Tag: London UK

Live Footage: Alice Phoebe Lou Performing the Oscar-Shortlisted Song “She” in Berlin

Alice Phoebe Lou is a Cape Town, South Africa-born, Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who has developed a reputation for a fiercely independent, almost punk rock-like DIY approach to her ethereal indie folk music. Although her parents were documentary filmmakers, Lou took piano lessons as a child and then as a teenager, taught herself to play guitar. As the story goes, when the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist was 16, she spent a summer vacation visiting her aunt in Paris. Armed with an acoustic guitar, the young singer/songwriter met a number of buskers and other street performers — some who taught her poi dancing.

Upon graduation, Lou went to Europe — first landing in Amsterdam, where she made money as a poi dancer, before relocating to Berlin, where she became a popular busker, performing interpretations of popular songs and her own original material, and eventually developing her own unique sound.  With the release of her 2014 self-released debut EP Momentum, the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist began receiving international attention — and as a result, she spent the following year performing at a number of TED events in London and Berlin, as well as Exponential Medicine.

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Lou released her critically applauded, 2016 full-length debut Orbit, which saw her garner a nomination for Best Female Artist at that year’s German Critics’ Choice Awards, as well as a set at the 27th Annual Conference for the Professional Business Women of California, which featured keynote speakers Venus Williams, Judy Smith, and Memory Banda. Additionally, Lou spent much of 2016 on the road, touring to support her debut effort, sharing bills with Sixto Rodriguez, Boy & Bear, Allen Stone and Crystal Fighters. During the course of that year, she played three multimedia sold out events at the Berlin Planetarium — and by demand, she added two additional planetarium shows to her 2017 tour itinerary.

Along with the Berlin Planetarium shows, Lou saw a live version of “She” with the live performance video, shot during two different Berlin area shows going viral — and as of this post, the video has received over 2.5 million YouTube streams. Interestingly, the song is also featured in the major motion picture Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story , with the song recently being shortlisted for an Oscar for Best Original Song. Adding to an incredible run of critical success, Lou released her latest EP, Sola at the end of last year.

As for “She,” the song will further cement the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based artist’s reputation for her ethereal and tender soprano — but in this case, paired around what may be the most shoegazer rock-like arrangement, she’s ever produced as the song features looping and shimmering guitar chords, thundering and tribal-like drumming,  gently swirling electronics and an anthemic hook. And while at points the song is reminiscent of the likes of Wolf Alice, Lightfoils and others, it possesses a restless longing at its core.

A studio version of “She” is slated for a February 23, 2018 release, and after the single’s release, Lou will embark on a international tour that will include a Stateside run. And a new album is currently in the works, too.

 
 

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Oli Deakin is a London-based singer/songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, who has received airplay from a number of BBC DJs, including Huw Stephens, Lauren Laverne and Steve Lamacq, as well press attention for his mostly solo recording project Lowpines. Initially begun through a series of lo-fi phone records, which were then overdubbed with multiple layers of reverb soaked instrumentation, Deakin eventually released several EPs and a full-length cassette over the past few years.

 

In Silver Halides, Deakin’s official full-length debut was written in rural England during the winter and recording began the following spring in a greenhouse, during an unseasoned heatwave. Understandably, the heat and sunlight created some intense recording sessions that were frequently interrupted by either the artist or the equipment overheating, which gave songs written with wintry imagery a new and very different direction. Opting to record with doors and windows throw open, much of the early demo recordings are filled with the ambient noises of the surrounding countryside, which managed to echo through the layers of reverb soaked instrumentation. Additional recording sessions were produced by IggyB at Bella Union Studios and featured Oli Deakin’s brother Jamie (drums) and Jesse Chandler (flute).

The album’s slow-burning and haunting first single “We Come Right” pairs Deakin’s plaintive and aching vocals with shimmering guitars, cinematic strings and subtle echoes of distant vocals and ambient sounds — and in some way, the song evokes the accumulation of lingering and inescapable ghosts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Soul Act Million Miles Returns with Visuals for Bittersweet and Swooning New Single

Paris-born, London-based singer/songwriter Sophie Baudry is the creative mastermind behind the up-and-coming soul project, Million Miles, and interestingly enough the project is the culmination of a life-long love affair with soul music. After studying at Boston’s renowned Berklee College and a stint working as a recording engineer and studio musician in New York, Baudry returned to London and felt an irresistible pull to create her own music inspired by likes of Ray Charles and Bill Withers.  

