Discovering Sundara Karma

Word and mouth is possibly one of the most popular and definitely the most cost effective ways of promotion. Music always being something people want to share with others, it is possibly the industry to benefit from this the most. Although the English indie pop/rock band Sundara Karma have not been around for that long I’m not sure I would have heard about them had it not been for a friend. This would have been a great loss on my part as I am shocked I’ve never listened to them before. Just from the first song I listened to I knew I needed to share this musical experience with more people.

Beginning in 2011 and hailing from Reading, England, the band consists of Oscar Pollock on guitar and vocals, Ally Baty on lead guitar, Dom Cordell on bass and Haydn Evans on drums. The sound of the band is something that can be likened to ‘classic indie’, that something slightly different that doesn’t quite fit into the mainstream but pushes the boundaries of a niche market at the same time.

Back when both Pollock and Evans were still in secondary school they decided to start playing music together, forming a few bands that fell through until some time later. Meeting Baty and Cordell seemed to help them find that little something the other two were missing and birthed the creation that is Sundara Karma. The band take their name from Sanskrit words meaning ‘Beautiful Karma’ which could be seen as an overall description of their music. A beautiful sound that can instantly brighten your mood and just brush off the worries of the day because that’s just life.

In July 2013 Sundara Karma released their debut single ‘Freshbloom’ on SoundCloud which is a fast paced song perfect to jam out to when getting ready for a night out. They take the idea of a monotonous tune and turn it into something truly artistic as the beat constantly builds to the chorus before mellowing momentarily and hitting back hard. ‘Freshbloom’ alone embodies a sound that will inspire and seduce you with a combination of a heavy beat and Pollock’s echoing voice. Sundara Karma have been described as indie art and their lyrics are undeniable evidence of this claim. ‘Freshbloom’ is an artistic combination of poetic words that seem to describe a night the narrator never wants to end, how they want to ‘live another moonlight’ and ‘see smoke dance through the air.’

Listen to ‘Freshbloom’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_55uGQyyrg

The artistic beauty of ‘Freshbloom’ led to the band supporting Swim Deep for their UK tour in 2013 along with Wolf Alice as well as making their debut performance at Reading Festival the same year. By March 2014 they released their second single, ‘Cold Heaven’, on Chess Club Records before going on to release two more singles later that year. One of those singles, ‘Indigo Puff,’ was used in an Australian TV ad in 2015 for Mercedes-Benz. After a few years of slow single releases the band came together to release their first EP, EP I, in 2015 before being officially signed to Chess Club Records. Their first EP lead to a second, simply titled EP II, that featured singer-songwriter Marika Hackman in the song ‘Prisons to Purify.’

The slow building progress of their music has brought Sundara Karma to the growing rock star status they are being donned with today. After signing with Sony’s RCA label, the guys released their first fully fledged debut album Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect earlier this year. The album hit number twenty-four on the UK Albums chart and led to the band being the support act for Two Door Cinema Club and Bastille. Youth is Only Every Fun in Retrospect is an example of modern age rock and continues the band’s reputation as a festival band. Each song being something that conjures the need to hear it live and no doubt viciously increase the demand for tour tickets. Sundara Karma have obviously taken a leaf out of Mumford and Sons book by creating music that will evoke happy memories and good moods no matter the song’s subject content. Tracks such as ‘Loveblood’ further push the band forward as artists with lyrics that explore love in a profoundly literary way.

Listen to ‘Loveblood’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wK_Bzu0GUc

Before even learning anything about the band, ‘Happy Family’ from their debut album had me hooked and needing my next fix of the band’s music before the track had even finished. The sound of the track evokes visions of long road trips and festival nights with a beautifully simple guitar riff for the introduction. The vocals of the song are soothing and unique, soaring throughout the track in an almost angelic nature. ‘Happy Family’ lulls you into a trance you are quickly awakened from by the two minute point as the initial sound fades and hits back with a prominent drum beat that builds into something you can’t help but dance to. The song manages to be comforting and something to keep you on your toes simultaneously.

