PREMIERE: Jordana Lilly – ‘Locked Up’

Having released her debut album Small Capitals earlier this year, LA-based artist Jordana Lilly has now shared her catchy new single.

Celebrating self-acceptance, ‘Locked Up’ (ironically written before ‘lockdown’), oozes an uplifting summer groove as Lilly’s rich crystalline vocals flow with a soulful splendour. Propelled by an infectious, danceable energy and lilting positive vibes, it’s an instantly catchy slice of playful, funk-infused pop; the perfect accompaniment for safely catching some rays during this weekend’s heatwave. Of the track, Lilly explains:

It’s essentially about being stuck with yourself, and the journey to accepting that, then going so far as to celebrate it. Perspective shifting has saved my life and my sanity, more times than I can count. Maintaining positive mental health is all about doing the work – which is something I think then whole world is really realising right now.

Listen to ‘Locked Up’, for the first time, here:

 

‘Locked Up’ is out 10th August via Beardfire Music.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

LISTEN: Wargirl – ‘Dancing Gold’

A sultry dose of funk, psych, and garage rock; Wargirl’s latest single ‘Dancing Gold’ is a smoldering, soul-infused gem. Released via German-based label Clouds Hill, the track is an exciting teaser of what’s to come from the Californian six-piece over the next year.

Speaking about the inspiration behind the track, the group explain: “In Costa Rica at sunset, the sky turns a million colors, sometimes the last sunlight is golden and it dances on the evening water and time stands still and you remember that all of life is a crazy miracle. All of us people are magical living beings, some of us get lost along the way, but at our best we are all ‘Dancing Gold’. This is a song to remind us to really live life as it is a gift and not be stuck in negativity.“

Vocalist Samantha Park’s voice projects powerfully over the band’s funk-fused beats, snaking bass lines, and psych-inspired riffs. ‘Dancing Gold’ is full of good vibes, and that’s what the band want to create. Guitarist Matthew Wignall extrapolates on this: “We want to make great, unique, interesting music with messages that are universal and true, encouraging the listener to take a deeper look at this life, to ask questions about what we all accept as normal.”

Wargirl will be touring the UK & Europe in March to celebrate their single release. Check out the video for ‘Dancing Gold’ below, and follow Wargirl on Facebook and Spotify for more updates.

Wargirl UK Tour Dates 2020
13 March London, Old Blue Last
14 March Bristol, The Crofters Rights

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LIVE: ESG @ Jazz Cafe, Camden, 01.03.19

It may be ESG’s last UK tour, but the iconic DIY act are going out with a bang…

ESG are possibly the most famous band you’ve never heard of. They’ve been sampled by a list of artists too long to name – including TLC and Miles Davis – and yet they’ve stayed resolutely under the mainstream radar, instead inspiring a generation of female DIY musicians to play by their own rules.

And now, the all-female band, who started making music in the South Bronx in the early ’70s, are on their last ever UK tour. UK fans might remember that this was also what they said of their 2015 tour, so maybe don’t lose hope yet… For the penultimate show, they played Camden’s Jazz Café, with support from Leeds-based funk band Galaxians.

Maybe this really is the last tour, but it doesn’t feel like a sad farewell. The band’s inimitable, sparse mash-up of funk, punk and dance can be unnerving when you’re listening through headphones, but played live, it’s a definite party. Even ‘U.F.O’, whose surreal riff has been sampled by Nine Inch Nails amongst others, is given an upbeat makeover. It can be hard to get a room full of stoic London hipsters dancing, but ESG pull it off easily.

ESG have always been hard to pin down – they’ve been described as everything from proto-hip-hop, to post-punk, to dance – but you get the sense tonight that at the heart of their joyful style is a disregard for categorisation. They’re not interested in being a band who are easy to write about, they’re interested in getting you dancing (whilst perhaps unsettling you slightly at the same time).

The band never found mainstream success – not least because their record label, 99 Records, went bankrupt in the mid-eighties. Since then, they’ve been resolutely DIY. It’s perhaps slightly galling, then, that the artists who sample them, with or without clearance, have often gone on to find greater fame and fortune (though generally lesser critical acclaim). There’s an extra level of irritation in finding that tracks using ESG samples aren’t always ones they’d like to be associated with – as front woman Renee commented in an interview back in 2002, these have included “Really negative, woman-beating type of songs. I’ve been in situations with domestic violence, so I don’t appreciate any song glorifying domestic violence using my music. Go get your own damn music!

They might not be headlining Glastonbury, but they’ve done something arguably greater: they’ve paved the way for female DIY musicians who won’t colour inside the lines. Unconstrained by genre or the pressures of major label involvement, they’re free to enjoy the party.

Frances Salter
@goodcanarymusic