Across the Pond

The 1975


Across the Pond: The 1975 Time Warp to the 70s with Satirical “Love Me”

Across the Pond, New Music, Pop Artists, Uncategorized

October 29, 2015

(photo credit: The 1975)

Long gone are the days of The 1975’s black and white aesthetic and subversive pop songs. Teenage girls are ditching their black and white 90s grunge wardrobes for something new – pink, blue and 70s pop all over.

The 1975 announced the coming of a new era on June 1, posting a old-style typewritten note online before deleting all social media accounts. (The band is notably named after a date that was hand written in a book given to Healy: 1st June, The 1975.) While the disappearance only lasted 24 hours, the band received enough publicity of the stunt to put them on the radar of larger audiences. Fans have anxiously awaited new music since the band’s 2013 debut album was released. For the second album, it was a certainty that The 1975 was going to reinvent itself, musically and aesthetically.

Four months later, The 1975 was ready to show its new self to the world. Single “Love Me” debuted as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record in the World on BBC Radio 1 earlier this month, and it’s a time warp back to the 70s.

It appears The 1975 have taken their name at face value. It would be an understatement to say the band has been influenced by 70s and 80s pop music – rather, The 1975 are bringing 1975, quite literally, to 2015. “Love Me” features electric guitar hooks, space-age synth and keys, and vocal emphasis, which Matthew Horton for NME notes is oddly reminiscent to those of David Bowie’s “Fame,” also released in 1975.

That’s not half of it. Prior to the single release, The 1975 posted a photo of the band (pictured above) dressed in a red suit, black velvet jacket, leather pants and most notably, blue eye shadow on singer Matthew Healy. Healy had all but turned into Ziggy Stardust. It was no surprise The 1975 was going retro.

“You reinvent yourselves but you make it feel like the natural evolution,” Healy said in an interview with Mac on Radio 1. “We didn’t necessarily get in a room and start putting leather trousers on and makeup.”

It’s a hyper-glamorized vision of the band’s previously all black aesthetic. The music, however, takes a bigger leap. The 1975 was always using pop guitars and alien-sounding synth that fall in line with syncopated drums and bass. “Love Me” sky-rockets to a new level.

The music video for “Love Me,” released Oct. 28, appropriately parallels the satire of pop culture and fame heard in the lyrics. At first watch, the band looks a little bit insane, lead by Healy’s mental antics. The video takes a jab at the agencies of fame. In one scene, Healy stands in a group of cardboard cutouts of Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran and Charli XCX, among other famous artists, singing lines such as “I’m just with my friends online” and “you look famous, let’s be friends.”

While Healy said in the interview “Love Me” is about narcissism, the way in which Healy sings about the topic of fame communicates a deeper search for truth about the lives they’ve been living for the past two years under the public eye. Healy said the fans have given the band an opportunity to be truthful in their music because “it’s all about pursuit of the truth.”

The 1975 was slowly becoming a pop band, mainly due to media opinions and pressure to be identified by a genre. The music wasn’t just alternative rock, but it wasn’t quite pop. With “Love Me,” The 1975 embrace pop, but in a way that challenges the music industry to evaluate the quality of pop music it is producing. In the Radio 1 interview, Healy said he is sick that there are not enough good pop bands at a time when there is an “amazing lexicon and vocabulary of sounds” for pop music.

Healy said in the interview the 17 track album, precociously entitled “I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It” to be released February 2016, is an eclectic “magpie” of pop culture – as with the first album, every song has a unique sound.

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Wolf Alice


Across the Pond: Buzzworthy Bands

Across the Pond, Indie Artists, New Music, Pop Artists, Rock Artists, Uncategorized

October 21, 2015

Wolf Alice at Holy Mountain in Austin, Texas, on May 19. Ellie Roswell sings to fans during encore. Photo by Jenna Million.

I am starting a new series called Across the Pond, which will examine the music scene of England and the surrounding region. The first three posts in this series are part of a project for my public relations class. As this is a topic that interests me, I may continue the series beyond these three posts.

In the past six months I have become increasingly interested in English artists and what the music scene is like for new artists and new music. I will be posting songs, playlists, artists features and interviews, and other content. To get things started I want to introduce you to several of the undiscovered or upcoming English artists that have my attention right now.

1. Wolf Alice

If you’ve been following me, you know that Wolf Alice is one of my favorite bands right now. The four-piece London-based group is fronted by singer and guitarist Ellie Roswell. Wolf Alice’s sound comprises rock, folk and grunge elements to create songs with a roller coast of emotions from soft whispers and solo guitar to screaming and heavy bass. They released their debut album My Love is Cool on June 22, and have had huge success in England since. My Love is Cool is nominated for the Mercury Prize for Album of the Year along with 11 other U.K. and Irish acts.

