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What do Beyonce, Cheryl Cole and Robbie Williams all have in common? They’ve all embarked on a solo career after finding fame in a pop group (bonus points if you can name them). Another artist hoping to replicate their success is Nathan Sykes, formerly of The Wanted, currently on a hiatus due to conflicting interests.
After teasing fans with ‘More Than You’ll Ever Know’ in March 2015, the 22-year-old has unveiled ‘Kiss Me Quick’, the second single to be taken from his upcoming debut album. Produced by LDN Noise (who worked on Chris Brown’s ‘Turn Up The Music’), ‘Kiss Me Quick’ is a mid-tempo track that combines Motown with a modern vibe. This is achieved through a combination of a flourishing brass sound and Sykes’ soulful, slick harmonies.
Don’t be put off by his boyband credentials; Nathan Sykes has an extensive vocal range, which is brilliantly showcased throughout Kiss Me Quick. It won’t be long until you find yourself clicking your fingers and belting out the highly infectious chorus: “Nobody’s looking right now / ain’t no time for messing around / but it won’t take a minute / baby come kiss me quick.”
Like the track itself, the accompanying music video is oozing with suave and style. The slick and shiny video has a monotone vibe, as Nathan Sykes struts against a white background while donning a range of fitted suits. This minimalist approach shows that he is serious about his music, as he looks to distance himself from his boyband image.
Having sold over 11 million records worldwide and gathered eight top five UK singles with The Wanted, Nathan Sykes will be hoping to achieve a similar feat in his solo career. If the rest of his album is anything like ‘Kiss Me Quick’, Nathan Sykes could very well be the Justin Timberlake of 2015.
Nathan Sykes will release his single ‘Kiss Me Quick’ on the 28th of June on the Global Radio record label. The album, which features collaborations with Harmony Samuels, BabyFace and Diane Warren, is expected later in the year.
Snug Platters is the new record label project of Elbow frontman and BBC 6 Music radio presenter Guy Garvey, in collaboration with Fiction Records executive Jim Chancellor. The word ‘platters’ in the label’s unusual moniker presumably refers to the planned format of Snug Platters’ releases, which will be pressed onto 10” vinyl and limited to 1,000 copies of each, exclusively available at the Fiction Records’ store.
For their first release, Snug Platters have chosen the single ‘Emergency Art Rate’ by art-punk artist Steve, aka Jane Parker, formerly the lead singer of Manchester rock band Rude Club. Though the elusive Steve doesn’t appear to have an official Web site or presence of her own, the official Web site for Snug Platters features an oddly intriguing audio introduction by the woman herself. (Be warned: the audio begins to play, on a loop, as soon as you click the link.)
The grungy, uptempo ‘Emergency Art Rate’ has an anxious and insistent energy starting immediately behind its opening line “Baby, get your heart rate up”. The lyric changes quickly to the vainly repeated plea “Baby, get your heart rate down”, but the music doesn’t allow for that in the slightest as it builds in pace and intensity throughout. The song’s upbeat dynamic and relentless momentum would be a perfect soundtrack for a slick television advert, but it’s a highly infectious earworm all on its own.
Steve’s debut EP ‘Danger! High Failure Rate’ is due for release on the 18th of May on Snug Platters. Describing the new EP, Parker says, “Me, the guitar, the computer, the keys and the random noises all live together in one big house like The Monkees, but not as zany.” The EP will include four self-produced songs, ‘Emergency Art Rate’, ‘2 Point Nearly Zero’, ‘Flik Flak’ and ‘Electric Steam and Diesel’.
Singer/songwriter Esmé Patterson has recently released her new album ‘Woman to Woman’, which explores the perspective of female characters in classic popular songs, including Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ and the Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’. ‘Woman to Woman’ has already garnered radio play on BBC 6Music and attention from online publications such as The Guardian and The Quietus, as well as TGTF’s own earlier In The Post feature. The album’s next single, titled ‘Tumbleweed’, is Patterson’s take on Townes Van Zandt’s ‘Loretta’, which is the track that initially inspired the concept behind the record. Patterson explains:
“I was touring with my old band Paper Bird when we stopped in Spearfish, South Dakota and the venue had given us enough hotel rooms so that each of us could have our own. Alone time was a rare treat, and I decided to use the space to learn Townes Van Zandt’s ‘Loretta’ and was looking up the chords and the lyrics, and in the process started thinking about how one-sided it seemed. I imagined, “what would that woman, Loretta, say about him?” I gave up on learning Townes’ tune, and found my song ‘Tumbleweed’ rattling around in my heart somewhere. I finished it that night.”
‘Tumbleweed’ is a rebellious, uptempo track that imagines the fictional Loretta as defiant and strong-willed, in contrast to Van Zandt’s more objectified depiction. The song itself is sassy from its very outset, opening with a bending guitar riff and hand-clapping percussion over a heavy bass groove. Its initial lyrics attempt to capture Loretta’s true essence as Patterson cheekily intones “Well, you say you’ll be back in the spring / but I need a man like a tumbleweed / And I’ll keep my dancin’ shoes on long after you’re gone”. After a second verse retort about spending her man’s money and being treated roughly, Patterson’s Loretta gets to the heart of the matter in the bridge, asking “What about the way I want to be loved?”.
Esmé Patterson’s ‘Tumbleweed’ will be officially released on the 25th of May via Xtra Mile Recordings. Just below, you can view the video for another track from her ‘Woman to Woman’ LP, titled ‘What Do You Call a Woman?’. Released back in February, the track and its sexually provocative video comprise Patterson’s response to Michael Jackson’s 1982 hit ‘Billie Jean’.
