Tag: London UK

Vice Beats is a Bristol UK-based producer, who has released material as a solo artist alongside collaborations with the likes of Gardna, Great Scott, Panacea, Replife, The Scribes through his own label EQ Music. Through a series of various collaborative projects, Vice Beats has shared stages with Scroobius Pip, Speech Debelle, Lazy Habits and Paper Tiger among others.

Dilla: The Timeless Tribute, the Bristol-based producer and artist’s forthcoming album is the culmination of over six years of work: As the story goes, after hearing “Suite For Ma Dukes” by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Vice Beats was inspired to create his own tribute to the legendary and beloved J. Dilla by crafting compositions that meshed classical, hip-hop, soul and jazz. Featuring a eclectic cast of musicians and artist from all around the world, brought together through their collective love of Dilla and hip-hop, the album finds the rising British producer and artist teaming up with Don’t Sleep’s Audiosnax (vocal cuts, production), Greg Blackman (vocals), Thalassic (sax, flute), Vince Martin (violin) Brotherman, Jaz Kahina, Nutty P, Oracy, Habitus,  Joe Publik, Soundsci‘s Audessy, Distantstarr, Risskant, Toddy and a list of folks from the US, Australia, Brazil, Holland and elsewhere taking some well-loved Dilla compositions and creating new compositions or reworking material through a variety of styles. Reportedly, the album which is slated for a February 7, 2020 release through HHV and Fat Beats — on what would have been J. Dilla’s 46th birthday — has created a bit of buzz among tastemakers as being a highly original take on Dilla’s work, making it a cliche-defying tribute album.

Of course, all the proceeds from the album will be going to the Detroit-based James Dewitt Yancey Foundation, an organization that works with young musicians, offering them musical opportunities — while continuing to build upon Dilla’s legacy. Interestingly, the foundation is also close to Vice Beats’ heart, as the Bristol-based producer and artist has an extensive background in community youth music work in the UK.

Dilla: The Timeless Tribute‘s latest single is the upbeat yet thoughtful “Bring It Back.” Centered around Vice Beats’  J. Dilla-inspired rework, which features tweeter and woofer rocking beats and a soulful vocal sample, the track finds the Bristol-based producer collaborating with two London-based emcees Jaz Kahina and Nutty P. Throughout the song, the emcees reminiscing about their past while exploring their relationship with discovering self-love and acceptance. Of course, naturally the song — naturally — find the pair of emerging London-based emcees openly talking about Dilla’s massive influence on them and on hip-hop in general. But more importantly, the song is rooted in the sort of much-needed, hard-fought and harder-won experience and wisdom that you generally won’t hear in our age of increasingly superficial, prepackaged, mainstream music.

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New Video: JOVM Mainstays Yumi Zouma Releases a Gorgeous and Heartfelt Visual for Shimmering Pop Confection “Cool For A Second”

Originally formed in  Christchurch, New Zealand, the internationally acclaimed synth pop act Yumi Zouma, currently features members spread out across the globe with Josh Burgess (guitar, vocals) based in New York, Charlie Ryder (guitar, bass, keys) based in London and Christie Simpson (vocals, keys) based in Christchurch. Writing and recording by email out of necessity, the band initially wasn’t meant to be a live project but over the years, they’ve received praise across the blogosphere and international outlets for a breezy yet bittersweet, 80s synth pop inspired sound centered around Christie Simpson’s ethereal and achingly tender vocals.

Now, as you may recall, the acclaimed indie electro pop act signed to Polyvinyl Record Co. late last year, and to celebrate the occasion, they released the self-produced single “Right Track/Wrong Man,” an upbeat, disco-tinged meditation on the closure gained by accepting that it’s time to move on and forward. Yumi Zouma begin 2020 with the announcement that the band will be releasing their highly-anticipated third full-length album, the self-produced Truth or Consequence on March 13, 2020 through their new label home. Thematically, the album focuses on distance — both real and metaphorically, with the album’s material touching upon romantic and platonic heartbreak, real and imagined emotional distance, disillusionment and being out of reach. 