On an inspired whim, Baudry wound up in Nashville, TN. The French-born, British-based singer/songwriter spent her first few days in Nashville wandering, exploring and reaching out to strangers as though she were saying, “I’m new here and I’m a songwriter and i’m looking for people to collaborate with.” Baudry had chance meetings with local songwriters and producers Robin Eaton and Paul Eberson, and within an hour or so, they began writing material together. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of months, you may recall that Baudry’s Million Miles debut, Berry Hill EP was recorded over the course of a year during multiple sessions at Robin Eaton’s Berry Hill home studio. And the effort reportedly focuses on the journeys taken and lessons learned in the singer/songwriter’s life; in fact, EP single “Can’t Get Around A Broken Heart” revealed that Baudry specialized in an easy-going, effortless singer/songwriter/balladeer-based soul reminiscent of  Bill Withers and Sandra Rhodes’ sadly under-appreciated and seemingly forgotten debut Where’s Your Love Been. And much like Withers and Rhodes, Baudry revealed a rare ability to express joy and heartache within a turn of a phrase, just underneath the Sunday afternoon vibes.
The EP’s latest single “Love Like Yours” will further cement Baudry’s growing reputation for crafting easy-going yet deliberately crafted soul that while influenced by Bill Withers also manages to nod at early Erykah Badu and Jill Scott; however, whereas the previous single focused on crushing heartache, the EP’s latest single is the antithesis — or perhaps even the begging of the songwriter’s story, as the song’s narrator expresses joy and relief over finding — finally! — that profound love she’s been looking for. Of course, deep down, we all know the perverse irony in these sort of love songs — that love, like everything else isn’t forever, and that it can be as disappointing and frustrating. And yet, what would our lives be without that constant search, without those impermanent yet so important moments of joy? 

As Baudry explains of the video treatment, “We shot this video at home on a rainy day. I filmed footage on a trip to LA and loved projecting it on the wall at home when I was writing or recording, it’s really quite inspiring. The song has always been a favourite of mine as lyrically its quite personal and really reminiscent of a specific time in my life, so I wanted to keep that feeling throughout the video, keeping everything really intimate and what’s more intimate than home.”

 

2017 has been a breakthrough year for the Reykjavik, Iceland-based indie rock/post-punk trio  Fufanu.. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of this past year, you’d recall that the band, currently comprised of founding members Kaktus Einarsson (vocals, guitar), whose father Einar was a member of The Sugarcaubes and Guðlaugur “Gulli” Einarsson (guitar, programming) (no relation, by the way) along with newest member, Erling Bang (drums) can trace their origins to when the band’s founding duo met while at school. And according to the band’s founding duo, Katkus had glanced at Gulli’s iTunes and noticed that they had listened to a lot of the same techno and electronic music. After quickly bonding over mutual interests, the duo went into a studio and began writing and recording electronic music under the name Captain Fufanu. Interestingly, within a month of their formation, Kaktus and Gulli had started playing shows in and around their hometown.

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the duo went into the studio to record what would be their full-length debut as Captain Fufanu; but in a strange twist of fate, the studio where Kaktus and Gulli had recorded the album was burgled. Naturally, everyone involved in the process presumed the album was lost. While many bands would be devastated by losing their life’s work in such a shitty fashion, Kaktus and Gulli put a positive spin on the ordeal, viewing it as an opportunity to reinvent themselves and their sound, as they were developing a growing technical and musical prowess. Coincidentally, Kaktus Einarsson had been spending time in London working on Damon Albarn’s Everyday Robots and touring with the late and legendary Bobby Womack when he began writing lyrics. Simultaneously, Gulli had started to craft a completely revised sound, which according to Kaktus managed to convey exactly what he had been thinking and feeling at the time. The result was the duo pairing Kaktus’ brooding and ironically detached vocals with an arrangement that featured guitar, bass, drums, synths and other electronics. Armed with a new sound, the duo renamed the project Fufanu.

Fufanu’s first live set as Fufanu, with their new sound and material was at 2014’s Iceland Airwaves and they quickly became one of the most talked about bands of the entire festival. Right after the festival, they went into the studio to record their full-length debut, A Few More Days To Go, which was released to applause both nationally and internationally; in fact, with an even bigger profile, Fufanu toured with The Vaccines and others, and played some of Northern Europe’s and Scandinavia’s largest festivals, including the aforementioned Iceland Airwaves, JaJaJa Festival and others.

