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By Mary Chang
on Saturday, 1st August 2015 at 10:00 am
Belle and Sebastian have kept busy this year, touring around the world and playing quite a few festivals already, and July isn’t even over yet! As if to keep the dance party going, they’ve released a promo for an extended version of ‘Perfect Couples’, whose original stars on the band’s ‘Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance’ album released in January. Beyond one couple dancing, they wanted many more people to get into the act, and what resulted was a unique parade of people through one room who all eventually get in perfect sync to cut a rug together. Watch it below.
Want to read more on Belle and Sebastian on TGTF? Head this way.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 31st July 2015 at 6:00 pm
Following on from their teaser back in June in the form of fourth album title track ‘What Went Down’, Foals have revealed the promo for the new LP’s second teaser via a special interactive ‘virtual reality music video’.
When you watch the video for ‘Mountain at My Gate’ – filmed through a spherical GoPro camera – either on Google Chrome on your desktop or laptop or on the YouTube mobile app, there’s navigation arrows ala Google Maps that let you scroll and turn the black and white video presentation itself. Try it out. Even pressing the left or right arrow continuously will give you some interesting results.
‘What Went Down’ drops the 28th of August on Warner Records. Past coverage of Yannis Philippakis and the entire Foals company on TGTF is this way.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 31st July 2015 at 12:00 pm
Following their 3-year long absence from the music scene, the first song the Maccabees offered up to the public was their new fourth album’s title track single in mid-May, ahead of summer music festival season. ‘Marks to Prove It’, with a memorable guitar hook and a rhythm destined to incite field pogoing, is exactly how I remembered ‘Pelican’ from their last album. This frenetic, high energy number, accompanied by a promo video showing the frantic pace of living and working in London, is very different to ‘Something Like Happiness’; the new LP’s second single, which will be released on the same day as the LP. It’s laden down with horns and has moments reminiscent of ’70s style Spector-ising. This matches right up to how the group’s frontman Orlando Weeks described the new release to Gigwise as it has “a ‘really nice mix’ of all the members’ different styles” and he feels more confident than ever to sing on this new material.
After having listened to the album all the way through a few times, I’m finding little that stirs the senses as well as its title track. The feeling I’m getting is similar to what I felt for Maximo Park‘s album last year, ‘Too Much Information’: there are bright spots for sure, but most of the tunes lack immediacy or catchiness and don’t grab you. It seems false advertising to have released as your first taster a song that isn’t at all representative of the album as a whole. Feedback and effects are a hallmark of this album, even on a more introspective turn like ‘Silence’. An almost jazzy piano presentation frames the regretful lyrics of a man who chooses to stop communication altogether, thinking it’s easier if he shuts out those he loves: “I understand that it never ends / she’s waiting round every corner, round every bend / when you’re scared or lost, don’t let it all build up / break the silence.” On ‘River Song’, the pace is still one that lurches rather than speeds along, the guitars wailing before turning strident, drowning out both Weeks and any backing vocals. Maybe that was the point, that the instrumentation and voices were to become one? For sure, it’s less melodic than the psychedelic leanings of ‘Ayla’ from their last album, the 2012 Mercury Prize-nominated ‘Give to the Wild’.
When the tempo speeds up as on ‘Spit It Out’, the closest the London band get to the pop magic of ‘Marks to Prove It’, they choose interesting note progressions on both the guitars and vocals that cause the song to sound chaotic. That is, until you pass the halfway point and things start to make sense. I see what you did there, Maccabees. You have to give them credit for doing something unexpected and different. This continues as they approach both the loud and the soft on the same song, which can be jarring if you’re not expecting it. Second track ‘Kamakura’ has gentle verses that are punctuated by Weeks’ yelling, “giving a bloody nose to the best friend he knows / the only time he’s cried since he was 7 years old / your best friends forgive you, your best friends forgive you / you get old” before the outro practically whispers the song out. On the other extreme, ‘Dawn Chorus’ is a dreamy number in which the horn guy (or gal) comes back in as if to wake you up from a trance.
You’ll enjoy the gentle slow-burning quality of standout ‘Slow Sun’, its masterful guitar throughout, a lonesome horn player in the distance calling you home, its piano notes adding a shimmering complement to Weeks’ voice, as he shows his admiration for a woman who has stuck it out through thick and thin: “no-one else knows it / the lengths that she goes to / to keep it together / that’s real enough.” While the rolling beats and soothing high-hats of ‘Ribbon Road’ and the dreamy ‘Pioneering Systems’ are pleasant enough, does pleasant and inoffensive cut it these days?
‘Marks to Prove It’, the Maccabees’ fourth album, is out today on Fiction Records in the UK and Communion Records in North America.
In March 2015, the pop world came to a standstill when Zayn Malik announced that he was leaving One Direction to live the life of “a normal 22-year-old”. Since leaving the boyband, the 22-year old has spent time in the studio with Naughty Boy, though the collaboration appeared to fall through after Zayn called the producer “a fat joke” in a Twitter feud in July.
On Wednesday, July 29th, 2015, Zayn took to Twitter again to announce he’s signed a solo record deal with RCA Records, whose other acts include the likes of Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake and Mark Ronson. He tweeted the following. Not quite the life of “a normal 22-year-old”, is it Zayn?