Listen to ‘Happy Family’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bGs64ipYpU

Although Sundara Karma are slowly climbing the ladder of success they are no doubt on their way up. A band taking advantage of a growing festival mad world and bringing the effortless fun music of these events directly to their audience no matter where they are.

Links:

Website: https://www.sundara-karma.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SundaraKarma?fref=ts

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/SundaraKarma

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sundarakarma/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sundarakarma

 

Review by Skye W. Winwood

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The NaveBlues self-titled album is a new generation of blues music

When it comes to music some artists focus on sound whilst others are meticulous about lyrics, The NaveBlues are a band who seem to have found the perfect balance of both. Standing at a crossroads of music and managing to take both paths, the four piece Norwegian blues band are bringing back classic blues music with their own personal twist to keep things interesting. Consisting of bass, guitar and drums as the basis of their sound The NaveBlues will both shock and impress you with their peace, love and harmonica approach to music.

The band’s new album, named after themselves The NaveBlues, has a beautifully unique selling point in the form of lead singer Nave Pundik’s insane harmonica playing. Their lead track ‘Possess You’ is a perfect example of Nave’s vocal and instrumental talent for an instrument that hasn’t seen the spotlight for some years.

Watch the music video for ‘Possess You’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c36gUUyVrLs

‘Possess You’ is a spine tingling track that resonates with a similar sound to rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival and evokes images of a desert sky moving rapidly from day to night. The track begins with a guitar riff that is not that unlike something from The Foo Fighters before plunging deep into the pool of blues music. The first two minutes are a showcase of Nave’s rock star level harmonica playing that seems to sing as passionately as any voice could. The vibrating continuous notes soar high and low with an inclination that speaks beautiful words without any sound passing Nave’s lips. The song could work as a completely lyrical-less piece but Nave’s singing at the mid-way point drives home the message of the song. Nave’s vocals compliment his harmonica playing with the same inflection and vocal style that can be compared to Kristofer Dommin of the band Dommin and evokes a similar sound to Type O Negative’s Peter Steele; Nave’s bluesy rock voice is a perfect finisher for the blues inspired track. The song also showcases The NaveBlues potential to slip into other genres such as space rock as ‘Possess You’ also has Muse hints hidden within the sound.

The NaveBlues have also challenged musical conventions by covering Led Zeppelin’s ‘Thank You’ that continues the hint of space rock with their human adapting to a lonely life on mars music video.

Watch the music video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt9uzozpzGQ

The NaveBlues push musical boundaries by taking the simple, plaintive song and turning it into something both visually and musically fantastical. Through the band’s adaption the song becomes something more intense than the original and works perfectly for the angle they decided to put on it. The pure passion for music this band embodies is encapsulated in ‘Thank You’ through the unbelievable harmonica solos and Nave’s rustic vocals overlapping with those of a soft female voice. Covering ‘Thank You’ further proves how The NaveBlues cannot be pigeonholed and will fly with ease between different genres such as rock, soul, indie and still manage to hold all the conventions of blues music.

The NaveBlues, and their new album, are the band to listen to for anyone who is a fan of musical genius and insane instrumental talent.

Links:

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/4PjTCsYQH7Nu1dsSczZ5HK

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6KVhYc1E4ccnMPtpvzpCQw

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheNaveBlues/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/naveblues

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/thenaveblues/

Website: http://thenaveblues.com/

 

Review by Skye W. Winwood

Mosaic are inviting you on a night out with their new single ‘Rio’

Indie music has gone through a rapid evolution over the years, changing and adapting to survive in the harsh world of the dynamically progressing music industry. The term ‘indie’ stems from the word ‘individual’ to high light how during the genre’s rise, artists achieved success off their own backs. Since then indie music has faded in and out in popularity, flowing through both mainstream and niche audiences but always undeniably in demand. This unwavering demand through the years can be narrowed down to a few bands that stood at the front line of indie music and a band now taking up arms is Mosaic.

