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By Mary Chang
on Monday, 15th September 2014 at 6:00 pm
Sheffield’s High Hazels newest single ‘Misbehave’ out today on Heist or Hit Records, and here is its accompanying promo. Frontman James “Jamie” Leesley takes a turn at a karaoke night in a sleepy boozer in London while a disinterested crowd look on. Well, until James has to get dragged off. It’s a pretty hohum video until you notice what – or who – is on the video screen. For further, watch the video below.
Past TGTF coverage on the band, including Carrie’s review of this single, is this way.
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 15th September 2014 at 12:00 pm
Sir Sly is comprised of frontman Landon Jacobs (vocals, keyboards and guitar) and multi-instrumentalists Jason Suwito and Hayden Coplen, though their identities were kept well hidden until success necessitated their unmasking: earlier released track ‘Gold’ hit #1 on the Hype Machine in January 2013. But it’s taken nearly 2 years for their debut album to surface.
Their most recent single, title track ‘You Haunt Me’ released in July, sees the band at their poppiest: a sprightly drummed rhythm is at the forefront while an almost hymn-like progression of synth chords anchors the background. The lyrics are philosophical if you want to go there – the theme of recounting and regretting a past life ruined by alcohol could be taken literally or with losing a partner as a consequence- but there is no escaping the overall catchiness of the song that will no doubt be more important to the droves I expect to be gobbling up this album.
Inevitable comparisons to the Neighbourhood have already been made, but that connection is far too dependent on the fact that both bands call Los Angeles home. We see this far too often (and unfairly) when bands from Manchester are pigeonholed by their storied history, don’t we? Yes, both groups have an underlying cool hip hop swagger, but the big difference to me between them is in the way Sir Sly are able to effortlessly weave big beats and electronics into the mix of indie pop and r&b. As evidenced by watching the crowd totally into them last Monday when they performed at Washington’s U Street Music Hall, the beguiling combination is sure to win over the indie kids, the pop kids, the hip hop kids and anyone else in between, suggesting to me that they’ll be the band to beat in 2015.
Early on in their career, Paul Lester of the Guardian was quick to point out the commercialism of Sir Sly’s sound. You do sense while you’re listening to this album that many of these tracks would feel right at home synced on tv programmes and adverts, because the songs are so damn catchy. True, the lyrics focus on the well trod on pop theme of lost love, but even in those usually suffocating confines, there are nuggets of gold to be found. Opening track and album standout ‘Where I’m Going’ has the hallmark tenets of regret – falling in love (“I went ahead and opened my heart”), getting your heart broken (“all of my love was wasted on you”), yet still wanting the other person (“you know I’m going to come for you”) – but with a unique, seemingly musician-centric twist, I’m wondering if the song was written from Jacobs’ personal experience. The first verse touches on ambitiously “climbing the rose” on the way to stardom, then unexpectedly “finding the one all of a sudden”, making the song sound similar to Glass Animals‘ debut album ‘Zaba’ opener ‘Flip’ (“I was in full bloom / ’til I met you”), but slightly less vindictive.
Other previously tracks are memorable too. It makes sense that the synth lines employed in ‘Ghost’ are haunting: they’re meant to be. Except for a few lighter moments of clarity in the bridge, including a repetitive falsetto referencing the grave and home, the song is purposely made dark as Jacob wonders aloud how he chose the ‘wrong’ girl, now gone, and is literally haunted by her spirit that still comes round to remind him of what went before. The sped up, sunny Betablock3r remix of ‘Gold’ was used in an American tv advert for Cadillac this past summer but in that form, it’s virtually unrecognisable from the original, which is similarly dramatically dark like ‘Ghost’. Heavy beats, guaranteed to cause some heads near you to bop along, propel the track forward. But the song is more remarkable for its insistence that that it’s far more important to stay true to yourself and go after your dreams than be lured in by the promise of money.
‘Found You Out’ slows things down, showing the trio’s versatility in a less electronic environment, but is likewise philosophical like ‘You Haunt Me’, referencing historical figures Judas and Brutus to point out to a former lover her traitorous, treacherous ways. A song like ‘Leave You’ makes one continue to speculate just how badly Jacob has been hurt in relationships, though with such glittery synth notes, I suppose he’s gotten over the hurt. Enough anyway to record this album. Their ballad ‘Floods’ shows a further introspective side to the band: despite a hip hop-y delivered bridge suggesting that the best way forward to is to move on and get on with your life, the mournful piano that accompanies Jacob’s wistful vocals that the song exits with seems to indicate otherwise.
This vocal dreaminess bleeds into ‘Too Far Gone’, illustrating the band is entirely capable of pulling back the potential heavy-handedness of electronic production to write a more mainstream song. But don’t worry: for those who favour more production and more of a dance beat, ‘Inferno’ starring former touring mate Lizzy Plapinger of MS MR is a tune assured to raise the roof at all of Sir Sly’s future shows. For me, if there’s any fault on ‘You Haunt Me’, it’s that the electronics don’t get their due on every track on here. The band clearly know what they’re doing with them, able to elicit emotion whenever they do appear. But I get the feeling that was Sir Sly’s point: they wanted to show they’re capable of turning on a dime, changing and bending genres to their will, writing incredible songs. (If you still have any reservations, watch the acoustic version of ‘Ghost’ below and prepared to be spellbound.) ‘You Haunt Me’ proves their talent.
Sir Sly’s debut album ‘You Haunt Me’ is out today on Interscope Records.
For the release of her ‘Hard as Hello’ EP earlier this year, Kimberly Anne held a release party at London’s Social. Such was the demand from the hundreds stuck outside that she had to perform twice on the same night to ensure everyone went home happy. It’s the personal touch that makes Kimberly stand out, not only as a person, but in her music. Following the release of her ‘Liar’ EP last month, Kimberly spoke to TGTF about her latest release and her plans for the future.
