London Grammar return to Manchester’s O2 Apollo for a second sold out show this week and the atmosphere is already electric as the trio head on to stage.
Throughout their set they have a perfect balance of tracks from their debut and recent album Truth Is A Beautiful Thing. But judging by this crowd you wouldn’t think it was released just over four months ago, because they know every single world. Frontwoman Hannah Reid herself notes that Manchester has been the loudest of the tour so far and it’s believable.
They play a stunning version of the album’s title track which sees Reid head to the piano and showcase her huge vocal range in an emotional performance before playing fan favourite Hey Now, which sees the group visibly impressed by how loud the audience are. Continue reading
Steadily gaining profile, Avante Black have been on our radar for a good long while now. Former tracks Drug Money and Make A Mess have both featured on past Sync Lists and it’ll come as no surprise to know that latest single Acid Love will be appearing on the next one when our latest playlist is unleashed upon an unsuspecting world next week.
This four-piece London-based collective – fronted by Swede Ottilia Zimmerman Kjulsten – clearly have that knack when it comes to catchy yet slightly leftfield pop, and they’ve struck gold again with this one. It’s delicately and neatly produced, with smooth, confident vocals, and strong earworm-quality hooks.
Don’t miss the chance to catch them for an intimate show at London’s Servant Jazz Quarters on 11 December – tickets here.
Avante Black – Acid Love
It has been a pretty incredible 12 months or so for 22-year-old Londoner Dua Lipa. Her rise from relative unknown to major recording artist has come quickly, helped in no small part by an album packed with material that ranks among the most accomplished British pop music of recent years.
Her current ‘Self Titled’ tour – so named since her debut album is indeed self-titled – has seen her packing out venues around the UK with most dates sold out soon after going on sale. In Bournemouth, the clamour was clear, with the queue to get in going around the block. Once the show started, it became clear that the hype had plenty of substance behind it. Lipa was super-energetic, putting plenty of oomph into her performance throughout and transmitting that energy to the audience.
Her set saw her perform most of the tracks from her debut LP, including opener Hotter Than Hell, Blow Your Mind (Mwah), Be The One, and the collaborative tracks that have helped her raise her profile so effectively this year, namely Scared To Be Lonely, and No Lie.
This was a high tempo, superbly polished display, with Lipa’s wide range vocals flawless throughout, and a visual spectacle emphasised by a slick lighting set-up. It’s all a far cry from when we first saw her live back in 2015, performing at Bristol’s tiny Start The Bus venue (now HY Brasil Music Club) in front of a modest crowd of around 100. Although there was nothing lacking in her performance that night, she has certainly grown in stature and as a performer, with her strong material and powerful live show elevating her to the big league.
She wrapped things up with New Rules, arguably the best pop track of the year so far. It was also Dua Lipa’s first UK number one… and almost certainly it won’t be her last.
Photos: Becca Egerstrom
This year marks the 10th anniversary of The Hoosiers’ debut album The Trick to Life. They returned to Bournemouth to play at The Old Fire Station as part of their massive 27-date tour to mark the occasion.
Though the band’s line-up may have changed over the years – now the core being Irwin Sparkes (lead guitar) and Alan Sharland (drums) – this doesn’t stop their energetic performance or ability to interact with the crowd. The duo and their touring band took to the stage dressed in a range of bright colours with the crowd cheering in excitement, before opening with the classic Worried About Ray.
This was followed by Worst Case Scenario, where frontman Sparkes got the crowd involved, clapping along. The band rattled through their debut album in its entirety, with fans of all ages singing along to all the hits, including Goodbye Mr A and Cops & Robbers. Continue reading
Adoring Still Life, the second track from enigmatic Liverpool-based group Two Islands. Retro yet fresh, it’s an effervescent, energetic slice of electro-pop that will lift the mood and get stuck in your head. Debut song Heaven was released earlier this year.
Two Islands – Still Life
Another beauty of a track from Bristol-based duo Meadowlark is latest tune Sunlight.
The video was directed by Meadowlark’s own Dan Broadley who, as well as playing in the band, has produced videos for the likes of Don Broco, Lower Than Atlantis, Mallory Knox, as well as the majority of Meadowlark’s catalogue. Continue reading
The Hoosiers will celebrate the 10th anniversary of their debut album, The Trick To Life, with an extensive autumn tour across the UK.
