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There’s something extraordinarily special when a video can perfectly encapsulate both a song’s contents and its creator’s aesthetic. When it comes to this new video for ‘When I’m Married’ from Birmingham, Alabama-based singer/songwriter Wilder Adkins, designer Ross Boone came up with is just about the most heart-wrenching thing you could feast your eyes upon.
Forget for a moment that Adkins’ earthly folk demeanour doesn’t just about fill your heart with the rawest emotions when the video first starts, an aged paper appears with handwritten opening titles. From here, the entire video is based around Boone’s artistic hand, including mistakes that are erased and redrawn, which could either simply be a part of the process or a more purposeful inclusion to show the ease at which mistakes are made in life. Maybe that’s just a writer’s opinion, though.
As the drawings progress showing the life and love of two mice, taking us through both the good and bad, you can’t help but become completely emotionally enamoured. The reason this is worthy of note is the fact it’s the perfect compliment to Adkins’ bare bones styling: he doesn’t leave any misconceptions or falsehoods, it’s all heart on sleeve, true troubadour work. Looking closer at the lyrics, particularly “I am yours and you are mine / and there’s a love that grows between us / like a gently creeping vine”, you can see where Boone has really taken the lyrics to a literal meaning, which is testament to both his work and Adkins’.
With the drawings forming a vine that is seemingly never ending as this story plays out, it’s not until the image pans out to reveal what is assumedly the artwork, featuring two people embraced. It’s the perfect introduction to this aspiring artist who released his new ‘Hope & Sorrow’ album earlier this year.
Aussie singer/songwriter Julia Jacklin, according to her Web site, found inspiration at an early age in the shape of Britney Spears, something I’m sure plenty of fellow ‘90s-born folk can relate to. This interest led to Jacklin taking singing lessons in her hometown of Blue Mountains – if you Google the place, it appears to be set in a landscape just as brilliant as the name suggests – before her interests moved on to Avril Lavigne and the edgier Evanescence. She went on to form a band with an old friend and initially as the singer, but then went on to write and play guitar too.
It’s always incredible to hear of people that work seemingly normal day jobs, and manage to create stirring and out of the ordinary music and art in their spare time. ‘Don’t Let the Kids Win’ is the debut album from Jacklin, which she wrote whilst she was working in a factory. Recorded at Sitting Room Studios in New Zealand, the ‘Don’t Let the Kids Win’ is a foray into the folksy and fanciful and is jam-packed with evocative and imaginative lyrics. It doesn’t actually sit comfortably into any one genre: it’s more of a melting pot of charming country rhythms, folksy storytelling and moments of bluesy indie rock.
Single ‘Pool Party’ opens with “I was shorter than my dad’s dining table / you were taller than my bedroom doorframe”. It’s just one of the tracks on the album that uses words to create quirky and playful imagery, yet is laced with a bittersweet kind of nostalgia. The rhythm of the track is slow and soulful, with old-sounding rumbles of bass and sharp drumbeats, tied together with a guitar that rolls along like it’s being played in a small town full of chequered shirt-wearing locals.
‘Coming of Age’ is one of the heavier tracks on the album, although describing any of the LP as heavy is probably taking things a bit too far. It’s upbeat musically, with a country guitar jangling throughout. The chorus, which repeats “didn’t see it myself / my coming of age”, further adds to the wistful nature of the album. On her Web site, Jacklin tackles this topic: “When I was growing up I was so ambitious: I’m going to be this amazing social worker, save the world, a great musician, fit, an amazing writer. Then you get to mid-20s and you realise you have to focus on one thing”.
A standout track is ‘Leadlight’, where Jacklin really shows off her melodic voice, gentle at times, then soulful and uplifting at others. It’s a stripped-back track, with just a steady drum and guitar at times, then swelling to include a choral accompaniment towards the end. Much like this is ‘Hay Plain’, which also builds up throughout the track after a soft start, but finishes just as gentle as it begins. The song has me missing a life that I haven’t even lived, as Jacklin transports you into the story she’s telling.
