Tag: London UK

Comprised of singer/songwriter Aluna Francis and producer George Reid, the renowned London-based electronic music duo AlunaGeorge can trace their origins back to 2009 when Reid remixed My Toys Like Me‘s  “Sweetheart“. And since their official formation in 2012, the duo have developed a reputation for a sound that slickly meshes 90s and 00s R&B, synth pop, house music and EDM inspired by the likes of Flying Lotus, Chris Clark, Hudson Mohawke, Destiny’s Child, Aaliyah and Mariah Carey among others.

The duo has spent most of the past year working on new material — but in the meantime, AlunaGeorge’s Aluna Francis teamed up with young, up-and-coming Liverpool-based electronic music producer, songwriter and electronic music artist SG Lewis on the house music club banger “Hurting,” a track centered around shimmering arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and Francis’ sultry vocals singing about the raw, sexual yearnings of the post-breakup blues. Sonically speaking, the song is a slick and modern take on the classic house music sound, while revealing a careful attention to craft.

As Lewis says of the track, “Aluna and I met for the first time in LA earlier this year, and I was talking to her about the album concept, and in particular, Dark. Aluna has been a part of so many dance records that I love, so I knew I wanted to make a club track with her! After we ate burritos and hung out, we made ‘Hurting’ super quickly – the whole process was super natural between the two of us, and she has such an amazing ear for production.”

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New Video: JOVM’s Newest Mainstay Million Miles Finds Herself in a “Girl-Meets-Boy” Driven Love Triangle in Visuals for Sultry Single “Honey”

Over the past year or so, I’ve written a bit about Paris-born, London-based singer/songwriter Sophie Baudry, whose solo recording project Million Miles is the culmination of a life-long love affair with soul music. After completing her studies at  Berklee College and a stint as a recording engineer and studio musician in New York, Baudry returned home to London, where she felt an irresistible pull to write and record her own original music, largely inspired by Ray Charles and Bill Withers.

Now, as the story goes, on a whim Baudry took a trip to Nashville, where she spent her first few days wandering, exploring and reaching out to strangers, as though she were saying “I ’m new here. I’m a songwriter and I’m looking for like-minded people to collaborate with.” While in Nashville, the French-born, British-based singer/songwriter wound up having chance meetings with two local songwriters and producers Robin Eaton and Paul Eberson and within about an hour or so of their meeting, they began writing the material that eventually became Baudry’s Million Miles’ debut EP Berry Hill, which was recorded over the course of a year during multiple sessions at Robin Eaton’s home studio in the Berry Hill neighborhood of Nashville. And from EP singles “Can’t Get Around A Broken Heart” and “Love Like Yours,” Baudry quickly received attention across the blogosphere, as well as this site, for an easy-going yet deliberately crafted, Sunday afternoon, Soul Train-like soul that nodded equally at the aforementioned Bill Withers and Erykah Badu and Jill Scott.

Earlier this summer, I wrote about the folksy and effortlessly soulful “If Only,” a hook-driven song centered around a loose, jam-like arrangement of funky, Bill Withers-ike strummed guitar, twinkling keys and gentle yet propulsive drumming and a funky bass line. While evoking the swooning pangs of meet-cute first love, the song is actually from the perspective of a narrator, who’s over it in some way, and too busy to care one way or the other — or so she tells herself. Baudry’s highly-anticiapted sophomore EP is slated for a November release through AntiFragile Music, and her latest single “Honey” is the first official single off the forthcoming EP,  and the song is arguably one of the sultriest and most soulful tracks the French-born, British-based singer/songwriter has released to date — and while still drawing from Still Bill-era Bill Withers, the track reveals an artist, who has become increasingly self-assured in her songwriting and approach, but maintaining a lived in, emotional honesty that’s rare for most contemporary pop. As Baudry explains in press notes, the song is “about unconditional love and dedication to someone, who isn’t very interested in committing in any way. In this kind of situation, no matter what, if you’re in love, you’re in love, and you’d do everything and anything to make it work, even if it means doing crazy things and losing yourself . . . ”

Directed by Tom Ewbank, the recently released video is set in an old-fashioned American diner, where Baudry works as a waitress. The video finds its protagonist caught in an unwanted love triangle, as she falls for an attractive customer, who isn’t all that interested in committing or doing much of anything. Throughout the video, Baudry self-assuredly seems to tell her love interest “look, fool, I’m dope and you need to recognize.”

