Black Rebel Motorcycle Club kicked off a mammoth world tour in Dublin last month in support of forthcoming album Wrong Creatures (released 12 January 2018), and we caught them at Birmingham’s o2 Academy a couple of nights later.
New material was given an airing alongside their better known classics. Kicking off with new single Little Thing Gone Wild, the stage sunk in deep red light and smoke to set a suitably dramatic tone. The crowd started a little on the subdued side, but soon livened up, with the occasional drink flying high in the air over the crowd every couple of songs. Continue reading
Dutch-born, LA-based artist Young & Sick – aka Nick van Hofwegen – debuts new tune Ojai today, a song which blends the experience of his recent travels through the American South with his European roots. The resulting track was written in the small Californian town of the same name.
Nick explains: “I was staying at a hotel there called The Rancho. I just had a few drinks and I was in the sun, and I just let a very apparent feeling hit me. I got to make a song about taking too much on your plate and how that affects you and how you can have, like, a micro-meltdown because you’ve put too much on yourself.”
His talents extend beyond just music however. Although you may not realise it, you’ve probably already seen some of his amazing artwork since, among other places, his artwork provided the cover for Foster The People‘s seminal album Torches in 2011. He has gone on to designing for others including covers for Maroon 5’s Overexposed and Mikky Ekko’s Kids, as well as designing his own single/album artwork.
Young & Sick – Ojai
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
American pop-rock outfit R5 rolled into Manchester for one of many shows on their extensive New Addictions tour. Fronted by Disney’s latest heart-throb Ross Lynch, the group got the sort of reaction you might expect from an audience whose demographic leaned heavily towards teenage and female.
But whereas many of the similarly hyped pop-rock bands are all production and little or no substance, the difference with R5 is that they really can put on a performance, and one that is every bit about the musicality as it is the showmanship. Sure Lynch is the focal point for many of the fans, but the band as a whole is a tight unit that delivers a strong and engaging set. Continue reading
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
Very much liking this from US singer-songwriter Jillette Johnson. Flip A Coin is taken from her album All I Ever See In You Is Me – an intriguing album that is well worth checking out – and the song showcases her considerable talents as a vocalist and pianist.
Jillette Johnson – Flip A Coin
We found this one by chance the other day and feel a moral obligation to share it. Red Museum is from US singer-songwriter Frankie Rose‘s fourth solo album Cage Tropical, which was released last month. The lo-fi sinister-tone of the video works well with this dreamy track which follows the similarly atmospheric Trouble, the lead single from the album.
Frankie Rose – Red Museum
We fell totally and utterly in love with recent Neo Noir track Colours, but this one has done much to wrestle for top spot in our affections. Featuring incredible other-worldly vocals from Brooke Williams, this reinvention of the 1995 song by Courtney Love’s Hole is a multi-dimensional thing of beauty that ebbs and flows, taking you on a real musical journey that you really don’t want to end.
Neo Noir are an LA-based producer/DJ collective made up of Bradley Allan and Greg Ogan. They have that knack of creating EDM tunes of real substance as well as style and we look forward to hearing a lot more from them in the months ahead. In the meantime, if you like Violet, check out When I Was Young, which also features Williams’ wonderful vocals and is super-special.
Neo Noir – Violet (ft. Brooke Williams)
LA-based DJ and songwriter Halo (aka. Danielle Tambellini) has dropped new tune Top of the World and it’s a catchy one. Her profile is steadily growing in the States following a series of support shows for a number of acts including Alessia Cara as well as DJ slots at The City nightclub in Cancun.
If you like what you hear, also check out Halo’s Love You So.
Halo – Top of the World
For a band that has been around in one form or another for over 20 years, the Hot 8 Brass Band remain something of a best kept secret for many. Their current tour of the UK is in support of new album On The Spot and although interest has been piqued by last month’s performance at Glastonbury, there’s still much to discover about their unique blend of hip-hop, funk and jazz all wrapped up in the marching band style so closely associated with their hometown of New Orleans.
The backbone of the whole show is band leader Bennie Pete, whose sousaphone is not only a striking visual aspect to the band, but provides the low bassline on which the rest of the sound is built. Frontman and trumpet player Alvarez Huntley is the on-stage spokesman for the group, leading the crowd into as much audience participation as he can by urging them to wave their arms and sing along – but only singing when he says so!
No-one was going to argue with him, such was the positivity and infectious energy in the room. In fact, it’s hard to know how they manage to keep the whole thing going as one seamless thread for the duration of their 90 minute set, with virtually no breaks between songs. The music itself was supercharged throughout, with a mixture of their own material as well as a host of covers all given the ‘Hot 8’ treatment. Among the best of these were the Snoop Dogg track What’s My Name and the Marvin Gaye standard Sexual Healing.
It’s hard to think of a more unique act on the circuit right now. If you have an opportunity to catch them at one of their remaining festival dates this year (including Truck Festival in Oxfordshire and Tramlines in Sheffield) then best make them a priority.
Irish-American Celtic punk band Flogging Molly brought their energetic show to Birmingham and made it a night to remember for fans of all ages.
The venue filled up nicely during the run-up to their appearance on stage, and yet the balconies remained comparatively empty – clearly this was one of those evenings for jumping around in front of stage and letting your hair down rather than simply observing from afar.
