Tag: Lauryn Hill

New Audio: Alpines Chilly Yet Urgent Call to Action on the Environment

Comprised of Bob Matthews (guitar, production) and Catherine Pockson (vocals, piano), the London-based electro pop duo Alpines formed in 2010 and since their formation they’ve quickly built up a national and international profile as they opened for the likes of  The Naked and The Famous, Emeli Sande and Florence and the Machine — eventually signing to a major label. Once their stint within the major label system ended, instead of being overwhelmed by a sense of bitter resignation, they self-released their first two, critically applauded full-length albums 2014’s Oasis and 2016’s Another River. 

The duo’s soon-to-be-released third, full-length album Full Bloom is slated for a November 16, 2018 release through Untrue Records and the album reportedly channels some of the duo’s core influences — in particular, Prince, Aaliyah, Frank Ocean, Lauryn Hill, Aretha Franklin, Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, Kelela, 90s rave culture and Massive Attack; while lyrically the material touches upon growth, change, ecology, the every day challenges of love, acceptance and hardship. And as a result, the material finds the duo examining the inner and outer complexities of modern life, and our insecurities and vulnerabilities in a a profound mature fashion. Initially, the material was built around a basic piano idea, that they expanded upon within their Kingston-Upon-Thames studio. As the duo says, “There are tracks that lean more towards Catherine’s love of classic singer-songwriters and soul music, and others that are inspired by left-field producers and rap.”  Additionally, the material draw from Netflix’s The OA, the work of architect Rachel Whiteread, contemporary fashion and art, as well. 

The chilly yet soulful, “Full Bloom” is the album’s latest single, and the album title track is centered around Pockson’s soulful, pop belter vocals and a 90s soul meets house music-like production consisting of subtle yet lush layers of arpeggiated synths, twinkling keys, a classic house music breakbeat and a rousingly anthemic hook. And as a result, the song sonically brings Snap!’s “Rhythm Is A Dancer,” Black Box’s “Everybody Everybody” and Soul 2 Soul’s “Get A Life” among others. Lyrically, the song focuses on the fact that while things may seem difficult, that right now is the time to get it together, and save the Earth because time is a-wasiting; if we don’t, we’re all done for.  “The title is in reference to the beauty of the natural world which is so fragile,” Alpine’s Catherine Pockson explains in press notes, “as well as a nod to what we feel we have achieved musically,” after several years of graft and struggle. The song is inspired by a recently UN Climate Change report that said we have maybe a good decade or so before we irrevocably alter the environment — for the worse. “The song is about the climate crisis, our love of the earth, and how time is really running out,” states Catherine Pockson, “The refrain ‘everything has to change” is both a plea for definitive action, and a wake-up call to those who have yet to accept the reality. If we don’t completely change our way of life within the next few years, the damage to the natural world will be irreversible – some of it already is.”

Camille Trust is an up-and-coming, Tampa, FL-born, New York-based soul/pop artist, who’s influenced by the likes of Janis Joplin, Lauryn Hill and Etta James — although with her energetic and dynamic stage presence and raw, unvarnished honesty, her work seems much more indebted to the likes of Mary J. Blige. Now, as you may recall, I caught the Tampa-born, New York-based soul/pop artist performing an opening set Baby’s All Right that featured sultry covers of Bonnie Raitt’s “Something to Talk About” and Stevie Wonder‘s “Signed, Sealed and Delivered,” and a collection of singles that she’s released over the past few years, as well as material off her recently released EP — including her latest single, “Lose You,” which pairs Trust’s effortlessly soulful vocals with a modern production consisting of stuttering beats, brief horn blasts, twinkling keys and an explosive, radio friendly and rousingly anthemic hook; but underneath the swaggering and thumping production, is a plaintive and urgent plea to a lover, who seems ready to bolt.

 

 

Born in Zambia, raised in Botswana and currently based in Sydney, Australia, the 23 year old poet, visual artist, emcee, singer/songwriter and pop artist Sampa the Great, who publicly has cited Mos Def, Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill, Nneka, and others, as influences. And since the release of The Great Mixtape and collaborations with fellow Australians, pop artist Wallace on the skittering and jazzy single “Beauty” and internationally acclaimed Australian emcee Remi on the neo-soul and conscious hip-hop influenced “For Good,” the Sydney, Australia-based artist has quickly built up a growing internationally recognized profile as she’s opened for the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat, Hiatus Kaiyote, Ibeyi, Little Simz and Fat Freddy’s Drop, as well as played sets at Golden Plains, Sugar Mountain, Laneway, WOMAD and Vivid LIVE. However, 2017 may arguably be the Sampa the Great’s breakout year as her Rakhi-produced HERoes Act 2 was released yesterday through Red Bull Sound Select, and features the Sydney, Australia-based artist collaborating with Estelle. And while further cementing her reputation for a ridiculously dexterous flow that draws from spoken word performances, old school, hip-hop lyricism, with complex inner rhyme and multisyllabic rhyme schemes, old school soul and the blues and jazz, her latest single “The Plug” features Estelle and Sampa doing their thing with a swaggering, self-assuredness over a Timbaland-like production featuring futuristic bleeps and bloops, industrial clang and clatter, glitchy and shuffling beats and swirling electronics.

HERoes Act 2 is the second part of a two part narrative series of songs and genre-defying collaborative projects with Act being a spoken-world video, 2 track exploration into self-discovery and inner strength within a world that’s gone mad with uncertainty, racism and fear. “The Plug,” like the two other songs on the EP continue in a similar vein while continuing her reputation for crafting material based around her own personal experiences as an outsider, her desire and need to create, and the recognition that as individuals and as a society, that we need to value the strength and abilities of the individual; but in terms of this particular song, the song leans towards recognizing and championing the god-given talents of the individual, while brushing away haters and nay-sayers, with your desire to make a name for yourself at what you can do.