Posts Tagged ‘London’

Thurston Moore (ex-Sonic Youth) is releasing a new album, “By the Fire”, on September 25th via Daydream Library. This week he shared a new song from it, the 12-minute long “Siren.” At first you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking it’s an instrumental track, but then Moore’s vocals come in later in the song.

By the Fire also features Deb Googe (My Bloody Valentine) on bass and backing vocals, Jon Leidecker (aka ‘Wobbly’ of Negativland) on electronics, James Sedwards on guitar, and Jem Doulton amd Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley alternating on drums. It is Moore’s seventh solo album and recorded in North London earlier this year, just before the COVID-19 quarantine.

Moore and Daydream Library have released this statement about the album: “By the Fire is music in flames. 2020 is our time for radical change and collective awareness and Thurston Moore has written nine songs of enlightenment, released to a world on fire. Taking a cue from Albert Ayler’s ‘music is the healing force of the universe,’ this recording offers songs as flames of rainbow energy, where the power of love becomes our call. These are love songs in a time where creativity is our dignity, our demonstration against the forces of oppression. By the Fire is a gathering, a party of peace—songs in the heat of the moment.”

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Thurston Moore started Sonic Youth in 1980. Since then Thurston Moore has been at the forefront of the alternative rock scene since that particular sobriquet was first used to signify any music that challenged and defied the mainstream standard. With Sonic Youth, Moore turned on an entire generation to the value of experimentation in rock n roll.

Based out of London, Laura Fell is a songwriter by night, and a psychotherapist by day. Laura is the first signing to the fabulous music-blog, turned soon-to-be fabulous record label, Ballon Machine, and is gearing up to the November release of her debut LP, “Safe From Me”, a record described as, “a search for answers from a woman always expected to have them to hand”. This week Laura has shared the first single from the record, “Bone Of Contention”.

“Bone of contention is an exercise in anger”, explains Laura, a song about, “allowing myself to sit with my anger, and ending up finding clarity and power within it”. While Laura started her creative journey writing poetry, it’s arguably the skilled arrangement here that shines brightest, as Laura’s lithe lyricism is combined with steady acoustic guitars, the warm pulse of upright bass and the contrasting flutter of lightweight synths, that dance atop the mix like leaves blown around by the wind. Ambitious musicality, sitting alongside an undeniable way with words and a voice every bit the match of Nadine Shah or Aldous Harding: on this evidence Laura Fell is a talent the world won’t be able to ignore for long.

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Fell’s dedication to this journey of self-discovery was unquestionable from the off, so much so that her peers questioned her sanity. Holding down three jobs to fund the record, Fell was determined that the songs would go far beyond their acoustic guitar genesis, assembling classically trained musicians to fully realise her vision.

Safe From Me is out November 20th via Balloon Machine.

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Post-punk band Sourdough have released their exhilarating new single ‘My Lines’ via Vandalism Begins At Home Records, A song born out of frustration but soon breaks out from any barriers creating a defiant punk song. Sourdough were formed in summer 2018 but since then the trio have gained quite a reputation from audiences in London & surrounding cities. Combining catchy hooks with fuzzy guitars & a fluent rhythm section the trio have definitely made their impact on the live music scene playing various festivals including Wilkestock Festival. The band now seem to be turning their attentions to writing impressive songs in the studio with what will be their 3rd single ‘My Lines’.

‘My Lines’ is a Nick Cave inspired Molotov cocktail of eloquent self reflection & incendiary riot starting. The opening line ’I wish I was a vampire; I’d suck the soul out of every situation I’ve ever been involved in’ is a reference to a Nick Cave quote which pays homage to a creative genius but also broods anarchy straight from the off. The song is played at a blistering pace and is accompanied by loud & raw vocals which fit the theme of the song superbly.

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Here’s our new thrasher, My Lines. Brought to you by Vandalism Begins At Home Records. With their talented song writing & punk rock sound Sourdough will definitely be a band to keep your eyes on in future as they continue to branch out to wider audiences. Would highly recommend for fans of Fontaines DC & IDLES.

One of Bert Jansch’s later recordings, ‘Crimson Moon’ is some of his finest work and sees the musician at the top of his game, with appearances from Johnny Marr, Bernard Butler and many more. Earth Recordings revisits the album on its 20th Anniversary with its first standalone cut to vinyl.

