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Dance pop songstress Katy B’s second album ‘Little Red’ went straight to #1 on its release in back February, and she quickly followed that success with a sold out headline tour in March. She has recently announced a new set of headline dates for October featuring special guest Becky Hill. Tickets for the following dates are available now.
Saturday 18th October 2014 – Birmingham Academy
Sunday 19th October 2014 – Nottingham Rock City
Monday 20th October 2014 – Southend Cliffs Pavilion
Tuesday 21st October 2014 – Bournemouth Academy
Thursday 23rd October 2014 – London Roundhouse
Friday 24th October 2014 – Bristol Academy
Saturday 25th October 2014 – Manchester Academy
Monday 27th October 2014 – Leeds Academy
Wednesday 29th October 2014 – Newcastle Academy
Soulful crooner Sam Smith has just announced a new string of UK tour dates to follow on his sold out autumn tours in the UK and North America. His debut album ‘In the Lonely Hour’ has just hit #1 on the UK charts for the second time on the success of singles ‘Stay With Me’ and recent TGTF Video of the Moment feature ‘I’m Not The Only One’.
Smith’s ‘In the Lonely Hour Tour 2015′ will include doubled-up dates at each venue, and tickets are sure to sell quickly. The following shows will go on sale this Friday, the 12th of September, at 9 AM.
Monday 16th March 2015 – Glasgow Academy
Tuesday 17th March 2015 – Glasgow Academy
Thursday 19th March 2015 – Manchester Apollo
Friday 20th March 2015 – Manchester Apollo
Sunday 22nd March 2015 – Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Monday 23rd March 2015 – Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Wednesday 25th March 2015 – London Brixton Academy
Thursday 26th March 2015 – London Brixton Academy
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 8th September 2014 at 6:00 pm
New York’s Cymbals Eat Guitars recently released their third album ‘LOSE’ on Tough Love Records. Here is the promo for single ‘Laramie’, which visually contrasts late nights driving around the Mid-Atlantic with carefree days at the beach. Bassist Matt Whipple says of the video:
Our friend Milton Ladd is an awesomely talented artist and filmmaker who we were really keen to work with after seeing the videos he has done for Zambri and Hooray For Earth. It also gave us an excuse to hang out, build a huge rain machine on the roof of Joe’s car and drive around New Jersey getting stared at. It was a great time.
Watch the video below.
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 8th September 2014 at 2:00 pm
Appearances can be deceiving when it comes to English girl duo Smoke Fairies. Though they might be sporting flowing tresses and wearing simple white dresses on this night that seemed to indicate innocence, their music isn’t entirely dream pop as inaccurately described on Wikipedia. Or at least I think the label does them no favours, actually dismissing their craft. Their affinity for American style blues, which Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies picked up on when they spent a year studying in New Orleans, is what I find most interesting about their music. The last time I saw the pair perform, they were supporting a then unknown in the States Laura Marling, so I was eager to see and hear how their sound had evolved from that time 4 years ago.
Opening for Smoke Fairies was Marian McLaughlin, a local singer/songwriter who performed this night by herself. She released an album on her own this past January, called ‘Dérive’. McLaughlin began her set with ‘Heavier-than-air’, which she described as relating to the early days of human flight. I appreciate her willingness to tackle heavier subject matter than what is usual for this kind of music. The at times slightly more frenetic ‘Horse’ showed off her vocal talents, as well as her guitar-picking skill.
After the show, she had mentioned to us that when she can, she performs with a string quartet, but unfortunately the quartet was already booked out for that night when she’d arranged the gig. One has to wonder how much bigger of an impression McLaughlin would have made with them backing her. If you’re interested in hearing more, check out her Tiny Desk concert (with said string section) on the NPR Web site.
Watching singer/songwriters live is usually a dubious exercise for me. My usual problem with the genre is that the lyrical content is too banal, simple or devoid of emotion to capture my attention. Thankfully, in the case of Smoke Fairies, they have something in their arsenal that you would never guess if all you knew of was what they looked like. Live, the conclusion of ‘Misty Versions’ is swirling about in a psychedelic way, yet it’s organised chaos as the rhythm section comes together with the dreamy vocals (okay, yes, I’ll give you that) to create a juxtaposition of elements that shouldn’t work on paper but somehow do. In contrast, slow-burning number ‘Eclipse Them All’ comes across as sultry and almost a little dangerous. Later on the set, faster tempoed ‘Hotel Room’ proved the evening’s standout, recalling foot-stomping blues numbers of the past.
