Tag Archives: uk

“Isles.” Video from UK indie-rock group, Little Comets.

Emerging from humble beginnings, Little Comets have come from spontaneous shows on subways and bakeries to a major record label deal. Since breaking from said label in 2010 (the band jokingly adds that their album didn’t sound enough like Ke$ha), Little Comets have gone independent touring through Great Britain appearing at numerous venues and festivals along the way. Hailing from Newcastle, England, the band recently released their first single after being emancipated from their major record label. “Isles,” as well as 11 other tracks juxtapose in the form of their most recent album, In Search of Elusive Little Comets, which was released earlier this year reaching #54 on the UK Billboard charts. Check out the music video below from these Tynesiders. They are Little Comets. This is “Isles:”

You can find more information about Little Comets from their website, fan page, and twitter account. They will be touring England through the end of year, closing the year out with a show in their hometown.

I thought I would throw in a bonus track. It’s called “One Night in October.” It was Little Comet’s first big hit and I’ve been a fan ever since I heard a year or so ago. Cheers.

kyle c. stilley | marketing strategist | music without labels, llc | chicago | @stillz

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NERO – “Crush On You” [VIDEO]

nero - welcome reality album cover

Everyone says it’s always about your timing especially when dropping any sort of news and I must say it was pretty damn good right now as NERO just posted their latest video release. The video features the forthcoming single, “Crush On You” which is to be released October 16th 2011. This initially cheerful track takes to chaos as the killer dubstep bass tones take over your ears and the life of the video. Definitely a great one to have stumbledupon at such a perfect moment. Not really much to add here as I was in the middle of some other work but I just had to get this out to you as I was hearing it for the first time!

“Face The Rain.” New Video from UK pop group First Place.

First place is the new pop urban group made up of three talented individuals residing in Bristol. Singer, rapper and songwriter Yomi started the group after performing with 20 year old rapper and Urban Music Award Winner Frenzee locally and as far away as Glasgow. Singer/ songwriter and ex-stage school Grade-A student Allegra was originally a fan of Frenzee’s music but is now a group member she brings balance and sweetness to the group with her soulful pop tones. Following on from the buzz First Place started with their first promo single Best Of Me, they are now back with their second promo single Face The Rain. Even though the band is currently completely independent, that hasn’t stopped them from impressing the likes of Alecia Dixon when they recently supported her, leading her to tweet about how great they were and their music was. Often playing to over 3000 kids, under-18 events, and corporate live performances, First Place have been slowly and independently building their fanbase by doing school tours and PAs across the UK. A nationwide school tour is planned for September 2011. First Place recently released their second video to single, “Face the Rain.” Enjoy.

As aforementioned, First Place’s break-out hit was their single “Best of Me” which started creating buzz around the top of the year. It is always a pleasure find a group that provides a clean, positive example for the younger generations. However, don’t expect to find any Barney sing-a-longs. Do expect to find a soulful vibes, positive lyrics, and wholesome entertainment.

kyle c. stilley | marketing strategist | @stillz | music without labels & beat-play, llc

“I Must Be A Lover.” Brand new video from Guillemots, live from Dot to Dot Festival in the United Kingdom.

This spring the editors at Music Without Labels were excited to bring you new music from the Guillemots, an alternative rock outfit from Birmingham, United Kingdom. In April, they released “Walk The River,” their third album to date which opened to rave reviews earlier this year. You can read Steve Rippin’s preview if you missed it. Recently, Guillemots released a live performance of “I Must Be A Lover” from a recent invitation to the Dot to Dot Festival, a weekend festival that circuits from Bristol to Nottingham to Manchester. This single goes on to add another stripe to an already stellar album. The bended notes of the keyboard and almost organ-like synthetics creates a unique platter for lead-singer Fyfe Dangerfield to serve his passionate and sensible lyrics about putting the past behind us and moving on. It is a remarkable song that I know you’ll enjoy.

Link to Video: “I Must Be A Lover (Live)” by Guillemots

Kyle C. Stilley | Marketing Strategist | @stillz | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

 

Four Tet and Others Remix Radiohead [NEW MUSIC]

http://www.xlrecordings.com/radioheadrmx/lone_four/rdh_rmx.swf

Radiohead is in the midst of releasing a series of 12″ singles, each of which collects remixes of tracks from the band’s 2011 album The King of Limbs. The third 12″ in the series is now streaming on-line; it includes Lone taking on “Feral”, Pearson Sound reworking “Morning Mr. Magpie”, and Four Tet going to town on “Separator”. Listen to all three tracksabove, via The King of Limbs Part 2. It’s out August 1 everywhere except North America, where it’s out August 9.

