Tag: Bristol UK

New Audio: Exploded View Return with a Fatalistic Ode to the Environment

Initially spending the early part of her professional career as a political journalist, who split her time between Berlin and Bristol, UK, Annika Henderson, best known as Anika can trace the origins of her musical career to a particular moment —  when she was introduced to Portishead’s Geoff Barrow. As the story goes, at the time, Barrow was looking for a vocalist, who would be willing to work with his band Beak> for what he envisioned as a side project. Reportedly, when Barrow and Henderson first met, they immediately bonded over a mutual love of punk, dub and 60s girls group. And within a week of their meeting, Barrow, Henderson and the members of Beak> went into the studio to record the material which would eventually comprise Henderson’s 2010 self-titled full-length debut.

2013 saw the release of Henderson’s self-titled EP, a collection of covers and remixes that included one of my favorite songs off the set, Henderson’s cover of Chromatics’ “In the City,” which paired Henderson’s icy delivery with a Portishead and The Velvet Underground and Nico-inspired production. Last year, Geoff Barrow’s Invada Records, released an icily foreboding, dub-inspired cover of Nena’s “99 Red Balloons” by the mysterious Invada All Stars featuring Anika on vocals as part of the  Stop Trident National anti-nukes demonstration in London.

Since then, Henderson has been busy with her most current musical project, Exploded View is collaborative side project fronted by the renowned vocalist and featuring a group of Mexico City-based producers including Martin Thulin, known for his work with JOVM mainstays Crocodiles; Hugo Quezada and Amon Melgarejo — and the project’s sound finds Henderson and company moving away from the krautrock-inspired sound of her solo work, and towards a seemingly fuzzily atmospheric and baroque-like psych pop.  After completing the material that would comprise the band’s self-titled debut album, the members of the band decided to return to the studio and record some more, with the result being the Summer Came Early EP. Comprised of some outtakes from the self-titled album, along with some new material, their follow-up EP reportedly finds the band crafting sons that carefully walk a tightrope between clarity and focus and a messy, free-flowing experimentalism that comes from improvisation.

Interestingly, EP title track “Summer Came Early” may arguably be one of the most delicate and bitterly wistful songs that the band has released to date — while thematically, the song is written as a post-permanent climate change ode to how the environment once was, with the caveat that no one questioned anything and no one did anything besides lazily sat down and gave up. And when the proverbial shit hit the fan, the only action that was left  was to point fingers at someone else. It’s a bit reminiscent of the famous T.S. Eliot poem isn’t it?

Directed by William Markarian-Martin is an eerily psychedelic vision of the hellish and permanent damage that humanity has done to the environment, and while wistful it possesses an eerie fatalism and acceptance.

 

New Audio: Andrew Hung Returns with a Plaintive Ode to Pushing Buttons to Get What You Want

Perhaps best known as one-half of renowned electronic music duo Fuck Buttons with Benjamin John Power, Worcester, UK-born, Bristol UK-based electronic music artist, multi-instrumentalist and producer Andrew Hung much like his bandmate has focused on a number of various side projects including  Dawn Hunger, a band he founded with Clarie Inglis (vocals) and musician Matthew de Pulford, production work, co-producing   Beth Orton‘s Kidsticks, as well as releasing solo material with his debut EP, Rave Cave. 

Now, as you may recall, Hung’s full-length debut Realisationship is slated for an October 6, 2017 release through Lex Records and album track “Animal,” found Hung exploring a more organic, lo-fi-like sound featuring a gorgeous and lush string arrangement, buzzing power chords, hard-hitting electronic beats and slashing synths paired with Hung’s primal, punk rock howling.  As Hung explains in press notes “Animal is a warning that oppression brings about consequences; we have bred fear and now we are reaping its effects. We cannot address the external without first addressing the internal.”

Interestingly, “Elbow,” Realisationship’s latest single may arguably be one of the more personal songs on the album, as it’s influenced by an experience Hung had as a small child. As the Worcester-born, Bristol-based electronic music artist, multi-instrumentalist explains in press notes, “Once when I was a small child and wanted to get a fake nose-ring from this shitty shopping-centre stall in Kidderminster but being young, I was really afraid of buying it. Consequently I stood there for a long while trying to pluck up the courage to get said fake nose-ring before the woman came out from behind the stall and told me to fuck off. I went home crying . . . ‘ Elbow’ is about pushing buttons. As for the stall, when my sister found out, she took me back and gave the woman a right bollocking.” 

