PNL “leave the KOKO stage in the same conditions they came in: booed, hissed and cursed.”

Music Reviews

Joggers, weed and Algerian flags – that is what a PNL concert looks and smells like.

Before the Franco-Algerian rap sensations came on, Flohio delivered a pretty good set-list, introducing herself to the audience, mainly made up of young French people smoking, wearing joggers, tinted glasses, sleek hair, and so on.

Brothers Ademo and N.O.S took to the stage after being booed and hissed at by every single person at KOKO London, fed-up after a three-and-a-half hour wait. If we had known their set was only going to last twenty-eight minutes, it probably wouldn’t have been a sold-out show.

However, when the first few notes of ‘J’suis QLF’ were heard, the anger and impatience were soon forgotten. ‘QLF’ means ‘Que La Famille’ [‘Only the Family’] and is also the name of their label, as well as their slogan to prove they only trust their close friends, family, and their fans, of course.

« Comment ça va la mif ? » [« How’s it going fam? »] N.O.S asked once the first track was over. Much to their fans’ delight, the highly-auto-tuned ‘Naha’ then filled the venue, provoking a thunder of screams.

Seeing the audience come together, waving Algerian flags during ‘Le Monde ou Rien’ made me realise those two lads with their sunglasses, neatly-kept appearances and terrible stage presence might be worth it.

‘Bené’ was a joyful moment as PNL’s mates all appeared on stage with idiotic smiles – joints in one hand, phones in the other. What a great time they seemed to be having.

After a few words from N.O.S (does Ademo ever speak?) ‘Jusqu’au dernier gramme’ was next on their set list. While the previous song got the audience swaying, this track brought back the boring and tedious atmosphere of this gig.

‘DA’ got all the hands in the air moving in sync, before their latest release – ‘91’s’ – got us grooving a bit more.

Following that, I gathered they would only be playing ‘Onizuka’ and ‘À l’amoniaque’, before ending their first-ever concert – and probably their last one – in London.

Dead on 11pm, the two rappers left the stage in the same conditions they came in: booed, hissed and cursed.

This was probably the shortest and most uninteresting gig I have ever been to. But to watch so many Frenchies singing together, smoking joints and wearing their best joggers, was definitely something that was worth seeing.

Words: Lil Bonhomme

A$AP Rocky – “Sundress”

Music Reviews

A$AP Rocky has always expressed an interest in the psychedelic genre, and this new track teases that perhaps it is a channel he is keen to explore further.

Sampling his ‘Testing’ feature producer Kevin Parker (of Tame Impala), Rocky delivers a shimmering anti love song in his usual smooth as butter style, effortlessly flipping hip hop in a new direction – softer and more melodic than before. The more indie-leaning bassline compliments the rapper’s East Coast-meets-swing crooner voice. In a time when hip hop seems more than ever a cutthroat world fuelled by competition and aggressive showmanship, Rocky (real name Rakim Mayers) seems to find satisfaction in paving his own loverboy brand of rap.

It seems he can do no wrong, in the eyes of fans and critics alike. On one hand, there is no argument in his impeccable choice of collaborations, and his obsessive ear for production detail both sonically and audibly surpasses near anyone else in his field. Having said this, he still maintains authenticity and Sundress is simply a culmination of all these aspects. It is simultaneously fantastically retro in its sound, yet also unlike anything we have heard before.

Words: Briony Warsop

RAIDER – “MAMA MIA”

Music Reviews

Dropping this trap lullaby, that busts crystalline rhymes with an off the heezy 808 drum & bass and sweet piano chords, Artem Chekh, aka RAIDER, this young MC shows the flaming rise of a new urban okrug scene in Ufa, the highly techno-logical capital of the Republic of Bashkortostan, in Russia, in which “gang life flourishes”.

It is perfectly portrayed in the artsy cover of his track, which can vaguely echo ‘Paranoid Android’’s dystopian atmosphere, but it’s all a product of his icy mind.

He can picture this street underworld so well because he himself joined this tough way of living, but it’s all behind his shoulders, ‘cause now he chose “simply to put the beauty in everyday life”, not lookin’ back and makin’ his mama proud.

As the title suggests, ‘Mama Mia’, which can wrongly remind us of the notorious ABBA musical or Freddie Mercury’s unforgettable exclamation in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, this is a modern bouncy Russian chanson made as a response of the typical attentive rules and advices coming from everyman’s mum. “She said do not go on the path that all fuckers choose” and in these blunt couplets reveals how mama’s preachings are heard and followed.

