The new album by Phildel ‘The Disappearance of the Girl’ might be more accurately described as a reappearance, or better yet, a re-emergence. According to an interview with The Guardian, Phildel Ng was brought up in a household where music was actively disallowed. Somehow, despite that major obstacle, she has managed to hone her organic talent into commercial music success, largely on the merits of her own ingenuity and determination.
Phildel’s sound is a fragile mix of Enya and Tori Amos, with ambiguous lyrics and lavish, soaring instrumental arrangements. Her singing voice is pure and crystal clear, unaffected by the current female vocal fashion (think Adele, then forget about her). Harmonically and rhythmically, Phildel’s music is a bit square, but it does create a certain ambience, perfect for setting a mood, even if it then seems to fade into the background.
The ‘The Disappearance of the Girl’ album by Phildel is available now from Decca. Watch the promo video for ‘Storm Song’ below; if you like it, you can get the mp3 for free by signing up for her mailing list here.
These are all comments left by fans on the Soundcloud page of the up and coming Liverpudlian folktronica singer/songwriter Dan Croll. I’m aware that an elongated “nice” from a random stranger on the Internet is not the most reliable of endorsements, but with Paul McCartney and numerous Radio1 DJs also behind him, he’s definitely one to watch in 2013. And that includes his appearances this week at SXSW 2013.
A breath of fresh air yet remaining vaguely familiar, the Scouse singer fits snuggly in your iTunes library perched between Metronomy and Vampire Weekend. He utilises his Ben Howard-esque pipes with actual pan-pipes and it works. Imagine if Howard went on a spiritual journey through Africa and returned re-awakened. That’s Dan Croll.
Croll’s angle is a refreshing one: he blends beautiful folk melodies with a busload of instruments to create a chaotic blend that’s very easy to get lost in. Released at the beginning of April, ‘Compliment Your Soul’ (stream it below) is the perfect example of this. It features a huge chorus backed by African folk beats, it’s unbelievably catchy. If this is the man’s second single, then I am incredibly excited for his future.
Probably the most exciting release from a Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts graduate since Liam Lynch’s United States of Whatever’ (remember that?), Dan Croll is looking to have a very successful 2013.
Seemingly out of nowhere, a bespectacled and impressively-bearded man from Richmond, Virginia, named Matthew E. White has released a rather fine album by the name of ‘Big Inner’. Despite many end-of-year accolades for the work, it has only just been released worldwide on Domino Records, previously having been only available by special import from the USA on the Hometapes/Spacebomb imprint. Thus Mr. White is currently a name unfamiliar to all but the most ardent fans of the American underground scene – though perhaps for not much longer.
The triumph is, of course, that ‘Big Inner’ is thoroughly deserving of wider release. In its seven songs, there’s a superficial sheen of big-band psychedelia, a heartbeat of pure Motown soul, overlaid with White’s zen-like chestnut vocal. Band duties are discharged by Spacebomb, a 35-strong collective of musicians curated by White himself; a house band for the new millenium, for whose talents the songs were specifically written and arranged. This symbiotic relationship has yielded a piece of work which would not be out of place in the oeuvre of many a grizzled practitioner of contemporary Americana.
Whilst comparisons may appear churlish and superficial, for the purposes of description some must be drawn. Prior to their current lengthy miserablist period, Lambchop were making these kind of uplifting, soulful, downtempo yarns, run through with a streak of melancholia. In the thudding drums of ‘Steady Pace’, beautifully-faceted brass and vocal arrangements and dual-tracked lead voice lives the ghost of 10CC. And more recent psychedelic big bands like The Polyphonic Spree and even Spiritualized are in good company here.
The collection climaxes with the 10-minute masterpiece ‘Brazos’ (listen below). From opening brass fanfare, via an enormous massed chorus and all manner of percussive and vocal ephemera, the song builds to a religious fervour worthy of the most enthusiastic Southern Baptist Easter Sunday service – shouts of “Hallelujah!” and fainting in the aisles wouldn’t be out of place. Ladies and gentlemen, follow a star to the East Coast, where a bearded man is here to preach the sin from your tortured souls. The future is all White.
