Thursday, 26 September 2013

Gig Preview: CocoRosie at Webster Hall, Oct 12

Once-estranged sisters  Bianca and Sierra Casady, nicknamed Coco and Rosie by their mother, respectively, are back on the road to promote another rich, experimental and genre-bending record.

I remember first coming across their music in my first year of university at Sussex, when one of my friends who found out I listened to Joanna Newsom aptly recommended them. CocoRosie borrow heavily from the likes of Bjork, Newsom and the sort of earnestness you'd expect to hear from relatively unknown folk artists playing an open mic at your local bar. 

Since releasing their fifth album, Tales of a GrassWidow, in May they've played a series of shows in Europe and a sold-out set in Brooklyn at the Paper Box. They're back this month, due to play Webster Hall on Saturday, October 12. Click here (autoplay warning) to watch a show they played in Paris, debuting a lot of new material from this latest record for the first time, for a taste of what may be in store. If the record itself gives any indication, the show should be emotive, fairly intense and maximalist.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Q & A with Blouse

Over Labor Day Weekend I went to the Crown Victoria bar in Williamsburg to hang out with Portland trio, Blouse. When I arrived, only two-thirds of the band sat at a picnic table, finishing off dinner and drinks: bassist Patrick Adams (left) and singer Charlie Hilton (centre).

"Oh, Jake's gone to get his keys or something," Charlie said, as she finished up some soup. In the end, Jake wouldn't make it to the interview, after a fiasco of being locked out of someone else's apartment (still without his own keys) and running back and forth between two apartments before their album launch party at Glasslands Gallery was due to start.

But I spent plenty of time with Charlie and Patrick, talking about everything from their shift away to alt-rock from synth-pop to Galaxie 500 being one of the best bands ever. As I was working on the feature for Noisey's Style Stage vertical, conversation turned to aesthetics and visuals too, and all the hints Charlie dropped about their as-yet-unreleased video for single "A Feeling Like This" really made me want to watch it. Immediately.

Their album, Imperium, came out on September 17 via Captured Tracks, and has already received some rather excellent reviews. It blends moody baselines with Charlie's whispery vocals, to create the sort of scuzzy fuzz-pop band you'd typically expect to find fronted by a guy, sometime in the mid-90s. I'm into it. 

Get the physical record here, digitally on Amazon or iTunes, and read my interview with the band on Noisey's site right here.

photo 1: © Tonje Thilesen

photo 2: © Anna Ignatenko

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Listen: James Blake feat. Chance the Rapper - Life Round Here

Sometimes you just wake up with a James Blake hook in your head, and spend all day at work looping his last two records and a couple of B-sides on your headphones to scratch the proverbial itch. Then you remember Blake recently teamed up with Chicago rap kid of the moment, Chance the Rapper, and you realise your subconscious was probably just trying to tell you to get with the freaking program and hit play on Blake's Soundcloud page all day.

That convoluted lede aside, I'm feeling real happy that I finally went back and listened to this much-blogged and OMG'd collaboration. Chance spits a verse and adds a layer of breathy singing (!) towards the end of the "Life Round Here" remix, giving the already-rather-brilliant song an added boost. It's comforting to hear him rap about buying rounds of ale in a pub on this verse, for reasons that probably relate to a recent week-long trip I took back to London.

According to a Radio 1 interview with Zane Lowe, who premiered the track on his September 17 show, Blake "never felt the track was finished, even when it went on the album," and "always thought there was space for something else." Well, here it is.

In other news, you've probably already heard about Chance's Acid Rap mix tape, chockablock with a roster of strong guest stars and much-hyped online. If not, I'd recommend giving it a listen too.
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