Originally released in 2000, there is a brooding resonance in ‘Crimson Moon’ centred around his accomplished guitar style that brings his contemplative song writing to the fore. Traditional ballads have touches of jazz and blues adorned by contributions from guitarists Johnny Marr, Bernard Butler and Johnny “Guitar” Hodge along with guest vocals from Bert’s wife Loren Auerbach (‘My Donald’).

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The addition of electric guitar subtly compliments Bert’s percussive fingerpicking bringing new depth to his compositions.
Title track ‘Crimson Moon’ is a take on traditional song ‘Omie Wise’ and was written about his wife Loren, ‘Caledonia’ conjures pastoral images of Scotland alongside covers of The Incredible String Band’s ‘October Song’, Guy Mitchell’s ‘Singing The Blues’ and Owen Hand’s ‘My Donald’. Otherworldly tale ‘Neptune’s Daughter’ sees a mermaid-like creature recount the death of her relatives from a poison in the sea. Passionate about nature, the song carries an underlying ecological message.

Released in his 60s, ‘Crimson Moon’ proves Bert Jansch to still be an innovator and a unique talent.

Releases October 9th, 2020

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Portsmouth-via-London band Hotel Lux shared their debut EP “Barstool Preaching” via Nice Swan Records (Sports Team, Pip Blom, Fur). The five-track release spans slow-crawling, introspective rock (“Charades”), self-aware post-punk (“Loneliness of the Stage Performer”) and even jubilant organ-led guitar-pop (“Ballad of You & I”). There’s self-deprecating humour (“I scroll through pages upon pages on eBay to find the biggest ego and I beat the highest bidder”), stark frankness (“It’s just another day / Wasting our lives away”) and moments of clarity (“Sometimes I forget the people I meet are not the people for me / You see”). It’s also just a jolly good time with rollicking guitar lines and frontman Lewis Duffin’s cloak-and-dagger vocals.

Our ‘Barstool Preaching’ EP has landed! We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it. Thanks to Dave McCraken for producing the EP and being the referee during this process and thanks to all you lot for your continued support. Stream away here and let us know what you think. Onwards and upwards!.

The songs radiate youthfulness but Duffin’s precision-like lyrical scalpel ensures it maintains the mature, theatrical and visual edge that the earlier songs possessed and as a result, the songs now feel even bigger. Huge nights out and failed relationships feel almost mythic as the music maintains the sense that it’s on the edge of chaos, especially during opener “Tabloid Newspaper”, “Eddie’s Gaff” and “Loneliness of the Stage Performer”. It’s music to while away the night to, drinking, singing, dancing and only remembering parts of it in the morning.

There remain elements of those bands on the ‘London band’ playlist in the instrumentation and vocals, but other sounds leak through; Brit-pop pub staples such as Blur, Pulp but most notably The Libertines and Pete Doherty. “I always listen to Pete Doherty when I struggle for lyrics,” says Duffin. “He’s got everything, great lyrics, great melody and great hooks.”

The five-track EP culminates with “The Ballad of You & I”, an accomplished recounting of being dumped, filled with great lyrics, great melody and, you got it, great hooks. It rattles with the raw energy of those potent first releases; balancing it with the richness of blazing horns and organs oozing seaside nostalgia that build to the cathartic finale reminiscent of early Beirut or The National. Duffin sees “The Ballad of You & I” as the shape of things to come. “It’s definitely my favourite song on the EP,” explains Duffin, “and I think musically that is the sort of song that we would like Hotel Lux to be writing – that sort of vibe.”

The Last Hangman has just hit a million streams on Spotify!. Thanks to the people behind Peaky Blinders for choosing the track for the latest series of the show and to everyone who has followed us.

The Prospect of Whitby is London’s oldest riverside pub, having hosted earlier chroniclers of every-day London life such as Charles Dickens and Samuel Pepys. It’s also where Hotel Lux shot their music video for 2017 break-out “The Last Hangman”, a song depicting the enigmatic 20th-century British hangman Albert Pierrepoint. Duffin still appears stunned by the synchronicity. “It was absolutely perfect. This pub was literally around the corner from our flat in Wapping and we were in there one day and we just noticed the noose. We said we have to film the video there.”