By Mary Chang on Wednesday, 19th December 2012 at 12:00 pm
Words by Josh Francis
Eyeshine are an unsigned band utilising every tool at their disposable to get themselves out there and have a member with a powerful background. (One of their members was a freakin’ Mighty Morphin Power Ranger but we’ll cover that later…)
Drummer Maurice Salmin explained what he thought the band had that was different to what else is out there, bar the whole Power Ranger thing. “We’d describe ourselves as edge rock. It’s in the vein of Jimmy Eat World, Taking Back Sunday and Dashboard Confessional. We call ourselves ‘edge rock’ because we asked friends, family and friends, what we sounded like and we got so many responses we thought we were pretty on the edge of something new.”
The band will play anywhere, already have globetrotted to New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii. Lead singer Johnny Yong Bosch talks about the highs and lows of the being in the band: “What was crazy good for us was going to Australia and New Zealand to play. It was fun because we got to go out of the country.
“Crazy bad would have been some gigs we played in Texas and Ohio, where there were zero to five people to play in front of. We’d scour the internet for competitions and shows and I found some work at conventions I go to. Also fans email us with gigs to go [play] to.”
If Johnny’s name sounds familiar, it probably means you watched an awful lot of kids’ TV show Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and he played Adam Park who was the black and green ranger. If you happened to block out those colourful heroes of the 90s, you may recognise his vocals from popular anime like Bleach, where he played fiery-tempered ginger Ichigo Kurosaki.
Johnny was written out of the Power Rangers’ franchise after starring in 3 seasons. Which leads right into how the band got started. Salmin says, “Johnny was in bad funk after he left Power Rangers. He had nothing but two garbage bags full of clothes, a broken cot and a guitar, and we staying with friends and was moving place to place. He decided he wanted to make music and he met me in church, learned how to play the guitar and we found other bands members and went from there.”
The current band consists of Johnny who is the lead singer, Maurice on drums, Polo (Mastaka Yazaki) on guitar and Ginny Eck on bass. But the band has been through a lot of changes: “As an unsigned band we’ve been through a lot together. We also have a documentary show on YouTube which [shows] the life of the unsigned band. Since it’s started though, we’ve lost three members.”
The band are also interested in playing in the UK after a huge response from their fans. “We got a lot of fans requesting us to come out there, but it’s just so difficult because it’s super expensive,” Johnny mentions. Maybe this Bands to Watch piece will change that?
By Mary Chang on Tuesday, 30th October 2012 at 12:00 pm
There aren’t that many bands that can claim that one of their promo videos has been featured as part of an art installation at the Tate Modern. However, Echotape can do exactly that. On the 22nd of October, the band who claim they’re from Wallop (?) on their Facebook page but I’ve read in another interview that they’re from Andover (?) released a double A-sided single, ‘Awakenings’ / ‘Spinning’, and it’s the visual for ‘Spinning’ that got some prime time in the major London gallery. What do they sound like? ‘Spinning’ is like a less annoying Vaccines, so there’s a sense of poppy rock, yet it still sounds vaguely anarchic.
But flip the single to ‘Awakenings’, and you might think you’re listening to an entirely different band. There is a sonic eeriness yet timelessness of Sigur Ros‘s ‘Hoppipolla’. Then there is this “AAI” (Amalgamated Aesthetic Industries) group explained in this interview by Est. 1987 that makes them sound like they’re involved in some kind of weird cult.
Are these guys we want with us when the revolution comes? Not sure yet, as this post is all I could put together without an official bio. But in the meantime, keep your eye on them. They’re making their London live headline debut on the 9th of November at the Garage. For more, you can download earlier song ‘Came Into My Blood’ below.
By Mary Chang on Wednesday, 24th October 2012 at 11:00 am
As TGTF prepares for another year of great music coverage, we’re turning to you, our faithful readers, to tell us who you think will be the 10 artists that will be massive in 2013. Whether it’s a brand spanking new band that have just appeared on the radar or an act that has been around for a bit, we’re taking a poll to find the best talent we should be watching out for in the new year. And just how often is your musical taste tapped for a vote like this? For that reason alone, it’s your duty to participate!
This poll is simple: you nominate five artists you think will be massively successful in 2013, and the 10 artists who receive the most votes will place in the overall top 10. Each band you nominate will be given equal weighting, and all entries are completely anonymous. You can enter up to five artists on the form – you can also enter fewer if you so want.
Unfortunately, unlike the Mercurys, there are no prizes for this poll, just bragging rights for any band who gets into the top 10. Just like in previous years, we will endeavour to get a few words from each of the winners after we’ve determined the final list.