Category Archives: Kira

February 15 – Nao

There seems to be an overload of modern/electronic soul recently, and the EP February 15 is the best of the bunch. Whilst most of this genre is preoccupied with trying to be cool, Nao is unashamedly fun.

NAO - February 15

‘Zillionaire’ was the first track I listened to; it’s quite brilliant. The first thing that grabs me is a distinctly squelchy sound (can synths fart?). My favourite element in the track is the lilting 808 backbeat, without it, the track wouldn’t have half the character. Also, her use of the word ’September’, in the first verse ‘You’re lovely like September’ and second ‘Of you you’re my September’ is very relatable because as a student, as with September comes a whole sea of emotions as school starts and you’re one year closer to independence. Describing a person as a month rather than a common adjective is much cleverer. I think the message of the track is more than just love, it’s refreshingly anti-capitalist. She describes how if she and a potential partner got together they would be richer than the richest person alive; they would have something so precious and priceless, something a zillionaire wouldn’t be able to buy.

‘Apple Cherry’ is my absolute favourite. If FKA Twigs were to cover a Prince song this is how it would sound. My sister and I have danced around, singing it out loud on repeat manys a time. There’s something about that chilled feel that I love. The chorus isn’t a huge deal, it’s laid back which makes it all the more cool. Just before the chorus hits, time seems to slow down as if it’s stuck in slow motion yet the tempo is constant- it helps retain the chilled vibe. Every song in the charts right now has the word ‘love’ in the title or chorus. It’s overused so much that it puts me off a great deal of music, however in tracks like ‘Apple Cherry’ when the artist uses imaginative alternatives for ‘love’ it instantly wins my interest.

‘Inhale Exhale’ is my second favourite simply because it makes me want to dance. It reminds me of car journeys speeding up winding Italian roads as my family and I shuffled our shoulders and heads in unison to the beat; Italian locals looked at us, and wondered what kind of lunatic tourists we were. The structures in each of her tracks are never traditional- another way in which she’s unique and creative. There is no definite chorus or specific middle eight as such, it’s more of a song made up of riffs and ideas put into a slightly unusual structure. As we both come from Hackney, I can definitely say she is the sound of Hackney right now.

‘Golden’ is my least favourite… Although the hook is melodically catchy and in my opinion great, the verse seems a little dull. The wind chimes make me cringe and I find myself skipping this one each time I listen to the EP. Wind chimes remind me of Disney films and cheesy songs- it seems so out of place! It’s great that she’s doing something very different but I find ‘Golden’ is not as good as the other tracks.

‘It’s You’ is the last track on the EP. It has a good sound, and a good song however it’s theme is too generic, too similar to typical love based electronic soul.  The only vocal section which stands out for me is the middle eight, when she questions ‘who says what is beautiful?’ leading the listener to wonder whether beauty is universal. The introduction really draws me in, it paints a picture in my head of great stalactites and stalagmites dripping slowly at first, gathering speed until great pools are formed. The fact that that simple sound has the power to create such a vivid, specific image in my mind amazes me.

I can’t wait to listen to her new music; I think Nao will definitely be a huge star of the future.

Kira

You can stream ‘February 15’ on Spotify & Soundcloud, connect to Nao on Facebook & Twitter

Dearly Beloved – Scala – Kira

Dearly Beloved Live at the Scala, London 27th May 2015.

Enduro

I couldn’t say no to a last-minute invite to a gig at the Scala, a venue I hadn’t yet ticked off my list. Dearly Beloved are a band I’d never usually go to see as my repertoire of indie/rock music is extremely small; it never usually interests me. However this Canadian four piece from Vancouver somehow managed to change all that. Due to my age, we were brought to the balcony – VIP area, yessss, which had a perfect view of the stage. I looked down to a sea of heads, the audience were for the most part made up of middle aged men with sun-roofs, all awaiting the main act, some 90’s band called Swervedriver (who were actually pretty bad) and I could spot someone at the front reading a book, something v rare lol! The vibe was buzzing and my excitement was building as a huge cloud of smoke came from the side of the stage, engulfing us all.

As soon as they started to play I was entranced and couldn’t keep my eyes off each band member. The amount of energy was immense, everyone on stage was totally going all-out. Watching them made me want to jump up and down as high as I could. The way they played their instruments was insane, I couldn’t help noticing that the lead singer played his bass similarly to a regular guitar, with the full chord rather than singular strings.

During the entire gig, Niva completely entertained the crowd between singing, with quirky props. She fired a luminous gun, erupting with bubbles which I especially loved, and played the theremin– an early electronic musical instrument controlled without physical contact. As she waved her arms and spun her hands, there was something quite witchy about it, dark, unique, unstoppable.

