Tag: London Grammar

With the release of “Hydrogen,” indie electro pop duo Darkroom Data — Irish vocalist Gillian Nova and Brazilian composer and producer Márcio Paz — quickly received attention across the blogosphere: the track landed on Hype Machine‘s most popular chart while receiving praise from outlets like Podcart, Obscure Sound, Son of Marketing, Indie Buddie and AnalogoueTrash for crafting moody and atmospheric soundscapes paired with melodic hooks and seductive rhythms. Interestingly, fellow critics have compared their sound to the likes of Chromatics, College, London Grammar, CHVRCHES and Niki & the Dove among others. Thematically, their material fittingly focuses on encounters with dark, fantastical characters and a yearning for lost, late-night spaces.

Building upon the attention that they earned with “Hydrogen,” the duo’s latest single, the Bob Lamb-produced “Groovatta” is a slow-burning and sultry take on synth pop, centered around a sample from 80s electro pop act The System, shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats, anthemic hooks and an atmospheric and brooding bridge. And although the band claims that they were inspired by the aesthetic of Chromatics, the song reminds me of Quiet Storm synth soul — in particular, the likes of Cherelle and others.

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. 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Singer/Songwriter Minke Releases Intimate and Cinematic Visuals for Soaring Single “Maybe 25”

With the release of her first two singles “Gold Angel” and “Armour,” the London-born and-based based singer/songwriter and musician Minke (pronounced as to rhyme with the word “link”) quickly became a buzz-worthy artist: “Gold Angel” received airplay on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 Radio show, was featured on Spotify‘s New Music Fridayand Pop Rising playlists and was a Hype Machine#1  — within a two week period. The track also received praise from the The Line of Best Fit for its “elements of pop, rock, soul and R&B,” and “guitar riffs, mingled with understated vocals like curls of smoke in a darkened bar.” Building upon a growing profile, the up-and-coming London-born and-based singer/songwriter and musician released “Armour” to praise from Billboard, who said the song was “a female empowerment anthem about letting go of your defenses and learning how to be vulnerable, especially with those closest to you.”

Minke’s latest single “Maybe 25” was co-written by the up-and-coming British artist and her producer Rory Andrew and the single which pairs Minke’s tender, ethereal and yearning vocals with twinkling piano, reverb drenched guitar chords, thumping beats, brief bits of industrial clang and clatter, and a soaring hook within a song that to my ears makes sonic nods to Adele and London Grammar but with a self assured, effortless yet soulful quality. Interestingly as Minke explains in press notes, the track was written about the emptiness and frustrations of online dating, and the hold technology has over us. “As I started to write, it became less and less about that, and more a general observation on connection. We’ve never been more connected by disconnected at the same time. It’s made us more insular, less open to having a conversation with a stranger and maintaining eye contact for more than a second without looking at your phone. So it’s about longing about something more than that, whatever that is. Something real in a seemingly disposable world. Questioning if that’s still possible. Questioning if it’s got the better of you.”

The up-and-coming British artist is currently working on her debut EP, which is slated for a Fall release, and there are plans for a North American tour to support it but before that I think we’ll be hearing quite a bit more from her; in fact, the recently released video, which was directed by Tess Elliot Harrison features the up-and-coming British singer/songwriter in the desert in the eerie isolation of the desert — and as a result it further emphasizes both the disconnection and longing at the song’s core. 

