LA-based Strange Babes first came to my attention last year with their jangly (and quite magical) "Holiday" single. I have since found out that there are serious pop-chops behind the band, with Joel Little's old band-mates Sam McCarthy and co-writer but non-member Jaden Parkes (both Kids of 88) writing the bulk of the songs so far. But in addition there is now the serious addition of Leroy Clampitt of Banglade$h ("Lean" is still one of the most read/listened to posts on NZMusic4U), and Maddie North (also a stylist, make-up artist and photographer). Having found a 2012 single from the band, it feels like Strange Babes was a tangential guitar exploration that found a tailwind...probably as a result of the strength of the songs. And what songs! Hooky as hell. Others have described the music as a mix of the Beatles, the Byrds, and Teenage Fan Club. The influences are clear. But it works on its own terms. Recent reviews have punters raving about this unknown live support act as they played with the Naked and Famous on tour. It is not a revolutionary sound - but difficult to resist. There is much here for the big labels so it will be interesting to see where this goes. Sam Kristofski did the video. Appropriate sort of look to it and it works too. Some links below for you to get involved with Strange Babes.
Listen to "Holiday" here...
Interview with Grateful Web...
Strange Babes - Come Back Around
“I am made in Britain. I define Britain.” And now he has found himself, physically, emotionally, and creatively, in New Zealand (Bethels Beach, West Auckland). Early 1980s ska bands brought Nadeem Shafi (aka Scalper) to music. Growing up in an increasingly racially polarised and scary London, Nadeem was inspired by the cross-cultural blend and style of bands like The Specials, The Selecter, and the Beat. He eventually became a core member of West London's politically-conscious, and often controversial, Fun-Da-Mental. And that political consciousness remains in his music today, albeit entering at an angle. His young niece once described his music as "scary", and there is a somewhat of a restrained aggression lurking in these rhymes. But there is also a lyrical beauty to this storyteller's metaphorical polemics. For those looking to pigeon-hole, recent work could be lumped in with trip-hop, but there is a broader range of influences at work. Some have likened him to Tricky. I will leave categorisation for the listener to decide. "Lunatics" is from the "Lunatics" EP due out Monday 23rd March. This is a pre-release ahead of "The Emperors Clothes" album, his third, which is due to be released on April 18th 2015 on French label, Jarring Effects (www.jarringeffects.net ). I have included a French blog's interview with Nadeem below. The video for "Lunatics" was filmed in the old Coromandel Hospital, put together by Jamie Greenslade, Jason Fa'foi, Mauricio Olmeda-Perez and Lucy Patterson. It . You can buy Scalper back-catalogue at the Bandcamp link below. Scalper's music is not music to escape with, but alternatively, and rather beautifully, be brought to contemplate some of life's harsher social and political realities as they emerge out of the shadow of the artist's metaphor. Highly recommended.
Scalper - Lunatics
I first came across Ophelia with their "Not So Frightening" single back in 2013 and felt it strong enough to be on this blog. That single was off the first anthology, "Face The Sea". The band's new EP "Invisible" is due out on March 13th, "Play with Me" being the first single. Alex Louise and Patrick Shanahan have been around for a couple of years doing something that at first listening sounds a little "Broods", but is maybe a little more "chanteuse". Echoing the Broods story, they also started out working with folk-driven material but ended up writing electronica. They see their current influences as "dubstep, indie/folk and orchestral soundscapes", the album focusing "on a deeper fusing of Alex’s story-telling song writing style and Patrick’s beat-driven production". This single's quality bodes well for the new EP. Compelling hook, sharp production and a superb vocal performance. An excellent job was done on the video by Design Weasel. Chris Williams directed. Have a listen to Ophelia at the links below. Remember the EP release is only a couple of days away! (March 13th)
Ophelia-Play With Me (Official Video)