23 Feb 2011

TOW on 6 Music: Call The Doctor & The Angry Years

Every week TOW plays two songs for the brilliant Tom Robinson on his BBC 6 Music Introducing show... here are our picks from this week's show:

1) The Angry Years - Dress Yourself As Someone Dead

Juliette Jackson is the singer fronting this three-piece who say that, whilst being inspired by These New Puritans, early Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Queens of the Stone, Outkast, DOOM and the like, they're also adhere to the principles of Theo Van Doesburg and the De Stijl movement.

Hmmm, for us plebs at TOW we needed more information on that last one! Juliette says: "The DeStijl thing is mainly to do with minimalism and cutting out flab. We try to cut the flab out of our songs."

"We liked Theo Van Doesburg's idea of deconstruction, where he would paint something like a cow again and again, each time reducing the features more and more, until all that was left was what he considered were it's essential elements."

Gotcha. And, well, that's exactly what this band do. Juliette is backed by Sean Fennelly and Joss Lindey and the band's new track Dress Yourself As Someone Dead is a no nonsense, slightly creepy, rip-roaring rock tune - complete with a kind of rap by one of the boys, completely dead pan.

We'll be keeping an eye on this young London band!

2) Call The Doctor - Take It Out

Not usually a fan of bands described as "jerky, girly post-punk" by the NME, Call The Doctor have gone and surprised us. Take It Out is their new single out on the 21st March 2011 on Glasstone Records.

It's lead vocalist Patti Aberhart's crystal clear, distinctive and melodic vocals that draw you in. It's not the voice you'd expect to hear on a track like this, and we're sold.

Patti is 23 and from New Zealand and is an eyeful live, or so we believe. The band are looking to inject a whole lotta love back into the live music scene - they're setting out to make gigs fun again. Considering the last gig TOW went too was crammed full of people nodding furiously along to the music... we're up for that!

“Take It Out” Spring UK Tour:

March 1: Buffalo bar, London

March 11: Cooler, Bristol

March 17: Censo, Basingstoke

March 18 : Sunflower lounge, Birmingham

March 24: Hobgoblin, Bath

March 26 Chameleon, Nottingham

March 27 Northern Monkey, Leeds

March 29: Cool For Cats at Old Blue Last, London

16 Feb 2011

“It’s All Love”: Shunda K is here to save the world!

Shunda K's album The Most Wanted was our album of the week on French Radio London this week, because it ROCKS. You can listen again to the show here.

TOW's Ruth Barnes met up with the lady herself whilst she was in London in summer 2010 - read all about it here:

“Now I know some of you heard the world is going to end in 2012... I want you all to know you don’t have to panic... it’s under control!” So raps ex-Yo! Majesty high priestess Shunda K on Here I am to Save The World from her debut solo album The Most Wanted, just released on Fanatic Records.

Shunda K is a tour de force. Sound-checking on stage with a beer can in hand, spitting out her lyrics she’s formidable and a tad scary. But all that evaporates as soon as she gives me a mammoth bear hug and says: “Thanks for the love sister”.

Yo! Majesty burst onto the scene as outspoken Christian lesbian rappers in 2006 with their ‘Yo’ EP. However, after positive press and tours with likes of The Gossip and CSS, the group split after the release of their second album for Domino Records in 2008, following a bust up between group leader Shunda K and singer Jwl B. It was a pretty nasty time, with both parties slamming the other in the press. Now, backstage at Madame Jojo’s in Soho, Shunda K ponders how it all fell apart: “I was like, Shunda maybe you was a little too much, you tried to put all the blame on Jwl B. What part did you play? Did you make things hard? I was outta control. It was probably ego, honestly I didn’t mean any harm I just wanted the best for my group.”

The superhero stance of Here I Am To Save The World was inspired by Pixar super-family The Incredibles, after watching it a few years ago, the rapper says something clicked: “I’m Shunda K the untouchable! I thought, I’m gonna spread the love of god, be there for the people, be real, be the one person to tell the truth and stand up for what’s right and what’s just.” After having removed herself from the Yo! Majesty drama and aftermath, Shunda K says the collaboration with Cindy Wonderful (of Berlin electro-poppers Scream Club) happened easily online: “I’m convinced that everything I wanna do, I can make it happen.” Hell yeah.

Shunda K’s solo material touches on everything - rock, drum ‘n bass, dancehall, reggaeton and dubstep. When I put this to her she simply says: “My desire is to reach the people. Everybody don’t like everything. With me, when I hear music I can’t tell you what genre the music is, don’t put titles on me - I’m trying to reach everybody.”

Shunda K and Yo! Majesty always wore their beliefs on their sleeve, but she is quick to correct me when I ask her about religion: “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual. Religion is a modern day slavery. The record industry is a modern day slavery too, it binds people, it holds you down while they suck everything outta you.”

“God is all the way across the sky!” A conversation with Shunda K is punctuated with this kind of rhetoric, but she’s not pushy: “No matter what religion you serve, you’re still serving the same god” she says. “Religion brings separation, that’s not god, god intended us to be one. Love yourself first and then you can serve other people.”

Shunda K talks passionately about her upbringing and her sexuality. The way she talks is reminiscent of how she raps, there isn’t a pause or a hesitation - infact it’s difficult to get a word in edgewise. She came out when she was 18, but has known since she was a child that she is gay. “When we were playing house I was the Daddy!” she jokes. Then goes on to talk about her mother being gay and having witnessed first hand the prejudice she underwent, Shunda K was reluctant to tell the truth about herself: “My grandparents came up in slavery, they never seen any love. Our religion says, ‘gay people you’re an abomination’, all your life you have this desire to be with one sex, but they say it ain’t right. You’re forced to be with a man, it ain’t like I ever enjoyed hoppin’ on the dick - it’s just somethin’ you do when you’re in a relationship!”