Interestingly, along with the announcement of their third album, the JOVM mainstays released their latest single, Truth or Consequence’s first official single “Cool For A Second.”  Christie Simpson’s ethereal, wisp-like vocals effortlessly glide over softly padded beats and shimmering synth arpeggios and soaring hooks. While being simultaneously melancholy and hopeful, the song is centered around the idea that life doesn’t always provide answers nor closure and captures the release that comes from saying the truth — even if only to oneself.   

Yumi Zouma’s Charlie Rider explains in press notes that the song was almost scrapped for a B-side before becoming a single. “The song was demoed in Los Angeles and then long forgotten, destined for the scrap heap. A spark of inspiration from Josh in the introduction reestablished that for us, the most conspicuous of melodies are often hidden in modest beginnings.”

Directed by Nick Mckk, the recently released video for “Cool For A Second” stars Benji Mazzone and Yumi Zouma’s Christie Simpson. Fittingly, the cinematically shot accompanying video seems to recall classic 80s movies — but with a seemingly soft focus.  Centered around the central pair of the boy and woman, we see a relationship that’s profoundly affectionate, intimate and familiar. Throughout, there’s a sense that they’re dealing with something monumental in which there’s no real closer — and yet, they have each other to lean on. 

New Video: Introducing the Shimmering and Infectious Retro-futuristic Pop of London’s Planet 1999

Planet 1999 is a rapid rising London-based trio that specializes in melancholic yet dance floor friendly songs that mesh elements of 90s shoegaze with bubble gum pop, at points referencing Cocteau Twins, labelmate Hannah Diamond and others. Since their debut last year, the members of Planet 1999 have been busy: the trio co-wrote and co-produced Charli XCX’s “February 2017” off her most recent album Charli; played their live debut with Hannah Diamond; and they’ve been busy putting the finishing touches upon their forthcoming — and highly-anticipated — debut EP Devotion which is slated for release on March 6, 2020.

Their debut single “Spell” was a more of a slow-burning ballad; however, the London-based trio’s latest single “Party” is a decidedly upbeat track, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping boom-bap beats, plaintive and ethereal vocals and an infectious hook. Simultaneously recalling Stereo MCs and JOVM mainstays Yumi Zouma, the track is a dance floor friendly, sugary pop confection that the band says is an ode to “taking a break from a party to go outside and look at the stars.”  

The recently released video by Aidan Zamiri and Eamonn Freel, features the members of the rapidly rising London-based act and cameos from PC Music label head A.G. Cook and Zippy, the band’s mascot designed by visual artist Leon Sandler. The video finds the members of the band performing in and exploring surreal yet evolving 3D landscapes created by Eammon Freel. Much like its accompanying song, the video is mischievously anachronistic, bringing to mind synth pop and dance music videos from the late 80s and early 90s. “We wanted to make a video that felt as cool and surreal as the song,” explains director Aidan Zamiri. “I think it’s the perfect starting point to enter the world of Planet 1999”. 

Earlier this month, I wrote about JackLNDN, a rapidly rising London-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer, who can trace the origins of his music career to when he was a boy: he grew up in a hone in which his family almost exclusively to jazz, funk and classical music in equal measure. When he was 7, he sang in professional choirs — and by the time, he was 10, he had met Queen Elizabeth and recorded material at Abbey Road Studios.

With the release of attention grabbing tracks like “The Feels,” “Never Get Enough,” “Start Over Again” and “All I See,” the British electronic music artist and producer established a unique sound and approach in electronic music/deep house: he contributes his own vocals to his productions, which are frequently indebted to jazz and house music. Building upon a growing profile in electronic music circles, the British artist and producer released his full-length debut Thoughts last year.

Now, as you may recall, since the release of his full-length debut, JackLNDN enlisted two of his favorite electronic music artists and producers — Fluida and Frameworks — to remix two of Thoughts songs. Fluida’s euphoric, drum ‘n’ bass-leaning remix of “With You” was centered around propulsive tribal beats while retaining the shimmering synth arpeggios, gorgeous melody and sinuous hook. Thoughts track “Unknown” was centered around shimming and arpeggiated keys, thumping polyrhythm, a trippy vocal melody and a crowd pleasing populist vibe. Interestingly, Frameworks’ remix of “Unknown” features layers of shimmering synth arpeggios, chiming percussion — and while retaining familiar elements of the original, it gives the song a mediative, world music feel.