Mosaic are an indie band based in Newbury consisting of Craig on vocals, Adam on guitar, Will on guitar, Dan on bass and Simon on drums. The band’s name is fitting as they are a combination of a few genres just as classical indie music should be with elements of both pop and rock in their sound. These five guys are the poster boys for the culmination of the British indie movement, donning the ever growing self-confident personas needed to thrive in the music industry. Mosaic have the potential to become the new favourite of any wandering souls at university with a thirst for down-to-a-‘t’ relatable music.

Their new single ‘Rio’ is a song spilling over with drunken university nights that burst forth into hungover mornings that are made better by the memories made the night before. ‘Rio’ has a sound and lyrics that instantly connect with their audience and makes it seem like the song was written just for you. Craig’s quick and quip vocals turn the song into a whirl wind of fun that is perfect to get you pumped up during any pre drinks, the rest of the music keeping up and only becoming more intoxicated as the song goes on. Taking influence from indie bands of eras gone by ‘Rio’ is akin to The Kooks and The Wombats but with a modern day twist that likens Mosaic to Bloc Party and The 1975. Fans of The Arctic Monkeys, also, may be pleasantly surprised by Mosaic and all they have to offer in the form of indie music.

‘Rio’ is out now and is a must for any university going out playlist.

Links:

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/mosaicofficial

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuenCiVLKdpI_cs-989bsUQ

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MosaicUK/

Twitter: https://twitter.com_mosaicofficial

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_mosaicofficial/

Website: https://www.mosaicofficial.co.uk

 

Review by Skye W.Winwood

Meet AdzBrandMusic

Adam Bateson is yet another Youtube pioneer using the multimedia social networking site to promote his music. Originating from England Adam is better known by his online persona as AdzBrandMusic. An everyday guy hoping to achieve something greater by sharing his music across the platform, Adam has a refreshing music style and humour to engage his audience and keep them hooked.

Check out his Youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC49fR3yXvssJXLCQXR6tRjw

Still only a small Youtube channel I first came across Adam through the blog site Tumblr when he promoted himself in quite a humorous way, explaining he didn’t want to seem ‘spammy’ but just wanted to put himself out there. An approach, as a writer, I can respect and after listening to his music I see no reason why he shouldn’t continue to promote himself in any way he can. Adam’s down to earth persona comes across well in his music, particularly in the song ‘A Better Time’; a song about growing up and the memories that come from that. Being a British native myself, it’s encouraging to see someone writing nostalgia for things American artists can’t relate to.

Listen to ‘A Better Time’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cea3yooFM0s

Adam cites his musical inspirations as the Artic Monkeys, The Shins, Brian Fallon and Urthboy; all musical styles that are evident in his own music so fans of these artists should be sure to check out Adam’s music. His soft vocals combine well with his guitar playing to create something both pleasing and entertaining to listen to like something from a modern 90s era. After a song like ‘Breaks’ you won’t be able to keep your feet still from tapping along to his chord playing.

Listen to ‘Breaks’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7_Nfi3mEac

Not only is Adam a talented musician but he also creates personal videos to connect with his audience such as ‘Things Panic! At The Disco Fans Say’ as well as the ‘F***boy Song’. The second a topical song about the kind of guys I’m sure we’ve all come across on the internet. Adam appears to have a true love for music and creates it for his target audience but more importantly for himself. Realising music with that slight personal touch will reach an audience better than something manufactured for the soul purpose of gaining fame. However this is not to say Adam doesn’t dream of one day making his hobby into his day job but until then he seems to sincerely appreciate any support people are able to offer him.

Only one man and his guitar for now, Adam has the potential to continue growing as an artist with the help and support from people who appreciate it’s not always easy to make it but putting yourself out there is half of the battle.

Links:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC49fR3yXvssJXLCQXR6tRjw

https://adzbrandmusic.tumblr.com/

https://www.instagram.com/adzbrandmusic/

 

Review by Skye W.Winwood

Discovering The Decemberists

“On the lam from the law/On the steps of the capitol” were the first lyrics I ever heard by The Decemberists and I haven’t been able to stop listening to them since. The indie rock band quickly caught my attention with their unique and quirky take on music and once more I am surprised it has taken me nearly ten years to discover them. What makes The Decemberists so different from other bands is their niche way of creating a story through their music along the lines of folk stories. Some songs not even having a repeating chorus but a flowing story that is unlike any other narrative based song such as ‘My Mother Was A Chinese Trapeze Artist.’

