Monday, April 14th, 2008
All I Need To Hear
Photo via VentnorBlog
Paper seems to be quite good at this convergence of fashion and music thing – following their Joanna Newsom feature a couple weeks ago, they’ve now taken five up-and-coming female British singers, dressed them up and profiled them. And as much as I appreciate the rather lovely photo of Emmy The Great, I’m most thankful for the piece as it gives me an excuse to introduce you – if you don’t know her yet – to the Ms Candie Payne.
I actually think I have Karl to thank for this one as he recommended her to me last year in return for introducing him to Lucky Soul and there’s definitely some RIYL-action going on there. On her debut album I Wish I Could Have Loved You More – released in the UK last year but not over here – she reaches unashamedly into the past, back to the swinging ’60s and the heyday of northern soul. Granted, this is the style that seems to be all the rage across the Atlantic these days, but there’s something in Payne’s music that sets her apart from some of her peers, besides the fact that she goes by two names.
It starts with the voice. Pure and clear, but never over-sung and always a certain knowing inflection that’s proof she’s no ingenue, she knows the score. And from that grows the layer of noir-ish shadows that permeates everything most seductively. It’s there in the lyrics, in which relationships are regarded largely from the rearview mirror and tinged with distrust and betrayal, to the production, which alternately channels Motown, Portishead and Dame Shirley Bassey’s James Bond themes depending on whether the situation calls for orchestrated pop grandeur or smoky nightclub confessionals. And Payne excels at both.
And, of course, while her blue-eyed soul-slinging contemporaries accumulate varying degrees of buzz in the old world and new, Payne is almost completely unknown in North America despite the fact that I greatly prefer her stuff to theirs. But, as is mentioned in the Paper piece, her in-progress next album will definitely be aimed at America.
Take5Music.com talks to probably the most successful, thus far, of Paper‘s picks – Kate Nash. She’s playing the Phoenix on April 28 and, as NME reports, will be taking her friendship with Billy Bragg into the studio to record a cover single of The Shangri-La’s “Give Him A Great Big Kiss”. They performed a medley/duet/something at the NME Awards earlier this year. Check it.
As for Bragg, he’s at the Harbourfront Centre on June 17 as part of the Toronto Jazz Festival. The New York Daily News talks to Bragg about his new record Mr Love & Justice while The Register talks to him about some of the reaction his New York Times op-ed about artist royalties and social networks has gotten. There’ve also been some EPKs going on at his label’s YouTube channel, if you need a little more Billy in your life.
Duffy, interestingly not included in the Paper piece, talks to ICWales about being on the outside looking in, even though she once again has the #1 album in the UK. She also chats with The Courier-Mail. Rockferry gets a North American release May 13.
So even though my ticket to see Richard Hawley at the Royal Albert Hall in London next month finally arrived, the other show I had planned on attending whilst I was visiting Dear Old Blighty – a free Drowned In Sound showcase featuring Sky Larkin, Let’s Wrestle, Dinosaur Pile-Up, has now lost the headlining band and the one I’d most wanted to see as Sky Larkin are heading to the US in May to work on their debut album (as a stop-gap, they’re releasing a covers EP on May 19). They’ve been replaced by The Grammatics, whom I don’t know at all, so it raises the question of do I go see a bill of bands I don’t know at all on my last day in London or do I, like, go take a boat cruise down the Thames? Game-time decision.
Video: Sky Larkin – “One Of Two”
Obviously following my lead, both Pitchfork and Drowned In Sound laud Frightened Rabbit’ new album The Midnight Organ Fight, out tomorrow. The Scots are embarking on an American tour at the end of May but sadly, that’s strictly “United States of” and not “North”. Maybe next time.