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Lia Lia – “OLYMP” (video)

11 Apr

In our youth, as part of our education, we were taught a bit about poetry. We were taught how to find symbolism and meaning in the most mundane aspects, to search for the hidden subtext the author had secreted away. Often we would argue against this notion, this idea that there had to be something deep and meaningful behind every aspect of a poem. ‘Why’, we would exclaim, ‘can’t a curtain just be a curtain? Why must it signify the hiding of his true self and love? Why must we empathise with his inner need to draw back this veil and unleash his unfettered being into the world when clearly it just goes with the sofa?’ Our teachers would just scoff and move on to the subconscious importance of a chaise lounge or similar.

This feeling came to mind earlier when listening to the debut of 19 year old, Berlin-based Lia Lia for the first dozen or so times. There is quite probably some deep, hidden meaning behind each aspect of her Pringle thieving at Nerf-gunpoint, booze guzzling, karaoke singing and rollerblading video. It’s possible there is some symbolism behind her choosing to literally sing “T dot dot” for the lyric ”It’s a T..” but we’re buggered if we can find it. We’re just going to revel in the brilliant absurdity of it all and the absolute wonder that is her name (Lia Lia stands for Live Impact Area Legacy Interface Adapter).

We’re also revelling in the brilliance of the song itself, for “OLYMP” is a chilled out electro-pop dream. To be fair, the subtext of the track is actually fairly straightforward, recalling the last moments before the onset of heartbreak, but it is packaged up so wonderfully. The vocals are ice smooth and just as beautiful to behold. The electronics are razor sharp as they ping enticingly off the crisp digital beats and the 80s inspired synth lines glide up and down on a wave of a gentle melody. The chorus too is maddeningly catchy and you will find it running through your head later in the day. It’s a good feeling.

So, search for hidden symbolism in the video or take it as it is. Either way, you’ll enjoy “OLYMPA” and be adding Lia Lia to your artists to keep an eye on list.

Get to know Lia Lia: Facebook / Twitter

Sivu – “Childhood House”

5 Apr

One of our absolute favourite things, is when an artist we adore returns with new music. Especially when it is unexpected and ever more so when the music reminds us just how incredible they are.

It’s been over four years since Sivu first appeared with the wonderful “Better Man Than He” (and its mesmeric video), over three years since he was our top tip for 2014, and over two years since his incredible debut album, Something On High. It’s been just a few days since he returned with news of a forthcoming follow-up and the haunting “Childhood House”.

Conceived during a post-tour writing session, deep in the wilds of Scotland, “Childhood House” is so deftly poignant that it’ll bring a lump to your throat and an ache to your heart. It’s a song that you know will be performed to absolute silence and an engrossed audience when played live.

There is an almost stately elegance to it. The piano line is so simple and beautiful as it walks with you, hand in hand, passing memories as you go. Its deep emotional core resonates with the listener and behoves your rapt attention. It’s one of those magical songs that no matter where you are, you can just close your eyes as you listen and it’ll transport you off into another world, a world of heartfelt majesty.

Welcome back Sivu.

Get to know Sivu: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Black Honey – “Somebody Better” (video)

27 Mar

When we write, we often find that the first line is the hardest one to come up with. We can agonise for ages over how to start a piece and where to go with it. Once it is in place, everything seems to flow on. It’s odd really, mainly because we’re fascinated by how and why our mind should work that way but also because many of the bands we like are so damn good at beginnings.

Take Black Honey for example. Over the years, having introduced themselves with a wonderfully mysterious beginning, the Brighton four-piece have proven themselves masters of the intro. We’ve had the hazy, retro pulp-rock openings of ”Spinning Wheel”, ”Madonna”, and ”Corrine”; the Helter Skelter freneticism of ”All My Pride”, and the surprisingly madchester-like swirl of “Hello Today”, amongst others.

Most recently they have treated us to “Somebody Better”, a quintessentially Black Honey track with a bombastic opening, storming middle and vibrant crescendo. It also has a wonderfully off-centre video that is as colourful and vibrant as the track (as well as being a little NSFW) mixing retro and faux-retro into a devilishly cool package, a bit like Black Honey themselves.

There’s something a little Gwen Stefani about Izzy’s vocals (no bad thing at all) as the soundscape created washes out into a heat-blurred horizon; the drums and guitars leading the charge over the top as they kick back in.

In the ongoing game of Black Honey vs the world, put this down as another win for the coolest Brighton gang around.

Get to know Black Honey: Facebook / Twitter

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.

Stalk Leaone: Facebook / Twitter

Birds of Hell – “Astronomy Programmes” (video)

15 Apr

Birds of Hell

There is a fine line, we are often told, between madness and genius. A line that is easily crossed and that by association means that when confronted by what many consider to be genius, there is likely to be an equal number of people scratching their heads saying ‘I don’t get it”.

When it comes to Norwich act Birds Of Hell, there are a lot of people in the Fine City you will tell you it is genius. Until recently, we’ve found ourselves more in the “I don’t get it” camp. We know so many people who would sing the praises of former Sargasso Trio member Pete Murdoch and his experimental, confessional and remarkable alter ego. We know people who have been reduced to tears by the emotional depth of his live performances, yet for some reason it just never landed with us.

Until now.

His latest release, “Astronomy Programmes”, is quite frankly, fucking brilliant.

Granted, his recent increased use of electronica in his music may have something to do with our new found love for Birds of Hell, though we’ve also been wandering through the streets of his back catalogue and suddenly it is starting to make sense.

His dry witted, pin-point accurate looks at life are both endearing and entertaining. There is a Flight of the Conchords kind of quality to both his vocals and the content and while his focus has often been local (Norfolk references abound in his songwriting) “Astronomy Programmes” is universal.

A swirling, cosmic spirituality as well as a wonderful lyrical dexterity are on show. It is utterly charming and really rather beautiful. This electronic, galaxial mist of sound drifts and caresses while Murdoch’s light gravelly voice bounces off the softer swoon of producer Iain Lowery’s backing vocal. The beat snaps and skips gently as shooting stars of melody sweep by above and the lyrics ponder the great unknowns and reminisce for a simpler time (children of the 80s will feel a warm glow of nostalgia at the references).

It is disarmingly wonderful and the accompanying video, featuring local roller derby teams, is simple but beautiful. It’s taken us awhile but we are now over that line. No more head scratching for us, Birds of Hell is genius.

”Astronomy Programmes” is out via Meat Fer Manners on Monday 18 April and will be available via iTunes

Stalk Birds of Hell: Facebook / Twitter