Pop Electronica from Scotland’s Be Charlotte

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Be Charlotte is all about the damn good vibes. She is a teenage singer, producer and writer from Scotland who is causing huge ripples in her native country. She has a knack for writing socially poignant songs that have depth and character, detailing life through the eyes of a young aspirational woman as well as possessing truly dexterous melodies. Charlotte uses digital technologies and live instrumentation to produce dynamic pop music that accompanies her singing, rapping and beatboxing. She plays with a live band.

First single ‘Machines That Breathe’ was selected on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist in (UK and Canada) and subsequently went viral on that streaming service. The song has also been play listed on Radio X and BBC Radio Scotland as well as FLUX FM in Germany.

November 2016 saw Be Charlotte undertaking her first tour, across South East Asia including gigs in Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Singapore before returning to UK to headline The Great Escape’s First 50 event at The Courtyard Theatre.

Be Charlotte are just coming off the UK Summer Festival circuit.

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New Music From Singer Songwriter David Ramirez

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David Ramirez

We’re Not Going Anywhere

Genre: Folk/Americana

Label: Sweetworld/Thirty Tigers

Release Date: September 8, 2017

 

Prolific singer and songwriter David Ramirez has earned a large and growing following for his soulful, introspective songs and passionate performances. Ramirez grew up in Houston, Texas, where he became interested in music and formed a band with his friends. Influenced by ’90’s alternative rock, Ramirez’s group primarily played parties, but he got hooked on making music, and while attending college in Dallas, he heard an album by Ryan Adams and became fascinated by contemporary folk and influential singer/songwriters of the ’60’s and ’70’s, especially Bob Dylan.

In Dallas, Ramirez formed a new band and began writing songs that fused pop music with his new lyrical influences, and in 2003 he released his first album, 11503 Lansbury. Two more albums would follow — 2005’s Human and 2007’s While Underneath Lights — before Ramirez chose to break up the band and moved to Nashville to focus on acoustic music.

In 2008, Ramirez traveled to Birmingham, Alabama and cut an EP, simply called Birmingham, that was the first step on his new musical journey. After leaving Nashville for Austin, Texas, Ramirez started touring extensively, playing as often as his circumstances would allow, and as he wrote more songs, he began releasing new material at an impressive rate, cranking out two albums (2009’s American Soil and 2012’s Apologies) and two EPs (2011’s Strangetown and 2013’s The Rooster) in the space of five years.

 

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Meet Little Rock’s BIG Rockers: Knox Hamilton

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Fueled by the similar staples within their collective musical taste, the members of Knox Hamilton blend laid back guitar riffs and catchy bass lines with rhythmic drum beats and soaring vocals to produce a sound that’s as likely to make you want to visit the beach as it is to move your feet.

Raised as a pastor’s sons in Arkansas, Boots and Cobo Copeland discovered music through the timeless, harmony-driven devotionals that filled their father’s church. Buried within concordant melodies is the vibrant bond between Boots and Cobo that propels their writing and enticing stage presence. That brotherly connection, which drives Knox Hamilton, has a degree of intuition to it; a genetic thread. That innate energy encompasses their songwriting.

Knox Hamilton is a band that embraces light and life; celebrating that grace to create a mood and drive a feeling. Every note punctuates an intentional effort to thrive on blooming melodies that last in your mind and create butterflies in your stomach. This isn’t music that plays with skittish vocals, avant-garde notes, and dissonant rhythms just for the sake of it.

One listen to the first single from their debut, The Heights, Washed Up Together, and one could argue they’ve achieved this goal.

The band previously released debut EP How’s Your Mind, featured the runaway single “Work It Out.” The single seemingly climbed out of nowhere to the top of SiriusXM’s Alt18 charts and reached “near-Adele levels on alt-rock radio” (Huffington Post), garnering over 5 million streams on Spotify.

There’s something about the electric, restless rhythm and the shimmery beat that capture a true timely ethos –never too self-conscious to be catchy, never too pop to forgo serious attention to lyricism. With their locomotive, melodic tunes full of synth breaks and booming choruses would echo out into the rural town – in true Knox Hamilton fashion, it was a meeting of both their roots and their far-reaching artistry which is poised to last a long time.

PURCHASE HEIGHTS

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AngloFiles: Manchester Grunge Rockers False Advertising

 

Born out of a desire to prove what is so vital about raw, energetic live music. Manchester based False Advertising address modern discontent in their music, fusing sweetly snarling hooks with a cathartic hit of fuzz-guitar.

Musically, the trio carry echoes of underground ‘90’s alternative grunge. Over time developing as much of a name for themselves in the UK as “The ultimate DIY band” as they have for their energetic, guttural, instrument-swapping live dynamics.

Previous self-recorded releases ‘Brainless’ and ‘False Advertising’ and the Too Pure (Beggars Group) released ‘Give It Your Worst / Scars’, have won praise from the likes of The Guardian, DIY, Drowned In Sound, Line of Best Fit and Clash. Their early recordings capturing the rebellious and youthful spirit of a band carving out their own space.

