People say that there’s nothing new to be made in music, but even if this were the case, we can combine what is already out there in a myriad of unique and inventive combinations. A good case in point is the latest single from the wonderful Hannah Featherstone. Born in Britain but raised amongst the vibrant Parisian music scene, her new track ‘Solo’ combines classic jazz with contemporary electropop. With its off-kilter beat, it’s honest minimalist arrangement and a few little electronic flourishes, ‘Solo’ is one of the most distinctive and inimitable tracks I’ve heard this year. She is a curious artist, certainly someone to keep your eye on. With a new album due later this year, it will be interesting to see what other noteworthy creations Hannah has to offer.
I do love a band with a dash of flair and ambition, two boxes that LA band The Lavender Scare have certainly ticked with their new single. Musically ‘Drag For a Queen’ reminds me of ‘Lillian’ by The Dear Hunter as it carries the same air of sleazy theatricality, albeit with James Delos Reyes’ unique gritty vocals. Lyrically it tells the tale of a drag queen that finds religion and later falls back into his old habits behind closed doors. The vivid caricature the band portrays, ‘Drag For A Queen’ does a superb job at storytelling and building up the world within your mind. Dark, witty, and the very quintessence of style, if The Lavender Scare build on the successes of this track they will soon jump up my list of the most exciting bands around.
Let’s not beat around the bush here, ‘Brainwaves’ is a plain and simple indie banger, end of story. Its memorable melodic hooks are a potent brew which is almost certain to be loved by festival crowds far and wide. There are some big name bands out there who could learn a lot from this track. Garett van der Spek, under his moniker Prism Tats, has provided an upbeat and addictive tune that carries a deeper message, dealing with our unhealthy reliance on technology. Raised in South Africa, though now based in LA, Garett is on to a winning formula with his new single. After this latest taster of his upcoming second album due later this year, I for one am hungry for more.
“We’re guerrillas, we don’t announce gigs. We hit, then we sink back into the night.” While The Commitments is an immensely quotable film, that line to me has always felt like a testament to a long forgotten phenomenon. Modern life thrives on routine, modern living is done squarely within the comfort zone, and these days spontaneous gigs sound like a foreign concept unless you’re in the big leagues and just fancy messing with people. But then the message came through loud and clear that a little pop-up gig was occurring; a showcase of some of the finest local talent, at the delightfully cool and quirky Cafe Indie. This was very much a new experience for me and not one that I was inclined to miss! Continue reading
Oh Wonder – Ultralife
The word “bewitching” has somehow never felt so apt, as there’s no denying there’s something dark and mystical at play here. Born in Cornwall, but now based in London, singer/songwriter and self-taught multi-instrumentalist Lots Holloway really captivates you with her latest single ‘Stay A Little Longer’. Written about all the various manipulative people who end up dictating our lives, the suitably hypnotic video and Eastern vibes cast a spell over you like some mysterious snake charmer, with its hold on you getting deeper and deeper with each repeat. It carries a seductive air of danger while still remaining accessible enough to lure in scores of eager new listeners. With her debut EP and a string of UK dates on the way later this year, Lots is definitely one to watch!
Pasadena, California is home to The Rose Bowl, an American football stadium, and whose grounds are now home to the Arroyo Seco Weekend festival. The inaugural year of the festival looked mighty impressive on paper: over the course of June 24th and 25th, incredible headliners Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and Mumford & Sons would be supported by some of Los Angeles’ favorite bands. It would seem that Southern California lives and breathes for Arroyo Seco’s self indulgent, exhibitionist older sister festival, Coachella, so I was interested in a lineup and experience that seemed more suited to SoCal’s alternative music scene.
There are few acts that I would consider worthy of the caliber that the Hollywood Bowl holds. On June 26th the Bowl was lucky to host actual Legends of rock Brian May and Roger Taylor as Queen with current frontman Adam Lambert.
The mere fact that I had tickets to begin with was a miracle, as both shows at the Bowl quickly sold out. I inherited the tickets with eyes-wide from ticket holders who couldn’t make the show, and before I knew it I was in velvet and red lipstick, seated (but only just) at the Hollywood Bowl, waiting to hear classic tracks that had been an integral part of my childhood.
HAIM – Something To Tell You
Regardless of what the rest of the year offers, to me The Nothing is the essential album of 2017. This cathartic creation composed about the loss of a childhood friend rivals Nick Cave’s Skeleton Tree as the most powerful and personal record of the decade. With its uplifting atmosphere, poignant lyrics and deftly moving instrumental passages, it’s the kind of record you simply want to fade away into and never leave. I spoke to gifted songwriter Jamie Cameron about his new masterpiece: Continue reading