Profiles

Up and Coming – Carmody, ‘The Ways of Your Love’

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With the current rise of artists such as Loyle Carner and Tom Misch, frequent collaborator Carmody continues to release fantastically well-polished tracks, her most recent effort coming in the form of ‘The Ways of Your Love’.

Expertly treading the fine line between celestially haunting and comforting warmth, ‘The Ways of Your Love’ sounds as if it could be performed by a significantly sized orchestra, slowly building towards a crescendo with blooming strings and understated percussion providing the backdrop for an intense vocal delivery, finishing as it began, with softly plucked guitar. The instrumental has an odd juxtaposing effect on the listener, in that it is at once calming and enveloping whilst at the same time being slightly unsettling, reflecting the uncertainty of the South London artist when tackling their feelings towards the subject of the song – this gives way to the swelling finish to the song where emotions overcome and overpower.

The true strength of Carmody is her voice – the ballad is sung with a crystalline clarity and shows great range, even within singular verses and choruses, reaching passionate notes with apparent effortlessness, combining power with an emotional form of breathlessness.

A grand winter song indeed, and a strong end to an already strong year.

“I wanted to write about the electricity you can have with someone even though you have nothing in common… go where your body takes you, sometimes” – Carmody 

Listen to the track below, via Soundcloud

This article was written by Mo Hafeez – with thanks to Isobel Williams (WHITEBOARD)

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Up and Coming: Strange Collective

I got an email about these guys roughly a week or so ago, along with a link to their latest release: ‘Heavy’. I’ve been on a recent spree of listening to HOMESHAKE, Mac DeMarco, Tame Impala, Temporex, The Allah-Las, and so on, and this really fit right in with those names. Obviously they’re not quite at that calibre yet, but from what’s been said about them I definitely look forward to see where they’ll end up –

A Liverpudlian quartet, they specialise in a psychedelic-laced form of garage rock. Guitars laden with reverb aplenty, and an unexpected change-up that lurches into action in the latter quarter of the track make for a great listen. The vocals are most definitely the highlight of the main segment though, Alex Wynne providing the lead with exciting yelps, and when the backing vocals come in during the chorus it really works well. It almost feels cinematic – I could definitely imagine it featuring in an opening or closing shot of a film, the change-up providing a shot of energy, the more laid-back beginning bringing out that ‘tying-up-of-loose-ends-but-unsure-if-it’s-a-happy-ending’ kind of feeling. The only thing I may have changed was perhaps a bit of reverb on the percussion, especially the starting fill which opens up the the main verse arrangement. They do fit nicely in when the lead and bass come in though, a hazy summer’s day vibe for sure.

The track, along with the few other recordings they’ve put out, apparently show a much tamer side, their live sets at Liverpool Music Week, Sound City Festival, and Liverpool Psych Fest being noted for their explosiveness and charismatic performances.

Strange Collective’s debut EP Super Touchy will be released by Salvation Records on the 1st of July, and they look set to begin touring the UK soon as well. If they come by Newcastle or Manchester, I’ll personally be trying to grab a ticket for sure.

This article was written by Mo Hafeez.

Up and Coming: An interview with the creators of ‘RedEye’

By Mo Hafeez

RedEye

 

If you’ve heard anything about the nightlife in Durham, you’ll know that they lay on the cheesy pop quite heavily. You’ll walk past Klute on a night out, and 6 days out of 7 you’ll probably hear the same tunes blaring out – strange remixes of Adele, Taylor Swift, and the same three Kanye West songs are all staples of a Durham night out.

Sure, you learn to love it, but after a while you deserve a well-needed break – RedEye promises to bring that change in 2016, and I sat down with Chris Photi and Guilherme Hefler to have a chat about what the group plans on doing.

What is RedEye?

We literally have no idea. Really hard first question to answer. To be honest, it’s a new music night for students in the North East that focuses on 140bpm music: so grime, garage, dubstep, bassline…

Could you give a general outline of what RedEye events will bring to Durham’s nightlife?

It’s gonna give a more gritty element to the nightlife here. Imagine that feeling when you start playing bangers out of your Sony Ericsson at the back of the bus. Or being at a car park rave… except it’s not in a car park… it’s in a club.

What inspired you to create RedEye, and to put on the events?

We were really starting to get bored with what seemed like the same music every time we went out in Durham. Everyone would love the chance to put on a night with music that they love and I guess we just followed through. On top of that, the more people we spoke to, the more we realised that there was a market there for us.

Which artists are you working with for your first event on the 21st, and who would you like to work with in the future?

We’ve got the Six Sunsets boys coming down from Newcastle to drop a vinyl only set and we’re really excited for them to make their Durham debut. Expect naughty subs and anything bassy. We’ve also got Def Republic mixing as we’ve been really impressed by his frequent Signal sets, and he’ll have support from MC’s, Photes, and Sleepy coming up from Manchester for the night. He’s a massively versatile spitter – watch out for him in the next year or so. Finally we’ve got Valera opening with some garage – his sets always pop off and it’s a pleasure to have him for our launch night.

