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By Mary Chang
on Friday, 28th August 2015 at 11:00 am
I’m a little behind in posting this album stream, but better late than never, right?
Earlier this month, singer/songwriter Luke Sital-Singh revealed a brand new EP, ‘The Breakneck Speed of Tomorrow’. It follows nearly 1 year on from the release of his debut album on Parlophone, ‘The Fire Inside’. (You can read Carrie’s review of his debut here.) Designed to go with the EP, Sital-Singh wrote a hand-printed letterpress ‘manifesto’, and it’s pretty stunning, given that it was written in poem form. Click on the image under the EP stream if you’d like to zoom in and read it in full.
‘The Breakneck Speed of Tomorrow’ EP is available digitally now. The physical release on Raygun Records, in 10″ and 10″ limited edition with hand-printed letterpress sleeve formats, will take place the 25th of September. For more on Luke Sital-Singh on TGTF, go here.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 26th August 2015 at 4:00 pm
To say I’m excited about Disclosure‘s second album ‘Caracal’, the follow-up to the 2013 Mercury Prize-nominated ‘Settle’, is an understatement. They previously revealed ‘Holding On’ featuring Gregory Porter, as well as some bits to ‘Omen’ starring the vocal talents of one Grammy-winning Sam Smith. Here’s yet another tasty morsel that was served up to some lucky fans live but is now available for all to enjoy.
Back in June, the Lawrence brothers and their fellow 2013 Mercury Prize nominees Rudimental took the plunge with a new music festival, Wild Life, which from all accounts went down a storm. A surprise appearance by r&b singer Kwabs paved the way fir this performance of ‘Willing & Able’, also set to appear on ‘Caracal’. Have a watch of its soulful goodness all unfolding below.
‘Caracal’ will drop the 25th of September on PMR and Island. For past coverage of Disclosure on TGTF, go here my friend.
Having emerged as a solo artist in 2014 with the release of two critically acclaimed EPs (‘Heart Full of Beef’ and ‘Nobody Dies’), Daisy Victoria quickly gained attention from the likes of BBC 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne and BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens. Her developing success also earned the young star support dates with Canadian-American folk rocker Martha Wainwright on her UK tour in October 2014. Almost a year later, Daisy Victoria is back with her brand new single ‘Pain of Dancers’.
Recorded at 4AD’s London studio and mixed by Damian Taylor (best known for working with Bjork, Arcade Fire and Robyn) at Golden Ratio in Montreal, ‘Pain of Dancers’ is four minutes of pure, raw emotion. This captivating track showcases Daisy Victoria’s operatic vocals over noir-esque synths, a sparkling guitar line and driving drums.
‘Pain of Dancers’, which was written by Daisy and her brother/songwriting partner Sam Lawrence, combines elements of mainstream pop with a beautifully charming, irresistible sound. The result is a track that contains the enchanting charm Daisy Victoria’s existing fanbase have come to know and love, while also appealing to a wider audience.
Ultimately, ‘Pain of Dancers’ is a fine example of Daisy Victoria’s talents and the output she is capable of. With a sound many existing artists could only dream of after two EPs, you can’t help but wonder what other tricks this intriguing, gifted young artist has up her sleeves. If she’s not already on your radar, make sure Daisy Victoria is, as there are big things to come from this small star.
Daisy Victoria’s single ‘Pain of Dancers’ will be released on the 25th of September. If you can’t wait until then, you can catch Daisy Victoria at her headline show at The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington in London on Monday, the 21st of September.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 25th August 2015 at 12:00 pm
The North West has always had an understandably strong sense of pride when it comes to churning out quality rock bands. Hooton Tennis Club, while still relative newcomers in the early days of their career in the industry, are of particular pride: they were one of the first signings to local Edge Hill University’s not-for-profit record label The Label Recordings, which I expect to have an important nurturing hand in the cultivation of young new groups from the region for years to come.
