With a beautiful, soulful and laid-back vibe, Intertwined is the latest track from Purple Ferdinand‘s 7-track EP Rain Or Shine which was released back in February.
With a suitably sleek new video directed by Didyer Zarate to accompany it, the track underlines the promise already being shown by this talented London singer songwriter.
Purple Ferdinand – Intertwined
We’re always on the lookout for what we consider to be a ‘Friday tune’, so you can’t even begin to imagine how happy we were to have this beauty appear before our very ears. Hold On is the brand new track from London-based producer Fabich and features the vocal talents of Josh Barry. An absolute gem.
Fabich – Hold On (ft. Josh Barry)
Despite being a pretty big deal in her homeland, Swedish singer Tove Styrke has remained mysteriously under the radar in the UK. With this, her comeback gig after a period of time in the studio, she did much to further the mystery of why she isn’t more up front and centre, with a powerful, high tempo performance that suggests she should be on a far bigger stage – metaphorically as well as literally.
Her long-standing domestic profile is due in part to a third-place finish in Sweden’s version of Pop Idol back in 2009, but the music that immediately followed that TV experience in her youth is a far cry from where this sassy lady is at nowadays. New song Say My Name offers a good handle on the strong and creative approach to pop that Styrke is taking, but her hour-long London show was nicely varied, stringing together a mix of material old and new.
Kicking of with Samurai Boy and Borderline from her second album Kiddo, she followed that with another from the same LP, Ego, which is arguably the most accomplished song of her career up to this point.
She excitedly announced that she had a couple of new songs to play for the first time, and they went down a storm; Mistakes and On The Low giving some indication that her third album will represent another major step forward for her material, full of hooks and energy.
She returned to tracks from Kiddo, mining the album for Who’s Got News, Number One, and Snaren before launching into new tune Say My Name, which was delivered with panache as the crowd sung the lyrics back to her. But it was encore tune Even If I’m Loud It Doesn’t Mean I’m Talking To You which really sums up what she is all about. Bold, confident and fun – it’s pure pop… and she’s brilliant at it.
Performing as part of the Bristol leg of the Dot To Dot Festival, The Big Moon brought their spiky, vibrant indie-rock to a full capacity SWX. It was unsurprising that they drew such a crowd – the group has been earning high praise while extensively touring debut album Love In The 4th Dimension. But the considerable hype surrounding Juliette Jackson’s band is not unjustified; their live proposition is particularly impressive.
As is always the case with festival sets, their show was all too short and sweet, but they crammed the favourites into their half hour timeslot, including Formidable, Cupid and ending with the superb Sucker. There was also a brilliant cover of Madonna’s Beautiful Stranger – a great song, given a cracking twist by the London four-piece.
Upcoming indie four-piece, The Magic Gang proved that they are very much ones to watch at a lively show at London venue Heaven.
After the release of their third EP – the imaginatively titled EP Three – the group ended their UK tour by playing to an enthusiastic crowd in the capital. Opening with song Lady, Please, fans were already alive with energy in the pit. This continued through old song She Won’t Ghost and single All This Way as the crowd swayed back and forth in time to the melodic guitar riffs.
Who said guitar music was dead? Certainly not these four, as they play indie anthem after indie anthem with the full heart and soul of the crowd accompanying them. Feeling Better and new single How Can I Compete provoked an enthusiastic response from the fans, as some took to crowd surfing in a desperate attempt to get closer to the front. Lead vocals were shared by members Kristian Smith and Jack Kaye as they sang bittersweet lyrics like ‘And I really wanna know if it’s alright because it’s getting really hard to tell’ from single Alright – words that speak to any heartbroken teenager.
The Magic Gang – How Can I Compete
It shows that these four are destined for greatness as the energy from both the fans and the band could barely be contained in the small London venue. Hopefully looking to release an album sometime in 2017, The Magic Gang have big things ahead of them.
Words and photos: Tabetha Parrick
Almost a month after the release of his debut album Sweet Dreamer, Will Joseph Cook played his biggest show to date at London’s Heaven.
