Monday, October 11, 2010

JUMP Hits the Streets.

JUMP: The London UnderSound 2010 is now in print, in a limited edition.

You can flip through the mag, above, or contact us for physical copies. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

We Were There for the Video Magic.

Staff writer Kevin Brosky followed The Brute Chorus as they filmed a video in an East London cemetery in July. The video has just been released, a few weeks before the new Brute Chorus album is set to drop.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Seyi: The Next British R&B Breakthorugh?

Seyi is a 20-year-old accounting student at the University of Kent but born and raised in Hackney, East London. He's waiting for his chance to make it big in on global scale.

Q. So how long have you been doing music?
A. Well I’ve been recording for two years, but singing for as long as I can remember.

Q. And who inspires you?
A. Lots. Chris Brown, Mario, John Legend, Jill Scott, Usher, Justin Timberlake. The list goes on.

Q. That’s a lot of American artists. Do any UK artists inspire you?
A. Well there aren’t many out there. No real UK pioneers in my genre. We had Craig David for a bit but I don’t know what happened.

Q. So I guess you are looking to be that pioneer. What’s in the immediate future for your music?
A. Well I plan on releasing a mixtape based on the skeleton of Chris Brown's recent one. It’s going to have seven tracks and be my first free release, just to penetrate the market.

- Interview by Shanae Mitchell. Image provided by Seyi.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Keeping the Spirit of Joe Strummer Alive.

Buried between a trailer park, a car repair shop and horse stables rests Strummerville, a charity organization dedicated to keeping alive the spirit of Joe Strummer.

Strummerville helps young musicians who wouldn’t otherwise have the means to get their voices heard by supplying facilities, coaching and recording platforms for young bands. Tucked away under the Westway Highway, Strummerville has a far-reaching impact and a worldwide support.

“Our objective is to give opportunities through music to people that wouldn’t otherwise have them,” says Trish Whelan, the organization's director.

The hub of the operation is a ten-foot wide room (pictured above) with stacks of CDs piled on the ground, posters on the wall, and clouds of cigarette smoke. It looks more like a teenager’s room in the midst of this shantytown and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We support well over 200 bands through our programs and the ages really vary," Whelan says.

Joe Strummer, the late singer and guitarist for The Clash, died on December 22nd, 2002 from a heart defect. The Clash revived rock n roll and reinvented genres as he blended several influences at once to get their own unique sound. Their music has certainly never died, with The Clash being still amazingly popular today and still echoing in the ears of those that witnessed their music live in their heyday. The Clash was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.

Strummer busked in this area before The Clash reached fame. The charity organizers wanted to stay close to their roots to keep their unique edginess in the charity.

- Text by Mark Lauterbach. Top image by Rick Kauffman. Bottom image by George Miller.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Modern Brit: An Irishman Who Serves Mexican Food in a Caribbean Community.

Grant Winters (above, right)prepares and sells tacos and other Mexican cuisine at his outdoor kitchen at Hootananny's, a dancehall and live music venue in Brixton.

A native of Ireland who was trained in New York City, Winters advocates for the flavors from South of the Border, usually with reggae and ska music blaring in the background.

“Man, people’s perception of Mexican food - even in the States - is horrendous,” Winters explains, excitedly thrusting his hands in the air. “You can’t just slap Mexican food with tacos. What about the soups, the stews, the way they cleverly use chilies? In our kitchen we presently have 19 different types of pepper to produce the food that we do. About three are hot, the rest are used for flavor. Americans, all they seem to know is chipotle, chilies and jalapenos. Fuck that, what about the rest of them?”

- Text and image by Grace Dickinson.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Scenes From The Brute Chorus' Video Shoot.

Members of The Brute Chorus recently wore their suits and played their instruments in a derelict East London cemetery for a video shoot. Their new album will be released in the fall.

- Images by Kevin Brosky.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Viral Sensations Play a Safe Set (But Sell Innovative Merchadise Afterward).

With a torrent of red white and blue confetti filling the air, OK Go burst into their recent set at Camden Town’s Electric Ballroom with their recent smash hit, “Invincible.” The audience sang along with singer Damian Kulash Jr’s scruffy-yet-polished pop vocals.

