Monthly Archives: June 2014

Introducing…Lupa

Introducing Lupa, a 16-year-old indie electronica singer-songwriter from Sydney otherwise known as Imogen Jones.

Lupa

Lupa

A classically trained musician, Lupa comes to the indie scene with a fresh take on electronic production. Drawing inspiration from a diverse array of artists, from Grimes to Laura Marling and Radiohead, she integrates her skills as a violinist with synthesised instrumentation and delicate vocal layering to create a unique, alluring sound.

Proving herself an intuitively gifted songwriter and musician Lupa writes, records and produces each of her tracks entirely independently, delivering beautifully textured electronic pop that has a lyrical maturity far beyond her years. Her debut single Statues is a direct, poetic and musically sophisticated window into the heart of today’s teenage girl; an unsettling and unforgettable listen.

Statues is out now available online and through iTunes with an undoubtedly impressive EP set to follow in the coming months.

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Willy Mason Collaborates With Peggy Sue On Longest Day Of The Year Blues

As a special solstice treat, Peggy Sue are very happy to be giving away an alternate take on a favourite song, Longest Day of the Year Blues, from their most recent album featuring their friend Willy Mason.

The Choir of Echoes LP is out now via Wichita Recordings and the band are set to play a string of festival shows later this year.

Peggy Sue had always thought that a US drawl would be perfect for this tale of untimely lost love and Mr Mason delivers the sad story perfectly over a newly recorded, reverb-soaked, drum-less version of the song. And of course Katy and Rosa added their gorgeous harmonies to perfect this extra-melancholy take on the song.

In the words of the band: “We met Willy Mason dressed in formal wear, surrounded by fake plants at Laura Marling’s Secret Cinema album launch last summer where we were both secret guests. When we decided to do an alternative version of Longest Day of the Year Blues inspired by the country ballads of Lee Hazelwood we knew he was the man for the job. We sent him a slow guitar and voices track to sing to via the miracle of the internet and he sent us back the accapella vocal which we’ve been listening with a mix of pride and awe ever since. Now reunited with the backing track we are massively excited to present this special day-before-summer-solstice free download: Willy Mason sings Longest Day of the Year Blues.”

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The Range Of Light Wilderness Reveal Album Stream

The Range of Light Wilderness makes you think that the old old beach blanket in your trunk might actually be a magic carpet. Roll it out and go for a sandy ride in the sky. There’s plenty of magic to spare in the world created on the outfit’s beguiling debut full-length. Refracting the full crystalline spectrum of psychedelic pop, The Range Of Light Wilderness delivers tunes that are profound and danceable, hushed and arresting, fresh and timeless.

These analogue recordings were painstakingly constructed over the course of several years by principal songwriter Thomas Frank McDonald (guitar, synths and lead vocals) at home in Big Sur, California – where he lives on a high ridge top, in the centre of the sunset. The three-piece is rounded out with contributions from Jessi Campbell (drums and vocals) and Nick Aives (bass and vocals). Varying from the most shimmery, hi-fi numbers to transcendently warbly, one-mic tape sessions, the collection of songs on The Range Light Of Wilderness transmits sun-drenched richness.

Written and recorded on the vibrant coast of Big Sur, there are moments when you may feel transported to its expansive, sparkling ocean-scape and rolling, dry grassy hills – but these are songs as much for a party on a rooftop as they are for a party on a mountaintop. As the band name implies, The Range of Light Wilderness creates a bright vibration, crafting songs as welcome as the sunlight that surrounds us wherever we roam.

Once again Gnome Life sets out to present the finest musical artifact: The Range of Light Wilderness LP boasts 140-gram, clear vinyl, full-colour, high quality, matte jackets and original sleeve artwork by Kyle Field (of Little Wings). The first pressing of 500 LP’s is hand numbered.

The Range Of Light Wilderness’ new album is out now.

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Introducing…Flowers

On their debut album Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should Do, London trio Flowers, consisting of singer Rachel Kenedy, guitarist Sam Ayres and drummer Jordan Hockley, synthesise the kinetic energy and raw vulnerability of their live shows into fourteen deceptively simple pop songs. Exploring the gamut of emotions that accompany coming of age, Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should Do’s tracks carry listeners from heartbreak to carefree happiness and everything in between. The band recently announced the September 9 US release date via Brooklyn based Kanine Records as well as the September 8 UK release date on Fortuna Pop! In addition, The Fader has shared the joyous first single Young along with full album details.

