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By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 17th January 2017 at 6:00 pm
Header photo by Jo Bongard
Ahmed Gallab, better known as Sinkane, will be releasing a new album next month. ‘Life & Livin’ It’ follows his acclaimed 2015 album ‘Mean Love’, which spawned a series of excellent singles and took Gallab around the world on a dizzying set of live dates. Back in November, he unveiled the funky ‘U’Huh’, featured here on TGTF as a previous Video of the Moment.
Tonight, we’ve got another cut from the upcoming LP, ‘Telephone’, in the form of its promo video. It was filmed in a single shot in Lisbon, Portugal flat and stars classically-trained ballerina Kelly Nakamura and Sinkane himself. As you might imagine for a promo with a professional dancer, as well as how everyone was dressed in the promo for ‘U’Huh’, this is the kind of music to get you on your feet. Watch the music video below. Stay tuned for ‘Life & Livin’ It’, which will be released on the 10th of February on City Slang.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 17th January 2017 at 4:00 pm
London via Newcastle protest band VANT are just chomping at the bit for their opportunity to wow punters at SXSW 2017 in March. Don’t believe me? Read my interview with their frontman Mattie Vant from November through here. For those of you (and myself) who have not have the wonderful opportunity to see the group perform live, either at a regular headline show, or at their homecoming show back at Newcastle Cluny in early November for last autumn’s edition of Dr. Martens’ #STANDFORSOMETHING tour, they’ve got something special for us.
In December, they performed at London Scala in the north of the city. It’s a pretty cool venue to start out with, so any live video shared from the place would look very cool anyway. However, they didn’t stop there. Through stylised editing of the actual performance as if a moving scrapbook, as well as coverage of their fans queueing outside and enjoying the show once inside, this video comes across as high-energy documentation of the band’s blistering live performance experience. Watch it below. Stay tuned of our coverage of VANT when we’re out in Austin. To read through our growing back catalogue of coverage on VANT, follow this link.
The eighth EP release from dance producer prodigy James Draper, better known simply as Draper, does exactly what you’d assume the eighth EP would do. It’s made up of tracks that are massive, filled with beats and none too explorative. Across the six tracks, only one of which doesn’t feature a guest artist, there’s a lot to make you want to move and shake. Which, ultimately, is all you can ask for from an EP by an electronic producer.
It wastes no time in getting down to brass tacks by instantly striking with loud, prominent beats that use techno flourishes at their finest with ‘Want You More’. One of the unspoken jewels in dance music production’s crown is the use of unnoticed or unfamiliar artists. In cases like this, you can normally guarantee the voice you hear singing the hook comes from an up-and-comer, and in this case, it’s Sam Sure. The London-based singer has a voice that is a cross between emotive and focused, giving the song a much-needed human touch. Next up is BB Diamond on ‘Jealous’, a track about, you guessed it, being jealous. Her voice definitely shows the vicious side of jealousy, Diamond’s vocal range tensing at times and often taking on a raw edge. The music itself is once again fairly standard for this genre – with no real progression – but it’s melodic and isn’t terrible, so there’s that.
However, ‘I.O.U’ saves the day, with a performance on vocals from another London-based singer, Kyko. There’s two different songs within this track that appear and disappear throughout. The first is a triumphant and euphoric-sounding electronic funk melody that really does draw your attention, especially when complimented by the delicacy of the second. Next up, ‘Reaction’ brings yet more flavour. Its restrained instrumentation allows the vocals to take centre space, at least up until the chorus, which is actually pretty damn good. This is pop at its finest: a melody that sweeps you away, though the vocal performance could do more to match this setup. Guest vocalist Milck‘s strength lies in the more sedentary verse; the chorus calls for a more emotive performance to match the powerful melody Draper creates, and the vocal lets the track down in that regard. Additionally, the vocal effect before the break into the final chorus is wholly unnecessary but is saved by the extremely Eighties’ sounding guitar solo that breaks out in the song’s finale.
‘Heartbeat Close’ is a pure and straight dance track. There’s no doubt what its purpose is: to get you dancing, while drunk in the club with your friends. No points for creativity, but kudos on managing to stick to the template. Finale ‘Who Are You’ features Sykes and is the strongest guest performance on the record. With a sound reminiscent of CHVRCHES, just a little less power, it has a draw that none of the other tracks do. It’s encapsulating and breathes a life of fresh air into the six tracks, which is a shame considering this song appears at the end of the EP. Vocals once again aren’t sufficiently powered to match the euphoria found within the music, though the execution is certainly better that seen on ‘Reaction’. And another Eighties’ guitar solo, you can’t go wrong with an Eighties’, reverb-laden guitar solo.