The band from Chester then went on in autumn 2015 to get signed to Heavenly Recordings, currently the label home of such artists we’ve featured here on TGTF such as Doves’ frontman Jimi Goodwin, Stealing Sheep, Temples and The Wytches. Not bad for a group who in a previous incarnation were merely a Supergrass covers band. This Friday, the lo-fi band – their members known by the extremely short and snappy names Khal, Haz, J. Dean and Uncle Ry – will be releasing their debut album ‘Highest Point in Cliff Town’, recorded at Liverpool’s famed Parr Street Studios under the tutelage of childhood friend Bill Ryder-Jones.
Most folks’ first exposure to Hooton Tennis Club was their early single ‘Jasper’. Probably the best adjective to describe this song – and indeed, this album as a whole – is ‘easy’. Is their sound indicative of slacker laziness, or just a full-scale embracing of a slower way of life that we should contemplate further on? There were times when I was listening to this LP that I thought of The Beach Boys’ earlier, sunnier, more innocent pop leanings, especially recent 6 Music fixture ‘Kathleen Sat on the Arm of Her Favourite Chair’: “out on Market Hill, I get by with a couple of friends / and even if you’re lonely, maybe we could go for a walk in the park / or maybe go swimming? / I hope we don’t drown.” It was written in Ryder-Jones’ mum’s house, keeping on with that theme of innocence.
On the other side of the spectrum is upcoming single ‘P.O.W.E.R.F.U.L. P.I.E.R.R.E.’, also to be released on Friday. With its discordant, squealing guitars, it isn’t too hard to imagine the band with Ryder-Jones having a whale of a time recording it in the studio. (The animated promo video above also gives you the sense that this tune probably sounds better to stoners.) You get the same kind of feeling from LP opener ‘Up in the Air’, a lazy float down a garage pop song, punctuated with a “whoo!” at the end. Melodic guitars strum languidly by in ‘Something Much Quicker Than Anything Jennifer Could Imagine’ and ‘…And Then Camilla Drew Fourteen Dots on Her Knee’. Like text speak? Have a gander at the titles for ‘Always Coming Back 2 You’ and ‘Fall in Luv’ (groan).
This isn’t earth-shattering, genre-bending, experimental music. But if the popularity of Courtney Barnett, Mac DeMarco and Happyness is anything to go by, Hooton Tennis Club will do just fine.
‘Highest Point in Cliff Town’, Hooton Tennis Club’s debut album effort, will be released this Friday, the 28th of August, on Heavenly Recordings. You can listen to the band in session and chatting with Lauren Laverne last week on BBC 6 Music here; they’ll be on tour in the UK in October and November. For all things Hooton Tennis Club on TGTF, head this way.
You only have to listen to a sample of London-based newcomer PILLARS to realise that she is the kind of artist that can give you goose bumps on top of your goose bumps. Fresh off the back of her second single’s whirlwind success and an appearance at The Great Escape Festival 2015 in May, the elusive songwriter has unveiled ‘You Got This’: a sophisticated, intriguing number with a poignant message.
There’s a real coherence to PILLARS’ music, with her latest track perfectly slotting into her growing collection of ambient electronica (which already boasts her debut single ‘Attacker’ and the follow-up ‘Woman Without Her Love’), while also revealing more about the singer’s restricted musical and personal identity. The track, which uses samples of her own voice to build up distinctive, hypnotic arrangements, has a sound that is both pleasantly familiar, yet is delicately injected with just enough darkness to leave the hairs on the back of your neck trembling for more.
Produced by Deafkid and recorded and mixed by Brett Shaw (Florence and the Machine, Say Lou Lou) at Peckham’s 123 studios, ‘You Got This’ features well-crafted, cryptic lyrics, which are sung over a bed of murky basslines and hard-hitting synths. There’s an elegant, haunting tone to PILLARS’ voice that you can’t help but appreciate and admire.
With three solid singles under her belt already and a featured vocalist credit on ‘Temptress’ from hotly-tipped UK producer Daktyl, PILLARS has well and truly got the ball rolling in terms of her music career. In order to keep that momentum going, the songwriter will need to continue to output music of this calibre (whether it be another new single or possibly even an album). With preparations well underway for a debut London show this summer, this certainly won’t be the last we’ve seen of PILLARS, something this reviewer is extremely thankful for.
