near Future, despite being a named a heavy favorite to win — and being critically applauded. She won ASCAP’s Vanguard Award, which resulted in her performing at their “ASCAP Presents . .  .” SXSW showcase. 

2008 continued an incredible run by the British singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist as she was notated for two Brit Awards — British Breakthrough Act and British Female Solo Artist. She opened handful of dates for Radiohead, and she released a cover of The Cure’s “A Forest,” which appeared on the Perfect as Cats charity album. 

Khan’s sophomore album, 2009’s David Kosten and Khan-produced Two Suns was inspired by a trip she took to Joshua Tree, CA. The album focuses on her desert-born alter ego Pearl, whose personality she adopted while living in New York. Sonically, the material was inspired by the Brooklyn bands that had started to receive attention nationally and internationally at the time — in particularly, TV on the Radio, MGMT, Gang Gang Dance and others. Interestingly, the album also found her collaborating with the members of Yeasayer, who contributed bass and beat programming. The album debuted at #5 on the UK Albums Chart and has since been certified gold as a result of “Daniel,” which peaked at #36 on the UK Singles Chart. “Daniel” later won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song and was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Breakthrough Video of the Year. Additionally, Khan received her second Mercury Prize nomination and a second BRIT Award nomination for British Female Solo Artist. 

Summer 2009 saw her play at Glastonbury Festival, Somerset House and the iTunes Festival, which was followed by a special edition of Two Suns, which was released ahead of her October UK tour an included a cover of Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody.” 

Khan’s third Bat for Lashes album, 2012’s The Haunted Man debuted at #6 on the UK Albums Chart, her second consecutive Top 10 album, an effort that has since been certified silver. Khan was nominated for her third Best British Solo Female BRIT Award and was nominated for two Ivor Novello Awards — Best Song Musically and Best Song Lyrically for album single “Laura.” That year saw her play at Coachella Festival. She also opened for Blur and Depeche Mode. 

During a surprise 2015 Green Man Festival set in Wales, Khan debuted her collaboration with Dan Carey and TOY — Sexwitch. That September, the project released its self-titled debut through Echo and BMG, which featured six covers of 1970s psych and folk from different parts of the world. 

2016 saw the release of her fourth full-length album The Bride, an album that was nominated for the Mercury Prize. 

Slated for a September 6, 2019 release through AWAL Recordings, Khan’s forthcoming album Lost Girls continues a run of concept albums in which she creates an off-kilter coming of age film in which fans of marauding female biker gangs roam the streets — and teenagers make out on car hoods. The women characters are parallel to the protagonists of her previously released albums — particularly, the street tough, darkness-driven Pearl from Two Suns. In this case, the album’s main character is Nikki Pink, one of the album’s Lost Girls. Thematically, the album is a romantic album that pays homage to Los Angeles, being a child of the 80s, and to the films that touched and changed her life. 

Sonically, the album finds Khan mixing sounds she’s always loved — heavy bass line, synth arpeggios, Iranian pop beats and cascading choruses. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Kids in the Dark,” is a hazy bit of 80s inspired synth pop centered around shimmering synths, reverb-drenched blasts of guitar, a soaring hook, stuttering beats and Khan’s ethereal vocals, and interestingly enough, the track bears an uncanny resemblance to JOVM mainstay ACES, as it possesses an achingly wistful air. 

Directed by Natasha Khan, the recently released video for “Kids in the Dark” was shot against the Los Angeles hills with the eerie and gorgeous waning of dusk casting shadows — and it emphasizes the song’s wistful air, as it features the Lost Girls and two star-crossed lovers. The video hints at how its protagonist Nikki Pink became a Lost Girl. 

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Lyric Video: Portland’s Hemmit Captures Youthful Passion in “Friends”

Keith Fleming is a Portland, OR-based multi-instrumentalist, producer and singer/songwriter, who as a drummer, has had stints touring and recording with The Jonny Cohen Love Machine, John Stabb’s Weatherhead and and others, and for being one-half of highly acclaimed indie rock duo Hemmit, with his longtime collaborator, producer, engineer, songwriter and highly sought-after guitarist Adam Rohosy. Interestingly, Hemmit has had their music featured on MTV, Surfline, Bike TV and have received radio airplay from a number of radio stations across the world; in fact, their fifth album Straight Outta Nowhere saw heavy college radio airplay and attention from critics and fans. 