After two more relationships with religious men (one a married Muslim, the other a pastor - she admits to have been vulnerable to religious men who told her homosexuality is wrong) and plenty more drama, Shunda K says it was Jwl B who made her see sense and realise who she is: “I know we got our beef, but she wrote me a latter from jail and she gave me a lotta support. She said god is there for you, god already knows who you are, it was really encouraging.”
Having recently toured with Peaches (she raps on Peaches’ track Billionaire) Shunda K is feeling focused and inspired about flying solo: “I’m inspired by her live shows, she’s got this big ol’ long dick (laughs) she is really comical and brings the song out. I’m like, I wanna do that... Peaches is a role model to me, ‘the teaches of Peaches!’”

Shunda K’s debut album The Most Wanted is out now and available to buy on Amazon and iTunes.

Article first published on Wears The Trousers.

14 Feb 2011

TOW on 6 Music - Mittens and Marina Gallardo

Every week TOW plays two songs for the brilliant Tom Robinson on his BBC 6 Music Introducing show... here are our picks from this week's show:

1) Mittens - Deer Park Mirage

This is the title track from Madrid-based Spanish indiepoppers Mittens' debut album released in May of last year. Gotta love that Spanish lilt when they sing in English - so so lovely. Thanks again to Francisco Javier (our portal into everything cool, indie and Spanish - he promises his own blog soon) who sent them over to TOW as a tip. For Spanish indie pop geeks Guillermo Farre is the man behind this project, also known as Wild Honey.

2) Marina Gallardo - Climbing The Walls

Again our thanks go out to Francisco. And then we had a look around saw that Wears The Trousers featured her a while back too. Sheesh, it's hard keeping up with the cool kids! Andalucian native Marina is two album's in and last year released Some Monsters Die And Others Return on Barcelona label Foehn Records. At only a minute and twenty seconds in length, Climbing The Walls is a gentle, mournful lament, which would send even the most tortured insomniac off to sleep.

12 Feb 2011

Sharon Van Etten interview! Listen here:

New Jersey native Sharon Van Etten's album Epic was one of TOW's albums of the year in 2010. Every song as sad and as powerful and as heartbroken as the one before, with a strength and gutsiness that makes the hairs on your neck all-prickly. Sharon says her songs are sad, because she is happy - it's a cathartic process. Now we know if she ever releases an album of Happy House Hardcore remixes, it's a cry for help!

Ahead of a London date on 13 February and a two week tour with The National we caught up with SVE:

Epic is out now on Ba Da Bing Records.

9 Feb 2011

Kyla La Grange - interview

The Other Woman's Ruth Barnes speaks to Watford singer-songwriter Kyla La Grange about her upcoming debut single Walk Through Walls/ Courage. From open mic nights at university to connecting with a generous producer through Myspace, it's a modern musical success story. However, the weight of the world hangs heavy on her shoulders: "My default mode is a bit sad, I think..." she says, but, "writing music has enabled me to cope with that."


Walk Through Walls/ Courage is out on Noir on March 1st.

8 Feb 2011

TOW on 6 Music - Linda Mirada & Robot's In Disguise

Every week TOW plays two songs for the brilliant Tom Robinson on his BBC 6 Music Introducing show... here are our picks from this week's show:

TOW has to thank Francisco Javier for emailing over some fantastic new artists hailing from his home country of Spain. Linda Mirada was one of them, she's from Madrid and was doing the hazy, shoegaze thing way before the latest wave from the US west coast! And DIG that funky bass line... Label Discoteca Oceano will release a remixes EP soon, which will include a remix by Ruby Sun’s Ryan McPhun. 

In her email to TOW, RID's Sue Denim assures us there's new material imminent - so we thought we'd play Wake Up on 6 Music to remind us all why we loved them the first time around. You might recognise them from The Mighty Boosh or heard one of their tracks on Ugly Betty. It seems though that a sharp image, catchy, cheeky, well-crafted electro-pop tunes wasn't enough to nab them much mainstream radio play. Let's hope album number 4 sends them stratospheric as they promise it to be 'just as exhilarating and zealous as ever!' Bring it on...

Mega fans click here to head to Pledge Music to help Robot's In Disguise finish the album.

1 Feb 2011

TOW on 6 Music: Alice Gun and Sohini Alam

Pick 1 - Alice Gun - Not Made For This World

   Alice Gun - Not Made For This World (Single Edit) by ambiguousrecords

Alice Gun releases her first full length album on March 18th, Blood and Bones, on Ambiguous Records. TOW has been watching and listening to Alice for a few years now, from early singles The Swimmer and Blanket And A Box, a session on TOW on Resonance FM, a brilliant gig for Tom Robinson's Fresh On The Net festival to now... where we meet Alice poised to unleash her 'witch-rock' on the music industry. Spooky, beautifully rendered songs, a soundtrack to a rain-lashed moor in Bronte country and truly in a class of it's own.


Pick 2 - Sohini Alam - London Opens

   11 Nodir Kul(Bas Remix) by SohiniAlam

Sohini Alam was introduced to TOW by the South Asian Women's Creative Collective (SAWCC) along with some other fantastic singers we will be sprinkling on the blog over the coming months. Sohini sings Bangla music with an emphasis on Nazrul Sangeet - literally "music of Nazrul," which refer to the works of Kazi Nazrul Islam, the national poet of Bangladesh. Can you tell we just Wiki'd that? More on this subject soon as we intend to try and pin Sohini down for an interview one of these days!