Tag Archives: MØ

2014 Review: Gig of the Year

24 Dec

Following on from yesterday when we revealed our favourite video of the year, we continue giving you a little Christmas bonus with a little post about the gig that we enjoyed the most in 2014.

Well, while we say gig it’s gigs really. You see, when it came down to it, we just couldn’t separate our two favourite gigs from this year. They both gave us two very different experiences but in their own way, each was the equal of the other and to try and pretend otherwise would have been churlish. Besides, it’s our list and our opinion, we can do what we like right?

Right.

= Hip Hatchet – The Bicycle Shop, Norwich, 14/01/2014 & Broods & MØ – Notting Hill Arts Club, 05/03/2014

Hip Hatchet – The Bicycle Shop, Norwich. 14/01/2014

Hip Hatchet

We almost didn’t make it to our first gig of the 2014 simply because we’d not been paying attention to what was going on around in Norwich at the time. With about 48 hours to go, we noticed that Hip Hatchet was in town for a show at the wonderfully intimate Bicycle Shop and, having read We Listen For You eulogising about him time and time again, we thought we’d give it a go. Our reward was an evening with an incredibly talented performer and storyteller that we hope some day to experience again.

From our review…

Playing on a cosy stage, board games piled high and nameless fish exploring their tank behind him, Philippe Bronchtein is spinning yarns from his travels across America and beyond and the audience is hanging on his every word and note. A deep, rumbling voice 30 years older than its owner fills the room and barely a word is uttered as tales of woe, of love, of laughter, heartbreak, redemption, optimism and despair take hold of each and every one of us. For little over an hour we are his, enraptured and captivated as his musical dexterity, remarkable as it is, is surpassed by the kind of lyrical deftness and intelligence that would have many a poet laureate kicking the cat in fits of jealous rage. Not just because of their cleverness and evocative imagery, but because each one is imbued with powerful emotion and meaning. Not a line or word is wasted or superfluous.

With us as his orchestra, Philippe conducts our mood and our emotions, bringing us to joy and despair as he pulls on our heartstrings with these elegant and compelling moments of blues, folk, Americana and incredible storytelling.



Broods & MØ – Notting Hill Arts Club, 05/03/2014

Broods

Our next joint gig of the year was a little less surprising to us, and those in attendance with us, as having seen Karen Marie Ørsted perform live before we knew at the least she would rock our world. The debut UK show from New Zealand siblings Broods was less of a sure thing but having played their EP to death in the run-up to the show, we were extremely optimistic. Even then, our expectations were surpassed and the double bill of and Broods makes the £5 cover seem the bargain of the year.

From our review…

The crowd sings and dances along as the duo move through the sounds of their debut EP, throwing in a Sunday morning vibed reimagining of an Empire of the Sun track along the way for good measure.

“Never Gonna Change”, “Pretty Thing” and “Coattails” are expected highlights from an all round fantastic set but the surprises come from how warm, engaging and self-depreciating the pair are. A couple of their countrymen may have expected them to be shit, but everyone in the room knows this is about as far from the case as you can get. The biggest surprise of all comes from Georgia who is revealed to be a stunning and captivating frontwoman in waiting. All eyes are on her (sorry Caleb) as she dances and sings from behind a keyboard, injecting additional passion, energy and (dare we say) sexiness into their more relaxed numbers and a touch of class and reverence when playing solo on the set closing unnamed new song.


MO

If the crowd were excited for Broods, they are bordering on combustible for Karen Marie Ørsted. A ticking timebomb of pop magnificence with the timer permanently set at 0:00, MØ explodes onto the stage and has the audience in the palm of her hand instantly. The low ceilings and tight walls help create a ridiculously frantic atmosphere as she cavorts wildly, flinging her plait viciously, a tasmanian devil of whirling intensity and sass as she pumps the crowd into a frenzy. Everywhere you look, people are dancing, jumping, smiling. At the very front of the crowd to the very back and even behind the sound desk, there is a wave of movement as we are electrified by this incredible young singer.

“XXX 88” threatens to bring the roof down upon us and as we all sing along deliriously to “Waste of Time” and “Pilgrim” there is the undeniable sense that we are witnessing something special. Even the relative calm of her Spice Girls cover (getting its live debut) has people moving and singing along. Time and again in the set she drops into the crowd to dance and sing amongst us, venturing as far as her mic chord will allow as she leads us in a chant along.

She closes her quickfire but incendiary set with latest single “Dance With Nobody”, a beautiful irony as tonight she is dancing with us all. She is also cementing her position as probably the most exciting new artist on the live circuit right now and as she leaves the stage, all smiles and sweat, we stand in a similar state wondering what the hell just hit us but desperate to do it all again.


