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(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #318: Jay Prince

 
By on Friday, 19th December 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

East London-born Jay Prince is an unsigned hip hop artist and producer. The 21-year-old’s style has been described as a “chilled and mellow nostalgic vibe”, which is largely influenced by early hip hop combined with today’s modern sound.

Balancing his university life with his music career, Prince self-released a number of albums and mixtapes including ‘Lounge in Paris’, ‘Tokyo Dreams’, ‘Her High’ and the ‘Voyage’ EP, all of which were fairly successful. However, it wasn’t until the release of his mixtape ‘Mellow Vation’ that the hip hop artist began to get recognised, as ‘Summer Breeze’ (ft. Emmavie) (one of the tracks from the mixtape) gained support from the likes of Annie Mac and DJ Semtex on BBC Radio 1 & 1Xtra respectively.

Prince returned in August 2014 with a brand new single entitled ‘Polaroids’. Since its release, the track has accumulated over 400,000 plays on SoundCloud and has been greeted to positive reviews from critics and listeners alike. The same can also be said for the Chloe Martini remix. The single was the start of a new direction for the hip hop artist, who told The 405 that it wouldn’t have made it on to ‘Mellow Vation’, adding: “I’ve got more of a complete sound now.”

This was closely followed by the IAMNOBODI produced track ‘Feel It’, which has a summer vibe that is largely reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Section 80’. Both ‘Polaroids’ and ‘Feel It’ are set to feature on his new EP ‘BeFor Our Time’, which is set for a release early next year. In between the release of his singles, Prince produced ‘The Garden Party’ for Kojey Radical – another London-born hip hop artist.

Based on the success of his recent projects, Jay Prince is certainly a name to keep an eye out for in 2015. He’s pencilled in for an appearance at SXSW 2015 in March.

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(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #317: Mallory Knox

 
By on Thursday, 18th December 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

Soaring choruses and humongous riffs. The kind that have you grappling with your air guitar in the kitchen as your spuds boil over in the saucepan. There’s a lot of good British rock around at the moment, but Mallory Knox are part of a select few who demand you take notice of them. They’re up there with We Are the Ocean, Royal Blood, Marmozets and Deaf Havana: the kind of bands who will live past the hype which brought them into the public’s perception.

Firstly, it helps that the likes of BBC presenters Zane Lowe and Huw Stephens have already got on board with these boys and plastered them across Radio 1’s output. It also helps that they aren’t afraid of touring wherever they can: testament to this is a year and a half ago, when the band were climbing to the heights they’ve managed to stay at, when they played Guernsey’s Chaos Festival. They absolutely tore the roof off the tent, to the 500-ish people they played to.

It’s further evidence that SXSW could be a huge juncture for them, where they can begin flogging their wares to the extremely lucrative U.S. market. Mumford and Sons and One Direction have managed – why can’t balls-out British rock do the same?

Songs like ‘Shout at the Moon’, ‘Ghost in the Mirror’ and ‘Lighthouse’ are all the kind of anthemic tunes which will lodge their place in crowds brains and have them umm-ing and arr-ing on the way home about whether to get straight onto iTunes and download their tracks. It’s hand on heart kind of stuff, which has already given them a fantastic name for themselves in the UK.

This Cambridge five-piece are going to stand out. Of that there is no doubt. Even if in the beginning it’ll be for being one of the only bands at the festival who won’t be arriving at the festival with synthesisers, a half-finished haircut and a whiny voice.

No gimmicks, no nonsense. Mallory Knox will have SXSW punters shouting at the moon in March 2015.

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(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #316: Rival Consoles

 
By on Wednesday, 17th December 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

The stage name Rival Consoles suggests either a love for gaming or a love of electronic wizardry. I’ll have to ask London producer Ryan L. West in person in Austin where this name comes from, but in the meantime, I’ll focus on the minimalist yet amazing soundscapes he creates.

