By Mary Chang
on Friday, 10th July 2015 at 8:00 am
Sheffield’s Man in Black Richard Hawley has announced a headline tour for October and November 2015 for the UK and Ireland. The tour follows a month after the release of Hawley’s eighth studio album ‘Hollow Meadows’, which drops on the 21st of September on Parlophone. My thoughts on the LP’s first taster ‘Which Way’ can be read in this In the Post feature from last week.
All shows below are on sale now except for Southampton (on sale Saturday the 11th of July at 9 AM) and Leeds and Manchester (on sale Saturday the 11th of July at 9:30 AM). TGTF’s past coverage on Richard Hawley is this way (no pun intended).
Sunday 25th October 2015 – Brighton Dome
Monday 26th October 2015 – Cambridge Corn Exchange
Tuesday 27th October 2015 – Birmingham Institute
Wednesday 28th October 2015 – Scarborough Spa Grand Hall
Friday 30th October 2015 – Dublin Vicar Street
Sunday 1st November 2015 – Leeds Academy
Monday 2nd November 2015 – Manchester Albert Hall
Tuesday 3rd November 2015 – Gateshead Sage
Thursday 5th November 2015 – Glasgow Barrowland
Friday 6th November 2015 – Sheffield Arena Steel Hall
Sunday 8th November 2015 – London Roundhouse
Monday 9th November 2015 – Bristol Colston Hall
Tuesday 10th November 2015 – Southampton Guildhall
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 9th July 2015 at 6:00 pm
The Watermelons are a young band from Brighton who will be releasing their debut EP ‘Best of You’ on the 20th of July. One week before that, the foursome will be dropping the title track as a single. Their sunny, carefree sensibility is evident on song ‘Best of You’, which makes sense given that they’ve cited TGTF friends Little Comets and chirpy Mercury Prize nominees Bombay Bicycle Club as influences.
The accompanying promo video takes full advantage of their proximity to the beautiful sea and the lazy days and nights spent there with man’s best friend. The video also reinforces the idea of not taking things in your life for granted, because one day you may find those things gone. Cute video.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 9th July 2015 at 4:00 pm
Making waves around the world right now is Amy, the new documentary about the late, great and troubled Amy Winehouse. The film is out now and while several clips from the documentary have already been making the rounds, this one released yesterday of Winehouse singing ‘Back to Black’ after having just written the lyrics in a short, 2 to 3 hour span in New York in March 2006 (according to producer Mark Ronson in his voiceover on this clip) is particularly poignant.
If you could forget for a moment and strip away how her drug and alcohol abuse and her eating disorder all made her an easy target for the tabloid papers, what you were left with was a real human being who made some bad choices and didn’t find help in time. However you felt about Amy Winehouse as a person, what is eminently clear after her passing through clips like this is how great her singing talent really was. Watch the clip from the documentary below. Past articles on TGTF about Winehouse are this way.
It seems somehow appropriate that I listened to Lucy Rose’s new album ‘Work It Out’ during my visits to the gym last week. While I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s the kind of high energy workout music most gym rats would choose to get their heart rates pumping, the album is surprisingly uptempo and edgy, just enough so to keep my mind from wandering during a long run on the treadmill, and Rose’s delicate singing voice takes on new strength and self-assurance compared to what we heard on her 2012 debut album ‘Like I Used To’.
Most of the songs on ‘Work It Out’ explore love, either in its uncertain beginnings or its tumultuous endings, and both extremes are effectively expressed. Rose’s introspective lyrics are streamlined to make their most emotionally potent impact while her musical arrangements are expanded to suit the songs’ visceral nature, making use of groovy bass lines and complex, uptempo rhythms under prominent keyboard and guitar melodies.
Opening track ‘For You’ makes a strong initial statement, as Rose’s vocals grow from softly raspy over a stark guitar and percussion arrangement, through the gradual dynamic escalation in the bridge, to her final emphatic repeat of the chorus. ‘Our Eyes’ maintains the intensity with a quick dance tempo and synth keys under Rose’s smooth, almost jazzy vocal delivery. Current single ‘Like An Arrow’ starts out in a more expected acoustic fashion, but the synths and beats kick in again on the chorus to electrify one of the album’s most perfectly sung and perfectly singable melodies, “we took our chance and we flew, like an arrow, like an arrow”.