When I listen to Young Guns, I expect pompous, bloated choruses that set the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end. Ridiculous inflated drops which chug with the kind of thud of a jet engine on a Boeing 747, perhaps with some strings littered in the background for extra gravitas. Their upcoming single ‘Daylight’ disappointingly delivered on only one of these expectations, this being that there were a few strings thrown onto it for good measure.
Young Guns, when they arrived on the scene, were hailed as a traditional alternative rock outlet. The kind you’d find every 3 months on a cycle on the front page of Kerrang!, looking moody and telling their interviewer, “this album almost tore me apart”.
‘Daylight’ is the work of a band trying to evolve and become something new, but sadly stumbling at the first hurdle. The opening sounds like a mix of Daft Punk’s ‘Discovery’, and the rest has a painstaking late ‘90s boyband feel to it. Now, okay, pop punk and alt rock has always walked a fine line between what’s alternative and cool and what’s mainstream and boyband-y, Blink 182 being the obvious example. On ‘Daylight’, Young Guns tiptoe on the line and are sadly blown off by a gust of wind, which says it’s just a little too far into the realms of synth to sound rocky at all.
The chorus sees Gustav Wood going a little too ‘Twilight’ for me and while he may be appealing to an audience which loves whiny frontmen, it just doesn’t suit Wood and co. The riffs aren’t beefy, the drops are nonexistent and although their first two records weren’t exactly raw, this single has too much production sheen on it for me.
‘Daylight’ is taken from the new Young Guns album ‘Ones And Zeros’, to be released the 8th of June on Virgin EMI. Past posts on the band on TGTF are here.
When you started your first job, did your parents tell you if you just did the simple things right and well, then you’d probably do alright? Or maybe it was when you started playing football? You were probably told if you can learn to do the basics properly and repeat it, you’d end up doing pretty well for yourself.
I’m pretty sure, despite the Ben Drew-esque back stories I’m intrinsically drawn to when I think of Slaves – you really can’t help it when you see the Nike trainers and surprisingly shiny jackets – that Slaves must have received some pretty good parental advice before embarking on a musical career.
I can almost hear it now as lil’ Laurie Vincent walked out of the door, ready to face the big wide world. “keep it simple, lad!”, his West Ham-supporting Dad will have shouted, before adding “stick to repetition!” as Vincent went round the corner.
Three singles into the band’s fledgling career, and the advice is serving the twosome rather well. ‘Cheer Up London’ is another devilish slab of cheekiness from the lads who are likely to redefine the meaning of ‘cheeky chappies’. The delightfully simple, almost mundane suggestion to “put another 0 on your paycheque / are you done digging your grave yet?” will strike accord with any creative type watching the city slickers on London boost their pension pot. I mean they put it perfectly: “how could it be so bad when you’re already dead?”
In 2 and half minutes and probably using below 50 words altogether, Slaves take a cuttingly cynical eye on the socio-economic norms of the UK in a way not done since Gallows’ ‘Grey Britain’. It’s enough to strike an accord with any young creative type silently judging the banking middle classes who Slaves say “are dead already”.
Now, they’re not going to make any friends in ‘the city’ – I don’t think it was their aim to, in fairness – but sticking to the formula that has seen them noticed over the last few months seems a good move, with ‘Cheer Up London’ is another fantastic example of Slaves are becoming known for. Incisive, relatable and catchy punk.
‘Cheer Up London’ is available instantly by preordering Slaves’ debut album ‘Are You Satisfied?’, released on the same day as the 7″ single on Virgin EMI. For other coverage of Slaves on TGTF, head this way.
The video to Tall Ships’ new single ‘Will to Life’ plants images of families in the street throwing coloured powders at each other in an explosion of shades. It’s the kind of portrait that plants itself right at Tall Ships’ door, as their explosive, chiming riffs conjure up the smells and chaos that seems to be associated with the Indian festival of Holi, a time celebrating creation and renewal by Hindus all over Britain, effectively rejoicing in people’s verve for life. So it’s rather fitting their new lyric video goes hand in hand with this stunning tapestry of music and religion: I can just imagine an explosion of colour around the band as the first riff drops.
In essence, what Tall Ships have managed to show, and in just 4 minutes, is an evolution from where they were on ‘Everything Touching’ (arguably the best prog record of 2012) to where they are now, on their way to becoming a force in 2015. It’s a gorgeous track full of vitality and energy, bursting at the seams with quite simply a will *for* life. If you were a fan of their debut and of course, the blissfully insane beast that was ‘T=0’, then you’ll be pleased Rich Phethean, Matt Parker and Jamie Bush haven’t departed from the slightly unhinged formula which made you fall in love with them.
OK, they’re the umpteenth Brighton–based outfit to get to that difficult second album, but they’re not a flash in the pan, that’s a dead cert. With a strong semi-underground following, Tall Ships are going to be pulling up roots this year, as ‘Will to Life’ is the kind of song which will see their live set really take off; well, if Phethean can guarantee he can hit these high notes on stage…
It’s got singalong credentials and is off the wall enough to get the bods at 6 Music falling over their gillets. It’s the kind of song which will have you spilling that seventh pint of Carling from your plastic cup, whilst you wave your hands above your head. Whether this is going to a breakthrough is yet to be seen, but it’s obvious Tall Ships are coming out all guns blazing with this record. And I love it.
Tall Ships’ upcoming single ‘Will to Life’ will be released on a 7″ on the 25th of May on Too Pure Singles.