Tag: London UK

Live Footage: James Blake Performs “I’ll Come Too” on KRCW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic”

Born the son of musician James Litherland, James Blake is an acclaimed London-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who showed an interest and aptitude in music at a very young age: he received classical piano training as a child, eventually attending Goldsmith, University of London, where he received a degree in Popular Music. While attending Goldsmith, Blake and a friends hosted a series of Bass Society music nights that featured British artists like Distance, Skream and Benga. 

Blake first received recognition for a series of EPs in 2010 — CMYK EP and Klavierwerke and his 2011 self-titled debut, all which were released to critical praise. His sophomore effort, 2013’s Overgrown won that year’s Mercury Prize and a Best New Artist Grammy nomination. 2016’s The Colour in Anything further established Blake’s unique sound and approach, which draws from electronic music, electro pop, R&B and blue-eyed soul. 

Throughout his career, Blake has managed to collaborate with a wide and eclectic variety of contemporary artists including Mount Kimbie, Bon Iver, Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce, Vince Staples, Rosalia, Jay-Z, Oneohtrix Point Never and Frank Ocean — and for his remixes under the moniker Harmonimix. His most recent album, the critically applauded Assume Form finds Blake collaborating with Travis Scott, Metro Boomin, Andre 3000, Moses Sumney, and Rosalia.

Recently, Blake was invited to perform the first-ever live session at KCRW’s brand-new Annenberg Performance Studio. The session aired on KRCW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic hosted by the station’s Musical Director, Jason Bentley.  Joined by his bandmates Rob McAndrews and Ben Assiter, Blake performed material from Assume Form, including the album’s title track, “Barefoot In The Park,” “I’ll Come Too,” and “Don’t Miss It,” as well as a live version of his song “Retrograde” and a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You.” “I’ll Come Too” is a slow-burning and atmospheric track centered around Blake’s ethereal and plaintive vocals, shimmering synths, stuttering beats and a soaring hook — and while   bearing an uncanny resemblance to classical music, the track finds Blake expressing an achingly passionate yearning and vulnerability. 

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Live Footage: JOVM Mainstay Yola Performs “Faraway Look” on “CBS This Morning: Saturday Sessions”

Over the past few months, I’ve written a bit about the rising Bristol, UK-born, London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Yola. And as you may recall, the JOVM mainstay has led a rather remarkable life; the sort of life that I think should eventually be made into an inspiring biopic: Yola grew up extremely poor; but she was fascinated by her mother’s record collection, and by the time she was 4, she knew she wanted to be a performer. Unfortunately, she was actually banned from making music, until she left home. Additionally, she has overcome being in an abusive relationship, stress-induced voice loss and literally being engulfed in flames in house fire, all of which have inspired her Dan Auerbach-produced full-length debut Walk Through Fire, which was released earlier this year through Easy Eye Sound.

The up-and-coming British singer/songwriter has received praise from a number of media outlets both nationally and internationally, including NPR, Rolling Stone, Wall Street Journal, The Tennessean, Refinery 29, Billboard, American Songwriter, BrooklynVegan, Nashville Scene, Paste and Stereogum. But perhaps much more interesting she has opened for James Brown and joined renowned trip hop act Massive Attack before traveling to Nashville to work with Auerbach and a backing band that features musicians, who have worked with Elvis and Aretha Franklin.  

Now, as you may recall, album single “Ride Out in the Country” was a Muscle Shoals-like take on honky tonk country that to my ears recalled Sandra Rhodes’ under-appreciated Where’s Your Love Been. Centered around twangy guitar chords, lap steel guitar, some Rhodes electric organ, a soaring hook and Yola’s easy-going and soulful vocals, the song is an achingly sad breakup song, written from the perspective of someone reeling from a devastating breakup, complete with the recognition that your former lover has moved on and that maybe you should be doing so too — even if it’s profoundly difficult for you. Walk Through Fire‘s latest single is the slow-burning, swooning, Phil Spector Wall of Sound, meets classic Motown Records-like “Faraway Look.” Centered around an old-school arrangement and a soaring hook, the song is roomy enough for Yola’s incredible vocal range to shine. Interestingly, the song is about that precise yet profound and deeply awkward moment when it’s so obvious that you’ve fallen in love with someone that everyone else notices, including your object of affection. And in that peculiar moment, it’s now or never. 

