Fortitude News: Benjamin Clementine announces UK tour & new single

Benjamin Clementine (via Fortitude Magazine)

Benjamin Clementine (via Fortitude Magazine)

The British-French singer-poet’s new single is titled ‘Cornerstone’.

Benjamin Clementine has announced a five-date tour of the UK for December 2015 in support of his critically acclaimed debut album At Least For NowThe news follows applause for Clementine’s sold-out Southbank performance at this year’s David Byrne curated Meltdown Festival – his fifth sold-out show in the capital for the Edmonton raised artist. Burdened with a mature talent beyond his years, Clementine’s rich, soulful sound is a joy to behold. Drink it in.

Lauded by critics, many are tipping Benjamin Clementine for big things. At 6ft 3 — dressed in his now-trademark overcoat and bare-feet — Clementine has packed a lot into his 26 years: heartbreak, homelessness, reinvention, before reaching cult status in Paris and returning home in unlikely circumstances. A really raw and candid songwriter, Clementine is one to keep your eye on for the remainder of 2015. Clementine’s UK tour dates are as follows:

Dec 1st: Quays Theatre, Manchester
Dec 2nd: The Sage Hall 2, Gateshead
Dec 3rd: St George Church, Brighton
Dec 4th: The Lantern, Bristol
Dec 7th: St John at Hackney Church, London

‘Cornerstone’ is pure melancholy. Fiddling away at is piano, Clementine’s harsh baritone weeps before you. Naked, cold and heartbreaking, ‘Cornerstone’ is taken from Clementine’s debut album At Least For Now, which it out now. You watch the official video for ‘Cornerstone’ below.

Fortitude News: Splashh announce new single ‘Pure Blue’

Making a Splashh in the music industry *ahem* (Via Fortitude Magazine)

Making a Splashh in the music industry *ahem* (Via Fortitude Magazine)

The new single will be released via Luv Luv Luv Records.

Hackney hipsters Splashh have announced the release of new single. ‘Pure Blue’, featuring ‘Nobody Loves You Like I Do’ on the flipside, will be released through Luv Luv Luv Records on October the 30th. Having swapped lovely ol’ London for the vast skylines of New York City, Splashh are getting back down to business. In addition to their new single, Splashh head out on a full UK tour with Peace and Yak this month, not before headlining a free warm-up show in Sheffield. The full list of forthcoming shows is as follows:

September 24th: O2 Academy 1, Liverpool (Free Show)

September 25th: The Middlesbrough Empire, Middlesbrough

September 26th: The Arches, Glasgow

October 1st: Academy 1, Manchester

October 2nd Rock City, Nottingham

October 3rd: Great Hall, Cardiff

October 5th: The Junction, Cambridge

October 6th: O2 Academy, Leicester

October 7th: Pyramids Centre, Portsmouth

October 9th: O2 Academy Brixton, London

October 10th: Civic Hall, Wolverhampton

‘Pure Blue’ is a ransack of energetic guitar riffs, thick synthesisers and a rich rock sound. Built around a cacophony  amplified vibes and rhythms, Splashh reaffirm that shoegaze indie music is still well and truly alive. You can listen to ‘Pure Blue’ below.

Fortitude Interview: The Twilight Sad – “Glasgow should be seen as one of the bigger music scenes”

The Twilight Sad have been smashing it this year... (via Fortitude Magazine)

The Twilight Sad have been smashing it this year… (via Fortitude Magazine)

Last Autumn, Scottish outfit The Twilight Sad released their fourth studio album, Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave. Lauded by critics and adored by fans, the record beautifully merges the sourness of reality with the loud, crunching vibes of post-punk and indie. Floating over the band’s strong sound are the sultry vocals of frontman James Graham. Singing in a thick, unyielding Scottish accent, Graham’s naked lyrics and voice have found a way of connecting to his audience. This October, The Twilight Sad will release the Oran Mor Session, an acoustic reincarnation of many their tracks old and new, such as ‘I Became A Prostitute,’ ‘I Could Give You All That You Don’t Want,’ and a cover of Arthur Russell’s ‘I Couldn’t Say It to Your Face.’ We caught up with the frontman to talk about the band’s latest record, touring, and the rising Scottish music scene.