Listen: Four Tet and More Remix Radiohead

 

By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland | @shaynewithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Simon Raymonde – Cocteau Twins / Bella Union Label Owner [Interview]

Q01 Who are you, What do you do & where are you based?
You know who I am, silly! I run a record label in London called Bella Union. I was in a band before I started the label, called Cocteau Twins and we made some records on 4AD and then,foolishly, some records for Fontana (Mercury)!
Q02 What album,track,gig or producer inspired you to end up behind a mixing board
I havent been inspired solely in that way, and as I do a few different things in music, I am not perpetually behind the mixing desk. As a young boy, my father who produced many artists and wrote string arrangements for people like The Walker Brothers, would take me to the studios in London sometimes and hearing him talk about Joe Meek, I was always fascinated by his approach and think in many ways, the fundamentals of what Joe practised still apply today in all scenarios. My dad was one of Joe’s favourite arrangers and when I found myself in later life running studios of my own, rediscovering Joe Meek was highly inspirational to me. His use of reverb, delays and compression, tape loops and distortion, echoes and other strange sounds saw him as way ahead of his peers and for the kind of music we were making, there seemed to be parallels.
With a household full of music from a very early age, it might seem like I was destined for a life in music but to be honest, the music I heard as a young teen, from my brother’s room, mostly heavy rock stuff and proggie stuff wasn’t remotely exciting to me, and I was happiest playing football and hanging out with friends, until 1976 arrived and I heard the Sex Pistols and from that moment everything changed. I think the records that blew my mind just AFTER punk were Metal Box by Public Image Limited and The Associates’s Sulk, both wildly different but with an astonishing IDENTITY that was partly production and mostly coming from within the band’s themselves. On ‘Sulk’ Mike Hedges who had earlier produced the first 2 Cure albums, had the gift of not diluting the wonderful spirit and exuberance of the band’s music and Billy’s voice, and yet also making a terrificly modern ‘pop’ record, one that still stands up today. As for PiL, their ability to put two fingers up to the industry was never in dispute, let’s face it, Lydon was THE iconic figure in music for the last half of the 70s, and yet instead of playing up to the cartoon he was in danger of becoming -he was too smart for that- the arrival of Metal Box, blew everything else that was stale and tired about the end of punk out of the water. It was a wake-up call, and one that affected many of us at that time. The D-I-Y nature of the recordings was inspirational and as well as being a brilliantly produced record, the sense of FUN and excitement during the recordings is evident in the finished record.
Q03 Where did you study your trade?’
Never studied but in Cocteau Twins we always had our own studio set up from the early days. Every advance we got we’d buy a little bit more gear and eventually we had a studio’s worth, probably two.  We started our own studio in North Acton in the mid 80s, by renting an empty shell in a light industrial estate and with our friends in Dif Juz, who had labouring skills and bigger muscles, we built the skin of our own 24 track studio. Doing something from scratch like that was actually pretty thrilling. I did have one rather tricky moment. We had a false ceiling and above it we had to fill it with rockwool, that horrid orangey roof insuation stuff that works also as a sound absorber. I was up in the ceiling, carefully walking across the joists, stuffing this rockwool around the ‘roof’, when my foot slipped off the joist and disappeared through the ceiling, made of plasterboard! Luckily we hadnt decorated or put the lights in but it made a helluva mess of my leg and the ceiling. When we’d finished building it all, we had a live room and an office and a tuck cupboard (there was a cash n carry in the same premises so we could buy shop-sized boxes of Minstrels and Galaxy bars!), and it was the first time we were able to make a record in our own studio on our own ‘clock’ where we recorded from start to finish. Blue Bell Knoll was that record. We didn’t rent the studio out during this period but we lent it to friends and Robin did some productions there of course. Pump Up The Volume by M.A.R.R.S was recorded and mixed there. That was, until Fleet Foxes success, the only gold disc I ever had !