With the six-song EP One Ultra, the long-awaited follow up to their buzz worthy fifth, full-length album, Hemmit has become a solo recording project featuring Keith Fleming, and the EP reportedly consists of indie rock and guitar pop that blends elements of lo-fi garage rock, power pop and 80s synth rock, largely influenced by Ty Segall, Best Coast, Guided by Voices and Sloan; however, the EP’s first single “Friends” sounds as though Fleming was drawing from 90s alt rock — in particular My Vitriol, Blur, Foo Fighters and others, as the song is centered around enormous power chords, a guitar pyrotechnic-fueled solo, thunderous drumming and a rousingly anthemic, arena rock friendly hook. And while swaggering and self-assured, the song is a breakneck, swooning, “you-were-there”-like recollection of youth and youthful passions 

The recently released lyric video for “Friends” is essentially a time capsule, featuring found footage of young people over the course of the past 30 years or so, being young and seemingly carefree. 

With last year’s release of their debut single “TrafficLightCyclopsDisco” and their self-titled debut EP, the Manchester, UK-based indie rock trio New Luna, comprised of Tommy Deedigan, Zack Bamber and Toby Duncan, have quickly developed a reputation as being a staple of their hometown’s indie rock/alternative scene while drawing comparisons to Radiohead, Bombay Bicycle Club and The Twilight Sad. Adding to a growing profile,  the Manchester-based trio have opened for the likes of Happiness, Bruising, PLAZA, Trudy and the Romance, as well as played sets at a DIY Magazine showcase, YNOT?, ArcTanGent, Truck and Great Escape Festivals. However, with their latest single, “Opinionated,” the British trio’s sound reminds me a bit of My Vitriol and Blur, thanks to layers of distortion-filled, buzzing power chords, thundering drumming and a rousingly anthemic, mosh-pit friendly hook within a quiet, loud, quiet song structure. And while clearly being inspired by 90s alt rock, the song possesses what may be the most direct social statement they’ve released to date — openly suggesting as the old adage says that opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one, and they’re usually shitty.

 

 

 

Comprised of Tom Barr (vocals, guitar), Lachlan Banner (drums), Matt Pownall (guitar, vocals) and Stanley Braddock (bass, vocals), the Leeds, UK-based quartet Party Hardy can trace their origins to when the band’s founder Tom Barr came up with the idea of the band at his house with his buddies Banner, Pownall and Braddock las year. And within their first year together as a band, the British quartet have quickly developed, refined and developed a sound that locals have dubbed as “Blur meets surf rock with a bit of Beach Boys shoved up its arse.” Along with that, the band has also developed a growing reputation for their live set, as they’ve opened for the likes of Trudy & The Romance, Mouses, Bruising, Diet Cig, Cowtown, INHEAVEN and The Magic Gang, among others.

2017 has been a big year for the band as they’ve released two attention grabbing singles “Friendly Feeling” and “Jobs,” which have quickly helped add the band to a growing list of Leeds-based bands receiving attention across the blogosphere, and with the release of their third and latest single of the year, “Mindchanger,” you’ll see why, as the band specializes in walking the tightrope between dreamy and shimmering guitar pop and explosive, power chord-based, anthemic rock, complete with a shout worthy, mosh pit friendly chorus.  Interestingly, as the band explains in press notes “‘Mindchanger’ is an ode to the experiences felt by the parents of the youth of yesterday, Played out through the perspective of a parent struggling with the difficult nature of an anxty (sic) teen, the song takes the listener through a journey of their own personal past, with a new meaning easily discovered upon each listen.”

 

 

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New Video: Gorillaz Collaborates with Peven Everett on Their Most House Music-Inspired Track in Years

Created by Blur frontman and founding member Damon Albarn and renowned comic book artist Jamie Hewlett, Gorillaz is a virtual band, featuring animated characters 2D (vocals), Murdoc Niccals (bass), Noodle (guitar) and Russel Hobbs (guitar) that exploded into with the international scene with the 2001 release of their eponymous debut. The BRIT and Grammy Award-winnng act has since released three critically applauded and commercially successful albums — 2005’s Demon Days, 2010’s Plastic Beach and 2011’s The Fall and with each of their four previously released albums the act has topped charts around the world, receiving millions of streams, selling millions of copies and playing arenas, clubs and festivals from San Diego to Syria. Along with that the act has won the Jim Henson Creativity Honor and have been recognized by The Guinness Book of World Records as the planet’s Most Successful Virtual Act. 

