Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Frights: Afraid Of The Dark + Kids

Marc Finn, Richard Dotson, Mikey Carnevale

Founded in San Diego by three high school grads in 2012 primarily as a joke, The Frights soon grew into a bona fide band when they were signed to local label Postmark Records which released the two EPs 'Dead Beach' plus 'Fur Sure' as well as a self-titled debut full-length in 2013. The split EP 'DeathFrights' came out in 2014. In 2015 the trio signed with Dangerbird Records and last year the label dropped the second studio full-length entitled 'You Are Going to Hate This'; by then original drummer Adam Lomnitzer had been replaced with Marc Finn. Produced by Zac Carber of FIDLAR, the ten superb songs on the album combine the best of Beach Boys and The Ramones into a beautiful sound which the members themselves astutely describe as "surf-punk, dirty doo wop."

Marc Finn, Richard Dotson and Mikey Carnevale have six dates scheduled for next month in Southern and Northern California; the February 14 show at the El Rey is already sold out.

A shout-out to lucky The Fright fans Lila & Cristian in Long Beach who have secured tickets for the Valentine's Day gig: what could possibly be better than seeing The Frights with your sweetie on V-Day? 💓💓

And speaking of Long Beach: there's a The Frights-LB connection: Zac Carper's FIDLAR band mates Elvis and Max Kuehn are the sons of Greg Kuehn, keyboardist in legendary T.S.O.L. LB punk band.

The videos accompanying the two album tracks "Afraid of the Dark" and "Kids" were published last year. (The first spooky clip was co-directed by Richard Dotson together with Peter Novoa. No notes are provided by Dangerbird Records on YouTube on who created the second very funny clip.)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Rag 'N' Bone Man: Human + Disfigured + Is This Love

I can't think of a better way to kick off 2017 here on The Nightfly than to post three flawless live performances by Rory Graham aka Rag 'n' Bone Man. The 31-year-old UK singer-songwriter has been doing music since his early teens, collaborating with various people and releasing several EPs: Though hip hop was his first love, once he discovered he was far better at singing than rapping, he decided to shift his focus and hasn't looked back since. It's a beautiful thing when an artist finds his/her true calling.

The debut 12-track full-length 'Human' drops February 10.  (A deluxe edition of the album will be released the same day and will contain 19 songs.)

Rag 'n' Bone Man will be touring continental Europe and the UK from late March to late April. On May 20 there's a show scheduled in his home town of Brighton, and in early June the festival gigs commence, among them: the Isle of Wight June 8-11. (More festival dates are sure to be added as we get closer to summer.)

The three videos:

His powerful 2016 hit "Human" was the song that put him on the map and deservedly so. The studio version is superb; the live version is sublime.

The outstanding title track from his 2015 EP 'Disfigured' was performed in London last year at the ongoing concert series Sofar [Song From a Room].

And finally: the best cover I've yet heard of Bob Marley's "Is It Love" from 1978. (Much credit must be given to the person responsible for the fantastic arrangement of this classic; quite likely it's the accompanying keyboard player whose name unfortunately is not listed in the notes for the video.)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

12 Fave Videos/Songs Posted On The Nightfly In 2016

Only a few days are left of 2016, and so once again, it's time for me to pick The Diamond Dozen: my favorite 12 music videos that I posted on The Nightfly this year.

As always when I make my picks, live performance clips or videos published last year were not taken into consideration; only official music videos published this year qualify. Moreover, both video and song had to truly blow me away.

I dedicate this last post of the year to the four giants that we lost in 2016: David Bowie in January, Prince in April, Leonard Cohen in November and George Michael on Xmas Day; may they rest in peace. And to quote ABBA: Thank you for the music.

A Very Happy New Year to my lovely readers all over the world - thanks so much for "tuning in" to The Nightfly music blog, my ad free, labor-of-love, one-woman operation since 2008 - come back and visit often in 2017!!!

NOTE: Below each video is a link to my original post.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Amber Run: No Answers + Stranger + Haze

Nottingham quartet Amber Run put an early Xmas present under the tree last week: the third teaser video from their upcoming second full-length 'For a Moment, I Was Lost', out February 17. Directed by Bristol based filmmaker Daniel Broadley, the clip for the superb song "No Answers" is a rehearsal room style shoot that might induce motion sickness in the viewer towards the end, but is refreshingly no-frills.

