No music expert but definitely a man of music appreciation and one of my very best friends, The Bain, was kind enough, six months ago, to send me a link that pioneered a great new musical love in my life.
The young Banwee always sends me shit. Nearly every fucking day. Some of it gold. A lot of it shit. Texts, Snapchats, Facebook links, Photos, all sorts. All during his working day. Consequently, when I go to ring him after work to hang out, or when I need picking up from a train station that he’s promised to do so, his phone is always fucking dead and it annoys me to no end. None-the-less he is a sweetheart and means no ill. And for his battery usage faults he is a character indeed.
So sixth months back I was sat in my office in Bristol, doing some morning coding and I had a text through with a link reading something along the lines of “Peng”. And so I clicked it, trusting that it might indeed be peng, considering his new working counterpart, The Soul Man, had been educating the Bayne on the rich tapestry of Northern Soul. I figured it might be some old classic. Turns out is was new amazingness.
This is what he sent me.
Though this was actually a soundcloud link for some reason the option to embed Hey Now no longer exists.
Suffice to say I was instantly hooked. Those warm and fuzzy chords, the verb, those plucked guitar strings. And then that vocal. That low and masterful female vocal that sits adrift the filling melody. That build and then that powerful depth of bass. It was loud in my ears, my Sennheiser HD-25 II’s blocking out all sound around me for the music in my lug holes. It had me in one of those moments that rarely comes about in music where you have to really sit back and think “Fuck me that really is the peng.” A “Jesus…” moment. A good moment.
At the time there was only 4 tracks available to listen to and I knew nothing of the group, only that little Bayes had heard the track on Radio 1 so I assumed this was some new found talent. Perhaps played on a the review show. Nothing massive. Yet. But something peng. Something not like the ten tons of trollop that day-time radio feeds to the masses. Something good, something that they might feed to the masses and the masses wouldn’t really know how good it was. Something they’d say “Sounds like Florence + The Machine meets The XX“. Which is true. There are similarities, grand and small. But like Florence + The Machine and The XX, they aren’t just trollop for a feeding. They’re gold amongst the trollop that the feeding will indulge on. Like a fine wine on a table of drinkers that know not of fine wines. They’ll like it. But they’ll like it like they like a twelve pound house red. I on the other hand, will fiend it like I’ve never fiended out on something before.
The four available tracks up on the soundcloud were the two singles Hey Now & Metal & Dust. Both amazed me. The other two were a remix of each. The rolling full 4-4 Switch remix of Metal & Dust & then the 130bpm airy and rushing M-Dot Major remix of Hey Now. Dot Major being one of the group members. It was an instant follow. An instant love. I saw they were following a mere three or so people and so I checked them out, two I already followed myself and one completely unknown name. At this point London Grammar must have had something around the 1000 mark of followers. But they were following someone with just 15 or so. A guy soon to feature on here as he’s fucking amazing.
Anyway I digress. I soon found a 320 copy of the four available tracks and, a couple of months down the line, opened a set with Hey Now which moved onto the M-Dot Major Remix. It was that much love.
Since then, the group has slowly released single after single and their popularity has sky rocketed. They have toured almost every major festival in the UK this year and are now bound in the US. Radio 1 has supported them every step of the way and they are almost a house-hold name of 2013. To the point where my mum really likes them. And I don’t blame her. I’m normally such a hater for Radio 1. But I do know that they do put out some great music. Just tune in at 3am on any night of the week. You’ll here gold. And I have no resentment of London Grammar storming into the public eye. They deserve it. They fit the public eye. Maybe not everyone will appreciate how good they really are but they’ll still sing along and scream and cheer when they come on stage. They are now at 46 thousand followers and rising. And they deserve every play. Every like. Every listen. Every love.
They are three, very young and very talented musicians. Vocalist & Guitarist Hannah Reid and Guitarist Dan Rothman met in their Halls of Residence at Nottingham University (Another applaud to the incredible music hailing from Nottingham city in recent years. That place is powerful for music heads.) and they later brought Pianist & Drummer Dot Major into the equation. Fresh out of University the 20 something year olds are now musical leaders of the generation. They’ve Collabed with Disclosure, had remixes from Shadow Child, High Contrast, Star Slinger and even Fracture (Astrophonica Records, one of my Favourite Drum & Bass labels), a name so distant from Day-Time Radio and so deep inside of the underground Drum & Bass movement that I can’t help but feel supported in my love for the group.
Hardly any of my friends really listen to them, even know them, even Banvee who showed me them knows nothing of them really than the Shazam he did when he heard that track all those months ago. So to know that a forward thinking and amazing producer like Fracture rates them, means that there’s some real music being made here.
Hannah is classically trained and favours the ballad artists of the past and this much is clear in her vocals. Everything about her pitch control and note changes. She’s a fucking good singer that much can be said. Where as the two gents are more in favour of the electronics, the alternative, the indie. The combination is sublime.
They now have an album (If You Wait) and a deluxe edition with five or so bonus features and I’d recommend the deluxe. Sometimes the whole album can be a little repetitive. But dipping in and out. Now that’s something. And live? From what I’ve seen, that’s the way these guys need to be heard. That’s not to say that the album isn’t good however, it’s fucking beautiful. It’s heart felt. It’s different.
Their latest single is the one that I adore most of all. It’s different. It’s heart felt. It’s fucking beautiful.
I implore you give the album a go as there’s so much more going on here than what’s available online. I’ll give you the last taster of genius before you make your own mind to go and find more. This track is Interlude and another favorite though I’ll list the other two on the album that touch me so. These you can only here if you get a hold of a copy of the album itself. Track 02. Stay Awake and Track 07. Their Version of Kavinsky‘s – Nightcall (Most known for it’s prevalence in the wicked Ryan Gosling motion picture – Drive. Which is well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it and has a fucking slick soundtrack. Think modern 80s. Listen to the Kavinsky original here. Speaking of Ryan Gosling, who is definitely one of my favorite actors, I recently saw The Place Beyond the Pines. Long film. Sick film. You get to see Bradley Cooper actually playing a serious role. I digress again…)
London Grammar – A Beautiful sound from 2013 and one of my favorites in a couple of years.
Let’s end with the Interlude.
Visit the official London Grammar website – www.londongrammar.com
Get on their Album: roughtrade.com/albums/75020