It was brilliant when Niva and the main singer jumped from the stage to the moshpit and performed an entire track from there. They were so close, the Scala suddenly seemed small and it made the experience so much more exciting.

Their album, Enduro, is out now available in all the usual places. I never thought I would ever be an Indie Rock Chick but if there’s a song that could persuade me, it would be Olympics of No Regard. On the way home the line “Reap what you sow” from it was stuck in my head on repeat, and I’ve been listening to that track ever since.

The best part was that I went home with a souvenir. The Luminous Bubble Gun.

Kira.

Enduro

Natalie Duncan – Queen Elizabeth Hall

Natalie Duncan

On Friday 13th March I went to see Natalie Duncan at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank. Natalie is an English singer songwriter who’s just released her new EP Black & White.  Black & White is Natalie’s comeback; in 2012 she released Devil in Me, an album which swayed further to a more traditional jazz genre. However with Black & White she has become more modern and electronic. To me, her new style is more appealing to teens because it’s relatable and more accessible to us.

The gig was great, Natalie is a natural performer. Her vocals are incredible! She has a wide range and her ad-libs were beautiful. When she addressed the audience throughout the show, she came across a little shy, yet her voice is so powerful that it overcomes her shyness. At every gig I’ve been to so far, there has always been background noise, people chatting, laughing and moving around. However, the audience seemed to be mesmerised throughout and it was so silent from the first breath to the last word. There was a larger level of respect between the audience and the artist compared to every other gig I’ve been to, either because of the smaller venue or maybe it was just her sheer talent.

What’s more, is that she’s a exceptional pianist. This instrument features in most of her tracks and as I’m a pianist too it was truly inspiring to watch her perform. I reckon a reason why I love her so much is because of her playing, because I aspire to be as good as her. Most musicians can knock out a few chords but she can really play. The combination couldn’t be better, her voice feels as though it belongs with the piano.

Ripples and Black & White are my favourite tracks from the EP. The use of triplets in Ripples makes it sound so different, and I like that. I think that sometimes the feeling of a song is more important than what is trying to be said. Yeah, the lyrics of Ripples are clever but the actual feel of the song is something in itself. Its relaxing, exciting, happy, and sad all at the same time. The opening to Black & White instantly interests you with the pauses and soft melody. I guess the reason it’s one of my favourites is simply because its catchy, it’s been stuck in my head since Friday.  Everyday when I go onto Spotify I find myself gravitating towards Black & White which is something I can only say about a few EPs I’ve come across.

Click below to purchase Black & White from iTunes

Black & White EP

I definitely recommend you to check out this EP 😀

There is much more to discover about Natalie Duncan, for all the latest news, upcoming gigs, new music, videos and links to her social media, visit her cool Website by clicking the image below.

Natalie Duncan

Kira

 

Sonia Stein – Interview

I first came across ‘Friendly Ghost’ by Sonia Stein earlier this year and instantly fell in love with the engaging, exotic feel of it. She has recently released her first EP, Symbol. I was so captured that I got in touch with her and was lucky enough to get my first ever interview!

How do you begin to write a song?

When I write alone, it usually starts with a phrase that I really want to use. It’s usually some sort of idiom or cliché that I reverse or breakdown and find clever. I’ll usually sit down at my keyboard and build the song around that. Sometimes it ends up being just a small line in a verse, sometimes it ends up being the main lyric or idea of the song.

Do you see you see yourself as a singer/songwriter or do you find that an old fashioned term?

I definitely see myself as a singer/songwriter. The term used in the sense of a ‘genre’ is as confusing as the term ‘pop’ but just the fact that I sing and write my songs means that by definition, that is what I am.

How important do you think image is in the modern day or do you think that songs speak for themselves?

Unfortunately image has become more and more important, as everything we consume is now visual. I wish it wasn’t and personally try to keep the visual statements minimal, as an enhancement to the music as oppose to a whole other element. Identity should feel fluid but in the music industry one has to define it very early on, in order to stand out. It is very hard to pick exactly what you want to be seen as and feel comfortable with it for years to come.

Is it important for you to be a good role model for young girls?

To be honest, I haven’t thought about it in a bigger sense yet. Looking back at people I used to listen to, I always wanted to be a lot like them so it would be great to look back at my track record and feel like young girls could do what I did without having any regrets.

Do you think that being in a good relationship is essential for happiness?

No, I don ‘t think it is essential. I think the people you surround yourself with are a huge part of happiness and that includes family and friends and sometimes, a relationship.

A lot of your songs are about relationships, do you see yourself as a strong female?