I’m not sure what might have inspired Rose to write a song called ‘Nebraska’, but of course I was intrigued by the reference to my own Midwestern home state. The darkly dramatic piano accompaniment to the lyrics “Nebraska calls my name / the harvest of my love / the greenness turns to grey” makes an aptly analogous description of the bleak late autumn landscape before evolving into the breadth of the chorus “the earth, it moves, it shouts, I’m alive.”
From that point forward, ‘Work It Out’ takes a slightly darker turn, starting with the anxious rhythms and sharp vocal shifts of ‘KOLN’ (which is, perhaps coincidentally, also the call sign of a television station in Lincoln, Nebraska). ‘Cover Up’ features an intense tribal rhythm which is, in combination with the heavy bass groove and Rose’s entrancing vocals, oddly hypnotic. ‘She’ll Move’ is similarly sensual and visceral, its emphasis on rhythm inspiring physical movement, while the contrasting layered vocal lines create a heady psychedelic effect.
Rose further displays her newly developed alt-pop sensibilities in the dramatic title track ‘Work It Out’, whose unresolved harmonic suspensions mirror the tense lyrical questioning in the song’s verses. Conversely, acoustic ballad ‘Into the Wild’ nods back to Rose’s folk-pop past, the light guitar arrangement allowing the pure unadorned beauty of Rose’s singing voice a brief moment to shine.
The album’s upbeat closer ‘Till the End’ features a groovy chorus with a heavy dance beat behind Rose’s light-as-air vocals. To celebrate the album’s release, Rose has unveiled an interactive behind-the-scenes video for the final track, allowing her viewers to choose among six scenes of Rose playing and singing the individual instrumental parts as she did on the studio recording.
In speaking of ‘Work It Out’, Rose has said, “This record, it’s hopefully going to sort a few things out. Who I am. What I do. It’s direct. I love it.” She has clearly taken a bold step away from the safe folk-pop formula of ‘Like I Used To’, deliberately distilling her sound to intensify its emotional drama and musical momentum. Concise and confident, ‘Work It Out’ is sure to find its way onto a more than a few workout playlists, and probably onto a fair number of Best of 2015 lists by year’s end.
Lucy Rose’s second album ‘Work It Out’ is out now on Columbia Records. After making the rounds on the summer festival circuit, Rose will tour the UK and Ireland this autumn; you can find the details of those headline dates here. For all previous TGTF coverage of Lucy Rose, click here.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 9th July 2015 at 10:00 am
One of our favourite North American indie labels, Toronto’s Dine Alone Records, is offering up a free mini summer sampler of eight songs by bands from their roster for music fans to have a taste and enjoy a selection of tracks with no commitment needed. Tracks from Miami Horror, Yukon Blonde, k-os, Dave Monks, Lieutenant, Fine Points, Brendan Philip and Vanessa Carlton are all yours and free for the taking from the Noisetrade widget below in exchange for your email address and postal code. To have a listen to the tracks first, you can stream them from the YouTube embed at the bottom of this post.
You can read Carrie’s review of the Dine Alone Records showcase Wednesday night at SXSW 2015 at this link.
Electropop legends New Order have recently announced details of a new album, their first in ten years, titled ‘Music Complete’. Featuring guest appearances from Iggy Pop, Brandon Flowers and Elly Jackson (La Roux), the album is due for release on the 25th of September via Mute Artists Ltd. The band have released a series of very brief promo trailers as a sneak preview of ‘Music Complete'; you can view all three below the tour date listing.
In support of the album release, New Order will showcase their new material with a short run of live shows in the UK this November. Tickets for the following shows go on sale tomorrow, Friday the 10th of July, at 9 AM. To hear the band’s Stephen Morris in conversation with Radcliffe and Maconie on 6 Music yesterday (Wednesday the 8th of July) on iPlayer, visit the 6 Music Web site.For previous TGTF coverage of New Order, you can click here.
Monday 16th November 2015 – London Brixton Academy
Thursday 19 November 2015 – Glasgow Academy
Saturday 21st November 2015 – Liverpool Olympia
Tuesday 24th November 2015 – Wolverhampton Civic Hall