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By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 13th July 2016 at 6:00 pm
Ex-Paper Bird co-founder and vocalist and now a solo singer/songwriter in her own right Esme Patterson has a new video out this week for ‘Feel Right’. The song figures on her current album ‘We Were Wild’, out now on Grand Jury. It’s the follow-up to her 2014 concept album ‘Woman to Woman’, which Carrie wrote about back here. In ‘Feel Right’, Patterson pretty much eschews the indie folk style that the beloved Paper Bird were famous for, diving headfirst into pop. The fun promo video to accompany the song sees Patterson bopping her head and entire body to the infectious rhythm of the song. Make this a hump day to remember and dance to the video below. For more of TGTF’s coverage of Esme Patterson, follow this link.
After releasing two incredible tracks earlier this year, Berkshire singer/songwriter Frances has just shared a new single ‘Say It Again’. Since 2014, the flame-haired Frances has been garnering a lot of well-deserved attention, including being nominated for the BBC Sound of 2016, and playing at a range of festivals from SXSW to Coachella. To co-write and produce her latest song, she’s teamed up with Greg Kurstin, who has famously worked with a seemingly endless list of successful female artists from Adele to Ellie Goulding.
‘Say It Again’ tells the heartwarming story of being in love but not quite being able to believe that the feelings will be returned. It’s a charming and uplifting track, with Frances’ warm vocals being backed by a steady, upbeat melody, gentle piano and supporting backing vocals. What’s great about Frances’ voice is the way that she sings with a controlled calmness. It’s evident that she’s got a great set of lungs, but she doesn’t always need to belt the song out at the top of her voice. She really makes the most of gentler, understated vocal elements in her music, which sets her apart from the crowd.
There’s a wholesome, comforting sensitivity to the lyrics, which tells of a universal uncertainty when falling in love. She sings, “I know you’ve said it but just / say it again / I wanna know that you mean it this time”. People have banging on and been singing about love and relationships for as long as there has been singing and relationships, but there’s still always something else to be said about them. Frances captures the underlying self-doubt of requited love, and the worries and bliss that goes along with it.
‘Say It Again’, Frances’ current single, is out now on Capitol Records. For more on the young singer/songwriter, including coverage of her appearance at the BBC Introducing night at Latitude 30 at this year’s SXSW 2016, go here.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 12th July 2016 at 6:00 pm
Earlier this summer, Two Door Cinema Club returned to the fold, previewing their upcoming third album. ‘Gameshow’, produced by Jacknife Lee, will be released on the 14th of October on Parlophone Records. Seeing that October is quite a long time in the future in terms of digital time, the Northern Irish lads have unveiled the promo video for ‘Are We Ready? (Wreck)’, the first taster from the forthcoming long player. You can read my single review / essay from the end of June back here.
Making a statement about consumerism and popularity, it’s a genuinely terrifying video, if only because we know what Alex, Sam and Kevin are supposed to look like and in this, they’re all rubbery and gross. Let’s hope that their star remains high above enough so they’re not stuck selling candy bars one day, because now I can’t look at a candy bar the same way ever again. Ew. Watch the video for ‘Are We Ready? (Wreck)’ below. For more on Two Door Cinema Club on TGTF, head here.
Laura Mvula is the captivating neo-soul singer from Birmingham who released her debut album ‘Sing to the Moon’ back in 2013. Mvula’s journey to where she is today is an interesting one. She has a degree in composition from Birmingham Conservatoire, and has directed the Lichfield Community Gospel and Alvechurch Community Choirs. Her debut album peaked in the top 10 of the UK chart and she’s performed on The Graham Norton Show in the UK. Oh, and her debut was nominated for the Mercury Prize and has 2 MOBOs under her belt. Phew.
Mvula has just released her second album ‘The Dreaming Room’, a heart-wrenching and uplifting collection of songs that draw from a myriad of influences. Mvula draws on neo-soul and classical inspirations, with stirring string instruments being heard alongside funky guitar hooks and powerful vocal arrangements. To begin, ‘Who I Am’ is, at just four short lines, is a subtly powerful introduction to the album with unearthly synth sounds and Mvula’s subdued voice. The final lyric ‘I can only be who I am’ feels like an indicator of things that are to come – the album itself deals with the struggle of identity. But, in addition to that, it speaks of the style of the rest of the album. In ‘The Dreaming Room’ Mvula has thrown away the rulebook and is making music the only way she knows how. Her way.
‘Overcome’, which features Nile Rodgers of Chic, is a moving anthem of overcoming oppression and finding freedom. ‘Overcome’ doesn’t feature an abundance of lyrics. It also doesn’t follow the typical style of verse-chorus-verse. Instead, it feels more like a poem, with four verses, ending with Mvula repeatedly singing “round the mountain all God’s children run”. Each verse is interspersed with and supported by soulful singing and a collection of sounds including strings, crashes of percussion, purring synth and an addictive guitar hook.
