Tag: London

New Video: Berlin’s Alice Phoebe Lou and Olmo Team Up for a Sparse and Atmospheric Blues Duet

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Cape Town, South Africa-born, Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alice Phoebe Lou, and as you may recall, Lou has developed a reputation for a fiercely independent, punk rock-like DIY approach to her ethereal folk music. And although her parents were documentary filmmakers, Lou took piano lessons as a child and as a teenager, taught herself to play guitar. When she turned 16, Lou spent a summer vacation visiting her aunt Paris, where armed with an acoustic guitar, she 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 well-known and well-regarded 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.

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. Lou spent much of that year on the road, touring to support her debut effort, sharing bills with Sixto Rodriguez, Boy & Bear, Allen Stone and Crystal Fighters. Additionally, the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter played three, sold-out multimedia 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 recorded a live version of “She” with the live performance video, shot during two different Berlin area shows going viral, receiving more than 2.5 million YouTube streams, and the song was featured in the major motion picture Bombshell: The Hedy Lamar Story;  in fact, the song was 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.

Lou released a studio version of “She” back in February, which coincided with a number of international tour dates to build up buzz for her highly-anticipated sophomore album.  But before that, the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist collaborating with the Bologna, Italy-born, Berlin-based blues singer/songwriter and multi-instrumetnlist Franceso Lo Giudice, best known as Olmo. Much like Lou, Olmo spent his summers going to a different city or two with a lap slide guitar, busking and soaking up the local vibes. Upon finishing his studies at the University of Bristol, Lo Giudice got heavily into production — so much so that he left a band he started Amoa Mass, relocated to Berlin and started his solo project, which meshes the blues with electronic music. Interestingly enough, Lou and Lo Giudice’s collaboration can trace its origins to when they met while busking in Berlin, and their latest song together “Devil’s Sweetheart” was reportedly written and crafted within an hour — and the song is a sparse, atmospheric yet cinematic track centered around a looping twangy, blues guitar line, a moody string arrangement, and the duo’s uncanny harmonies. Sonically, the song brings to mind Daughn Gibson’s dusty, old-timey sample-based take on country and the work of the legendary T. Bone Burnett.

The gorgeous and moodily shot video for “Devil’s Sweetheart” features some spectacular aerial performances by Valia Beauvieux and Dennis Macaofrom the Berlin based circus crew Birdmilk Collective.

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Live Footage: Yasiin Bey Returns for His First Stateside Performance in 5 Years

Last month the great poet, singer/songwriter and actor Saul Williams presented a Boiler Room Session dedicated to lyricism and spoken word in London, which the good folks at Okayplayer presented last month. The set up of the evening was deeply influenced by Def Poetry Jam with the show being split in two distinct parts –the first being artists (emcees, poets, spoken word artists, etc.) sharing their favorite and/or brand new verses and poetry in a theater-like environment and the second half of the night had the same artists taking part in a large cypher, backed by a DJ. Williams along with Aja Monet recently brought the carefully curated Boiler Room In Appreciation of Lyricism session to Miami for Art Basel and while having an incredibly diverse list of artists performing — from including Allan Kingdom, a Kanye West collaborator; Wifisfuneral, a trap hop artist, Melo-X and a ton of local talents; however, the biggest highlight of the session was Yasiin Bey (he’s still Mos Def to me) making his first Stateside appearance in over 5 years, performing completely new material, including a new piece “No Time to Pretend,” which he performed acapella in front of an awed and completely surprised audience.

 

With the release of their 2012 self-titled debut and its follow-up 2013’s Join The Dots, London, UK-based shoegaze/indie rock quintet TOY — comprised of Tom Dougall (vocals, guitar), Dominic O’Dair (guitar), Maxim Barron (bass,   vocals), Max Claps (synths, modulations) and Charlie Salvidge (drums, vocals) — have developed a reputation as being one of the UK’s best alt rock/indie rock acts, as well as being on the forefront of a contemporary shoegaze resurgence.

The British quintet’s forthcoming and highly-anticipated, third, full-length effort Clear Shot is slated for an October 28, 2016 release through Heavenly Recordings, and the material reportedly draws from an esoteric blend of influences including Radiophonic Workshop, Comus, the film scores of Bernard Herrmann, John Barry, Ennio Morricone, COUM, Acid House, The Incredible String Band, The Langley Schools Project, The Wicker Man soundtrack and Rob Young’s Electric Eden, a book about the development of folk music in the U.K. And as you’ll hear on “I’m Still Believing,” Clear Shot‘s second and latest single, the band’s sound has began to lean more towards lush, guitar pop territory as layers of shimmering and jangling acoustic guitar chords (with gentle amounts of reverb) are paired with soaring synths, an anthemic hook and Tom Dougall’s introspective lyrics, all while nodding at Nick Drake and Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd.