It’s been a year of relentless gigging and touring for The Twilight Sad, and Graham reflects on what an enjoyable year it has been for the band so far, as well as how pleased the band are with their latest album’s reception:

“It’s been really good. The first half of the year we were on the road a lot on a ten-week tour where we played for four weeks on tour in America, were back for one day, and then we were away for six weeks in Europe strait after that, so the getting back and adjusting was quite hard after that, to be honest. But yeah, it’s been great. The record’s definitely connected with a lot of people, and we’re playing in front of a lot more people than we’re used to and more people know the band. It’s great, this is what we like to do. We’re a band that likes playing live and we enjoy touring.”

Despite enjoying some downtime back home in Scotland, Graham stresses the band’s eagerness to hit the road again: “It’s one of these things where when you come back after a tour you think ‘oh, I’m gonna need a few months after this to kinda get back to normal and stuff.’ And that’s all good and well, but actually after about two or three weeks I start to kind of miss the routine of being on tour, playing gigs, and things like that. [Touring is] one of my favourite things to do.” Despite the band’s extensive touring schedule, they enjoyed a quiet summer playing festivals every other weekend. Citing their standout performance at this year’s Latitude Festival, Graham recalls the success of the performance and the stiff competition for faces in the crowd due to the quality of the line up:

“Yeah, it was great. We were really surprised. We’ve played there once before and the line-up is always amazing, so you know you’re going to clash with someone else playing, but it just so happens that Wolf Alice were number two in the charts the week before” he laughs. “But I got to see Portishead at night so I went home happy. The gig itself was great, we had a really good time. I remember we played alright.” Graham also remembers nearly knocking out the group’s touring bass player Johnny Docherty. He adds, “I totally didn’t mean to do it. I don’t know what it was I was meant to be doing but I definitely didn’t mean to throw the mic stand in the direction of the bass player. We’re really good friends and I don’t do that sort of thing to my friends! I just remember hearing a wee noise after I threw it. I know sometimes it looks as if I’m not enjoying [playing live] because I’m screaming my face off, but I am.”

From screaming his face off, to taking a step back from the amplifiers and stripping back the band’s trademark noise, Graham explains the thinking that went behind the Oran Mor Session: “We’ve been performing the songs off the new record and songs off of previous albums as well, and we’ve been doing a lot more acoustic sessions and gigs, things like that. And we’ve done a kind of stripped back session when we were a three-piece. We had an organ, drum machine and Andy playing guitar… I think we just kind of wanted to record something and document if and to show people a different side of the band, and show that we’re not the sort of band who only go out there and play big live loud noises. We wanted to showcase ourselves as songwriters as well.”

It’s easy to assume that making an album is stress-free and sentimental. But for Graham, making Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave proved to be a real turning point in the band’s evolution, as they came to something of a crossroads following the campaign for their third album, No One Can Ever Know:

“I don’t know, things weren’t going so great for the band. We still believed in what we were doing and we wanted to carry on, but I just felt that we were shouting up against a brick wall a lot of the time. We weren’t really getting to where we wanted to be. It was just due to people who were working with us… Aye, we were trying our best but it wasn’t happening for us. We had a bit of down time after that. We were at home and we weren’t touring as much, and I think it was just about getting back to how things used to be when we weren’t in the band. It was nice to be at home.” But writing the following album provided the relief needed to get the band back on track. As Graham puts it, “I just write about where I’m from and the people I know, things that happened to me, my family, friends, and you can guess it’s usually bad things, miserable stuff. But it’s a sort of socio-therapy for myself to speak about these things and about general everyday life, so I write lyrics about it and it’s a way of getting things off my chest.”

Hailing from Kilsyth, a small civil parish in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, The Twilight Sad are one of a number of post-punk indie bands to emerge from Scotland in recent years, such as Frightened Rabbit, Franz Ferdinand and Mogwai. Regarding Scotland, and more specifically Glasgow’s strong association with rock music, our talk turned to the Scottish music scene. As he explained, Graham believes that the Scottish music scene is overdue global recognition:

“I think about Scottish music as I think about my favourite bands: for me, I do see Glasgow as one of the most influential cities as far as music and bands go. And I think, yeah, it definitely should be seen a big deal. Like, as you said, you’ve got Mogwai, The Delgados, Frightened Rabbit moved up here after they started writing music, and you’ve got The Jesus & Mary Chain. I mean, Cocteau Twins are from Grangemouth which isn’t Glasgow, but still nearer to me so I can sit at home and listen to them,” he said. “Yeah, I mean I think some of the best music that’s ever been invented has come from our small country of five million people. It’s really strange, there just seems to be something about where we’re from that every so often we produce bands that really connect with people across the world. I definitely do think that Glasgow especially should be seen as one of the bigger music scenes. I suppose you’ve got your Manchester scene, you’ve got New York, things like that. I think Glasgow is up there with the best of them.”

