Many of us learned instruments as children, whether it was the recorder in class, or private piano or guitar lessons after school, and a lot of us are familiar with that excitement of learning a new extra-curricular skill… But then a lot of us are also all too familiar with a particular thought as we grow up: I wish I didn’t quit.
Apenas terminada su gira con Armed Forces Entertainment en Japón y Okinawa, Joanna “JoJo” Levesque recientemente anunció que está lista para volver de gira de forma bastante distinta. Agárraos las pelucas…
Los que conocen bien el trayecto de la cantante de R&B/pop, sabrán que después de irrumpir en la escena con su canción más conocida “Leave (Get Out) -con tan solo 13 años- y posteriormente haber lanzado dos álbumes exitosos JoJo (2004) y The High Road (2006) con Blackground Records, Levesque se encontró con un “problema pasajero” digamos, a causa de su sello discográfico, lo cual le impidió que lanzase un tercer álbum de estudio. Durante esa época, después de haber trabajado implacablemente para montar varias versiones de un LP completo, con aspiraciones de empezar la nueva etapa en su carrera musical, se mantenía productiva y sacó unos mixtapes para sacarles de apuro a sus fans leales, cantó varios covers… y, desafortunadamente, se filtraba una gran cantidad del material en el que estaba trabajando.
Ellis Aaron is a singer, songwriter and musician from Bristol who is slowly making a name for himself on both the Bristol and worldwide music scenes. Having had his music played on local and international radio stations and received a lot of positive feedback from his fans and peers alike for his soulful and high-calibre productions, Aaron has released a new follow-up remix to his most recent single.
Fresh from touring in Japan and Okinawa with Armed Forces Entertainment, Joanna “JoJo” Levesque recently announced that she is ready to get back on the road for a new tour with a distinct twist. Hold on to your wigs…
Those well-accustomed to the R&B/pop singer’s journey will know that after crashing onto the scene at the age of 13 in 2004 with arguably her most popular song “Leave (Get Out)” and subsequently releasing two successful albums JoJo (2004) and The High Road (2006) on Blackground Records, Levesque hit what we shall now call a blip in the form of label troubles, which for seven years prevented her from releasing a third studio album. During that time, having tired relentlessly to put together several versions of a full LP with hopes of starting the next phase in her music career, she stayed proactive and released mixtapes to tide her loyal fans over, performed various covers… and unfortunately had a lot of the material that she was working on leaked.
The Weepies are currently in the middle of a 10-year anniversary tour for their album Hideaway (2008), so I thought it would be apt to revisit one of the folk-pop duo’s best known projects and share some of my favourite picks from it!
If you’re not familiar with The Weepies, they are an American band comprised of husband and wife musicians (how awesome!) Steve Tannen and Deb Talan. Yes, their names were already kismetically like that before they met. Even spookier is that the two were fans of each other’s music – again, before they’d even met. That obviously made it easier for them to eventually meet, which was at one of Tannen’s shows back in the early 2000s. They decided to join forces and if we fast-forward to today, they’ve released five studio albums (2015’s Sirens, the latest), got three kids, and as I mentioned before are now on this tour to celebrate 10 years since the release of Hideaway… I’m almost certain you’ve probably heard them on one of your favourite TV shows.
Curxes (also known as Roberta Fidora) is an electronic musician from the Isle of Wight, who makes “bleak and oblique choral post-pop songs”. Featured in many publications, such as NME, MOJO and BBC Music, and having toured across the UK, she has gained an appreciable following with her eerie, somewhat sad, yet complacently content music.
Pariis Opera House is an electronic band hailing from London. Their latest release, “Your Body, My Tune” is taken from the album MIRRORS (2017), which the band have described as “the soundtrack to life and love in our digital age”.
Founded in 2011, the duo have played festivals and shows across the UK, received regular play on BBC Introducing and BBC Radio 6 Music, and had their songs featured on television and in films, such as Hello, My Name is Doris.
Hidden Gentlemen are an alternative rock band from Glastonbury. I first met them when we shared the bill last year at a gig at The Louisiana in Bristol and they’re really nice guys (which I now realise is a testament to their name). Consisting of Mark Anthony (vocals, guitar), Kyle Cullen (drums, vocals) and Greg Shepheard (bass, vocals), the band have played various festivals in the UK, as well as toured individually in Germany and the U.S.