 

 

New Video: Aussie Punk Trio The Chats Release a Mischievous Visual for Mosh Pit Ripper “The Clap”

Coolum, Australia-based punk trio The Chats — Eamon Sandwith (vocals, bass), Josh Price  (guitar, vocals) and Matt Boggis (drums) — can trace its origins back to when its members started the band in their friend’s bong shed back in 2016, when the band’s members were still in high school. 2017 saw the release of their debut EP, Get This In Ya, which the band recorded in four hours. The following year,  the band quickly rose to national and international attention with the release of “Smoko” and its accompanying video. Dave Grohl loved the video for “Smoko” so much that he wound up showing it to Josh Homme, who then asked the Aussie punk trio to open for Queens of the Stone Age during their Australian tour that year.

The Chats also won the attention of the legendary Iggy Pop, who asked the band to open for him during his Australian tour last year. (Reportedly, he peppered the band with questions like “What’s a smoko?” and “What’s a dart?”) Adding to a momentous year, the band toured across Australia, the UK and their first Stateside shows — with their Los Angeles show being attended by Home, Grohl and Arctic Monkeys’ frontman Alex Turner. They closed out last year with a return UK tour, selling out London’s O2 Forum. 

Understandably, the past couple of years have been a whirlwind for the rapidly rising Aussie punk trio: the band has spent that time balancing touring, writing songs and whenever their gigs took them to Victoria, stopping by engineer Billy Gardner’s Geelong-based studio to recording the material they had written. And as a result, it took the band 18 months to record their highly-anticipated full-length debut High Risk Behaviour, which is slated for a March 27, 2020 release through the band’s own Bargain Bin Records/Cooking Vinyl Australia. “If we’d just done a week and slogged it out we could have had an album before now but we just kept going in there and making newer and better songs so it’s hard to put a stop on it,” the band’s Sandwith says in press notes. “Some of the songs were first-take and we were like, ‘That’s good, whatever’ We’re really not perfectionists.” (Interestingly, although, the band found themselves in the middle of a bidding war between a couple of major labels, they were determined to continue to do everything their own way, steadfastly maintaining the DIY ethos they started with.) 

The Aussie punk act’s full-length debut, derives its title from personal experience: the band’s Matt Boggis has routinely been hassled by local police for skating in places he shouldn’t be — and he’d frequently get tickets listening the offense as “High Risk Behaviour.” The album’s 14 songs clock in at a total of 28 minutes with about half of its songs not even reaching the two-minute mark. ““I don’t want to make the songs boring, so I just keep them short and sweet,” Sandwith says of their creative process. “We try not to think about it or complicate it too much. You don’t want to force it or the song’s going to turn out crap.” Reportedly, the end result features  material that’s centered around a three-chords-is-probably-one-too-many approach, Sandwith’s partially spoken, partially  sung vocals while displaying youthful exuberance and drunken rowdiness. (Yes, in some way, FIDLAR does come to mind — but Aussies are crazier.) “I think they’re good songs,” says Sandwith. “And at the end of the day, if I like it then fuck it, who cares if other people do?”

Clocking in at a little over two minutes, High Risk Behaviour’s latest single “The Clap” is a cretinous bit of punk rock, centered around scuzzy power chords, shouted call and response vocals and a mosh pit friendly hook that makes the band — and in turn, the song  — sound indebted to to ’77 era punk, complete with a snotty, zero fucks given air. Featuring the band’s Josh Price taking on vocal duties, the song is a mosh pit friendly ripper that’s partially a cautionary tale about a sexual encounter gone very wrong and a sexually transmitted infection that’s painful and just doesn’t seem to leave. 

Directed by Matt Weston, the recently released video for “The Clap” finds the band’s Price heading to the clinic in severe pain. Of course, while trying to get treatment, the doctors are completely disgusted by Price’s condition. But they find the time to treat him — in a  way that seems painful, repulsive and absurd. Much like the song itself, the video is fucking hilarious. 

