Tag: Bristol UK

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.”

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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.

 

 

 

 

Back in 2013, I wrote quite a bit about Anika Henderson, best known under the mononym that she writes, records and performs under, Anika . Initially, Henderson spent her professional career as a political journalist, who split time between Berlin and Bristol, UK. While in Bristol, Henderson was introduced to Geoff Barrow, who’s best known for his work with Portishead. And at the time, Barrow was looking for a vocalist, who would work with his band Beak> for what would be a side project. As the story goes, Henderson and Barrow bonded over a mutual love of punk, dub and 60s girl groups — and about a week later, Barrow, Henderson and the members of Beak>  went into the studio to record what would eventually turn out to be Henderson’s 2010 self-titled full-length debut, completely live with Henderson and the band in the same room without overdubs — and in 12 days.

2013 saw the release of Henderson’s self-titled EP, a collection of covers and remixes that included Henderson’s murky, Portishead and The Velvet Underground and Nico-inspired cover of Chromatics’ “In the City.” And what the self-titled EP revealed is that Henderson, Barrow and company have a way of covering a song with a unique take that makes a song their own — and in the case of Chromatics’ “In The City,” their cover feels as though it was always their song. That’s a rare thing, indeed. Last week, as February was coming to a close, Invada Records, released an icy, lo-tech analog synth electro pop and dub-leaning cover of Nena’s “99 Red Balloons” by the mysterious Invada All Stars featuring Anika on vocals as part of that weekend’s Stop Trident National anti-nukes demonstration in London, a demonstration protesting the renewal of Britain’s nuclear weapons system. Proceeds from the digital single will go to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).

Also in that post, I mentioned that Henderson is part of a new project Exploded View — and as it turns out, Exploded View is something of a side project  from her solo work with the members of Beak>. Although the project’s full-length debut is slated for release later on this year through Sacred Bones Records, they will be performing several sets at this year’s SXSW. But before that, the project released their single “No More Parties in the Attic,” that draws from post-krautrock, krautrock, dub and industrial music as the band pairs electronic bloops and bleeps, industrial clang and clatter, buzzing and angular synth and guitar chords with Anika’s signature icy delivery to craft a sound that’s tense and icy  — while evoking the contemporary zeitgeist of trying to navigate in a world that’s gone absolutely mad all the time.

 

 

 

The Internet can be a wonderful and thrilling place as it can inspire the sort of serendipitous discovery that’s necessary if you’re an audiophile or a music blogger; however, the Internet can also be a powerful reminder of the relentless passing of time — and that no matter what, you’re not getting any younger.  Now, as a child of the 80s, Nena‘s “99 Red Balloons” or if you preferred the original German version, “99 Luftballoons” was a mega-hit back in 1984 as it captured and evoked everyone’s fear of nuclear annihilation.

Back in 2013, I wrote quite a bit about Anika Henderson, best known under the mononym that she writes, records and performs under, Anika . Initially, Henderson spent her professional career as a political journalist, who split time between Berlin and Bristol, UK when she was introduced to Geoff Barrow, who’s best known for his work with Portishead. At the time Barrow was looking for a vocalist, who would work with his band Beak> for what would be a side project. And as the story goes, Henderson and Barrow bonded over a mutual love of punk, dub and 60s girl groups. About a week later, Barrow, Henderson and the members of Beak> went into the studio to record what would eventually turn out to be Henderson’s 2010 self-titled full-length debut, completely live with Henderson and the band in the same room without overdubs — and in 12 days.

2013 saw the release of Henderson’s self-titled EP, a collection of covers and remixes that included Henderson’s murky, Portishead and The Velvet Underground and Nico-inspired cover of Chromatics’ “In the City.” And what the self-titled EP revealed is that Henderson, Barrow and company have a way of covering a song with a unique take that makes a song their own — and in the case of Chromatics’ “In The City,” their cover feels as though it was always their song. That’s a rare thing, indeed.

Recently Invada Records, run by Barrow released an icy, lo-tech analog synth electro pop and dub-leaning cover of Nena’s “99 Red Balloons” by the mysterious Invada All Stars featuring Anika on vocals as part of this weekend’s Stop Trident National anti-nukes demonstration in London, a demonstration protesting the renewal of Britain’s nuclear weapons system. Proceeds from the digital single will go to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).

Additionally Henderson is part of a new project Exploded View which will release their debut single in March and play SXSW. The project’s debut effort is slated for release later this year through Sacred Bones Records.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The up-and-coming Winnipeg, MB-based quartet Living Hour can trace their origins to basement jam sessions, writing dreamy songs inspired by the cinematic sky of their hometown. And as a result their sound, which possesses elements of shimmering guitar pop, swirling synths and ethereal vocals draws equally from classic shoegaze, dream pop and chillwave is both stunningly gorgeous and dramatic, as you’ll hear on their  latest single “Seagull,” a single that sounds as though it could have been released during 120 Minutes-era MTV — in particular think of Mazzy Star‘s “Fade Into You” and you’ll see exactly what I’m getting at.  (In other words, it’s the sort of song that would have been the soundtrack of an intense and fervent make out session — or would have been the soundtrack of a teenaged breakup.)

It’s been a busy year or so for the Canadian quartet. They contributed two songs to Family Portrait II, a vinyl compilation released by the London/Bristol-based label Art is Hard Records back in April and released a limited run cassette tape of their self titled debut effort through Bloomington, IN-based Tree Machine Records. But 2016 looks to be a breakout year for the band as they signed with Lefse Records, and will be releasing their full-length debut on February 19, 2016, which will be followed by a tour to support the effort. Check out some of the early tour dates below.

 

TOUR DATES:


March 3    Winnipeg, MB    The Good Will Social Club
March 4    Fargo, ND    The Aquarium
March 6    Des Moines, IA    Des Moines Social Club
March 7    Rock Island, IL    Rozz Tox
March 9    St Louis, MO    Foam
March 11    Denver, CO    Lion’s Lair
March 13    Phoenix, AZ     Trunk Space
March 18    Santa Barbara    CA    FUNZONE
March 19    Fresno    CA    Peeves Pub
March 22    Santa Cruz    CA    Bocci’s Cellar
March 25    Davis    CA    Third Art Space Collective
March 29    Portland    OR    The Analog Cafe
March 31    Bellingham    WA    Loudhouse
April 2    Rossland    BC    The Flying Steamshovel
April 3    Kamloops    BC    Zacks Coffee