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By Mary Chang
on Friday, 29th April 2016 at 6:00 pm
Everyone’s favourite Canadian twin sister pop duo (okay, so maybe they’re the *only* Canadian twin sister pop duo currently active?) Tegan and Sara will be headlining Canadian Music Week 2016 in a few days. They’ll be playing the biggest stage of the week, the Grand Ballroom at the Sheraton Centre Toronto, so you know it’ll be a huge deal.
They’ll no doubt be testing out new material from their upcoming album ‘Love You to Death’, which will be released on the 3rd of June. An early taster of the new LP is ‘Boyfriend’, which now has its own promo video. Described by one YouTube commenter as “adorably awkward” in this video showing just how difficult it is to shoot a promo, you can watch it in its full glory below. We haven’t written much on the sisters lately, but you can peruse our back catalogue on them here at TGTF through here.
The Communion New Faces Tour is in full swing this week, and one of the hottest artists on the lineup is Congleton singer/songwriter Adam French. Ahead of the Communion tour, French was signed to Virgin EMI and was featured by BBC Introducing from Stoke during a stop in New York City on his recent trip to America. French was travelling in America to promote his new EP ‘Face to Face’, which has already received radio play in the UK by Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1.
French’s distinctive husky singing voice makes a forceful first impact on the EP’s title track, with the eponymous lyric in the song’s opening line “I’m face to face, telling everybody what I want to say”. A deep groove and propulsive rhythm create a strong hook under the repeated chorus “I give you that feeling / for you to embrace / so when you look at us / there’s a smile on your face”.
‘Face to Face’ is followed by the stark guitar intro of the EP’s first single ‘Euthanasia’, which underscores the once-again evocative opening lines “I guess I never was and never will be / built to last or yours to keep”. An insistent, rolling keyboard line propels the tempo under the song’s brooding chorus, and the restrained drum beat builds a very palpable tension through the bridge and into the unresolved final repeat.
‘The Optimist’ features some of Adam French’s most evocative, if not particularly optimistic, lyric verses, such as “I’m a flare in the sun / I’m the damage that’s been done / I’m a ghost in the night / I’m the dark that’s shading out the light”. A light underscoring of strings in the instrumental arrangement adds depth and grows to prominence as the song ends, but it feels somehow unresolved, never quite reaching the potential of its emotional intensity. Halting tribal rhythms underscore the predatory final track ‘Hunter’, as French’s lyrics become more overtly aggressive. The thick rasp of his voice is particularly effective in the savage lyric “you’re preying on the hunter / he’s coming for you”, which leads into the fast shuffle of the chilling chorus, “I get the feeling that I could tear you apart / blood will be beating away from your heart / so I sink my teeth right in”.
The ‘Face to Face’ EP, as a whole, is immediate and assertive, packing a quick and concise one-two punch with its dramatic rhythms and French’s gripping vocals. The dynamic and emotional development of the songs is somewhat truncated, leaving me with the feeling that French’s songwriting and/or production could use a bit of fine-tuning, but his passion and intensity will undoubtedly make a sharp impression in live performance, attracting attention from potential new fans as well as already interested listeners.
Adam French’s new EP ‘Face to Face’ is available now on Virgin EMI Records. TGTF’s previous coverage of French, including our Bands to Watch feature from last summer, is collected right back here.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 28th April 2016 at 6:00 pm
Talk about fortuitous timing. Or maybe just good advance planning? Vancouver punks White Lung will be participating in Canadian Music Week 2016 next week in Toronto, and they’ll be releasing their newest album ‘Paradise’ on Friday, the 6th of May, on Domino Records. ‘Paradise’ follows 2014’s ‘Deep Fantasy’, described by our John as full of “primeval-punky goodness”.
Today, we’ve got a cut for you from ‘Paradise’, called ‘Below’. It’s another example of their uncompromising attitude, though lead singer Mish Barber-Way describes it as “my Stevie-Nicks-meets-Celine Dion ballad”. Hrm, okay. The video, directed by Richard Bates, Jr., stars actress AnnaLynne McCord, who appeared alongside Barber-Way in the director’s most recent film Trash Fire, and others dressed as Marilyn Monroe lookalikes. Watch the video below. The band will be appearing at CMW next Friday the 6th of May, their album release day, at Velvet Underground at 1 AM. For more on White Lung on TGTF, go here.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 28th April 2016 at 4:00 pm
Putting aside their leather jackets – for now, anyway – Mumford and Sons have revealed they’ve been working on a mini-album in South Africa with some high-profile collaborators. ‘Johannesburg’ is a set of new recordings the band did with legendary Senegalese musician Baaba Maal and The Very Best, who first came to more mainstream prominence in the Western world in 2009 with single ‘Warm Heart of Africa’, featuring Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig on guest vocals.