Mvula’s unique voice embodies a mixture of her classical training and Caribbean heritage. On ‘Let Me Fall’, the track features shimming synth sounds that accompany Mvula’s rich vocal range. Like ‘Overcome’, the structure of the song does not follow a typical arrangement. There is the chorus, with Mvula belting out “and if I fall / let me fall”. Cut about half way through the lyrics “no looking back when hope is pushing forward / hand in the sky will lead us out of the darkness” is repeated again and again like a sermon or a personal mantra. There are also range of drums, electronic murmurs and gentle “oohs” that float through the track, adding to the choral element of the track.
‘People’, which features rapper Wretch 32, marches along with a steady beat of drums and swelling vocals. This track is more overtly political with Mvula singing lyrics such as “our skin was a terrible thing to live in”, speaking of black identity. She sings of hope and community: “with hand in hand, we free our souls / remind us of our glory”. The lofty, vocal accompaniment and hammering of drums feels like a protest captured in song, reaching angelic heights as Mvula sings “how glorious / this light in us”, before Wretch 32 begins his verse, talking civil rights (“smell Martin Luther in the air”) and inequality. It’s a powerful track, one that definitely has to be heard.
Then there’s the final track on the album, ‘Phenomenal Woman’. I knew that I’d like the song from the title alone. I just can’t help but feel excited about female empowerment in music. On hearing it for the first time, I felt the same way that I felt on first hearing Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’. ‘Phenomenal Woman’ is the perfect way to end the album that has dealt with overcoming adversity and feelings of being broken down: “Nobody ever told her she was beauty / one day she realised she was already free”. From the thundering bass and clanging echoes at the start of the song as Mvula begins to sing, to the roar of “oh my, she flies”, every part of it is addictive and anthemic. When Mvula cries, “you are phenomenal woman”, you can’t help but believe it. It’s a great powerhouse of a track and the perfect way to end the album.
‘The Dreaming Room’ speaks of the struggles of coming to terms with individuality. But it’s also an uplifting and hopeful collection of tracks that focus on positivity and moving past dark times.
Laura Mvula’s sophomore album ‘The Dreaming Room’ is out now on RCA Records. Mvula will be appearing at some festivals this summer, including Latitude and Longitude.
Five-piece vocal harmony group MiC Lowry have announced a 4-date English tour, which will include a hometown gig for the band at the Liverpool Academy on the 23rd of September. MiC Lowry’s most recent single ‘Bad Intentions’ featured on their EP ‘The Show’, which was released back in 2015. You can watch the official video for ‘Bad Intentions’ just below the tour date listing. While you’re at it, check out the series of covers and mash-ups the band have recently posted on their YouTube channel.
Tickets for the following live shows are available now. You can find TGTF’s previous coverage of MiC Lowry right back here.
Thursday 22nd September 2016 – London Garage
Friday 23rd September 2016 – Liverpool Academy 2
Sunday 25th September 2016 – Birmingham Hare and Hounds
Monday 26th September 2016 – Manchester Club Academy
Glaswegian alt-rock quartet Twin Atlantic will support the upcoming release of their new album ‘GLA’ with a tour of the UK and Ireland later this year. The October portion of the tour will focus on England and Wales, including a stop at the Manchester Neighbourhood Festival on Saturday the 8th of October. December will see Twin Atlantic moving on to Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, finishing the tour with 3 consecutive nights at the Glasgow Barrowland.
Twin Atlantic’s new album ‘GLA’ is due for release on the 9th of September and will include the BBC Radio 1 playlisted single ‘No Sleep’. You can catch a quick preview of ‘No Sleep’ just below the tour date listing. Tickets for the following shows will go on sale this Friday, the 15th of July at 9 AM.
TGTF’s previous coverage of Twin Atlantic is collected here.
Friday 7th October 2016 – Newcastle University
Sunday 9th October 2016 – Cardiff Y Plas
Tuesday 11th October 2016 – Birmingham Institute
Wednesday 12th October 2016 – London Forum
Friday 14th October 2016 – Portsmouth Pyramids
Saturday 15th October 2016 – Leeds Beckett University
Sunday 16th October 2016 – Norwich Waterfront
Saturday 10th December 2016 – Dublin Academy
Sunday 11th December 2016 – Belfast Limelight
Tuesday 13th December 2016 – Glasgow Barrowland
Wednesday 14th December 2016 – Glasgow Barrowland
Thursday 15th December 2016 – Glasgow Barrowland
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