 

There’s a few we’ve got our eyes on for the future but we don’t wanna give too much away. We’re gonna focus on local artists for the time being and hopefully we can pull out some bigger bookings in the summer and beyond.

What’s been the biggest obstacle so far? How are you trying to get over it?

We’ve done some promotion and stuff, but we’ve never put a night on before. There are loads of little details that you wouldn’t normally consider which have popped up, and it’s been a bit of a learning curve for us trying to follow through with all our plans. But we’ve had a lot of support from friends and the guys at Loft/Studio in setting up and it’s shaping up to be a large one.

What other events are you involved with, with RedEye and beyond?

We’ve got some big plans for the coming months but we’re trying not to get too far ahead of ourselves. There’s the possibility of a joint event, or something like that, with another night in Durham (we don’t wanna say who just yet). We’ve also floated about the idea of starting up a sister-night which focuses on hip-hop, but at the moment we just want to get this first night under our belts and go from there.

What’s the best grime/garage/hip-hop gig you’ve been to?

Oooh this one’s tough. Seeing 50 Cent in London years ago still sticks out in my memory, but I’d have to say a Fabric night a couple of years ago. Things got a bit messy so I can’t remember everything exactly, but we thought we were going to see Elijah & Skilliam, Royal-T and Wiley. So many MC’s like Frisco popped up that night that weren’t on the lineup – we lost our nut!

Looking forward to any releases this year?

One can only hope that Skepta finally releases Konnichiwa but we’re not holding our breaths. The J Cole and Kendrick collaboration looks like it could be quite live as well.

Which artists do you have pegged for a breakout year in 2016?

Capo Lee’s someone we’ve been listening to recently and ‘Cake and Custard Flow’ is an absolute banger. Elf Kid as well is looking like he’s starting to make movements, which is sick because a lot of people thought that some of the Square members would fall off after Novelist left the group. Very gassed to see him at WHQ later this term.

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If you fancy catching the very first RedEye event in Durham, you can grab tickets here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/559199470910400/

You can also like RedEye’s Facebook page for upcoming events:

https://www.facebook.com/redeyenortheast/

Up and Coming: BassLift (London)

BassLift is the latest offering of night entertainment from the London underground scene. The 30th October will see them take-over Shoreditch from 7pm-late with a heady mixture of Hip-Hop, House and D’n’B. BassLift is a resurgent call to arms for the re-ignition of the non-commercial collective rave scene of years gone by. Self-described as fighting against the ‘well-oiled machine’ that many of the UK’s larger nights have become, the team behind BassLift deliberately look for ‘small’ ‘out-there’ venues through which to ply their trade. This also helps to give the night a sense of mystery through its lack of mainstream process profit, which has taken a back seat as art and entertainment have become the priorities for this group. BassLift is also going beyond just the music and is going to attempt to mould the audio gems of their stellar DJ’s with a new visual element through the use of performance artists who will adapt their show to the DJ’s sounds enhancing the overall experience through the use of a combination of art forms. This could be the beginning of the toppling of the giants.

Details for BassLift can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1488563164793609/
This article was written by Sam Brunt

What we’re listening to (#17): ‘Veneer’ by José Gonzalez

Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I’m a supporter of Swedish singer-songwriter José Gonzalez and his stripped down album Veneer, the only two personnel on the record being himself and Stefan Sporson (who appears on only one track, ‘Broken Arrows’).

Not only is Gonzalez a very talented guitarist, but he also has a knack for bringing somewhat-classically styled playing to a larger audience in the format of indie-folk tunes. In fact, he’s so talented that it kind of takes away from his lyrical prowess, which when you look at on paper, is nothing to go crazy over, with much repetition being used throughout – however, when you combine the two together, along with his low almost mumbling voice which are double tracked to great effect at various points on tracks, it creates a very ethereal atmosphere.

The only time he picks up the energy (only very slightly) is in ‘Hints’, centered around a fairly complex riff when combined with the fact he’s singing over it – his lyrics are more forcefully delivered, the guitar more tense, the only percussion present being Gonzalez’s fingers move up and down the fretboard, his use of non-standard tunings creating an interesting chordal basis for the track.

Other originals like ‘Crosses’ and ‘Remain’ continue to showcase talent, particularly his unique strumming and picking patterns,  but perhaps the repetitive lyrics might throw some listeners off. The latter’s riff stuck in my head long after my first listen, and the very well built up ending is another instance where Gonzalez goes a bit more upbeat, with Bonfa-esque jazz vibes.

The song that most people know from this album is ‘Heartbeats’, a cover of a song by the Swedish band the Knife – perhaps most remember the Sony Bravia television shot in San Francisco advert more. Even though it’s not his own song, he makes enough changes to it to keep it original, to keep you listening, and whilst he was that, he also crafted a melody that many aspiring guitarists took their time to learn (including myself). The lyrics, whilst not his, are poignant and are sung poignantly:

“And you, you knew the hands of the devil
And you, kept us awake with wolf teeth
Sharing different heartbeats
In one night”

This album has the power to put you asleep, and I mean this in a good way – Gonzalez’s voice has a certain quality that is difficult to place your finger on.

If you’re craving for something different, pick up this album.