Humanz, the virtual act’s fifth and latest album was released to critical applause last month and the album has continued the band’s incredible run of commercial successes with the album landing at number 1 and number 2 on the US and UK charts respectively, as well as topping the iTunes chart in over 60 different countries. Produced by Gorillaz, The Twilite Tone of D /\ P and Remi Kabaka, the album was recorded in studios in London, Paris, New York, Chicago and Jamaica and has the members of the virtual band — er, Damon Albarn and company — collaborating with an eclectic and accomplished array of contemporary artists including Savages’ Jehnny Beth, Danny Brown, Benjamin Clementine, De La Soul, D.R.A.M., Anthony Hamilton, Grace Jones (!!!), Zebra Katz, Mavis Staples (!!!), Vince Staples, Popcaan, Pusha T., Peven Everett and others. 

Humanz’s latest single “Strobelite” features the members of Gorillaz collaborating with Harvey, IL-born, Chicago, IL-based multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Peven Everett, an artist whose work has spanned across R&B, jazz, hip-hop and house music.  The Harvey, IL-born, Chicago-based artist received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music when he was 17 before leaving to collaborate with the likes of Betty Carter, Branford Marsalis and Wynton Marsalis. Since then Everett has contributed trumpet on a handful of jazz recordings, including Curtis Lundy’s Against All Odds while becoming a leading figure in Chicago’s house, soul and R&B communities, releasing seven solo albums. And perhaps unsurprisingly, Gorillaz collaboration with Everett is the most dance floor-friendly track they’ve released in several years — since, perhaps “Dare” off Demon Days, as the album’s  latest single features Everett’s soulful crooning singing uplifting lyrics over a club banging, Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles-era house music production featuring cosmic ray-like synths, twinkling keys and dance floor-friendly beats; it’s frankly the sort of song that’s so uplifting that you’d have to dance and smile — and if you didn’t there was something deeply wrong about you. 

Directed by Stoke, UK-native Raoul Skinbeck, the recently released video for “Strobelite” features Peven Everett with the members of Gorillaz and a multicultural cast of clubgoers tearing up a London nightclub and if there’s one thing that the video confirms in an increasingly unsettled and frightening world that it’s the things that remind us of our humanity that unite us — that music has the power to let us escape for a little bit, to have us fall in love, and to remind us of who and what we are; and that there’s freedom on the dance floor. 

With the release of the attention grabbing single “Rose Coloured Glasses” off their debut EP, Melbourne, Australia-based indie rock quintet Smoke Rings saw a rapidly growing national profile, thanks to airplay and praise from Triple J‘s Richard Kingsmill and Dom Alessio, along with airplay on Triple J’s sister station Double J and community radio stations. Adding to a growing profile, the band has played shows with a number of nationally recognized bands in their homeland including Northeast Party HouseMoses Gunn Collective, Green Buzzard, Jarrow and Good Boy — and they have upcoming tour dates with Siamese and Ali Barter throughout September and October.

 

Produced by Malcolm Besley, who has worked with City Calm Down and The Creases, the Aussie quintet’s latest single “Happiness” off their double A side 7 inch “Go To Hell” will further cement their reputation in Oz for crating anthemic, power chord-based, Brit Pop-inspired tunes, complete with the same sort of swaggering bombast and bitter irony.  And while being warmly familiar — the track will remind some folks of Blur, Oasis and others — the Melbourne-based quintet have a subtle yet unique take to it, as the song carries an earnest yearning within its core.

 

Comprised of siblings Tim (guitar, vocals) and Lewis Lloyd-Kinnings (bass, keys, vocals) and their best friend and spiritual brother, Cameron Gipp (guitar, vocals), the Brighton, UK/London, UK/York, UK-based indie rock trio  Johnny Kills specialize in a furious, surf rock, garage rock and Brit Pop-inspired indie rock. And with the release of two demos — “Take It Easy” and “Maybe Next Year,” the trio quickly received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere; in fact, as a result, the trio along with North London-based Fin S. Woolfson (drums), the band recored their latest single “Let’s Talk About Me,” a single which will further develop the young upstarts reputation for crafting songs about being in your early to mid 20s and being absolutely clueless and anxious — about anything and everything. And although it’s been almost two decades since I was in my early 20s, the band’s sound reminds me quite a bit of Blur and others, as it consists of explosive power chords paired with propulsive drumming, and an anthemic, shout worthy hook reminiscent of Blur‘s “Song 2.