With the release of her first two singles “Gold Angel” and “Armour,” the London-born and-based based singer/songwriter and musician Minke(pronounced as to rhyme with the word “link”) quickly became a buzz-worthy artist: “Gold Angel” received airplay on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 Radio show, was featured on Spotify‘s New Music Fridayand Pop Rising playlists and was a Hype Machine#1  — within a two week period. The track also received praise from the The Line of Best Fit for its “elements of pop, rock, soul and R&B,” and “guitar riffs, mingled with understated vocals like curls of smoke in a darkened bar.” Building upon a growing profile, the up-and-coming London-born and-based singer/songwriter and musician released “Armour” to praise from Billboard, who said the song was “a female empowerment anthem about letting go of your defenses and learning how to be vulnerable, especially with those closest to you.”
Minke’s latest single “Maybe 25” was co-written by the up-and-coming British artist and her producer Rory Andrew and the single which pairs Minke’s tender, ethereal and yearning vocals with twinkling piano, reverb drenched guitar chords, thumping beats, brief bits of industrial clang and clatter, and a soaring hook within a song that to my ears makes sonic nods to Adele and London Grammar but with a self assured, effortless yet soulful quality. Interestingly as Minke explains in press notes, the track was written about the emptiness and frustrations of online dating, and the hold technology has over us. “As I started to write, it became less and less about that, and more a general observation on connection. We’ve never been more connected by disconnected at the same time. It’s made us more insular, less open to having a conversation with a stranger and maintaining eye contact for more than a second without looking at your phone. So it’s about longing about something more than that, whatever that is. Something real in a seemingly disposable world. Questioning if that’s still possible. Questioning if it’s got the better of you.”
The up-and-coming British artist is currently working on her debut EP, which is slated for a Fall release, and there are plans for a North American tour to support it but before that I think we’ll be hearing quite a bit more from her.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Welsh-born, London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Sarah Howells, best known as Bryde, and as you may recall Howells quickly exploded into both the British and international scene with the release of “Help Yourself” and several other singles, as they received praise from NylonThe Line of Best Fit and Earmilk and airplay from BBC Radio 6BBC Radio WalesRadio X and Huw Stephens’ BBC Radio 1, thanks in part to a sound that had been compared favorably to Jeff BuckleySharon Van EttenBen Howard and London Grammar — while thematically focusing on complex, ambivalent, and hopelessly entangled relationships among other things.

Howell’s much-anticipated full-length Byrde debut Like an Island is slated for an April 13, 2018 release through Seahorse Music, a label that Howell founded to release records by-like minded women and help them achieve more visibility in a male-dominated industry.  With the 90s alt rock-like, power chord-based “Peace,” Howell further cements her growing reputation for crafting incredibly self-assured, earnest and anthemic songs grounded in the gritty, psychological realism of a woman maneuvering complicated relationships, her own emotions and society’s expectations of her — and while this song sounds as though it draws from PJ Harvey, Howell manages to write material that feels and sounds as though it were based directly from her own life experiences.

“‘Peace’ is about the warm glow of two drinks and real connection with another person,” Howell explains. “It’s about the end of anger and the settling calm after a storm. Being able to be entirely yourself and still be liked. I had to make it the loudest track on the album because if something’s a not a little subversive.”

 

 

 

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New Video: The Sensual Visuals for Bryde’s “Desire”

With the release of “Help Yourself” and several other singles the Welsh-born, London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Sarah Howells, best known as Bryde quickly exploded into both the British and international scene as she received praise from Nylon, The Line of Best Fit and Earmilk and airplay from BBC Radio 6, BBC Radio Wales, Radio X and Huw Stephens’ BBC Radio 1 show for a sound that’s been compared to the likes of Jeff Buckley, Sharon Van Etten, Ben Howard and London Grammar while thematically focusing on complex, ambivalent, and hopelessly entangled relationships.

Now, as you may recall Howell’s “Wouldn’t That Make You Feel Good” was a boozy and woozy dirge in which the Welsh-born, London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist’s aching vocals are paired with bluesy yet shoegazer-leaning power chords reminiscent of  PJ Harvey. Howell promptly followed that up with “Less,” a single that not only continued her ongoing collaboration with singer/songwriter and producer Bill Ryder-Jones but was rooted around a forceful 90s alt rock-leaning song structure, while further cementing her growing reputation for writing unflinchingly honest and vulnerable lyrics.