Broods & MØ Photos: Abi Dainton

Gig Review: Broods & MØ – Notting Hill Arts Club, 05/03/2014.

6 Mar

Broods

£5 doesn’t get you much these days. At the Notting Hill Arts Club it will get you 1.5 cans of larger for example, or 70% of a rum and coke. More importantly tonight though, if you are prepared to queue, £5 will get you live sets from two of the hottest new acts around at the moment. 150 or so people are soon crammed into a tiny underground sweatbox to witness the debut UK show from New Zealand duo Broods and a special super intimate set from the incredible and surely soon to be massive, .

This may be Broods first UK show but, with a previous musical life and shows around the world already behind them, it is not their first rodeo and immediately it is clear that they are more than ready. The crowd sings and dances along as the duo move through the sounds of their debut EP, throwing in a Sunday morning vibed reimagining of an Empire of the Sun track along the way for good measure.

“Never Gonna Change”, “Pretty Thing” and “Coattails” are expected highlights from an all round fantastic set but the surprises come from how warm, engaging and self-depreciating the pair are. A couple of their countrymen may have expected them to be shit, but everyone in the room knows this is about as far from the case as you can get. The biggest surprise of all comes from Georgia who is revealed to be a stunning and captivating frontwoman in waiting. All eyes are on her (sorry Caleb) as she dances and sings from behind a keyboard, injecting additional passion, energy and (dare we say) sexiness into their more relaxed numbers and a touch of class and reverence when playing solo on the set closing unnamed new song.

Surely a move to the very front of the stage is in her future as is, unquestionably, even greater success and recognition for the siblings.

MO

If the crowd were excited for Broods, they are bordering on combustible for Karen Marie Ørsted. A ticking timebomb of pop magnificence with the timer permanently set at 0:00, MØ explodes onto the stage and has the audience in the palm of her hand instantly. The low ceilings and tight walls help create a ridiculously frantic atmosphere as she cavorts wildly, flinging her plait viciously, a tasmanian devil of whirling intensity and sass as she pumps the crowd into a frenzy. Everywhere you look, people are dancing, jumping, smiling. At the very front of the crowd to the very back and even behind the sound desk, there is a wave of movement as we are electrified by this incredible young singer.

“XXX 88” threatens to bring the roof down upon us and as we all sing along deliriously to “Waste of Time” and “Pilgrim” there is the undeniable sense that we are witnessing something special. Even the relative calm of her Spice Girls cover (getting its live debut) has people moving and singing along. Time and again in the set she drops into the crowd to dance and sing amongst us, venturing as far as her mic chord will allow as she leads us in a chant along.

She closes her quickfire but incendiary set with latest single “Dance With Nobody”, a beautiful irony as tonight she is dancing with us all. She is also cementing her position as probably the most exciting new artist on the live circuit right now and as she leaves the stage, all smiles and sweat, we stand in a similar state wondering what the hell just hit us but desperate to do it all again.

£5 doesn’t get you much these days, but spend it wisely and it will get you the best gig of the year.

Photos: Abi Dainton


The ‘Broods’ EP is out now and available from iTunes and will get a limited edition 12-inch vinyl release on 7 April.


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”Don’t Wanna Dance” is out now on iTunes. MØ’s debut album ‘No Mythologies To Follow’ is out 10 March and available to pre-order here.


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Listen: MØ – “Don’t Wanna Dance”

17 Jan

MO Don't Want To Dance

Late last year, when describing Karen Marie Ørsted in our 2014 Previews, we said that if “you were to Weird Science up a perfect popstar for the 21st century, chances are you’d make ”. We mention this because with the release of her latest track, “Don’t Wanna Dance”, it feels a bit like she has tried to Weird Science up the perfect pop song. Using bits and pieces from her previous tracks and whatever was to hand; featuring as it does the distant calling vocals from “Pilgrim” and the digital horn section from “XXX 88”, as well as an occasional underlying synth sound that sounds, randomly, a bit like Haddaway’s “What Is Love”.

Premiered last night on Zane Lowe’s Radio One show (hence the radio rip below) it marks MØ’s continuing journey into calmer waters following the bombastic “XXX 88” with Diplo, and “Waste Of Time” before that. It’s a touch more poppy than her previous efforts, more, dare we say it, conventional. It is certainly a more refined pop sound, less full of attitude than normal but still exuberant and playful and making use of that subtle R&B groove that is so a la mode.

Out on the dance floor, living life as the centre of attention, it is essentially the cousin to Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own”, and we can’t think of a higher compliment than that.

