Friday, 26 August 2011

Single Review : Annie Crane - Copenhagen Heart

New York City based singer songwriter Annie Crane has a new single out in the shape of 'Copenhagen Heart', which is taken from her forthcoming album 'Jump With A Child's Heart'. It's a song about being lonely and homesick, with Crane explaining that during her time on tour she felt "self-conscious and like a fool and therefore homesick and missing my man".  

It's an incredibly powerful song with tugs at the heartstrings, demonstrating not only the strength of Crane's songwriting ability, but also the great range and depth that her voice possesses. Which is rather ironic considering that she lost her voice for 3 months during 2008 and was told by doctors that she wasn't 'singing right'. Her response to that diagnosis - "it was total horse shit". (yeah, nice!). It might be slightly dangerous to do so but there's seemingly a lot of similarities to be drawn between this track and Laura Marling's new one 'Sophia'. Feel free to discuss that...

The album 'Jump With A Child's Heart' will be released on October 4th through Constant Clip Records, meanwhile check out the video for 'Copenhagen Heart' below. // Annie Crane
Annie Crane - Copenhagen Heart by fanaticpro

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Single Review : STS - Hello Sunshine

It's about time we had some beats and rhymes on Music Liberation, as by our own admission we do at times get blinded by guitars, drums and alike, so it's with our pleasure we can introduce to you STS. Born in Atlanta, STS originally grew up on written poetry, only switching to the studio after comments from his friends on his potential. Thankfully for us he did.

'Hello Sunshine' is taken from his debut album 'The Illustrious', which is out this week. Featuring Yelawolf, the track is a brutally honest reflection of a letter to their favourite stripper (yes really!). The vocals are clean cut, at times off kilter, at times perfectly timed, but always delivered with integrity. The beats are simple, but are added to with little scratches here and there, as well as some synths and other bits and pieces. Such is the high production from KP and Mali though it doesn't feel at all muddled.

Speaking about his debut album, STS remarks that "Illustrious is the way I want people to feel when they hear my music. It's how I feel. Every occasion, every location, every ensemble in my wardrobe, but more importantly my music is illustrious". Confident stuff if we do say so ourselves! You can download 'The Illustrious' for free from STS's website, and say hello to him on facebook.

STS - Hello Sunshine ft Yelawolf by Music Liberation

Monday, 22 August 2011

Single Review : WATERS - O Holy Break Of Day

You may or may not already know WATERS, the new project from former Port O'Brien front man Van Pierszalowski, but after listening to new track 'O Holy Break Of Day', you'll surely not forget them in a hurry. Having already wooed the blogging masses with 'For The One', this new track sets up the eagerly awaited LP 'Out In The Light', which was recorded in a ten day period out in Dallas, Texas, and is released through City Slang next month.

'O Holy Break Of Day' manages to capture that moment you sometimes get when listening to music, you know that moment when everything just seems to stop, when life moves in slow motion and a moment of 3 minutes 57 seconds things just seem for want of a better word, better. Van utilizes his vocal range to guide you along the way, as punch drunk drums collide with fuzzy worn out guitars in a full on retro grunge affair.

Make sure you catch WATERS playing alongside Music Liberation favourite EMA at Cargo on September 14th, as well as headlining the day before at The Old Blue Last on September 13th.

// WATERS || City Slang \\

WATERS - O Holy Break Of Day by cityslang

Friday, 19 August 2011

Interview : Fiona Culley

We recently caught up with Fiona Culley, a young singer songwriter based in London. You might recognise her from a recent appearance on a certain television programme (work out which one for yourself). We discussed who her influences are, which two artists she would love to tour with, and most importantly find out what her favourite sandwich is. 

Music Liberation : Who are you and where are you from?

"Fiona Culley, Staffordshire."

ML : Describe your music in three words?

"Folky, Pop, Soul."

ML : Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

"Dixie Chicks, Allison Krass, Johnny Cash."