He opened with the title track from the album, a song that radiates energy which was reflected back from the crowd. Going on to play tune Plastic followed with single Take Me Dancing – no one was standing still in the venue. He went on to ask if anyone knew what day it was just before playing the song For Thursday, adding that he had been waiting all tour for that opportunity.
Cook’s melodic voice filled the venue as much as he filled the stage with his presence, taking breaks from dancing only to play guitar. All eyes were fixed on him as he got fans to crouch down during the verses of song Alive only to jump up during the chorus ready to shout the words “it’s good to be alive” at the top of their lungs.
However it wasn’t all upbeat party tunes, with the singer playing heartfelt ballads Water’s Gone Cold and Habit towards the end of the set. It was a captivating moment as he stood alone on the stage singing with hundreds of voices in the crowd.
He looked like he was enjoying himself as much as his fans, saying “I’m trying not to make long speeches between every track but it’s very hard. It’s such an exciting time to be releasing music. I just want to say thank you.” And an exciting time it was, finishing with songs Biggest Fan and Beach (I Wanna Make You Mine) – both instant classics from the album – and everyone was singing along.
It’s Will Joseph Cook’s own words that capture perfectly what everyone in that venue was thinking by then: “Look around us, this is fucking mental.”
Words and photos: Tabetha Parrick
A warm, sultry Friday evening in London got even hotter in the basement environment of Birthdays in Dalston, East London. The biggest show so far by emerging soul-pop trio Rumours saw this compact venue packed out and enthralled by an hour-long set that included sublimely chilled out tunes alongside more uptempo material.
Comprising Mark Borgazzi (vocals/keyboards), Federico Bigonzetti (drums) and Marion Solheim (vocals), the band are earning a reputation for finely-crafted songs characterised by a real depth of feeling achieved through wonderful harmonies between the vocals of Borgazzi and Solheim. We’re always keen to discover whether the recorded version of this magical vocal skill can be replicated on the live stage, so it was great to hear them nail it wonderfully on the night.
The set built nicely, from a low-key but solid first half through to a much more upbeat second. So Bad, Invitations and I Do It All were particular highlights – along with new single Hunter – but there were no weak links here. It was an impressive performance for a band still in its relative early stages.
They promised an eager crowd that more new material was on the way soon. If they can create more along the lines of what’s gone before then a very bright future lies ahead… and that’s more than just a rumour.
See also: DISCOVER… Rumours
The best thing about live music is that it doesn’t matter if the crowd is 20,000 or 200 – if the music’s right you get the same feeling every single time… well, I do anyway! French duo Her have been making incredible music for a while now, but seemingly dong so underground in a way that means only a select few seem to know too much about them.
For their show at London’s Borderline – where even the hallway to the toilets (pictured right) was Instagram-worthy! – Victor Solf and Simon Carpentier were joined by their full live band, enabling their lush sound to be performed with the richness that was always intended.
Support act Alxndr London sublimely set the tone with some awesome deep, bassy tracks and got everyone pumped for Her. Then the main act kept things bubbling throughout with their blend of soul, funk and at times fairly avante-garde music. The noise and excitement for the main act belied the modest size of the venue – particularly the reaction to the first few notes of perhaps their most recognisable track Five Minutes.
Her – Five Minutes (Live for Deezer)
Their stage presence was strong, with stylish colour-coordinated outfits, but none of the over-stylised aloofness that sometimes come across with some bands. And they were smiling with each other the whole time, seemingly enjoying their evening as much as the rest of us.
As well as Five Minutes, other highlights of their set included Quite Like, Jeanie J and most recent track Swim – all of which should go down well during their extensive festival slots across Europe and beyond (ticket details here).
There are plenty of bands that build up a strong following elsewhere in Europe but, for some reason, have to work particularly hard to break it in to the London music scene. Judging by the reaction from the crowd at this show, it seems likely that we’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more about Her at some of London’s bigger venues in the near future.
Words and photos: Chelsea Kostrey
Her – Swim (ft. Zefire)
West London four-piece The Wild Things were top of a four-band line-up at Cargo, one of the locations that makes up something of an embarrassment of riches when it comes to decent music venues in Shoreditch, East London.