Sonically speaking the song consists of a mischievous and almost childlike production featuring layers of twisting, turning and twinkling synths, swaggering, hip-hop-like drum patterns,  trippy blasts of guitar and swirling electronics paired with Hung’s plaintive and yearning vocals to simultaneously express the frustration, fears and humiliation of youth — well, of life, generally. But sometimes, you have to break out of your shell and take a ridiculous risk for the things that you really want in life, and the song serves as a reminder of that. 

 

Born Adrian Nicholas Matthews Thaws in Bristol, UK and currently based in Berlin, Germany, the British-born, German-based emcee, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer Tricky is arguably one of the most influential and important artists of trip-hop  — both as a member of the genre’s pioneering act Massive Attack and as a solo artist, who has also collaborated with a diverse array of artists, including Terry Hall, Bjork, Gravediggaz, Grace Jones, Live’s Ed Kowalczyk, PJ Harvey, and others. And throughout his career, both as a member of Massive Attack and as a solo artist, the British-born, German-based emcee, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer has a long-held reputation for being difficult to pigeonhole as his work and aesthetic draws from American and British hip-hop, rock, dub, reggae, punk rock, New Wave and ambient electronica while blurring the lines between each genre and style in an unrecognizable fashion.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you may recall that I had written a bit about Tricky’s musical project, Skilled Mechanics, a project that he started almost as soon as he relocated to Berlin. And while in a conventional sense, whenever a renowned solo artist would form a band it was largely considered a sign that the artist was sick of the spotlight and desperate to fade into something much larger than themselves, Tricky’s motivations for the project was the opposite — with the idea that Tricky would take more of a leading role with a series of rotating collaborators and friends.

 

Unsurprisingly, the renowned artist and producer has also managed to work on and release solo material, including the critically applauded single “The Only Way,” which managed to be a subtle change in sonic direction with the original version nodding towards the lush, cabaret crooner sound of  Edith Piaf. He then recently, a stopped down mix of the song that emphasized the loneliness and ache at the core of the song; but along with that, Tricky had been working on the material, which would comprise his forthcoming album ununiform. Slated for a September 22, 2017 through False Idols Records/!K7 Records, the renowned trip-hop artist and producer’s 13th album reportedly finds his material reflecting a larger and perhaps more radical step forward — towards happiness and contentment, while he confront his own artistic legacy, his own family and even death.  The album’s latest single “Running Wild” features  Mina Rose’s husky yet soulful vocals singing over a moody yet lush production featuring strummed guitar, shimming strings, stuttering drum programming — but underneath the surface is plaintive and visceral longing that hasn’t been revealed to this extent in his previously released work.

 

 

 

 

 

New Audio: Fuck Buttons’ Andrew Hung Releases a Primal New Single

Worcester, UK-born, Bristol UK-based electronic music artist, multi-instrumentalist and producer Andrew Hung is arguably best known for being one half of renowned electronic music duo Fuck Buttons with Benjamin John Power, an act that can trace its origins to when Hung and Power began collaborating together to create a soundtrack to a film that Hung had made but immediately after forming Hung and Power had started playing live whenever possible and soon began gathering a cult following for a sound that employed the use of a variety of instruments including Casiotone keyboards and children’s toys such as a Fisher-Price karaoke machine — and the result was a live sound that Time Out Magazine once described as an “adrenaline pumping, ear purging slab of towering, pristine noise.”

Their limited edition 7″ single “Bright Tomorrow” was released to critical praise from the likes of Drowned in Sound, Pitchfork, Mojo and Stereogum, and building upon growing buzz, Hung and Power played critically applauded live sets at 2007’s Supersonic Festival, Truck Festival and Portishead’s curated ATP Festival; in fact, after those sets, a number of media outlets named them as a Hot New artist for 2008 with outlets like The Observer calling their sound “a joyous racket of swirling atmospherics and percussive gunfire,” in an article highlighting them in a new, contemporary wave of intelligent, literate British pop music.  Since then the duo released three critically applauded full-length albums — 2008’s Street Horsing, 2009’s Tarot Sport and 2013’s Slow Tarot; however, over the past few years the duo have focused on various side projects and production work: Hung started a band Dawn Hunger with Clarie Inglis (vocals) and musician Matthew de Pulford. But he’s released a solo EP, Rave Cave and has co-produced Beth Orton’s Kidsticks. Power has released three critically applauded albums with his solo recording project Blanck Mass — 2011’s self titled debut, 2015’s Dumb Flesh and 2017’s World Eater.