Similarly low-key is title track ‘Don’t Let the Kids Win’, which features just Jacklin’s voice and a guitar as she sings nostalgically about valuing time with family and friends. It’s a sweet and sentimental track.
The whole album is easy listening but will also get you thinking about the carefree days of your youth if you feel like you’re already past them. Or hopefully make you appreciate them even more if you’re still living them. It can be comforting at times to realise that other people have the same doubts about getting older or, as Jacklin puts it, “yeah, we’re getting older, but it’s not so special. It’s not unique”.
‘Don’t Let the Kids Win’, Julia Jacklin’s debut album, is out now on Transgressive Records. Jacklin has a bunch of upcoming dates in her native Australia and New Zealand, until February where she’ll hit Europe, including dates in Germany and the UK. All dates can be found listed on her Web site, and her UK ones are listed in this previous post. For more coverage of Jacklin here on TGTF, go here.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 2nd December 2016 at 6:00 pm
Hard-working Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro are well known for going shirtless at their high octane shows. I mean, you wouldn’t want them to catch a cold, would you? Naturally, many of their (female) fans are fans of them going sans shirts at gigs, so they can admire all their many tattoos. Right?
Their latest music video may not be sweaty at all, but those world-famous tattoos are given an unusual close-up. Quieter and less confrontational (or even poppy) than what we’re used to from Simon Neil and co., ‘Re-arrange’, from their summer 2016 album ‘Ellipsis’, is a sweeter, softer side to the threesome we see far too little of. The lyrical message, too, is really rather appropriate for this holiday season as well. Watch it below. For more on Biffy Clyro on TGTF, go here.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 2nd December 2016 at 4:00 pm
The purposeful controversy-causing London-based band VANT performed on the 12th of November at Newcastle Cluny. It was one in a series of shows on Dr. Martens #STANDFORSOMETHING autumn tour, which also starred twin brother dance duo Formation and Hackney MC Paigey Cakey. (A live performance by Formation from October at the Scandinavian Church in Liverpool on this tour can be watched here.) Today, we’ve got live video of VANT performing single ‘Peace & Love’ in frontman Mattie Vant’s childhood backyard of the North East. Watch the politically conscious band in all their live glory below. For more on the group here on TGTF, including a Q&A with him ahead of this appearance in the Toon, follow this link.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 1st December 2016 at 6:00 pm
It’s been a while since I’ve written about Parisian electronic duo Justice. Makes sense, though: they hadn’t shared any new music since 2012, and this year saw their album ‘Woman’ released to the wild. And now the disco-infused ‘Fire’ from the 2016 LP has its own music video. Probably the best thing about being known stars in the music world is being able to get whoever you want to star *in* your music videos. This promo is a good case in point, as Xavier de Rosnay & Gaspard Augé get to live out their fantasies by going on a road trip Thelma and Louise style. With none other than the iconic ‘Louise’, celebrated actress Susan Sarandon, the epitome of a strong ‘Woman’. Watch the music video for ‘Fire’ below. ‘Woman’ is available now from Ed Banger / Because Music. Admittedly old but still good coverage of past Justice releases can be found through this link.
Former frontman of the Verve and now veteran alt-rocker in his own right Richard Ashcroft has announced a brief arena tour of the UK for next April, to follow his upcoming shows at the Liverpool Echo Arena on the 7th of December and the London O2 on the 9th of December. Ashcroft will postscript the newly listed April tour dates with a special headline show at Manchester’s Castlefield Bowl as part of mini-festival Sounds of the City.
Back in May, Ashcroft released his new album ‘These People’, which includes the recent single ‘Out of My Body’. You can watch the promo video for ‘Out of My Body’ just below the tour date listing.
Tickets for the following live shows will be available for general sale tomorrow, Friday, the 2nd of December at 9:30 AM. Final tickets for Ashcroft’s December shows in Liverpool and London are available now. TGTF’s previous coverage of Richard Ashcroft is just through here.
Tuesday 18th April 2017 – Glasgow SSE Hydro
Thursday 20th April 2017 – Birmingham Arena
Saturday 22nd April 2017 – Leeds Arena
Friday 30th June 2017 – Manchester Castlefield Bowl
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