Leaone – “Goldtooth” (video)

14 Oct


The link between adversity and creativity is one that has existed within humanity throughout the ages. Great works of art, literature and music all born out of grief, depression, anxiety, heartbreak and hardship. It’s not a route to greatness that we would advocate but the link is undeniable and one that Norwich/London based newcomer Leaone has mined for his debut tracks.

Having overcome the kind of triple-whammy hardship that would break many a lesser man (he lost his girlfriend and job in quick succession and was then mugged) he retreated into his writing and penned his debut EP. Given his experiences of late, you’d forgive him a rage-fuelled cacophony of fury and self-pity. There’s no thrashing anger or frustration here though, each composition is poignant and elegant in its arrangement. His vocals are emotive and heartfelt and the music, so personal and meaningful, is steeped in a wistful melancholia with Leaone performing each element himself.

It is something that comes across beautifully in his self-made video, which we are delighted to be premiering below, for his latest track, “Goldtooth”. Using vintage footage, the visuals act as a nostalgic and sorrowful accompaniment to the song. The occasional tint of gold flickering like the light of happiness that is lost to memory, swallowed by the black and white past; prompting only tears and a rueful smile. Like his music, the video is an exercise in low-key sophistication.

This cultured, understated approach is not only showcasing his ability as a deft and nuanced songwriter, people are sitting up and taking notice. Having heard his music, Stereophonics’ producer Jim Lowe offered to mix Leaone’s EP and there is already talk of label interest. The past has been bleak but the future is looking much brighter for this talented young artist.

”Goldtooth” is taken from Leaone’s forthcoming self-titled debut EP.

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Sølv – “Losing My Mind”

12 Oct


Over the years I have often been asked what kind of music I like. While I think I will always be an indie kid at heart, I will listen to pretty much anything, as long as it is good. That being said, over the years I have definitely developed a strong love of female-fronted electro pop acts that dabble in darkness. It should be no surprise to learn then that when I first heard Sølv, I was hooked.

As a brand new project, there is little available in the way of background information to share. The name is the Scandinavian word for silver so while that may be a significant clue, it could also be a bit of misdirection. Or not. Maybe. Ok she’s British, but that’s all I know.

Such a lack of information does mean we can all just concentrate on the music though and with an EP due out in a month, there is a lot to be excited about.

The vocal is a chilled breeze over smooth synth lines and beats. The tracks shimmer with subtle foreboding, basslines plunge into the icy depths with deft electronics breaking through like shafts of light from the sky above. Melodies are soft and swirling, providing a gentle gossamer sheen to the tundral soundscape.

Like dawn breaking, her debut track, “Losing My Mind”, gently rises. Her voice floats and swirls as delicate electronics reach out across the land of low synths. She says it is about being “so consumed by one person that you can’t concentrate on anything else”. Which is ironic, as that is exactly how I’ve felt about her music these past few days.

”Losing My Mind” is taken from the debut Sølv EP, ‘Black Ink’, which is due for release on 11 November.

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Maya Law and Allergy Kid – “Take It From Me”

10 Oct


As a resident of Norwich, I am fully aware that the Fine City has an (unfair) reputation amongst its bigger, flashier siblings as being a bit slow and backward. Other cities tend to sneer at little old Norwich and its rural history. They laugh and point towards that jutty out bit of England that is kind of just there, believing all Norwich folk to be bumbling idiots.

Look beyond the lazy stereotypes though and you will find a city rich in innovation, creativity and multimedia development. You will also find a city with a vibrant, diverse and extremely talented music scene.

I’ve covered plenty of local acts over the years but I can honestly say, they just keep getting better.

Three examples spring immediately to mind to support that claim.

Let’s Eat Grandma (first featured here in 2014) have recently won massive critical acclaim across the globe for their debut album, I, Gemini, so much so that award nominations can’t be far away. Mullally, who I featured last week, has already been nominated for numerous awards in the last few weeks and his last two tracks have been streamed over a million times each on Spotify, and he’s still unsigned (somehow).

