It’s now been four year since Jungle released their debut album on XL. The self-titled release was proceeded by top class dance-featuring music videos and a couple of marquee singles in ‘Busy Earnin’ and ‘Time’.
Even over the course of the debut, their sound of falsetto-laden soulful electronic pop with sun-kissed grooves and bright vistas showed some creaks of repetition. Still, their seven-piece live band really worked on big stages.
As for these two new songs, both from the band’s second album to come, it’s a mixed bag thus far. ‘Happy Man’ is exactly the Jungle you’d expect a choral of R&B pop that works well and is pleasant but lacks something extra to feel other than a cutoff of album one.
The video by JFC Worldwide features new Jungle member Zangi dancing in the video though it’s less-impactful and less focused than previous videos.
‘House In LA’ is the song performed on Carson Daly and taking its inspiration from the band recording their second album in the Hollywood Hills (I can’t decide if that’s a “fair play” or cliché situation) but the song’s sleepy psychedelics feels like a new shade for Jungle.
Watch the ‘House In LA’ video directed by Charlie Di Placido:
Forbidden Fruit have announced their lineup of artists and parties for the late-night city part of the festival and it includes Jungle, Tale Of Us, Detroit Swindle, Tiga, Freddie Gibbs, Bondax and more playing at parties hosted by Lumo, Hidden Agenda, Discotekken, Sense, Telephones, This Greedy Pig and more.
Entry for the below shows are only valid with wristbands, day or weekend, from the festival. A limited amount of tickets will be available on-site also.
Special Guest & Bodhi @ Button Factory Detroit Swindle with The Malibu Club @ The Grand Social Gerd Jansen with Telephones @ Wigwam
Tale of Us @ Button Factory Bondax & Special Guests with Hidden Agenda @ The Grand Social Jungle DJ Set with Lumo @ Wigwam Freddie Gibbs with Sense @ The Sugar Club The Rnb Club @ Tengu
Groove Armada DJ Set with Curve @ Button Factory FunkinEven with Discotekken @ The Grand Social Âme Live with Bodytonic @ Wigwam Jackmaster & DJ Deece @ Tengu Tiga b2b Jori Hulkkonnen with This Greedy Pig @ The Sugar Club
The Forbidden Fruit After Party Bus, one 1 bus each night, leaves Kilmainham at 11:00pm sharp and drops off at Dame Street.
Forbidden Fruit just revealed its first names for the festival in Royal Hospital Kilmainham on June Bank Holiday weekend June 3rd- 5th.
It includes: Tame Impala, Underworld, Jungle, Flume, Groove Armada [DJ Set], Tale Of Us, Kiasmos, Âme [Live], Maya Jane Coles, Jackmaster, Tiga [Live], Battles, Bondax, George FitzGerald, HNNY, DJ Deece
Weekend tickets are on sale from 9am Wednesday February 10th priced at €99.50+ fees through Ticketmaster and usual outlets.
There will be four stages on the grounds of IMMA for the festival’s sixth year (Original Stage, Undergrowth, Lighthouse, Someplace Else) and Pod, the organisers are promising bigger afterparties in the city as part of the festival under the Forbidden Fruit Night name.
The pairing of music and visuals is something I’ve always enjoyed but the concept of a music video has obviously changed in the last ten years. There are of course, still concepts, themes, ideas, techniques and executions that lift a song into another realm but there’s also so much video content out there now, that there are plenty of live video and TV performances, vignettes, parodies, and short documentaries around music that did the same thing a music video is supposed to do: to put the artist in front of more people. Here are 20 of my favourite “music videos” of this year.
The world sadly lost the Chicago footwork DJ Rashad this year to drugs. His music existed in a discombobulating place alongside his partner Spinn. This fan-video for ‘She A Go’ used stock video footage of office life to do the same thing constructing a hyper-real experience in the process.
The singer Angel Olsen returned with Burn Your Fire For No Witness, her second album, which had a throwback rock feel. Suitably, the video feels like its beamed from another time via its filmic cinematography and Olsen’s movements specifically are inspired by choreographed studio performances from female pop stars of old, of which the director said “were always so wild and psychedelic and humorous from afar. The more you watch them, the more wooden and awkward the performances become. There is a certain loneliness captured. The song ‘Hi-Five’ seems to contain the same sort of duality.”
18. Ibeyi – ‘River’
Video by: Ed Morris
The recent introduction of the Chromecast to the home entertainment system has meant more space and time for music videos on a larger screen. After seeing these girls perform at Other Voices last week, I watched this video again, noticing how the French-Cuban twins are held down by male hands under water, how they hold their breath for long periods of time, the dead-eyed stare and the on-time lip syncing at the centre of all of this deceptively simple concept.
Dance music can be a perfect vehicle for a wide-open music video narrative and Simon Landrein lets his animation and imagination run wild on a stylistic train journey full of suggestion to match the chugging rough house track from the Irish producer.