2017 has seen the band’s first foray into working in real studio environments. However, it’s not all been plain sailing – upon beginning their first session in Abbey Road Studios, the band were told to stop playing because ‘they were too loud’. Instead having to wait to record two full songs in a brief window while the studio next door went for lunch.

Their single ‘Not My Fault’ has received plays on BBC Radio 1, Radio X and Amazing Radio. Last year the band hit UK festivals, Sound City, Kendal Calling, Dot To Dot and Off The Record (where they headlined), as well as being personally chosen for support slots with Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü) and opening for The Garden, The Amazons and Pins.

Check our their latest single, Honest  

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A Sound Recommendation: Chile’s Garage Rockers Magaly Fields

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Magaly Fields is a Rock ‘n’ Roll, Psychedelic, Punk duo characterized by their fresh, and explosive sound. The band is formed by Tomas Stewart (Guitar, vocals, synth), and Diego Cifuentes (Drums, vocals).

Inspired by the garage sound of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Thee Oh Sees, Soledad Brothers, and North American street blues, they began this project in late 2011.

They have released one EP called “Mahat Magaly”, an online single”Electrify” (2014), Album debut “Chromatic Days” (2014), 7 inch double single “Blended Souls” (2015), and two online singles “Trash Can: Chromatic Days Leftovers” (2016). They have also toured in Europe, and South America, opened for Anomalys, Radio Moscow, and Temples, and played at big music festivals like Primavera Sound in Barcelona or Lollapalooza Chile.

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Nashville Beats: Hot Blues from Patrick Sweany

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photo:  (c) 2015 Dave Creaney

Patrick Sweany likes the spaces in between.

On a given night (or on a given album) he’ll swing through blues, folk, soul, bluegrass, maybe some classic 50’s rock, or a punk speedball. He’s a musical omnivore, devouring every popular music sound of the last 70 years, and mixing ’em all together seamlessly into his own stew. Yet, the one thing that most people notice about Patrick isn’t his ability to copy – it’s his authenticity. Like his heroes, artists like Bobby “Blue” Bland, Doug Sahm, Joe Tex, Patrick somehow manages to blend all of these influences into something all his own.

It’s no wonder that as a kid he immersed himself in his dad’s extensive record collection: 60’s folk, vintage country, soul, and, of course, blues. Patrick spent hours teaching himself to fingerpick along to Leadbelly, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and other folk-blues giants.

In his late teens, Patrick began playing the clubs and coffeehouses around Kent, OH. He quickly gained a reputation for the intricate country blues style he was developing: part Piedmont picking, part Delta slide – with an equally impressive deep, smooth vocal style.

But Patrick wouldn’t stay in the acoustic world for long. His love of 50’s era soul and rock fused with the adrenaline-soaked garage punk revival happening throughout the Rust Belt pushed him to form a band.

After 6 critically acclaimed records (two produced by longtime collaborator Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys), Patrick has expanded his touring radius to 49 states and Europe. He’s played premiere festivals (Newport Folk Fest, Merlefest, Montreal Jazz Fest, Telluride Blues & Brews) and supported international acts such as The Black Keys, The Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Wood Brothers, Hot Tuna, and others on tour.

His latest record, Daytime Turned To Nighttime, comes out in September 2015. It was recorded in his adopted community of E. Nasheville, TN and features contributions from long-time collaborator and producer Joe McMahan (Allsion Moorer, Webb Wilder), Ron Eoff (Cate Brothers, Levon Helm), Bryan Owings (Tony Joe White, Solomon Burke), among others. For Daytime Sweany took a fairly different approach than his usual raw, intense blues sound, opting for more subtle textures and playing. Seminal 70’s records by Bill Withers, Bobbie Gentry and Bobby Charles & The Band provide the sonic blueprint, while Sweany wraps his trademark baritone and impeccable acoustic slide work around songs of longing, redemption and growing up.

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Discover Pop Singer From Down Under: Gordi

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On the farm in rural Australia where Sophie Payten – AKA Gordi – grew up, there’s a paddock that leads down to a river. A few hundred metres away up the driveway of the property named “Alfalfa” sits another house, which belongs to her 93-year-old grandmother. The rest, she says, “is just beautiful space. And what else would you fill it with if not music?”

And so she did, first tinkling away in her hometown of Canowindra (population 2,381) on the out of tune piano her mother had been given as a wedding present, and then on the acoustic guitar she got for her 12th birthday. As it turned out though, space wasn’t a luxury she’d be afforded for long. At the school she went to just after that same birthday, she shared a dorm room with 26 other girls, listening to Aled Jones on her Discman at night to drown out their chatter. Not that she minded. “It was like a massive sleepover every night,” she says. And besides, her love of music didn’t take long to follow her there.

Gordi’s first foray into songwriting came in the form of performances at the school’s weekly chapel. She’d tell her friends they were written by other artists to ensure they gave honest feedback – though given she was pulling lines from One Tree Hill for lyrics about experiences she was yet to actually have, that feedback wasn’t always glowing. It wasn’t until she started writing about what was happening around her, the friendships she was building and, as is inevitable in the tumult of growing up, breaking, that the chrysalis of the music she’s making now – a brooding, multi-layered blend of electronica and folk, with lyrics that tend to avoid well-trodden paths – began to form. “I often find that writing about platonic relationships,” she says, “can be a great deal more powerful than writing about romantic ones.”