The first and second teaser videos were published in October and April. The outstanding tracks "Stranger" and "Haze" were directed by William Jones and Alessandra Kurr, respectively.

(Speaking of stellar videos: the band released their debut album '5 am' in April of last year which included the gorgeous hymn "I Found"; the track was accompanied by a clip that is both disturbing and moving.)

Amber Run will be touring the UK most of February. (oddly, no shows outside the UK have been announced so far.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Ryan Adams: Do You Still Love Me?

Ryan Adam's 16th solo album 'Prisoner' won't be out until February 17, but, just in time for Xmas, he has uploaded the audio for the fantastic opening track on the twelve-song collection which originally had been scheduled for release last month.

"Do You Still Love Me?" opens with an organ that would be more at home at a funeral than a wedding - perhaps the choice was inspired by his recent divorce. The guitar that follows sends the listener back to the 1980s (I half-expected Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" to kick in) or even further back to Led Zeppelin's glory days. It's the perfect delicious rock smoothie to which Adams of course as usual adds his highly distinctive touches.

When promoting a new album, many artists/bands choose to make the rounds on the various late night talk shows. But why be predictable and boring when you can can appear on the Lil Bub show? The five-year-old ridiculously cute celebrity cat in Bloomington, Indiana lives with recording studio owner Mike Bridavsky who adopted her in 2011 and wisely uses the show in part to get out the vital message for people to spay/neuter their pets. He also donates much of the profits from merchandise sales to animal rescue groups.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

DJ Shadow (Featuring Run The Jewels): Nobody Speak

Yeah, I know it's right up there with John Lennon singing 'Imagine", but hey, it's almost Xmas so bear with me for a moment or two.

Wouldn't it be nice if, rather than left to politicians, local, regional, national and international relations were instead put in the hands of artists and bands, famous and not? Yep, I know a lot of creative people have big egos and some recording artists are known for their kids-in-a-sandbox feuds, but I can't think of a single musician who has started a bona fide civil war or world war (nope, not even chest-beating rockers and rappers have that on their resume.)

British director Sam Pilling's tragic-comic, powerful and sublime video accompanying DJ Shadow's superb track "Nobody Speak" featuring El-P and Killer Mike aka Run the Jewels from the 2016 album 'The Mountain Will Fall' was published in August. Included in the notes on YouTube is the following delightful dead pan statement from DJ Shadow himself:

"We wanted to make a positive, life-affirming video that captures politicians at their election-year best. We got this instead."

Monday, December 5, 2016

Native Dancer: Pixies + In Clouds

London band Native Dancer was founded in 2013; it was named after Wayne Shorter's 1974 album, and like Shorter they are fearless sonic explorers: by mixing their favorite genres pop, soul, electronica, be-bop, hip hop, trip-hop and rock, the quintet has managed to come up with a sound that is remarkably distinct and utterly irresistible.

Jonathan Harvey (bass), Sam Crowe (keys), Joshua Blackmore (drums) and Josh Arcoleo (sax) all display truly outstanding musicianship; however, the group's ace is Frida Mariama Touray whose formidable voice is one of the finest I've ever heard.

Born and raised in Sweden, the 26-year-old vocalist has been living in the UK since 2010. Her resume is impressive: a Bachelor degree in popular music performance from the British and Irish Modern Music Institute aka BIMM Institute, steady work with Lianne La Havas among others, plus playing in several bands. She dropped the excellent solo EP 'Mamas Fiestis' in 2011, but in Native Dancer she seems to have found her musical home, releasing two stellar EPs with the band and regularly playing live with the lads.

Native Dancer will be performing at next year's SXSW Festival in Austin (March 13 - 19) which will hopefully attract industry attention in the States as well as gain them many new American fans.

The superb live performance of the song "Pixies" was filmed in London on October 20 as part of the ongoing concert series SoFar (Songs From a Room). (NOTE: "Pixies" is not included on either of the band's two EPs and so must be a recent composition.)

The beautiful video for the sublime track "In Clouds" off the 2016 EP 'Vol II' was directed by London based photographer Tom Griffiths.