Archive for June, 2011
Check out the video to Anna Calvi‘s great new single “Desire” – certainly the most commercial thing she’s done to date and a real highlight of her Domino released debut album. Clearly, the label have saved the hard hitter for the summer festival season, and a big impact now now should leave the campaign in good stead for the subsequent “I can’t believe she’s playing there” tour in the autumn (it’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire in this instance).
Before everything kicked off, we were lucky enough to host two of Anna’s early shows – at Paradise By Way Of Kensal Green in November 2008 and The Wilmington Arms in February 2009. Were you at either of these gigs? The second one was particularly special, full of high drama and Calvi’s virtuoso guitar playing – one of those nights where jaws uniformly fell to the floor.
Check out Calvi’s cover of “Surrender” below, which recently appeared as the B-side to her last single, “Blackout”. The song is a Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman adaptation of a 1902 Neopolitan ballad entitled “Torna a Surriento” (“Come Back to Sorrento”), and was also taken on board by Elvis Presley, who scored a number one with it in 1961. Get all that? Good.
It’s always exciting when one discovers some great new music out of the blue. On this latest occasion, it’s an outfit in their formative stages called Age Of Giants, a Brussels based quartet playing what we’ve seen described as ‘majestic dark pop’. You’ve got to be some sort of “pop” these days, don’t you (recent ones we’ve seen include “night”, “big”, “space” and “weird”), and “majestic dark” sums this lot up pretty nicely.
You may well have heard the vocals before – front man David Caggiari was previously in mid noughties London group Apartment, who amongst many other things, headlined an LFC event at the now defunct Luminaire venue in May 2007 (they also supported Jimmy Eat World on tour once).
It was quite a performance that night, and with a great debut LP dropping that year (The Dreamer Evasive), we were slightly saddened to see the band drift off into the sunset shortly after. All sharp, post-punk riffs, black attire (initially), and baritone singing, they were possibly The Killers or the Editors that, for whatever reason, didn’t bulldoze their way into the public’s consciousness.
In any case – fans of Apartment (like us) will be pleased to see DC back in action making music again. His voice has always been eloquent and impassioned, traits certainly displayed on Age Of Giants’ debut offering ‘Cold In The Water’. All hush hush at the start before upping a gear on 1:22 and developing into a foot-to-the-floor, fist-pumping stomper by the end, it’s not a million miles away from the template that’s seen Mumford And Sons turn into global superstars overnight. It’s a fine, optimism filled first offering that we imagine would go down a storm live.
Walk The Moon may have more than a fair whiff of cheese about them – the face paint laden Cincinnati, Ohio quartet recall likes of Panic At The Disco (who they’ve actually supported), The All American Rejects and The Killers in their college-radio tailored jams, but that hasn’t prevented them from becoming one of 2011′s most talked about new bands.
It’s not hard to see why, either – one listen to the likes of ‘Anna Sun’ and ‘Lisa Baby’ will have you shaking your hips in an instant, and if you’re an A&R man, the sound of a cash register ringing loudly in your head (as far as we can see, the band remain unsigned). This is indie-pop at its purest and most carefree form, that only a real scrooge would resist.
Gig wise, they’ve been a busy bunch in the last few months – an avalanche of buzz at SXSW (of course) led to debut UK appearances in May (a handful of London shows plus a slot at The Great Escape) and a recently completed tour with Grouplove back in the States. We imagine something equally high profile is in the pipeline just now.
Certainly, we haven’t heard a catchier song this year than the aforementioned ‘Anna Sun’, and its “We got no money, but we got heart” refrain is sure to strike a cord with the mp-free generation. Indeed, if Walk The Moon aren’t a household name by next year, we’ll eat the laptop this article is being typed on. Their self-released debut LP is available from their Bandcamp page for a paltry $9 USD – grab it while you still can…
Over the last twelve to eighteen months, we’ve seen the likes of US bands The Soft Pack, Surfer Blood, Best Coast and Cloud Nothings achieve international recognition and plaudits with their their own brand of fuzzy, lo-fi and seemingly half-arsed (but nevertheless convincing) surf pop.
It’s a genre that’s certainly en vogue, something that’s no doubt been picked up on by Chicago’s Merlin Wall, whose six track EP ‘Crushin’ From Afar’ embodies this particular musical movement with its West Coast longing, plug and play feel and effortless knack for a juicy hook. There’s also a hint of Interpol / Joy Division in their prominent bass lines (see ‘Chick Track’ and ‘Hey Babes’), which all in all makes MW a very interesting new proposition.
Of course, in today’s less is more, keep-’em-guessing environment, where posting even a rudimentary press shot is seen as placing your cards on the table too early, there’s very little information about these guys online. What we can decipher, however, is they’re playing gigs in their hometown right now, and garnering a bit of local interest. In fact, when we tipped our buddies at RethinkPopMusic off about the band, they booked them for a show at Martyrs in Chicago that very night (24 March), which made us marvel at the wonders of 21st Century communication if nothing else. As for the gig – apparently they went down well.
