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Video of the Moment #873: Kyla La Grange

 
By on Friday, 6th July 2012 at 6:00 pm
 

The new Kyla La Grange video for ‘Walk Through Walls’ is, oddly, coloured like one of Anna Calvi‘s. Red lipstick, red clothes, and otherwise a lot of black. See what we mean by watching the video below.

Both this single and her debut album ‘Ashes’ will be released on the 30th of July on Sony / ioki Records.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvlIs6aARcQ[/youtube]

 

Live Review: The Guardian New Band of the Day Live at Camden Barfly – 14th June 2012

 
By on Tuesday, 26th June 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

If you’re an avid fan of new music like us here at TGTF Towers, you’ll surely be aware of the constant problem we face: there’s just too much of it. Scenes are evolving into separate sub sects that inspires another bedroom artist, then someone throws a synth in to make it ‘electro’ or someone starts screaming to make it ‘core’, and before you know it that band you liked last week are no longer new. It’s no easy task to keep up with the ever-moving entity that is new music, but the Guardian’s Paul Lester has been making it his aim to stay on the cutting edge for around 1,300. His New Band of the Day column has taken Guardian Music by storm and led to a live showcase every few months in Camden, tonight is the third show and the line-up is as eclectic as ever.

Starting the evening is a Canadian-cum-German known as Digits. Despite the downstairs room looking like a primary school disco with the early-showers hanging around the edges, Digits’ moody synth-pop provides a welcome mirror image to the busy High Street outside. The honed ambience drags the slowly filling crowd away from their iPhones to watch the stage as Altman bleeps and hushes his way through ‘Because It’s Wrong’ and ‘So Cold’. It’s not get-up-and-dance music, but it’s as clever and passionate as The Weeknd and as dark as Cocteau Twins. With new EP ‘Where Do You Belong?’ out in July, Digits could find he belongs in London more often.

The first band to invite London upstairs tonight are Seasfire. Continuing from Digits’ emotive laments, the bass-laden electro indie kids are more chill-out than rock out. Vocalist Josh Thorn whispers his words delicately akin to Benjamin Francis Leftwich, while the band pull out the hooky, electronic grooves reminiscent of Everything Everything. Ranging from synthesised highs to dubsteppy lows, Seasfire add so many elements yet they reign it in and keep the sound resolutely soft and unique. Although the odd danceable section does make a leap forward the crowd are simply awe of the band about to steal James Blake‘s spotlight.

Back downstairs the Barfly has managed to cram in more people through the door to see the delightfully hippy the Hall Of Mirrors. With band members spilling off the stage, the harmonious six-piece wail like sirens of the sea, attracting weary travellers into their trap of twinkly instrumentals and Kate Bush-like vocals. The psychedelic antics are like a dream sequence inside a children’s music box that can turn nightmarishly ominous in the blink of an eye. Current single ‘Love Child’ is as quirky and offbeat as you could want but tonight’s audience aren’t all fans of the ’60s.

Late additions to the bill We Were Evergreen are welcoming gig-goers into their upstairs room for a half hour of folky fun. The concept of an upstairs/downstairs system seems to confuse some patrons who either appear mid-way through a set each time or remain on one floor throughout the event – missing half the acts in the process. But those who do make the journey to the first floor are treated to a display of ukulele fuelled summery vibes that Theme Park would be proud of. The trio from Paris have won over some fans through crowd-pleasers ‘Second Hand’ and ‘Vintage Car’. Although the combination of Hawaiian strings and kazoos was too much/little for some of the Barfly tonight, the mood has lifted and it’s time to party.

Closing the downstairs portion of the evening is the minimal maestro Bobby Tank.. As is his namesake, he comes rolling into the fray with tremendous force and gusto, levelling all before him. The underlying sound is ambient and full-on electronica, but with a Macbook and a table full of knobs and switches at his disposal, Bobby Tank introduces hints of glitch, 8-bit and dubstep into his deafening arsenal. As he stands alone on stage with the air growing thick with sweat around him, the front row is alive with arm throwers as Tank’s own jazzy moves infect the crowd. There are times where the music could hit harder and beats drop further, but the overall ambience is so catchy and simple it’s like the soundtrack to the flying level of your favourite Mega Drive game. But once the last key note has rung out, it’s back to the first floor for something more sinister than synth.