So far this year has been a huge year for the rising Bristol-born, London-based singer/songwriter: she made her New York debut earlier this year at Rockwood Music Hall, played a breakout performance at this year’s SXSW — and she’ll be opening for a number of acclaimed artists including Kacey Musgraves, Lake Street Dive and Andrew Bird on a select series of US tour dates, which will include performances Newport Folk Festival, Hollywood Bowl, Austin City Limits Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors and Brandi Carlile’s Girls Just Wanna Weekend in Mexico. She also made an appearance for Mavis Staples rotating birthday celebration tour. And earlier this year, she made an appearance on CBS This Morning: Saturday Sessions, where the rising JOVM mainstay and her backing band performed a gorgeous live version of “Faraway Look.”

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstay Alice Phoebe Lou Performs “Galaxies” at Berlin’s Zeiss Planetarium for Majestic Casual Sessions

Over the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the  Cape Town, South Africa-born, Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist and JOVM mainstay  Alice Phoebe Lou. And as you may recall, Lou grew up in a very creative home — her parents were documentary filmmakers, who took a young Lou to piano lessons. As a teen, Lou taught herself guitar; but when she turned 16, she went on a life-altering trip to Paris to visit her aunt. While in Paris, armed with an acoustic guitar, the young artist met some of that cit’s buskers and street performers — eventually learning poi dancing from some of them.

After completing her studies, Lou returned to Europe, first landing in Amsterdam, where she made money as a poi dancer. She then relocated to Berlin, where she quickly developed a reputation as a well-regarded busker and for a fierce, punk rock-like DIY approach to her musical career. With the release of 2014’s self-released debut EP, the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist began to receive national and international attention, which resulted in performances at a number of  TED events in London and Berlin during the following year.

Lou’s sophomore effort, 2016’s Orbit was nominated for Best Female Artist at that year’s German Critics’ Choice Awards. And building upon a rapidly growing profile both nationally and internationally, she played at the 27th Annual Conference for the Professional Business Women of California, which featured keynote speakers Venus Williams, Judy Smith, and Memory Banda and shared bills with Sixto Rodriguez, Boy & Bear, and Allen Stone before ending the year with three, sold-out multimedia events at the Berlin Planetarium. (The Berlin Planetarium shows were so popular and in such high demand that she had to add two additional shows there to her tour schedule in 2017.)

Additionally, the live version of “She” amassed over 4 million views on YouTube and was featured in the major motion picture Bombshell: The Heady Lamar Story — all before the studio version of the single was even recorded or released. But for most of 2018, Lou worked on her Noah Georgeson-produced sophomore effort Paper Castles, which was released earlier this year. And as Lou explains, the album is “about nostalgia, about growing into a woman, about the pain and beauty of the past, about feeling small and insignificant but finding that to be powerful and beautiful, about acknowledging that childhood is over but bringing some of it with you.”

“Something Holy,” the album’s first single was a slow-burning 70s AM rock meets 70s soul-like track centered around shimmering guitar line, hushed drumming, a sinuous hook, a psychedelic tinged bridge and Lou’s aching vocals with the song’s narrator taking a deeply introspective and unvarnished look into her complicated relationships with sex, love, men and ultimately, with herself. The song reflects, as Lou explained in press notes, “the moment that I managed to get over the main hurdle of my past traumas with sex, with men and with my own deeper understanding of intimacy and what it means to be intimate.” 

Paper Castles’ latest single is the gorgeous and expansive “Galaxies.” Beginning with a shimmering and spacey introduction and Lou’s plaintive wailing, before the song turns into a spacey 70s jazz funk number, centered by a sultry, reggae-like bass line and a mournful saxophone solo and then morphs back into a shimmering and spacey coda — and while the song seamlessly shifts back and forth in a fashion reminiscent of Heatwave’s “Boogie Nights,” the song is imbued with a cosmic sheen. 

Majestic Casual invited the JOVM mainstay for a live session of “Galaxies” that was fittingly shot at Berlin’s Zeiss Planetarium.  Game of Throes star Maisie Williams opens the live session with a spoken word piece musing on humanity’s place within the cosmos directly inspired by the song. 

Led by founding members, primary songwriters and multi-instrumentalists Andrew Levy and Simon Bartholomew, the commercially and critically successful London-based soul act The Brand New Heavies were at the forefront of Britain’s emergent Acid Jazz movement, alongside the likes of Young Disciples and Grammy Award-winning and multi-BRIT Award-winning act Jamiorquai.