One of West’s masterpieces, an EP entitled ‘Vemeer’ under his previous moniker Aparatec, was London indie label Erased Tapes’ first release. West has stuck with the avant-garde company, having released his latest six-track EP under the Rival Consoles name, ‘Sonne’, this past September. While “Sonne” is the German word for sun, the opening title track begins with a feeling of cold, not warmth, for the first third: there is an iciness to the bouncy notes with a slight echo. At about the 1 minute, 30-second mark, the tune turns warmer, more optimistic. I can’t help but feel like this is West’s way of electronically demonstrating a sunrise. Track three, ‘Helios’ (aka the God of the Sun to the ancient Greeks), seems to be the happy, peppy big brother of ‘Sonne’, doing a hop, skip and jump across a sun-dappled sequencer (listen to the track below). ‘Haunt’ is driving in the electronic way: never staying in one place, yet with handclaps placed in all the right places to keep things ever interesting.

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West’s ‘Sonne’ is the latest in a string of Erased Tapes releases that confirms his is a still very much unique perspective on the often popularly overlooked art of electronica. The title track to Rival Consoles’ 2013’s EP ‘Odyssey’ (blimey, he must really be in love with them Greeks of yore), has already amassed an impressive over 50,000 plays on Soundcloud. Clearly, he must be doing something right.

West is currently hard at work at the Rival Consoles’ debut album, which I hope will be out in late 2015. Ahead of that, he’ll be making the rounds at SXSW 2015 in Austin in March, likely soothing the savage beasts that all too often lurk after too much drink has been consumed by the wee hours of the morning…

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Bands to Watch #315: Jameson

 
By on Tuesday, 16th December 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

California singer/songwriter Jameson Burt, known on stage simply as Jameson, is currently in the midst of a UK tour supporting fellow American West Coast band Rival Sons. His new EP ‘Carnivore’ features five tracks of emotionally evocative, banjo-laced Americana rock. Often the bright, twangy sound of a banjo indicates a light-hearted thematic approach, but Jameson uses the instrument to add interest and color to the dramatic, minor-key sound of his songs. Listening to the virtuosity of his banjo melodies, it’s hard to believe that he is self-taught, having only picked up the instrument about two years ago while working at a roadside fruit stand.

Jameson cites among his musical inspirations “bourbon, sleep deprivation and the writings of Ernest Hemingway”. His current single ‘Breathe Your Last’ is a searing, uptempo folk rock number that displays all three of those influences. From the opening moments, the banjo and percussion provide a sense of frenetic insomniac agitation. His powerful vocals evoke the dark, rich flavor of American whisky, while his lyrical “tales of travel and restlessness, love and listlessness, passion, desire and regret” have a certain existential trace of Papa Hemingway about them.

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Aside from his unique banjo style, the standout characteristic of Jameson’s music is his singing voice. On the surface his delivery is raw and emotive, but close listening reveals that his voice is technically strong and flexible as well. His full vocal sound is displayed throughout the EP, but more impressive are the virtuosic moments, such as the melodic run in the chorus of ‘Falling’.

The single version of ‘Breathe Your Last’ includes a reworked version of a track called ‘Liar’ from Jameson’s solo acoustic ‘Pronto’ EP. While ‘Liar’ doesn’t feature on ‘Carnivore’, it’s worth a listen just to hear the progression of Jameson’s arrangement. The addition of percussion and backing vocals transforms the song from simple country folk to something much more sensual, giving an ironic twist to the gospel flavor of the lyric “come on preacher / pass the plate around while we’re listening / you talk up your faith, downplay your sin”.

Following on from ‘Pronto’, which was released in March of this year, Jameson wrote, performed and recorded ‘Carnivore’ single-handedly before enlisting producer Dallas Krusse and Rival Sons bassist Dave Beste to polish the final sound. Beste subsequently invited Jameson to open as tour support on Rival Sons’ UK shows in the summer of 2014 and then on their current European and UK Fall Tour, which began in November.