Howell’s latest single “Desire” was produced by Chris Sorem and mixed by CJ Marks, both of whom have worked with Wolf Alice, PJ Harvey and St. Vincent — and while continuing along a similar vein sonically, as it nods at the blues and 90s alt rock, complete with an anthemic hook, the song manages to possess an urgent yearning, punctuated with the use of a baritone electric guitar.  As Howell explains in press notes, “‘Desire’ is about lust, our need for instant gratification, about desire’s addictive qualities and how they can make us behave.  I was inspired both by the way people have treated me and how I’ve treated others and how I’ve become unrecognisable to myself in the past just to appeal to this side of someone else’s personality.”

Directed by Furball Films’ Rhys Davies and starring Jade Perraton and Kyle Telford, the video features its two actors covered in syrup in a slow dance that vacillates between lustful desire and physical need — but while having a weird push and pull between regret and uncertainty. As the Howell explains in press notes, the video’s concept was inspired “by the symbolism of certain scenes in the movie Under the Skin, where the alien’s victims walk of their own free will into a thick, dark oil and to their demise. When writing the line ‘smother everything,’ I was actually imagining these temptations as a kind of veil that can leave us blind to what’s right and stuck in a cycle,” the Welsh-born, London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist continues. “We’re drawn to sugar coated things that are underneath bad for us. It’s about desires as things or people we want and can’t often resist, despite knowing that they will bring us nothing but regret.” 

With the release of “Help Yourself” and several other singles the Welsh-born, London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Sarah Howells, best known as Bryde quickly exploded into both the British and international scene as she received praise from NylonThe Line of Best Fit and Earmilk and airplay from BBC Radio 6BBC Radio WalesRadio X and Huw Stephens’ BBC Radio 1 show for a sound that’s been compared to the likes of Jeff BuckleySharon Van EttenBen Howard and London Grammar while thematically focusing on complex, ambivalent and hopelessly entangled relationships.

Now, as you may recall Howell’s “Wouldn’t That Make You Feel Good” was a boozy and woozy dirge in which the Welsh-born, London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist’s aching vocals are paired with bluesy yet shoegazer-leaning power chords reminiscent of  PJ Harvey. Howell promptly followed that up with “Less,” a single that not only continued her ongoing collaboration with singer/songwriter and producer Bill Ryder-Jones but was rooted around a forceful 90s alt rock-leaning song structure, while further cementing her growing reputation for writing unflinchingly honest and vulnerable lyrics.

Howell’s latest single “Desire” was produced by Chris Sorem and mixed by CJ Marks, both of whom have worked with Wolf Alice, PJ Harvey and St. Vincent — and while continuing along a similar vein sonically, as it nods at the blues and 90s alt rock, complete with an anthemic hook, the song manages to possess an urgent yearning, punctuated with the use of a baritone electric guitar.  As Howell explains in press notes, “‘Desire’ is about lust, our need for instant gratification, about desire’s addictive qualities and how they can make us behave.  I was inspired both by the way people have treated me and how I’ve treated others and how I’ve become unrecognisable to myself in the past just to appeal to this side of someone else’s personality.”

 

With the release of their first two singles, “Loveless” and “This Is It,” the Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock trio Lo Moon, comprised off Matt Lowell (vocals, guitar), Crisanta Baker (bass, keys) and Sam Stewart (guitar), quickly became one of their hometown’s most buzzed about bands after receiving early praise from the likes of New York Times, NPR Music, V Magazine, KCRWLos Angeles Times, NPR’s World Cafe and others, and they’ve opened for the likes of Phoenix, Glass Animals, The Lemon Twigs, Air, London Grammar and others. Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the band is currently finishing up their Chris Walla and Francois Tetaz-produced full-length debut; but before that, the trio’s latest single “Thorns” is a slow-burning and atmospheric track that sounds indebted to Roxy Music (think of “More Than This” “The Space Between” and “Avalon“), The xx and others.

The band is currently on a lengthy tour that includes a November 6 stop at Rough Trade and a December 15 stop at The Beacon Theatre for WFUV’s Holiday Cheer. Check out tour dates below.