Whether or not they do break out of this scene remains to be seen, of course, but you can follow their progress via their Tumblr page, and (just in time for summer) download the aforementioned EP for free below. If you live in Chicago, perhaps head down to one of their shows (and let us know what it’s like).
Brand new London three piece Strangers are still in the embryonic stages of their career, but are already gathering some healthy industry (and online blog) buzz.
Dark, synth driven eighties pop with hints of The Cure, New Order and Depeche Mode is the realm we’re in here. Nothing new, certainly, but it’s all delivered with front man David Jones’ convincing and quintessentially British vocal (which you might remember from his tenure with previous band The Departure), which stands to set them apart from the plethora of other enthusiasts of a similar era.
In line with the age of immediacy in today’s fast-moving, digitally oriented world, they’ve wasted little time in getting something out there. “EP1″ was released as a download on 21 March through their own label, and contained three original tracks which suggested Jones hasn’t lost his knack for writing melodramatic pop with big, radio-ready hooks (particularly on the regal sounding “All That I Wanted” and the club land ready “If I Found Love”).
If that wasn’t enough for us to get on with for now, “EP2″ is currently in the works and slated for a July release – its lead track the atmospheric, equally big-sounding “It Was A Sin”, currently doing the rounds online right now. There’s also a 7″ on the way, via Killing Moon. Busy times indeed.
With the band now fully formed, live shows are all go, and are sure to be announced around London and further afield in the coming weeks and months. The Strangers enterprise is off to a promising and savvy start – we’re excited to see where it goes from here.
Twenty something Swede Nova Drougge, aka Nottee, has been around for a little while now. Emerging onto the blogosphere in early 2009 with two sterling, pop heavy demos (‘Control’ and ‘Young Modern Life’), she got lauded by many a music authority and even appeared on Kitsune’s Maison 8 compilation in October of that year (usually a decent barometer of what’s simmering right now).
A handful of London club shows took place in mid-2010, and then Nottee seemed to disappear without a trace, rather than capitalise on the steadily building buzz. We can only guess she returned to her native Gothenburg to hone her sound – the results of which are manifested on current sparkling double A-sided single “Don’t Waste Your Light On Me” / “Share This” (which came out in March through Swedish label Emotion).
Its polished, high sheen sound is certainly one for fans of current pack leader (as far as Swedish female singers go) Lykke Li, or harking a bit further back, Fleetwood Mac or Carly Simon. Indeed, Nottee has pure, dancefloor-friendly (or soothing, morning after) pop at the top of her manifesto – and with any luck, things should pick up properly sooner rather than later. We haven’t heard a great deal better in the last few years for sure.
MP3: Nottee – Control
A little while back, a friend of mine forwarded me an Email I’d sent to him in the summer of 2007, telling him to check out the first ever recorded version of Florence And The Machine’s now ubiquitous ‘Kiss With A Fist’. ‘Turns out you were right about this one’ he said, but what’s more important is the fact I now had a copy of what must be a pretty rare mp3 (I’d previously lost the original on an old hard drive, or something).
This version of what turned out to be Florence’s 2008 debut single (on Moshi Moshi) is simply flooring, which is why I’ve decided to post it on here for y’all now, in 2011. The energy and rawness (it’s just her trademark howl and a guitar) is something to behold, and (of course) was not fully captured or recreated on the commercial, full studio take.
In any case, it displays the traits and qualities that make A&R people (and the rest of us) fall off their chairs, and from this evidence, it’s no surprise than FATM went on to become a UK chart topping, Oscar performing phenomenon. As we await album number #2, out next year perhaps, turn this up and listen to some unbridled talent in its purest form.
MP3: Florence & The Machine – Kiss With A Fist (2007 demo)
Scoundrels play LFC’s 4th Birthday at Catch, 26/01/11. Photo by Max Webster.
London blues inspired rock ‘n’ rollers and LFC regulars Scoundrels are releasing their long awaited debut album on 27 June through the recently revamped Blue Horizon label. Self titled, it’ll be preceded by a new single called ‘Gulf Of Mexico’ a week before – a track that’s been on heavy rotation recently in these here parts.
Veering away from their usual mile-a-minute template, ‘Gulf Of Mexico’ is a far more blissed out, spacious and laid back affair that, perhaps unintentionally, doffs its hat towards the likes of Mumford And Sons and Bombay Bicycle Club (at least on their acoustic album Flaws). That’s not to damn it with faint praise, however – this is a track which really sounds like a band truly hitting their stride after a lengthy period of playing together and is a real showcase for front man Ned Wyndham’s unique and soulful voice. If it’s an indication of what’s to come next, we can’t wait to hear more.
Given its title, we can only assume the song was inspired by the band’s time in Southern Louisiana – and subsequent longing to return to their musical Mecca of Lafayette. And who’s to blame them? If you’d like to see what they got up to whilst in the deep South last year, do check out their beautifully shot fly-on-the-wall feature ‘Go Sell Your Soul‘ – it’s in six parts, and documents everything from saloon bar gigs to recording with Steve Albini at Electrical Audio in Chicago.