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. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Still Corners Return with Film Noir-Influenced Visuals for Moody Album Single “The Message”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written about the  London-based duo and JOVM mainstays Still Corners, and as you may recall, the British duo comprised of vocalist Tessa Murray and multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter Greg Hughes have developed a reputation for crafting incredibly atmospheric and moody dream pop/synth pop centered around Murray’s smoky vocals and shimmering atmospherics.

The band’s fourth album Slow Air is slated for release later this week through the duo’s Wrecking Light label, and the album derives its name from the sultry summer days and nights they experienced during their time in Austin, TX, where they had written the album. Reportedly, Slow Air is a bit of a return to early form for Murray and Hughes, as the material learn towards arrangements that emphasize electric and acoustic guitars, live drumming and a minimal use of synthesizers.

Recorded in a new studio designed by Hughes, the recorded sessions inspired a minimalist and fluid approach in which they used a variety of old and new microphones while making sure that they didn’t overthink the entire process as is the tendency of modern recording; in fact, they managed to keep the mistakes they recorded on the album, so as to remind the listener of the fact that living, breathing, feeling and imperfect humans made it,  while also ensuring that the important thing was the material’s emotionality.

Murray and Hughes recorded and mixed the album in three months, the fastest they’ve ever done so far, and from albums single “Black Lagoon,” and “The Photograph,” the duo managed to retain the shimmering and moody atmospherics they’ve long been known for but paired with a previously unheard urgency. As Tessa Murray says of the album in press notes, “we wanted to hear beautiful guitar and drums and an otherworldliness, something about indefinable, along with a classic songwriting vibe. We’re always trying to get the sound we hear inside of ourselves, so we moved fast to avoid our brains getting in the way too much. The name Slow Air evokes the feel of the album to me, steady, eerie and beautiful.”

The album’s latest single “The Message” possess a film noir-ish vibe while drawing a bit from classic Sun Records recordings and 50s and 60s country as the song is centered around Murray’s ethereal vocals, a simple but propulsive backbeat and clean, shimmering guitars — and while meant to evoke late night, lonely highways the song as the duo explains is about “leaving someone and telling them on voicemail.”

Filmed and directed by the duo, the recently released video for “The Message” continues a run of incredibly cinematic visuals off the new album — with the visuals focusing on the lonely image of clouds drifting over a mountain range. At one point, there’s a brief superimposing of Murray’s hand calling the love interest at the center of the song and telling them that she’s leaving them, and as a result the visuals while being fittingly moody also evoke an underlying sense of liberation.

New Video: Elkka Releases Empowering and Boldly Feminist Visuals for Genre-Meshing New Single

Elkka is a London-based producer, DJ and founder of art collective and label femme culture, which she founded as a response to the lack of support for women and women-identifying DJs, producers and artists, later teaming up with fellow DJ Ludo, who now co-runs the label. And since then, the progressive-minded collective has been receiving attention and recognition for a boundary-free ethos that champions women, women-identifying artists and the LGBTQ+ community — all while promoting forward-thinking electronic music.

