Tag: London UK

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.” 

Late last month, I wrote about Kalli Ma, an up-and coming, London-based electro pop production and artist duo, who with the release of their debut single  “Promises,,” quickly received attention across the UK and elsewhere, as the single revealed that the duo’s signature sound has been largely inspired by  techno, minimal wave and post punk. And as you may recall, their latest single “High Shot” found the duo employing both analog and digital synthesizers in a propulsive and kaleidoscopic, club banger, reminiscent of Soft Metals‘ Lenses, Factory Floor, Simian Mobile Disco, The Chemical Brothers and others, complete with layers of arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and a sinuous and sultrily sung hook.

Building upon the buzz they’ve received across the UK and elsewhere, the duo enlisted British producer Bird of Paradise to remix the song and while retaining the propulsive, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and arpeggiated synths and sultry hook of the original, the remix turns the song into an industrial house-leaning track full of the enormous clang and clatter of Kraftwerk’s “Metal on Metal” while expanding the song’s motorik-like groove and adding some cosmic ray bursts to the proceedings.

Throughout the course of the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about Geowulf, a dream pop duo, comprised of Noosa, Australia-born, longtime friends, Star Kendrick and Toma Benjamin. And although the duo currently split their time between London, UKGothenburg, Sweden, Berlin, Germany and Australia, the duo have known each other since the were teenagers; but their musical collaboration began in earnest when Kendrick, whose parents were also musicians, began to serious pursue music a few years ago and enlisted the help of Benjamin to flesh out her earliest demos.

After a string of successful, critically applauded singles including “Saltwater,” a track that received over 1 million Spotify streams and reached Hype Machine‘s top ten before breaking at #4 on Spotify’s US Viral Charts,  “Don’t Talk About You,” which seemed to channel Mazzy Star covering  Fleetwood Mac but with a lovelorn ache, and the Phil Spector meets Still Corners “Drink Too Much” among others, the critically applauded blogosphere darlings recently announced that their highly-anticipated Duncan Mills-produced full-length debut Great Big Blue is slated for a February 16, 2018 release through 37 Adventures Records. Along with that they released their latest single, the first official single from the forthcoming album, the shuffling, 60s girl group pop-like single “Hideaway,” which pairs Kendrick’s sultry cooing with a lushly layered production featuring jangling guitar chords, shimmering strings, a propulsive backbeat and soaring hooks. Unsurprisingly, there’s a careful and deliberate attention to craft that brings to mind the aforementioned Phil Spector but with subtle, modern flourishes.

Much like the duo’s previously released singles, the duo’s latest single focuses on the complications, frustrations and aches of romantic relationships — in this case, as the duo notes, “The song is about feeling like you’ve been completely transparent with someone only to realize they haven’t truly let you in.” And as a result, the song bristles with a bitter sense of betrayal and confusion underneath the gleaming and upbeat surface.

Live Footage: Wolf Alice Performs “Sadboy” on “Late Night with Stephen Colbert”

Currently comprised of founding members Ellie Roswell (vocals, guitar) and Jeff Oddie (guitar, vocals), with Theo Ellis (bass) and Joel Amey (drums, vocals), the London-based indie rock quartet Wolf Alice can trace they origins to when its founding members began the act back in 2010 as an acoustic act. After a period of time, the band’s founding duo decided to add more electric elements to their sound, and they recruited Roswell’s childhood friend Sadie Cleary (bass) and Oddie’s friend George Barlett (drums) to join the band. With the original lineup, the quartet released their self-titled EP, which featured singles “Every Cloud,” “Wednesday,” and “Destroy Me,” and they released a video for “Wednesday.”

2012 saw massive lineup changes for the band — Barlett broke his wrist in 2012 with Joel Amey initially joining as temporary member, who later became a permanent member. Also that year, Cleary left the band to focus on her studies, and the band recruited Theo Ellis to replace her. Despite the lineup changes, the band released “Leaving You,” which wound becoming a viral hit, as it received airplay on BBC Radio 1 and was featured in NME‘s Radar section. Building upon the buzz they received nationally, the quartet toured with Peace, and they began the following year with a session for Huw Stephens’ BBC Radio 1 show.
Since then the quartet have released two EP’s 2013’s Blush and 2014’s Creature Song and two full-length albums — 2015’s critically applauded and commercially successful My Love Is Cool, which featured the Grammy Nominated-single “Moaning Lisa Smile,” a track that peaked at #9 on Billboard‘s Alternative Songs Chart, and their sophomore effort Visions of a Life, which was released earlier this year, and as you may recall I wrote about album single “Heavenward,” a lush, shoegazer single that reminded me of A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve.

The British indie rock quartet are about to embark on a short North American tour, which will feature a December 4, 2017 date at Brooklyn Steel, but before that they made an appearance on Late Night with Stephen Colbert, where they performed the jangling and anthemic album single “Sadboy,” with a swaggering self-assuredness while finding the band gently expanding upon the sound that has won them international attention — the song still nods at A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve; however, to my ears, there’s a subtle hint at Siouxsie and the Banshees and others. 