”Don’t Wanna Dance” is out now on iTunes. Her debut album ‘No Mythologies To Follow’ is out 10 March and available to pre-order here.


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2014 Preview – Listen Out For – The Full List, and a little extra…

7 Dec

2014 Previews The Full List

So, after a week and a half and 15 individual posts, our countdown of artists we think you should Listen Out For in 2014 is complete. Before we crack on (next week) with our end of year lists, for those amongst you who are lazy/busy/just like things all in one place (delete as applicable), we have collated the full selection of artists below with a handy soundcloud playlist of all 15 for your enjoyment. Should you wish to read more about each, just click on their name to see the full article.

AND, as if that wasn’t enough, we even have a little bonus below the playlist of the acts who almost made the 15 but who we felt were too good to leave off entirely. Some honourable mentions if you will.

#15 – Mega Emotion

”Full of big brash sounds, riffage and booming beats it also features soothing vocals and retro-sensibilities. It’s raw and powerful but calm and quiet too, like a circus muscle man cuddling a poodle or something.”

#14 – Mononoke

”What we do know is that she is blessed with quite a voice and, judging by her debut track “Alice”, song writing talent. With her tragically beautiful lament to a little girl trapped in a grown up world, a life of lost love, apathy and melancholy, she has set the bar very high.”

#13 – Port Isla

“As well as being super talented, they are the kind of lovely people that you just want to do well. They make such enthusiastic and warm music that you can’t help but like them.”

#12 – NONONO

”“Pumpin Blood” is the track that has broken out everywhere, with its ‘gets under your skin’ whistle. You may not know it, but you would probably recognise it. Big and brash, vibrant and frenetic, it’s the seven dwarves whistling while they work having dropped some acid and taken speed.”

#11 – Fractures

”…the gorgeous dreamy electro sounds of “Twisted”, complete with soft, soulful falsetto vocals that would stop a rhino’s heart, and the evocative crescendos of atmospheric folksiness on “Embers” were soon joined by the fabulous “Cadence” and “Tizer”.”

#10 – Embers

”They played two sets at The Great Escape, one in a grand high-ceilinged venue that allowed their music to spread and soar, the other in the cramped space of the Mesmerist pub where their sound exploded out at the audience, pummelling them with intensity and energy as veins bulged and sinews strained. It was one of the most intense, in your face performances we saw all year and we loved it.”

#9 –

”She is an artist that creates genuine excitement and a buzz of anticipation whenever she is about to perform. She even had the audacity to upstage the headlining AlunaGeorge on her recent UK tour and won many more fans in so doing.”

#8 – Pale

”It’s synth pop but ice cold, too cold even for Van Damme as it slides along stealthily like a glacier, taking you in its cool hand off to a world of desolate beauty. A world where the stark surroundings, the bleakness and desolation carry a majestic splendour, it’s not a world of disrepair but one that has been lovingly tended and cultured.”

#7 – Pawws

”Our love for the music of Pawws was immediate and full on, an infatuation. Her music is instantly accessible and enjoyable with influences from the likes of Robyn, Annie and Madonna and vocals that are beautifully sweet and heartfelt. She can do big vibrant rainbows of sound, all danceable and bright and she can do genteel and calm as well.”

#6 – Gems

”The vocals are sweet and breathless, a whispered caress on a smooth gossamer breeze of synths and electronic beats. Weightless and elegant, like moments of purity handed down from above, unsullied and unspoiled for us to enjoy and bathe in their beauty.”

#5 – Iyes

”They make pop music, but it’s not homogenised pre-packaged pop, it’s edgy and different but with enough accessibility to transcend the blogosphere and break the mainstream consciousness. Like Chvrches but without as many 80’s reference points and fewer lasers.”

#4 – Lyla Foy

”The songs are reflective and the arrangements offer an intimacy to the listener, a closeness brought from the instrumentation, the emotion and purity of the music and lyrics. It’s delicate, like the frayed edges of a heart whose thread could be pulled at any moment, and it’s utterly gorgeous.”

#3 – Avec Sans

”What they do so well, and what we absolutely adore, is make fantastically upbeat and danceable tunes. Electro sparkles and beats flash and pulse like a grand firework display against a night sky of synths and melody. Choruses are made to be sung along to while your feet tap and shuffle, heads nod, arms twist and bodies convulse in rhythmical movement; sprung into life by the infectious and compelling sounds.”

#2 – Empress Of

”Her music is addictive and tingle making, high art meets pop accessibility in the most gorgeous manner. Seductive tones, swirling melodies that draw you in and buffet you gently along as the beats take synths by the hand and swoon and sway along like cavorting partners, clinging to each other in the low light of a slow dance.”