As the band’s Tim Lloyd-Kinnings explains “‘Let’s Talk About Me’ is about the frustrations of hanging out with people, who spend the whole evening talking about themselves, before realizing you kinda just want to talk about yourself too.” As a result, the song’s narrator recognizes that he’s had enough and wants to put his foot down; but he also seems to reveal a stunning lack of awareness of the fact that his friends are selfish, hateful pricks. But regardless of how far some of us are removed from our 20s, the song captures a sentiment that should be familiar, especially if at any point you may have been desperate for some kind of friendship/companionship.

 

Founded by Captured Tracks‘ label head and founder Mike Sniper, Omnian Music Group is a label group, whose goal is to further develop and strengthen its pre-existing imprints (Body Double Records, Fantasy Memory Records and Squirrel Thing Recordings) and partnerships (with New Zealand’s Flying Nun Records) of Captured Tracks, while seeking out innovative labels, who would benefit from the larger Omnian Music Group structure to partner with, and creating new and distinct labels. Since its formation, Omnian has also partnered with Australia’s Dot Dash Records, New York’s Sing Sing Records, and created three new labels — Sinderlyn, 2MR Records, a dance music label founded by Italians Do It Better‘s Mike Simonetta and Captured Tracks’ Sniper, and Manufactured Recordings, a label that specializes in re-issues across a wide variety of genres.

Manufactured Recordings has developed a Shoegaze Archive Series, a re-issue series that focuses on under-appreciated and/or overlooked shoegaze and noise rock bands. On May 19, 2017 the re-issue arm of Omnian Music Group will be releasing re-issues of three largely overlooked shoegazer rock bands of the 90s — Alison’s Halo’s 1998 release Eyedazzler, a compilation of singles that the band wrote between 1992 and 1996; KG’s Come Closer, We’re Cool, a compilation featuring early tracks, unreleased material and material from a shelved Slumberland Records effort; and lastly, Bethany Curve’s mid 1990s debut, Mee-Eaux.

Originally formed by the husband and wife duo Catherine Cooper (vocals, guitar) and Adam Cooper (guitar) along with Lynn Anderson (bass), the Tempe, AZ-based shoegazer trio Alison’s Halo derived their name from the name that had given their drum machine — Alison. As The Big Takeover‘s Jack Rabid noted “Alison’s Halo trafficked in spectacular, effects-laden, ethereal guitar majesties, but were distinguished by Catherine’s lovely vocals as their six-string melanges.” And as a result, the band found themselves opening for internationally known acts including Ultra Vivid Scene, Curve, The Verve, The Boo Radleys, Bailter Space, and Stereophonics, and played at several music festivals including SXSW and CMJ. As a trio, the band recorded two demo cassettes Slug and Halo, but before the recording sessions for their debut single “Dozen,” the band recruited Thomas Lanser (drums), expanding the band to a quartet; however, before the release of 1998’s debut effort, Eyedazzler 1992-1996, a compilation of singles written and recorded between 1992 and 1996 the band went through several lineup changes. After the band’s breakup in the late 90s, the members of the band went on to other creative pursuits — for several years the duo of Catherine Cooper and Adam Cooper spent several years writing and recording Burt Bacharach-inspired pop under a number of names, and Adam Cooper has also released a solo album of ambient music. In 2009, the Coopers resurrected Alison’s Halo and released several digital compilations of old material through their website, including three live albums and the The Jetpacks for Julian demos EP, and “Dozen,” the band’s debut single was included in 2016’s Still in a Dream: A Story of Shoegaze 1988-1995 box set compilation. They also released a digital 7 inch “Some Heaven”/”The Hardest Part” from the Eyedazzler demos.

Naturally, it shouldn’t be surprising that “Dozen” is the first single off the Eyedazzler re-issue and the single should immediately bring memories of 120 Minutes-era MTV as the rousingly anthemic yet dreamy song features Catherine Cooper’s ethereal vocals floating over shimmering power chords and a propulsive rhythm section consisting of thundering drumming and a gently throbbing bass line. Interestingly, while clearly sounding of its time, being reminiscent of A Storm in Heaven and A Northern Soul-era The Verve and My Bloody Valentine, the band’s sound also nods at contemporaries like Overlake and others.