New Video: Up-and-Coming, British, Electronic Duo Kalli Ma Releases Kaleidoscopic Visuals for Propulsive, Club Banger “High Shot”

Kalli Ma is an up-and-coming, London-based electro pop production and artist duo, who have received attention across the UK with the release of their debut single “Promises,” an attention grabbing single that revealed that the British duo’s signature sound inspired by techno, minimal wave and post punk. The duo’s latest single “High Shot,” which sees the band employing the use of both analog and digital synthesizers in a propulsive, kaleidoscopic and club banger that’s reminiscent of Soft Metals’ Lenses, Factory Floor, Simian Mobile Disco, The Chemical Brothers and others, complete with layers of arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and a sinuous and sultrily sung hook. 

Directed by Katia Ganfield, the recently released video follows actor Alexander Arnold, best known for roles in British shows like Skins, My Cousin Rachel and The Salvation through a wild and trippy day around London with stops at several bars and pubs, including one where he just misses encountering the members of Kalli Ma. 

New Video: Benin City Releases a Poignant Ode to London’s Disappearing Nightlife Scene

Comprised of Joshua Idehen (vocals, spoken word), Shanaz Dorsett (vocals) and multi-instrumentalist Tom Leaper, the London-based trio Benin City have received both national and international attention for a sound that meshes Afro-pop, hip-hop, spoken word and electronica in a seamless, club banging fashion. Interestingly, the trio’s forthcoming sophomore effort Last Night is slated for a April 6, 2018 release through Moshi Moshi Records, and the album reportedly is an ode to London’s nightlife and club scenes with the trio commenting on what their hometown’s nightlife scene has meant to them while expressing anger, frustration and weariness over a rapidly disappearing scene. 

Certainly, as a New Yorker with some of my favorite venues and bars seemingly every few weeks, it leaves larger universal questions– what does it mean for your hometown and its culture? With nightlife being both an escape from the daily grind and its increasing horror, and a way for weird kids to find a supportive, loving, alternative family, it leaves some universal questions for anyone who loves nightlife and/or clubbing — namely, what does it mean for my city culturally and spiritually for these places to disappear because of gentrification? With a significant portion of the nightlife scene, they’ve found the supportive and loving family that has eluded them their entire lives, where do they find that sense of belonging and purpose — if their favorite club or bar closes? 

With each individual member of Benin City spending the past decade of their lives in London’s nightlife scene as artists, ravers, bartenders, bouncers, bar backs and scenesters, drinkers and partiers, the album’s material emphasizers a larger sense of inconsolable loss. As the trio’s Joshua Idehen explains, “London nightlife has been our way out, our release, our daily escape. We’ve been clubbers, barmen, part / full-time drinkers. We’ve served cocktails and downed shots. We’ve found ourselves on dancefloors and lost our dinners on nightbusses. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve engaged in dumb drunken squabbles and we’ve found ourselves in strangers’ houses. We’ve danced to songs we didn’t know the name of. We made landmarks out of hidden corners of London: Passing Clouds, Ghetto, Trash Palace, Plastic People, Vibe Bar, Cable, Crucifix Lane. Those places, and the stories they held are gone for good as London becomes pricier and ever more grey. On this album are some of those stories: this is an ode to London’s nightlife.”

Last Night’s latest single “All Smoke, No Fire” consists of a minimalist, propulsive and club banging production featuring stuttering beats, an eerily repetitive and chiming synth line and an enormous yet sinuous hook over which Idehen and Dorsett rhyme about prototypical club situations and while noting that there’s a sense of needing nightlife to survive with one’s dignity and sanity intact even if the bouncer is an asshole or someone spilled their drink on you; but underneath that there’s a sense of anger and frustration over another beloved place disappearing forever.  

Directed by Shaun Grant, the recently released video foe “All Smoke, No Fire” features nighttime footage of the London area and friends of the trio meeting in front of closed clubs, beloved landmarks and libraries, with the some of their friends speaking about the loss of their scene with a poignant and devastating honesty. 

New Video: The Psychedelic Visuals and Jangling Sounds of Up-and-Coming London-based Act Tempesst

Comprised of siblings Toma Banjanin (vocals, guitar) and Andy Banjanin (drums), along with Eric Weber (guitar) and Kane Reynolds (keys), the Australian-born, London-based members of Tempesst have had what may be a breakthrough year: they’ve made appearances at some of the UK’s most renowned showcases, including The Great Escape, NME Awards, Live at Leeds; several festivals, including Bushstock, Southsea Fest and Hackney Wonderland; as well as opening sets for Mystery Jets, The Veils, Albert Hammond, Jr., GUM and The Temper Trap. And with a growing profile, the band released their debut EP Adult Wonderland to critical applause from Noisey, DIY, NME, Drowned in Sound, The Line of Best Fit, Clash Magazine and airplay from Lauren Laverne’s BBC Radio 6 show and Maz Tappuni’s Radio X show, Communion Presents. 