It’s no secret that Kimberly had an unconventional way of getting into music, as she explained. “Originally, I wrote poetry and I performed it at poetry nights in South London. I was learning the keyboard at the same time, so I’d take my keyboard along, play some chords and sing a few repetitive lines in the middle. One day, someone sort of tapped me on the shoulder and was like: ‘Do you reckon that you’re just a singer-songwriter?’ I was like: ‘Oh, yeah.’ It wasn’t the most natural thing at the beginning because I thought I was just a poet and an actress, but I got into telling stories through music.”
Throughout her music, Kimberly Anne has had a DIY approach, using items and furniture that she found around the house as instruments: “At first, I didn’t have a drum kit and I couldn’t get my hands on one. In my initial demos, they were actually quite DIY, as I was recording with IKEA tables and stuff. What I found from going through that process was that I couldn’t replicate some of those sounds in the studio. They just didn’t sound the same, so we kept in some of the quirkiness. It got me excited, and it put me in a bit of an experimental sort of journey.”
“On one of my singles called ‘Hard as Hello’, we have a two second sample of a SEGA Megadrive Sonic game. On ‘Liar’, a lot of the drum fills are actually my drummer playing on an empty water cooler bottle. We like to have a bit of fun in the studio. I think that’s the way it should be.”
‘Liar’ is the lead single from the EP of the same name, which was released on the 22nd of August. Kimberly describes the EP as “a musical playground”. “I got the opportunity to work with some really cool producer”, she explains, “It was a good chance for me to explore where I wanted to take my music before putting the album out. It was a chance for me to show people a reflection of what the album’s going to sound like.”
One of the tracks on the EP, ‘Almost on My Feet’, was written and produced within 4 hours using a home demo set-up: “I don’t normally write like that, but it’s actually been really valuable. It taught me to just accept what happens in the moment and to not always try and achieve perfection.”
Speaking about her forthcoming debut album, which is set to be released in the first half of 2015, Kimberly said that she hopes “people feel like they’ve heard a girl’s honest story. I just want it to be a genuine record. I’m an acoustic pop artist with a dash of indie for good measure and I hope I successfully get across an album that is a little bit more adventurous. I want it to be more exciting than just a straight singer/songwriter, girl with her guitar record. That’s definitely not all that I am.”
Prior to the release of her album (apart from “learning how to cook”), Kimberly is releasing a number of collaboration tracks. While she is playing her cards close to her chest, she did reveal that she has teamed up with D/C, fellow South Londoner Dan Caplan who recently joined Kimberly on stage at her London headline show. “The whole point of the collaborations process was that I wanted to go work with people that I’ve just known about for the last couple of years and that I’ve really been feeling. I just want to get in a room with them and just make something. D/C is just brilliant and I think he’s going to do so well. I just had to be in a room with him. I wanted to see what we created.”
“The rest of the collabs are quite different, so they’re not all in that realm. D/C’s quite soul/electronic, but there’s a vast range of genres that are going to be involved.”
Many thanks to Kimberly Anne for chatting with us and to Danny for sorting this interview out for us. Kimberly Anne’s ‘Liar’ EP is out now on Polydor Records. Catch her on the Communion New Faces tour, which commences in November and also stars FYFE, Oxford pop quartet Pixel Fix and Nottingham five-piece Amber Run.
After spending 8 years establishing themselves in Dublin, Irish quartet the Coronas have recently uprooted and moved to London, where they were signed to Island Records for a new album due out early next year. Having already played epic dates at Dublin’s O2 and Olympia Theatre, the band are ready to move on to England and Scotland.
The four-piece will play three live shows next month, starting with a headline date at the The Soup Kitchen in Manchester on the 22nd of October. For a quick preview, check out an acoustic live video of Danny O’ Reilly and Dave McPhillips of the band performing ‘All the Others’ below the tour date listing. Tickets for the following shows are available now.
Previous coverage of the Coronas on TGTF is here.
Wednesday 22nd October 2014 – Manchester Soup Kitchen
Thursday 23rd October 2014 – Glasgow King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
Tuesday 28th October 2014 – London Scala
By Mary Chang
on Sunday, 14th September 2014 at 10:00 am
Brother/sister Aussie folk duo Angus and Julia Stone have premiered their latest music video for ‘Grizzly Bear’, which appears on their third yet self-titled album out now. In the promo, scenes from their touring life are interspersed with lovely images of Australian forests and beaches for a truly enchanting visual. Watch it below.
The siblings will be touring the UK this December.
By Mary Chang
on Saturday, 13th September 2014 at 10:00 am
The 1975‘s newest video is for new single ‘Heart Out’. A preteen version of the band plays a school talent show, recalling Wolf Alice‘s ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’. See what I mean by watch the video below. Frontman Matt Healy describes what you’re watching as follows:
With the video for ‘Heart Out’ I wanted to return to the classic performance scene. I love a good performance video and wanted to try my hand at creating something that represented my grandeur and slightly deluded sense of self, whilst also adhering to the simplistic rules of a performance. The video is about narcissism, belief and delusion in equal measure. It represents how antiquated and romanticised visions of past and future shed a blazing light on the present and in turn provoke a self-analysis that soon shifts from the material to the ideological. It was in this state of excitement and obsession where the ‘Heart Out’ video was born. Obviously i can delve into the artistic vision of the video – what it means to me, the subtext and my own emotional investment within it – but in doing so I fear defacing what the video truly is about, at face value. It’s a bunch of kids who think they’re rockstars. And…they are x
In 2 weeks’ time, the 1975 are on tour in the UK.
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