Hung’s solo full-length debut Realisationship is slated for an October 6, 2017 release through Lex Records and the album’s latest single “Animal” is a tense and forceful track that finds Hung exploring a more organic, lo-fi-leaning sound featuring a gorgeous string arrangement, buzzing power chords, slashing synths, forceful electronic beats and drumming and Hung’s primal, punk rock-like howling. As Hung explains in press notes “Animal is a warning that oppression brings about consequences; we have bred fear and now we are reaping its effects. We cannot address the external without first addressing the internal.”

New Video: Hannah Williams and The Affirmations Return with the Achingly Devastating Visuals for “Late Night and Heartbreak”

Hannah Williams is a Bristol, UK-born and based singer/songwriter and soul artist, who can trace the origins of her own musical career to growing up in an extremely musical family; Williams’ father was a musician and minister at the local church, and her mother, recognizing that she had some talent, allowed Williams to join the church choir when she was 6. Unsurprisingly, like a a lot intensely musical homes, Williams learned how to read music before she could actually read words. 

With the release of her 2012 full-length debut Hill of Feathers, Williams exploded into the both national and international scenes, thanks in part to the success of album single “Work It Out,” which received attention across the blogosphere and airplay on radio stations across the US, Australia and the European Union; in fact, at one point, “Work It Out” was the most downloaded song in Greece, and according to her label, Record Kicks Records, the video has — as of this point — received over 1.5 million plays on YouTube. Adding to a growing international profile, Williams has played sets at some of Europe’s biggest festivals including Shambala Festival, Valley Fest, Wilderness Festival, Cambridge Jazz Festival and Larmer Tree Festival,as well as some of Europe’s well-known clubs including Hamburg, Germany‘s Mojo; Manchester, UK’s Band on the Wall; Camden, UK‘s Jazz Cafe and others with the likes of  Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings, Cat Power, and Charles Bradley. 

Williams’ sophomore effort Late Nights and Heartbreak, which was produced by  The Heliocentrics’ Malcolm Catto, and marked both the first time Williams has worked with Catto, as well as the first recorded output with her backing band, the Bristol-based soul unit, The Affirmations, comprised of James Graham (organ, piano and Wurlitzer), Adam Holgate (guitar), Adam Newton (bass), Jai Widdowson-Jones (drums), Nicholas Malcolm (trumper), Liam Treasure (trombone), Victoria Klewin (baritone saxophone) and Hannah Nicholson (backing vocals). And as you may recall, the album, which featured singles like the fierce, Dusty Springfield-like torch song “Tame in the Water” and psychedelic soul rendition of “Dazed and Confused” that managed to draw from equally from the original version written by Jake Holmes, Led Zeppelin’s legendary cover and The Temptations’ “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” as well as some of the most personal and heartfelt material I came across last year, was one of my favorite albums in 2016, decidedly taking the top spot on last year’s Best of List. 

Recently, the Bristol-born and-based soul artist and her backing band have received greater international attention after renowned, smash hit producer NO I.D. convinced Jay-Z to use the hook of album title track “Late Nights and Heartbreak” for the superstar artist’s album title track “4:44,” making his track a personal statement of his infidelity in response to Beyonce’s Lemonade. Of course, as you hear on Williams’ “Late Night and Heartbreak,” the song focuses on infidelity but also on the narrator’s crippling and confounding inability to figure out their own desires, their fears of vulnerability and heartbreak and their deception both to themselves and their partner. But at the core of the song is something that the song’s narrator and the most people don’t want to readily admit — that it’s difficult to face yourself  and your own life with the sort of unflinching honesty that you may have for others. And as a result of the song coming from a deeply personal and lived-in place,  it packs an unexpected and devastating wallop, especially if you’ve been on either side of a troubled, deception-filled relationship. 

Directed by Nick Donnelly, who has worked on videos for the Wu-Tang Clan, Martha Reeves and Akala and DJ Khaled, the recently released video for “Late Nights and Heartbreak” was filmed in Williams’ hometown and focuses on the sort of deeply troubled relationship at the heart of the song. As Williams explained to Complex, the video “depicts the realisation that sometimes the most burning love is for ones’ own passion, and when a human relationship gets in the way it will lead to heartbreak.”