Unsurprisingly, as a DJ, producer and artist, Elkka has developed a reputation for a freewheeling sound that seamlessly meshes eras and styles, often floating somewhere between electronic dance music, left-field pop and spacious R&B. Interestingly, her latest single “Stay (Warm Edit) is a thorough rework of a previously released track, centered around Afro-Brazilian percussion, arpeggiated synths and a looped ethereal vocal sample that gives the song a wistful and aching sense of longing. Interestingly, over the past year, the up-and-coming British producer, DJ, artist and label head has become deeply influenced by Brazilian music and dance culture, and while that’s apparent by the song’s clear influence, the recently released video directed by Undine Markus and produced by Girls in Film features a diverse team of female samba dancers of all age groups and backgrounds from The London School of Samba. As Elkka says of the video and the women in it, “When dancing I found myself surrounded by these confident, bold and mesmeric women, all supporting and encouraging one another and I really wanted to try and capture this in the video whilst paying homage to the Brazilian music and dance that I have fallen in love with.” Whether unintentional or not, the video possesses an empowering, you-can-do-anything spirit that’s infectious — and pretty fucking righteous.

Fronted by primary songwriter and creative mastermind, Camella Agabalyan, the London-based, up-and-coming shoegaze quintet Cosmic Strip have described their work as “music to watch girls by, music to move the stars,” and “Heavenly,” the latest single from the band’s debut EP is a mesmerizing and anthemic track, centered by dexterous and shimmering power chords and soaring hook — and although some have compared the band and their sound to the likes of Beach House and Alvvays, to my ears, the band’s sound reminds me a bit of Wolf Alice and Lightfoils, but as the band says, the song is “. . . dedicated to the addictive feeling of your first love.”

The band has started to receive a attention from the blogosphere and as a result of a growing profile, the members of the band have made an appearance at The Great Escape  and are in the middle of a UK tour that includes a Wildness Festival set tonight. If you’re in the UK, check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates
03 Aug – Wilderness Festival
24 Aug – The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
25 Aug – Night & Day Café, Manchester
27 Aug – Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds (This Must Be The Place Festival)
31 Aug – Sebright Arms, London (EP launch party)

 

 

 

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.

 

With the release of their first two singles “Desensitised” and “Twenty Six,” the London-based quintet Margot, comprised of Alex Hannaway (vocals), Ben Andrewes (drums), Albi Leghorn (guitar), Rob Fenner (guitar, keys) and Michael Webb (bass) quickly received attention across their hometown for crafting shimmering dream pop centered around laments on the repetitious nature of modern-day city life, and how to navigate it — and for a steadfast DIY writing and recording process, in which the band records their material over the course of a long weekend at Ben Andrewes’ home; however, the band’s third and latest single “Tired” finds the band expanding upon their sound with the addition of synths and a gorgeous and soaring string arrangement, along with the traditional dream pop arrangement of shimmering guitar chords, sinuous bass lines and propulsive drumming — over, which Hannaway sings wistful and observational lyrics. Obviously, the band’s sound and songwriting will get compared to the likes of The Smiths  and to JOVM mainstays Husky as the song is ethereal yet moody, upbeat yet bittersweet and rooted to an everyday realism.

Interestingly, as the band’s Hannaway says, the song was inspired by a late night commute on the tube. “I was being nosy, prying on a conversation between two men. One was expressing how difficult it was becoming with his teenage daughter, how hard it was to get any kind of conversation, how they used to be so close. He was struggling to come to terms with change.”

 

 

 

 

 

Comprised of childhood friends Chris, TJ and Daniel, the London-based trio The Leo Star Electric Band have developed a reputation for raucous live sets, including an infamous one where they destroyed the stage, and were accused of ruining Christmas by Stevie Wonder‘s manager, Keith Harris — and for doing whatever they need to, to make a gig, including using forged passports to get into Paris to play a show. And perhaps as a result, they’ve managed to open for the likes of Melt Banana and Dev Hynes‘ The Red In Sophia Loren.

Thankfully, they’ve yet to be arrested for any of that; but sonically speaking, the band says their mission is to create fucked up pop songs for the masses, and as you’ll hear from the band’s debut single “Soft & Gentle,” they specialize in a scuzzy power chord-based sound that brings 90s grunge rock immediately to mind, complete with the familiar (and beloved) loud, quiet, loud structure, rousingly anthemic hooks, pounding drums and angst-driven harmonizing; but underneath the angst, the song reveals the bleeding and sensitive heart of its creators, as the song was written as an ode to a number of people the bandmembers have have loved and lost.