In 1991 we moved into Pete Townsend’s Eel Pie Studios building and stayed there for 13 years, eventually running 2 commercial recording studios. And then… the studio went bust, and we had nothin again!  I learnt a lot by watching Cenzo Townsend, Phill Brown, and Robin Guthrie of course who was way more experienced than me, but to be honest, having your own studio and living 5 minutes away, I really had no excuse not to learn and I mostly learnt by trial and error and making my own records, a solo lp, the first release on Bella Union, and producing the Nanaco album that I co-wrote. The last record I worked on at these beautiful riverside studios was the Lift To Experience album ‘The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads’, which I feel was the catalyst for me believing in my own ability finally, as a ‘pair of ears’, both as a label dude and as a ‘producer’. The studio was about to go out of business, we were losing a load of money each month, our band had long-since broken up, the rent was very high and the studio business in general was utterly depressed. Bands werent using studios to make albums any more, they were using them to do string overdubs or drums only and we had this amazing place and not enough clients. We probably werent ‘selling’ it well, cos well we were not business folks, we were musicians and it had suddenly become this massive burden. I was mixing the record all day and all night, by day the receivers would be coming in and taking away the gear around me, and by night I was jumping around the control room in delight at this incredible music I was working on so intimately. Very weird time. So yeah, all these recordings gave me a grounding for the future, but I still would never describe myself as a “record producer”. I occasionally produce records but it doesn’t define me.
Q04 What advice do you have for any budding label owners/engineers out there?
I am not so good at dole-ing out advice as I don’t feel I have the knowledge to advise but given the over-population of most sectors of the music community, I feel that knowing what you want your music, your recordings to sound like before you start, is a key first step. Knowing what you want then it should be slightly easier to find out how to get there. Having realistic targets and expectations is important but then like everything, if you approach your work with love and passion, then these two things should override any other initial inadequacies. When I listen to old recordings of ours, like say the Echoes In A Shallow Bay and Tiny Dynamine which was predominantly recorded in a room we rented in William Orbit’s flat in St Johns Wood on a 16 track recorder, it’s clear that no amount of ‘gear’ makes a great sounding record, it is what you do with the gear that ya got!
Q05 What people in the biz inspire you to do what you do. past heroes and modern upstarts?
From the label side, Geoff Travis is for me the man. I don’t remotely want to emulate him, or copy him or for that matter BE him, but  having seen Geoff come through a myriad of trials and tribulations during the long and dramatic history of Rough Trade, I can comfort myself knowing that simply if you love what you do, then you will come through the wringers and out the other side, and straighten yourself out, and move forward again.  On the audio/studio side of things Dave Wrench, an engineer/producer/musician is an example to us all. He works at Bryn Derwen Studios in North Wales and is an incredible person to work with, with exquisite taste, and immaculate pro tools skills. He also knows how to mic things up superbly and has worked for years in the analog domain so he has multi-skills and he is an amazing guy to sit next to for 6 weeks on a production! That inspires me. Even if I am producing up there, Dave is part of the reason I am there. The studio is close to a quarry, and incredible waterfalls within a few minutes walk from the studio. Its like an old country manor house that’s wonderfully unkempt and bands feel so at home there. The prices of studios in London are beyond many of the bands I work with, and Bryn Derwen is a residential studio with plenty of room for 6-8 , a wonderful mix board a DDA AMR24, a lovely old grand piano, great outboard, and a brilliant engineer, Dave Wrench on tap. I produced the Lucas Renney record here, and the Duke Spirit lp ‘Cuts Across The Land’, and my own Snowbird record ( a new band with Stephanie Dosen)
Q06 Analog or Digital? Tape or DAW? Outboard or Plugin?
Whatever and wherever, but out of choice I love the sound of analog recordings. Our own studio was mostly during the pre-computer  period and I learnt what little I know using 2″ tape, on an Otari 24 track with Dolby SR, and Otari half-inch mastering. We did  buy a lot of lovely old vintage gear, but it all went with the receivers and it’s best not to think about it!!
Q07 What 3 pieces of gear could you not live without?
Roland Space Echo, Roland CR78 drum machine and AKAI MPC-60 (its limitations are its strength) and I am using them ALL on the Snowbird LP!
Q08 What do you think is the best mixed record of all time?
Either Innervisions by Stevie Wonder or Remain in Light by Talking Heads
Q09 What do you do on your downtime from Label/Studio?
Downtime??????????
Q10 If you werent an producer/musician , what would you be doing instead?
Dogwalker.