Listen to the story here: https://soundcloud.com/thedecemberists/my-mother-was-a-chinese

Even though I have only recently begun listening to their music The Decemberists have been around since 2000 and are an American band from Portland, Oregon. Colin Meloy (lead vocals, guitar and main lead on song writing) left his band Tariko before moving to Oregon where he met Nate Query (bass) and was soon introduced to Jenny Conlee (keyboards, piano, organ and accordion). The three scored a silent film together which would set them up for a style of music heavy in creating a vivid picture inside the listeners mind of not only the story but also the characters created. By this time Meloy had already met Chris Funk (guitar and multi-instrumentalist) due to the fact Funk was a fan of Tariko but didn’t become an official member of The Decemberists until their third album. The band circulated through a number of drummers for their albums Castaways and Cutouts and Picaresque before finally inditing John Moen into the band for The Crane Wife.

The name ‘The Decemberists’ is a reference to the December revolt in Imperial Russia in 1825 and Meloy has always stated he wanted the name to evoke drama and melancholy. The name is completely fitting as the musical style of the band can range from upbeat pop to instrumental ballads but nearly all songs are an arrangement of whimsical, dark and political tales that can evoke events and themes from history such as ‘The Bagman’s Gambit.’

Listen to ‘The Bagman’s Gambit’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3oe4vlkoHE

From the years 2002-2010 the band were highly active and released six albums (Castaways and Cutouts, Her Majesty the Decemberists, Picaresque, The Crane Wife, The Hazards of Love and The King Is Dead). In 2003 the band changed labels from Hush Records to Kill Rock Stars and re-released their first album before moving onto their second. In 2004 ‘The Tain’ was released, an eighteen and a half minute single inspired by the Irish myth Tain Bo Cuailgne. The lyrics of the song do not directly quote the epic apart from ‘the mirror’s soft silver tain reflects our last and birthing hour.’ The song itself is haunting in an unexplainable way by its moments of upbeat tune and Funk’s guitar riffs combining with Meloy’s vocals to create something similar in sound to Love Spit Love. The music video created for the song is both mesmerising and unnerving in its shadow puppet-esque style.

Watch the music video for ‘The Tain’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOYZuaLg0J0

After self-producing ’16 Military Wives’ in 2005, the band’s equipment trailer was stolen but fan’s showed their unwavering support by contributing to a replacement fund along with the help of an organized fundraiser and other musicians such as Lee Kruger (The Shins) and The Dandy Warhols. Later that same year The Decemberists were singed to Capitol Records and were making plans to record their major debut with producers Tucker Martine and Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie) the following year. 2006 saw the release of the band’s third album but first with Capitol, The Crane Wife, and opened up a whole new world of opportunities for the musicians. The release of the album was accompanied by an appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and began touring on October 17th. The album was voted favourite album of the year by NPR (National Public Radio) listeners and still remains one of the band’s most critically acclaimed records.

In 2008 the band began releasing a series of singles called Always the Bridesmaid every month until the end of the year. They followed this with a limited tour and performed in support of presidential candidate Barack Obama at a rally at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Oregon. The following year The Hazards of Love was released under Red Light Management and was initially intended to be a staged musical. However after some thought it was deemed the story would not work in a stage format and instead was played from start to finish during live shows. The album was inspired by Meloy’s fascination with the British folk revival in the 1960s and after finding a copy of Anne Brigg’s 1966 EP of the same name. The Hazards of Love tells the mythical story of a woman and her shapeshifting love, his fey queen mother and a cold blooded rake. The album includes guests vocals from Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond), Shara Nova (My Brightest Diamond), Jim James and Robyn Hitchcock (My Morning Jacket) and Rebecca Gates (The Spinanes). The sound of the album is a range of accordion infused pieces to heavy mental thunder.