PILLARS’ single ‘You Got This’ is out now on East City Records.
With a revamped roster and production assistance from none other than the multi-talented Dev Hynes (aka Blood Orange, formerly Lightspeed Champion), London alt-pop quartet Spector are set to release their highly-anticipated sophomore album ‘Moth Boys’. Slick and streamlined, the new album is noticeably more synth-centric than the band’s energetic 2012 debut LP ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’, and also much more ponderously deliberate in its overall ambience.
Frontman and lead vocalist Fred Macpherson channels the vocal style of Editors’ Tom Smith in this set of morose and melodramatic songs, taking advantage of his dark and ominous baritone timbre to convey the ostentatious misery in his lyrics through the course of the album. Though there are a fair few upbeat dance tempo tracks, even these tend to drag a bit, weighed down by Macpherson’s lyrical bitterness but also by the narrow, self-absorbed musical focus, which comes across as a very conscious effort by the band to take themselves more seriously.
The album opens with a strong sequence of tracks, starting with early single ‘All the Sad Young Men’, whose angular instrumental lines and pulsating rhythm underscore the rather bratty recurrent declaration “I don’t want to make love / I don’t want to make plans / I don’t want anyone to want to hold my hand”. Current single ‘Stay High’, which we featured recently in this live video, is similarly uptempo with a sharp guitar lick behind the double-tracked vocals in the chorus “stay high / you know tomorrow is a lie / and maybe so you and I” and is immediately followed by the shimmering disco hall effect of ‘Believe’.
The pretentious lyrical theme of emotional detachment begins to wear thin by the time fourth track ‘Don’t Make Me Try’ rolls around, its conceit showing through in the lines “these emails I draft but never send / works of art you couldn’t comprehend / I miss you / don’t make me try”. The song’s drone-like keyboard tone is likewise abrasive, but its crisp percussion and backing vocals redeem it somewhat, as does the subtle mood shift at the end when the title line changes to “don’t make me cry”.
The lengthy ‘Cocktail Party – Head Interlude’, co-written by Hynes, contains some of the album’s most dramatic and desperate lyrical imagery over bright keyboards and a skipping percussion rhythm that keeps the momentum going as Macpherson imagines the object of his affection “smearing off last night’s lips / you’re running from a 2 AM kiss / he makes you think about yourself / I hope you make it home”. The rhythm drops out in the coda, and a thin wash of synths leaves a lingering sense of desperation.
The jazz inflection of early single ‘Bad Boyfriend’ is a welcome change of pace in the middle of the tracklisting. While its gloomy lyrics are more of the same, alternating between insult and self-deprecation, the vivid harmonic colour in its chorus is one of the album’s most memorable musical moments.
From that point forward, the album slides from the morose into the purely maudlin. ‘Decade of Decay’ is precisely what you’d expect from a song with that title, and ‘Kyoto Garden’, while inventive in its musical references and rhythmic pulse, is a lyrical morass of depression centering around the lines “so what am I supposed to do / if I was you I’d hate me too / I get it”. The bitter jealousy of ‘West End’ dampens that song’s ragged dance tempo, while final tracks ‘Using’ and ‘Lately It’s You’ drag and plod into aimless self-absorption.
Spector were clearly feeling the weight of expectation after the success of ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’, and it appears that they may have neglected to take their own advice. ‘Moth Boys’ is an intricately planned successor, but its meticulous machinations have left it completely devoid of joy. It might have been better off trimmed to an EP or even a more concise and focused shorter album. As it is, the album’s first half is a good listen, with songs that are more instinctive and visceral as compared to the intellectually and emotionally contrived later tracks.
Spector’s sophomore LP ‘Moth Boys’ is out today on Fiction Records. The band will tour the album through the UK this October; you can find the listing of live dates by clicking here. Previous TGTF coverage of Spector is right back this way.
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