“The Last Hangman” is reflective of Hotel Lux’s other early releases “Envoi” and “Daddy” that caught attention; songs built on irresistibly mythic characters, most notoriously, the unsettling pedophilic character in “Daddy”. These grand sweeping tales are backed by swirling sounds that grow to a rousing chaos: Sam Coburn and Jake Sewell’s bluesy roots rock guitar lines ping and permeate, Cam Sims’ bass taunts and dominates and Craig Macvicar’s drums prance and trot before bursting into unsolicited gallops. When the jaunty keys and organ sounds reminiscent of The Doors and Dr. Feelgood get thrown in by Coburn, the music becomes almost mesmeric.

“The Last Hangman” and “Envoi” were crafted in Fareham, a market town just outside Portsmouth where they grew up. When asked how they all met, Duffin skips over his, Coburn & Macvicar’s first band Clues, insisting “they mostly tried to rip-off The Clash” and mentions they knew Sims from other bands playing in Portsmouth and Duffin knew Sewell from college.

Barstool Preaching’ EP out April 24th via Nice Swan Records.

London quartet Honey Lung shared their second EP “Post Modern Motorcade Music” via Big Scary Monsters (American Football, Beach Slang)—the follow-up to their 2019 demos and singles collection Memory, which was among one of the best EPs of last year. “Big” is a case study in the power of subtle, blooming melodies, “Juggle” is the band’s most lo-fi cut to date and perhaps their most lyrically pensive and “Be My Friend” is the kind of bittersweet lo-fi rock to be cherished—it’s equal parts soul-stirring and charming.

Having spent three months writing in Berlin, Honey Lung have grown up a lot as a band, they now express a more introspective side that has placed their songs outside of conventional genre boundaries. Now somewhere in a visceral, dark cosmos of story telling and honest feelings. With nods to artists such as Sparklehorse, Elliott Smith and Wilco. 

Ever building in sonic confidence and reputation, London four-piece Honey Lung take us through their latest EP Post Modern Motorcade Music . Taking in sweeping Americana landscapes inspired by their trip to SXSW, stopping off at the heartbreak hotel and driving the long and lonely road of longing, this EP lyrically takes the listener on a journey, as well as musically. The band have undergone some changes, and this EP emerges as a triumphant trophy of those evolutions, lsonically mature in comparison to previous releases.

‘Getting Off’

‘Getting Off’ has got a sweeping, almost American-heartland vibe to it, where intimate feelings get carried along by hazy, expansive sounds. That style of music probably took on a new resonance for us when we were in Texas for SXSW last year, and we could see for ourselves how these huge dreamy American landscapes can inspire that kind of expression. This song feels like it grew a lot out of those travels and the things we were going through at that time. ‘Getting Off’ can mean different things to different people, or in different circumstances, and this song tries to capture that changeability.

‘Be My Friend’

This was an important song to us because it was the first one we put out after a period of sorting ourselves out, going through some changes, and then eventually signing with Big Scary Monsters. We wanted to announce ourselves with something punchy but kind of fun too – as soon as you put the song on, you’re right there in the middle of it. Lyrically it tells a bit of an ironic and awkward story but there’s some angst there too, which probably reflected that the idea for the song came about when we were a bit younger, but also our recent eagerness to just back on it again.

‘Name’

You can probably tell just from listening to it that this song deals with some raw memories. There’s a hypnotic and repetitive base but it’s got a huge range of dynamics which makes it kind of adaptable – live we can make it hit hard or draw people up close and play it more intimately. It also sounds super nice acoustically, which is usually a conscious decision for us – we’re hugely inspired by bands like Wilco and Alex G who, despite all the weird sounds they experiment with, could pick out any of their songs and just play it on their own. We think all songs should have that kind of solid musical core to them that transfers across all the different ways you can play it.

‘Big’

Like all the songs on the EP, ‘Big’ has gone through a lot of evolutions and been played a few different ways over the months to see how it felt in front of an audience. Really we wanted this to be a lyrically-led song, each musical part forming part of a whole and nothing more, to let the vocals and lyrics shine through. The song comes from a place of heartbreak and longing, but also explores the growth and renewal that comes out of those experiences. When we grow up to be ‘big’ we learn a lot but we come up against new challenges and responsibilities.