ML : What's on your agenda for the next 12 months?

"Finish recording my album and then go to Nashville to write with some incredible writers."

ML : Any new bands/artists you recommend us checking out?

"Nick Gardner – he’s all over YouTube. Jamie Abbott - incredible voice."

ML : If you could tour with any two artists, past or present, who would they be and why?

"Eminem – it would be so drunken and fun… seriously.. um… Carrie Underwood – We could be 2 blondes rocking out!!!"

ML : If you had unlimited funds, what 3 things would you have on your tour rider?

"A magic box to cure hangovers. Massage chairs EVERYWHERE. Unlimited supply of marmite covered crispbreads."

ML : What’s more important for you, selling records or live shows?


ML : What's your perfect sandwich?

"Ham, Brie and Cranberry = fatty!!!!"

ML : How can we find out more about you?

"YouTube me!!!!" (and facebook!)

Fiona Culley - The Cure by Music Liberation

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Single Review : The Bullitts & Jay Electronica - Run and Hide

Both The Bullitts and Jay Electronica have been on our radar here at Music Liberation now for some time, but both for different, but still important reasons. Jay Electronica first came to our attention with his lyrical masterpiece ‘Exhibit A’, and since then he has been drip feeding us with his attentive rhymes. The man who could be classed as the future of hip-hop, has essence of the past in his delivery and style with the most accurate comparison I can make being to that of Common.

The Bullitts on the other hand have been wowing us, not just with the critically acclaimed musical ability of man behind it all, Jaymes Samuel, but the beautifully crafted cinematic experience that accompanies each track released from debut record 'They Die By Dawn and Other Short Stories'. The Bullitts are making musical masterpieces and Jaymes isn’t just satisfied with the soundtrack, he wants you to picture the inspiration behind the production. With 'Run and Hide' he has combined French cinema production, with a soulful and simple backing vocal, to which Jay Elec’ adds the finishing touch to what makes this track an absolute smash.

This isn’t the first time the two have collaborated and I would highly recommend checking out both The Bullitts and Jay Electronica's back catalogue. The track ‘Close Your Eyes’ is another example of how style and substance collide, with just a little help from Lucy Liu too! All that is left to say is give us more, much more...

'They Die By Dawn and Other Short Stories' is out later this year.

RUN & HIDE by TheBullitts

Monday, 15 August 2011

Single Review : Acrylics - Molly's Vertigo

A few years ago I went to New York. Whilst there I spent a night or two in some indie clubs to get hideously drunk and to see what the city’s own take on the whole indie-rock thang was. Turns out it’s almost exactly the same as here (the toilets are just as disgusting) but the major difference was that they played a lot more alternative British music. I guess as it wasn’t home grown it was seen as more exotic, which was surprising as this was when The Stokes were huge, people were still excited about Stellastarr* and Interpol were riding high after the release of Antics.

So take it with a pinch of British salt when I say the new single from Brooklyn based Acrylics is so good, I knew it had to originate from across the water. Whether or not I might be culturally bias towards the Americans doesn’t stop ‘Molly’s Vertigo’ from being an atmospheric, 80s tinged pop ballad of perfection. There’s sound-a-likes flying in from all sides, the intro spookily similar to ‘Abracadabra’ by the Steve Miller Band (you know the one) whilst the crystal clear vocals and melodies of Molly Shea in the chorus are reminiscent of Susanne Vega.

Sounding “retro” is so standard these days that it’s no longer retro at all, which is perhaps why Acrylics music has similarities to Best Coast as much as it does with the layered production and duel male-female vocals of mid-era Fleetwood Mac.

Ok so comparison isn’t always flattering for bands who want to stand on their own two feet and as a critique goes, it’s somewhat lazy, but we can’t help what a song might evoke in us. ‘Molly’s Vertigo’ feels cosy and familiar with it’s warm 80s production but heartfelt and quirky like its contemporaries. The only flaw would be the length; coming in at under three minutes the Brooklyn duo reel us into their dreamy world before unceremoniously booting us out of their love-nest somewhat prematurely. Still, let’s face it, who secretly doesn’t like being left wanting for more?

