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By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 23rd June 2015 at 4:00 pm
This week now LA-based English singer/songwriter Laura Marling has a new live performance video she wants to share with the world. From the same ‘Short Movie’ sessions that yielded these live videos of ‘I Feel Your Love’ and ‘False Hope’, ‘Strange’ gets a similar warts and all treatment. Watch the performance below.
Past TGTF coverage on Laura Marling, including several of her appearances at this year’s SXSW, is this way.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 23rd June 2015 at 12:00 pm
From the last video off their second album ‘Exile’ released in 2013, it’s been quite some time since we’ve heard from Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson, aka London synthpop duo Hurts. So imagine me on a hot Sunday night when I’m minding my own business, scanning my Twitter feed, and my jaw drops to the floor when I’ve seen Hutchcraft drop the news that Hurts’ third album ‘Surrender’ is on its way in October. Oh, and by the way, in case you missed it a couple weeks ago, here’s the promo video to the first single ‘Some Kind of Heaven’, give it a go, eh?
As I hadn’t heard the single before watching the video, there’s no escaping commenting on the unusual and disturbing storyline of the video. The action focusses on a strange gathering in someone’s house, and while everyone seems to be drinking the same punch and is weirdly happy and placid, there’s definitely something off here, something straight out of Jonestown. Also included are scenes of Hutchcraft running down a dirt road, away from a speeding car – the automobile equivalent to the suspenseful crop-duster chase scenes Cary Grant endures in North by Northwest – and across a darkened forest with nothing to light the way except vehicle headlights trained on him, poised on his every move, as if he’s just escaped prison or a concentration camp. Unsettling. What’s even weirder is that for most of the house scenes, he’s inside the house being urged on by a creepy older man who appears to be the charismatic leader of this group, but the promo begins and ends with him looking on at the activities of the people in the house as if he’s detached from the proceedings.
Musically, the song is a step away from the anthemic overtones of ‘Somebody to Die For’ off of ‘Exile’. This is dark but still pure pop, written with the intention of being featured on Radio 1. To Hutchcraft’s credit, when you tease some of the lyrics away from the incredibly catchy melody, do do dos and the tribal rhythm of the bridge, they stand alone as pretty poetic: “I don’t need hell to make me scared of love / I don’t need a symphony to sing my song / there’s a choir of angels deep inside my lungs.” Heaven and hell are familiar themes to Hurts, having already broached the subject in earlier tearjerker ‘Sunday’, but the tragic end felt less forced and more beautiful in ‘Sunday’. Maybe ‘Some Kind of Heaven’ and its style are just symptomatic of the way pop music is going these days?
Still, damn, this is catchy. Welcome back, Hurts. You have been missed. Bring on the ‘Surrender’…
‘Surrender’, the third album from Hurts, will be released on the 9th of October on Sony. If you pre-order the album, you’ll get the single ‘Some Kind of Heaven’ as a download instantly. For past coverage on Hurts on TGTF over their last two albums, head this way.
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 22nd June 2015 at 6:00 pm
Editors have a brand new promo for ‘Marching Orders’, the latest new song of theirs to be revealed to the public. In its full form, the Coldplay-eque track runs 7 and a half minutes, so you won’t be hearing the whole thing on a radio station near you anytime soon. But it’s pretty epic, and its physical release is pretty epic too: 300 hand-stamped, limited edition 12″ test pressings of the single have been given out to be sold at Oxfam stores across the UK, Germany and Belgium, continuing a long-standing relationship with the charity and the band. Frontman Tom Smith explains further:
We’ve been supporters of Oxfam’s amazing, vital work for many years, from supporting their Oxfam unwrapped campaign back in Xmas 2007, performing at Oxjam gigs and also hosting Oxfam campaigners on our tours to help raise funds and spread the word about the charity with our fans.
This promo for Editors’ ‘Marching Orders’ follows on from their last video for ‘No Harm’, also directed by Iranian-born photographer Rahi Rezvani. Watch it below. The single is out digitally now. Editors are on tour in the UK and Ireland in October; all past coverage of Editors on TGTF is here.
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 22nd June 2015 at 12:00 pm
When we first heard Manchester’s Everything Everything’s first single ‘MY KZ UR BF’, it was clear they were a band who weren’t going to follow anyone else’s lead. Their debut album ‘Man Alive’ was a watershed moment in indie, their percussive, off kilter sound catching the eyes and ears of the 2010 Mercury Prize nominating committee. Follow-up ‘Arc’, which followed in January 2013, continued their raison d’etre to push sonic boundaries, but maybe not with the same success. Here in June 2015, the group have returned with their third album ‘Get to Heaven’, and just as we usher in summer festival season, Everything Everything have already surfaced at their live appearances nattily dressed in matching suits, as if aping the Temptations. Hmm…
Speaking about the new album to NME, Jonathan Higgs said the effort was borne out of the uncertain, worrisome time it was written in: “I think you’d have to be blind and deaf to have lived through 2014 and not shed a tear. If you put out a record this year and it’s all smiles, then I think you’re a liar, basically.” Going on that statement, it’s not surprising at all that ‘Get to Heaven’ is both jarring to the ears and challenging. The question then is, is this an album that you’ll want to queue up start to finish again? Is it a summer must-have? Without a doubt, it definitely sounds different from ‘Arc’, much more muscular and energetic than the more dour, introspective moments we heard on the last record.
