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By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 17th December 2014 at 6:00 pm
Kodaline have released today a live action lyric video today for their single ‘Honest’, which will be released on the 1st of February 2015. My review of the single posted last Monday on TGTF; for you lyric interpretation anoraks, a deeper consideration of the song’s meaning can be read on my other site Music in Notes.
The Irish band will be touring in the UK in February and March 2015; highly anticipated second album ‘Coming Up for Air’ will follow the single, with a scheduled release date of the 9th of February 2015 on RCA Victor. For read all of our past coverage on TGTF about them, head this way.
By Mary Chang
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.
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…
American singer/songwriter Esmé Patterson recently debuted the video for her new single ‘The Glow’, which will feature on her upcoming album ‘Woman to Woman’. The album was conceived as a response to the portrayals of female characters in popular songs such as Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’ and Elvis Costello’s ‘Alison’. Patterson herself explains the origin and concept of the album this way: “I was learning to play a Townes Van Zandt song called “Loretta”, and I started thinking about how many songs were just a woman’s name, and how these women are frozen in time, and frozen as archetypes, frozen in black and white. And I thought they deserved to be coloured in.” Back in June, Patterson was invited to discuss her idea at Denver, Colorado’s TEDxMileHigh conference, where she played three songs from the album in addition to providing her commentary.
The lead track from ‘Woman to Woman’ is called ‘The Glow’, in reference to the classic Beach Boys song ‘Caroline, No’. It explains how life might have caused the fictional Caroline to “lose that happy glow”, as mentioned in Brian Wilson and Tony Asher’s original lyrics. Patterson’s counter-lyrics are somewhat brooding, but her musical treatment is optimistic, with a harmonic modulation near the end indicating that Caroline might just have the strength to move forward from her heartbreak.
The songs on ‘Woman To Woman’ were inspired by a wide stylistic range of popular artists, from early 20th century blues man Leadbelly to the aforementioned King of Pop. The track listing for the album is as follows (corresponding popular songs listed in parentheses):
1. Valentine (Elvis Costello – ‘Alison’)
2. Never Chase A Man (Dolly Parton – ‘Jolene’)
3. Oh Let’s Dance (The Kinks – ‘Lola’)
4. Tumbleweed (Townes Van Zandt – ‘Loretta’)
5. What Do You Call A Woman (Michael Jackson – ‘Billie Jean’)
6. The Glow (The Beach Boys – ‘Caroline, No’)
7. Louder Than the Sound (The Band – ‘Evangeline’)
8. Bluebird (The Beatles – ‘Eleanor Rigby’)
9. A Dream (Leadbelly – ‘Goodnight Irene’)
10. Wildflower (Bob Dylan – ‘To Ramona’)
Recently signed to Xtra Mile Records (the home of Frank Turner and To Kill a King), Patterson is due to release the ‘Woman to Woman’ LP worldwide on the 2nd of February 2015.
Rating for ‘The Glow’: 8/10
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 16th December 2014 at 6:00 pm
London synthpop duo THUMPERS have a pretty simplistic promo for ‘Devotee’, their collaboration with American actress Jena Malone, who they met and befriended on their last visit to Los Angeles. (Is it just me, or does Malone sound a bit like LDR on this?) The video is also a collaboration, seeing the three of them ham it up unpretentiously for the cameras. Watch the promo below.
Want a free copy of the ‘Get Together’ EP starring Malone, Chloe Howl, Blood Red Shoes and Sun Club? Visit THUMPERS’ official Web site, where you can have it in exchange for your email address.
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.
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.
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 15th December 2014 at 6:00 pm
London-based band To Kill a King have a unique and elegant lyric video for ‘Love is Coal’. The solemn track appears the band’s latest EP ‘Exit, Pursued by a Bear’, released this autumn.
To Kill a King will be touring the UK in March 2015.