Molly’s Vertigo’ is out now. // Find it on the 'Lives and Treasures' album // Acrylics

Acrylics - Molly's Vertigo (Gung-Ho! Recordings) Free Download!! by Gung-HoRecordings

Friday, 12 August 2011

Video : Benjamin Francis Leftwich - Back Home and Tour

With recent events this week affecting everyone in some way or another, Music Liberation decided that we could all do with a bit of a chill out. Fortunately our favourite Yorkshireman Benjamin Francis Leftwich has produced a stunning short film with his friend Pip, shot across some beautiful Yorkshire countryside and with the backdrop of his splendid debut album 'Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm', and it does the job just perfectly. Enjoy.

New single 'Atlas Hands' is released September 4th, with a Mike Skinner remix to boot.

Benjamin Francis Leftwich - Atlas Hands (Mike Skinner Remix) by Dirty Hit

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

New Video : Girls - Vomit

Music Liberation first discovered San Francisco's Girls back in July 2009 with their  single 'Hellhole Ratrace', and after a critically acclaimed debut LP titled 'Album', they are now ready to unleash album number two - 'Father, Son, Holy Ghost'. 

The first single from that record is 'Vomit', a slow brooding track which develops into an absolute monster of a song which pulls at the heartstrings and encourages head banging in equal measure, in a display of pure pop rock epic-ness. You can catch Girls during their European tour during November, whilst the new album is released through Fantasytrashcan/Turnstile September 12th.

You can grab 'Vomit' as a free download here. // Girls

Girls, "Vomit" by The FADER

Monday, 8 August 2011

New Music : The Beige

You know that saying, "mighty oaks from little acorns grow"? Well if the demo track 'Mother' by Watford based The Beige is their little acorn, their mighty oak may well be the bands forthcoming debut EP 'Pop Laziness'.

'Mother' is simple enough, plains drums, floaty guitar, but its the vocals from front man James Weatherilt which really hints at greater things to come for this band. His crooning is infectious, with his mellow tones suitably driving the track along. There is a feeling that a clear appreciation of space has been given with this track, adding much needed depth and curiosity, with it not being beyond the realms to suggest that someone like Jeff Buckley has a great influence here.

Whether The Beige end up being one of those bands that hints at something special from early demos but ends up disappointing is unclear at this early stage. However if they do get it together you'll be glad you kept an eye on them! // The Beige

The Beige - Mother by Music Liberation

Friday, 5 August 2011

EP Review : League - Golden Maps

Time to introduce you to League, a London based electronica duo who create emphatic lo-fi experimental pop music. Former classmates Jorge Ribeiro and Jose Tornada make up the group who recently self-released their debut EP titled 'Golden Maps', just in time to soundtrack your Summer. 

I'd normally highlight the stand out tracks from the record, but actually it's quite difficult to pick them individually, such is the high overall quality of the eight track album. However the title track 'Golden Maps' and 'Take My Hand' are perhaps the most recognisable across the web, demonstrating League's successful formula of high energy beats with melodic vocals. There are clearly a lot of 'worldly' influences going on, with experimentation a clear requisite for how this duo operate. Comparisons can therefore be drawn with the likes of MGMT, an electro version of Tame Impala, or Bat For Lashes. On the other hand more mainstream pop/rock collaborations such Fenech Soler or Delphic could also be touted. The EP closes with the glorious 'The Universe Glows Below' a powerfully addictive song which almost entices you to press that play button again and again.