The earliest revealed singles from Everything Everything’s third album prove their continued excellence in writing a hit pop song. The bounce of ‘Distant Past’, owing much to its powerful drums, funky bass line and Higgs’ trademark staccatoed, MC-style lyrical delivery, is an earworm of the highest calibre. Going back to that mention above about their new look as a 21st century Temps, the harmonies of ‘Regret’ have a gospel feel, while Higgs leads the proceedings with his lilting falsetto in the chorus. The overall effect is mesmerising.
‘Spring / Summer / Winter / Dread’ surprised me the most on this record, as musically it’s the band’s most overtly mainstream pop effort to date. If it weren’t for the words where Higgs accuses “I know what you are / a thief and a murderer too / you stole the face that you wear / from a craven baboon”, with the kind of synth action it has, it would feel at home on a Bastille album. And the tune ends with a guitar lick Eddie Van Halen would be proud of. Where the heck did that come from? Maybe that was meant to echo the underlying sentiment of wanting rebellion. Another standout on ‘Get to Heaven’ is opening track ‘To the Blade’, which has both moments of gentleness and in your face freneticism.
Much of this album is, as alluded to earlier by Higgs’ quote to the NME, unsettling to the listener. ‘Fortune 500’ has a sinister bent towards the Royal Family, yet with a weirdly New Wave-y way, with synths more to the foreground than its percussion. ‘The Wheel (Is Turning Now)’ is rappy, buzzy, skittish, hitting out at blind politicians leading the blind. “I’m going to kill a stranger / so don’t you be a stranger / oh baby, it’s all right / it’s all right to feel / like a fat child in a pushchair / old enough to run / old enough to fire a gun” are probably going to be the defining lyrics of this album, and eerily so that the release date is just days after the Charleston Emanuel AME church massacre, but what the band was getting at writing ‘No Reptiles’ was the insanity of emotional detachment from what we should be feeling when horrors are committed against our fellow man.
And that’s the point of ‘Get to Heaven': to get you, the listener, to stand up and take notice, if not get angry, go out there and really do something about the injustices you see. While it’s admirable for its moral focus, it’s not exactly light fare for the summer lyrically. I commend Everything Everything on is having written an interesting record that on the surface is enticing rhythmically, and if one in 20 young people listening to their songs on Radio 1 is inspired by their music, then they should consider it a job well done.
Everything Everything’s third album ‘Get to Heaven’ is out on today on RCA. Catch them on tour in November in the UK. For all our past coverage of the band on TGTF, right this way.
New Music Fridays is the name for the new global release date of all albums and singles. The move, which comes into effect from Friday, the 10th of July 2015, is being implemented by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents the worldwide recording industry. The introduction of New Music Fridays is taking place in 45 recorded music markets worldwide. Only 11 of these markets currently release music on a Friday.
So, why is the change being introduced? Currently, albums and singles are released in the UK and France on Mondays and in America and Canada on Tuesdays, while consumers in Australia and Germany have to wait until Friday to get their hands on the latest releases. Not only does this cause frustration for music fans when other parts of the world can access new releases before them, but this old system no longer makes sense in today’s digital world. IFPI believe that the move will benefit artists who want to harness social media to promote their new music, creating an opportunity to reignite the excitement and sense of occasion.
In the UK, the introduction of New Music Fridays is causing some major changes to the way in which the Official UK Top 40 is announced. The Official Chart Show, which is currently broadcast on BBC Radio 1 on a Sunday, will move to a new slot on a Friday evening, where it will be hosted by new show presenter Greg James.
The move has gained approval from some big names in the music industry, including Edgar Berger, chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment. He described the move as “good news for music fans everywhere”, saying, “Today’s recorded music industry operates in an increasingly borderless world. Hits can come from anywhere and spread everywhere. Some superstars have already launched their albums simultaneously worldwide, now all artists will be able to reach their global fan bases on the same day.”
New Music Fridays has also received backing from retailers, including HMV. Paul McGowan, chief executive at Hilco (owners of HMV), said of the change, “It’s a big opportunity for us to get music fans into our stores, and it’s something I hope gets full support from across our industry. New Music Fridays will get music to the high street when people hit the high street. As the UK’s leading entertainment retailer, that makes perfect sense for us and our customers.”
Streaming services such as Deezer and Spotify are also supporting the move. Hans-Holger Albrecht, the CEO of Deezer, said, “Deezer welcomes New Music Fridays and the sense of occasion it will bring to the release of new music. Deezer’s editors are primed to make Friday the new start to their week to help people wherever they are make that exciting new discovery, just in time for the weekend.”
New Music Fridays begins on Friday, the 10th of July. All new albums and singles will be released at 00:01 local time. Further information on the new initiative can be found on the New Music Fridays Web site.
By Mary Chang
on Sunday, 21st June 2015 at 10:00 am
Johnny Marr‘s music videos aren’t really all that inventive. In his latest promo for ‘Candidate’, appearing on Marr’s second album ‘Playland’ released in autumn 2014, he and his band are seen banging the track out in the studio, headphones on and alternating between silly and serious looks. Watch the video below.
Past TGTF coverage of the living legend, including Martin’s report on his arresting performance headlining Deer Shed 2014 last summer, can be found here.