Born in Beirut, Lebanon to an Irish-American father and a British mother, who was of Arabic and Italian origin, singer/songwriter and actor Michael Malarkey grew up in Yellow Springs, OH. He  eventually relocated to London, where he studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. As the story goes, while studying acting and drama, Malarkey began to immerse himself in music and songwriting, which he found to be a form of poetic journalism and an endless journey of self-discovery.  Interestingly, although Malarkey may be best known for playing Enzo in CW‘s The Vampire Diaries and Captain Michael Quinn in the History Channel‘s Robert Zemeckis-executive produced Project Blue Bookhe has managed to simultaneously carve out a separate career as a singer/songwriter.

Malarkey’s full-length debut 2017’s Mongrels was released through Cap on Cat Records to critical applause from MetroBillboard, Classic Rock, and The Guardian. The album’s material thematically explored the duality of his nature and that of human nature in general. Recorded by Malarkey along with Tom Tapley and Brandon Bush in Atlanta, and from album title track “Mongrel,” the material possesses a subtle old-school Nashville/country vibe that further emphasizes the introspective nature of the song and of the album’s material.

Malarkey’s sophomore full-length album Graveracer is slated for a February 10, 2020 release through Cap on Cat Records/Kartel Music Group.  The album’s material was written in 2018 in Puerto Rico and Vancouver while the singer/songwriter and actor was working on the 50 Cent-produced crime drama The Oath and Project Blue Booth. That period was one of a physical and emotional turbulence: Malarkey, along with the cast and crew were evacuated from Puerto Rico during the build up of Hurricane Maria. And understandably, that experience has reportedly bled into the material’s lyrical imagery. “During the time I was working on the record, I escaped two hurricanes – as well as a third, I suppose, my own personal one. This record is my Odyssey in a way. It’s the journey back home after being ravaged in the seas of your own mind and finding the strength to carry on after the storm. I was left with a feeling of freedom and I found it through these songs,” the singer/songwriter and actor says in press notes.

Recorded at Sheffield, UK-based Tesla Studios and co-produced by Michael Malarkey and singer/songwriter A.A. WilliamsGraveracer is reportedly centered around a straightforward, heartfelt honesty in its songwriting and tone with the material being reflective without leaning on nostalgia and forward-thinking without being urgent; in fact, it’s rooted in the present, as a portrait of one complex and flawed person, as a work in progress — as we all are.

“Shake the Shiver,” Graveracer‘s latest single is a sparse and brooding single, centered around Malarkey’s sonorous baritone,  atmospheric synths, a simple yet propulsive backbeat, a sinuous bass line, strummed guitar and a razor sharp hook. And while recalling Daughn Gibson and Jace Everett, the track manages to be seductive yet full of a dark and creeping, existential dread.

 

 

JackLNDN is a rapidly rising London-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer. who can trace the origins of his music career to when he was a boy: he grew up in a hone in which his family almost exclusively to jazz, funk and classical music in equal measure. When he was 7, he sang in professional choirs — and by the time, he was 10, he had met Queen Elizabeth and recorded material at Abbey Road Studios.

With the release of attention grabbing tracks like “The Feels,” “Never Get Enough,” “Start Over Again” and “All I See,” the British electronic music artist and producer firmly established a unique sound and approach in electronic music/deep house: he frequently pairs his own vocals with productions that are simultaneously indebted to jazz and house music. Along with a series of successful remixes, JackLNDN’s work has amassed millions of streams. Adding to a growing profile, the rising British artist and producer released his self-released full-length debut Thoughts last year.

Since the release of his full-length debut, JackLNDN has followed up by enlisting two of his favorite electronic music artists, electronic music producers and fellow Brits — Fluida and Frameworks — to remix two of Thoughts songs. Album single “With You” is a sultry and summery track centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, thumping beats, the British producer’s plaintive and ethereal vocals and a sinuous yet crowd pleasing hook. Sonically, the song — to my ears, at least — brings Octo Octa‘s Between Two Selves and Giorgio Moroder to mind.

Clocking in at a little over seven minutes, Fluida’s remix is centered around propulsive tribal beats while retaining the shimmering synth arpeggios, the gorgeous melody and sinuous hooks of the original; however, the remix turns the song into a euphoria-inducing drum ‘n’ bass meets tribal house instrumental.

