Thursday, 17 October 2013

New Artist Alert: Oliver Daldry

It's really refreshing when an artist comes along with a real passion for not just music, but songwriting; not making music for music's sake, but as an outlet for themselves and to inspire others. When Oliver Daldry's email landed in my inbox, he painted the picture of a very humble indie artist, yet a few clicks later his personal website paints a very different picture of professionalism and somebody geared up for the long haul in this industry.

Daldry is a 19 year old singer/songwriter from East Anglia, UK and his debut album, The Boy Who Fell, has just been released on iTunes. Already picking up connotations of 'the new Paul Simon' and with references to Ed Sheeran, Daldry is a skilled classical guitar player who has honed his craft in his tender years and plays wherever and whenever he can. The package is almost complete, save for the music itself...

The Boy Who Fell, the title track from the album is, according to Daldry, about a close friend who saw life deal them an unfortunate set of circumstances as it often does and tells the tale of somebody unfortunately in this instance not able to face their demons. The upbeat, picky folk-style guitar intro leads us quickly to a fantastic lead vocal; immediately it's current yet similarly could have been plucked from a familiar television advert. Daldry's gentle, breathy tones, with a hint of reverb to add a little more colour, compliment the underlying arpeggio before opening up as the track builds, revealing a great vocal range that glides effortlessly into its falsetto. Production-wise it's spot-on, as it takes a left turn both feel and tempo-wise, pulsating with a little more passion atop choral backing vocals; it sounds like two separate songs but they fit perfectly together as we return at the end to the feel and fragility of the opening section. This is a really strong folk-pop song that is sure to fill back-rooms in pubs as easily as it could arenas.

Faded tells a sad tale of dementia as strings pick out the mood of the piece, sliding through the chord progression as the classic-Daldry sound of picky acoustic guitar and minimalistic rhythms compliment the simple yet effective vocal melody. Concrete throws the spotlight on Daldry's talent for guitar playing which amalgamates a Newton Faulkner style with a Paulo Nutini-sounding feel to the vocals as distant hints of slide guitar support this upbeat-feeling track, of which the arrangement is excellent.

I get the feeling that Daldry is on the cusp of something quite exciting and, if he plays his cards right, could see himself in a very different place in a very short time. A real talent combined with passion and humble roots will go a long way and I hope to be able to say I heard him when...

'The Boy Who Fell' is available for download from iTunes now for a mere £3.99 whilst you can keep up to date with Oliver Daldry on his website. Check out the album-taster video below, and be sure to grab yourself a copy. Enjoy :)

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

XSARA - Are There Dragons in Your Heart?

You may remember way back in February of XSARA's debut feature on the blog sharing her EP and news of her album on the way... well, said album Are There Dragons in Your Heart? is available now and I've been invited to take a listen...

In typical XSARA style, it's rich in sultry tones and jazz-influenced feels which suit her mature voice perfectly. Kicking off with She's a Monster, a rocking, upbeat circus-sideshow of a track that is sure to sound even better live, the album takes a step back on Moving On, a heartfelt piano-ballad. It runs around a simple chord progression and is led by the lead vocals, providing a real showcase early on in the album. Strange Love hints at the first full-band jazz feel with smokey, stabby piano chords and a classic ride line, the vocals with a real Paloma Faith-esque tone whilst Sticks and Stones once again dips down slightly with another, slower, piano-led track which soon picks up with a real Nina Simone backdrop to the music.

Sitting pretty in the middle is Business of Bodies, a pick-me-up if ever there was one with great live-sounding drums and sax, vocals and the lower register of the piano picking up the ostinato at the start of each bar. The vocals remain as interesting, with a nod to Anthony Keidis' spoken-word/singing style at times, before It's Not Me drops, dimming the lights on its way past. It's another piano-ballad but there's a certain fragility that isn't present in its predecessors, a certain vulnerability that really sparkles. I'm Your Animal has a nice feel and pace whilst maintaining the classic XSARA sound.

Leading us into the final stages is the frantic One Eyed Man that would be at home on one of the smaller Glastonbury Festival stages in the obscure outer fields in the small hours of Saturday morning, whilst the great-sounding drums pick up where they started, leading the charge in the final track You Got a Problem? It's the perfect summary of the album with breezy sax, sexy vocals and lazy jazz bass.

Are There Dragons in Your Heart is XSARA at her best and is, I'm sure, exactly what her fan base are both hoping for and expect. If you're intrigued, you can preview and purchase a copy for yourself from her Bandcamp page, and be sure to keep up to date with XSARA on Facebook. Enjoy :)

Sunday, 6 October 2013

New Artist Alert: Los Waves

When We Were Beautiful is proud to announce the feature of London-based psychedelic pop duo Los Waves whose debut single, Got A Feeling, was recently released last month. The band describe their music as an 'intricate and harmonious meltdown of their [the members'] experiences from months living in tents on deserted beaches in South America'. It's certainly a colourful background and one that is sure to influence the musical output of any artist, and Los Waves seem to be no exception.

Got A Feeling has been released under indie label Summer Filth Records and features 'sunshine fuzzy guitars' of which I'm very excited to hear. I've had a listen to the single, for which the video is available to watch below.

Kicking off with a hazy fuzz of electric guitars and lo-fi sounding drums, a glockenspiel picks up a simple melody on top of the mix throughout the intro before the main guitar riff continues into the first verse. The drums remain lively throughout as a synth takes over the spotlight in a brief interlude between the first two verses in what seems to be a radio-friendly pop track with a life of its own. The glockenspiel returns with a little momentary restbite as the video remains as psychedelic as the music; both vocally and musically the track is rather repetetive though this is complimented by the eclectic mix of sounds and instruments. It could be just at home on a TV advert as on the radio as on stage and promises a lot of potential from the London-based duo.

You can keep up to date with Los Waves on Facebook, and also purchase your own copy of the single via iTunes. Enjoy :)

Afterlife Parade - Breakaway

I can't believe it's been over two years since Afterlife Parade were featured on the blog but it's been a busy time for Nashville's Quinn Erwin who has since been named a local lightening artist by Lightening 100, his local independent radio station. The break has also seen the recent release of latest single 'Breakaway' last month which I've had a chance to listen to myself.

Of the track, Erwin says: “We hope this song lays the ground work for what we’re planning for the future. We have a bigger vision than just the music that we’re starting to communicate about although the music is the integral part of what we do...we’re looking forward to sharing that with our fans and further cultivating community with them.” 

The track eases gently into life before quickly establishing an upbeat feel and showcasing the reverb-laden lead vocals. A nice feature is made of harmonising Erwin's vocals before the chorus stirs into life briefly, and then the track takes a slight left-turn as it dips into the second verse, the texture ever-thickening. Both the message and arrangement are simple yet effective with the key spotlight shining on Erwin's vocals throughout. There's a tense bridge section which pulsates below the surface, again building as it heads for the final chorus. An effective electro-pop track which fans of Afterlife Parade are sure to enjoy.

With a plan to tour in support of the track focussed on smaller intimate settings, you might be hard-pushed to see Afterlife Parade live however be sure to keep up to date with the band on Facebook. You can both listen to, and purchase your own copy of, the Breakaway EP from the Afterlife Parade Bandcamp page which also features an instrumental version of the track and a live offering.