Great question. I do feel like a strong female. There is a power and bravery that comes with letting yourself be vulnerable and it’s important not to confuse the now so prevalent term ‘feminism’ with being less sensitive and less in touch with your feelings. Music has always revolved around love and relationships, and I don’t think that women should feel like they can’t express that in the same way as men just to appear strong and independent. You can be strong and independent and still be affected by feelings of love and want.

Who did you listen to when you were in your teens?

I wasn’t as cool as I see teens today, listening to old 60’s and 70’s music. I remember being very into the first two Avril Lavigne records haha. And the band A Fine Frenzy really sent me on my first writing spree at 15.

Other than music, what do you feel passionate about?

I feel very passionate about food and nutrition. I love cooking and eating and knowing what is in my food.

Symbol has strong lyrics about someone not fulfilling their potential. Is this based on a family member or friend?

Symbol is actually aimed at politicians. It was inspired by the hope that a candidate symbolises at the time of a campaign, all the things that they promise, and the choice they make to either fulfil those promises once elected, or disappoint people who’s fate is dependant on them. I do like that it can be interpreted in terms of a friendship, family member or relationship too.

How important is it to be ambitious and fulfil your dreams?

It is very important to aim towards fulfilling your dreams and make sure you stick to your own definition of being ambitious.

Friendly Ghost is my favourite, will it be on the album?

I’m so happy to hear that, I love that song as well. I don’t know if it will make the album, I like the idea of having as many unheard tracks on a new release as I can and since it’s been online for over a year and available to download I might just leave it at that.

A huge thank you to Sonia Stein for being such a great interviewee, I can’t wait to hear the new album in 2015. I’m really hoping to go to her next London gig, and review it!

Kira

Links below to SoundCloud, FaceBook, YouTube(video for “Waiting”) and the Amazon link to purchase:

sc_square_480

FB-f-Logo__blue_57

Oh My Lorde – Concert – Music – Review – Kira

Pure Heroine
Lorde is the voice for teenagers, my first proper musical obsession and love. She’s one of not very many in the industry who has both an amazing image and great music. Unlike Lana Del Rey or Selena  Gomez who write songs with messages like ‘I’m nothing without my boyfriend!’, her messages are more relatable. For example ‘You’re my best friend and we’re dancing in this world alone, world alone, we’re alone.’  She is a much better influence/role model for young girls like me (I’ve just turned 13 btw).
When she performs, she uses her long, curly fifth limb (her hair) to dance. Her dance is a mixture of bending down double, flicking and swooping her fifth limb, jerking her shoulders and shuffling feet. Most of my friends make fun of her for this and I do admit the first time you see it, it looks very different and weird. But I think it’s original. I believe that everybody has an animal inside that just wants to go crazy when they hear music, however society has taught us to conceal and to tame it. Teens are judged on the way they dance and there is only one ‘cool’ way to. This is just another way Lorde is making her point, her mark.
Pure Heroine is a work of art.
Tennis Court is the first track, starting with the lyric ‘Don’t you think that it’s boring how people talk? Making smart with the words again, well I’m bored.’ From the very first beat, Lorde is showing her rebellious side. She isn’t scared to share her opinion, in fact she’s known for dissing many celebrities. Her music is political, made to prove a point, which again artists these days seem to shy away from.
400 Lux is a track with beautifully constructed lyrics. Beginning with a continuous violin note, the song builds up slowly and creates a comforting feel. What I love about it is the atmosphere it creates, the sense of someone wrapping their arms around you and hugging you tight. Ribs has a similar feel, but also adding elements of naivety and fear writing about how scary it feels getting old. Every teenager gets to a point where they hit their GCSEs and everything suddenly feels ‘real‘. That moment when your whole life is determined from one set of test results… I haven’t experienced it, yet it still scares me.
The rest of the album is a variety of electronic beats, relatable lyrics and Lorde’s fierce, wise opinions. And then there’s the live experience. I was lucky enough to get tickets to her London show. My Mum sneaked me into the moshpit (which was heavily guarded as underaged kids have to stay at the boring balcony), and we wrestled our way to the front. She was halfway through singing ‘White Teeth Teens’ when I burst into tears. I wouldn’t describe myself as a hysterical ‘fangirl’, in fact I’m quite the opposite. But the sheer realisation that she was an actual real live person and we were sharing that moment together hit me. I didn’t stop crying until the finale song, ‘Team’ with the all encompassing lyric “and you know, we’re on each others Team.”
I’ll always be Team Lorde.
Kira
FB-f-Logo__blue_57
Twitter
Lorde – Yellow Flicker Beat (Hunger Games)
YouTube
Love Club (Ep)