Headlining tonight’s extravaganza of new noise is the London-based former Cambridge University student, Kyla La Grange (pictured at top). Her enchanting onstage persona is boosted by the ominous purple lighting and mic stand covered in fairy lights – simple but effective. The haunting pop stylings of ‘Walk Through Walls’ and ‘Vampire Smile’ elevate the five-piece above their peers tonight to prove why they’re headlining (it’s an incredible metamorphosis from the last time TGTF saw Kyla). There’s a spooky feeling in the air tonight as Kyla dances around the stage with the suggestion her performance is some sort of séance to the beyond, coupled with her Zola Jesus-esque vocals it’s hypnotic to behold. If you spot these guys on the bill of any festivals you’re at this year, be there.

 

Festifeel 2012 Roundup

 
By on Tuesday, 19th June 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

The Queen has been on the throne for yet another year. This means we all get to go to festivals all weekend and no sooner had Bushstock, Field Day and the Applecart shut their dampened stalls had the Queen of Hoxton opened its doors for a day of frivolities in the name of breast cancer charity Coppafeel and Festifeel.

Dog is Dead: Image by Paul Hudson

The day starts early with a bright atmosphere in the dark basement as Dog is Dead take to the stage. It’s been a busy weekend for the group but they show no signs of fatigue and kick off the festival in winning style. Showing off both their sun-soaked tracks (fan favourite ‘Glockenspiel Song’ is a highlight) as well as their deeper side on set closer ‘Teenage Daughter’ shows they’re real contenders for act of the summer.

Following this come the disappointing ska meets indie Yes Sir Boss. TGTF hopes they have day jobs.  In stark contrast to this however, one lady who we hope doesn’t is rising star Kyla La Grange. Exuding both grace and grunge at the same time, the stylish singer shows she’s far more than an image with a short set of dark pop tracks from her forthcoming debut record. Her set is over far too quickly though, so TGTF goes for a wander about site.

Newton Faulkner

Laid out across three floors, the Queen of Hoxton is a peculiar yet logical place to put a festival. Today there’s a photobooth, popcorn, a huge barbeque and roof garden added to the bar and club aesthetic. A ukulele band roams about playing poorly enacted covers of ’80s tracks. It’s basically a normal festival in a bar! As with all good festivals, Newton Faulkner is present and his set on the roof garden is an enjoyable one. Completely unplugged, Faulkner teaches the crowd surrounding him lines and the tracks build from there. As such, he doesn’t get time to play many, but it’s certainly something to behold whilst the weather holds out.

It’s then back into the darkness for Slow Club. Having two records and preparing a third should make for an interesting set, but when you weight your half hour with zero tracks from the widely celebrated debut and sound shaky on the three new tracks given an outing, it makes for little short of disappointment. Still, ‘Two Cousins’ is always a highlight, so at least it’s not all a letdown.

Slow Club: Image by Paul Hudson

You get used to adjustments after a while but Lianne La Havas’ set being moved into the main bar (in which everyone moves between upstairs and downstairs, also, to the bar) was baffling to say the least, but once those having conversations were shushed and a microphone was found for Havas, her gorgeous tones shone through. The endearing nature of the young singer-songwriter took those assembled into a hushed admiration and the 20minute set ends with smiles all round, none more than Lianne herself.

Then it’s back up into the daunting clouds of the rooftop for two completely unplugged sets. First Jamie N Commons mixes his own material with covers from the likes of Pink Floyd, creating an atmosphere that brings people from the outskirts to sitting on the Astroturf infront of the London troubadour. Second comes one of the strangest, yet most enjoyable few minutes of the weekend as Angus Stone and his band take to the benches and play in a half hushed, half stunned silence. It would have felt like a lullaby had everyone not been stood up. Whatever it was, it was appreciated.