The act began to make waves with the release of their debut single, the celebrated club classic “Got To Give,” which was released through Chrysalis Records. The London-based neo-soul act eventually signed to Acid Jazz Records, who released their applauded self-titled debut album in 1990 across Europe and elsewhere, while the album was picked up in the US by renowned hip-hop label Delicious Vinyl. Now, if you were around in 1990, you may recall their debut album’s Top Three R&B smash-hit “Never Stop,” which led to the album being on the R&B Album charts for the better part of a year — and to the act winning an MTV award for the track. And unsurprisingly, the album may arguably be the most successful of their career, as it went Gold in the UK.

Interestingly, The Brand New Heavies’ full-length debut proved to be both popular and influential in hip-hop circles, and as a result the members of the band have collaborated with an impressive array of hip-hop luminaries including A Tribe Called Quest, and Kool G. Rap, Gang Starr and Main Source for Heavy Rhyme Experience.

The London-based neo-soul act’s follow-up two immediate efforts — 1994’s Brother Sister and 1997’s Shelter — went Platinum, with the act eventually scoring 16 Top 40 hits including “Dream Come True,” “Stay This Way,” “Midnight At The Oasis,” “Sometimes,” and “Dream On Dreamer.

As a result of their massive commercial success in the UK, the band led by Levy and Bartholomew have been lauded by Mark Ronson, who invited the band to play at his 40th birthday celebration. Interestingly, the act’s first bit of new material in five years, “Getaway” finds the act returning to their longtime label home Acid Jazz Records, as well as collaborating with longtime collaborator, vocalist N’Dea Davenport, with whom they’ve earned their biggest charting, best-selling work.

Centered around a warm, disco-influenced groove, a horn line that hints at Cheryl Lynn‘s 1978 disco smash hit “Got To Be Real,” a massive hook, and Davenport’s soulfully sultry vocals, the track is a dance floor friendly escapist fantasy, expressing the desire of getting away from the world and its stresses and routines with a love-interest/lover, and to simply enjoy the moment.

The Brand New Heavies will be playing a number of dates across the UK over the next few month with more dates to be announced soon; but in the meantime, check out the recently announced tour dates below.

TOUR DATES

 

May 24-26 – Upton on Severn, UK – Mello Festival

May 31 – Bedford, UK – Corn Exchange

July 05-8 – Lewes, UK – Love Supreme Festival

July 12-14 – Moseley, UK – Jazz Funk & Soul Festival

July 12-14 Caversham, UK – Readipop Festival

Sept 07 – London, UK – Electric Soul Festival @ 02

New Video: Acclaimed Multi-Continental Pysch Rock Act Flamingods Release a Lysergic Animated Visual for Motorik Groove-Driven Single “Paradise Drive”

Growing up in the Kingdom of Bahrain, Kamal Rasool, the founding member of acclaimed multi-continental-based psych rock act Flamingods has traveled widely to collect rate and unique instruments from Tanzania, the Amazon and elsewhere. When Rasool relocated to London to study music, he recruited a few friends from Bahrain and London to start a band, including the members of the band’s current lineup — Karthik Poduval, Sam Rowe and Charles Prest.  Interestingly, their first live show together was an attention-grabbing show at the 2010 ATP Festival, which quickly led to a national profile.

Building upon a growing profile, the members of Flamingods quickly released two EPs, 2010’s Sun and 2011’s Away. 2013’s full-length debut Sun was a reimagining of the material off the EP of the same name that featured “Quesso,” a collaboration with Ponytail‘s Dustin Wong on lead guitar. Around the time of the album’s release, the British government enacted new visa laws which forced Rasool to return to Bahrain after he finished school. Rasool then moved to Dubai, where he worked for an independent magazine and coffee shop. And although at that point, the members of the band were residing on different continents and unable to play together, they continued to work on new material that eventually wound up becoming their critically applauded Hyperborea, an album that established a globe-spanning take on psychedelia that the band has dubbed “Exotic Psychedelia.”

