Tag: Grammy Award

New Video: New Visuals for Tourist’s “We Stay Up All Night” Captures the Joy and Possibility of Youth and Young Love

Now, if you were frequenting this site around this time last year, you may have come across a post or two featuring William Phillips,  London, UK-based electronic music artist/producer and songwriter, best known in electronic music circles as Tourist, and cowriter of Sam Smith’s smash hit, Grammy Award-winning single “Stay With Me.” Adding to a breakthrough 2015, Phillips played that year’s Coachella and Pitchfork Festival Paris, went on lengthy tours of the European Union and North America, made mixes for BBC 1‘s Diplo and Friends and i-D Magazine, as well as received praise from a variety of media outlets — including Pitchfork, FADER and others. Phillips built upon a growing international profile with the release of his full-length debut U, an album that focused on a failed personal relationship the songwriter and producer had; in fact, as Philips mentioned in press notes on his full-length debut, “I’ve always recorded a lot of my life through my phone. Whilst writing the album, I found a huge number of recording that I had whilst being in that relationship, so my ex’s voice is all over this record. Also the sounds of the places we lived and visited together form prominent backdrops to the music.” 

I don’t know how to describe it sonically, it’s not really body music, it’s just a story told through different tempos and sounds. I’m not channelling any specific scene or sound, just my thoughts and feelings. I don’t really understand the term ‘electronic music’ but I suppose if pressed I’d call it that.

I have zero interest in beats and scenes, I’m much more interested in stories. I feel as though this is the biggest lesson I learnt whilst writing this album, that I don’t write music to express myself but to enrich myself. It wasn’t until finishing this album that I could truly feel at peace with that chapter in my life.”

“We Stay Up All Night” is Phillips’ latest single is an ethereal and shimmering collaboration with pop vocalist Ardyn that features the sort of soaring and anthemic hooks reminiscent of M83 — but underneath the bright neon-colored vibes is a subtle hint at wistful nostalgia — presumably at the passing of youth but with a fondness and sweetness. As Phillips mentions in press notes, the new single is “more reflective of who I am now, and how my life has changed over the past year. I moved out of my windowless studio and started writing from home again. I think subconsciously, I’ve started writing more joyous, colourful music and I’ve loved being collaborative once again. ” Phillips goes on to say that the new music he’s recently written may be some of his favorite material he’s produced so far, because he’s loved the opportunity to push his sound towards a new place. Of course, while pushing his sound to a warmer and happier vibe, the internationally renowned producer and songwriter has retained elements of the aesthetic that caught the attention of fans and the blogosphere across the world — mainly  a shimmering, cosmic glow and a swooning earnestness to the proceedings. 

Directed by Daniel Brereton, who has directed videos for Kindess, Connan Moccasin and Metronomy, the video follows a quartet of teenagers as they drive to the British countryside to goof off, explore both in daylight and at night, couple up, canoodle, get high and share intimate moments before one couple stumbles upon a forest-based all night rave, and spends the morning watching the sun rise. The video manages to perfectly encapsulate the feeling of exploration, limitless possibility, naivete and foolhardy passions of youth. 

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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. 

New Audio: North Mississippi Allstars’ Explosive Yet Moody Tribute to R.L. Burnside

Comprised of Hernando, MS-based sibling duo Luther (guitar, vocals) and Cody Dickinson (drums, piano, synth bass, programming and vocals), the sons of renowned pianist, vocalist and producer Jim Dickinson, North Mississippi Allstars are a critically applauded, commercially successful, multi Grammy Award- nominated, Grammy Award-winning Southern fried rock/blue duo celebrated their 20th anniversary together with a national victory-lap-like tour, and reportedly along the way, the duo booked studio time in Memphis, New Orleans, their father’s studio in Hernando, MS, and about six other cities, writing, tracking and recording their recently released eighth full-length effort Prayer for Peace, an album that finds the band based around the boogie blues and fuzzy funk of their live sets and a message of positivity, inclusion, hope and the power of familial bonds.

Co-produced by Boo Mitchell, and featuring guest spots from an incredible list of friends and associates including Oteil Burbridge, who has had stints with The Allman Brothers Band and Dead & Company; Grahame Lesh, a member of Midnight North and The Terrapin Family Band, vocalist Sharisse Norman, Dominic Davis, a member of Jack White’s backing band and Shardé Thomas, vocalist/fife player and daughter of Mississippi blues legend Otha Turner, Prayer for Peace features both original and covers and will further cement the band’s reputation for celebrating the blues’ legacy and history while pushing it into new, contemporary directions; in fact, the Electric Blue Watermelon: Screwed and Chopped EP found the band meshing the classic blues sound with Houston’s screwed and chopped hip-hop movement, creating a sound that was bluesy yet lysergic.