Nevertheless, Zayn Malik isn’t the first former boyband member to pursue a solo career, not by a long shot. Can he go on to replicate the success of these megastars?
Having risen to fame as part of *NSYNC, Justin Timberlake made an instant impact on the charts with ‘Like I Love You’, ‘Cry Me A River’ and ‘Rock Your Body’ from his debut album, ‘Justified’. Three years later, Timberlake returned with ‘SexyBack’, giving the singer his first solo #1.
After a lengthy break from music (to pursue a number of acting roles and business ventures), he made his return in 2013 with ‘The 20/20 Experience’, which featured hits such as ‘Suit & Tie (ft. Jay-Z)’ and ‘Mirrors’.
In July 1995, a matter of months before Take That were set to embark on a worldwide tour, Robbie Williams was given an ultimatum by his bandmates: adhere to the band’s responsibilities or leave. He chose the latter, and the rest (as we all know) is history.
Since then, Robbie Williams has gone on to top the Official UK Single Chart seven times, with hits such as ‘Candy’, ‘Somethin’ Stupid (ft. Nicole Kidman)’ and ‘Rock DJ’.
Following a successful run in Boyzone, Ronan Keating bid farewell to the boyband to pursue his own solo career, which has had all the thrills of a rollercoaster ride. The Irish pop singer’s cover of ‘When You Say Nothing At All’ gave him a debut #1, with ‘Life Is A Rollercoaster’ equalling his success a year later.
Keating went on to release a string of hits, including ‘Lovin’ Each Day’, ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes’ and ‘I Love It When We Do’.
After The Jonas Brothers rose to fame on the Disney Channel, it was only a matter of time before one of them achieved solo success. Joe Jonas looked to be the odds-on favourite when his collaboration with Demi Lovato, ‘This Is Me’, landed in the Official UK Top 40, although his attempts didn’t quite work out.
Nevertheless, Joe’s younger brother Nick kept the Jonas flag flying with ‘Jealous’, which was kept off the number one spot by Jess Glynne – ‘Hold My Hand’ in April 2015.
Way back in 1968, Lionel Richie joined American soul group The Commodores as a singer and saxophonist. His knack for writing a ballad earned Lionel Richie songwriting commissions from other artists, which paved the way for his own solo career.
The singer went on to release phenomenal hits such as ‘Hello’, ‘Dancing on the Ceiling’ and ‘All Night Long’, earning himself a spot on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in June 2015.
Other former boyband members that have embarked on a solo career include George Michael (Wham!) Nathan Sykes (The Wanted), Ashton Merrygold (JLS), Simon Webbe (Blue), Boy George (Culture Club) Brian McFadden (Westlife), Ricky Martin (Menudo), Morrisey (The Smiths), Phil Collins (Genesis), Gary Barlow (Take That), Michael Jackson (The Jackson 5) and many, many more.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 30th July 2015 at 6:00 pm
The Slaves train keeps rolling along. Need evidence? Today we have for you the brand spanking new video for ‘Sockets’, their upcoming single out the 4th of September on Virgin EMI. As is usual fashion with these two, there is a lot of shouting in this PR-described ‘anarchic video’, during which a mild-mannered bloke watching the tv is accosted by yup, you guessed it, the duo themselves. Watch it below.
Earlier this month, we featured a live version of ‘Sockets’ performed by the raucous duo from May at London Scala. Tickets to their previously announced November 2015 tour of the UK is rapidly selling out (several venues have been upgraded, sold out, or both; details here), so if you plan to see them, don’t wait and be disappointed. All past coverage on Slaves on TGTF is here.
American folk rocker Nathaniel Rateliff is back with a new band and a new eponymously titled album ‘Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats’. Though the album isn’t scheduled for release until August, Rateliff and the band have already garnered rave reviews for the new material at their recent live shows, including appearances at Latitude and the Newport Folk Festival.
The album’s first single ‘Look It Here’ has an immediately uptempo sound, in stark contrast to Rateliff’s introspective ‘Closer’ EP from last winter and the predominantly dark undertones of his previous solo LP ‘Falling Faster Than You Can Run’. The track opens in a surprisingly jubilant fashion, with a full complement of horns and pounding drums behind Rateliff’s soulful vocal line “look it here baby, I’m coming home, on my knees, begging please”. Earnest and straightforward, the song builds to a passionate plea in the bridge that takes full advantage of the raw emotionality in Rateliff’s rough-hewn vocal delivery.
Both ‘Look It Here’ and the earlier teaser for album track ‘Howling at Nothing’ indicate a move toward a warm r&b soul flavour that suits Rateliff’s singing voice perfectly. The rich tapestry of sound contributed by the Night Sweats is a toe-tapping, hip-swaying change of pace that will leave both longtime Rateliff fans and new listeners begging for more.
‘Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats’ the album is due for release on the 28th of August via Nashville record label Stax and Caroline International. The new single ‘Look It Here’ will be released on the 21st of August, but if instant gratification is what you need, you can stream it now below.
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats will be on tour in the UK in September and October of this year; you can find all the details here. For a look back at previous TGTF coverage of Nathaniel Rateliff, head right this way.
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