Posts Tagged ‘AMBASSADORS’
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!
A great cover version can do much for artists in a quest for stardom. An old, well known song reinterpreted and played in new style allows listeners to sing along with ease and also acts as a gateway to investigation – and hopefully appreciation – of original material.
The Futureheads, who famously covered Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds Of Love’, and Ryan Adams, who took on and slowed down ‘Wonderwall’, will probably attest to this. Although it’s certainly worth having a strong repertoire of your own before attempting someone else’s composition, or you could face being written off as a band whose best song’s a cover – pretty galling for any self-respecting muso. Whether or not this applies to the aforementioned acts is open to debate…
In any case – below are two interesting (and great) cover versions we’ve come across recently. Brooklyn’s Ambassadors aim to capitalise on the recent surge of interest in The Strokes by offering a soulful, late night bar-room take on ‘Is This It’, whilst London’s To Kill A King have recorded a sparse, haunting rendition of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ ‘Maps’ (which will serve as the B-side to their forthcoming debut single ‘Fictional State’ – out via Communion Records on 30 May). Both hark back to wonderful debut LPs spawned from the seminal early 00s NYC scene – a time and place that’s no doubt a huge inspiration for many guitar wielding hopefuls of today.
If you like what you hear, do delve further into the catalogue of either artist – both are worth your time and will probably be making much more noise (of their own) throughout the course of 2011.
Our friends at NYC’s RethinkPopMusic have produced this great video documenting their week in London last October, when two of their bands, The Vanguard and Ambassadors, came over for a week of shows and interviews (all arranged by Laissez Faire Club). A lot of fun was had!
The song on the video is ‘Pop Singer’ by the Ohio based Eat Sugar, a new addition to the RPM family.