‘Juggle’

The idea for this song was knocking around for ages as an angry grunge jam, but when we came back to it, we felt we’d grown out of that phase a bit and went off-kilter with the sounds, exploring synths and some different textures and Alex G style hints of weirdness. Obviously it’s a lot of fun to play live because you can play around with the noise and the mess to your advantage. We’re trying to show a mature and lyrical development on this EP, but you can still find the controlled chaos in places, especially on this track. Either way, the message of the song has stayed the same: the slippery slope into a darker frame of mind that can happen when you get too bored and restless.

Band Members:
Jamie
Omri
David
Harry

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Three years ago, Bea Kristi uploaded a low-fi love song called “Coffee” to YouTube. Little did most listeners know it was the first song she’d written, ever. “I came home from school one day, and I think my dad had noticed that I was getting depressed and kind of bored, so he bought me a second hand guitar,” recalls the 20-year-old London singer-songwriter. She wrote “Coffee” on her new guitar without giving it much thought — “The tempo changes halfway through, it’s dumb as fuck,” she says now — and though she only uploaded it so she could share it with her friends, it blew up, with more than 300,000 views.

Labels reached out to her, and overnight, it seemed, Kristi had fans who wanted to hear more. Soon she had a record deal with Dirty Hit, joining the same ranks as the 1975, Wolf Alice, and Rina Sawayama. She’s made the most of the partnership: Even in quarantine, she’s been working with the 1975’s boisterous frontman Matty Healy and drummer George Daniel. “Knowing Matthew, he’s just always sent me music,” she says. “Hopefully when all of this is done, and with my band members and Matty and George, we’ll probably make something – something small.”

Her first pair of EPs as Beabadoobee followed the same winning formula as “Coffee” and her other viral hit, a cover of Karen O’s “The Moon Song”: simple guitar chords, echo-y production, melancholic lyrics that bordered on twee. Occasionally she ventured into something else, like on “If You Want To” from her Patched Up EP, where she hooked up her guitar to her amp, added some drums, and took a more assertive role in her vocal delivery: “If you wanna take me/Go ahead and try my head/Experience is nothing compared to/The sleep paralysis in my bed.”

On her 2019 Loveworm EP, she experimented more with her Nineties-inspired sound, drawing from the reverb haziness of My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth, as well as the perceptive songwriting of acts like Life Without Buildings and Elliott Smith, for whom she has an “XO” tattooed on her arm.

By the time she released her Space Cadet EP last October and toured as an opening act for Clairo, Kristi had stepped fully into the role of an alt-rock torchbearer. She drew inspiration for that EP both from her own introverted nature.

Like something straight out of the late 90s or early 2000s, Beabadoobee covers angst and betrayal over anthemic guitars. The lyrics are direct and hard hitting. She doesn’t want fake sympathy from people who don’t really know her and don’t really care.

Indie-pop rising star Beabadoobee—the project of 20-year-old Bea Kristi—has announced her debut album Fake It Flowers, due later this year via Dirty Hit. The first single “Care” is out now. The swirling pop song sounds like it’s from a ’90s coming-of-age film, and the music video is even more fun, with Kristi headbanging and shredding on her guitar as if she’s playing a punk song.

Black Midi

What does the future of guitar music hold? The answer might very well lie with London band Black Midi and their bracing, unpredictable approach to rock.

 For those still hungry for prog complexity and art-rock innovation in their post-punk, seeing the debut LP from London’s black midi, Schlagenheim, appearing on more than a couple of year-end lists in guitar-starved 2019 should offer a glimmer of hope. Singer/guitarist Geordie Greep rips the mic like the reckless demon lovechild of Mike Patton and Grace Jones, while his mates (guitarist Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin, bassist/keyboardist Cameron Picton and eight-armed drummer Morgan Simpson) expand on time signatures straight out of Larks’ Tongues in Aspic for, like, tUnE-yArDs fans with a nostalgic affinity for Fugazi’s Steady Diet of Nothing. And this is just album one.

“Of Schlagenheim” showcases just how much Simpson captains this band’s every manoeuver from behind the kit. The quasi-title cut drives the descent into madness from Roxy Music cool to full-throttle Mr. Bungle chaos without hitting the brakes for over six minutes.

None of the group’s four members are of drinking age in the United States, and they’ve been an active unit for hardly two years. But they’ve already thrilled listeners across the globe with the sonic flag they’ve planted at the intersection of noise, post-punk, prog and krautrock. Freewheeling one moment and strapped into a monstrous groove the next, Black Midi have been known to set stages alight with incendiary performances. It’s no wonder they became the talk of the town thanks to live videos and gigs.