Released earlier this year, the band’s sophomore album Sports finds the band going through some significant changes — Kaktus and Gulli recruited Erling “Elli” Bang (drums) to further flesh their sound out, with the newly constituted trio refining their material’s sound and thematic concerns, represented through album title track  “Sports,” which retains the synth-driven sound of their debut while nodding at CanNeu!  Joy Division and early ’80s Peter Gabriel,  the slow-burning and moody  “Liability” and “White Pebbles.”  However, the highly buzzed about Icelandic trio begin the holiday season and close out the year, with “Top Of The Queens,” a track that was recorded during the Sports sessions and didn’t make the cut.

Of course, what makes an the release of a previously unreleased album track intriguing is the fact that they frequently give the listener — if they’re familiar with the album in question — some insight into the complex editorial decisions that comprise the making of an album. In some cases, you can immediately tell why a particular song wasn’t included — it just didn’t fit the tone and vibe of the album. In other cases, it’s not apparent. Sometimes, it’s a matter of a song floating around for a while and the band just is tired of the song or it’s an issue of not having a whole lot of time and something has to get cut — or a variety of other issues. Interestingly enough, “Top Of The Queens” manages to continue in a similar, anthemic hook-laden, synth-based rock vibe but it has a rougher, punk rock band in a dive bar edge to it.

 

 

 

 

Comprised of Jordan Wilson and Benjmain Riley, the acclaimed, Sydney, Australia-based duo Georgia Fair can trace their origins to when the duo met in high school. They began playing and writing music together and would continue to do so in a number of bands until settling on their current project together Georgia Fair, which reportedly derives its name from a venue mistakenly billing the duo then known as Jordan and Ben as Georgia Fair due to a bad phone connection.

Their 2011 debut effort All Through Winter was recorded with Band of HorsesBill Reynolds in studios in Asheville, NC; Austin, TX; and Atlanta, GA, and the album peaked in the Top 100 of the ARIA Albums Chart and reached #1 on the ARIA Hitseekers Albums Chart. The duo’s 2013 sophomore effort, Trapped Flame was recorded in Los Angeles with Ted Hutt and featured musicians, who were part of the backing bands of Ryan Adams and PJ Harvey — and much like its predecessor, it was a commercial success as it reached the ARIA Top 100 Chart.

After the release of their sophomore effort, the duo relocated to London where they spent time exploring their roots while trying to incorporate new sounds. As Georgia Fair’s Jordan Wilson explains in press notes, “That trip and the intensity of living in London helped us get out of our own way.” And the result is the duo’s third full-length effort The World’s Awake, which reportedly finds the duo capturing their live essence and sound.  In fact, the album’s first single “Slave to Nothing” finds the duo at what may arguably be their most sparse and restrained while nodding at an arena rock blues sound reminiscent of The Black Keys and others; however, at its core is a slow-burning heartache rooted in betrayal, confusion and lingering regret.

 

New Audio: Up-and-Coming British Duo Gold Fir Releases Vibrant and Surrealistic Visuals for New Single “Sirens”

Gold Fir is a London-based electro pop act comprised of a rather mysterious duo known only as James and Mabel, and if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you may recall that that the duo have received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that draws from 80s synth pop, classic electronic dance music and classic course music; in fact, “Night Walk”, which was released earlier this year, reminded me quite a bit of a dance floor friendly meshing of George Michael‘s “I Want Your Sex,” Chaka Khan’s and Rufus‘ “Ain’t Nobody,” Chaka Khan‘s “I Feel For You,” and Nu Shooz’s “I Can’t Wait.”

The mysterious British duo end 2017 with their latest single “Sirens,” a track that the duo says is”about welcoming different aspects of yourself to the dance floor,” sounds as though the duo was drawing from the likes of Soul II Soul’s “Back to Life” and “Get A Life,” Black Box’s “Everybody Everybody” and others as Mabel’s effortlessly soulful vocals are paired with a slick, house music-influenced production featuring layers of arpeggiated synths and twinkling keys, boom bap-like beats and an infectious hook. And while warmly nodding back at the sounds of the 80s and early 90s, much like contemporaries GL and others, they do so with a subtly modern take.

Directed by Tegen Williams, the recently released video continues the duo’s reputation for pairing their slick and soulful productions with strikingly surrealistic imagery — in this case, the viewer enters the mind of a music listener, and once instead we’re introduced to a pink-haired dancer, who first dances in an empty and darkened space before meeting some humanoid creatures. But much like its predecessor, there’s live action and hand drawn animation to evoke a dream-like state. As the duo says of the video treatment, “in life you’ve got to be whoever you want to be and the video was an ode to that sentiment; life is a dance like that.”

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.