The View, you remember the View right? The band that did that song about jeans. Yeah, the View; they’re next down in the basement. The lighthearted join the ‘lads’ in the crowded space as the Scottish rockers power through 45 minutes without blinking. It’s energetic, but they’ve long lost their appeal. They didn’t even do that one song that everyone knows about jeans! That said, hearing a few hundred singing “the one I love the most has turned into a junkie” brought back some nostalgia in ‘5 Rebecca’.

Just like that, the weekend’s over. The Milk headline but fail to ignite as most people have already left. It’s been the strangest festival TGTF has ever been to, but that’s probably the appeal. Well done Coppafeel, Festifeel 2012 was a success.

 

MP3 of the Day (and more!) #547: Kyla La Grange

 
By on Wednesday, 23rd May 2012 at 10:00 am
 

Been wondering what’s happened to #8 on TGTF’s 10 for 2012 poll Kyla La Grange? Her single released on Chess Club Records in April, ‘Vampire Smile’, has been remixed by the cutely named Bristolian electroheads Seasfire, and you can listen to and download the remix below. And for those of you who haven’t heard the original, I’ve embedded the video below too. Enjoy.

She is currently on a mini-tour of England, making a stop in at Bath Moles tonight (23rd May), at Tunbridge Wells Forum tomorrow (24th May) before wrapping things up at London Village Underground next Tuesday (29th May). Her debut album ‘Ashes’ will be released on the 30th of July on her own ioki Records, an imprint of Sony, with whom she recently inked a record contract. (Well done, Kyla!)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWNRRnXmGKs[/youtube]

 

Luke’s Alphabet Tour – B: Beth Jeans Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny at London Garage – 2nd February 2012

 
By on Wednesday, 8th February 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Letter B is Beth Jeans Houghton‘s latest project…

Outside it feels like even a penguin would catch a chill, but inside the Garage the temperature is rising from the early arrivals to HMV’s Next Big Thing gig at one of London’s best-loved venues. Downstairs Reckless Love are no doubt giving the city’s rock contingent a bloody good seeing to, but upstairs it’s time for the indie fans to witness some of the finest new music on offer in 2012.

Opening this Thursday night showcase are the London indie-folk duo Olfar. The sombre, dual vocals float over the gradually growing crowd who unfortunately don’t appear as receptive as the boy/girl combo hoped. ‘Sailing the Wreck’ wins over a few down the front but the obvious passion emanating from the stage simply doesn’t resonate with those in attendance. The powerful vocal harmonies sadly aren’t harnessed to full effect as frontman Oli Deakin takes over voice duties for the majority of the set. Closing on the title track from their latest album (available for just £1 on Bandcamp) the mood shifts and Olfar suddenly seem at home onstage playing their blend of bass-y acoustic dream pop. Just as quickly as Olfar find their feet, the proverbial rug is pulled from under them by the truly wonderful Kyla La Grange.

The tremendously big-sounding quintet – fronted by the petite, yet powerful Kyla – produce a beautifully melodic, dancey beat to the delight of London. They mix slower, emotional numbers with an array of up-beat, post-rock influenced soundscapes. With a vocal range akin to Régine Chassange of Arcade Fire, the three-quarters full venue have almost forgotten about Olfar after this incredible display. Next single ‘Vampire Smile’ gets all five band members playing their hearts out in an amalgamation of big instrumentals, heavy bass and a soaring voice. Rounding their slot off on the flawless ‘Catalyst’, a huge heartfelt ballad filled with whimsy and emotion that’s in grave danger of stealing the night. But not if Beth Jeans Houghton has anything to do about it.

Known for being both eccentric and quirky, Beth Jeans Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny give a somewhat toned down performance. Starting with a colourful display of power-pop and indie rhythms, the momentum slows and stutters as the young Houghton seems overcome with the abundance of industry bods judging her every move. Despite crowd-interaction not being her strong point (excluding the comment about that funny eels picture which earned a titter from rampant internet users), Houghton’s voice strings create a harmonious warble that fills the room a la Zola Jesus. The operatic overtones give the music an anthemic twist with an almost 80s soft rock feel. Smashing their way through ‘Lilliput’ and ‘Telephone’, the highlight comes from ‘I Will Return I Promise’. A certain Irish knees-up vibe blasts out of the PA system as Beth and her Hooves manage to get the so-far immovable objects down front dancing.

