Eliza Shaddad #7 - Run

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Let's face it, there are a load of brand new artists that are good, far too many for a single blogger like me to keep up with, yet at the same time there are only a handful as good as Eliza Shaddad. Someone I've written about and championed here time and time again. Never, ever, do I fail to be blown away when I see her perform live or when I get to hear a new track, it happened all over again yesterday with new track "Run".

"Run" follows the aggressive "Wars" and is the title track from Eliza's forthcoming EP, it contrasts with the earlier track which was direct and punched harder than anything Eliza had released before, this time it's a slow-burner starting with smoky vocals, sombre mood and delicate electric guitars. The lyrics similarly oppose the earlier track, pleading, pushing her lover away with the self-damning words 'get as far away from me, I'm trying to warn you, get as far as you can be'. The emotion and anguish in the words and delivery builds towards this tremendous relief of energy and feeling at the end of the track and this conclusion is truly superb, full of thick, beasty guitars and surging beats. I bloody love it. Of course I do.

The Run EP is due 18th March via Beatnik, closely followed by a UK tour which includes a date at London's Sebright Arms on the 31st - full dates.

Eliza Shaddad #6 - Wars

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I was lucky enough to see Eliza Shaddad play at The Hospital Club last month, she played this track “Wars” then and it blew my mind and now listening to the studio version for the first handful of times, it’s doing it again.

When I wrote about “Waters”, the title track to Eliza’s 2014 EP I mentioned her changing tact, from serene folk storyteller to a bolder, more ambitious and adventurous songwriter with the addition of an expanded sound full of darker, brooding intent. Well “Wars” is all that and a million times more, the most direct and aggressive we’ve heard Eliza to date.

On the track there’s plenty of room for her band to play and boy, do they, there’s machine drum percussion and creeping guitar rhythms dominating the progressively grungy soundscapes, increasing in volume and menace amongst Eliza’s ever exceptional vocal, conveying the power of the track with perfectly controlled conviction.  A real stunner.

A new EP entitled Run is due next year. I cannae wait...

Fifteen For 2015 #9 - Eliza Shaddad

ELIZA SHADDAD - FACEBOOK // elizashaddad.com

I've been listening to Eliza Shaddad for a couple of years now and yet still I was surprised by the progression and brilliance of her 2014 EP Waters. Four tracks that wrapped up what I already knew about Eliza, her knack of making a beautiful song and singing it beautifully' but also added an altogether new, expansive sound to her repertoire. The result was spellbinding and the EP is easily one of the years finest.

The title track to that release "Waters" is the first time Eliza has used a 'full band' sound and it's absolutely bloody stunning, transcending her 'traditional folk' roots with an adventurous, darker turn. As a listener you immediately get swept up amongst the stirring melody and as soon as Eliza's world-weary tones join the ever present drum march and ringing guitar patterns you cant help but skip a beat. One of those whoa, where did that come from moments.

"You For Me" really is as pretty a moment as I've heard all year, a genuine love song with ringing guitar patterns and a delicate, haunting backdrop which slowly introduces Eliza's stunning vocals, gorgeous and pristine, here coupled with lyrics as optimistic and heartfelt as you're ever likely to hear. "You For Me" is the sort of track that will bring you to a stand still whatever you are doing - simply magical. The other two tracks on the release stand up equally, just as beautiful are "Alright Again" and "When We", which wrap those pure tones in stark, circling guitar patterns and Eliza's timeless vocal tone. The result is a lovely, warming sensation that will leave you feeling better than were some twenty minutes earlier. You can't ask for more than that.

Eliza has just completed her first UK headlining tour, I couldn't make the London show this time so I'll have to hope it was good as her summer EP launch. Looking ahead, 2015 might be a transition year before perhaps an album in 2016, either way Eliza Shaddad should be a name on your lips. 

The Best Songs of 2014 So Far (Part Two)

10. Lazy Day - With My Mind

"With My Mind" is most fully realised track that Tilly has released thus far under her Lazy Day pseudonym. Earlier tracks shared on her Soundcloud suited the band name (currently just Tilly, with hopefully a live band and dates to follow) perfectly, full of plaintive daydreams and spacious, echoed vocals. "With My Mind" takes that further with a brooding intensity and a hypnotic guitar riff that will embed itself in your brain, couple it with Tilly's magnetic voice, her sumptuous, soothing tones wrap around you and soon you're lost deep within.



9. Rae Morris - Skin

Rae returns to make 2014 her own with a new track "Skin", easily her finest to date and as devastating a moment as the year has offered us to date. "Skin", and please excuse the pun, gets under exactly that as metronomic piano chords chime with elegant simplicity amongst delicate vocals and luscious string instrumentation. It's all beautifully timed and Rae's lyrics possess a dark, haunting edge, the result is sure to bring goose-bumps to listeners all over.