2. Sundara Karma

“Vivienne” is the latest single from Reading quartet Sundara Karma.  What drew me to Sundara Karma was their rhythmic drums and bass that drives most of their songs with accents of guitar hooks. Singer Oscar Pollock’s vocals bring a new perspective to dreamy lyrics about teenage daydreams and late nights. With every song Sundara Karma has released I’ve been impressed by the writing and production quality of the barely 20-year-old musicians. In the past few months the band has been gaining more traction, opening for The Wombats and Circa Waves on tour and starting their first headlining tour across the U.K. Signed to Chess Club Records, Sundara Karma are set to release their second EP soon, and have an album in the works.

3. Lapsley

Lapsley has had a slow but steady buzz around her for awhile. The 19-year-old from Liverpool has a sonorous voice that evokes emotions deep within the listener. I reviewed her single “Hurt Me” here. With the direction she’s headed, Lapsley could be a big name in pop in a few years.

4. Rat Boy

Rat Boy is a little bit of rock, a little bit of rap, a little bit of grunge and a lot of crazy. Hailing from Essex, Rat Boy has a distinct accent, and at times sounds like a teenager rapping over early Arctic Monkey garage rock songs. Rat Boy feels very much representative of teen angst, singing about everyday life in a matter-of-fact manner, and calling himself “scum” in his Twitter bio. This list might as well be a list of England’s young talent because Rat Boy also slides in at barely 19-years-old. He was featured in NME’s list of 50 New Bands of 2015, and will be opening the The 1975 on their U.K. later this year.

5. The Japanese House

The Japanese House is the project of 19-year-old Amber Bain, who remained anonymous for six months after releasing the first single “Still” which premier on BBC’s Radio 1 with Zane Lowe proclaiming it his “Hottest Record.” The music is an extreme experimental take on pop with ethereal vocals that surround the listener and layers of synth overtones that drown out the outside world. The Japanese House is produced by The 1975’s singer Matty Healy and drummer George Daniel. The 1975, whose music also brings an experimental edge to traditional pop music, has a clear influence on the production of the music, at times leaving fans to wonder if it was a side project of Healy’s. The Japanese House is undoubtedly unlike any other projects right now, so much so the music is almost alien sounding.

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Across the Pond: Q&A with Wolffe – “Shoot You Down” Music Video

Across the Pond, Indie Artists, Interviews, New Music, Pop Artists

August 21, 2015

(photo credit: Wolffe)

This post has been updated for the Across the Pond series. 

Wolffe’s powerful and sonorous voice tease listeners with sweet raspy melodies while also delivering a fierce, piercing chorus on her latest single “Shoot You Down.” The music video, shot in New York, is as haunting and mesmerizing as the song itself.

London-based artist Wolffe was discovered by her manager last year after a recording producer posted 10 second videos on Instagram of her singing in a studio session. Now singed to Rocket Music Entertainment Group, co-founded by Elton John, Wolffe is writing and recording music, and has already released her first music video, which she also co-directed, for “Shoot You Down.”  I caught up with Wolffe via email to discuss her inspirations and working on the music video. Read the interview below.

The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

How did you get your start in music? 

Last year I got found on Instagram by my management and since then I’ve been working with Rocket. Before that I was in a couple of different bands, writing a lot of band songs and doing a bit of touring. I started out writing. To be honest I never thought I was a singer until I was about 17 or 18 when I was like “why don’t I try singing this” and I guess it went from there. I moved to London, enrolled in art college, dropped out and continued grafting!

How would you describe your music? What inspires you?

Pop-noir. It’s dark indie dream-pop. I’m inspired by everything – films, books (I read a lot of books), men, love, my fear of death, my fascination with religion, stories people have told me. Anything. I find it hard to write happy songs which I’m learning to get over. Considering I’m one of the happiest people, I let all my sadness and anger out through my lyrics (is that cliche?).

What artists have influenced you?

Radiohead, Muse, James Blake, The Weeknd, FKA Twigs, Sly and the Family Stone, Edith Piaf, Miguel, Young Thug

How did you come up with the concept for the music video?

When I wrote the song, I had a very strong idea in my head about how I wanted it to be shot. I wanted it to be filmic and seedy and dark. I was so lucky to have a group of amazing friends in New York who shot, co-directed and acted in the film. Every location you see was either a friend’s bar or a friend’s bedroom, so it was all very close to home. We filmed on the coldest day of last year in December. I was in charge of whisky provision to keep morale high!

You make a cameo appearance in the music video. What was it like filming on set?

I did – only because I wanted to retain a filmic aspect to the video and let the story come out through the actors as opposed to playing the lead role. I really wanted to co-direct the video for “Shoot You Down” as I had such a strong idea of what I wanted. I was definitely happiest behind the camera, holding the whisky bottle.

What can listeners expect from you next?

Right now I’m locked up in the studio, lucky enough to be writing tracks with some really talented producers and writers. I’m working on an EP which I hope to have out in early Spring 2016. But there will definitely be more music arriving on my Soundcloud in the next two months, so you can follow me if you like “Shoot You Down!”

-W x

Stay social with Wolffe: Soundcloud | Twitter | InstagramFacebook

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