 

 

 

Live Footage: Yola on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

Throughout the course of the past year, I’ve written quite a bit about the Grammy Award-nominated Bristol, UK-born, London-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and JOVM mainstay Yola. The Grammy Award-nominated JOVM mainstay has led a remarkable life — the sort that I’ve long thought should be made into an inspiring biopic, like What’s Love Got To Do With It: She grew up extremely poor — and fascinated by her mother’s record collection. And by the time she turned four, she knew she wanted to be a performer. Unfortunately, she was banned from making music, until she left home. She has also overcome being in an abusive and dysfunctional relationship, stress-induced voice loss and literally walking through fire, as a result of a house fire. All of this inspired and informed her Dan Auerbach-produced full-length debut Walk Through Fire, which was released earlier this year through Easy Eye Sound.

2019 has been a breakthrough year for the Bristol-born, London-based JOVM mainstay with an incredible array of career highlights that included:

playing a breakout performance at this year’s SXSW
making her New York debut earlier this year at Rockwood Music Hall
playing a live session for YouTube at YouTube Space New York 
opening for a list of acclaimed artists including Kacey Musgraves, Lake Street Dive and Andrew Bird on a select series of US tour dates that featured stops at Newport Folk Festival, Hollywood Bowl, Austin City Limits Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors 
making her nationally televised debut on CBS This Morning: Saturday Sessions
and of course, as I mentioned earlier, the JOVM mainstay recently received a Grammy nomination for Best Artist, along with fellow JOVM mainstays The Black Pumas. 
Adding to a big year, Yola made her late night national television debut last night, performing the swooning and gorgeous album single “Faraway Look” on Jimmy Kimmel Live!  Interestingly, over the past year, the country soul singer/songwriter has made a soulful — and just flat out amazing — cover of Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” one of my favorite Elton John songs, a staple of her live show. Yola performed that as well. I think the live footage will serve as a great taste of her live show. 

Ollie Trevers is an emerging London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who started writing and performing music when he was 14. Like countless other young people, Trevers harbored artistic aspirations from the very beginning.

While studying at Leeds College of Music, Trevers joined a band then known as The Doldrums — they’re now known as Velvit — as the band’s lead singer and rhythm guitarist. The band wound up playing gigs in and around the Leeds area but while earning a masters at ICMP, Trevers decided it was time to spent out into the limelight as a solo artist, writing and recording his solo debut, last year’s Saucy Naughty Rubbish EP, an effort that found the London-based singer/songwriter crafting a sound that drew equally from classic rock and post-punk.

Around the same time, Trevers started to receive film industry work, eventually writing period specific songs for the feature film Funny Cow and publishing music to be used in the feature film Burning MenSince then he was commissioned to write the score and the soundtrack album for the upcoming feature film Cordelia. And after completing his masters, Trevers has begun to refocus his efforts into his solo career, including recruiting a backing band, which has started to play gigs in and around London.

Trevers’ recently released, five song EP Cordelia finds the emerging British singer/songwriter and guitarist expanding upon the sound of his debut, with the new EP’s material inspired by Led Zeppelin, Ella Fitzgerald, Edith Piaf, Tim Buckley, Jeff Buckley, Pink Floyd, Queen, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell and David Bowie among others. And as a result, the material’s overall sound touches upon punk, alt rock, prog, blues, folk and psych rock. Thematically, the material touches upon heartache, melancholia, catharsis and emotional claustrophobia — and the feelings which often transcend our ability to accurately describe them. Additionally, the material finds the emerging British singer/songwriter and guitarist exploring unrequited love and its causes and effects — depression, addiction, disillusionment and longing.

The EP’s latest single is the oceanic “Can’t Make It Up.” Centered around fuzzy power chords, Trevers plaintive and expressive vocals and an enormous, arena rock friendly hook, the expansive song sonically nods at alt rock, the blues, psych rock, folk and Brit Pop in a way that reminds me of Love Is Here-era Starsailor and The Verve.  “‘Can’t Make It Up’ was written as a result of a  rather turbulent period in my life,” Trevers says in press notes. “I think a lot of people have expressed a similar despondency, and I’m really happy that I managed to find a way to share that in my music . . . especially as I sometimes find it too hard to write about things that are personal.”