“So how are ya, London?” Kulash asked the crowd afterward, before launching into “A Million Ways," another track from their sophomore album.

A particularly dedicated group of fans re-enacted the choreography from the song's video, which became a YouTube phenomenon.

The Chicago quartet played a relatively safe performance for such an innovative band - after the show, at the merch table, they sold recordings of the entire performance, with video and music, on USB drives.

For their encore, however, the band upped the spectacle by sporting digital marquee jackets and fuzzy, laser-strapped guitars. They fogged up the place and burst into a more raw and playful performance.

- Text by Alex Brickman. Image by Rick Kauffman.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Filthy Boy. Bright Future.

Coming off a solid performance Monday night at Proud in the Camden Town Stables Market, Filthy Boy took to the stage again last night in the cramped upstairs performance space at Shoreditch’s Old Blue Last.

The band performed as one of three bands in semi-finals of the Kopparberg Klash, a competition sponsored by Kopparberg Cider, divided into catergories for music, film, fashion and photography. When votes are tallied, they’ll likely be moving on to the finals of the competition on September 1, where they’ll compete for £1,000 and exposure in Vice magazine.

Last night’s attendees saw them raging through a tightly-wound set, which included two new songs and several of the band’s older tunes. “Biggest Fan Ever” had the crowd gathered closely in front of the stage dancing in frenzied fashion, as the song built to its climax with lead vocalist Paraic Morrissey singing, “I’m your biggest fan ever/ One day we will be together.”

As was perfectly clear to everyone in the room (free cider or not), Filthy Boy shined for the second time in a week.

- Text by Kevin Brosky. Image by George Miller.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Youthful Brass that Appreciates the Past.

Bands like Hypnotic, a group from Chicago who have blended the sounds of jazz, big band and hip-hop, have been changing the face of brass bands. This new wave of music has now carried over to the UK.

Bands like 12Tone Brass, a six-piece group from South East London, have been influenced by bands like Hypnotic.

And now, they're adding their own flavor to the music.

"Over the last five years or so, bands like Young Blood Brass and Hot 8 have all been touring Europe and have brought a different dimension to how the UK public views brass bands," said 12Tone's saxophone player Nick Walters. "There is also a northern tradition here in England, with a very different sound to the New Orleans brass bands. The music is influenced by British classical and folk music. So I guess we wanted to bring a new dimension to brass band music by making it youthful and fresh but also paying homage to the traditions before us."

- Text by Meghan Agnew. Image provided by 12Tone.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Music and Murals Bring Harmony.

The Brixton Academy mural (right) was created in 1982 by Stephen Pusey and located in the Stockwell Park Walk. Now known as the O2 Academy Brixton, the venue is a popular place for live music.

The mural is one of a series of murals that were funded by the Lambeth Council and the Greater London Council in the wake of the 1981 Brixton riots. The murals represent nature, politics, ideas and the cultures of the surrounding communities.

The Brixton Academy mural portrays a diverse group of young people, representing the harmony found between children of mixed backgrounds in local schools.

- Text and image by Erica Vines.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Outdoor Entertainment with an Amazing View.

The Scoop at More London (above) is an outdoor stage/ amphitheater where free films, music, and theater are offered all summer long. There are approximately 800 available seats and a small bar.

The Scoop is located between the London Bridge and Tower Bridge, immediately next to London's City Hall, on the south bank of the Thames.

- Text by Erica Vines. Image by George Miller.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hella Better Dancer: Way Ahead of Their Time.

The Roundhouse launched their new record label last month and released their first two EPs (see the previous post for details).

Today, we review “Please Stay Here” by Hella Better Dancer:

Electrifying riffs, classic vocals, tight drumming and a powerful groovy bass drive this debut record all the way home. The freshman EP is simply way ahead of its time. The maturity of the songwriting displayed by these young musicians is purely mind blowing. “The City Sea,” really brings the record full circle, displaying the band’s true talent. With a spacey, unforced intro, intricate guitar rhythms quickly build and morph this journey into an explosive all out jam.

