Tag Archives: r’n’b

Jack Garratt – “Water”

28 Apr

Jack Garratt Profile

Back in February Jack Garratt and his magnificent beard stepped out into the world and melted the hearts of almost everyone they encountered with the muted, icy and anguish laden electronic of “I Couldn’t Want You Anyway”. This month both Jack and his beard (we only mentioned because we are jealous of its glory) have returned with the equally downtempo but very different “Water”.

Where “I Couldn’t Want You Anyway” was all languid and melty, “Water” is filled with a subtle urgency, the beat ripples out as the guitar lines scatter like pebbles thrown onto a lake. A scattergun of light undulating sounds peppers your ears as Jack’s soft, hushed vocals whisper delicately above it all. While understated electronic R&B elements urge and compel, it’s not overbearing but nor is it empty or underwhelming.

Here Jacks voice is soulful and rich, where previously it was pained and sorrowful, now it is fraught and almost desperate sounding. The whole thing is more freyed, more rough around the edges and while less heartmeltingy than “I Couldn’t Want You Anyway”, you are still likely to fall for its pop laden, R&B sensibility and subtle drama.

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The Night VI – “Sienna”

18 Mar

The Night VI Sienna

It may just be us, but 2014 is starting to feel like the year of artists who have oft promised much, stepping up and delivering. We’ve already has a wonderful debut album from Spring Offensive, the rebirth of The Good Natured as Lovestarrs, the coming of an EP and album from Florrie and the return of Ronika. It also promises the be the year that The Night VI put their foot to the floor and race through the field towards the lofty position everyone expected for them on their debut a couple of years ago.

They seemed to arrive fully formed, with support slots for Bruce Springsteen under their belt and a critically acclaimed debut EP, Still Thinking Of You, and then in the last few months things went quietish. Gigs were cancelled and we had little more than a series of cover versions posted online to keep their motor running. It is all systems go now though as the Anglo-French six-piece return with their new single, “Sienna”, which will be released via Duly Noted Records.

Written from the perspective of the one who gets left behind when a relationship collapses, “Sienna” is a stylish expression of the pain felt by the one who hasn’t moved on. With a soft, caressing Jessie Ware vibe and flashes of a rich R&B infused vocal, The Night VI have given bitterness a classy sheen, making the resentment of another for leading the life and love you expected to have sound like something delightful.

”I hope you’re happier, with Sienna” laments Sophie-Rose “I hope you marry her, that Sienna Girl. In an orange grove, the way we always said we would”. The lyrics a beautiful lie sung out over an elegant melody of heartache and solitude. The track builds like pressure in a boiling kettle; escalating into a crash of emotion until eventually it is removed from the hob, the intensity eases and a resigned acceptance of the circumstances, the pain and anguish felt, slips forlornly away like a lost whisper.

They may not have been gone every long, but “Sienna” feels like the start of a second coming for The Night VI. It’s good to have them back.

”Sienna” will have a physical release on 28 April via Duly Noted Records and is available to buy digitally from today on iTunes.

Upcoming The Night VI live shows:

19 March – Single Release Party, Birthdays, London
22 March – BoilerRoom, Guilford
6 April – Communion Night at Notting Hill Arts Club, London
25 April – The Night VI Clubnight II, Stoke Newington ‘secret venue’
26 April – Are You Listening Festival, Reading
22 July – Blue Balls Festival, Switzerland

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Ang Low – “Win Back Your Love”

12 Feb

Ang Low Win Back Your Love

Whether there is a hidden PR machine crafting releases and hype behind the scenes or not, we do love it when an artist comes seemingly from nowhere to get us all in a stir. We don’t think there was some cigar chomping Hannibal, smiling and looking smug as the blog world went a bit goo-goo for the initial releases of Brooklyn art student Angelo Whitehead as his musical incarnation, Ang Low, but even if there was, who cares?

First the pop infused R&B sounds of ”Life Goes Down” and then the sweaty sexy sounds of ”Can’t Describe Her” won us all over and got us excited about what was coming next. Evidently they won a few fans at the uber-chic Luv Luv Luv records and what is next is his debut EP, Life Goes Down which they will be releasing on 31 March.

Continuing his experimentation with genre and styles, his new track “Win Back Your Love” is full of textures and rhythmic layers with reverential organ like synth sounds providing a stained-glass window backdrop to his pained and emotive lyrics. It’s an apology in prayer form where vocals heavy with regret, soar. They earn wings of hope and rise up with those cathedral synths to the congregation below, carrying out the gospel that it may be a battle, but love can endure.

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Jack Garratt – “I Couldn’t Want You Anyway”

11 Feb

Jack Garratt

As this is his debut release, we’re not sure if we are supposed to mention Jack Garratt‘s past life or not. It’s possible that he, like many others these days, has chosen to re-start the musical clock and forgo his previous efforts. Yet, he hasn’t changed his name so some quick googling will bring it all up anyway, so maybe he isn’t pretending to be someone completely new and doesn’t mind people delving into his past.

Much like bickering on the Death Star, this speculating is pointless. Especially as it detracts from the glacial beauty of his new music, “I Couldn’t Want You Anyway”, which opens with a mournful piano to accompany an autopsy of a relationship.

His falsetto vocals are cold and pained, poisoned with the deception he is deluding himself with; that he didn’t want her anyway. Soft, muted R&B tones blend with sharp electronic beats in order to disguise the cause of death as melodic icy fingers of rejection rest, still clamped round a warm heart, choking the last vestiges of life from it. Tears and realisation fall from within as that haunting vocal finally cracks and allows the truth to flow and his heart is given peace.

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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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