Flowers was brought together by Sam’s Gumtree advert which stated: “In search of a singer to make music like Madonna through a broken tape machine.” He went through many auditions before finding Rachel. But shortly after meeting Rachel, Sam re-enlisted college mate Jordan for drums and the three moved into together. They practised daily in their living room, recording through the night, barely sleeping with the excitement of it all and soon amassed a huge collection of over a hundred demos. Posting some of the results of their feverish recording online quickly resulted in a European tour with the Pains of Being Pure at Heart with more shows following, including support for Young Marble Giants in London and a trip to NYC for 2013’s Popfest. Flowers’ live performances draw a line between the joyous fuzzpop of The Pains and the minimalist brilliance of Young Marble Giants and the reception at shows was nothing less than rapturous with audiences blown away by their intensity.

Flowers

London trio, Flowers

It was clear Flowers needed a producer to help them capture the emotion and beauty of their live show. The search led them to the door of Bernard Butler whose track record, love of the Cocteau Twins and the Gibson ES-355 guitar that Sam also plays marked him as the perfect choice. And so Flowers’ very first foray into a proper recording studio was a Butler’s 355 Studio – a daunting prospect for a young band, softened by Butler’s sensitive production and access to his collection of beautiful analogue synths and Vox organ. Band and producer worked in harmony to produce a set of songs much cleaner and clearer sounding than anything they had recorded before, dispensing with the “wall of sound” that characterised their home recordings and providing the clarity to allow the songs to breathe.

Across these fourteen songs, as Rachel said: “We were young writing this album (we still are I think), so all the songs reflect the emotions of being young, covering the extremes of: loneliness, happiness, rejection, love, torment, excitement.” For every song about the carefree, halcyon days of youth (Young, Forget The Fall), there is another about the pain of relationships (Drag Me Down, Lonely). The album closes with a run of three exquisite numbers; Be With You which the band stated is: “…a song of reassurance, about knowing that everything will get better somehow, because it can’t not”, Plastic Jane which the band stated is “…about someone who wears a facade with nothing underneath” and the aforementioned live show closer, Stuck.

Most of the songs weigh in at less than three minutes, a deliberate strategy for a band that seeks strength in simplicity. “Our songs tend to be quite short – if there’s something that doesn’t need to be there, we take it out. Hoping for just the best bits,” explained Rachel. On influences, “We love all kinds of things, Ramones, Madonna, The Misfits, Iggy & The Stooges, Joy Division, all sorts. The album doesn’t sound too much like any of those but the songs are short and simple pop songs and all those artists we love write songs like that.”

Indeed, Flowers’ genius is in their ability to convey a remarkable amount of emotion with minimal instrumentation. Rachel possesses one of those beautiful pop voices to die for with echoes of Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins), Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star) and Harriet Wheeler (The Sundays) while Sam’s guitars chime and churn with an incredible intensity and Jordan’s drums rip right through with urgency and precision, resulting in a beautiful album that conjures up a strange and entrancing sort of magic. Haunting, mesmerising and intense, Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should Do is an impressive calling card from a sensational new band.

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Introducing…Mainland

Mainland are a Brooklyn band that are super reminiscent of The Strokes. They have recently released their new video for their latest release, Leave The Lights On.

Mainland recorded the video for Leave The Lights On themselves. The video shows the band skateboarding the length of New York City. The retro style video suits this retro sounding song which could easily be mistaken for The Strokes.

The video for Leave The Lights On recently premiered on Spin.com.

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James Bay Releases Acoustic Video For Latest Single, If You Ever Want To Be In Love

James Bay has released an acoustic video for the first single from his second EP, Let It Go.

Only available in the U.S. If You Ever Want to Be in Love is a bright and unforgettable anthem that showcases his immense range. The official follow-up to his critically acclaimed U.S. debut, last year’s The Dark of the Morning, If You Ever Want to Be in Love is the lead single off of the Let It Go EP. Here in the UK, Let It Go has already hit number 1 on the iTunes Top Singer/Songwriter Albums Chart while the title track rose to number 1 overall on Hype Machine twice.

Let It Go EP also features the heartfelt title track which stands emblematic of his songwriting prowess and artful lyricism. For both Let It Go and If You Ever Want To Be In Love, he enlisted the production talents of Jacquire King [Kings of Leon, Of Monsters and Men, Tom Waits] while mixing was handled by Michael Brauer [John Mayer, Coldplay].

Bay is also gearing up to support Irish sensation Hozier on his U.S. tour this fall. 2014 also sees him make his debut at prestigious UK festivals Glastonbury on June 27 and T in the Park on July 11. Bay remains a magnetic performer on stage, consistently captivating audiences with his powerful presence.