It might not have been her best performance but with a new album out in a few days (6 February), expect to see more of this group of synthesised minstrels throughout the year. Surely the best is yet to come.

 

10 for 2012 Interview: Kyla La Grange

 
By on Wednesday, 14th December 2011 at 11:00 am
 

John wrote about Kyla La Grange‘s single ‘Been Better’ this past summer (review here). Judging from your votes in the 10 for 2012 poll this year, you readers took to Kyla’s sound. We asked the lovely lady some questions about what fuels her songwriting and what gigs have meant the most to her this year…

Congratulations on finishing #8 in our 10 of 2012 poll of bands to watch next year. Unfortunately, we don’t have a trophy or anything to give you, but please know that it was the faithful readers of TGTF that voted to give you your place on this list. Although we risk sounding like the reporters on the red carpet at the BAFTAs, we want to know, how do you feel about this achievement?
It’s really nice, thank you so much. I never really know if people are going to like my music or not, so it feels really nice to know that some people like it enough to vote.

You’ve said that raw, brutal music speaks to you, is that something you embrace in your own music?

Absolutely. I write songs as a way of working through my own angst, so to sugar-coat it or make the emotion less intense wouldn’t sit right with me.

What is the best gig you’ve play so far?
That’s a tricky question. I’ve been lucky enough to play some lovely gigs this year. Bestival was amazing, and so was our single launch at Hoxton Bar and Kitchen – that one felt really special. I don’t think I could pick one best.

Of your writing process you’ve said, “I get sad or angry; then I sit in my room and write about it.” Can you remember any of the things you wrote about when you were an angry 10-year old penning songs?
Ha! I actually have an angry diary from around that age, so some of those things are unfortunately very well documented. At my primary school I was bullied, so I think a lot of things that made me upset around then were to do with feeling like I wasn’t good enough to fit in with everyone else. Annoyingly, I didn’t use any of that justified sadness to write anything good; I just wrote about boys and rubbish things. Maybe it was a bit of escapism, or maybe I wasn’t brave enough then to write about the things that really made me sad.

You’ve had the opportunity to play a lot of sized gigs. Intimate headliners, small stages in large festivals, and support slots…where are you most comfortable?
Actually, I feel a lot more comfortable in a big venue with a big audience than I do at intimate gigs. With a big crowd you don’t really see anyone individually, it’s just like a big dark mass, and I think that’s less threatening than being able to see faces. Also with big stages there is usually big lighting, which means you feel more swept up in the performance, and sometimes you can’t even see the crowd at all so then you can just be more uninhibited and just perform for yourself.

Has your parents’ African background influenced your music or writing?
I don’t know if it has, maybe it has in as much as they have influenced me in any aspect of my life, but we never just listened to music of one genre or nationality at home; it was a complete mixture. When they moved here from South Africa, they had very little and they had to work very hard to have what they have now, so I think they probably taught me to work hard.

Where is the one place you haven’t played yet that you are dying to get to?
Glastonbury. I’ve played on acoustic stages there, but I ‘d like to play it full band, properly. It’s my favourite festival. It’s amazing.

What’s the best thing about making music in today’s environment? And the worst?
Maybe the best thing is how much good music is around – this year I’ve heard so much good music that I’ve loved: Dry the River, Ben Howard, Daughter, the Maccabees, to name some. I don’t know about the worst, I suppose one modern phenomenon I don’t like is that a lot of critics value originality over craft, just as critics do in many spheres of art: I think that’s a mistake.

What do you predict for yourself in 2012?
I’m releasing my first album, which is exciting, it’s taken a long time to get to that point. I’d just like to enjoy it, to not think too much about where I will be but where I am.

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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