8.Sea Change - Bridges

Sea Change (aka Ellen Sundes) was one of my revelations at The Great Escape (and judging by the reviews I've read, many others too). Even as an act I'd blogged about before the festival I was taken aback by her live show, performing as a trio in a pitch black (and tiny) basement I saw as intense and chilly a set I've ever, extraordinarily dark, her (surprisingly) epic electronic soundscapes and bass guitar rhythms combined perfectly around her undeniably sweet, ethereal vocal. It was simply stunning. The studio version of "Bridges" was released a couple of days before I departed for Brighton and with some distance from that performance the track still mesmerises, it starts relatively calm with ambient glitches, effects and spectral vocals immersing you within its hypnotic, dream-like state before spiraling to a searing finale of electronic noise, guitar and emotion.



7. The Night VI - Sienna

"Sienna" is simply magnificent, built around the crystal clear voice of Sophie-Rose, here filled with more heartache and emotion that you could bottle, the track will connect with anyone whose ever let someone they love slip through their fingers (pretty sure that's most of us) and supported by spacious, blissed-out instrumentation it provides an irresistible listen from its first to last moment.



6. Lykke Li - Love Me Like I'm Not Made Of Stone

...sparse and confessional with languid, haunting acoustic echoes the sole accompaniment for Lykke's devastating delivery, you can tangibly feel her emotion throughout - what a beauty.



5. Sophie Jamieson - Stain / Other

"Stain" leaves exactly that on you, combining Sophie's delectable vocals, heart shattering lyrics and restrained instrumentation, the perfect marriage of space and structure to get under your skin with spine-tingling effect. The track comes backed with "Other", a fully realised beauty which highlights her bands influence more than ever. A stark, haunting drip feed of emotion.



4. Eliza Shaddad - You For Me

Labelled as a radio edit and yet six minutes in length (that's the same length as Bohemian Rhapsody, a story I'm sure we've all heard) the track epitomises the soft and graceful style of Eliza's music. "You For Me" really is as pretty a moment as I've heard all year, a genuine love song with ringing guitar patterns and a delicate, haunting backdrop which slowly introduces Eliza's stunning vocals, gorgeous and defiant, here coupled with lyrics as optimistic and heartfelt as you're ever likely to hear. "You For Me" is the sort of track that will bring you to a stand still whatever you are doing - simply magical.



3. Lisa Alma - Bittersweet

"Bittersweet", comes backed with a beautiful, pure black and white video, the imagery the perfect compliment to the track which leaves you longing, desperate for more. Backed by little more than subtle drum pad beats and minimal, spacious synths it's Lisa's vocal that steals the show and has me hooked. It immediately makes me think of Prince's falsetto, not just any old Prince either, the Purple One at his 80's best, seducing with every note, whispered, extended words that make you fall hopelessly under their spell. I love the extended outro too, with a smouldering guitar that captures the feeling of the track, just bloody gorgeous.



2. Broken Twin - In Dreams

A true highlight of an extraordinay album, as intimate and arresting an experience as music can offer



1. Shura - Touch

effortlessly sexy / cool melody that swoons amongst soft-glittering electronics and Shura's luxurious vocal, its simple and refined and despite its lyrics of "I wanna touch you but it's too late, I wanna touch you but there's history..." is straight-up baby-making music.



Hands down track of the year so far. Go and give it your love. 550k+ plays, Wow!!

Eliza Shaddad #5 - Waters

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Hold onto you hats, here's something you might not be expecting. "Waters" is the title track to Eliza Shaddad's forthcoming EP and marks something of a new direction for the London based singer-songwriter. Usually when I think of Eliza I think of her beautiful, pure voice, her bare-boned storytelling lyrics and some deceptively simple guitar patterns... She's gone and changed that all in one fell swoop.

"Waters" is the first time Eliza has used a 'full band' sound and it's absolutely bloody stunning, transcending her 'folky' roots with an adventurous, darker turn. As a listener you immediately get swept up amongst the stirring melody and as soon as Eliza's world-weary tones join the ever present drum march and ringing guitar patterns, you cant help but skip a beat. One of those whoa, where did that come from moments. I like those.

Waters is released on June 12th via Beatnik Creative.

The Great Escape - Saturday Preview

By Saturday you might be feeling a little bit tired and more likely a little hungover but don't let that ruin your experience (remember to pace yourself), there still one last day to go. Saturday is usually the busiest day of the festival too as people who couldn't get time off work head to the coast and as ever, there are plenty of acts on offer for us to watch. Below are my five picks for Saturday at The Great Escape 2014.

Powder Blue - TGE Page

VENUE / DATE & TIME
10th May 2014 6:45pm - 7:15pm
10th May 2014 1:45pm - 2:15pm







Powder Blue sum up The Great Escape to me, getting the chance to see a band who probably wouldn't be playing in the UK if it wasn't for the festival and the opportunities it brings, it's the Canadian quartet's debut time on these shores so I've naturally no idea what to expect from a live show but from what I've heard so far, I cannot help but be excited...