They have released three EPs to date, including 2017’s Quietly Step Inside, and since February this year have been releasing a new single every month, the first of which is “Jericho”.
We could all use some uplifting and encouragement, so when a live music, poetry and spoken word event pops up with the name ‘Life & Soul’, you can expect it to do exactly what it says on the tin.
On Sunday 9th April, public relations and events company E. Stellar PR hosted its first live event at Toto’s Wine Bar in Bristol. Where “soul and inspiration collide”, the evening promised to “uplift, inspire, spread love, bring life and be 100% honest and real as artists share their truth”. Sounds good, no? I must reveal that I was part of the line-up, and I also happen to be sibling to the organizer, but here’s proof of my non-bias:
Eleanor VS. (@eleanorvsartist) March 29, 2017
(Yes, I did just use Twitter as a credible source – it’s 2017.)
If you’ve never heard “Samson” by Regina Spektor before (even if you have) you have the absolute privilege of experiencing the eloquently and ridiculously sweet love song in this beautiful way.
Originally from Arizona and now based in LA, American dancer and choreographer Lauren Froderman (also winner of season seven’s So You Think You Can Dance) has been busy writing and producing concept videos of her choreography along to some of her favourite songs. The first uploaded to her YouTube channel was a fun, slippery sequence to “Soap” by Melanie Martinez, and today she released her interpretation of one of Regina Spektor’s most beloved and well-known pieces.
London-based musician and singer-songwriter Oscar Jerome released his eponymous debut EP last week. After spending years grafting in the music scene and refining his talent, the young artist unveils a work consisting of four weighty tracks that are certainly a testament to that.
It’s hard to define Jerome’s sound as it’s a peculiar mixture. The influences of jazz, hip-hop and soul are clear, but it’s more aptly described as alternative. With contemplative and obscure lyrics, and arrangements that have carefully been thought out, he creates something original and mysterious that captures your attention from start to finish.
You never know what to expect when you walk onto Stokes Croft any night of the week. There are dozens of cafes and bars always packed with brooding or buzzing punters socializing their sorrows away, music is always pulsating through the walls of these same establishments, and there is certainly an ever-present people-driven spirit that supports and welcomes art of pretty much any format. Last Wednesday, siblings Beulah Davina, ThisisDA and Eric Sings picked the rustic and minimalistic 123space to host an exhibition displaying their art and music.
Annalise Lam is a remarkable young jazz and pop violinist based in the musical city of Bristol. Having been involved in music since she was very young, she’s an intuitive and dedicated talent with a spirited energy and inquisitive attitude to music in many of its styles. She has played at a number of festivals, and with orchestras and a quite a few local bands and musicians, including Immigrant Swing, Julia Turner – and myself.
Last week I’d scheduled to rehearse with Lam (who also happens to be my friend) and I asked if she’d be so kind as to let me interview her – gladly she agreed. I thought it would be a great opportunity to get to know her a little better… or in other words have a slightly more formal and thus potentially awkward chat.
All is right in the world. Order has been restored. Finally, thankfully, gladly after 10 long years, it can be said with near absolute certainty that Joanna “JoJo” Levesque is releasing her third studio album.
There’s a lot that’s happened in the gap between The High Road (2006), which was JoJo’s last official LP, and the forthcoming Mad Love (out 14th October). In short, while dealing with legal troubles – without a doubt the main reason for her lengthy mainstream absence – she never let that stop her from creating and releasing music to her fans. She put out the mixtapes Can’t Take That Away from Me (2010) and Agápē (2012), followed by the EPs LoveJo (2014), III (2015) and LoveJo2 (2015).
Last Friday I attended an important gig for a good musician friend of mine. Jazz, blues singer-songwriter Julia Turner, whose new album Fifteen Times the Moon is set for release this year, hosted a pre-release album launch at the Bristol Folk House.
The show took place downstairs past the cafe in the medium-sized hall, which had a surprisingly really intimate feel. People sat in groups around tables or on a line of chairs off to the side of the stage. Lighting was dim (obviously, that would be pretty harsh to make people eat and drink in the dark now, wouldn’t it), which added to the cosiness – I felt as though I were in a living room. A big one, of course.