Q11 What was your 1st professional album, mix/master job?
First job outside of my own solo and band stuff was Billy Mackenzie’s posthumous release on Nude Records called Beyond The Sun. A privilege to be involved as co-producer. As I had loved The Associates, to get a phonecall out of the blue, asking if I’d like co-produce the record blew my mind, and then to sit with the music of this sadly-missed beautiful man who I had met as a naïve 18 year old and be able to put something of my self into it was emotional and super special.
 
Q12 What is some of the recent/future works you been part of?
I am co-producing an album I have co-written for a band called Snowbird, with Stephanie Dosen (Chemical Brothers, etc), this will be  released in 2012 on Bella Union and I recently produced the debut lp on Brille Records by Lucas Renney, ex-Golden Virgins. I brought Paul and Mckenzie from Midlake over from Texas to record with Lucas and that was a great fun experience in Bryn Derwen wirth Dave Wrench.  At that point, I realised that Mckenzie was probably the best drummer around. Hearing him on record and seeing him at gigs is one thing, but seeing him in action was something else. Literally. Two things I wont EVER forget. On one take I was watching through the control room window, he was texting with one hand and playing the drums with the other..that was THE take we used and it was genius! Then on a new song that he and Paul had never heard before, they played it through for the first time and as is usual, Dave and I were recording everything anyway, just in case, and at one point in the song, a very straightforward 4-4 verse chorus arrangement, BOTH Paul and Mckenzie at EXACTLY the same moment did this weird off-beat fill thing that was so unexpected Dave and I just looked at each other and were like “WOAH! Did you hear that?!!” How could they have known to do that at the same time on a song they had only just heard!! When I spoke to them on the headphones after the take, I asked them how the fuck that could have happened, and Paul just laughed and said ‘we’ve been playing together every day for like 7 years, we have an instinctive thing going on ….” Yeah, too right they do. Moments like this are priceless and why I am so grateful for the life I have.
By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland | @shaynewithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

The Little Black Hearts – “The Strange” [VIDEO]

The Little Black Hearts is a hard-hitting rock band from Leeds, UK. The four-piece outfit brings a truly raw rock sound, consisting of thundering drums, classic guitar riffs, and a bass that drives the show. While the brute force of their sound might be the most noticeable characteristic, you can’t help admiring the juxtaposition with the rhythm and melodic components. They are unabashed and unafraid, and, for the most part, completely unfiltered. If you take some time to listen to a larger sample of their music, you understand exactly what I’m talking about. To be honest, it’s quite endearing. Fun little tidbit: the video for their single, “The Strange,” was fully recorded and edited on ten iPhones. It’s refreshing to see people work outside of the common molds. You can check out the video below and make sure you check out their music section on their facebook page to hear more of their art.

Bonus Video: “Rebecca” by The Little Black Hearts

Kyle C. Stilley | Marketing Strategist | @stillz | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Bright Light Bright Light – “Disco Moment” [VIDEO]

In the latter months of 2010, rising singer, songwriter, producer and DJ Rod Thomas released his debut album, Make Me Believe in Hope under the moniker Bright Light Bright Light. The Welsh-born Thomas harps on late-80’s and 90’s influences, such as Depeche Mode, Bjork, and Ace of Base to deliver an exciting electro-pop sound. To borrow German-magazine Finger’s description of Bright Light Bright Light, it’s “pop music you’d like to dance naked in the streets to.” Earlier this month, Thomas released the video to “Disco Moment,” his latest single, which encompasses the very essence of Bright Light Bright Light, from the passionate lyrics to the balladic refrains.

Bonus: Rod Thomas’ debut single from Make Me Believe in Hope, “Love Part II” was released last fall to warm reception. It’s an “interesting” video that clearly won’t be winning any awards, but it certainly does nothing to hinder the music.

Make sure you head over to Thomas’ website to check out more tracks and stay in touch with this talented artist’s next moves.

Kyle C. Stilley | Marketing Strategist | @stillz | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Top Shelf Jazz – “Gentlemen in Squalor” [VIDEO]

photo courtesy of Nick Clack.

Self-titled “Fine Purveyors of Filthy Swing,” this rowdy bunch of talented misfits are spewing their lewd and lascivious jingles across the United Kingdom and beyond.  Jazz and swing music, genres usually recognized from their grace and class, takes on a new twist in the form of Top Shelf Jazz, who has enamored as many new fans as they’ve disgusted.  “Gentleman in Squalor” is the title track to the most recent album, which released this spring. Top Shelf Jazz’s bawdy lyrics and blithe personalities will have you laughing and the music will certainly compel you to the dance floor. Make sure you head over to there official site to check out more samples of their music and the always entertaining section of hate mail that they’ve received over the years.

Kyle C. Stilley | Marketing Strategist | @stillz | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC | kyle@musicwithoutlabels.com

MaXXXimum – “Destroy the Dancefloor” [VIDEO]

Meet Max Kline, a London-based electro producer who goes by the stage name MaXXXimum. Recently, he released a new track entitled “Destroy the Dancefloor” which I have taken a serious liking to. It has even supplanted The Shrugs‘ nearly two week hold of my cell phone’s ringtone. I once read, of MaXXXimum’s basslines, that the “XXX” in his name was appropriate because his basslines were so dirty.

Klein has been garnering local attention and has been featured on BBC’s “Introducing…,” which strives to support unsigned, undiscovered, and under the radar artists. You can hear a portion of that segment here. For you viewing pleasure, Klein has also created a video, a video mashup of sorts, for “Destroy the Dancefloor.” Set to the backdrop of the vampiric thriller The Lost Boys, Kline creates an audial thriller of his own, which you can download here free of charge.

Kyle C. Stilley | Marketing Strategist | @stillz | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC | kyle@musicwithoutlabels.com