“Heaven I Know,” the first taste of Gordi’s debut album Reservoir, is an example of just that. With the breathy chant of “123” chugging along beneath the song’s sparse melody and melancholic piano chords, “Heaven I Know” gazes at the embers of a fading friendship. “Cause I got older, and we got tired,” she sings, as synthetic twitches, sweeping brass and distorted samples bubble to the surface, “Heaven I know that we tried.”

“I have a really close friend, and she moved to New York last April,” explains Gordi, “and I was absolutely devastated. I sort of don’t have anyone else like that in my life. A few months in, it was just getting so hard, we both had so much going on. Amongst all this, I had a really vivid dream – not that we fought dramatically, I simply got older, and we stopped calling each other, stopped writing to each other and we slowly grew apart. I was struck by the tragedy and simplicity of it and how it happens to everybody at various stages of life. With a friendship, you almost throw more at it than you would a romantic partner, because when a friendship breaks it’s so much more heart-breaking. So it was sort of like we’d thrown everything at it, and in this alternate reality that I dreamed about, we just gave up.”

The ramifications of loss ripple throughout the album, which the 24-year-old wrote and recorded in Wisconsin, Reykjavik, Los Angeles, New York and Sydney during snatched moments while finishing a six year long medicine degree and international touring commitments. Payten produced two of the tracks herself (“Heaven I Know” & “I’m Done”), and co-produced the rest alongside Tim Anderson (Solange, Banks, Halsey), Ben McCarthy, Ali Chant (Perfume Genius, PJ Harvey) and Alex Somers (Sigur Ros).

“Long Way,” on which her contralto vocals are layered on top of each other as the sound of a ticking clock lurks underneath, begs of someone, “Can you hear my voice in your bones again? Can you be with me like you were back then?” It’s the first track on the album, and the last song she wrote in the green notebook her parents gave her when she was still at school. There’s a sense of loss too on “I’m Done,” though this time it’s something she’s come to accept. “It feels good to say I’m over you / and mean it more and more each time. / Lock my secrets behind open doors / ‘cause without you I’ll do just fine.” It’s about as close to a stripped-back acoustic song as Gordi’s willing to create, though it sits comfortably alongside beat-heavy electronic numbers. Her songs shift and mutate just as you think you’ve got a hold of them. You’re as likely to hear the squeak of her finger sliding down a guitar fret as you are a shuddering sample, and an organic trumpet sound will be injected with a jagged vocal loop.

But it’s not just loss which comes under the microscope in Reservoir. More so, it’s the journey that particular theme takes when aboard the vehicle of time. The interaction of time and loss is explored throughout, starting with album opener “Long Way”. “Myriad”, a delicately layered track which reaches a drumless climax, delves further, “Dissolve your sorrow / In my skin and bone / Take my tomorrow / It is yours to own”. Even the infectious single “On My Side” questions the prolonging of grievances because of a hesitation to communicate, which ultimately stems from a fear of loss. “Can We Work It Out” similarly opens up on inner conflict.

PURCHASE RESERVOIR


Boiled down, the running thread of the album is its lyrics, the importance and impact of which cannot be understated. “Lyrics to me are everything,” says Gordi. “Music is kind of what encases this story that you’re trying to tell. The music is obviously what makes people fall in love with a song first, but what eventually speaks to people, whether they know it or not, is the actual words that are being said.” Gordi’s lyrics are stark, honest and soul-searching, which are elevated by the album’s intricate and careful musical arrangements. Like the contemporary artists such as Fleet Foxes, Beth Orton and Laura Marling as well as “the trifecta” of Billy Joel, Carole King and James Taylor that she listened to with her mum growing up – she’s unafraid to sit in contemplative melancholy. It’s what the album title is about. And in the contemplative melancholy remains a conviction that manifests itself through Gordi’s memorable melodies and ambitious production, mastered by pioneers like Peter Gabriel, Cat Stevens and Sufjan Stevens.

“The name Reservoir, it’s that thing that you can’t describe, that space that anxious people would probably live their life in. It’s actually an expression my friend and I use. If I’m really down one day, I’ll say, ‘Oh I’m a bit in the reservoir today’. You’re mulling everything over, and you’re sitting in all these thoughts and feelings. In order to be able to write a song I need to go to that place, but I couldn’t live a functional life if I spent all my time in there.”

Writing music, in fact, is the way Gordi lifts herself out of the Reservoir. “Writing music has always been and will remain my therapy, my process and my way of communicating,” she explains. “I don’t write songs by someone else’s prescription, I write to fill my own need. I get this tightness in my chest, and nothing will make it go away other than trying to write lyrics or sitting down at a piano and playing it, and it’s like a medicine. If I have a good session of that, then that tightness and that weight just totally lifts. It just centers me, and gets the things that are riddled through my mind out on paper. And then I can leave them there.”

 

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