“I have no one way

I’ll do what I want

Many as unknowables

Fuck to notice the husk

They all fuck when they hear noise in the street”.

 

Words: Federica Ardizzone

Successfully expressing his feelings, The New Consistent releases his new single “3 Years”

Music Reviews

A new release from The New Consistent demonstrates the potential of spoken word artist, Ben Ramsey.  “3 Years” succeeds in being a sweet and soulful confession of the worries and doubts that surround romantic relationships. This release comes about two months after their self-titled track, “The New Consistent”, and the tone is slightly more mature. The words sound more honest, making the track more relatable.

A dreamy lo-fi instrumental, produced by Ozzy from band Swim Deep, accompanies Ramsey’s Mike Skinner influenced spoken word flow. With each new line from Ramsey, there is a melancholy cadence in his voice which places his words perfectly over the soft guitars and unobtrusive drums.

The song successfully expresses some deep sentimental feelings without sounding over emotional or disingenuous, and this kind of passionately complacent style is refreshing to hear in new music. The usual cinematic perfection of every exchange is replaced with a more down to earth method of storytelling, leaving in all the awkward details.

 

Words: Gabriel Hynes

 

Chlöe Howl – “23”

Music Reviews

Sectors of light reflect from disco balls nailed to the ceiling, shimmering onto the faces of optimistic teenagers at their very first prom.

As a teenager, you fantasise what it’s like to grow older and become independent, wishing away youth like an old friend you no longer wish to associate with. ’23’ sparks the realisation that adult life isn’t all its cracked up to be, and Howl completely nails it.

“Here we are at 23, always thought that we’d be somebody better,” the 23-year-old confesses over sparkly kaleidoscopic production, reminiscing old times and regretting ever wanting to grow up.

We spend our whole adolescent trying to act mature and pretending we can rely on ourselves that when the time comes to do just that we shatter with fear. It’s happened to you, it’s happened to myself and it’s happening to Chlöe Howl right now.

But we’ll figure it out one day. Here’s to our twenties.

Words: Jordan White

PREMIERE: Gabi Garbutt’s ‘Lady Matador’ and Ezra Furman cover, release date 20th April

Music Reviews, Uncategorized

After the success of previous single “Armed with Love,” Gabi Garbutt is set to release new track “Lady Matador” on 20thApril with a cover of Ezra Furman’s “Teddy I’m Ready” as the b-side. Once again she has worked with Sean Read to produce them, they both show off her personality and versatility as an artist.

“Lady Matador” is an optimistic, upbeat track, exuding the fun yet complicated aspects of love. She sings quickly but without the loss of her intimate voice, whilst a saxophone led melody lifts it up into a cheerful, animated sound. Described by herself as enjoying writing about the “fragile, ecstatic feeling,” this one is heavily focused on a romantic context, “where everything’s magic and alive but tinged with destruction and chaos.” This shines through with the continued references to paradise and riding on a high, making an easy soul fused listen.

B-side “Teddy I’m Ready” has more of a stripped back opening with background vocals drifting throughout the chorus’, it emphasizes a subtler version of the vulnerable feeling she speaks so fondly of but still gives a sense of her lively and enjoyable presence. Her love for this song filters through the authenticity in her vocals and the simplicity of the arrangements. She tells us that the choice to do an Ezra cover was simply because her and a some of the band are big Ezra fans. She says, “I think he’s the most exciting artist out there at the moment, incredible lyrics and vision, he’s a magnetic performer and vocalist, and high energy brassy rock n’ rollalways strikes a chord with me! I came across him a few years ago when I was listening to a few Bella Union artists I hadn’t heard before, as I found I really like a lot of artists on that label, and now he’s my favourite. To me, Teddy I’m Ready is a perfect song. I struggle tothink of another song that brings me so much joy.”

This charm is something that not only echoes within her cover but also through her own music, the excitement surrounding her debut album rises with this release.

gabs shoot feb18 LR-8.jpg

You can listen to the cover here:

https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/400992135%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-YLySj&color=%23ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true”></iframe

And Lady Matador here:

 

She will be playing the following dates in London:

London Covent Garden Roadhouse (launch party) – April 19 

London Camden Monarch (Mark Beaumont presents) – May 9 

London Roundhouse (w/Frank Turner) – May 11

DSC05594a-LR

Words by Louise Tindall

Insecure Men at Scala

Live Reviews, Music Reviews, Uncategorized

A dimming of lights, hush of music and a roar of the crowd indicated that Insecure Men had entered. Amongst the shadows, a determined voice yelled “Can we have some lights on the stage, so we can see what we’re doing?”