Their set was somewhat truncated by late-running earlier acts but they made the most of their time nonetheless. They were loud and energetic, with strong vocals from charismatic frontwoman Syd White. They deserve bigger crowds, and given time they’ll surely get them.
You can catch them this month; again in London (9 May) and also in Brighton (19 May). Tickets here.
Photos: Jessica Piochon
London-based Rumours is an electronic soul-pop trio made up of Mark Borgazzi, Federico Bigonzetti and Marion Solheim.
Mark and Fede come from Italy and have been making music together since childhood until they moved to London at the age of 18. There they met Norwegian student Marion and they joined forces in 2014. The band is a cosmopolitan mix of Italy, Norway and London, which somehow seems to enrich their diverse and hard-to-categorise musical style.
Blending electronic production with emotive songwriting, a key ingredient of Rumours’ sound is Mark and Marion’s intertwining male/female vocal dynamic. Their voices strike a unique balance that just works beautifully, and adds a hugely captivating edge to their music.
As we look ahead to their headline London show on 12 May, we caught up with Mark to find out more about the Rumours sound…
SYNC: Please tell us a bit about the band’s background.
MARK: Rumours came to life about two years ago. There are three of us in the band; Federico, Mark and Marion. Fede and I go way back, we grew up together in Italy, and then moved to London as soon as we turned 18. Here we met Marion, who had also moved to London from Norway and was studying at the same music school as us. We met in 2015, had an instant connection and started working together shortly after.
SYNC: How do you feel that your different nationalities/backgrounds influence your musical leanings?
MARK: We all have quite different musical backgrounds which all have a pretty strong influence on Rumours’ music. Fede, who is a producer and drummer, has always been very interested in electronic music. He follows and discovers new music from all kinds of genres and he strongly features this variety of influences in the production of our songs.
Marion’s taste and musical background is also very varied. She is currently into Neo Classical and experimental ambient music, but has a background in singing folk and soul. I think that what she brings to the table, is a more edgy and unexpected twist, especially when it comes to melodies and harmonies. My influences have been songwriters in general, but the NeoSoul and R&B artists I grew up listening to have probably shaped me more than others.
Rumours – I Do It All
SYNC: How does the band’s songwriting process work? Does one of you typically take the lead or is it a more collaborative process?
MARK: So far we have developed a process where I will find an idea and shape it into a simple arrangement before I pass it on to Fede who will then develop and work on the production of the music. Marion writes with me at different stages of the process. Sometimes I just have a hook that I really like and we develop a song around it together, sometimes I get inspiration for a more complete song all at once and we then work on the details and make changes together. As I said before, I have always admired a well-written song. I see songwriting as a craft that you need to develop and evolve constantly. To write something simple and easy to listen to, but with a relatable meaning and expression, is not such an easy thing.
SYNC: New single Invitations has a particularly smooth and emotive vibe. What’s the story behind this track?
MARK: We hadn’t released anything for quite a long time after our debut EP Shapes last year, so we were eager to share and release something new, that would reflect our development and growth. Invitations is a very rhythmic song, where the harmonies and melodies play on the contrasting range of our voices. The song is about being inspired and we want to allow that to mean different things to different people. This track is not as easy listening, or as immediately catching as some of our other songs, but is definitely an indication of what’s to come.
Rumours – Invitations
SYNC: What can fans expect from your live shows, and what are the challenges in bringing certain elements of your studio sound to the live performance?
MARK: Our live show is probably what has developed the most since we started. The show is quite loyal to our recordings but the songs gain more energy and dynamics when performed live. We’ve got a little team of good friends that add a different dimension to our live music sets. We always work with the same sound engineer, Phil. He knows our music very well and has been such a big part of achieving the right sound when we play live. Recreating our sound live can be a challenge due to the high production level of our music. This is why we have recently added a fourth musician, our talented friend Jason. He brings a whole new dimension to our live performances allowing us to better capture our studio sound. We have also recently collaborated with Claudio, a great filmmaker, for creating some visuals for our show. We received some great feedback for this at Archspace where we played our last London gig with Soundcrash.