The Dublin duo of Sean Cooley and Kevin A. Freeney, Clu, have always put their electronic music and visual work on a par and on ‘Mirrors’, they’ve nailed both. It’s a complementary collaboration that transcends a typical visual tacked on to music setup. The video directed by Freeney serves as a chassis for a potent mix of music (an amalgamation of bass / garage / post-dubstep) , visual (cinematic sumptuous imagery), interpretive dancing and colour that makes for an impressive display of art in total.
15. Katharine Phillippa – Live at TedX
Video by: TedXStormont
The Belfast-based musician performs two songs with the help of a loop station, a bow, a drum, a keyboard, a laptop and an author’s intensity that leaps through the screen.
With the upcoming Marriage Referendum in May next year, single-sex marriage will go to a public vote. It’s an incremental attempt at recognising the rights of the people in this country and should pass because who are you or are I to say to someone – “no, you’re love is not the same as mine” or “no, your love is not valid” or “no, your love isn’t something to be celebrated or recognised.”
In that context, ‘Glacier’, a song from the gentle giant John Grant who has battled with his identity and control and who has been made to feel bad for who he is, eloquently addresses those struggling with their sexual identity – “This pain, it is a glacier moving through you, carving out deep valleys and creating spectacular landscapes,” goes the chorus.
The video serves as a brief history lesson of the journey for that recognition of gay rights over the years juxtaposing chronological footage of the American gay rights movement, newspaper headlines, and pop culture to leave you with a stirring narrative of the journey so far. Here you can donate to the Marriage Equality campaign for 2015.
13. Vic Mensa – ‘Down On My Luck’
Video by: Ben Dickinson at Ghost Robot.
There’s a wrong decision at every turn. This video shows the possibilities.
The Nialler9 TXFM show airs every Thursday night at 10pm for two hours. You can listen live on 105.2FM, online, the TXFM app or if you missed it, on the listen back function on the site, as per below. The show starts six minutes in, right after the news in each hour. Click the buttons to launch the TXFM site autoplaying links.
One of my favourite new bands of the year. I first encountered the Oxford band at SXSW and they were an impressive live act. Since then, their ZABA album has established them as purveyors of quality ambient indie R&B.
Hypnotic and hyper-visual electronic R&B music made by Londoner Tahliah Barnett, a dancer and young ambitious artist. Her debut album LP1 is an intimate, lustful and personal portrait and live, she picks up a microphone like few others.
One of the most prolific and promising electronic producers around, his remixes for AlunaGeorge, Disclosure and Janet Jackson are certified funky floorfillers and his original material shows off a finger-snapping, head-nodding R&B and hip-hop influence. He’s recently signed to XL too.
After a whopping one-two soulful hits of ‘Busy Earnin’ and ‘Time‘, Jungle’s debut album is out this Friday and streaming on iTunes.
As you might have predicted if you’d also heard ‘The Heat’ and ‘Platoon‘ , there’s a very rigid sound at play throughout – nostalgic, soulful, well-produced electronic pop. Vocally, there’s not much variation so a long-playing listen can feel a little reductive over time. Yet, when the group hit on the right vibes, they transcend their transparent techniques.
Listen to the album at iTunes. It’s out this Friday on XL Recordings.
Jungle duo J and T hit it big with ‘Busy Earnin’, a song which ushered in the sound of the summer before the season was actually here. Now that the sun is in the air (disclaimer: I can’t be held responsible for presence/or lack of aforementioned sun), Jungle are back to claim it once more.
‘Time’ picks up where ‘Busy Earnin’ left off, maybe too close to it, that the formula is starting to become more obvious for the band’s sound. Still, it’s a smooth summer groove and still very much in line with all of their work so far.
The band’s debut self-titled album is released on July 11th on XL. Tracklisting below. They’re playing Electric Picnic.
The album tracklist is:
1. The Heat 2. Accelerate 3. Busy Earnin’ 4. Platoon 5. Drops 6. Time 7. Smoking Pixels 8. Julia 9. Crumbler 10. Son Of A Gun 11. Lucky I Got What I Want 12. Lemonade Lake
If you weren’t already aware of the significance of South By SouthWest (SXSW), the shorthand goes like this: thousands of bands and artists at all levels in their careers come to Austin, Texas for a week in March after the tech industry has done its business the week before. They come to SXSW to be seen, to make deals, to spread the word about their music and to further their career.
In some cases, larger acts like Jay-Z, Kanye and Lady Gaga pick up the big cheques (sorry, checks, we are in America after all) and while there were a lot of mid-to-top level artists like St. Vincent, Damon Albarn, Cee Lo Green, Kendrick Lamar and err, Spandau Ballet in Austin last week, my focus, as it has been for the last six South Bys is on new music. Seeing an upcoming artist playing live for the first time is one of the main reasons I come here.
A bit of housekeeping: You can find out how the Irish got in with two pieces in print just published: Heathers and The Strypes at SXSW in Irish Independent’s Day and Night Mag last Friday. My interview with Hozier was in the Sunday Times Culture. He was blowing up at SXSW last week. Finally, there is a ton of daily updates from me to be found at Red Bull Ireland too.
