Archive for August, 2011
Five great tracks: Edition #1 (Escapists, Yukon Blonde, Kyla La Grange, Various Cruelties, Hot Spoke)
Here’s an attempt to bring to your attention more stuff than we normally do, with a simple, easily-digestible roundup of some great tracks (and bands) we’ve come across of late. Whether it’s signed, unsigned, electronic, organic or recorded in a toilet is not our concern – it just needs to be good. Laissez-Faire, aren’t we? Here goes:
Escapists – “Church Bells” (Unsigned)
Regular readers of this blog should already be familiar with this South London quartet, a band who have played our live nights on a number of occasions. They’re just about to release their debut single, ‘Post Gospel Blues’ in October, but here’s another track from their debut full-length that they’ve posted online. Front man Simon Glancy sings over some aurally pleasing piano chords to create a beautiful and emotive two-and-a-half minutes. If it’s not set to be the LP closer, it should be.
Yukon Blonde – “Fire” (Nevado)
Not a Kasabian cover but a brand new song from Yukon Blonde, Vancouver’s answer to the likes of Local Natives and Fleet Foxes. Off their new EP, ‘Fire/Water’, it’s a retro styled, breezy rocker that evokes images of dog eared 12″ copies of “Harvest”, the sun, and wide open spaces – which they’ll no doubt see a lot of during their forthcoming mammoth 60-date (yes, 60) tour of North America.
MP3: Yukon Blonde – Fire
Kyla La Grange – “I Could Be” (Chess Club)
‘I Could Be’ is the B-side to Kyla La Grange’s latest single on Chess Club Records, ‘Been Better’. Dark, moody and sung in hushed tones, it sits somewhere in between Cat Power and Anna Calvi and displays why KLG is amongst the hottest property on the London music scene right now. The chorus packs a hefty punch, too, with La Grange displaying her remarkable singing talent to its fullest extent. We’re eagerly waiting more where this came from.
Various Cruelties – “Chemicals” (Hideout)
Since we last wrote about London’s soul-pop outfit Various Cruelties in March, they’ve gone on to sign a major record deal with Hideout – a subsidiary of Mercury. Their highly promising early demo ‘Chemicals’ has been re-recorded and now sounds even bigger and more anthemic than before – presumably the intention of their A&R team. Not that it always works that way – sometimes energy and character can be sapped out by expensive production – so kudos to those involved. We expect this to soundtrack a goals round-up near you very soon.
Hot Spoke – “Grimwood” (Unsigned)
Hot Spoke are a new indie/folk band from Down Under, from the same Sydney scene as the much vaunted Cloud Control, Boy And Bear and The Jezabels. They cite Wilco, Jeff Buckley, Nancy Sinatra and Kate Bush amongst their influences, and we’d suggest they’ve probably listened to a PJ Harvey record or two in the past. Singer Vanessa Jade is sure to turn heads and generate plaudits with her very impressive set of pipes – which take centre-stage on ‘Grimwood’, a brooding and very accomplished three-or-so minutes. Be sure to download the similarly veined ‘Chromatic’ below.
The more eagle-eyed of you may well be aware of our past involvement with the Brooklyn soul-infused quartet Ambassadors.
In October 2009, in the band’s formative stages, we arranged for them to come over to the UK for a series of shows – one down in Brighton, for Communion, and four up in London, including our own night at the now defunct Legion venue in Old Street. All were memorable gigs, with the band leaving quite an impression on their audiences each night. During their week long trip, they also recorded a memorable session for Balcony TV – you can view that here. In the (almost) two years since then, they’ve honed their craft and slowly built up a fan base back in New York.
Over the last few months, interesting cover versions have been appearing regularly on their website (we featured their weird and wonderful take on The Strokes’ ‘Is This It’ back in April), and have been given away for free – which has served to keep things current and interesting. Now, the band have a debut full-length (entitled ‘Litost’) ready for release and are fresh from high-profile opening slots with The Postelles, Darwin Deez and Viva Brother all over the East Coast.
“Unconsolable”, the first single off said LP, has been put out as a free download, and with any luck should get the ball well and truly rolling for them. It’s a mesemerising, scruff-of-the-neck-grabbing four and a half minutes – all frantic, dual percussion and containing one of the year’s most memorable hooks, delivered by front man Sam Harris’ unforgettable, emotion-filled vocal. Couple this with the far more orthodox, yet perfectly executed pop-rock of “Weight / Lightness” (another album track currently in the public domain), which is early U2-like in its overt ambition, and you have the makings of the next big FM friendly rock band – along the lines of Kings Of Leon, Foo Fighters, The Temper Trap or Local Natives. A&R men en garde!