Could they be the best thing since the Klaxons or Bloc Party but the band have arrived. Black Midi! The student art rock band are bringing a new youthful energy and slight of malice back to the arena of post-indie inspired alternative guitar and synth music. They make this overtly known from the start with the supercharged opener that is “953”, introducing an album that is said to have laid down eight of the record’s nine tracks in just five days. Drums are fast and skittering, rhythms are dancey and guitars keep it Madchester jangley. “Speedway” (is that a wry Prodigy reference?) is among the album’s highlights alongside the punk-funky “bmbmbm” and the short but trippy “Years Ago”. With a 100 per cent backing by UK music institution Rough Trade: meet this generation’s newest sensation.

The energy of a Black Midi performance is impossible to capture in recording, vocalist/guitarist Geordie Greep says So, they don’t try. Last month, they released their debut album, Schlagenheim, which was produced by Dan Carey of indie label Speedy Wunderground. Its German title translates to something like “hitting home”, which is funny for a record that revels in zig-zagging between tempos, riffs and entire styles – but also an apt way to sum up the impact Black Midi have already made on the world of rock.

Black Midi managed to ascend to nigh-mythical status in their home country with barely any online presence and barely more recorded material. Then they hit Stateside, and it all made sense. Their live show is a spectacle to behold, a roiling mass of grooves and riffs and beats mutating and exploding off in a million different directions. And with their debut album Schlagenheim, they successfully managed to get that electric anything-is-possible feeling down on wax. No matter how many times you listen, their songs never fail to surprise.

Blue Rose Code is Edinburgh-born songwriter Ross Wilson. At the edge of contemporary alt-folk, Wilson’s music evokes a meeting of Van Morrison and a young John Martyn, both shipwrecked with a bunch of Motown records. The music of Blue Rose Code is not simply music to listen to… But music to engage with in an emotional transaction that will tear your heart out, dance on it, repair it, replace it and somehow leave you feeling richer for the experience. I was introduced to the soul stirring and joyous experience that is Blue Rose Code some years ago, I think after the second single and have followed his music since. Ross Wilson is an exceptional composer and musician, his songs invoke strong feelings of passion for home and the land, for loyalty and love.

Ross’ soft Scottish brogue combines with some of the most emotive music you are ever likely to hear, he doesn’t write songs, he creates moments of musical wonder and beauty. Ross Wilson has spent most of his musical life curating; he sculpts his band to every mood and temperament in order to create the perfect happening. I find it so hard this artist has not made it to the bigger echolons of the music scene.

Nine songs, nine stories, nine perfect moments frozen in time, ‘With Healings Of The Deepest Kind’ is, perhaps, Ross’ greatest creation yet. Each track will take your heart and soul an a wondrous musical journey and lead you to place of peace, calm and love.

The highlights for me are the lilting, laid back charm of opener You’re Here And Then You’re Gone, the absolute grace of The Wild Atlantic Way and Starlit, the humble bare charms of Red Kites and the folk/blues/americana humble wonder of closing track Riverstown.

When it comes to music that salves the soul and gives joy to the heart, this album has few peers. An utter musical joy and one that everyone should listen to at least once, it has an honesty and innocence that is rare in the music industry these days.

Released July 17th 2020

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Released July 17th, 2020

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“Home For Now” will be the name of the debut Babeheaven album. Announced this morning with a soft, beautiful 35mm music video of trippy dream ‘Cassette Beat’, it’s a very strong announcement for the West London pair.

Spinning out like a tendril of tape from a machine, ‘Cassette Beat’ luxuriates in gently glitching beats and langurous, smoky drums – all filled in with the sweet, clear vocals of Nancy Andersen.

It recalls Portishead in its woozy sensuality, though there’s an almost indie certainty to this longing narrator, On the lyrics, Andersen said: “I wanted to write a song about creation. Whenever we create we subsequently end up destroying something in a huge way or a small way. But there is always light behind the dark even when you can’t see it yet.”

It’ll be one of 14 songs to appear on the November’s release debut album Home For Now, also containing previous releases ‘November’, ‘Jalisco’ and ‘Human Nature.’

“Home For Now” album arrives 6th November via AWAL.