Born Adrian Nicholas Matthews Thaws in Bristol, UK and currently based in Berlin, Germany, the British-born, German-based emcee, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer Tricky is arguably one of the most influential and important artists in trip hop — both as a member of the genre’s pioneering act Massive Attack and as a solo artist, who has also collaborated with a diverse array of artists, including Terry Hall, Bjork, Gravediggaz, Grace Jones, Live’s Ed Kowalczyk, PJ Harvey, and others. And whether with Massive Attack or as a solo artist, throughout his career, Tricky has had a long-held reputation for being uncompromisingly difficult to pigeonhole and for being remarkably iconoclastic as his work and aesthetic has drawn from both American and British hip-hop, rock, dub, reggae, punk rock and ambient electronica and blurred lines between each genre and style.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past two years or so, you may recall that I’ve written about Tricky and one of his musical projects — Skilled Mechanics, a project that derived its name “from a documentary about espionage,” as the renowned trip hop pioneer explained in press notes, and started almost as soon as he relocated to Berlin. In a conventional sense, when a renowned solo artist forms a band, it’s frequently considered a sign that the solo artist in question is sick of the spotlight and is desperate to fade into something much larger than themselves; however, oddly enough for Tricky, his motivations were the exact opposite. As Tricky notes, over the years, he’s received quite a bit of criticism for what fans, critics, producers and others have perceived as frustrating habit of playing second fiddle to a variety of collaborators. “People have been asking me for years, ‘Will you ever take charge vocally? Will you ever lead as the singer on one of your albums?’  On Adrian Thaws, my last album, I came to the forefront vocally. I was more in your face on three of the tracks but I wanted to build even further towards a catalogue of songs where I didn’t rely on a girl singer. But I realised it would be hard to do under the name Tricky because people would always associate that name with me using a female singer. I haven’t been alone at the front of the stage on my own since before I released my first album Maxinquaye 20 years ago. I needed to change. It is good to change and to keep on pushing yourself,” Tricky explained in press notes.

His idea was that Skilled Mechanics would be a rather loose collaborative project that would allow him to work with a variety of musicians and artists while pushing his imitable vocals to the forefront as much as possible. And interestingly enough, the project’s earliest collaborators included DJ Milo, who is not only one of Tricky’s oldest friends but also the first person the Bristol-born, Berlin-based artist ever recorded with, as well as his introduction to The Wild Bunch sound system, which eventually evolved into Massive Attack. The other early collaborator on the project is Luke Harris, who is the drummer in Tricky’s backing band — but as a vocalist. As the story goes, Harris’ vocal talents were discovered by complete accident: Harris was covering for Tricky’s regular vocalist Francesca Belmonte during a quick bathroom break during soundcheck. Tricky was so impressed by Harris that he asked him to take part in his next musical project. The trip hop pioneer and his band recorded a full-length album, Tricky Presents: Skilled Mechanics and while the album featured collaborations with with Oh Land, Ann Dao, Ivy 艾菲, Francesca Belmonte, Renata Platon, and Xdare, as well as a murky and ominous lullaby-like re-working of Porno for Pyros’ “Porpoise Head,” “Diving Away.”

Unsurprisingly, Tricky has continued to work on solo material, including the recent release of a new single “The Only Way” to critical acclaim earlier this year. Interestingly, the track managed to be a subtle change of sonic direction as Tricky pairs his vocals with a lush, 50s and 60s cabaret crooner production featuring strummed guitar, twinkling piano and a stunningly  gorgeous string arrangement — all of which give the track a cinematic sweep while subtly nodding at the work of Edith Piaf. Recently, Tricky released a new mix — a stripped down mix of the song that pairs his vocals with a murky and ambient production featuring droning and twinkling keys and ominously swirling electronics that emphasizes the loneliness and ache at the core of the song. The mix came about by accident”  Tricky explains  “I was working on something else, playing around on the keyboard, and when I heard the 3 chords I was playing I knew instantly it was a special vibe but it didn’t work with what I was working on at the time.  So rather than finish the track I was trying to do, I carried on with this track and did vox of ‘The Only Way’ on top  —  it was just meant to be.”

