The third offering from California neo-psychedelica wunderkinds Foxygen, let’s make it clear, is largely full of individually great songs. Following on from the resoundingly pleasant tones of their second full-length, the boldly titled ‘We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace, Love and Magic’, the boys mine their exhaustive record collections ever more deeper, pushing their horizons outward to provide us a tapestry speckled with a greater variety of shades. While the wizened shadows of Messrs. Jagger, Richards and Wood loomed over their previous offerings, and certainly still have their influence, here Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd provide a welcome expansion, and perhaps, at their most zany, even Beefheart has his role to play; ‘..And Star Power’ is an attempt to write a bona-fide prog album (even if work indebted to the progressive music of yesteryear presents something of a conundrum). (more…)
Even if you have not heard of Eliza and the Bear, you are likely to have listened to them due to the fact that their song ‘Friends’ has been gracing the Bulmers advert across commercial television over the past month or so. Their feel-good pop music vibe has been gathering them fans at a rapid pace, and the five boys look like they could be capturing a much bigger audience soon. (more…)
This year Nas’s Illmatic was re-released for its 20th year anniversary. On October 2nd, the documentary, Nas: Time is Illmatic, had a special one-night screening in theaters all across America. This is the first rap album in history to be so wholeheartedly embraced by mainstream Western popular culture. I am happy to see Nas carry the genre so well. However, I wish another album released the same year would get the same amount of love, namely, Ready to Die. (more…)
Casual consumers of pop music could be forgiven for believing Gwen Stefani already returned to us on the radio this past summer. ‘I’m so Fancy/you already know’ blared from speakers of all sizes across the land. That hook. That delivery. It was trademark Gwen. And yet she wasn’t. It was Charli XCX, dropping the self-consciously cool pretension of her solo work in favour of Iggy Azalea’s career-making global smash. ‘Fancy’ would go on to sell over six million copies worldwide and top charts around the world. We were clearly starving for some Gwen Stefani. Thankfully, she heard our prayers (and probably the ringing of cash registers) and has deigned to return to us, with both a new single and a new album promised by the end of the year. (more…)
It’s not often we get to do an introducing profile on Oxford students, but the band Northeast Corridor have begun warranting comparisons with other bands formed at the university such as Foals. The soulful, crooning vocals of lead singer Nick Hampson are reminiscent of Jeff Buckley and the subtle guitar playing that accompanies it gives an overall feeling not dissimilar from the most famous band from Oxford, Radiohead.
Since forming at the beginning of this year, and playing their first show at The Art Bar, the band have already headlined the o2 Academy. They’re now set to play their first BBC Introducing show in Reading.
Despite only having one officially released song to their name, the band’s ambitions are clear. ‘When You’re Sleeping Tonight’ was inspired by homeless LGBT youths who are forced to live on the streets when they are thrown out by their parents. Hampson wrote the song when he was volunteering there and the song captures the cold, loneliness as well as the fear, faced by far too many individuals. With the proceeds from the song going to the Ali Forney centre for LGBT youth, it is rare to see a young band more determined to make a difference than make a name for themselves.
If things continue to go the way they are, they might be able to do both.
Northeast Corridor are Nick Hampson (vocals), Harry Davidson (bass), Tom Stafford (guitar), and Nick Orr (drums).