- Text by Luke Bilek. Image of Hella Better Dancer by Evan Kaucher.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ghosts You Echo: Chilling and Captivating.

The Roundhouse in Chalk Farm officially launched their new label, Roundhouse Records, on July 20th with an electrifying showcase of the label’s artists.

The event also marked the official release of Roundhouse Records’ first two EP’s.

Today, we review “Bare Bones” by Ghosts You Echo:

Victoria Wijeratne’s solo project masterfully crafts a sound really like none other. Wijeratne is able to seamlessly blend catchy acoustic guitar playing with intricate drum machine beats. Chilling vocals are the key to this captivating record, leaving you with goose bumps all the way to the very end. “Bare Bones” brings a new progressive edge to such a vintage sound. The final track, “Trouble in the Veins,” will take you on a ride as it builds to a spooky climax of eclectic sounds.

- Text by Luke Bilek. Video courtesy of The Roundhouse.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fashionable People and Good Beats, High Above London.

The Penthouse is a fashionable club located on top three floors of a building in the heart of Leicester Square, providing breath-taking views of the Square and the London Eye, far off in the distance.

The nightclub features big-name UK DJs spinning hip hop, house and techno music every week from Tuesday through Saturday. They also offer a wide selection of cocktails, wines, beers and champagne, as well as high-end dining.

Cover prices range between £5-10, depending upon the time of your arrival. E-mail the club to get on the guest list and avoid the queue (which can get quite long).

- Text by Lisa Aprile. Image courtesy of The Penthouse.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The 100 Club: From Jazz to Blues, Funk to Punk, and Lots of Rock n' Roll.

London is swarming with great live music venues that reek of history and pour out dozens of great concerts night after night.

One of these fantastic little clubs, the 100 Club, is located in Soho, not far from Oxford Circus.

The 100 Club, which began as a jazz club in 1942, has hosted an impressive variety of musical acts over the course of its long history. Over the years, the Sex Pistols, Muddy Waters, BB King, Oasis, The Clash and the White Stripes performed in the small, basement-level club. Perhaps even more impressively, the 100 Club hosted the Rolling Stones after they had already been established.

Texas-based Grupo Fantasma (above) recently played the club.

The band fuses funk and Latin music into exciting albums and electric live performances. The band plays with an incredible amount of energy and a fantastic full sound with ten members, including a powerful brass section.

Fantasma has copious amounts of bongoing and pulsing percussive beats that drive the feverish rhythms and get the audience’s blood pumping.

The group, which formed ten years ago, recently came out with a new album, El Existential. They are currently touring Europe.

- Text by Mark Lauterbach. Image by Chris Diehl.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Vinyl Paradise (With Occasional Live Music).

While the CD is slowly going the way of the buffalo, the market for vinyl has been declining for some time now. Considering that London is one of the largest hotbeds for musical activity, it's probably the perfect place for a vinyl nerd to pick up some new wax.

At the forefront of the city's record stores is Rough Trade, a pair of record shops that operate at opposite ends central London. The two stores offer a great, if not somewhat varied experience.

Rough Trade Notting Hill is the original store, which opened in 1976 at the height of the British punk scene. It's exactly what a record store should be: small, cluttered and crammed full of music.

Rough Trade East, right off Brick Lane, was built in 2007 and has a more modern look to it. The store is much bigger - 5,000 square-feet - than one would expect from a place hidden down a pedestrian-only alley. Rough Trade East is lined with thousands upon thousands of records and CD's, with records dominating the sales-space.

Best of all, there is an intimate performance space in the back of the shop where you can see up and coming artists (such as The Silent League, in the top image).

Both stores offer brief descriptions on the jackets of all the records which makes browsing for something new an absolute pleasure.

Who knows, you might find something entirely ridiculous, like a Graham Coxon exclusive 10”.

- Text and bottom image by Chris Banks. Top image by George Miller.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Danceable Punk at The Lexington.

Sex Beet, a three-man punk band from South and East London, took the stage at The Lexington and played loud, fast beats, creating a raw sound with inaudible lyrics.