During the release of Hyperborea, Prest relocated to Dubai to work closely with Rasool. And shortly after that, the members of Flamingods began working on their third full-length album, 2016’s Majesty, an album that was largely inspired by the likes of Les BaxterTito PuenteArthur Lyman and others. Although the album received mixed reviews, it was championed by BBC Radio 6‘s Gilles Peterson and Lauren Laverne, who both invited the band to record live sessions. With Rasool and Prest able to return to the UK, the band was finally able to extensively across the UK and the European Union to support the album, including sets at Green Man Festival, End of the Road Festival, and Fusion Festival.

In February 2017, the band signed with Moshi Moshi Records,who released that year’s Kewali EP and the band toured to support the album, including their SXSW debut. The band also released a remix album of Majesty that featured remixes of album material by Ibibio Sound MachineMeridian Brothers and Oasis‘ Andy Bell. And the band released a Dan Carey-produced live version of “Hyperborea.

Flamingods’ fourth, full-length album Levitation is slated for a May 3, 2019 release through Moshi Moshi Records, and the album is largely inspired by the disco, funk and psychedelic sounds out of the Middle East and South Asia in the ’70s but while channeled through mysticism, positivity and sun-drenched imagery. But perhaps much more important, the Levitation recording sessions found the band living and working on the same continent for the first time in about four years, and as a result, the album’s material may arguably be the most unified effort they’ve written and released in years. The album’s first single “Marigold” was a trippy bit of psych rock centered around a motorik groove, shimmering and arpeggiated synths delivered with a Brit Pop-like swagger. Interestingly, the album’s second single, album opening track “Paradise Drive” continues in a fairly similar vein as its predecessor, complete with a motorik groove, shimmering and arpeggiated synths — but the song may arguably bear the most uncanny resemblance to Evil Heat-era Primal Scream of the entire album with the song sounding like a disco-like “Autobahn 66” meets LCD Soundsystem, thanks to the copious use of cowbell.

Animated by Mien’s John Mark, the recently released video uses the incredibly trippy album artwork created by Indonesian artist Ardneks. “I wanted something that looked like a modern day psychedelic cartoon, but mixed with some vintage, experimental footage to try and create a hybrid that looks part 60’s and part now,” Marks says of the video.

 

Hannah Scott is an Ipswich, UK-born, London, UK-based singer/songwriter, whose work is heavily influenced by a year spent working on an olive press in rural Tuscany, Italy in her late teens.

Several years later, Scott met her collaborator, Italian-born multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Stefano Della Casa when they were both in London, but interestingly enough, they both recognized that they may have encountered each other years earlier, when she used to regularly pass through the train station that Della Casa worked in. When the duo began collaborating, they quickly recognized that they had an incredible connection despite coming from vastly different backgrounds: Della Casa had a difficult upbringing and troubled early adulthood while Scott had been lucky to have a supportive family and happy childhood — although as an adult, Scott was diagnosed with a form of arthritis, which causes severe joint pain and fatigue.

Both artists firmly believe that their musical collaboration has provided an outlet to support each other through difficult times, and the duo have received quite a bit of buzz over the past couple of years: they’ve been featured in MOJO, Songwriting Magazine , Clash Magazine and in The Guardian as a “New Band of The Day.” They’ve also received airplay on  Bob Harris’ and Dermot O’Leary’BBC Radio 2 shows and have been on  BBC Introducing’s “Track of the Week” three times. They’ve opened for  Seth Lakeman and 10cc , and played at Mondo.NYC Festival a couple of years ago.

Last year’s  Pieces of the Night quickly established Scott as one of her country’s emerging singer/songwriters with the album pairing emotive and heartfelt songwriting with a warm and effortless production that meshed organic instrumentation — primarily acoustic guitar, cello and vocals — with atmospheric electronics. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, both Scott and her collaborator Della Casa have signed publishing deals with Ultra Music Publishing and Chelsea Music Publishing respectively.

Scott kicks off 2019 with the gorgeous, Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head-era Coldplay-like “Walk a Wire.” Centered around Scott’s plaintive vocals, a soaring hook and spectral arrangement of acoustic guitar and atmospheric electronics, the song is inspired by a friend of Scott’s, who had a disability and out of fear of rejection and heartbreak, closed herself away. And as a result, the song is a plea to the listener to take a chance and open up to life and possibility.

