Saturday, 25 June 2011

Thursday, 23 June 2011


As if you hadn't already seen this. It's Anna Calvi's video for "Desire", which she released as a single on Monday. Well, which Domino Records released. Crashing waves. Slithering snakes. Wayward blood. AND THAT OCTAVE LEAP.

How does she pull this off without looking or sounding like a douchebag? It's so audacious and I love it. I've replayed it twice while posting this. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Austra on Noisey

The lovely people over at Vice sent me this footage of Austra's Noisey feature, which I thought I'd share. Just in case you hadn't heard, Noisey is Vice's new music-specific platform, showcasing band interviews and gigs. It launched a few months ago, and has been meeting and greeting a ton of acts since.

Austra-wise, it's nice to get to see the members of Stelmanis' band a bit more, as the press (myself included, to be fair) tends to focus so much on the awesomeness of her voice that they neglect her bandmates.

Also, you can learn about how she literally started gigging by singing over backing tracks for ages. Unapologetically. Enjoy.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Q & A with Ghosting Season

Exercise Us by Ghosting Season

Ghosting Season are Tom Ragsdale and Gavin Tilley from Leeds. You may know of them from brooding electronica project worriedaboutsatan, but they've got another set of songs in store for us under this new band name. I met up with them at the Lexington last week to find out more. We ended up talking about the Kardashians in hot tubs, but some more professional stuff too.

Big shout to Bang On PR and Ghosting Season's manager, Zoe Davis for organising the meet and greet so well. Their EP Far End Of The Graveyard is out today, and you can grab it here. Have a listen on Soundcloud first, but I'm pretty sure they'd massively appreciate the support of people buying it too.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Reviewed: Jamie Woon at Shepherd's Bush Empire

I went to watch and shoot Jamie Woon at the O2 Empire in Shepherd's Bush a little while ago, and it was actually pretty good. I'd ignored the Woon press barrage, mostly cos I thought "Night Air" was kinda boring, but his voice is actually AWESOME. Also, being in the photography pit with a bunch of pompous dudes was hilarious. 

Note: even with your huge phallic lens, you still gotta have the balls to clamber over people to get the shot. Real Talk.
Genre-smashing is the domain of London’s Jamie Woon. In case you missed the press flurry around his name at the start of the year, Woon was placed fourth on BBC’s Sound of 2011 list and marked as one to watch. Truth be told, he really is a joy to watch. He doesn’t rely on huge stage theatrics or dramatic physicality but the raw talent that pours from his most important instrument: his voice. Shepherd’s Bush Empire trembled with its resonance on this, the last of his venue dates before his festival tour begins.

With a heart-warming modesty, effortless on-stage presence and rather strong catalogue of material, Woon shone on the Empire stage. It’s pretty clear, given his BRIT School credentials, that Woon would have at least a basic performance flair. However, what was surprising to watch was how he ballooned that performance with every song, seeming to swell in size as his comfort on stage grew. The dynamic builds and subtle crescendoes of the opening number set the scene and showed the crowd his scope. Woon’s band each contributed well to that hard-to-pin-down soul and r’n'b soundscape that he occupies, playing with a relentless energy and passionate abandon.

Whether playing the groove-heavy keys lines or driving drum patterns, each member of Jamie’s band helped to craft that somewhat elusive genre that constitutes the bulk of his music. You can hear elements of Donell Jones’ vocal, Jill Scott’s sincerity and D’Angelo’s tortured laments in the same songs that carry the electronic minimalism scattered throughout his debut album, Mirrorwriting. It’s like watching neo-soul and post-dubstep play a friendly tug-of-war where neither side necessarily ever wins. It’s languid, inquisitive and decidedly well-rehearsed.

Woon’s strongest ammunition stock, however, has to be his voice. At points it was the only part of his performance that kept my interest and was able to lock the audience into his compositions. He has a vocal richness not often heard outside strictly r’n'b circles, and used it to great effect, notably in his solo encore. Stripped down to guitar, vocals and a loop pedal he launched into a flawless rendition of ‘Spirits’ just when people started to worry he wouldn’t play it. When singing over a distorted and gritty guitar, the round sweetness of his voice was magnified, and we were all reminded of what he is capable of as a sole player on stage.

Complex, polished and professional, Woon delivered an emotive performance that shows the bigwigs at the BBC do get it right sometimes.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

VIDEO PREMIERE: Friendly Fires

"Hawaiian Air" is the first video off awesome record, Pala. I reviewed the entire album for Addict Music about a month ago, and you can read me gush here. Loving the motif of singer Ed McFarlane and Hawaiian shirts; also, he dances like a guy I used to date. That's weird and hilarious.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Pandr Eyez

This awesome US/UK duo just got in touch with me and have totally wowed me with their brand of electro r'n'b. Ferren's softly-softly-does-it vocal cuts through just the right amount over the euphoric synths and samples that I'm guessing she worked on with Tom. So far, I don't know what much about these two but am looking forward to hearing and learning more.

Listen to their first few tracks here. My personal favourite is "Bird Song", but let me know what y'all think of "Little Bit" and "Leave Me Here" too. Pandr Eyez are on Facebook now.

Pandr Eyez by PANDR EYEZ

Friday, 10 June 2011

Watch: Best Coast - Gone Again

Adult Swim have teamed up with director Daniel Garcia for this cat-masked take on Best Coast's "Gone Again". Just a heads-up: the ammo in those guns isn't what you think. 

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Come See Me DJ @ The Macbeth

For the latest Strongbones.FM night this Saturday (June 11th 2011). It's gonna be WILD. I'm DJing with my partner in Great Escape crime, Danielle (Loud & Quiet, TimeOut London) and we've got some real treats lined up for yous. The night starts at 8pm, goes on til 2am/you pass out from dance-induced exhaustion and is going to be ace.

