Tag: Brit Awards

New Video: Bea Kadri and Issac B Releases a Meditative and Wistful Visual for “Be Alright”

Bea Kadri is an emerging Beirut-born, London-based singer/songwriter. Much like countless young people across the world, Kadri had her Walkman and iPod practically glued to her — and she watched endless hours of MTV and YouTube to get her fix of pop, hip-hop and R&B. As a painfully shy teenager, who was afraid to express her true self and her true feelings, the Beirut-born, London-based singer/songwriter found understanding and solace through the music she was listening to at the time. And much like teens all across the world, she’d stay in her room, daydream and imitate her favorite artists in front of her mirror and jot down thoughts and lyrics in her journal.

In 2018, Kadri relocated to London to pursue a Master’s Degree in Music Business Management from the University of Westminster, with the hopes of being close to her lifelong passion and maybe landing a job somewhere within the music industry. She gradually decided to pursue a career as an artist as her confidence in her talents grew — but she can trace the origins of her career as an artist to when she put together a list of songs to show her mentor, who was writing songs for Universal Music UK. Kadri landed an opportunity to write songs and sync placements. And adding to a big year for her, she performed in the backing choirs for Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton during both artists’ BRIT Awards performances that year.

As a solo artist, Kadri’s work focuses on self-discovery, empowerment and matters of the heart — with a sultry yet chill air. Interestingly, the Beirut-born, London-based singer/songwriter’s latest single “Be Alright,” which features a guest spot from Issac B is a slow-burning and sultry track centered around a minimalist production featuring skittering beats and atmospheric synths — and while helping to establish Kadri’s sultry yet laid back sound, the track finds Kadri and Issac B reminiscing on simpler days, old loves an slower paces with an achingly wistful air that seems to say “if I had known then, what I know now . . .” 

“We wrote and recorded ‘Be Alright’ back in August 2019, before the madness of the pandemic, we were just reminiscing on simpler days and pace of our past but the message behind the song resonates now more than ever,” Kadri says in press notes. “In the chorus we go ‘roll in peace yeah call it pair of dice’ to highlight the nature of how we never truly know what dice life will serve us, but whatever it is, we got to roll with it peacefully and make like a paradise (“pair of dice”) in our minds, stay chill, find the balance and keep on because, really, ‘we gon’ be alright.'”

Directed Linda Dorigo, the recently released video for “Be Alright” stars the song’s creative duo, reminiscing in their bedrooms, and continuing with the dreary and ordinary routines of their lives — Kadri heading to work at a local supermarket while Issac B goes to a laundromat. There’s also a quite a bit of  nouvelle vague-like split screens, which add to the slick stylistic vibe of the video.  

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Live Footage: JOVM Mainstay Sam Fender Covers Amy Winehouse’s “Back To Black” on BBC Radio 1’s “Live Lounge”

Over the past two years or so, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the 
Newcastle, UK-born and-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and JOVM mainstay Sam Fender. Last year, was a breakthrough year for the Newcastle-born and-based artist: 
his Bramwell Bronte-produced full-length debut Hypersonic Missiles was a critically applauded, commercial success. Fender also made several nationally televised late night appearances — and went on a successful international tour that saw him play across North America twice. He then closed out the year with the release of “All Is On My Side,” a propulsive track that was sort of synthesis of Gerry Rafferty and Billy Idol, complete with a Eric Clapton Slowhand-era like guitar solo.

Although the year was full of momentous, life-changing achievements for the young singer/songwriter the year ended on a frustrating note with Fender having to postpone a handful of sold-out UK live dates with Fender having to reschedule them. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was looking bright for the JOVM mainstay: he was hand-picked by the legendary  Elton John to play at his annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Party — and much like last year, was gearing up for this year’s BRIT Awards, in which he received a nomination for Best New Artist. 

Desperate to prove that he’s not a one-hit wonder, Fender has an urgent desire to improve upon his critically applauded debut. Musically, he started the year with “Hold Out,” a slow-burning 80s inspired anthem with an enormous, arena friend hook and shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars that further established his reputation for crafting earnest yet ambitious material with a novelistic attention to detail. Earlier this year, Fender made an appearance on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge series, and the appearance including a a haunting and achingly bluesy cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Back To Black.” After a persistent fan campaign online, Fender officially released the cover — and the footage from the live session. 

