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By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 7th December 2016 at 6:00 pm
Never been to Brighton? No problem! The Magic Gang, who call the Southern seaside town their home, decided to feature the place in their latest promo video for ‘Only Waiting’. I’ve been to Brighton a handful of times for The Great Escape, but apparently I have somehow missed the pink bodysuit-clad being known colloquially as the Disco Bunny. Trust me, he has to be seen in this video to be believed. Blissfully unaware of his outfit’s brightness, or perhaps finding power in his, shall we say, unconventional dancing costume, his joyful prancing and true desire to make passersby happy with his antics seem to work well with this track from The Magic Gang, which appears on their ‘The Second EP From’ (get it?) out now. For more on The Magic Gang on TGTF, including my coverage of them at Canadian Music Week 2016, check out this link.
Laura Marling might not specifically identify herself as a feminist songwriter, but her work has taken a decidedly feminist turn of late. Following her most recent project ‘Reversal of the Muse’, a series of podcasts which she described as “an exploration of femininity in creativity’, Marling has announced a new album with a distinctly feminist title: ‘Semper Femina’.
Due for release early next year, ‘Semper Femina’ will be Marling’s sixth full length record, but its first single, ‘Soothing’ marks her first experience as a music video director. Inspired by “a series of vivid dreams Laura experienced whilst making the album,” the promo video is a study in contrasts, both visual and musical.
The predominant imagery in the video features two female bodies clad in shiny pleather, synchronously writhing and weaving to the tribal drum rhythm and the serpentine groove of the song’s bass line. This scene is interspersed with views of a small and staid gathering of onlookers, and a male-female couple sensually intertwined with a long blue ribbon. Marling’s vocals throughout the song are as striking as the pleather garments on her visual subjects. Her voice is ever so slightly strident, angular and sharp against the lush but subdued instrumental arrangement, beginning and ending her loose narrative with the same lyric: “you can’t come in, you don’t live here anymore.” The dark, unusual colour of the bowed string harmony only adds to the song’s elusive quality.
‘Soothing’ might invoke more questions than it answers about ‘Semper Femina’, but it’s an intriguing first look into Marling’s headspace after her starkly personal previous album ‘Short Movie’. From this point, the album could easily veer off into experimental avant-garde territory, but it might also be the album that establishes Laura Marling as one of the defining songwriters of her still-young generation.
Laura Marling’s sixth studio album ‘Semper Femina’ is due for release on the 10th of March 2017, via More Alarming Records/Kobalt. Marling has already announced a list of UK live dates to support the album release; you can find details here. TGTF’s full archive of previous coverage on Laura Marling, dating back to 2008, is right this way.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 7th December 2016 at 9:00 am
Ben and Ross Duffy – brother electropop duo Fenech-Soler – have announced a handful of UK dates for early next year. They’ll be touring Britain at the end of February into the start of March to support ‘Zilla’, their third album to be released on the 3rd of February 2017 on So Recordings. These dates follow February dates in New York and Los Angeles and precede further live shows in Europe in mid-March. Tickets to the UK tour dates, as listed below, are on sale today. You can listen to early album taster ‘Cold Light’ below the tour dates. Stream their ‘Kaleidoscope’ EP, released in September, in this past TGTF post. For more on our reporting on the Duffy brothers’ band’s past music activities, go here.
Friday 24th February 2017 – Brighton Patterns
Saturday 25th February 2017 – Norwich Waterfront
Monday 27th February 2017 – Bristol Thekla
Tuesday 28th February 2017 – Manchester Gorilla
Wednesday 1st March 2017 – London Heaven
Saturday 4th March 2017 – Nottingham Stealth
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 6th December 2016 at 6:00 pm
Neo-soul singer from Birmingham Laura Mvula revealed her sophomore album this summer. Out now on RCA Records, ‘The Dreaming Room’ garnered plaudits from all over. Tonight, we’ve got something for you that’s a little different. A few weeks ago, the Brummie songstress released to the wild ‘Ready or Not’, her cover of The Delfonics’ late ’60s hit single ‘Ready or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide From Love)’.
In her version, Mvula decided to take a more in your face approach, which also extends to her high contrast in colour promo video, full of reds, blacks, whites and blues. She even picks up a keytar at one point! Watch the video below. Read Rebecca’s review of ‘The Dreaming Room’ through here. For more of TGTF’s coverage of Laura Mvula, go here.
Indie rockers The Big Moon have had a pretty busy 2016. Aside from hitting a bunch of festivals including The Great Escape and releasing a bunch of singles, they also found time to record their debut album, ‘Love in the 4th Dimension’. Ahead of its release on the 7th of April 2017, the female foursome have shared single ‘Formidable’. The song received air time on Radio 1 as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record in the World: a statement that I’m not really going to try and disagree with. ‘Love in the 4th Dimension’ was recorded in London, and in addition to ‘Formidable’, it will feature a re-recorded version of previously revealed track ‘Sucker’, as well as singles Cupid’ and ‘Silent Movie Susie’ released earlier this year.
I’ve been a fan of The Big Moon for some time now, ever since I got to write a little about them ahead of their appearance at SXSW 2016, and their latest release doesn’t change that. ‘Formidable’ burns softly, with the simple yet heartfelt chorus “I am not invisible / I’m on your side / I’ll be formidable” packing a punch like a confident mantra. Other lyrics,like “did she make you swallow all your pride?/ Does the love still shiver down your spine?” are a testament to the seriously good songwriting.
In fitting with the band’s indie grunge sound, ‘Formidable’ is slow in tempo and layered with cagey drums, distorted guitars and lead singer Juliette Jackson’s full-on vocals. It starts out pretty mellow, before picking up the pace just a little as the chorus kicks in, and again when Jackson yells out ,“you let me see your battle scars!” It’s altogether a great track and well worth a listen if you’re a fan of edgy indie rock.
The Big Moon have been announced as one of the first acts to appear at next year’s Live at Leeds 2017. They have a few dates between now and next April in America and the UK, if you want to check them out live. Their debut album ‘Love in the 4th Dimension’ will be released on StarTime International / Columbia Records. To read my introduction to the band in the context of SXSW 2016, go here.
Esben and the Witch might have relocated from Brighton to Berlin, but the gothic-rock trio have homecoming plans for early next year, as they tour in support of their recent album ‘Older Terrors’. The album was released on the 4th of November via Season of Mist. You can have a listen to album track ‘Marking the Heart of a Serpent’ just below the tour date listing.
The following live dates are part of Esben and the Witch’s larger European tour; a full listing of upcoming shows can be found on their official Facebook. Tickets are available now. TGTF’s complete previous coverage of Esben and the Witch is back this way.
Saturday 18th February 2017 – London Electrowerkz
Monday 20th February 2017 – Bristol Exchange
Tuesday 21st February 2017 – Manchester Soup Kitchen
Wednesday 22nd February 2017 – Brighton Hope and Ruin
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