Listen to an example of both here:

‘Isn’t It A Lovely Night?’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBIA2j9Xh14

‘The Queen’s Rebuke/The Crossing’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeUHUYaT-WU

By 2011 the band had been nominated for Best Rock Song at the 54th Grammy Awards for their song ‘Down By The Water’ and had a No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with their 2010 album The King is Dead. After such a rise in so many years the band decided to take a hiatus during which time they featured on an episode of The Simpsons as hip new music teachers at Springfield Elementary. 2014 was the year of their return to The Decemberists and released What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World in 2015. Since their success and to celebrate the band’s return January 20th was officially declared ‘Decemberists Day’ in the band’s hometown by the mayor.

Still active, I eagerly wait for the band’s new music and encourage anyone with a taste for something just a little different to follow me down into the rabbit hole of The Decemberists.

Links:

http://www.decemberists.com/

https://twitter.com/thedecemberists?lang=en

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheDecemberists

https://www.facebook.com/thedecemberists/

 

By Skye W.Winwood

The Sheratons are proving hard to pin down with their debut single ‘Better Days’

As 2017 has progressed the music world has seen numerous re-emergence from eras gone by. Indie rock band, The Sheratons, are continuing this trend with their new 80s fuelled debut single ‘Better Days.’

Listen to ‘Better Days’ here: https://soundcloud.com/the-sheratons/better-days 

A band compromised of Kane Bulleyment on lead and lead guitar, James Jowett on bass guitar and vocals, Finely Ryan on rhythm guitar and vocals and Emma Liu on drums. The Sheratons hail from Bingley – a place that is not quite Bradford but also not quite Leads, leaving them as inbetween and as hard to pin point as their sound.

The band’s musical sound lies between a mix of The Byrds – due to their carefree, breezy snapshots – The Cure – for the jollier side – and has the promise of a return of the long missed Paisley Underground. The latter a DIY music movement from the 80s which saw the emergence of clever, perfectly preformed pop with a twist. The total mash up of sound comes from each member of The Sheratons having their own individual style, from Kane’s James Dean cool to Finley’s Doc Marten ska. Even with these differentiations in personal sound the band still manage to pull together to create something seamless.

The grunge-esque single ‘Better Days’ brings a sense of nostalgia in both sound and name. The song itself sounds like it belongs as the soundtrack of a summer montage from the 80s or 90s. The fast paced guitar playing and drum best combined with Kane’s lassie faire vocals is a perfect contradiction that blends to create a fun filled track. Described as ‘the vintage sound of tomorrow’ the single contains chilling harmonies and also unleashes the band’s secret weapon of Emma from her control centre behind the traps. The clean cut rock band have launched with their suitably springy and stupidly catchy single making the most of youthful experience out of the something seemingly unglamorous.

See The Sheratons Live:

September 

15th – Venue, Skipton

16th – Steeton Club, Bradford

19th – West Street Live, Sheffield

22nd – Manchester Academy, Manchester

October 

7th – The Exchange, Bradford

14th – Indie Week Uk – Jimmys, Manchester

21st – The Zanzibar Club, Liverpool

November

18th – The Lending Room, Leeds

Links:

https://soundcloud.com/the-sheratons 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHE2CawiVPUs93fkpe8TNdQ

https://www.facebook.com/TheSheratons

https://twitter.com/TheSheratonsUK

www.the-sheratons.co.uk

 

Review by Skye W.Winwood

 

Ten seconds is all Anthony Vincent needs to win you over to his music

In this day and age music stars are being created across all kinds of platforms. Signing a record deal to gain fame is a thing of the past with multimedia sharing websites such as Youtube. Anthony Vincent, better known as Ten Second Songs by his Youtube channel, has fully taken advantage of the opportunities the internet offers by creating something to showcase both his talent and musical genius. Anthony takes popular songs and preforms them in ten second snippets in 20+ different styles.