The mini-album was released in South Africa in January and was a rousing commercial success there. They’ve now shared a live performance they did with Maal, of the album track ‘There Will Be Time’, to drum up interest in the new album, which will be released worldwide on the 17th of June. You can watch the live performance below. The band (presumably minus their African collaborators?) will be headlining a summer BST show at Hyde Park on the 8th of July, supported by Americans Alabama Shakes and Dirty Hit alt-rockers Wolf Alice. For more on Mumford and Sons on TGTF, go here.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 28th April 2016 at 1:00 pm
Not long to go now to Canadian Music Week (CMW) 2016, taking place in Toronto next week! We’re in the midst of our latest TGTF Quickfire Questions campaign, flavoured with what else but questions about artists coming on over to Canada for the event. Today, we’ve got Jack of The Magic Gang, an indie pop band originally from The New Forest who now call Brighton home, answering our list of queries. If you’re coming out to Toronto for CMW, you can catch The Magic Gang Wednesday the 4th of May at the 300 Club at 10 PM; Thursday the 5th of May at Handlebar at 1 AM; and and Friday the 6th of May again at the 300 Club at 11 PM. And now, I’m leaving you in the highly capable hands of Jack…
Describe your music in 3 words (We know, tricky…)
Very special pop.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word ‘Canada’?
What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Toronto? Have you been before?
First time for all of us! Collectively, we’re pretty excited about eating pancakes and going to thrift stores as well as rocking out of course.
Of the bands who have already been announced (https://cmw.net/music/artists/), do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
Even though he’s from the UK, we really want to see Skepta. As far as bands we’ve never seen, we’re excited to hopefully catch The Black Lips.
You are receiving funding from PRS for Music Foundation to make the trip over to the pond to showcase at CMW. Tell us about how you got involved with PRS Foundation and what their funding means to your trip / your career.
We have a few friends who have had some amazing opportunities like being able to go and play SXSW because of PRS funding. So it’s clear that they are a foundation who know and care about new music. For us it means we have the opportunity to open a door to a whole new audience who we wouldn’t be able to play in front of otherwise. It’s pretty exciting.
After CMW, what’s up next for you? Writing and recording? TGE / summer festivals / etc.? Do tell!
We’ll be finishing a new EP for the summer as well as playing some UK festivals. The Great Escape will be incredible, as it’s (Brighton) our hometown. Also super excited for Reading & Leeds.
Now, on to our usual list of Quickfire Questions…
What song is your earliest musical memory?
Probably hearing my dad rinse T. Rex hits in our house. ‘Children of the Revolution’ still gets stuck my head occasionally.
What was your favourite song as a child?
I went through the inevitable pop punk phase and ‘Perfect Day’ by the Offspring was a big one for me.
What song makes you laugh?
‘Vicar in a Tutu’ by the Smiths.
What song makes you cry?
We had ‘Right Down the Line’ by Gerry Rafferty on in the van last night. That nearly did the trick.
What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Canada’s very own Travis Bretzer released a song called ‘Billy and I’ a few summers ago around the time I met my wife. I used to listen to it on repeat and I still love it.
Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
So many! The obvious one has to be ‘God Only Knows’ because its perfect. There’s so much in there, and it’s only around 3 minutes long.
Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Hands down, a guy named George Saunders. He’s an author from Syracuse in America. He writes short stories and every single one is incredibly funny and moving.
If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I’m not sure if I’d be successfully doing it, but I’d love to write and produce short films or documentaries.
If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
Oasis – ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’
Many thanks to Jack for answering these, and thanks also to Mike for sorting this out for us.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 28th April 2016 at 9:00 am
Des Moines born Max Jury has scheduled a handful of live dates in the UK for late May. The 23-year-old Midwest singer/songwriter is gearing up to release his debut album on the 3rd of June on Marathon Records. He’s spent the last 2 years living mostly in his adoptive home of London, and now he’s ready to road-test his new material, including recent single ‘Numb’. Tickets to the following shows are on sale now. Below the dates, you can stream another single from his self-titled new album, ‘Beg & Crawl’.
Wednesday 25th May 2016 – Bristol Louisiana
Thursday 26th May 2016 – London 100 Club
Friday 27th May 2016 – Nottingham Bodega
Sunday 29th May 2016 – Manchester Gullivers
Monday 30th May 2016 – Glasgow Hug and Pint
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