As the band prepare to head out on tour once again, fans will be eager to know whether the band are already thinking about a new record. And, according to Graham, it’s good news:

“We’ve had quite a productive summer, actually. Because we’ve only been playing every second weekend at festivals and things, we’ve had a lot of time to be at home and think about things. So usually during an album process we don’t do too much writing and it’s all about that album for us. We recorded Nobody Wants To Be Here Nobody Wants To Leave a long time before it was released, I think… So I’ve been ready to do new stuff for a long time. So having this week on break in the middle of touring has been great for us, and we’ve already been kind of throwing ideas back and forth, and we’re starting to put things together.”

As Graham stresses, the band are keen to experiment and try out new things: “We’re moving quicker than we ever have. I think that we’re creatively we’ve been ready to move on for a while. I’ve never been more excited than I have been now to make new things and try new things. I mean, the last album really connected with people, but at the same time we don’t want to re-create that album. We want to move on to something bigger and try new things,” he noted. “It’s going to be ‘who we are at this stage’ and I feel that I’m ready to write about me and who I am in this point in my life, and Andy’s wanting to try new things. So yeah, we’re excited about trying new things and seeing how far we can push it.”

Whilst open to trying new things, Graham is also keen to retain the band’s trademark melancholy and deeply personal sound that has connected with so many of their fans:

“I think everything will always be very personal. Every album has been the world through my eyes at whatever point in my life I’m at. But there are things about our band that we could never change. There are things that happen subconsciously though our music. Like, for me, that’s just who I am and that’s just that way, and there are things that we’re influenced by, and things that… We just need to make music for ourselves, and if people like it, great. If they don’t, then we’ll just keep on doing what we’re doing. Yeah, it seems like that steadily people are hearing about us more very year, and more people find out about us and stay with us. We’re in it for the long haul and not just to be a flash in the pan like so many bands are these days.”

Not content in being “a flash in the pan”, The Twilight Sad continue to stride forward. As they reembark on tour, one can only get giddy at the prospect of how their ferocious, cold, and miserable indie sound will grow.

The Twilight Sad’s Oran Mor Session is out on the 16th October. You can pre-order it here.

DrunkenWerewolf Introducing: Bête Noire

A new, gripping sound coming out of London (via DrunkenWerewolf)

A new, gripping sound coming out of London (via DrunkenWerewolf)

If you’re into millennial post-punk with a lust for catchy hooks and driving bass lines, than look no further than London-based outfit Bête Noire. While their name seems both sophisticated and suave, their sound is brash and frontal. Influenced by the gritty bitterness of The Fall and the poppy undertones of Echo & the Bunnymen, Bête Noire match a vivid sound that is both dark and nostalgic. Despite only having been an entity since mid-2013, the five-piece have already built up an impressive reputation in London’s independent scene with their darkly sinister brand of indie-rock.

Bête Noire’s fiery and foulmouthed new single “Bile” is a bold, heavy pounding mix of dismal textures and sharp lyrics. While the band’s 80s influences are apparent, they also channel a sound that mixes the volatility of post-punk and shoegaze with the melodic indie timbres of artists like Editors and Interpol. Capturing a genuine melancholy, “Bile” is a sultry, sleazy cut of infectious rock that earmarks Bête Noire out as a serious one to watch this year.

After releasing their debut track “Shut Your Mouth” in late 2013, Bête Noire have performed an almost relentless stream of acclaimed London shows, leading to supports with the likes of Tripwires and Bernard Butler. Rapidly earning plaudits and critical acclaim from a number of journalistic heavyweights, Bête Noire’s uncompromising, harsh brand of indie music is a fresh avenue for hardcore indie fans. Offering something both old and new, Bête Noire collapse a yearning 1980s nostalgia with a fresh and ready sound that certainly justifies the praise received from critics.

The guitars are serrated, the percussion is punchy and the lyrics from frontman David M Hargreaves are scathing, as he spits out lines like “wash your mouth out, wash your fucking mouth out, wash your mouth well, remember she will rat you out” on the aforementioned single “Bile”. Yes, Bête Noire are a band that you’ll be seeing on a lot of ‘ones to watch’ lists throughout the remainder of 2015.

