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Music Is My King Size Bed

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

'Ginger Swan' Nicola Roberts Readies Single Number Two

While debut single, "Beat Of My Drum" might not have been the chart smash everyone was hoping for, Nicola Roberts is wasting no time in getting together her follow up. Whereas the Diplo-produced "Beat Of My Drum" was a bit more unconventional as far as commercial pop goes, delving into dubstep territory, new single "Lucky Day" (which premiered just this afternoon on BBC Radio 1) has Roberts doing a complete 180. The song is bubbly fun electropop at it's very best, even channeling a little bit of Kylie Minogue in parts. Co-written by Roberts and Canadian electropop band Dragonette, "Lucky Day" is one of the first songs Nicola wrote after going solo. According to Roberts,
"Dragonette were the first people I worked with when starting my album. When I wrote Lucky Day I had short hair and was really into 40s fashion. All of the 'woah woah woah woah' and the 'ah ha' really is a reflection of that," explains Nicola. "When it came to producing the track early this year, I wanted to change it to a more modern downbeat dance record because that's what I am more into now."
I think it's a wise decision to go for a more conventional pop sound this time around, as Nicola should have no problems at all performing this one live.  "Beat of My Drum" is a bit more all over the place musically speaking and involves a lot more technical effects that are hard to incorporate into a live performance.  While Roberts certainly held her own for the most part during live appearances, there was always a bit of awkwardness whenever there were no vocals to sing.  "Lucky Day" is a lot more musically straightforward, lending itself perfectly to Roberts' undeniable singing talent.  A video for the single has already been shot in New York City, directed by Stephen Agnew (White Lies, The Vaccines), the concept for which came from Nicola herself, inspired by Grandmaster Flash's "The Message" video. Considering how lackluster her last video was, the "Lucky Day" video really needs to take it to the next level.

"Lucky Day" is due out September 18th, just before Nicola's debut solo album Cinderella's Eyes (Polydor) is scheduled for release on September 26th. The album features collaborations with Dimitri Tikovoi, Diplo, Metronomy, Invisible Men and more and was co-written almost entirely by Nicola herself.  "Beat Of My Drum" was released June 5th 2011 and managed to peak at #27 on the UK Singles chart, #26 on the Scottish Singles chart and #37 in Ireland.  The single featured remixes from Loverush UK!, Pictureplanes and KC Blitz.  Download "Beat Of My Drum" on UK iTunes HERE.  Listen to a snippet of "Lucky Day" below.

Check out Nicola Roberts on the web:

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English Up & Comers, Graffiti6 Kick Off East Coast Tour in Boston

Photo Credit: Music Is My King Size Bed
When I was invited to see up and coming English electropop/rock/soul duo Graffiti6 perform their first ever gig in Boston, I was beyond thrilled.  Sure, I'd been a fan of the band's vocalist Jamie Scott since hearing his debut solo single, "Just" as well as the follow up single, "Searching," both taken from his shelved debut album.  Scott's next venture was as a singer/songwriter pop/rock artist, releasing one album as Jamie Scott and The Town, and while the band put out some pretty sick covers, that whole style never really gelled with me.  Jamie needed an outfit that better suited his soulful style of singing, somewhere where his unique vocal style could really shine.  I think it's safe to say that with producer Tommy D (Jay-Z, Kanye West, Kylie Minogue, KT Tunstall), Jamie Scott has found his SOULmate. Graffiti6 is the perfect genre blend, touching on rock & roll, classic R&B all underscored with some driving electro beats. Sonic perfection.

Kicking off their East Coast tour in Boston last Monday, Graffiti6 was playing a relatively unfamiliar venue.  Formerly known as Harper's Ferry, Brighton Music Hall is basically a big empty room with a bar and a stage.  To be perfectly honest, I think this sort of space would have been better suited for a more established band or at least a more heavily promoted showcase.  I think a smaller venue like Great Scott might have been more appropriate, but never mind that.  Doors opened at 8:00 PM and, while I understand the meaning of "fashionably late," I wanted to secure my photo pass and tickets early.  Following a couple in just after 8:00 PM, I realized that it would take a miracle for this space to fill up before 9:00 PM.  Grabbing a Bud Light, I took a seat (which would eventually be my seat for the majority of the show) along the wall, adjacent to the stage.  Nervously watching the door for more audience members, I started to get a little uncomfortable.  I'd been to small venues but this wasn't a particularly small venue, which made the fact that there were so few people there, even more glaringly obvious.

By the time Lovewhip hit the stage at around 9:00 PM, there were at most...15 people there.  The Jamaica Plain-based electro pop quartet remained up beat, and completely professional.  Next time I need to just swallow my pride and let the music move me, because these guys were good and comparisons to Cyndi Lauper, Blondie and The B-52s are completely justified.  I just let the big empty room intimidate me into silence.  At one point, Jamie Scott and his band sauntered past the few of us clustered to the right of the stage.  After disappearing back stage, Jamie and his drummer came out and supported the opening act, listening attentively and clapping after every song.  At that point those guys must have realized that they were going to be playing to a virtually empty space.  I wonder what was going on in their minds?

Photo Credit: Music Is My King Size Bed
Once 10 PM rolled around, there might have been 25 - 30 people in the room, which although better than 15 was still a far cry from what Graffiti6 deserved.  Once they hit the stage, Graffiti6 put on a show, playing as if the room was filled to capacity.  The band went through their relatively limited catalog of songs, including current single "Annie You Save Me," "Stare Into The Sun," "Stone In My Heart" as well as the stunning "Free."  While I was hoping they'd come back out for an encore performance (an acoustic version of Blackstreet's "No Diggity" perhaps?) I knew that they wouldn't.  With a venue that small and with people already filtering outside, there was no chance for an encore.  A small group of people can only clap for so long before the lights went up in the house.  Despite the poor turn out, the show was by no means a waste of time.  As you would expect from professionals, the band didn't play with any less passion or energy as they likely would have for a full house.  Jamie Scott's vocals were spot on and the band held their own completely.  There's just something so captivating and almost entrancing  about Scott's voice. I don't know if it's the way he phrases things, his English accent or perhaps the songwriting, but something about his voice just gets me every time.  It was truly a privilege seeing Graffiti6 live.  I only hope that next time, they come back to a full house.

Photo Credit: Music Is My King Size Bed
Graffiti6's new EP, Annie You Save Me is out now on U.S. iTunes (get it HERE) and an album, Colours is expected out next month.  Their track "Stare Into The Sun" was used in a TV advertising spot for The Sun newspaper, thereby encouraging the band to lay down additional tracks together.  The duo self-released their debut EP, Stone In My Heart in March of 2010, followed by a new single "Annie You Save Me" in July of 2010.  Recently signed to Capitol Records here in America, the band has re-released "Annie You Save Me" as the first U.S. single.  Landing TV spots on popular shows including MTV's Teen Wolf, VH1's Basketball Wives (& Football Wives), the CW hit series One Tree Hill, Grey's Anatomy, Covert Affairs, Suits and CSI: NY.  Previously touted by U.S. press outfits, including The Guardian, Graffiti6 has also received major praise from both MTV and The New York Post, being named 'Ones to Watch in 2011' by the latter.  Check out some photos I took from the concert and check out the music videos for "Stare Into The Sun" and "Annie You Save Me."  Also worth a listen...fabulous covers of both Adele ("Rolling In The Deep") and The Flaming Lips ("Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots").

Photo Credit: Music Is My King Size Bed
Photo Credit: Music Is My King Size Bed
Photo Credit: Music Is My King Size Bed

Check out Graffiti6 on the web:

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