The high tempo and melodic nature of League makes them perfect for the live scene, with their position as Summer festival favourites sure to be cemented over the coming years. Get a taster of the fun by checking their live shows out around London, at the Bull & Gate (August 9th), The Old Blue Last (16th August), or Buffalo Bar (14th September). // BUY EP // LEAGUE

Golden Maps by League

The Universe Glows Below by League

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

EP Review : Kids - Summer Frights

San Diego's Kids have delivered one of the most refreshing records I have come across so far this year in the shape of their debut EP 'Summer Frights'. What makes this even more delightful and impressive is that the 5-piece (Nature, Cory, Blake, Ben, and Matt) all between the ages of just 17 and 19. Kids, appropriately titled then.

They kick off their six track EP with the short & sweet 'Hidden Hills', before demonstrating their true songwriting and musicianship qualities on the near five minute long 'Blind Eel'.  The title track 'Summer Frights' could easily fit within prime time radio, whilst 'Melt' and 'Further' are almost No Age like in being unashamedly rock and roll. The record closes with a glorious cover of The Ronettes 'Be My Baby', showing off the group's clear musical knowledge and acknowledgement of where they've come from.

The album was recorded by the band themselves in the house of bassist Ben Levinson, and this is apparent in the production. However rather than detract value to the record this actually adds a real sense of integrity to the songs. For reference points look no further than Best Coast, MGMT, The Drums, and Jack Penate. Vocalist Nature Fejarang has a delicate voice which is sure to break many hearts, whilst the guitars of Matt Bear and Cory Felker are angsty enough to give the band a real edge. This is a charming debut album which is inspiriational, emotional, and fun in equal parts and is sure to soundtrack your Summer perfectly. 

Listen/Download/Buy EP // Kids // *Music Liberation highly recommends this one*

Summer Frights by KIDS.

Blind Eel by KIDS.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Album Review : Book Club - Ghost

The trouble with music criticism - apart from the glaring obvious fact that there will always be differing musical opinion in the world making the whole exercise feel somewhat pointless - is that songs are organic; they change over time. Not physically of course, but our own shifting personal perceptions will make them change. This can be seen in its most immediate form by how an initial reaction to an album can alter considerably in just a few listens. So the question is, how many times should a critic listen to a band before proclaiming judgement upon them?

This is the problem I have with Book Club. The twee musical quintet from Atlanta proudly claims to play “modern folk” but on listening to their na├»ve music it’s anything but modern. It’s got about as much edge as a football. The first listen of their debut ‘Ghost’ was like pulling teeth. Vocalist Robbie Horlick’s whiney lamenting reached saturation point about three tracks in. The songs were short and went nowhere. The female vocals did little harmonising and just sung along like an annoying sister singing along to the radio. The string instruments felt tacked on. Where was the goddamn beef Book Club?

Yet on second listen, the songs sounded structured, they had more purpose. Everything was warmer, clearer. The swooning cello on ‘Meal of Dreams’ and the bluesy ‘Ain’t Gonna Drink No More’ plundered emotional depths that seemed previously lacking.

A third listen and I’m picking out faults again. There’s no getting away from the fact that if ‘Cold Cold Year’ was a person, they’d have a punchable face whilst ‘Under the Weather’ is beautiful until its silly sing-along chorus.

Pinning this band down is like nailing jelly to a wall. At times they soar but ruin it for themselves by sounding like an upbeat band on a children’s programme. They may as well be singing about getting dressed. Perhaps this is Horlick’s writing style but it is frustrating when he and his band show real heart on songs such as ‘I Can’t Dance Just With Your Ghost’, the wonderful ‘Tell Me You Don’t Tell Me Lies‘ and the touching album closer ‘Not Much For Chit Chat.‘
This schizophrenic album boils down to what we look for in folk music. A sing along is all well and good but it tends to lack emotion and without this substance the music can sound almost childish. At their most emotional, Book Club are wonderful, at their most childish, throw-away. Ghosts is a brave but flawed debut, the weaker songs too numerous to overlook and it leaves me thinking that if they only worked harder at making us cry than making us sing, this could have been something special. // Buy Album // Book Club

Tell Me You Don't Tell Me Lies by Book Club

Cold Cold Year by Book Club