"Run" is intense, buss saw guitars and throbbing bass colliding the eerily sweet vocal harmonies and "Dream in Black" sounds like an haunted, creatures of the night version of Warpaint. That sort of introduction is surely enough to have you queuing outside the venue before they start (behind me of course).



Blessa - TGE Page

VENUE / DATE & TIME
10th May 2014 3:30pm - 4:00pm
10th May 2014 9:30pm - 10:00pm







Another band I've talked about here at great length are Blessa, the recently released "Unfurl" exemplifies exactly why I have and exactly why I think you should go and watch them. An immaculate guitar pop gem which combines a dreamy, exotic melody with seduction and beauty, the sort of band that should be playing on the NME stage aren't because they don't sound like a Libertines / Oasis / Strokes clone. Ah well, more fool them and more joy for us...



Fickle Friends - TGE Page

VENUE / DATE & TIME
9th May 2014 9:15pm - 9:45pm
MESMERIST
10th May 2014 4:15pm - 4:45pm
(An Alternative Escape Show)








Local band Fickle Friends will be another act I'll be seeing for the first time over the weekend (as I have said already, I think it's the point of TGE, to see new acts) and will possibly be one of the few occasions where I'll be likely rubbing shoulders with the 'cool kids'. Their track "Play" sums up why, the perfect blend of radio friendly excitement and made for summer melody which combines infectious, chiming guitars, bouncing synths and a sweetly, soft vocal. It's impossible not to bop your head along in approval.



Novella - Facebook

VENUE / DATE & TIME
THE LOFT
10th May 2014 3:40pm - 4:00pm (an Alternative Escape show)






Novella have been quiet so far this year, hopefully because they've been holed up in a studio finishing their debut album but they play a rare live show as part of the Alternative Escape.

I've seen Novella countless times before over the past three years but I'm always left craving more afterwards, there's no other new guitar band that comes close to the London based group, one of a handful of bands who genuinely excite every time. Letting their music do the talking with long crawling sections of hypnotic guitars, a precise rhythm section and hazy vocals. It ticks all my boxes (I hope the 20 minute set time is wrong, that's about three tracks!)...



Eliza Shaddad - Facebook

VENUE / DATE & TIME
HEINEKEN STAGE
8th May 2014 5:00pm - 5:30pm
BRIGHTON MUSEUM
10th May 2014 9:15pm - 9:45pm
LATEST MUSIC BAR
10th May 2014 10:45pm - 11:15pm (an Alternative Escape show)











Last but certainly not least in my series of preview posts for this years festival is Eliza Shaddad, perhaps not for the partying sort but for those with a more open mind, Eliza is a guarantee to get your Saturday evening off to the most serene and spine-tingling of starts.

Take a listen to her recent track "You For Me" if you want to understand why, how could a listen to it not make you feel all sort of giddy, happy thoughts. A soft, haunting stunner. The rest of Eliza's live set is no different.

Eliza Shaddad #4 - You For Me

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Last month when I talked about Eliza Shaddad and a live track called "When We" I said this; 'Eliza has perfected this knack of making a beautiful song and singing it beautifully'. There's no further proof of the truth in that statement than this, her new track "You For Me", the first song to be taken from her new EP Waters which is due June 16th via Beatnik Creative on digital/vinyl and is available to pre-order now.

Labelled as a radio edit and yet six minutes in length (that's the same length as Bohemian Rhapsody, a story I'm sure we've all heard) the track epitomises the soft and graceful style of Eliza's music. "You For Me" really is as pretty a moment as I've heard all year, a genuine love song with ringing guitar patterns and a delicate, haunting backdrop which slowly introduces Eliza's stunning vocals, gorgeous and defiant, here coupled with lyrics as optimistic and heartfelt as you're ever likely to hear. "You For Me" is the sort of track that will bring you to a stand still whatever you are doing - simply magical.

Eliza has a couple of gigs in London this very weekend, I'm planning on heading there myself. Details via her Facebook page. The record is super cheap too - you know what to do.

Eliza Shaddad #3 - When We

Facebookelizashaddad.com

A couple of weeks back I posted an exquisite live version of a new Sophie Jamieson track taken from from a Sofar Sounds release, now comes another track from thr same compilation album (which is available now via iTunes), this time from the sublime Eliza Shaddad.

Within thirty seconds of "When We" you're transported firmly into the track with a seamless blend of Eliza's haunting, world-weary tones and ringing electric guitar circles. It all seems deceptively simple because Eliza has perfected this knack of making a beautiful song and singing it beautifully but there's a masterful art to the craft on display here, elegance and clarity delivered with a timeless warmth and devastating tone. It's one you'll want to listen to over and over.