Interestingly enough, the first single off the Grammy Award-winning duo’s eighth full-length effort is a stomping, swaggering, arena rock-friendly cover of R.L. Burnside’s “Long Haired Donkey” that features explosive slide guitar riffs played through layers upon layers of effects and a tight groove. Reportedly, the song is a nod to the duo’s early years when fellow Mississippi bluesman R.L. Burnside took them under his wing. After Burnside’s death in 2005, the duo paid homage to their friend and mentor by adding “Long Haired Donkey” to their setlists, making it a live show staple before they officially put it on wax, 15 miles west of St. Francis Hospital where Burnisde spent his last days. And as a result, the recorded version possesses a moody and spectral vibe underneath the free-flowing, you-were-there improvised feel.

Preview: Living Colour at City Winery 3/13/17

Currently comprised of founding members Corey Glover (vocals), Vernon Reid (guitar, synths, backing vocals) and Will Calhoun (drums, percussion, keys, samples, backing vocals), with Doug Wimbish (bass, drums, guitar, programming, backing vocals), the New York-based rock quartet Living Colour originally formed in 1984 and they quickly received attention for a sound that meshed elements of heavy metal, funk, jazz, jazz fusion, soul, prog rock and alternative rock with lyrics that frequently focused on the personal and sociopolitical, frequently commenting on and attacking Eurocentrism and racism in America. The quartet’s original lineup, featuring featuring the founding trio of Glover, Reid and Calhoun with Muzz Skillings (bass) cut their teeth and honed their sound and live show playing shows at CBGB’s.

Interestingly, the band found an unlikely champion in The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger, who took the band under his wing, produced a demo, which caught the attention of Epic Records. And with the release of 1988’s commercially and critically successful full-length debut Vivid, the band’s original lineup, quickly rose to attention with their smash hit “Cult of Personality,” which won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance; they also won the Best New Artist Award at 1989’s MTV Video Music Awards. Adding to a growing international profile, The Rolling Stones had Living Colour opened for the rock legend’s Stateside leg of the Steel Wheels tour. They quickly followed that up with 1990’s sophomore effort Time’s Up, which also won a Grammy.

After releasing three full-length albums with a number of major and minor hits, the band split up with the members focus on a variety of creative projects; in fact, Wimbish, Calhoun and Glover had teamed up with Glover in a project called Headfake, which played frequently in the New York City area. And as the story goes, in late 2000, Headfake played at CBGBs with Reid joining them, leading to rumors of a Living Colour reunion. Of course, those rumors proved to be true, as Living Colour went on their first tour together n six years the following summer.

The members of the band have since released one of their most experimental efforts to date, 2003’s Collideøscope, followed by 2005’s rarities and B-sides compilation, a few live albums, 2006’s Best of compilation, Everything Is Possible: The Very Best of Living Colour and 2009’s Chair in the Doorway. And over the past couple of years, the band has been on a rather busy touring schedule, touring to support the 25th anniversary of their seminal effort Vivid.

As a personal note, as a music obsessed boy, I’ve almost always listened to a wildly eclectic variety of music, and in the 80s metal was a big thing. I loved Metallica, Def Leppard, Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue and the like; but when I watched their videos and concerts, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me — and even in my 8 year old mind, I knew that I couldn’t be those guys. I was black and from Queens. However, seeing someone who looked like me with guys who came from neighborhoods that I knew or had family in, kicking ass and taking names was a revelation. And it made them heroes to me.

Sadly, I was too young to catch them back then; however, I have since seen them twice — once at Afropunk during their Vivid 25th Anniversary Tour and later at Brooklyn Bowl, and I’m thrilled to know that the band is playing tonight at City Winery.

 

Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sofia Härdig is part of a growing list of Swedish artists, who have received both regional and international attention; in fact, in her native Sweden, Härdig is considered “the rocktronica queen of experimental music.” And as a result, Härdig has collaborated with the likes of Grammy Award-winning acts The Hellacopters and Bob Hund, Boredoms and Free Kitten‘s Yoshimi P-We — and she has shared stages with Lydia Lunch and Belle and Sebastian‘s Stevie Jackson.

Härdig’s forthcoming two-part EP The Street Light Leads to the Sea was recorded in three days with handpicked musicians, specifically known for their improvisational skills and although the musicians had a rough sketch of songs, each musician was encouraged to improvise as they felt fit. As the Swedish singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist explains in press notes “I find beauty in flaws and that which is not perfect is what excites me, I love the unusual, the unexpected, untrained and unplanned . . . ” Interestingly, the EP’s first single “Streets” possesses an urgent and raw grittiness as slashing guitar chords, squalls of feedback, a throbbing bass line and propulsive drumming are paired with anthemic hooks and Härdig’s sultry vocals to craft a song that sounds as thought it draws from Sonic Youth and Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea-era PJ Harvey — in particular, the song reminds me of a grittier, swaggering version of “Good Fortune.”