There are literally 10 other DJs booked, from blogs, sites and other club nights in London and Brighton. The lovely Ben of StrongLook is responsible for this, in tandem with Thomas Crossbones.

COME SHAKE THAT THANG. Free entry all night.

Expect to hear, from us and others:

New Drop On Street Casuals: African Apparel

Tongue-firmly-in-cheek design from a Frenchman, living in Brixton.
John Marley t-shirt

This is one of the latest brands to join the Street Casuals family, and has only been out for about three years. African Apparel started off as a wildly experimental and hedonistic band in the summer of 2008, but when that party ended the spirit of the brand flourished and expanded into the world of fashion.

Rap t-shirt
Unknown Pleasures t-shirt

If you like what you see, keep up with the Street Casuals crew on Facebook and Twitter to hear first about sales, new brands and other tasty treats they share.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

VIDEO PREMIERE: Broken Social Scene

Here's the new gruesome video for "Sweetest Kill". A heartless Bijou Phillips (Almost Famous, Vogue covers) turns a date into something pretty brutal to the soundtrack of this delicate song.

The blog's been going a bit quiet recently and I've been posting more interesting titbits to the Facebook page. I just got promoted at work and all of them new responsibilities are going to kick in pretty hard. Keep up to date with the songs and news that breaks there instead, as this is going to get updated more sporadically for a while.

I really appreciate every single person who reads this and don't want you to think I'm kissing New Things goodbye. Ya know, they're what I like.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Stars: The Bedroom Demos

Pull your minds back to 2007: geeks queue up for the last Harry Potter book, Marion Jones admits she loved herself some steroids and Stars give us the album In Our Bedroom After The War.

These little gems above are the demos and scrapped recordings from that session. This band use male-female vocals, pop songwriting and storytelling to such great effect that I've sort of loved them consistently since I was about 15.

The female vocals come from Amy Millan, whom you may recognise from her solo work and drop-in sessions with huge Canadaian indie conglomerate Broken Social Scene. In fact, everyone in this band is counted among the many talented musicians who make up that shambolic band, and male singer Torquil Campbell's a bit of an actor too. He's, er, been on Sex And The City guys. No lie.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to going back in time a few years with these songs and if you enjoy that sort of Canadian indie fare you probably will too.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Jamie xx Releases "Far Nearer"

Like, officially.

Jamie xx - Far Nearer

Listen to this bubbling piece of steel drum goodness, then the more cavernous B-side, "Beat For". Both are out on 12" vinyl today via Numbers. I didn't bother getting on the whole Jamie xx bandwagon for the last year or so, mostly because there was so much other great music out to listen to. Still, I like steel drums so this one muscled its way onto the blog. Enjoy. And if you don't, share why not. I'm curious to hear what people make of his music, post-Mercury Prize platform.

Friday, 3 June 2011

FREE SHIT PART 21: SBTRKT + Little Dragon

UK producer SBTRKT has collaborated with Little Dragon's Yukimi Nagano on this new track. It's a weird sort of squelchy yet funky one, blown to beautiful proportions by Nagano's vocal. Weirdly enough I've seen both 'bands' tear Digital apart over the last two years on separate occasions and never would have seen this collabo coming. Pat on the back to the gig bookers for their eclectic and interesting choices. 

They contrast well with the oft super-trashy clientele at their club nights. Spoiler alert: I don't hate any more in this post.

SBTRK's eponymous record drops June 28th on Young Turks. Yussir.

Azede Jean-Pierre

She's a fashion designer with the kind of innovative style that just makes me happy. While she creates pieces for her own line, she also blogs about personal items that she makes to wear herself, and always incorporates beautiful quirks. I don't often do this sort of fashion-y post, but I think Jean-Pierre deserves it.

Behind-the-scenes shooting the AJP lookbook
AJP Spring/Summer 2011 collection

The internet is still a bit of a barren wasteland for individual style blogs from black creatives, and I want to give her props where they're due.

Check out her blog here, her Tumblr here and follow her on Twitter here.

Song of the Day: "End Times"

Weekend release this single on Monday June 6th. Then they'll be back in London to play a show at White Heat on July 5th, so if you want to get your brains blown to a dusty powder by their wailing guitars and shuddering lo-fi apporach, be there. I know I will. I missed them when they played a last-minute show in Camden a few months ago (damn being double-booked during the week) and vowed to be at the next gig.

Let's dance.

image courtesy of Drew Reynolds

Thursday, 2 June 2011

VIDEO PREMIERE: My Panda Shall Fly

This just went public on Tuesday, so I thought I'd share. My Panda Shall Fly is killing it, once again. And in my mind, I'm hoping the director attached a tiny camera hat to a cat then just let it hang out for a day. Standard. Warning: the ending gets ever so slightly harrowing.

Digitalism play XOYO

On Monday June 13th.

It costs a pretty penny at about £15 advance, but will be worth it. Their approach to dance punk still makes it feel relevant, even though 'the latest thing' moved on from that about five years ago. I first got into Digitalism through the Kitsune Tabloid Mixtape they compiled in 2008 and haven't really looked back since. Enjoy these two new tracks from their record I Love You, Dude.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

FREE SHIT PART 20: Chelsea Wolfe

Do you like Radiohead? Do you like PJ Harvey? Do you like melody and percussive dynamics in music? Then you'll probably like Chelsea Wolfe. What I've heard of her record so far has impressed me, and her dark approach to songwriting weirdly makes me happy. I first posted about her here, and now have her latest single "Mer" up for a free download (right-click and save as above).

Her album The Grime And The Glow is out now on Pendu Sound Recordings.
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