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New Video: The 80s New Wave and Post-Punk Inspired Sounds and Surreal Visuals of Beach Baby’s “U R”

The London-based quartet’s latest single “U R” has the band pairing shimmering guitar chords, a propulsive, motorik-like groove, a soaring and anthemic hook that you can practically hear kids in a sweaty little club lustily singing along with, with lyrics that focus on the start and bitter ending of a relationship that has its narrator feeling ambivalent and confused. Was the relationship one of the best things that happened to this life? Or was the breakup the best thing that happened because the relationship was so wrong, so dysfunctional that he’s freed from something truly terrible? Should he even feel bitter and confused? Although open-ended, much like life itself, the song manages to be wistful and bittersweet look back at a relationship that should feel familiar — while evoking the dashed hopes and expectations of a relationship and of one’s summer.

The recently released music video follows Lily, its protagonist through the five stages of break-up grief that evokes the surreal feeling of your life being irrevocably altered and not quite knowing how to react or what to do before you finally begin moving forward with your life.

Comprised Anna Haara Kristoferson (vocals, melodica), Joanna Curwood (guitar, vocals), Moa Papillon (guitar, vocals), Raissa Pardini (bass, vocals) and Ruth Nitkiewicz (drums), London, UK-based indie rock quintet Yassassin can trace their origins to the members of the band spent time in The History of Apple Pie and LUST, and with their first single “Social Politics,” the London-based quintet specialize in 90s alt rock inspired indie rock that sounds as though it draws from Sonic Youth, The Breeders and others as shimmering guitar chords are paired with a propulsive groove and shouted lyrics — but with a subtly political bent. As the the band notes within press notes that the song “ is about standing up to the bullies, both in personal life and in today’s society. It’s about not always fitting the norm but daring to go your own way. It’s about rebelling against the ‘zombie scene,’ which could be either a social clique where only certain people are accepted, or a society where racism is becoming more glaringly visible.” Based on how things are going, we need more songs and art that encourage people to be individuals and to go their own away.

 

New Video: England’s Rude Audio Specializes in a Bold, Dub Meets Kraftwerk Electronica Sound, Paired with Trippy Visuals

Comprised of Mark Ratcliff (arrangement, production and keyboards), Amanda Greatorex (vocals and lyrics), Eucalypta LV (guest vocals), Lamis Harper (piano and keys), Tony Shea (guitar and ostrich guitar), and Owain Lloyd (mixing desk and lyrics) London-based production and DJ collective Rude Audio features members who range […]

Live Footage: Floating Points Performing on KEXP Radio

Interestingly, as Shepherd announced his tour and the forthcoming release of Kupier, Shepherd released live footage of him and his backing band performing “Silhouettes I, II and III,” “Argente” and “Kupier” in KEXP’s studios last month. Naturally, the live footage should give you a good sense of a live Floating Points set — including as the announced joked a visual display behind the band, which included floating points; but it also should cement Shepherd’s burgeoning reputation as an sonically challenging and inventive composer, whose material also manages to be trippy, expansive and mind-altering while being approachable.

The live session includes a rather revealing interview in which Shepherd discusses the origins of Floating Points, his influences, how he met the members of his backing band and his incredible 10,000 album record collection.

New Video: The Psychedelic, 1980s Leaning Visuals for Promise Keeper’s “Porous Silk”

With the release of Side Decide” and other singles, London-based producer and electronic music artist Promise Keeper started to receive attention across the blogosphere for a sound that possesses elements of classic Chicago house, blue-eyed soul and 80s electro pop. And his latest single “Porous Silk” will further cement the British producer’s already burgeoning reputation for crafting slick, dance-floor friendly pop as androgynous yet sultry cooed vocals are paired with a production consisting of a sinuous bass line, Nile Rodgers-like guitar chords, propulsive and stuttering drum programming, twinkling keys and shimmering synths. Sonically, the new single evokes the sensation of silk running across naked skin, cool yet pliant –while being reminiscent of a slightly downtempo and house music-leaning version of Nu Shooz’s “I Can’t Wait.”

The recently released music video employs the use of a grainy, VHS-styled psychedelia as the video follows its brooding protagonist observing ancient Greek-inspired art, drinking wine. Visually, it looks as though it could have appeared on a version of Ralph McDaniel’s Video Music Box back in 1987 or so.

If you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you’d likely know that I’m often multi-multitasking while working. A fair number of posts come about while watching the New York Yankees, the New York Giants or the New York Rangers or some crime show on Investigation Discovery. Yesterday, I was listening and writing a post while watching the Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim vs. New York Yankees game when the London, UK-based indie rock quintet Heavy Heart‘s latest single “Pretty Thing” came up in the related artists list on Soundcloud. And I was immediately drawn to the lush, melodic, and anthemic, power chord and propulsive drumming-based 90s alt rock sound that should remind the listener of several acts including Pixies, A Northern Soul-era The Verve, The Posies and others; in fact, as a result, the British quintet has started to receive international attention as they’ve received some breathless praise from a number of blogs, have played shows in London, Barcelona and New York — and in the middle of a song-a-month project, which will likely garner even more attention.