With this, a rolling green light revealed a musical extravaganza: a vibraphone, slide guitar and saxophone being amongst the many instruments they could fit onto the stage.

Buttoned up in suits and with an intense flash of blue light the nine-piece opened with ‘Cliff Has Left the Building’. Immediately, the atmosphere was cosmic, encapsulating the Californian suburbs daydream air of their recently released, self-titled album, ‘Insecure Men’.

Like wind turbines on a desolate hill, the band remained relatively stationary throughout, completely entranced in what they were doing. Meanwhile, the performance was unfaltering in visual strength, bodies in the audience swaying, hypnotised, frolicking in the paint palette of light – there were slime greens, romantic reds, marine blues and hot pinks.

In an amateur way, Insecure Men announced each of their songs: “This song is about Heathrow. It’s called Heathrow.” The childlike jig played a pivotal role in really dragging people back into reality with the uneasy chugging that slows and grinds to a halt.

Mid-way through the set, Fat White Family frontman, Lias Saoudi, slinks onto the stage with a half drunk pint in hand. The spotlight shifts and soon as the song (‘Ulster’) begins, it’s over, and he slides back off the stage, as if nothing had happened.

‘Mekong Glitter’ upped the ante as the setlist reached it’s end, stressing dirty guitar and dissonant mess on the piano during the solo. Unquestionably, the song bounced off all the walls as the whole crowd joined in unison for the chorus: “Why don’t you ever ask why? Why don’t you ever ask why?”

Closing the set, the smoke machine relentlessly huffed and puffed transporting the venue into the steamy bathroom where ‘Whitney Houston and I’ exists, leaving the audience in the ethereal haze they first stepped into.

 

Words by Meg Berridge

 

Edited by George Kennedy

Justin Currie and The Pallbearers at The Jazz Cafe

Live Reviews, Music Reviews, Uncategorized

Looking over the sea of wrinkles that was the crowd, it was clear that no one here, save the little boy playing on his parent’s or maybe even grandparent’s iPhone, was under the age of 25. A mass of pale bald scalps filled the room while the odd aroma of old spice mingled with ale, stout, and feet rose from the floorboards. The venue itself, for all of its history hosting world famous artists such as Amy Winehouse, Ben E King, Kym Mazelle, and Edwin Starr, looked completely modern.

The wooden detailing and warm ambience gives the cafe a cosy atmosphere. One thing which was a little strange to me was the first floor restaurant, which housed viewers throughout the night who ate as the performance took place, however the smell of the food could not mask the scent of middle occupants on the floor below. As the support act walked on stage the landing crowd took their places, a large number of them fought over the very few seats at the back of the room, fearing standing on their feet for an hour, while the brave ones filtered to the stage.

Les Johnson and Me opened the night, a Scottish bluegrass singer with a movingly deep soulful voice, unfortunately many of the crowd were unfamiliar with him or his work so the atmosphere suffered somewhat. An hour later the man everyone was there for took the stage. Justin Currie with his backing band The Pallbearers.

Opening with a rocking song from back in the Del Amitri days, ‘Just Like a Man’, an obvious crowd favourite from the reaction, the scintillating guitar tone mixing perfectly with the rough Glaswegian twang in Justin’s voice. A voice that hasn’t aged a day from his first record with Del Amitri back in 1985. From there they quickly rattled off the greatest hits of the Del Amitri days, ‘Be My Downfall’, ‘Move Away Jimmy Blue’, ‘Tell Her This’, and ‘Always The Last To Know’ were particularly well received by the crowd, almost all of which sang along, knowing all the words to each and every song.

After warming the crowd up with the classics he moved on to the latest songs from his new album ‘This Is My Kingdom Now’, including the title song, ‘No Surrender, and ‘Sydney Harbour Bridge’. His experience shines not only during the performance, but also in-between the songs, as the band left the stage for one of the more intimate songs he quipped “they hate the sad ones”, to a murmur of laughter “but then again, they’re all sad ones”.

Finishing with perhaps his most famous hit from the Del Amitri days, ‘Driving With The Brakes On’ was met with rapturous applause, as the crowd quickly moved moved out to catch the next train back in time for bargain hunt on BBC One.

 

Words by Jamie Raybould

 

Edited by George Kennedy