 

Deriving their name from street sign, near the cliffs of Monterrey Bay, the Santa Cruz, CA-based space rock/shogeazer trio Bethany Curve — comprised of Richard Millang (vocals, guitar), Nathan Guevara (guitar) and David Mac Wha (drums) — are part of a second, somewhat more American-leaning wave of shoegaze and noise rock, forming in 1994, around the same time time that a number of the British shoegazer pioneers including Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Lush and others had split up. The band has developed a reputation for crating dark, moody space rock-leaning shoegaze full of shimmering guitar chords led through tons of delay pedal and throbbing, tweeter and woofer rocking bass — or as they’ve dubbed their approach “Atmosphere | Arrangement | Sound | Layering | Noise,” which they’ve used on the band’s four full-length releases, 1994’s Mee-Eaux, 1996’s Skies Crossed a Sky, 1998’s Gold and 2001’s You Brought Us Here and their 2013 EP Flaxen. Along with that, the band released a cover of Cocteau Twins‘ “Ivo,” which appeared on Dewdrop Records’ 2002 compilation Half Gifts: A Tribute To The Cocteau Twins. And much like Alison’s Halo’s “Dozen,” “Mey Voy,” Mee-Eaux‘s final track was also featured on 2016’s Still In A Dream: A Story Of Shoegaze 1988-1995 box set compilation.

For Manufactured Recordings reissue of Mee-Eaux, the first single is the slow-burning, brooding and cosmic instrumental “Out of the Curve” which features a dreamy and shimmering guitar melody paired with propulsive drumming and droning vocals — and while being atmospheric and ethereal, the song possesses a forceful, enveloping character.

 

Initially started as a bedroom-based solo recording project of the Mulhouse, France-born, Strasbourg, France-based multi-instrumentalist Remy Bux in 1988, the project involved Bux’s early experimentation with a two-track recorder, a rigged synthesizer and a great deal of ingenuity. Eventually purchasing a four-track recorder, Bux took writing and recording much more seriously. And after a 1991 relocation to Strasbourg, where he studied musicology, Bux recorded the KG debut 7 inch featuring a full band at Downtown Studio in 1993. The same lineup followed that up with a 1996 single co-released by Lo-Fi Records and Orgasm Records — and their Manufactured Recordings re-issue, Come Closer, We’re Cool is a compilation of their early singles, and tracks from a shelved Slumberland Records full-length effort. Interestingly their output has been compared to Isn’t Anything-era My Bloody Valentine and Psychocandy-era The Jesus and Mary Chain but with the immediacy and minimalism of punk, and as you’ll hear on “Love Me Forever,” an anthemic track that features a quiet, loud, quiet structure in which strummed acoustic guitar is paired with blistering power chords. And while clearly nodding at The Jesus and Mary Chain, the song also reminds me of early Blur.

Comprised of brothers Martin (vocals, guitar) and Mads Rehof (bass), along with high school friends Jacob van Deurs Formann (guitar) and Frederik Lind Köppen (drums), the Copenhagen, Denmark-based quartet Communions can trace their origins to when the Rehof Brothers returned to their native Copenhagen after spending several years in Seattle. The Danish quartet initially received attention across the blogosphere, including the site where they’ve become mainstays, for crafting shimmering and plaintive guitar pop songs that sonically owed a debt to The Smiths; however, instead of the material possessing Morrissey’s bitterly ironic lyrics, the Danish quartet’s material possesses a swooning Romanticism — the sort evoke the urgency of first love.

The Copenhagen-based quartet’s much-anticipated full-length debut Blue is slated for a February 3, 2017 release through renowned indie label, Fat Possum Records and from the album’s latest single “It’s Like Air” reveals a band whose songwriting and sound has evolved, while retaining many of the elements that first won the band attention across the blogosphere as the band pairs the swaggering, enormous power chord and anthemic hook sound of 90s Brit Pop — i.e., The Verve, Blur, Oasis and others — with swooning and urgently Romantic lyrics. And although the song will further cement their reputation for writing material that evokes the fervent passions and confusion of youth, the heart and soul of the song, as well as the entire album is about the fact that both life and love are ultimately about taking a leap of faith, even when you may be scared out of your mind about the end result.