This article was written by Mo Hafeez

Up and Coming: Danny Ruane

Danny Ruane is a solo artist who works experimentally between the genres of techno and ambient styles of music.

He latest piece of work, Arrhythmia, is an impressive collection of these influences that work to, in his own words, find a ‘biological’ element to his tracks. This is evident firstly from the title of the album Arrhythmia. Arrhythmia is a medical term that means an irregular heartbeat in a patient. This therefore, not only highlights the way in which Ruane is committed to finding the biological element in his music but also shows the experimental aspect to his work through the idea of the irregular beating of the heart before the music has even begun.

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The album opens with a track entitled ‘Boy’ which can be seen as a short introduction into the rest of the album. It is ambient and does not have any discernible percussive beat. The rhythms appearing through the use of percussion-like sounds, such as what seems to be a saw that filters in underneath, providing the underwater style sounds of the track. In the next track ‘Antigan’ the percussive sounds are more conventional and the techno influences are heard more noticeably. The synth sounds are also techno influenced and flow well with the use of standard acoustic drums. The beat, however, is still hard to pin down in its entirety flowing in and out of the forefront of the track until the end in a less ordinary style than can be fully explained by one genre.

 

The third song of the album is an altogether heavier affair. A thunderous yet subtle drum beat works well with the heavy synth that Ruane has laid down. The beat then drops out to an ambient build-up of sound that culminates in a sudden drop and a return to the heavy synth. ‘Switch’ is the first truly stand out songs on the album. The song ‘Positronic’ marks a return back to the ambient spectrum of Ruane’s work with a light synth opening that releases the tension built by the heavier beats from the previous tracks. The echoing sounds in the music give an impression of great space and openness that allows the listener to interpret each sound that filters into their ears with ease. ‘Virulence’ again sees the return of more conventional styles of percussion, though in this instance Ruane bridges the gap between ambient music and techno with greater confidence and it is a better mix of the two genres than earlier in the album.

 

‘Refract’ continues in the same vein but is much more experimental with less expansive sounds being used. It sounds much rawer than ‘Virulence’ and so has a sharper edge to it when listened to. Both, however, are great tracks in their own right and both whilst very different straddle both the ambient and techno genres. Another truly exceptional track on the album is ‘Myre’. Starting with an interesting on/off beat that draws the listener into the song ‘Myre’ is probably the track with the music that most sounds like conventional instruments with a sound like an echoing guitar that perfectly matches the beat the song weaves in and out of itself. Occasionally everything stops as the song seems to pause for breath before a new element is added to the layers that Ruane builds up until it all drops away back to the original beat.

Overall as a first full length album this is very strong. It is both interesting and thoughtful without becoming insurmountable to the listener. It is both listenable and enjoyable without becoming boring or predictable and is a very good piece of music as a whole with some great individual songs.

This article was written by Sam Brunt

What we’re listening to (#16): ‘Sunny Side Up’ by Paolo Nutini

Paolo Nutini’s debut album These Streets honestly didn’t do much to set him apart from his peers – he hadn’t quite landed on a genre, and his lyrics were very casual at times, especially in ‘New Shoes’. He was a simple singer-songwriter who was acting older than he really was. Extremely tight production often took away from the gruffness in his voice that was starting to come through, but it meant that the record was relatively accessible. The album wasn’t a flop by any means, managing to sell a few million over time, but it wasn’t enough to save him from the James Blunt and James Morrison comparisons.

Sunny Side Up isn’t a regular sophomore album, it sounds like an album made by someone who’s been on the circuit for a while and knows his niche well.  His voice is the real kicker here, it progressed from barely post-teenager to fifty-something crooner in three years.

“10/10” opens up the album with reggae, and arguably it’s not the most exciting foray into the genre, but enjoyable nonetheless – the song perfectly introduces us to Paolo’s more growling-prevalent stylings. “Coming Up Easy”, welcoming listeners back to Nutini’s regular style, a great whirling organ-backed piece that breaks upbeat verses and choruses with a short sucker-punching bridge – he also does the same towards the end of the track, with a great crescendo over the words:

“It was in love I was created and in love is how I hope I die”

He does a similar thing at the end of “No Other Way”, albeit in a much more soulful manner – the brass creeps in, building towards the chorus of the Scottish-Italian singing about the ups and downs of relationships. A short offbeat reggae styled bridge breaks up the 2nd verse and the chorus, and after this extended chorus, Nutini lets it rip, all out screams of the words “oh baby” providing a fantastic goosebump-factor.

“Pencil Full of Lead” was one of the songs of the summer, receiving extended radio-play for a few months, and acts a fantastic pick-me-up along with “High Hopes” on an album which is otherwise quite sombre.

The album’s first single “Candy” is also worth a listen, and once again he employs a crescendo towards the end, which was often cut-off when played on radio – without it, it has to be said that it might just be a regular rock-soul ballad. It does showcase Nutini’s talent to write songs about relationships and what not without sounding to cliche or cutesy, and he does it very intimately on the track:

Nutini’s follow up to this album wasn’t too shabby either –

This article was written by Mo Hafeez