“‘Back To Black’ is such a long-standing favourite of mine, and Amy remains a national treasure,” Fender says in press notes. ” I love that album too. I hopefully did the track some justice. You’ll all be the judge of that…”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink cover the Newcastle, UK-born and-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and JOVM mainstay Sam Fender. Now, as you may recall last year was a breakthrough year for the Newcastle-born and-based JOVM mainstay: his Bramwell Bronte-produced full-length debut Hypersonic Missiles was a critically applauded, commercial success. Fender also made several nationally televised late night appearances — and went on a successful international tour that saw him play across North America twice.
The rapidly rising British artist closed out last year with the release of “All Is On My Side.” The song has been a regular fixture of his live set for the past few years and a fan favorite that he released after a committed online campaign by his fans to release it. And while centered around the sleek and slick production and arena rock friendly hooks that has won him international acclaim, the propulsive song finds Fender crafting a synthesis of 70s AM rock along the lines of Gerry Rafferty and 80s New Wave and rock reminiscent of Billy Idol, complete with a Eric Clapton Slowhand-era like guitar solo.
Although most of last year was full of momentous, life-changing achievements for the young singer/songwriter, the year ended on a frustrating note with Fender having to postpone a handful of sold-out UK live dates as a result of illness. Those shows have been rescheduled for later this month and during the Spring. (You can check out the rescheduled tour dates, along with some European Union and UK Summer festival dates below.)
So far, 2020 has continued much of the momentum of last year: Fender was hand-picked by Elton John to play at his annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Party — and much like last year, he’s gearing up for this year’s BRIT Awards, but this time, he’s received a nomination for Best New Artist. Interestingly, “Hold Out,” is Fender’s first single of this year, and while it doesn’t actually signal the start of a press campaign for his sophomore album, it’s meant to act as another statement of intent for him. Desperate to prove that he’s not a one-hit wonder, Fender has an urgent desire to better his critically applauded effort. Centered around shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars, “Hold Out” is slow-burning, 80s inspired anthem with an enormous, arena friendly hook — and the track will further cement the Newcastle-born and-based JOVM mainstay’s reputation for crafting earnest yet ambitious material with a novelistic attention to detail.
Tour Dates (Tickets at samfender.com):
February 17 – O2 Academy, Newcastle SOLD OUT
February 19 – O2 Academy, Newcastle SOLD OUT
February 24 – La Cigale, Paris
February 25 – Ancienne Belgique, Brussels SOLD OUT
February 27 – Palladium, Cologne
February 28 – Columbiahalle, Berlin
March 1– Halle 622, Zurich
March 2– Paradiso, Amsterdam SOLD OUT
March 5– Docks Club, Hamburg
March 20 – O2 Victoria Warehouse, Manchester SOLD OUT
March 21 – O2 Victoria Warehouse, Manchester SOLD OUT
March 23 – Barrowlands, Glasgow SOLD OUT
March 24 – Barrowlands, Glasgow SOLD OUT
March 26 – Alexandra Palace, London SOLD OUT
March 27 – Alexandra Palace, London SOLD OUT
March 31 – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff SOLD OUT
April 2 – First Direct Arena, Leeds SOLD OUT
April 3 – Utilita Arena, Newcastle SOLD OUT
May 1 – O2 Academy, Bristol (rescheduled show) SOLD OUT
May 16 – O2 Academy, Birmingham (rescheduled show) SOLD OUT
May 17 – O2 Academy, Brixton (rescheduled show) SOLD OUT
May 23 – Warrington, Neighbourhood Festival
May 24 – Newcastle, This Is Tomorrow Festival
June 3 – De Montfort Hall, Leicester (rescheduled show)
June 13 – Isle of Wight Festival
June 16 – Malahide Castle, Dublin (w/ The Killers) SOLD OUT
June 17 – Malahide Castle, Dublin (w/ The Killers) SOLD OUT
July 8 – Madrid, Espacio Mad Cool Festival
July 10 – Glasgow, TRNSMT Festival
August 19 – Tivoli Vredenburg, Utrecht SOLD OUT

Natasha Khan is a Brighton, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, 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. 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 critically applauded and named a heavy favorite to win. 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-co-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 particular, 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.

Khan’s fifth album Lost Girls was released last fall through AWAL Recordings, and the album continues a run of concept albums: in this case, the material was centered around an off-kilter coming of age film, in which bands of marauding female biker gangs roam the streets — and teenagers make out on car hoods. The female characters throughout are parallel to the protagonists of her previously released albums — most notably, the street tough, darkness-driven Pearl from Two Suns. The album’s main character Nikki Pink, was one of the album’s central Lost Girls. And at its core, the album thematically is a loving and romantic homage to all things Los Angeles, being a child of the 80s and the films that influenced Khan. Sonically, the album found Khan mixing sounds she’s long loved — heavy bass lines, synth arpeggios, Iranian pop beats and cascading chorus which help evoke an achingly wistful air.