Blamire and Davies released their self-titled album, their fourth, this past spring on Full Time Hobby, so naturally their set was heavy on content from the newer material on ‘Smoke Fairies’. Davies has a sometimes pointed, sometimes hard vocal delivery; I wondered if this had to do with the microphones and sound system at DC9 or maybe it’s the approach she takes when she performs live? I wonder about this because it’s not as obvious on the album. A resounding call from the crowd for the band to return for an encore was rewarded with the ladies coming back to play ‘Blood Speaks’, the title track of their 2012 LP. While it could be said that the attendance at this DC show wasn’t great – this is a town whose denizens tend to work long and late hours, and this show began at the very early time on a Friday of 7 PM – the fact that those punters who were present were appreciative fans and were loud in their admiration is a good sign that Smoke Fairies must be doing something right indeed.
After the cut: Smoke Fairies’ set list.
Continue reading Live Review: Smoke Fairies with Marian McLaughlin at DC9, Washington DC – 5th September 2014
After several years of making music together, Leeds quartet The Dunwells are making a concerted effort to develop and refine their sound. Their new EP ‘Show Me Emotion’ indicates a definite change of pace from the blues-inflected folk rock of their 2012 album ‘Blind Sighted Faith’. Written mostly during the hectic touring cycle for that album, the new EP finds the band moving away from their acoustic guitar foundation and leaning more on their trademark vocal harmonies, along with keyboards and percussion, to expand their sonic repertoire.
The band, comprised of brothers Joseph and David Dunwell along with cousins Robert Clayton and Jonny Lamb, sought out producer Steve Harris for production assistance on the EP after hearing his work on Kodaline’s ‘High Hopes’. The influence of that track is clearly evident in the four songs on the ‘Show Me Emotion’ EP, which are similarly overflowing with the kind of candid, straightforward emotionality that the Irish band have become known for.
Frontman Joe Dunwell’s emotive vocals on the opening lyric to title track ‘Show Me Emotion’ provide an immediately effective hook as he pleads, “Give me one more chance / I need to make it right.” While the song’s lyrics aren’t particularly inventive, the band make up for that with gritty, heartfelt expression, not only in the vocal lines, but also in the punctuation of the rhythm guitar and drums. The anthemic chorus builds to a layered coda section that seems tailor made for stadium-style sing-alongs.
The middle two tracks on the EP, ‘Communicate’ and ‘Sleepless Nights’, are likewise fraught with emotion. Outstanding track ‘Communicate’ is an urgent plea that finds Joe Dunwell reaching to the limits of his expressive vocal range, while ‘Sleepless Nights’ features the band’s ethereal vocal harmonies to create a hauntingly disconnected insomniac effect.
The EP closes on an optimistic note with the upbeat track ‘The Best Is Yet to Come.’ Like ‘Show Me Emotion’, its message might be slightly trite, but the Dunwells are utterly convincing in their delivery. Explaining the context of the song, Joe Dunwell says, “The Best Is Yet To Come’ was written when we got home from the U.S. tour. We were eager to start playing and recording new material and we knew we had loads more to give. The song is about having patience and keeping your head up, you never know what’s around the corner.”
The title ‘Show Me Emotion’ essentially sums up the Dunwells’ revitalized approach to making music, as Joe Dunwell notes in the EP’s press release. Their fresh and energetic new sound is indeed an exciting prospect for what is still to come.
The ‘Show Me Emotion’ EP is out today. The Dunwells begin their UK headline tour this Friday; you can find all the details here.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 5th September 2014 at 6:00 pm
alt-J go back to nature – and back to the forest and caveman times too – in the promo for ‘Every Other Freckle’, featured on their upcoming second album ‘This is All Yours’, out the 22nd of September. There is also multiple appearances of a sad looking kitty, a bare bum and terrifying close-ups of teeth and a striking snake in here too. Watch the madness below.