For DrunkenWerewolf: http://www.drunkenwerewolf.com/blog/introducing-bete-noire/

Fortitude News: The Weeknd Unveils Violent New Video For ‘Tell Your Friends’

Album number two for The Weeknd... (via http://howlandechoes.com)

Album number two for The Weeknd… (via http://howlandechoes.com)

Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, has unveiled the epic new video for the track ‘Tell Your Friends’. Produced by Kanye West, the soulful track breathes an air of West’s own style, but incorporates the Motown, Michael Jackson-like vocals of Tesfaye.

Embedded with cushioned drums, snappy piano and jazzy harmonies, ‘Tell Yours Friends’ is another sneak peak as to what The Weeknd’s third record will be like.

The video for ‘Tell Yours Friends’ portrays Tesfaye being buried alive with a plastic bag on his head, singing lines such as “I’m a villain in my city, I just made another killing’. Another scene shows an angsty looking Tesfaye shooting a man dead at point blank range. Harsh.

Beauty Behind The Madness will feature appearances from the likes of Lana Del Rey, Ed Sheeranand Labrinth and will be release on August 28th.

For Fortitude Magazine: http://www.fortitudemagazine.co.uk/music/weeknd-unveils-violent-new-video-tell-friends/26035/

Fortitude News: Deerhunter Announce New Album, Fading Frontier

Slick (via 4AD)

Slick (via 4AD)

Following a cryptic and slightly creepy countdown on their official website, garage-rock outfit Deerhunter have announced a new album. Fading Frontier, the follow-up to 2013’s Monomania, will hit shelves on October 16th. The album was produced by the band and Ben H. Allen III.

According to the press release and various other sources, including Pitchfork, the album features the likes of Stereolab and Broadcast. Deerhunter have also unveiled the first track from Fading Frontier, the psychedelically fuelled ‘Snakeskin’. Directed by Valentina Tapia, the video for ‘Snakeskin’ features a jaunty looking Bradford Cox, as well as alto saxophonist Zumi Rosow.  As an added first for the band, the new record will feature a duet from singers Bradford and Lockett Pundt on the track ‘Breaker’. Fading Frontier is the band’s first release since Cox was hospitalised after being hit by a car in December 2014.

Track listing:

All The Same
Living My Life
Breaker
Duplex Planet
Take Care
Leather and Wood
Snakeskin
Ad Astra
Carrion

For Fortitude Magazine: http://www.fortitudemagazine.co.uk/music/music-news-music/deerhunter-announce-new-album-fading-frontier/25980/

Fortitude LaunchBox: DUZT

Hip-hop and all that...

Hip-hop and all that…

Heavy R&B is really in at the moment, as exemplified by genre heavyweights The Weeknd and Drake. In the same vein as the aforementioned, Berlin-based artist DUZT is mixing in an entirely new taste into the R&B palette.

FFO: The Weeknd, Drake, The Streets

Conjuring up a buzz of heavy percussion and nostalgic “I’m-fourteen-again” dubstep bass lines, DUZT have been making waves in the Music Week Urban Club Chart with their latest single ‘Space Cowboy’.

A track that builds its own chaotic atmosphere, ‘Space Cowboy’ finds a neat middle-ground between R&B and garage; like a hyperactive version of The Streets. The single is accompanied by a compelling music video directed by acclaimed filmmaker and photographer Lennart Brede. Exploring the themes humanity and identity, the video perfectly represents the song and DUZT enigmatic and volatile style.

Already given the remix treatment by Marra Kesh and Interzone, ‘Space Cowboy’ is proving to be a favourite to fellow artists. DUZT’s hyperbolic sound is not one to be dismissed easily. Rapidly ascending into a real electronic powerhouse, Berlin’s newest R&B outfit are one to keep tabs on.

For Fortitude Magazine: http://www.fortitudemagazine.co.uk/launchbox-2/launchbox-duzt/25942/

Fortitude LaunchBox: B. Miles

Smokin' (Via freebikevalet.com)

Smokin’ (Via freebikevalet.com)

Eloquent, sophisticated and streetwise. These are all words that describe the pulsating sound of new R&B heroine B. Miles. Following on from the opulent debut track ‘Nine Matches’, the dark-pop artist has announced the release of her sophomore single, ‘Shaking Hands’ on the 28th August. Harmonically convoluted and chock full of sass, B. Miles is one to keep your eye on.