#1 – Sivu

”He is a beguiling artist, telling tales born in the shadows of anguish, or inspired by theology in a rousing and heartswelling manner. Acoustic sounds marble with electronic embellishments, strings ebb and flow with the tide and all the while, introspections and observations pour out like nectar for our soul. It is entirely possible, ironically, to lose yourself in his lightly rasping voice and warm melodies. Even when singing “Coldhands” is like a walk across a warm yellow corn field on a calm day, fingers running over the tops of the long stems as they are rustled by a gentle breeze.”


Honourable Mentions…

Curxes

Curxes

If you’re wondering what that massive kaboom sound was just then, it was your senses under attack and your brain screaming out for more. Portsmouth/Brighton pair Curxes make blitz-pop and there’s no escape from its aural magnificence and energy. Last year they were one of the most blogged about artists in the UK (despite having no PR or representation) and while 2013 has been comparatively quiet, the new songs they played for us at Norwich Sound and Vision in October are sounding amazing and could take them to a whole new level in 2014.


Strangers

Strangers London Lights

We’ve been championing the case for this London trio for some time now and with their debut EP on the way, and a follow up scheduled for the new year it could well be that the breakthrough they’ve threatened for so long could be about to happen. Their dark hued electro pop is common cold level catchy but immensely enjoyable and danceable. And while you can get your groove on whilst sneezing your face inside out, we wouldn’t recommend it. Get down to some Strangers instead, it’s much more fun.


Jack Robert Hardman

jack_robert_hardman

Our main man Jack. As our ‘H’ artist we have been following the fortunes of Mr Hardman for a while now and we feel that bigger and better things are just around the corner. His debut album made our end of year list in 2012 and while this year has been more about remixing and a charming little video (below), 2014 should be all about JRH. There’s a new EP on the way, with guest vocalists and artists a-go-go and judging by the unfinished demos we heard a couple of months back, it’s going to be a beauty.


Abi Wade

Abi Wade

One woman, one cello, two foot pedals and an array of sound, melody, rhythms and innovation. Yes, she is a pair of cymbals between her knees away from full-on-market-square-one-man-band-status, but while that shark remains unjumped she is an incredible live performer and musician. She’s got the songs to back it up as well, beautiful and soothing but also full of drama and emotion when they need to be. She’s been writing recently so hopefully that means an album could be on the way in 2014.


Leon Else

Leon Else

Be it fantastical and mystical or very much down to earth and even carnal, Leon Else can and will deliver a tune and half with the deep but light rumbling vocal at its heart. He sees the world slightly differently from most of us but that just makes his music all the more interesting and captivating. With radio play from the likes of Radio 1 and Amazing Radio already under his belt, 2014 could well see his proclamation that the future is


Laura Welsh

Laura Welsh

Laura’s sophisticated, R&B infused pop has passed through our inbox on the odd occasion over the last few months and while we always very much enjoyed it, other commitments meant we never quite got round to writing about it (despite intending to). On seeing her supporting London Grammar recently, we were instantly filled with regret that said posts never made it out of our heads and onto the page. She was fantastic. Big danceable sounds were offset with a deceptively big and powerful vocal and softer, gentler moments were treated with care and affection. 2014 should be a big one for Laura and we won’t be making the mistake of not writing about her again, trust us.


2014 Preview: Listen Out For #9 – MØ

2 Dec

Mo

After the year she has just had, it almost feels like a bit of a cheat to name as one of our artists to listen out for in 2014, especially as she also appeared on the Blog Sound of 2013 Longlist 12 months ago. But the whole point of this list is to talk about artists we love who we think could break out next year, and we’ve loved MØ ever since she flicked her plait our way at the Great Escape, fists pumping the air and her legs, hips, feet and everything else convulsing as she power danced around.

That onstage sass and attitude was matched, nay exceeded, by the storming Diplo featuring “XXX 88” which itself was following the sublime “Waste Of Time”. She is an artist that creates genuine excitement and a buzz of anticipation whenever she is about to perform. She even had the audacity to upstage the headlining AlunaGeorge on her recent UK tour and won many more fans in so doing.

The Bikini Daze EP showcased a softer, more vulnerable side with the forlorn sounds of “Never Wanna Know” chiming away like a jilted lover looking in from the cold at her happy replacement, proving that she isn’t all about big, hard numbers. She can do the lighter in the air moment as well as being energetic and bombastic and both are highly addictive and great fun. If, for arguments sake, you were to Weird Science up a perfect popstar for the 21st century, chances are you’d make MØ. 2013 was great for Karen Marie Ørsted, 2014 should be even better.


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