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the London-based garage punk quartet The Cavemen, and as you may recall, the band can trace its origins to when its founding members, Paul Caveman (vocals), Jack Caveman (guitar, vocals), Nick Caveman (bass) and Jake Caveman (drums) met attending high school in Auckland, New Zealand. Reportedly, the members of the band bonded over a shared love of sniffing glue and wild rock ‘n’ roll. After spending several years drinking and loitering in their hometown’s basements, graveyards and parking lots, they honed their sound, eventually spending the better part of 2014-2015 recording their full-length debut. Interestingly, their debut album received attention locally for their ability to craft furious, face-melting power chord-based punk, inspired by The Ramones, The CrampsThe Stooges, and The MC5. Thematically, the material found the band making references about grave-robbing, necrophilia and other perverse, Troma Films-inspired shit but with a sneering sense of humor.

Just two weeks before the band was about to relocate to London, they went on a national graveyard tour that became infamous for its tackiness and for being ill-fated: the band’s Nick Caveman died in a tragic car accident, which forced the cancellation of the rest of the tour. Since then, Dirty Water Records released their debut across the European Union and elsewhere — and as a result of album single “Stand By Your Ghoul” and their “Burn Out For Love” 7 inch, the now London-based received international attention for boozy and filthy punk rippers.

They built upon their growing reputation for old-school-inspired punk rippers with the release of last year’s Nuke Earth and the “Lowlife” 7 inch, which featured the Johnny Thunders‘ “Born to Lose,” Highway to Hell-era AC/DC and New York Dolls-like “Lowlife.” Interestingly, this year has been a rather busy year for the London-based punk rockers, as they quickly followed the “Lowlife” 7 inch with the breakneck, filthy, troglodyte stomp of “My Baby Knows.” Centered by buzzing power chords, a rousing, mosh pit friendly hook, shouted vocals and a boozy Chuck Berry-like solo, the track is frenzied and furious take on ’77 era punk, compete with Troma Films-like lyrics.

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Acclaimed Japanese Punk Act Releases Cinematic Visuals for Blistering “datsu hike no onna”

Over the past few months of this year, I’ve written a bit about the  Kyoto, Japan-based garage punk act Otoboke Beaver (おとぼけビ~バ~ in Japanese), and as you may recall the act which is comprised of Accorinrin (vocals, guitar), Yoyoyoshie (guitar, vocals), Hirochan (bass, vocals) and Kahokiss (drums, vocals) can trace their origins to when they all were members of Kyoto University’s music club.

Shortly after their formation, the quartet quickly received attention both locally and nationally for pairing incredibly dexterous musicianship with their frontwoman’s confrontational stage presence. Interestingly, when  Damnably Records released the Okoshiyasu!! Otoboke Beaver compilation, the Kyoto-based punk act began receiving airplay internationally from BBC Radio 6′Gideon Coe and Tom RavenscroftXFM’s John Kennedy, as well as praise from the likes of PitchforkNPRi-Dand The Fader.

Building upon a rapidly growing international profile, the members of the band made critically applauded and attention-grabbing appearances at SXSW and FujiRock Festival, played a sold out show at London‘s 100 Club — and their Love Is Short 7 inch charted in the UK for 4 weeks. Last year, the band went on a tour of the UK that was bookmarked by slots at Coachella.

The band’s newest album ITEKOMA HITS is slated for an April 26, 2019 release through their longtime label home Damnably Records, and from the album’s first three singles “Anata Watashi Daita Ato Yome No Meshi,” “Don’t light my fire” and “I’m tired of repeating your story” the Japanese band revealed that their specialized in feral and defiantly feminist rippers that drew from noise punk, no wave, prog rock and riot grrrl punk, centered around blistering power chords, rapid-fire chord progressions and tempo changes and shouted lyrics. The album’s fourth and latest single “datsu, hike no onna” continues in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor — furious, straightforward punk that bristles with discontent and frustration.

Directed by Haruka Mitani, the video for “datsu, hike no onna” marks an important first for the band — the first time they’ve collaborated with a female director. Shot in gorgeously cinematic 8mm film, the video focuses on a woman who is seemingly suffering from bipolar disorder — at one point manic and joyous, at another point murderous. Interestingly, as the band’s Accorinrin explains, the song “is a second woman’s song similar as my previous song’s themes. hikage no onna means woman in the shadows. It can be [a] metaphor for a mistress, an ‘illegitimate’ woman or a woman without a bubbly, outgoing personality. The message of this song is lamenting the oppression of being a woman in the shadows and about getting out from this suffering.”