Thirdly, and possibly most excitingly, is Maya Law whose work with up-and-coming electro-hop producer Gabriel Gifford, aka Allergy Kid, is not only brilliant, but also remarkably heartfelt and open. After the success of their first track together, ”Safe & Sound”, the duo’s plans to release an EP have swollen to a full album and the third track from it is the deeply emotive “Take It From Me”.

Dealing with the complexities and anguish of sexual anxiety, Law’s lyrics are raw and startlingly honest. She looks at her own life and experiences with a clarity and awareness that is often absent in her peers. At just 17 she already possesses a heaviness and almost world weariness in her vocal that conveys the emotion and tumultuousness of her life. Here she is showcasing biting self criticism and a wonderful soulful vocal that is beautifully evocative of her twin idols, Amy Winehouse and Lauryn Hill.

Beneath it all are Allergy Kid’s softly compulsive beats and deft production, providing the perfect metronomic counterbalance to the lyrical upheaval. The pair have an almost symbiotic musical connection, his light electronics and rhythms wonderfully juxtaposed with her rich, warm voice.

It is another strong step forward in what should be a long and successful career for both artists, and is further proof that despite all the big city prejudice, Norwich is so much more than that little city out in the sticks.

The Maya Law & Allergy Kid album, ‘Her or Him’, is due out on 14 October and can be pre-ordered here.

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Mullally – “Wonderful”

7 Oct


Regular readers will know that I am prone to moments of hyperbole when writing. I get caught up in my enthusiasm for a song and wax lyrical with metaphor and simile my closest allies. Sometimes I do wonder if I have gone too far in my eulogising but when it comes to Mullally, about whom I gushed over for The Tipping Point a while back, there are no such doubts.

Blessed with the kind of sweet and soulful pop vocal that would cause 80s teen fans to convulse and swoon in mass hysteria, Mullally is currently gaining profile and kudos by the truckload with each new release. Nominations for Best Male in the inaugural Unsigned Music Awards and has been shortlisted into the top 10 in the MOBO awards Unsung Category have recently come his way and more plaudits are sure to follow.

His latest track is a cracking example of nominative determinism as much as it is a fantastic neo-soul-pop tune, being both “Wonderful” in name and sound. It’s mainstream radio ready, chart friendly calypso tinged electronics and rhythms are compulsive; prompting some serious shoulder dancing and head bobbing.

It’s a shorts and t-shirt song, a summery antidote to the onset of autumn and the chill in the air. Bright and effervescent, it fair skips with joy as Mullally sings in his glorious falsetto. It’s brilliantly uplifting and you can’t help but enjoy it, perfect for World Smile Day, and every day for that matter.

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Black Honey – “Hello Today”

22 Sep


One fuzzy twang of guitar, a gentle crashing of drums and a surprisingly Madchestery bassline that makes you want to shuffle forwards and backwards in glee, is all it takes for Black Honey to remind you why they are one of the most talked about and exciting new acts around.

I’ve been writing about the Brighton foursome since they debuted in the heady days of late summer 2014. Back then all the world knew about them came from a mysterious mobile number and their willingness to provide cryptic text answers to unusual questions. Throughout that time they have never failed to delight with their raucous, catchy and genre-defying garage-surfer-indie-rock-pop. Their live show is a stupendous hedonistic mess of noise and energy and they just keep getting better and better.

“Hello Today” continues the Black Honey trend of sounding more confident and polished, whilst simultaneously sounding more hazy and distressed (the clothing meaning) than before. Izzy’s stone washed vocals blur into the guitar lines as melody and rhythm entwine symbiotically. It’s a damn fine song. One that had me grooving in my chair at work and annoying everyone with semi-fervent foot-tapping. That bassline has a subtle grooviness to it that is addictive and infectious, at the very least you’ll be shoulder dancing to it, if not full on bouncing and dancing like an idiot.

It’s brilliant but then again, everything Black Honey have done so far has been brilliant and their reputation is thoroughly deserved

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