New Video: The Sultry and Classic Soul Sound of Bristol’s Hannah Williams and The Affirmations

Produced by The Heliocentrics’ Malcolm Catto, who has produced Mulatu Astatke, Orlando Julius and the iconoclastic author/auteur/film producer/actor/musician Melvin van Peebles, and collaborated with Floating Points, Quantic, DJ Shadow and Madlib, Williams’ much-anticipated sophomore effort was recorded, mixed and mastered to tape at London’s Quatermass Studios, Williams’s highly-anticipated sophomore full-lenth effort Late Nights and Heartbreak will be released Stateside and elsewhere on Friday through Record Kicks Records. Interestingly enough the effort not only marks the first time Williams has worked with Catto, it also marks the first recorded effort with her new backing band, the Bristol, UK-based The Affirmations — and from the material I’ve heard off the album, the band comprised of James Graham (organ, piano and Wurlitzer), Adam Holgate (guitar), Adam Newton (bass), Jai Widdowson-Jones (drums), Nicholas Malcolm (trumper), Liam Treasure (trombone), Victoria Klewin (baritone saxophone) and Hannah Nicholson (backing vocals) are not just an incredibly tight unit, but they can give the world-famous Daptone Records bands a run for their money.

The album’s first single “Tame in the Water” has Williams and The Affirmations pairing her incredibly soulful vocals with a tight and funky groove, shuffling drumming, twinkling keys, shimmering guitar chords and a bold horn line to create a sultry, mid-tempo torch song with a narrator, who has had enough of her lover’s shit and wants out, knowing that she deserved and still deserves much better — all while sounding as though it could have been released in 1964 or so. And in some way, the song nods a bit at Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man” but with a visceral sense of heartbreak that’s devastating.

The charmingly goofy music video follows the relationship between Williams and a anthropomorphic rabbit, who she discovers is a no-good, cheating, irresponsible lout, which follows the song’s narrative. And towards the end we see an extremely pissed Williams packing her stuff and calling a friend to give her a ride while her former lover gets sloshed — and then kicked out of a bar.

The album’s second single is an amazing, mind-blowing psychedelic soul rendition of “Dazed and Confused” that draws equally from the original version written by Jake Holmes, Led Zeppelin’s legendary cover and The Temptations’ “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” — but with a swaggering, self-assuredness. And from both singles a few things are apparent: Hannah Williams can fucking sing her heart out — and I can guarantee that you will be hearing about her and the Affirmations for quite some time; the chemistry and simpatico between Williams and the Affirmations is undeniable, as they’ve created some of the tightest and funkiest music of their young careers.

With the release of a couple of EPs and a reputation for a being one of the best up-and-coming live sets in the UK scene, Bristol, UK-based post-punk band The Jacques have built up quite a buzz around themselves; in fact, this summer, the band will be touring the European Union and UK major festival circuit with opening sets for Noel Gallagher, Rudimental and The Charlatans at Kendal Calling’s main stage and for Primal Scream at Down To The Woods.

“Eleanor Ring Me,” the band’s latest single sounds as though it draws influence from 90s alt rock and grunge rock as the band pairs sludgy power chords,  distorted vocals, snarling vocals and an anthemic hook in a song that the band says is “a kick at the people and things that we are distancing ourselves from now. And as a result, the song possesses a “Fuck off — or we’ll kick the shit out of you” air.

Check out the band’s EU and UK tour dates below.

Tour Dates

Fri 13th May – l’Alimentation Generale, Paris France

Sat 14th May – Les Nuit Botanique, Brussels Belgium

Fri 27th May – Dot to Dot Festival, Manchester UK

Sat 28th May – Dot to Dot Festival, Bristol UK

Sun 29th May – Dot to Dot Festival, Nottingham UK

Fri 29th July – Kendal Calling Festival, UK

Sun 31st July- Damaris Festival, Amsterdam Holland

Sat 13th Aug – Down to The Woods Festival, Durham UK

 

Comprised of Josef Kašpar and Joe Craven, Body Clocks are an up-and-coming Bristol-UK-based duo, who specialize in a electro pop sound reminiscent of Bonobo and others — and as you’ll hear on their new single “Still Life,” the duo pairs a lush yet ambient production of shimmering and undulating synths, a brief string arrangement, swirling electronics, a sinuous bass line,  brief bursts of angular guitar chords and live percussion to create a trippy and expansively cinematic composition.