Monday, 15 February 2016

The One That Got Away.

The last thing you expect when watching The Voice with wine and your Nan is to come across a talented established artist. You expect pub singers and wannabes with loud voices, not a pianist with ten years experience in the business. Jordan Gray shocked the public for various reasons but for me it was how such a talented artist slipped under the radar.

Trans-women Jordan Gray, aka Tall Dark Friend, has been playing the scene since 2006, self releasing albums that defy genre. Experimenting with pop, jazz, country and spoken word, this artist knows no boundaries. But don’t be fooled by this mess of styles, it’s all about that voice and she knows it. With uncompromising political and personal lyrics, she is no wilting flower.

Being openly trans is no easy feat, it opens yourself up to abuse and very personal questions but that said, if someone doesn’t take a stand and make a point of being confident and strong, who will? With her career surely about to finally take off she needs to decide whether to continue her transition publically, such as Isabella Bennett from Steam Powered Giraffe does, or privately.

Her sudden burst of fame came from her stunning performance on The Voice last Saturday. Quickly being pegged ‘the one that got away’ as shockingly no judges turned for her. Despite having numerous albums behind her and winning both Best Original Artist and Best Original Song in 2014 fame outside of her home of Essex eluded her. So The Voice seemed like the perfect  opportunity for her as her gender would not come into question until after her audition. That said I have to agree with Boy Georges comment that she needs to be seen as she is an energetic and dynamic performer who claims the stage and easily woo’s audiences. She has a rich flexible voice that screeches as easily as it croons. Her performance was emotional and honest. Her voice bewitching you. Though I understand her choice of Bob Dylan’s song ‘Just like a woman’,  I strongly think she should have performed an original song, partially ‘Corridors’ as that would have surely guaranteed a turn from Will and Paloma. Despite no turn from the judges the exposure of performing to the whole Nation will do wonders for our Tall Dark Friend.

Her most recent album, The Baffled King, is available online and she gigs frequently in her home town of Thurrock, Essex.

Charismatic, talented and with that voice, I expect big things from her.


Saturday, 6 February 2016

Savages - Adore Life

Adore life, releaesed on Matador Records, is Savages second offering. It's an album that takes no hostages nor does it compromise, opening with the fierce single The Answer. It growls and howls at you with an irritated circling guitar. The albums art is minimalistic and monochrome. The single clenched fist juxtaposed next to the title Adore Life is a call to arms, a command.

Stand out track, Sad Person has an almost sarcastic tone to it, with a reggae inspired  drum beat and screeching guitar.

Single Adore is sultry and alluring when put against the other tracks, not nearly as haunting as when heard alone with the bleak video directed by Anders Malmberg.

Slow Down The World is another reggae esc tune. Which makes sense of course as Reggae and Punk were brother & sister in the late 70s. Both voices of repression and rebellion. This song is a sexy but dangerous sound, the girl you watch in equal parts love and fear.

The albums ends with a haunting and unnerving song; reminiscent of Esben & the Witch. It's definitely a second album as it's more refined and confident. Its got a sense of sisterhood and unity to it.

Over all, fantastic.