By Mary Chang
on Monday, 14th November 2016 at 4:00 pm
Jamie T has been on tour to support ‘Trick’, his newest album that was released in September. Read Steven’s thoughts on the effort through this link. The socially conscious singer/songwriter has decided to give us a sneak peek into the going-on of him and his crew while out on the road, soundtracking it with album track ‘Tescoland’. Watch it below. For more of TGTF’s coverage on Jamie T, go here.
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 14th November 2016 at 12:00 pm
The whip-poor-will is a bird well known to those of us who live in the Eastern half of the United States, primarily for his distinctive, beautiful, haunting call. No less distinctive are the band whose single shares the name with this beloved bird. ‘Whippoorwill’ has been offered up as the first look and listen into Clock Opera’s second album, expected in early 2017. It’s been a long overdue reappearance, following the 2012 release of their debut ‘Ways to Forget’, which featured their then most recognisable songs including ‘A Piece of String’, famous for its engaging, percussive style live.
Interestingly, Clock Opera – now a four-piece with the addition of producer Nic Nell on keyboards and vocals – seem to have done a 180 on their new single. Its forlorn nature echoes its namesake’s call and according to group frontman Guy Connelly, this feeling of brooding and introspection was entirely intentional. Speaking about the album, he notes, “To be specific, the majority of the songs [on the new album] were inspired by a miscarriage. A lot of the others were driven by the fallout from it.” Connelly utilises falsetto in what begins as the regretful sighs of a man left behind following the dissolution of a relationship.
However, within the context of his explanation of the album’s primary inspiration, this initially comes across as not only heartfelt, but painfully cutting in its strong emotion. From the very beginning, Connelly tugs hard on our heartstrings: “there’s a hole in this house no fairground ride will fill / no time can kill / since you went away”. The rich tones of piano chords match well with a r&b, at times syncopated beat, which then gives way to a fuller, mainstream pop sound with some admirably timed bouncing blips from a synth.
The song appears to mirror the progression of real human emotion: as animals, we rarely stay in one state, and when we’re struggling with turmoil, in our state of confusion, we suffer highs and lows. The sound of Clock Opera mark 1 was very aggressive and in your face. It appears from ‘Whippoorwill’ that they’ve chosen to go in a more radio-friendly version, but the impact of the rest of ‘Venn’ remains to be seen.
Clock Opera’s newest single ‘Whippoorwill’ is out now via League of Imaginary Nations and !K7 . Watch the video for the single, by their guitarist and bassist Andy West, below. Their sophomore album ‘Venn’ is scheduled for release on the 10th of February 2017. For more of TGTF’s past coverage on Clock Opera, go here.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 11th November 2016 at 6:00 pm
You gotta love DIY artists that take it upon themselves to do pretty much everything themselves, putting their own unique stamp on it. Esme Patterson is releasing her new album ‘We Were Wild’ today on Xtra Mile Recordings, and the title track now has its own promo video. With scenes entirely on her iPhone, Patterson’s promo for the track reveals to all of us the beauty of the wildness of the Alaskan frontier. While perhaps not as playful as the past visuals in ‘Feel Right’, ‘We Were Wild’ the song sees Patterson going back to a more country, folk-y twang. Watch it below. For more of TGTF’s coverage on Esme Patterson, use this link.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 11th November 2016 at 4:00 pm
There’s something exciting afoot in the Cocos Lovers camp. I got an email from them earlier this week, clueing me into this track, the first of a pack of five that the indie folk collective from Kent will be releasing soon. They’re also going on tour with Xtra Mile Recordings artist Will Varley. ‘Soil to the Sun’ has a triumphant, high class hoedown feel to it: the video is part of a forthcoming Cider Barn Sessions collection. The coloured lights projected on the band give it an an almost hippie air. Watch the video below. Check out our past coverage on Cocos Lovers, including their appearances at Kendal Calling 2015 and SXSW 2014, through here.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 10th November 2016 at 6:00 pm
Dylan Baldi and Cloud Nothings have announced they’ve got a new album on the horizon. ‘Life Without Sound’ will be released on the 27th of January 2017 on Wichita Recordings. ‘Modern Act’ is the lead single from the forthcoming EP, and it’s now got its own funny video. A pair of black and white trainers are the focal point in this promo that eventually ends up on an idyllic beach. And let’s face it, we need some happiness in light of what’s happened this week. Watch the video below. For more on Cloud Nothings on TGTF, go here.