Here are the 15 best sets I enjoyed in a sensory-overloading fatiguing but ultimately supremely rewarding SXSW.
American indie music’s best kept secret for the last ten odd years will be familiar to Irish audiences due to Foggy Notions bringing them to Dublin for a few times over that period. A timely reminder of the band’s live prowess was provided by the Baltimore band’s appearance on Late Night With Letterman a few weeks ago where singer Samuel T. Herring put in a towering magnetising PERFORMANCE of realness that included teary-eyed facial contortions, air-punching stage delivery, a voice that went from yearning wedding singer to a growling gutteral metal band craw, crab-like meme-friendly dancing and in ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’, one of their most anthemic songs yet.
Their synth-pop music, especially new album Singles is pleasing, a career-best release from a live band at their best. In Cheer Up Charlie’s (formerly Club Deville) for the 4AD Showcase, the band codify all of these things into a lightning set.
Herring encourages crowd surfing and gives as much as he gets in terms of compliments. The set was such a feelgood masterclass, I hope performers were taking notes. A masterclass in music and showmanship.
2. Glass Animals
Some bands leave such a good impression you have to see them again. Of all the artists at SXSW, Oxford’s Glass Animals sound like the band most in waiting to hit a bigger level of popularity. They might be English but their alternative R&B music has a definite American swagger to it. Alt-J R&B, the journo part of my brain kept thinking.
Crucially, they already have songs that sound like people just need to hear to get on board with – ‘Gooey’, ‘Black Mambo’ and ‘Psylla” in particular. The two shows I caught, the band were meticulously prepared and their music intricately played. Their Harvest Records showcase set suffered from poor sound (as did everyone that night with the PA cutting out for every artist) but their last set of SXSW in Holy Mountain was a precursor of larger things to come.
Firstly, Sophie is a guy from the UK, not a girl at all. But there were other diverting things happening on stage during the Sophie set at The Hype Machine’s Hype Hotel that set my brain off the wall and my feet off the floor. Sophie’s electronic music is as modern as you can get: a unique tapestry that takes in threads of Rustie-style hyperactivity, zippy electro synthesizer lines, high-pitched female vocals and rap samples. Where Saint Pepsi and Cashmere Cat throw all of their influences in the mix, Sophie’s creates a symphonic digital experience that bounces off the walls in its own language. It’s a divisive sound that’s like listening to a kids TV theme song derailed by amphetamines.
The only long queue outside a venue during SXSW for me, occurred outside the Empire Automotive Garage, an actual car garage that had a reduced capacity that leant itself to such occurences. In the case of Kelela though, the line was warranted, the LA singer has teamed up with some of the most sonically inventive future music producers including Nguzunguzu, Jam City, Kingdom and Bok Bok.
Kelela’s voice on her own is honey-dripped, akin to Janet Jackson in tone. Those outsourced productions create stuttering bass-rattling synth jams for her voice to ride and it results in an atmospheric club music that transcends the plain surrounds. The music was suspended above our heads and encased us in laser-guided sonic comforts.
Jillian Banks’ performance at Haven for the Harvest Records showcase was one of the first of the week at South By. A series of excellent alternative R&B pop singles had already established Banks as one of the most exciting new artists around.
Like Kelela, she has outsourced beats from TEED, Sohn and Shlohmo. All the songs so far share a monochromatic sombre feel. Banks uses that vibe as a starting point to emote in full colour with her bellowing and sometimes wailing voice.
Most obvious from her set, was that Banks’ performance style has endearing. The nerves were clear but she was steely-eyed and gutsy in her delivery. There are relieving smiles after the first few songs as if a large hurdle has been crossed.
In songs like ‘Warm Water’, ‘Brain, ‘Waiting Game” and ‘Fall Over’, she has an embarrassment of great songs that people were already singing back at her and a new song from the forthcoming debut album was of the same calibre.
Photo: James Goulden. So, as an Irish music person who goes to gigs regularly, I’ve seen Hozier four times since his ascension into a global concern (read my interview with him in the Sunday Times from March 23rd). It’s been a startlingly rapid rise and one that has knocked lesser musicians into career oblivion.
The answer to whether Hozier’s move into mainstream acceptance was too soon was plain to see in at the Communion Records showcase in St David’s Historic Sanctuary. Mr Hozier-Byrne has stepped up his live game significantly. Before he was shy and gangly looking, in Austin he was commanding and charming. He lead his seven-piece band where he had fronted them before, and when the song required a solo performance he was able to keep focus.
The new songs reveal a deeper connection to Delta and Chicago blues with bottleneck swamp guitar and a “howling at your door” outlook. Hozier played six or so shows in Austin and was on the tip of many tongues. Local radio was playing Take Me To Church and there was a deserved buzz around him.
There’s a glimpse of what may come in St. David’s Historic Sanctuary as the seated crowd hung on every sweetly sung Bill Withers-esque syllable.