Khan recently released a four song live EP recorded at London-based venue EartH that features a stripped down versions of “Daniel,” “Desert Man” and “The Hunger” off Lost Girls featuring Khan accompanying herself on piano and organ. The EP’s first official single is a slow-burning,  stripped down, atmospheric cover of Don Henley‘s “The Boys of Summer” centered around twinkling keys and Khan’s expressive vocals.  Khan’s Bat for Lashes cover retains the song’s awareness of the passing of time, the end of youthful innocence — of a darker, more uncertain adult world just over the horizon.

Interestingly, the EP comes just before Khan embarks on a Winter North American tour — and it serves as a taste of what fans should expect: intimate renditions of the material off Lost Girls, as well as never performed songs and some surprises.

 

New Audio: Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno Releases a Club Friendly Bop

Currently comprised of founding trio Tom Meighan (vocals), Serge Pizzorno (guitar, vocals) and Chris Edwards (bass) along with Ian Matthews (drums) the Leicester, UK-based act Kasabian derive their name from Linda Kasabian, a member of the infamous Charles Manson cult. As the band’s Chris Edwards explained in an interview with Ukula, their former guitarist Chris Karloff had been reading up on Charles Manson, and the name Kasabian just stuck with him. “He thought the word was cool, it literally took about a minute after the rest of us head it . . . so it was decided.” And since their formation, the act has become one of the more commercially successful acts in British music history: the last five consecutive of their six full-length albums have hit the #1 spot on the UK Albums Charts, a feat accomplished by only a handful of artists. Adding to their accolades they’ve been nominated for nine BRIT Awards, winning Best British Group in 2010; they’ve been nominated for 13 Q Awards winning four including 2009 Best Album for West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, 2014 Best Live Act and Best Act in the World Today and 2017 Best Track for “You’re In Love with a Psycho.” 

Perhaps best known as Kasabian’s creative mastermind during their enviable and unprecedented run, the band’s Serge Pizzorno has gone the solo route with his new recording project The S.L.P.  Slated for an August 30, 2019 release through The Orchard, Pizzorno’s solo debut, The S.L.P. reportedly draws from hip-hop, psych funk, New Wave, EDM and electro pop and others — and finds Pizzorno collaborating with an eclectic array of artists including the acclaimed London-based rapper Little Simz. “Moving forward, I’d like to collaborate more and open that door more,” Pizzorno says of his new project. “The S.L.P. project will become this sort of place I can go and just do whatever. It’s so important to have that.” Continuing he says “My life in the band and my boys, that’s part of me that will be there forever, but then there’s something else I have to get that out or I won’t be able to move forward.” 

The S.L.P.’s third and latest single “The Youngest Gary” initially seems like an extension of Pizzorno’s work with Kasabian — distorted guitar riffs, a motorik groove, boom bap drum programming, a sinuous bass line and Pizzorno’s imitable vocals —  and while the stadium rock bombast is turned down quite a bit, the track manages to be a hook-driven club friendly bop. 

New Video: Follow British Actor Jeremy Irvine Dancing Through London for Friendly Fires Rapturous “Heaven Let Me In”

Comprised of Ed McFarlane, Jack Savidge and Edd Gibson, the St. Albans, Hertfordshire, UK-based electronic music act Friendly Fires can trace their origins back to when they met while attending St. Albans School. When they were all 13, the trio formed their first band, a post-hardcore act First Day Back, which covered Green Day and other rock acts.  First Day Back lasted until the trio attended university — and during that time Ed Macfarlane released music under his own name through Skam and Precinct Recordings. 

Upon graduation Macfarlane, Savidge and Gibson formed Friendly Fires, their critically applauded electronic music act which derives its name from the opening track of Section 25’s Always Now. Sonically, the trio has cited the German techno label Kompakt, Carl Craig and Prince as major influences on a sound that draws from dance music, lush, shoegaze melodies and classic pop songwriting. 

2007 was their breakthrough year, as “Paris” was named Single of the Week in The Guardian, received praise from NME and airplay on Zane Lowe’s BBC Radio 1 show — and they were the first unsigned act to appear on Channel 4’s Transmission.  Building upon a growing profile in their native England, the trio released their full-length, self-titled debut in 2008, an effort which featured album singles “On Board,” Jump in the Pool,” “Skeleton Boy,” and the aforementioned “Paris.” Their debut was a critical and commercial success. The album was certified double gold in the UK — and the trio was nominated for a Best Breakthrough Award at The South Bank Show Awards and for Best Dancefloor Filler at the NME Awards.  