Rumours – So Bad (Live for Sofar Sounds)
SYNC: So what are the plans beyond your upcoming live shows? Is there an album in the pipeline, and further live dates or festival appearances?
MARK: On 12 May, we will be performing at Birthdays in Dalston, London, then the following day we will be playing The Funk & Soul Weekender Festival in Camber Sands. Also later this summer we’re heading to Croatia to play Dimension Festival. We haven’t got an album on the way just yet, but we will definitely be releasing more music before the summer so please stay tuned!
Tickets for Rumours’ London show on 12 May are available here.
We’re rather glad to have discovered Kent-based duo The Modern Strangers and their new tune Margarita. With an air of both Foster The People and MGMT about them, it’s an upbeat, funky and summery sound that will be great to catch live if you’re in London next week when they’re supporting Passport To Stockholm and Secret Company at the Camden Assembly on 20 April (tickets here).
The Modern Strangers – Margarita
If there was some way of harnessing the energy in the room from a gig like this then it would probably solve many of the world’s energy issues at a stroke. Showcasing tracks from their debut album Beyond Repair, Blood Youth metaphorically took the roof off Tufnell Park’s Boston Music Room.
They kicked off with Making Waves before launching through much of the album, including Savanna, I Remember, and Parasite. Their fairly short but very sweet set ended with the epic single Reason to Stay. It was a triumphant gig – thankfully without any of the unwanted drama of the previous night’s show in Leeds which was curtailed when a fan suffered a serious leg injury during the gig. This time around, the high octane fun was allowed to run it’s full course, safely but at full speed – and maximum volume.
Photos: Jessica Piochon
Rather liking Seasons Change, the first commercial release from Dead Lavender. The artists responsible are so far shrouded in mystery, although we do know that they are a London-based collaborative duo, consisting of vocalists and producers V & Oliver. With a second tune apparently in the final stages, hopefully there’s plenty more where this track came from.
The video was shot in Los Angeles on Christmas Day last year and was produced by the pair with a retro vibe using VCR filters and 90’s colour grading.
Dead Lavender – Seasons Change
It was as recent as November that New York duo Phantogram were last in London as one of a few dates on a UK tour. This time, their stopover was even more brief as it was the only UK show of their European tour. Last time they packed out the ‘under the arches’ venue Heaven, but this time around were in the somewhat more spacious environs of the Shepherd’s Bush Empire… not that it felt especially spacious, with a close-to-sell-out crowd packing out the stalls.
Their particular brand of bombastic beats, rock riffs and swirling synths puts the band in a fairly unique place – too dark to be considered pop, yet not really a natural fit for the rock, electronic or indie tags either. Lyrically, the tone is certainly on the bleak side, but that’s counterbalanced with a fierce, high octane sound that makes their live show such a compelling one.
A little late to the stage – as seems to be their style – Phantogram rattled through a 75-minute set that was full of energy and volume. Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter manage to keep the between-song chatter to a minimum. Sometimes, this can create a sense of aloofness from a band but somehow, they still seem to manage a strong connection with fans old and new. The setlist kept fans from both camps happy too. There were tracks from the early days such as Mouthful of Diamonds and When I’m Small from 2009 debut album Eyelid Movies, as well as a generous helping of new material from most recent album Three, including Same Old Blues, Destroyer, and Run Run Blood.
They saved the best for last though with a three-song encore that capped the evening superbly. Firstly, Carter took up the vocal duties for the intense and mesmerising Barking Dog, before what was perhaps Barthel’s peak moment of the night with the wonderfully-sung Cruel World. They wrapped up with their uptempo anthem You Don’t Get Me High Anymore, performed with the kind of bounce and swagger that’s only possible when a band knows it has a seriously great song to end with.
Your Boyfriend is a great piece of laid-back indie from London four-piece BLOXX. The group have been honing their sound and working on their debut EP since forming just over a year ago and the hard work is paying off, not least with an upcoming support slot for The Wombats‘ sold out Brixton Academy show on 30 June.
You can also catch them supporting The Night Cafe on various dates in May, including Birmingham (1 May), Oxford (2), London (3), Norwich (4), and Glasgow (25). Ticket links here.
BLOXX – Your Boyfriend