As a whole, the EP is nothing to write home about, though as a whole, ‘Luminous’ certainly proves Draper’s strength as a producer. The songs are to get you dancing, soundtrack the lighter side of your life and to not hang around longer than needed, Which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s also not necessarily a good thing.
Draper’s ‘Luminous’ EP is available now from M:UK. You can stream the entire release below. He’s announced a show in London at Koko’s Friday BURST dance night on the 3rd of March. Stay tuned for more coverage on Draper in the coming weeks and months.
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 16th January 2017 at 6:00 pm
Before the new year, Manchester math rockers Dutch Uncles revealed ‘Big Balloon’, the lead single and title track to their upcoming newest studio album. ‘Big Balloon’ the LP will be their fifth and is scheduled for release on Memphis Industries on the 17th of February. At the start of December, our Adam reviewed the single, now A-listed on BBC 6 Music. You can read Adam’s review through this link.
The single now has a promo video, directed by Nick Middleton and filmed at Buxton Raceway. Getting to the place required a drive through some idyllic countryside, and I’m assuming the contrast between the rolling green hills of England and mangled metal cars was intentional. It’s like the beguiling study of contrasts that every Dutch Uncles song contains. Watch the video below. We’ve got a pretty big archive on the band on TGTF, which you can have a look through here.
As far as band formation stories go, NYC’s Hiccup has to be right near the top of the list for the title of Most Unique. The band’s co-lead vocalists, Hallie Bulleit and Alex Clute, first worked together in The LLC, which is the house band for The Chris Gethard Show, a late-night TV program on the Fusion Network. The band’s job on the variety show is to create quick, energetic snippets of music to accompany the fast-paced action, and Bulleit and Clute connected over their shared love of ephemeral-but-catchy pop hooks. According to Clute, they wanted to “translate [those pop hooks] into something similar but with more of a lasting impression”. They recruited drummer Piyal Basu, and Hiccup was officially formed.
Hiccup are set to release their debut LP ‘Imaginary Enemies’ on the 24th of March via Father/Daughter Records, just after their scheduled appearance at SXSW 2017. The album’s lead single is titled ‘Teasin’’, and it demonstrates straightaway the frenetic musical energy that Bulleit and Clute must have developed as bandmates in The LLC. Despite its coy title, ‘Teasin’’ is a lo-fi sonic assault, driven by an agitated rhythm and a battering ram of guitar distortion. Unfortunately, the production and/or instrumentation don’t do the dual-layered vocal line any favours, and I wasn’t able to make out many of the rapid-fire lyrics. The press release for ‘Teasin’’ calls Hiccup a “breakneck-paced, harmony-laden indie band”, but any attempt at vocal harmony between Bulleit and Clute has been drowned in a morass of guitars cranked up to 10 on the fuzz meter.
All that being said, if ‘Teasin’’ is any indication, Hiccup’s concise pop-punk approach is sure to be an instant hit at SXSW, where an aggressive and striking first impression can make all the difference to a breaking band’s success. Their infectious, high-energy sound is perfectly-tailored for a festival atmosphere; I can see it working equally well on sunny daytime stages and dark late night club showcases. Look for Hiccup to be one of the most buzzed about American bands in Austin this spring.
As always, any information we bring you about SXSW 2017 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts, and the artist lineup is subject to change. For news and updates on SXSW 2017, please consult the festival’s official schedule here. Keep an eye on TGTF for further preview coverage of the festival ahead of our yearly pilgrimage to Austin in March.
American West Coast synthpop band LANY will play three live shows in England this March as part of an extensive worldwide tour including dates in Europe, Australia and the Philippines. We at TGTF caught LANY at the end of last year, here in America, as they were in the midst of a meteoric ascent up the Spotify streaming charts. Their track ‘ILYSB’ is currently the most streamed song of all time on Spotify Discover; you can hear a live version of it just below the tour date listing.
A full list of LANY’s upcoming tour dates, from the end of February through mid-July, can be found on their official Facebook. Tickets for the following shows are available now.
Monday 6th March 2017 – Birmingham Institute
Tuesday 7th March 2017 – Manchester Gorilla
Thursday 9th March 2017 – London KOKO
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