Early 2009 saw the band touring on the Shockwaves NME Awards Tour with Glasvegas, White Lies, and Florence and the Machine. March of that year, Friendly Fires co-headlined with White Lies on the Stateside equivalent of the Shockwaves NME Awards tour, called NME Presents with The Soft Pack opening. Since then, the act has been nominated for a Mercury Music Prize, and two Brit Awards — one for Best British Group and British Breakthrough Act. 

In 2010, the duo released a split 12 inch single with Holy Ghost! in which they covered a single by the other, and included instrumental versions of both songs. They also contributed a cover of Depeche Mode’s “Strangelove” to the Frank Miller-directed commercial for Gucci’s Guilty. They ended the year with a compilation with London-based club promoters Bugged Out! called Bugged Out Presents Suck My Deck, which featured remixes of songs by The Phenomenal Handclap Band and Lindstrom and Christabelle handpicked by the trio and “Stay Here,” a collaboration between the members of Friendly Fires and Azari & III. 

2011 saw the release of their sophomore album Pala, which featured album singles “Live Those Days Tonight” and “Hawaiian Air.” It was arguably, their most pop-leaning effort; however, by the following year, the members of Friendly Fire had been working with producer Andrew Weatherall on some forward-thinking and psychedelic-leaning material. However, since then the trio have been on a lengthy hiatus that has found McFarlane and Gibson collaborating with The Advisory Circle’s Jon Brooks in a project called The Pattern Forms, which released their debut effort, 2016’s Peel Away the Ivy. 

Earlier this year, the trio released “Love Like Waves,” their first bit of new material since 2012. “Heaven Let Me In,” the acclaimed trio’s second single of this year, is a club-banger centered around a euphoric and chopped vocal loop and arpeggiated synths — and while nodding a bit at Daft Punk and Stardust’s classic “Music Feels Better With You,” the song which was co-produced with Disclosure evokes the ecstasy of dancing under strobe-lights and thunderous bass until the next morning. 

Directed by Bison, who has directed videos by Bonobo, London Grammar and Jon Hopkins, the video stars renowned British actor Jeremy Irvine, known for his roles in War Horse and Mama Mia dancing through the streets and landmarks of London’s Docklands, looking as though he just came out from the club — and wants the party to continue. 

Preview: Secret Solstice Festival 2017

With its inaugural run back in 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland’s Secret Solstice Festival has quickly become one of Iceland’s largest music festivals, featuring a diverse and eclectic array of established and internationally recognized artists, locally renowned acts and up-and-coming artists from all over the globe, performing in one of the most unique backdrops in the entire world – the roughly 72 hour period of near constant daylight Iceland experiences during the Summer Solstice, because of its proximity to the Arctic Circle. (After all, Reykjavik is the northernmost capital and administrative region of the northernmost country in the entire world.) Building upon its growing reputation as one of the world’s most unique music festivals, the fourth edition of the festival may arguably be one of the biggest and most diverse lineups to date as it includes Foo Fighters, Rick Ross, the UK electronic act The Prodigy, The Verve’s former frontman Richard Ashcroft, Pharoahe Monch, Chaka Khan, Foreign Beggars, Dubfire, Novelist, Rhye, Dusky and Chicago house music artist Kerri Chandler. Along with those artists, some of Iceland’s renowned acts, including Högni, Úlfur Úlfur, Amabadama, Emmsjé Gauti, GKR, Tiny, Aron Can, KSF, and Alvia Islandia will be performing. And adding to the 72 hour party vibe, the festival’s organizers have planned a series of electronic dance music takeovers and showcases featuring some of the world’s best party crews – including Ibiza’s Circoloco, Above & Beyond Records’ deep house imprint Ajunadeep Records’ dance floor collective Crew Love, ATG and Dubfire’s SCI+TEC among others.
Interestingly, for the second consecutive year, Secret Solstice is currently the only major music festival in the world to be certified CarbonNeutral®, as the festival sources almost all of their power needs from the use 100% renewable geothermal energy, hybrid vehicles provided by Toyota Iceland – and from offsetting any residual emissions through the purchase of high quality, verified carbon credits. Unlike any other festival I’ve attended or heard of, festivalgoers and artists alike can know that they’re being environmentally responsible while partying and catching some of the world’s most interesting artists. Of course, during a multi-day festival like Secret Solstice, it’s difficult and damn near impossible to catch everyone and everything, so consider me as a helpful guide – with some information on artists I’d love to catch while in Reykjavik.