FFO: London Grammar, Jessie Ware, Banks

‘Shaking Hands’ is a scattergraph of squeezed bass lines, jazzy guitars and melodic vocals. The Los Angeles-based songstress has described her latest track as “a twisted version of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”: a more complex take on the classic fable that’s perfectly in keeping with her atmospheric sound. A darker shade of grey than most pop tracks, B. Miles carries a riptide of tongue-in-cheek lyrics and soulful harmonies.

Press comparisons have ranged from matching the operatic pop digressions of London Grammar, to resonating the peculiar but enthralling vibes of fellow American Quigley. Falling somewhere in the middle, B. Miles offers a plush sound that beats to a rhythm of its own making.

Despite earning a number of plaudits, most notably from the likes of Q Magazine, B. Miles has stayed true to her own ambitions and musical blueprint. Crafted during her relentless gigging of the Sunset Strip, B. Miles wants to remain true to a pop aesthetic and grow organically as an artist. As far as we at Fortitude are concerned, she’s well on her way to becoming something special.

For Fortitude Magazine: http://www.fortitudemagazine.co.uk/launchbox-2/launchbox-b-miles/25940/ 

DrunkenWerewolf Album Review: Willis Earl Beal – Noctunes

From the army to X-Factor... (Via DrunkenWerewolf.com)

From the army to X-Factor… (Via DrunkenWerewolf.com)

 

The story of Willis Earl Beal is a strange but compelling one. Once a military man, then a dropout on Simon Cowell’s The X Factor, Beal now finds himself standing at the open mouth of a musical tyrannosaurs, pulling teeth and making music. Ranging from lo-fi and r’n’b to experimental folk and gospel, Beal’s ear for a soulful melody has made him a star, albeit a low-key one. A curious and cool individual, cut him open and he bleeds art.

Building on his origins for his latest record, Noctunes, much is unfortunately left to be desired. Created around a despondent and distinctly 80s style synth line, the album’s most prominent feature is its indistinctness. Each track fades into the next almost too seamlessly. While the lyrically and melodically strong “Flying So Low” and “Like A Box” capture everything that Willis Earl Beal is about – soul, oddity and fearlessness – they fail to stand out as memorable.

However, the gentle spirit that Beal so simply carries is met within the spooky “Lust”. “I am sitting here and have been since three-eleven this morning,” Beal sings. A master of folk storytelling, the essence of what Noctunes tries to convey rears its head here.“Those girls on those movie screens, I imagine how they laugh, smiling at me,” he continues. Arguably the only real standout track of the record is “Lust”, which ditches the crying synths for an equally sombre guitar. The result is alarmingly more pleasant than the bulk of the record.

Other than “Lust”, the differences are far and few between over the course of the rest of the album. “Say The Word” offers something a bit jazzier, and “Start Over” gives Beal a chance to stretch his vocal chords. Other than that, Noctunes is a fall from form for a very gifted and likeable songwriter. The downfall for this album has been his distaste for convention. In the end, Noctunes reeks of nothing but disappointment. A homogenous blur of tracks that add little percussive hardiness, and barely any interesting harmonies that are awash with an array of uncharismatic synthesisers. Too artsy for its own good, the songwriting chops of Willis Earl Beal have left left us on a sour note. He may be soulful, but that’s about it regarding his latest album.

Release: 28th August 2015, Tender Loving Empire

For DrunkenWerewolf: http://www.drunkenwerewolf.com/reviews/willis-earl-beal-noctunes/

Review: ‘Froot’ (2015) – Marina & the Diamonds

The wonderful Claire Roberts gives her thoughts on the new Marina & the Diamonds album. Have a read, would ya?

Shrewology

-by Claire

The voice of Welsh-Greek singer-songwriter Marina Diamandis is an acquired taste. Reviews of her first two albums demonstrate its divisiveness; to some, Diamandis’ voice is ‘resonant, operatic’ and ‘expressive’, and to others it has a ‘horrible vibrato’ that indicates an ‘unquenchable desire to shriek’. Froot may not be Diamandis’ most instantly ear-catching album, but the listener who takes time to absorb the lyrics will notice a vulnerability that softens Diamandis’ usually melodramatic vocals. The album’s playfully-contrived title is misleading; this is not another The Family Jewels (2010) of eccentric indie-pop, nor another high-concept attack on the American Dream like Electra Heart (2012), but a wistful expression of heartbreak that is weakened by a few forgettable tracks.

Froot opens with ‘Happy’, a ballad which initially sounds discordant and under-produced but progresses into an interesting ballad about loneliness and the quest for self-actualisation. There’s not much time to…

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