James Bay hails from the tiny town of Hitchin but he cut his teeth during rapturous sets at London’s famed Blue Flowers Club as well as Notting Hill Arts Club in addition to supporting both Laura Mvula and Rae Morris. It was at one of these very performances that a fan filmed his set and shared the video on YouTube. The video quickly caught the attention of Republic Records who ended up flying Bay to New York and signing him on the spot.

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Yesway – Album Review

San Francisco’s Yesway is the creation of best friends Emily Ritz and Kacey Johansing. Kacey, in addition to a budding solo career following the release of her Grand Ghosts LP last year, has lent her talents to projects such as Geographer while Emily is an active member of the band DRMS.

Four years ago, the two began playing music together in the experimental folk ensemble Honeycomb which initiated their path toward growing and weaving their creative song writing and soulful expression into a power duo.

Their voices literally melt together and their performances are intimate yet expansive. Although their instrumentation is centered around vocal harmonies and two guitars, many of their songs are in odd time signatures and do not follow a traditional song form. The results on the upcoming Yesway LP (out now) are songs that are truly celestial, shapeshifting across different moods that match their creative styles.

There isn’t a bad song on the new Yesway record and that’s a massive statement in itself. The whole album is blissful, creative and entrancing. Their harmonies are outstanding allowing you to fully drift into their musical world. They sound like angels singing. A good way to describe Yesway are to think of First Aid Kit with softer voices and a much more dynamic and creative approach. This isn’t your standard folk album.

Whoacean starts the album off which its melodic yet repetitive guitar riff which is joined rather spontaneously by the girls’ vocals, vocals that repeat “Ah who who, ah who who”. The vocals are scattered, complimentary and peaceful. It’s an experimental track to start a record with but it works in its entirety.

Let Go introduces the girls’ ability to write meaningful and captivating lyrics. While Whoacean is about musical arrangements and sporadic harmonies, Let Go has meaning. It starts, “Take position/Because there’s no no no no no guessing/Take cover under me/Because you don’t know who owns the body/Then let go…” with the second verse, “Choose your your your your your weapon/Because there’s no guessing/Take control over me/Because you don’t know who owns your body/Then let go…” truly putting the idea of this song forward. It’s a song about being vulnerable, about needing someone to help you and protect you so you can let go of some of that angst and frustration – so it’s not all on your shoulders. It’s a beautiful song – this is the only way to describe it.

Yesway’s newest single Howlin’ Face features on the album. This song has a very natural feel to it. The lyrics refer to nature, “If the howling dog should cry out/Quake is coming/Quake is coming…But oh how my body howls/The tallest trees in sight fall down…When the darkness seeks out the light/I won’t fight it…” Howlin’ Face seems to explore the idea of nature and how its many animals and ecosystems interact with each other and continue constantly. Howlin’ Face could perhaps be trying to get us to recognise how we’re also a part of this natural world, “How my body howls/The tallest trees in sight fall down…” It’s another outstanding track on this outstanding album.

Sun Through Feathers introduces a jazzy feel to this album. The harmonies are a little like The Puppini Sisters – uplifting and cheeky. The lyrics, “I saw the sun through feathers…I saw the leaves back on the trees…” again creates this idea of being free and in sync with nature. This song conjures up images of hazy summer evenings in gorgeous green fields, starring at the wonder of the sky, the birds, the flowers.

The end of the album see Heart Does Not Lie, Beat Obedient and Winter Willing are add something to the record before its close. Heart Does Not Lie sees the girls sing in a lower key creating a slightly more sombre tone which goes hand in hand with the lyrics and the dramatic, crashing drums. This is the most similar sounding song to First Aid Kit. Beat Obedient sees those peaceful harmonies sneak straight back in allowing the listener to once again lose themselve in Yesway’s musical world. Winter Willing ends the album with an upbeat track full of seasonal imagery. The guitar riffs compliment each other and feel bouncy and bright. The lyrics, “October…let the colours bury me/Summer feeling faded oh so fast/Anticipating what winter demands…We walk silent/As the trees get undressed/They reveal to us nothing hides nothing lasts…” may seems solemn but in fact with the music, they seem to hold another meaning. Winter isn’t seen as the cold, depressing month here, it’s seen as the transition period. The music and the harmonies help to keep those images of fading summer evenings fresh – you could say this song is more a celebration of a lovely summer rather than a moan about the winter weather.

Yesway have produced an utterly mind blowing album. As said, there isn’t a track on the record that lowers the standard – every track is a highlight. This is a must have album for 2014 without a doubt. Yesway’s new album is out now.

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