Tag Archives: No Recordings

2014 Preview: Listen Out For #1 – Sivu

6 Dec

Sivu Over And Over

So here we are, our number one artist to Listen Out for in 2014. He made the UK Blog Sound Longlist earlier this week (where he was referred to as being ‘idosyncratic’) and while we have no idea if he will make the top 3 of that poll, we are sure that 2014 holds even greater things for him than 2013 already has.

The year began with a unique introduction to Sivu and the different way he sees the world with the completely hypnotic and incredible video for “Better Man Than He”. His debut track, which has pulled on our heartstrings like no other this year – especially when performed live in a tent in the woods at Latitude) came with the visual accompaniment of Sivu singing inside an MRI Scanner. If you haven’t seen it, you should (now and here) as it is properly amazing and the tongue is mesmeric. Trust us.

But that was just the start, since then he has toured seemingly incessantly on a grand supportslotapalooza, heading around the country with a variety of acts (London Grammar, Stornoway, The Staves for example) taking his tunes out to the people. The year is culminating in a co-headline tour with the also amazing Marika Hackman and a joint release with her as well.

His music is a heady mix of instantly accessible, light sounding folk popness, and dark themes born out of heartache and despair. “Better Man Than He” was written for a friend who was suffering from depression and “I Lose Myself” was inspired (if that’s the right word in these circumstances) by the drugs culture he was exposed to on first moving to London and “the idea of getting bogged down by life, and wanting to go and destroy yourself”. It’s hardly the stuff of sunshine and rainbows but the chorus of “I Lose Myself” in particular, the arrangement and production is actually quite uplifting and optimistic.

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.

It’s been a remarkable rise in the last few months but given his talent and the quality and depth of the music he is currently making, it’s not a surprising one. With an album slated for 2014, it should just be the start.

Stalk Sivu: Website / Facebook / Twitter

2014 Preview: Listen Out For #2 – Empress Of

6 Dec

Empress Of

Cast your mind back for a moment, to November last year when 2012 was entering its final days and a newborn year was almost upon us. At that moment a new music project was blinking its eyes, adjusting to its new surroundings and seeing music like colour. At the time we anointed Empress Of to our hallowed Alphabet Bands hall as our ‘E’ artist, not much was known about Celestial Shores’ Lorely Rodriguez’s new project. Coverage in the UK was (we believe) non-existent and all we had to go on were a series of micro tunes, or Colourminutes as she called them and a forthcoming single.

It was at this point, the single release we mean, not our posting, that ears pricked up properly and interest was piqued across the blog world and beyond. The music she was making (and continues to make) is spectacular. Dreamy electronic whispers one minute and sultry, breathy and sexy as hell the next (“Hat Trick” is such a gorgeous tune). Since then she has just got better and better with each new release and music fans and critics have fallen for her more and more.

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.

She makes gloriously misty electro-pop, like millions of constellations across the canvas of the night sky, glistening and mesmeric, beautiful and ridiculously easy to get lost in. She’s not afraid of a little darkness either, as the watermelon gorging, Clockwork Orange-esque image bombardment of the video for “Champagne” illustrated. Anyone who can layer pictures of The Dark Crystal and The Never Ending Story under whirring, bouncing choruses of springy guitars and soft, burgeoning subtly-synth laden verses is only ever going to get love from us.

With a series of live shows across the globe under her belt in the last 12 months and an ever increasing profile, the mystery that initially surrounded Empress Of may have dissipated, but the quality and excitement is only getting bigger.

Stalk Empress Of: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Watch: Empress Of – “Champagne”

13 Nov

Do you like watermelon? Lorely Rodrigez sure does. In her first full length video as her newest musical incarnation Empress Of, our recently added ‘E’ in our alphabet, Lorely gets up close and personal with a giant hunk of that watery, tasteless fruit (we’re not watermelon fans if you hadn’t already guessed).

Directed by Samuel Morris Hamad, the video for her debut single “Champagne” features Lorely gorging herself on watermelon, the juice and fruit flesh spilling and spooling out of her mouth and all over her face and legs as she nom nom noms her way through it. What it has to do with Champagne we really don’t know, but the more we watch it the more it works.

The use of split screens and jump cuts in time with the beat of the track is clever and engaging and the Clockwork Orange style image bombardment towards the end of the video is probably an epileptics worst nightmare but we had fun seeing who or what we could spot (images of Freddy Mercury, The Dark Crystal and The Never Ending Story to name but a few).

The track itself is a jangly, swirling joy that is as disarming as the video. Whirring, bouncing choruses of springy guitars follow soft, burgeoning subtly-synth laden verses before culminating in a crash of sound and vision and then nothing. Three minutes of modern pop bliss.

“Champagne” is out now via No Recordings on limited edition (only 250 copies) 7” vinyl. You can order your copy here, we’ve already got ours, it looks and sounds fantastic.

B-side, “Don’t Tell Me” is currently also available to download for free.

Stalk Empress Of: Website / Twitter / YouTube

‘E’ is for Empress Of

1 Nov

Anonymity is very much de rigour at the moment with being mysterious and not giving anything away very much a favoured skill of many a new artist. A much more difficult skill is managing to retain that air of mystery whilst still providing enough quality material and information to get people hooked and wanting more. It is not an easy line to take but one that Brooklyn based artist and musician Lorely Rodriguez is treading with her latest project, the dreamy Empress Of.

Since the beginning of October, the Celestial Shores singer has teased listeners by uploading a series of musical snippets from her solo project, usually not much more than a minute long, to YouTube with nothing more than a plain coloured background as the video. Now numbering 15 in total, she has about 30 on her hard drive apparently, these ‘colourminutes’ are in effect demos of tracks with a couple having already evolved into full length pieces. The first of which is the floaty, wispy “Don’t Tell Me” which drifts and wanders through the vast cosmos leaving a trail of hazy pop as it goes. It is mesmeric, beautiful and ridiculously easy to get lost in.

A second track, “Champagne” (backed with “Don’t Tell Me”) will be released on limited edition 7” vinyl on Monday 5 November (details on how to order are at the end of the post).

Lorely describes Empress Of as a project of both “sight and sound”, which gives some context to the use of plain colours as her videos and when speaking to The Pheonix recently, she gave some more background to the concept of the ‘colourminutes’.

“I’m a victim of never wanting to commit myself to anything longer than a couple minutes at a time, so that was part of the motivation behind this project”, she explained. ”The musical process was more of an exercise though. I gave myself a format: 1 minute of musical content and a deadline, usually 1-2 days to finish writing, recording and mixing. The end result was a collection of intimate demos that I decided to share with everyone”.

We are glad she has. They may only be about one minute long, but each micro-track gives us a glimpse of her sensual, electronic pop music and excites us for what is to come next. Rumour has it there will be a video for “Don’t Tell Me” coming soon so watch this space for that, and Lorely is keen to play some live shows, we can only hope she brings them to the UK as well.

“Champagne” is released by No Recordings on 5 November on limited edition (only 250 copies) 7” vinyl. You can order your copy now.

B-side, “Don’t Tell Me” is currently also available to download for free.

Stalk Empress Of
Website / Twitter / YouTube