And from Adult Wonderland’s latest single “Feel Better,” the up-and-coming London-based band specialize in a jangling, 70s AM radio-inspired psych folk with enormous, and anthemic hooks and some impressive guitar work that’s reminiscent of Tame Impala and Drakkar Nowhere, complete with a deceptively easy-going breeziness that belies the material’s craft. Interestingly enough, the song bristles with an underlying bitter frustration.  As the band’s Toma Benjamin explains in press notes, “I wrote ‘Feel Better’ about the mindless rhythm of working all week and then partying all weekend. A lot of my friends and I have done it for years. Each month just blurs into a series of highs and lows. I guess I wrote this song about realising the monotony of it all. It’s actually a bit sad when you think about it.” 

Directed by the band’s Andy Banjanin, the recently released video for “Feel Better” follows the band members through a kaleidoscopic and almost Biblical journey of self-discovery in which they eat some forbidden fruit, descend and ascend from a metaphorical hell and metaphorical heaven. And fitting with the overall aesthetic, the video is hot in a fashion that nods at movies from the early 70s. 

With the release of her self-titled, full-length debut earlier this year through Smalltown Supersound, the London-based electronic music artist and producer Kelly Lee Owens has quickly exploded into the international scene, as she’s received attention from the likes of Pitchfork, Rolling StoneEntertainment Weekly, Stereogum and other— and interestingly enough, she’s ending a breakthrough year with a sleek and retro-futuristic-leaning cover of Aaliyah’s “More Than A Woman,” (which you can check out below), reworks of Mount Kimbie‘s “You Look Certain” and Tegan and Sara‘s “Soil Soil,” and a deluxe edition of her full-length debut, which will include bonus tracks and is slated for release on Black Friday.  And to celebrate the release of the deluxe album, Owens and Smalltown Supersound released “Spaces,” a bonus track from the soon-to-be released deluxe album, and the single will further cement the British electronic music artist and producer’s growing reputation for crafting eerily spectral synth pop  — but interestingly enough, the single subtly reveals an artist and producer, whose sound also possesses elements of techno, and krautrock paired with deeply introspective lyrics.

 

Over the past two years or so, you’ve likely come across a number of posts featuring the London-based JOVM mainstays Ten Fe. Initially comprised of singer/songwriter duo Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan, the duo won national and international attention for pairing their distinct writing styles and voices into a unique sound.

Now, as you may recall Moorhouse and Duncan had played in a number of London area bands in which they individually felt as though there was pressure to fit into a particular scene, whether through a one way of playing or a certain way of looking, and it was something they felt unnatural and unnecessarily labored — and it was something that they deeply reviled. Interestingly enough, as the story goes, Moorhouse and Duncan met at a party and became busking partners in the London Underground. In those very early days, they enjoyed the very simple pleasures of playing music they loved — mostly early rock, early Beatles and the like — and earning cash while doing so. Coming from a place of pure joy, they noticed a profound simpatico, and they began to play their own original material. “We had a very clear idea of what we wanted. For things to be simple, based around songs that are unashamed in their directness, and that we love: The CureU2Springsteen and The Stones. We’d spend years playing through these on the tube, realising you don’t need to break the mould. Its best to ignore all the voices telling you that you need to for the sake of it, and go for something deeper,” the duo explained in press notes.  And with Ten Fe, Moorhouse and Duncan wanted to focus primarily on the song with style serving the song — and while being anthemic and downright arena rock friendly, their sound is difficult to describe and even more so to pigeonhole, as it possesses elements of the Manchester sound, Brit Pop, Americana, electro pop and contemporary indie rock. They manage to do this while balancing careful, deliberate attention to craft with soulful earnestness and bombast.

Moorhouse and Duncan then spent the next two years, writing, revising and recording in each other’s bedrooms, which included prolonged writing sessions at Duncan’s dad’s house in Walsall, UK, relentless busking, hustling and saving, and an impossibly lengthy list of band members and producers before they signed a publishing deal and briefly relocated to Berlin, where they recorded their Ewan Pearson-produced full-length debut effort Hit the Lights. “Its no coincidence that the name of this band means ‘have faith’” says Leo Duncan.

After spending the past 18 months touring to support their full-length debut effort Hit the Light, which included an incredible set at Mercury Lounge earlier this year, the project officially expanded into a full-fledged band with the permanent additions of touring members Rob Shipley (bass) and Johnny Drain (keys), who are two of Duncan’s oldest friends from Walsall, and Alex Hammond (drums). Returning back to England, the newly constituted quintet began writing material for their highly-anticiapted sophomore effort, and the first bit of recorded output as a quintet “Single, No Return” may be a bit of a taste of what we should expect from the new album, as it manages to capture the band’s live sound and energy, complete with a swaggering and jaunty stride. Interestingly, the band has referred to the song as being a descendant of Hank Williams‘ “Ramblin’ Man,” a song which the band’s founding members used to play while busking in the London Underground, and although they claim that when it came to the song’s arrangement they thought of The Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young but with a bit of swing to the mix, to my ears it sounds a bit more like the Psychic Ills, filtered through Brit Pop; but no matter — the song manages to evoke life on the road and its seductive pull on one’s soul while further establishing their ability to craft effortlessly slick, hook-driven material.