‘Carnivore’ was released on the 8th of December and is available now. If you’re quick, you can catch Jameson opening for Rival Sons as they wrap up their tour of the UK; find all the dates on Rival Sons’ official Web site.

 

(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #314: Rainy Milo

 
By on Monday, 15th December 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

Question: What do Adele, Jessie J and Amy Winehouse all have in common?

Answer: They are all alumni of The BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology. Hoping to add her name to that list of famous names is 18-year-old and recent BRIT School graduate Rainy Milo.

From the age of 14, the London-born singer/songwriter surrounded herself with inspiring people, including local musicians and arts collectives. The passion rubbed off on Milo, as she pursued her goal by adding vocals to a jazz-inspired hip-hop beat produced by BLCK RSSN, which she discovered while trawling through the internet. This later went on to become her first single ‘Bout You’ and gained the attention of Gilles Peterson for his ‘Brownswood Bubblers’ – a platform for unsung heroes and emerging talent.

On the back of the single, Milo released her debut mixtape ‘Limey’ in 2012. The mixtape, which was produced by Cole MGN, featured collaborations with Chet Faker and Ariel Pink, as well as a reinterpretation of Steve & Cockney Rebels’ ‘Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)’. Despite attracting attention from various record labels, Milo turned down the offers as she felt it was too early in her career.

In April 2013, Milo releasing her debut EP ‘Black & Blonde’ on the Virgin EMI Records label. The extended play featured three tracks, including a cover of The Clash’s 1980 single ‘Bankrobber’ (ft. Kossisko). This later appeared as a bonus track on her debut album ‘This Things of Ours’, which was released in the UK in March 2014 (the American version is set to launch in April 2015). The record, which also featured the singles ‘Rats’ and ‘Bout You’, drew comparisons to the likes of Amy Winehouse, Neneh Cherry and Corinne Bailey Rae.

Rainy Milo is set for a big year in 2015, which includes an appearance at SXSW in Austin next March.

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(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #313: SOPHIE

 
By on Friday, 12th December 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

Despite having a name suggesting otherwise, SOPHIE is a male music producer based in London. The dance pop artist has preferred to remain anonymous, although, in a rare interview, he told Pitchfork that he chose the alias because “it tastes good and it’s like moisturiser”. If you think that’s bizarre, wait until you hear his music: a poppy and euphoric sound with high-pitched vocals over the top.

Whereas SOPHIE’s debut 2013 single ‘Nothing More To Say’/’EEEHHH’ didn’t have much of an impact, the follow-up ‘Bipp’ / ’Elle’ drew the attention of critics. ‘Bipp’ topped XLR8R ’​s end of year list and placed 17th on Pitchfork Media’s Top Tracks of 2013, ahead of the likes of CHVRCHES, Daft Punk and Drake. In August 2014, SOPHIE returned with ‘Lemonade’ / ’Hard’. Within 24 hours of the song going live on SoundCloud, ‘Lemonade’ received more than 100,000 plays. It also appeared at #1 on Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart and was played on BBC Radio 1.

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The artwork for each of SOPHIE’s singles has consisted of colourful images of different shaped slides, which the producer refers to as “Homemade Molecular Cooking”. He explained this to Pitchfork: “Music as molecular gastronomy is something I like to think about. It’s about getting to the molecular level of a particular sound — realising what that sound actually is made of, and why it behaves a certain way when processed or cooked. Then you use those molecules to build new forms, mixing and re-appropriating those raw materials – and of course, it should be bloody delicious.”

Most recently, SOPHIE collaborated with PC Music to produce the energy drink-promoting single ‘Hey QT’ for singer/songwriter QT, one of the most love-her-or-hate-her pop stars of 2014. He has also written for J-pop sensation Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, who has accumulated more than 60 million YouTube views.

If his music and persona is anything to go by, SOPHIE’s scheduled appearance at SXSW 2015 will definitely be one to watch.

 
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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest tours, gigs, and music we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like idiots.

The blog is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington DC. She is joined by writers in the UK and America. It was started up by Phil Singer in Bristol, UK.

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