The band contains a keyboard player, which adds a bright color to the songs – although the band complemented the perkiness with an apathetic attitude.

Sex Beet (right) seem to take their influence from new bands like Black Lips, taking punk and making it more danceable. It was surprising the number or people who were able to stay seated during upbeat, mock-Beach Boys songs like “She Don’t Surf.”

But it was still early in the night.

A larger crowd piled in for the next set, Not Cool (right), another three-piece punk band but with a lot more boyish passion and energy.

The eight-month old, South London trio’s sound has a punk influence but mixes in pop to sound something like a more up-tempo Bloc Party. They brought the growing crowd to their feet, as they will likely do at their next gig at The Big Chill on August 8th.

Headliners Wild Palms (top image) were great performers with front man Lou Hill stealing the show. His vocals were clear and spot on even as he doubled as keyboard player/ synth-drum pounder. Hill frequently stared out into the crowd as though he was in another world, with smoke and green spot-lights flashing all around him.

Despite the futuristic look of the performance, Wild Palms' sound is more like post-punk, taking influence from the likes of Joy Division but with more of a modern, indie feel.

Wild Palms will play for large crowds soon enough while touring festivals threw out Europe.

- Text by Meghan Agnew. Images by Grace Dickinson.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rabble-Rousing at The Roundhouse.

Day 19 of the massively popular iTunes Festival saw two highly anticipated rabble-rousers take the stage at Camden Town’s most immaculate performance space, The Roundhouse.

Spirited acoustic strummer Frank Turner (above) churned out fan favorites for a wildly enthusiastic crowd, singing with punk rock authority as he belted out the words in front of his four-man backing band. Turner ended his set with two of his most apt singalongs, “The Road” and “Photosynthesis,” leaving the stage to thunderous applause.
Sunderland quartet The Futureheads (above) took control of the mini-arena instantly, with Barry Hyde and Ross Millard exchanging clamorous vocals over ferocious guitar riffs. The band performed songs spanning their entire career, including several from their newly released LP, The Chaos.

It was a night of solidly chaotic rock, crowd surfing, head-bopping and massive singalongs, and The Roundhouse could barely contain it all.

- Text by Kevin Brosky. Images by Grace Dickinson.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Music is Everywhere in London.

This foosball player at The Lexington, a pub and music venue, sports the emblem of The Clash on his jersey.

- Image by Grace Dickinson.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Mini Self-Guided London Rock Tour.

I was expecting either pomp and circumstance or tranquil appreciation and got neither.

I had mapped out three spots that I wanted to see: Apple Studio where the Beatles played their last gig on the roof, Jimi Hendrix’s flat and Abbey Road.

The Apple Studio, at 3 Savile Row, was almost invisible in the midst of classy shopping stores and high-priced restaurants.

I went up to Hendrix’s flat just up the road, at 23 Brook Street, but got lost trying to find it. His flat was on the top floor. A light blue, circular plaque says he lived there but it was closed to the public.

To recognize the 40th anniversary of Hendrix's death, the flat will be open to the public from September 15 to 26. A small exhibition will be held next door from August 25th to November 7th displaying photographs and some funky velvet jackets Hendrix wore.

Finally, I found the famous Abbey Road zebra crossing that graced the cover of the Beatles’ album. There was a buzz in the air as ten or so Beatles fans took pictures while holding up traffic.

On the wall outside the nearby Abbey Road Studios are thousands - if not more - signatures of fans. There are favorite lyrics, peace signs, names and expressions of love for the band on the wall. The signatures go back decades and they stretch onto the entire block’s walls.

I signed my name in a little space and walked toward the ten other fans waiting to simply cross the road where the Beatles created their iconic album cover.

When people wanted to cross, cars always stopped and the drivers smiled - regardless of traffic signs (or lack thereof). I walked across the street and then headed to the Underground station back home. I was glad to have done it but it was missing something.

On the ride home, I put on my headphones and listened to “Come Together.” That was the most satisfying part of the day.

- Text and top two images by Mark Lauterbach. Bottom image by Kevin Brosky.