The indie-pop outfit will play the album in full when they take in a stonking 26 dates between now and 6 November, including dates in Canterbury (3 October), Bournemouth (4), Guildford (5), Stoke (6), Coventry (7), Leicester (11), Oxford (12), and London (13). Full list of dates and tickets available here.
The Hoosiers – Goodbye Mr A
Caswell has released new tune Dance Sober today. The track is taken from her forthcoming EP The Shadow Aspect, which is available for pre-order ahead of its release on 26 October.
Dance Sober follows Caswell’s previous single Animal. Showing a sonically lighter side to Caswell’s music, the track is a fresh slice of brooding pop though remains juxtaposed with her characteristically darker lyrics. The track is built on a slow burning groove that really gets under the skin.
Caswell grew up in Tulse Hill, South London, surrounded by music. Armed with her first microphone at just two years old, she subsequently taught herself the piano and began to formally study music. Drawing from influences as wide as Kate Bush, Jeff Buckley and Nina Simone, to Bjork and Erykah Badu, the singer-songwriter has honed a signature sound that is a cool blend of downtempo electronic soul and pop mixed with a hint of jazz.
Caswell – Dance Sober
There was an eclectic mix of artists at the first ever SeptemberFest held at Donington Park in Derbyshire last weekend. Here’s a selection of some of the acts who performed during the event, including both emerging talents as well as big names from the past…
Photos: On Track Media UK
You only have to consider his list of collaborations to get the measure of John Legend. The Ohio-born singer’s roll call of team-ups has seen him working with the likes of Kanye West, Jay-Z, Lauryn Hill, Britney Spears and Magnetic Man over the years – among many others.
His current Darkness and Light tour has seen him take his breathtaking showmanship around the world this year and he was in top form for this Cardiff stop-off. Of course, his well-known hits figured prominently in the set, including Used to Love U, Ordinary People and All of Me. A dazzling backdrop of graphics and illusions accompanied him throughout, sometimes using visuals to emphasise some of the more serious points he wanted to convey, including his support of the Black Lives Matter movement during Wake Up Everybody. Continue reading
There’s an eclectic mix of music coming to what must be one of the final festivals of the year, SeptemberFest at Donington Park, Leicestershire, this weekend. From the brand new – including loads of local up-and-coming acts – through to some unashamedly retro and very familiar names, it would be hard not to find something you love here.
The second track from the forthcoming EP Concrete (out 29 September) is the beautiful Everyone’s Got Their Price from London band White Fever.
The EP’s closing track, the song is a great example of this group’s dark, stylish brand of pop. Their passion for bygone musical eras and cinema gets re-invented with a contemporary twist and sprinkled with elements of post punk. Coupled with singer Ida Jacobsson-Wells’ haunting vocals, their music brings to mind the likes of Daughter and Cocteau Twins.
White Fever are Jacobsson-Wells (vocals/guitar), Seán O’Reilly (guitar), Joe Donaldson (bass/backing vocals) and Josh Williams (drums). You can catch them live in Camden, North London, this coming Saturday (23 September) as they celebrate the launch of their EP at The Lock Tavern. Entry is free but you need to sign up for a ticket – details here.
White Fever – Everyone’s Got Their Price
Absolutely loving this one from the US. Sweet Nobody is Joy Deyo and Brian Dishon with Casey Snyder and Adam Nolan. They’re from Long Beach, California, and play dreamy garage rock with pop hooks galore. Their new album, Loud Songs For Quiet People, is out now on Burger Records cassette and will be released on Bearded Beauty LP later this year.
Sweet Nobody – Manner of Speaking
Brand new from Swedish singer Tove Styrke is this peach of a pop tune. We’ve been desperate to share Mistakes ever since we first heard it a week or two ago so thankfully release day has arrived at last! The song is the follow-up to her hiatus-halting tune Say My Name which was released back in the Spring and was her first new material since 2015 album Kiddo.
We caught Styrke live in London back in June and it was clear that she is on form and ready to move up a gear. Mistakes is a wonderfully minimal pop tune that resists the temptation to overdo its various parts, but all the while keeping the catchiness set to maximum.
Tove Styrke – Mistakes
New from Asha is the cracking tune Say My Name, the first from her forthcoming new EP. The Croydon-born singer has been on hiatus for a while, taking a break following her earlier singles We Can Do This, Chapter, and Record Straight.
Of her new song, Asha says: “Say my Name is about a new love I’ve found and had in my life for two years now, it represents his power and strength and the unconditional love he seems to have for me. You don’t always have to go looking for love, sometimes it just makes its way to you on a night out.”
Asha – Say My Name