Listen to Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’ in 20 different styles here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jus7S5vBJyU

Beginning his channel back in 2014 Anthony blew up the internet with his unique take on ‘Dark Horse’ currently his most popular video at over twenty-one million views! The cover includes twenty different styles by twenty different artists ranging from Frank Sinatra and Pavarotti to Panthera and Slipknot. Anthony manages to perfectly capture the unique sound of each artist so that they are recognisable even without the subtitles crediting who they are. As his channel has grown Anthony also manages to imitate mannerisms and stage personas of certain artists such as Marilyn Manson in his ‘Pokémon in 20 Styles of the Late 90s’ video. Branching out even further to include styles of Mongolian throat singing and Mozart in ‘System of a Down Chop Suey in 20 Styles Cover’ and ‘Twenty-One Pilots Heathens in 21 Styles Cover.’

Despite being able to imitate a plethora of genres and styles Anthony’s personal talent lies in the heavy rock genre, giving him the multi instrumental talent and powerful voice to seamlessly transform between styles. It’s obvious Anthony takes great pride in his work, the editing of his videos as precise and well thought out as the music itself. Anthony takes the idea of a one-man-band to a level of professionalism that astounds as he also includes videos of himself playing the instruments of each video.

Not only does Anthony provide a bounty of entertainment but he uses the popularity he has gained to interact with his fans. Holding votes for certain songs to be solely preformed in one style or voting for which song he will cover next. As well as his affinity for music Anthony comes across as a genuine guy who appreciates all the support people have given him over the years. His Youtube channel currently stands at over two million subscribers and I encourage anyone with a love of music to follow him as he continues to provide humorous, talented entertainment with a genre or style for just about anyone.

As well as covers of other artists’ songs Anthony has his own band, Set The Charge, who deserve just as much support and will be covered in a separate blog post in the future!

Popular Videos:

Linkin Park ‘In The End’ 20 Style Cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urzWY6sqVGw

Jason Derulo ‘Talk Dirty’ 20 Style Cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhTaNHYWRZ4

Adele ‘Hello’ 25 Style Cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgMAAzzQz7s

Pokémon Theme in 20 Styles the late 90s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioE3oKQ6WbU

System of a Down ‘Chop Suey’ 20 Styles Cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFwZA4fcetI

 

Links:

https://www.youtube.com/user/TenSecondSongs

https://twitter.com/TenSecondSongs

https://www.facebook.com/tensecondsongs

 

Review By Skye W.Winwood

Royal Blood Influenced Three-Piece Let Drummer Lead from the Front

Dave Grohl; Phil Collins; Roger Taylor; Levon Helm, Karen Carpenter…modern music has thrown up the occasional musical quirk over the years, none more so than the singing drummer. The ultimate in patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time, these talented renegades have proved that it’s always possible to go beyond the conventional four-piece band set-up.

Enter Dead Days, one such trio who have elected to put their singer at the front of the stage with a mic stand. Readying the lead track “Fight” from their forthcoming EP, Start Over Again, for radio play and live performance, the Home Counties-based brothers Travis (drums and vox), DC (bass) and their guitarist friend James Mattocks have made up for their lack of personnel with a huge, thunderous sound which immediately brings to mind current press and fan faves Royal Blood.

Add in a dash of Biffy Clyro, a splash of Foos, a sack of deliciously melodic rock and a heavyweight video to boot and you have the earworm your brain has been craving.

 

Discovering Rufus Wainwright

Music is ageless. Time passes, eras fade and new genres are invented but these things don’t destroy the music from our memories. This is the excuse I will use for only recently being made aware of the singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright. My personal music interest can sometimes be dated or specified to a specific genre. Meaning although Wainwright has been active in the musical world since 1988, it took for a Samsung TV advert to make me aware of his captivating music.

Listen to Rufus’s cover of ‘Across The Universe’:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAe1lVDbLf0

Wainwright caught my attention instantly from the simple fact he had the guts to cover the song. Taking an artist’s song and making it your own whilst still remaining respectful to the original is a tough task but even more so when those original artists are The Beatles. Wainwright went above and beyond with ‘Across the Universe’, preforming a hypnotic vocal sound to continue the exceptionally moving feeling the song creates, nearly bringing me to tears the first time I heard it. Needless to say he made an impression.