It was a very mixed crowd to say the least, with fans ranging from teenagers to 60-somethings; from sweet and innocent looks to big, muscly, tattooed guys. There were also plenty of Flogging Molly / Eire / Shamrock t-shirts – many with various witty sayings – on show.
During the intro musicians gather on the stage and the band starts the night with The Hand Of John L. Sullivan, a song from their recently released sixth studio album Life Is Good. These Celtic punk rockers are a treat for a photographer like me who loves vast, crazy, jumping around, grimacing artists, but it is hard to pick a point to focus on. In each corner of the stage there is something going on and that’s how it was for the entire set which was full of energy. Centre of attention though, is Dave King, the fun-loving frontman who was sure to take a sip of two of Guinness between each song.
They finish the main part of the set with the fast-paced Seven Deadly Sins, before thanking the public and disappearing backstage. The crowd is left stomping the feet, clapping hands and shouting. They clearly haven’t had enough so the band return to the stage with a new song Crushed (Hostile Nations) and finish off with the high tempo Salty Dog, during which the dancefloor turns into a mosh pit and drinks are flying up in the air. The LA-based band wave their goodbyes while King promises to return to Birmingham next year before unifying the crowd by leading the time-honoured singalong of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. It was an optimistic, life-affirming end to what was an utterly rousing evening of raucous fun.
Review & Photos: Arta Gailuma
Three years after the release of their first EP Acronyms, American three-piece LANY are finally blessing fans with their much awaited self-titled debut album. Already having four popular EPs under their belt and having supported the likes of Halsey, Troye Sivan and Ellie Goulding on tour, LANY have built a strong name for themselves along with a large and devoted fan base.
The album opens with the calming sound of rain in short but sweet track Dumb Stuff which quickly develops into an electric love song, setting the energetic and passionate tone of the album. The next song, single Breakup, manages to contrast the pain of being alone with a lively dance beat, along with lyrics that speak to any lonely teenager’s soul.
Third track Super Far tells the story of an unhealthy relationship in which one person is much more invested than the other. Frontman, Paul Klein, paints the tragic image of knowing it’s doomed for failure but clinging to hope anyway, in lyrics like ‘my heart is so invested, I don’t want to face the truth’ and ‘Got me begging for affection, all you do is roll your eyes’.
The melodic and emotional tone of the album is somewhat interrupted by track Parents which is a voicemail from member Jake Goss’ mum in response to a photo of his new tattoo which he posted on Instagram a few months back. An old fan would recognize this as a reference to song OMG from their first EP, another voicemail from Jake’s mum also starting with the words ‘oh my god’.
ILYSB is the lead single from the album and the song most people will recognise, with the band releasing a music video for it a few months ago. Klein’s strong vocals and powerful lyrics paint a dramatic picture, one of longing, love and lust. It’s the kind of song that you want to live in. First being released three years ago, it’s the oldest song on the album and considered iconic amongst fans.
LANY – ILYSB
The next few tracks seem to be describing the aftermath of a relationship, with songs 13 and Hericane detailing the emotions left in the wake of love. Track Hurts also couples lyrics that speak of pain and desperation with an electric guitar riff, a common feature of this record.
The first new single to be released from the album was Good Girls, and may be recognised by non-LANY fans as it was recently sampled in the form of a sunglasses Snapchat filter. This perfectly represents the tone of the song, and the album, as it feels like the right way to listen to it would be on a beach at sunset.
LANY – Good Girls
The penultimate song, So, Soo Pretty can only be described as just that. It’s a dreamy instrumental with the angelic piano chords contrasting with some of the pop tones of previous tracks.
LANY finishes with single It Was Love in which Klein reflects on a previous relationship. When placed in context of the whole record, it seems like he is reflecting on the album itself – making you feel more like you’ve just heard a story.
This record is full of vibrant songs about heartbreak that make you unsure whether you’re supposed to dance, cry or, more likely, both. The album tells the tale of love, whether it be true, unfulfilling or lost and Paul Klein’s vocals wrapped up in beautiful synthetic sounds along with his heartfelt lyrics, make it easy for you to immerse yourself in the story he’s telling.
Review by Tabetha Parrick
LA-based producer/DJ collective Neo Noir (Bradley Allan and Greg Ogan) recently dropped this belter and we’ve decided this is the tune to kick-off our weekend. Featuring the vocals of London Ellis, our advice is that it requires full volume. You’re welcome.
Neo Noir – Colours (ft. London Ellis)
PVRIS have unveiled the first track from their forthcoming album All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell which is due out on 4 August. The track, Heaven, is a striking statement of intent for the album – dark, slick and powerful, and really showing off lead singer Lynn Gunn’s vocal talents to the max.
The band are about to hit the road for a string of dates starting this week, kicking off in London on 4/5 May before heading off to Paris (8), Amsterdam (10) and Berlin (11). They’ll also be appearing at various festivals over the summer including Reading & Leeds.
PVRIS – Heaven
US pop-rock outfit The Aces have unveiled new track Physical. Available now for download, it is the lead track from the all-female band’s debut EP I Don’t Like Being Honest which is due for release on 23 June.
The quartet is made up of sisters Cristal (on lead vocals/guitar), and drummer Alisa Ramirez, plus guitarist Katie Henderson and bassist McKenna Petty. Having released their first track, Stuck, late last year, the group is currently working on a debut album.
Physical has more than a hint of Haim and Fickle Friends about it – which is most definitely a good thing in our book.
The Aces – Physical