My most recent TGTF road trip took me north from Tucson to Scottsdale, which is part of the Phoenix metro area, and a slightly longer drive than my usual 2-hour gig trek. The night’s venue, Livewire AZ, is located adjacent to Scottsdale Fashion Square, an upscale suburban shopping center, and at first glance, its ambience is as sterile and superficial as you might expect from such an overtly trendy venue. Aside from its lack of distinguishing character, Livewire turned out to be, well, not a bad place to see a show, and a singularly appropriate venue for the night’s headliner, Icelandic/American alt-rock band Kaleo.
I arrived at Livewire to find a long queue of patrons, and though the queue moved quickly, the evening’s first support act had already taken the stage when I got inside. Luckily for me, it was a band I’d seen quite recently, Butch Walker protégés The Wind and the Wave. The Austin-based folk-rock duo had impressed me back in September at Los Angeles’ much smaller Teragram Ballroom, and they didn’t disappoint here at Scottsdale’s Livewire.
The brighter acoustics of the room benefitted The Wind and the Wave’s warm guitar and vocal quality, especially the ringing harmonies between singer Patricia Lynn and guitarist Dwight Baker. Though most of the crowd seemed new to their music, The Wind and the Wave garnered an overwhelmingly positive response from their Arizona audience with single ‘Grand Canyon’ and the title track to their recent album ‘Happiness Is Not a Place.’
The evening’s mood took a heavier turn with the decidedly dark electropop of second support act Bishop Briggs. London-born but currently based in Los Angeles, Briggs takes her pseudonymous stage name from her family’s hometown of Bishopbriggs, Scotland. Her stage persona at first reminded me of Gwen Stefani, complete with girlish pigtails and sporty sneakers, but Briggs’ music packs a noticeably weightier punch. Her all-too-brief set was dense with forceful lyrics and deep bass grooves, and her cagey movements on stage were both energetic and decisively edgy.
Briggs is fairly new to the music scene, having only begun releasing songs last year, but a fair few punters in the crowd apparently already knew her first single ‘Wild Horses’. For me, the knockout blow came in the form of Briggs’ recent single and set closer ‘River’. Her live performance of the song was even more powerful than the recorded version below; watch for this track to become a radio hit in the very near future.
Headlining band Kaleo already have a handful of radio hits under their collective belt, at least here in America. Their debut album ‘A/B’ is the only established back catalogue they have to draw from for live shows, but that catalogue is packed with hit singles, including ‘All the Pretty Girls’, ‘Way Down We Go’ and ‘No Good’. All of these naturally found their way into Kaleo’s live set, along with a handful of as-yet-unreleased songs thrown in for variety and good measure.
Kaleo made a rather dramatic entrance to the stage, starting the set with their heartwrenching album closer ‘I Can’t Go On Without You’. Lead singer and songwriter JJ Julius Son was spotlighted early on, and his vocals were flawless from beginning to end, switching effortlessly from raw and raspy to sweet, finely-tuned falsetto. He quickly followed ‘I Can’t Go On Without You’ with another bittersweet ballad, ‘Save Yourself’, which you can view for yourself just below in a live performance from Iceland’s Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon.
From that point forward, Kaleo firmly established their rock ’n’ roll credentials with the hot and heavy blues number ‘Broken Bones’. It must be said here that the band’s absolute best live moments came in down-and-dirty guitar tracks such as these, which were plentiful and strategically placed in the setlist. The mid-set sequence of ‘Hot Blood’ and ‘No Good’ ratcheted up the intensity level in the room by factors of ten, though Kaleo would never quite regain those giddy heights.
For all their obvious talent, Kaleo were a bit stiff on stage, rarely engaging with their audience. Julius Son was remarkably serious and concentrated throughout the set, stopping to speak to the crowd only to introduce a song in the band’s native Icelandic, the hauntingly beautiful ‘Vor í Vaglaskógi’. Far be it from me to dictate anyone’s facial expressions, but I did think it might have been nice to see a smile on his face at some point. As for the rest of the band, they only really let loose during ‘Backdoor’, when bassist Daniel Kristjansson and lead guitarist Rubin Pollock came together for a brief jam in front of drummer David Antonsson’s kit.
Despite their rather indistinctive demeanor, Kaleo played a tight and polished show, overall. They stuck to what they’re good at, and let it be said that they are indeed very, very good. They ended the night with a scorching version of ‘Way Down We Go’ before rocking out to close the set proper with ‘Ladies Man’. Their choice of encore played to their obvious blues rock strengths in the extended and appropriately-titled ‘Rock ’n’ Roller.’ If you haven’t had a listen to Kaleo yet, there’s no time like the present; the band will be on tour in America through the 12th of of this month before hitting the UK and Ireland for a short list of already sold out November live dates. A complete list of Kaleo’s upcoming live dates can be found on their official Facebook.