Upon further research I discovered Wainwright has been popular for some years, his music always circulating and realised I had heard his music before but mistook it for other artists. Wainwright has a sound similar to that of English rock band Keane, with a similar out of body, otherworldly voice and resonating sound but more in the pop genre. Wainwright’s cover of ‘Across the Universe’ has similarities to both Keane’s ‘Bedshaped’ and ‘Somewhere Only We Know’. Even with this distinctive comparison Rufus Wainwright still manages to maintain a unique sound to his own music with songs like ‘Going To A Town’, ‘Out of The Game’ and ‘Rules and Regulations.’ The artist’s more mainstream songs dip their toes in the pop genre but inherently belong to baroque rock (a fusion of rock music with classical elements). However Wainwright broadens his music horizons by also releasing songs in the indie rock and folk genres.

Listen to examples of Rufus’s genre blending here:

‘Going to a Town’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtVyl402W5s

‘Out of the Game’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KvTDeHlIfI

‘Rules and Regulations’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_TxPQKcG7w

Rufus Wainwright was born in New York but after his parents’ divorce lived most of his youth in Montreal and has dual US and Canadian citizenship. Starting his career in music at a young age, Wainwright had an impressive start. He had a taste of the artist’s life at the tender age of thirteen when he began to play the piano and toured with The McGarrigle Sisters and Family folk group. The group consisted of himself, his sister, his mother and his aunt. He earned himself a nomination in 1989 at the age of fourteen for his song ‘I’m a-Runnin’’ at the Genie Awards for Best Original Song. Then in 1990 he was nominated at the Juno Awards for Most Promising Male Vocalist. During his young life he had an interest in opera leading to the genre heavily influencing his later music such as ‘Barcelona’ that features lyrics from the libretto of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Macbeth. As well as this Wainwright has cited his musical interests as Edith Piaf, Al Jolson and Judy Garland to name a few. Paying tribute to other artists like River Phoenix in ‘Matinee Idol’ and Jeff Buckley in ‘Memphis Skyline.’

As Wainwright became older he performed weekly shows at the Cafe Sarajevo, putting him on the Montreal club circuit and leading to a number of demos produced by Pierre Marchand. Marchand remained with Wainwright to produce his album Poses which peaked at number 117 in US Billboard’s 200 (in 2001 but rose to 103 in 2004) and number 1 in Billboard’s Top Heatseekers. The demos eventually made their way to Lenny Waronker, an executive at DreamWorks who signed Wainwright to his label. On this label Wainwright released his self-titled album to critical acclaim, being recognised as ‘one of the best albums of the year’ by Rolling Stone and named him ‘Best New Artist’ of the year. The album won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Music Album and a Juno Award for Best Alternative Album.

The success of his first album lead to Wainwright’s explosion in the music world and eight more subsequent albums. However Wainwright has not limited his career to a preforming artist but delved into the world of opera, television and film. Wainwright has had roles in films such as The Aviator, Heights and played a part in Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller. His music has featured in iconic films like Brokeback Mountain, Moulin Rouge!, Shrek and Meet The Robinsons as well as his recording of ‘Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered’ playing in the closing credits of The History Boys. Wainwright’s love for opera has bloomed into the creation of two of his own (Prima Donna and Hadrian). The second of the two premiering at the Canadian Opera Company in 2018.

Beyond music Wainwright also began Blackoutsabbath in 2008 which is a concept he created to become more environmentally conscious, promoted by the organisation Blackout Sabbath. In 2008 Wainwright came out as completely in support of gay rights, stating ‘I don’t think any government should encroach on what goes on in the bedroom.’ Later in April 2010 he became in favour of legalising gay marriage after meeting his now husband, Jorn Weisbordt.

With such a full life covered in the media it is shocking how the artist has only recently come to my attention but has made a lingering impression.

Links:

http://rufuswainwright.com/

https://twitter.com/rufuswainwright

https://www.facebook.com/rufuswainwrightofficial/

 

Review by Skye W.Winwood

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