Tour Dates
October 14: Buffalo, NY @ HRVST Festival (w/ Phoenix)
October 15: New Haven, CT @ College Street Music Hall (w/ Phoenix)
October 17: Manchester, UK @ O2 Apollo (w/ London Grammar)
October 18: Leeds, UK @ O2 Academy (w/ London Grammar)
October 20: Manchester, UK @ O2 Apollo (w/ London Grammar)
October 21: London, UK @ Eventim Apollo (w/ London Grammar)
October 23: Birmingham, UK @ O2 Academy (w/ London Grammar)
October 24: Edinburg, UK @ Usher Hall (w/ London Grammar)
October 26: Nottingham, UK @ Rock City (w/ London Grammar)
October 27: Bristol, UK @ Colston Hall (w/ London Grammar)
October 29: Newcastle, UK @ City Hall (w/ London Grammar)
October 30: London, UK @ O2 Brixton Academy (w/ London Grammar)
November 1: Dublin, IE @ Olympia Theatre (w/ London Grammar)
November 2: Belfast, IE @ Waterfront Hall (w/ London Grammar)
November 6: Brooklyn @ Rough Trade (headline)
November 7: Philadelphia @ Boot & Saddle (headline)
November 16: Los Angeles @ The Troubadour (headline)
November 22: Luxembourg @ Rockhal (w/ London Grammar)
November 23: Amsterdam, NL @ AFAS Live (w/ London Grammar)
November 25: Cologne, DE @ Palladium (w/ London Grammar)
November 26: Berlin, DE @ Velodrom (w/ London Grammar)
November 28: Hamburg, DE @ Mehr! Theatre (w/ London Grammar)
November 30: Zurich, CH @ Halle 622 (w/ London Grammar)
December 4: London, UK @ The Lexington (headline)
December 8: Stuttgart, DE @ Liederhalle Hegelsaal (w/ London Grammar)
December 9: Munich, DE @ TonHalle (w/ London Grammar)
December 11: Antwerp, BE @ Lotto Arena (w/ London Grammar)
December 12: Antwerp, BE @ Lotto Arena (w/ London Grammar)
December 15: New York City, NY @ WFUV Holiday Cheer at Beacon Theatre (w/ Jeff Tweedy and more)

ROOKES is the solo recording project of the Birmingham, UK-born, London, UK-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jenny Bulcraig. Over the past seven years, Bulcraig has been honing her craft and developing a virtuoso one-woman show, which has led her to open for the likes of Stealing Sheep, Anna Pancaldi, She Makes War and KT Tunstall — and as you’ll hear on “The Heel of My Hand,” the Birmingham-born, London-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist specializes in brooding yet soaring pop that features a propulsive rhythm and shimmering guitar-based grooves paired with Bulcraig’s mesmerizing vocals. While sonically speaking, Bulcraig’s work is reminiscent of the likes of Bryde and London Grammar, Bulcraig sets herself apart with songwriting that manages to be ambitious and arena rock friendly while possessing an uncanny intimacy.

 

Now if you had been frequenting this site over the last few months of 2016, you’d recall that with the release of “Help Yourself” and several other singles the Welsh-born, London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Sarah Howells, best known as Bryde quickly exploded into both the British and international scene as she received praise from NylonThe Line of Best Fit and Earmilk and airplay from BBC Radio 6BBC Radio WalesRadio X and Huw Stephens’ BBC Radio 1 show for a sound that’s been compared to the likes of Jeff BuckleySharon Van EttenBen Howard and London Grammar while thematically focusing on complex, ambivalent and hopelessly entangled relationships.

Howells’ previous single and her JOVM debut,  “Wouldn’t That Make You Feel Good” was a boozy and woozy dirge in which the Welsh-born, London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist’s aching vocals are paired with bluesy yet shoegazer-leaning power chords reminiscent of  PJ Harvey, in a song that built up into a cathartic and explosive bridge before gently fading out.  Howells’ latest single “Less” continues her successful collaboration with producer Bill Ryder-Jones and it’s a viscerally forceful 90s alt rock-leaning track featuring an alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure with an anthemic and cathartic hook. And while still channeling PJ Harvey, the song also manages to nod at Liz Phair, Hole and others, complete with an unflinching honesty and vulnerability.