Listen: London Grammar stream ‘Strong’, the leading single from their forthcoming debut album.

(Photo via originalmattress.co)

This evening (2nd July), the leading single from the forthcoming debut album from London indie pop trio London Grammar was premiered by Zane Lowe as the ‘Hottest Record in the World’ on his BBC Radio 1 show, and was later posted on the band’s Soundcloud page.

The song retains the emotive background of echo-laden guitars, and Hannah Reid’s deep, emotively hyperbolic vocals from the band’s Metal & Dust EP, which was released in February. Reid’s repetition of the same basic sentence structure, following along the lines of “excuse me for a while / while I’m wide-eyed and so damn caught in the middle”, with slight lyrical variation, which perfectly compliment the vocalist’s weighty, emotionally rich voice.

‘Strong’, however does fail to surpass the sublime emotional impact of ‘Wasting My Young Years’, in which Hannah Reid muses, in her soaring vocals “Baby / We are / We are / Baby I’m wasting my young years”.

London Grammar remind of whispers of Patti Smith, Florence + The Machine and Bat For Lashes, whilst retaining an individualism in their delivery of introspective, emotionally-charged music.

Listen to ‘Strong’, as well as tracks from Metal & Dust below via Soundcloud.

Watch: M O N E Y’s ballet-themed video to ‘Hold Me Forever’.

(Photo via We All Want Someone To Shout For)

At Midday today (1st July), Pitchfork.tv debuted the music video to Manchester band M O N E Y’s single ‘Hold Me Forever’, which will also feature on their forthcoming album The Shadow of Heaven, released on the 26th August, via the Bella Union label. The video is also the directoral debut of Cillian Murphy (otherwise known as the bloke who played the Scarecrow in Christopher Nolan‘s Batman trilogy. He also played roles in The Wind that Shakes The Barley, Red Eye, and 28 Days Later). Talking of his directoral debut, Murphy stated:

“Hold me Forever knocked me out when I first heard it. It’s a sublime mix of beautiful melody and arresting emotion – but uniquely it is not a love song. I wanted to try and match the song with images that were both visually elegant and powerful. For some reason ballet dancers kept coming into my head. The strength, commitment and fluidity of movement of the dancers seemed somehow to cut wonderfully to the song.”

The song is undeniably beautiful, possessing an etherial quality due to the swirling combination of chimey guitars and synths, coupled with the strikingly uplifting and fluid lyrics of the band’s frontman, Jamie Lee. Thus, as Murphy pointed out, the fluidly of movement throughout the song undoubtedly matches the movement of dancers, making for a quite strikingly beautiful coupling.

The video was shot on location at The Old Vic Theatre in London, and features the talents of the English National Ballet.

N.B. – This video strikingly reminds me of Local Natives’ contribution to Pitchfork’s ‘City of Music’ series, which also utilises ballet dancers to express the movement of a song. Watch it below.

New Music: Deafheaven’s sophomore LP ‘Sunbather’.

(Photo via nationalunderground.org)

‘Metal’ is a massively loaded word amongst the vast majority of music listeners. For the majority, it evokes images of Black Sabbath’s Ozzy Osborne biting the head of a bat off on stage, or the caricatures of metal bands not helped by the ridiculous costumes worn by the 2006 Eurovision winners Lordi, who look like they were a group of particularly committed Lord of the Rings fans who had got lost on the way to a convention, and found themselves on a stage in the middle of Athens.

Deafheaven, however, conform to none of these clichés. Musically or otherwise. Sunbather, the band’s sophomore LP, which was created after a concerted re-modelling of the band, with their bass, guitar and drummers all being replaced with new blood is a sublime effort. Sure, the album continues to feature the concerted heavily distorted guitar sounds that run throughout metal. However, it becomes clear on the opening track of Sunbather, ‘Dream House’ that Deafheaven are not a band that are content to exist comfortably within a single genre. Halfway through the track, the heavy guitars and uninterpretable vocals fade away, leaving a maze of shoegazey arpeggioing clean, echoey and reverb laden guitars. This tendency to drain the metal away continues throughout the album.

Admittedly, describing Deafheaven as ‘new music’ may be an egregious injustice to the band’s previous efforts – 2010’s Demo EP, and 2011’s Roads to Judea LP.