Posted on September 27, 2013
Photo by Laura Coulson
It’s a no brainer. HAIM have whole-heartedly taken the title for our best/favourite/coolest band of the year. Not only have this sibling team been producing some of the most exciting tunes of the last twelve months but they’ve been doing it with heaps with charisma and a fistful of style. Needless to say, the quick-witted and sharp-tongued trio was top of our list when it came to the gigs at the iTunes Festival.
Photo by Laura Coulson
The show itself was warmed up courtesy of the lovely Gabrielle Aplin (in a swanky Topshop boutique combo) and newbie Dan Croll but as soon as the lights dimmed for the girls to appear the crowd was well and truly roaring. Rocking cowboy boots, skinny jeans and simple white t-shirts from yours truly, the girls oozed complete nonchalant cool. We’ve always loved their classic indie style but also their bare-skin beauty with only Este rocking a vivid red lip to enhance her truly magnetic bass face.
Photo by Laura Coulson
As soon as they strike the first chord the stand out tracks come thick and fast with their breakout tune Forever following on from new track The Wire and later the one that gets the audience truly wild, Don’t Save Me. What’s clear is the girls are undoubtedly talented. Alana switches from keyboard to drums whilst Danielle leads with her breathy smokey vocals and lead guitar and Este turns from bass to drums with fervour. At one point the three of them get individual mini drum kits and go hell for leather in what can only be described as a living room jam.
From the original chart toppers to their rock out sessions, the audience of dedicated HAIM fans were in awe through the entire show and so overwhelmed were the HAIM girls with the crowds response that Este dived straight into the crowd at the end for a quick surf!
Keep up to date with everything on Haim’s facebook page here and pre-order the album here http://haaa.im/HKMdvk
Posted on September 23, 2013
Don’t be fooled by Nina Nesbitt’s mere 19 years. This feisty singer songwriter has been hitting the great heights of music fame after her debut album launched last April to #6 in the download charts – a feat for any successful songstress. There’s no surprise then that Nina Nesbitt has spent the summer bringing her acoustic pop and catchy tunes to festivals across the country. So impressed were we with her roster of festivals on her ‘to play’ list that we asked her to keep a diary just for us! Scroll down to read her festival notations and get a glimpse at her personal snaps captured on the road this summer.
BARN ON THE FARM, Gloucester
“It was a great day out playing Barn On The Farm and a great warm up for me as it was my first festival of the season. I decided to be pretty chilled out with the outfit for this. I chose to wear bright yellow for summer vibes though!”
T IN THE PARK, Scotland
“T in the Park was my absolute favourite festival. It started off in 1994 and it was the 20th anniversary this year. I was also born in 1994 and it was my 19th just a few days before so it was all round a really exciting day.”
“I loved playing Splendour festival in Nottingham. I went for a retro rock and roll style. It was more of alternative line up including KT Tunstall and Jake Bugg, which I loved. I like festivals that are all about the music and less about what celebrities are going to be there.”
KENDAL CALLING, Lake District
“These shoes are from Camden market… A doc marten/jelly shoe hybrid, essential for mud”
SECRET GARDEN PARTY, Cambridge
“It was actually a really hot day when I played SGP, so I thought wearing mesh would be a good shout! I decided to make the hair quite a feature here going for a ninja style head band. Secret Garden Party festival was crazy! The people that came to the show were great but it was just chaos on site. It would definitely be fun to return as a festival goer!”
V FESTIVAL, Reading and Leeds
“Here is me with my make-up artist sitting in an over sized deck chair wearing a top that says ‘meow’ in support of my favourite animal. I’m enjoying the free coconut cocktails in the V Festival Louder Lounge!”
Check out when Nina Nesbitt‘s playing near you, follow her on Twitter here and don’t forget to download her new single Don’t Stop that’s out on Monday. Watch the lyric video, here.
Posted on September 19, 2013
To celebrate the five track giveaway we’re offering with every UK Topshop order we thought we’d try and grab some time with one of the exciting artists on our playlist. We’ve already waxed lyrical over NO CEREMONY ///’s Victoria and spent time chatting to Tom Odell, so who better than the striking and soulful Valerie June to talk music. Valerie had a flying visit to London last week to support the lovely Jake Bugg at the iTunes Festival and after hearing her folk-meets-blues-meets-gospel sound we were determined to find more out about this enigmatic songstress. Inbetween shows with Jay Leno and festival stops around the world, Miss June found sometime to answer our questions…
How did growing up in Memphis affect your taste in music? Does it still inspire it today?
I grew up between two small towns, Humboldt and Jackson, TN. These towns are 1/12 hours from Memphis and 2 hours from Nashville. Memphis has rock’n'roll and blues. Nashville has country. I was surrounded by all types of music as a child. One should ever be inspired by rich experiences of the past.
What did you listen to growing up?
It fascinates me how many writers ask about my childhood. Geez…that was a bit ago. I loved Tracy Chapman the most.
Who are some artists that you admire today?
I admire the Old Crow Medicine Show. They play the best old time music coming out of young bodies that I’ve heard. I just love them! I also love Johanna Newsom. Her music is refreshing and magical.
What’s the main inspiration behind Pushin’ Against a Stone?
Making a record with Kickstarter backed funds and a real producer were definite goals for me. I just got lucky enough to work with 3 producers on this record!
What was it like working with Dan Auerbach?
He’s like any other down to earth guy that you might bump into at the grocery store or on the streets. Quite the commoner…
Tell us about your favourite gig?
My favorite gig of this tour was the End of the Road Festival. My tent was packed wall to wall. I was performing solo. After I finished, five little girls ranging from 3-10 came up to tell me I was the bet cowgirl singer they’d ever heard. They were all princesses and insisted that I sign a record to each of them separately. Now where did they get that idea? Children tell the truth. When this world pushes to shape us into what it needs us to be for its own rationalization, then comes a child who sees the world as it is truly meant to be. It was nice that those little girls felt my magic and saw me the way I see myself. I love performing for kids!
Do you have any pre-gig rituals?
My entire way of life is my pre show ritual. I try to do yoga regularly because the breathing and the stretching both aid my voice. Saunas every other day aid my voice. I take long walks everyday. I do affirmations on my walk to train my mind towards lighter thoughts. I’m mindful of what and when I eat. The hardest part is balancing work and music. I need hours of total solitude each day to settle into my creative, whimsical world.
How would you describe your style?
An amalgamation of the best of southern roots music…aka ORGANIC MOONSHINE ROOTS MUSIC
What’s next for Valerie June?
I’m headed to LA for shows and to perform on Jay Leno’s tonight show! I’m going to take my rest at home in NYC. Then, I’m going to return to the UK and go shopping at Topshop in November! Only the best. I live to inspire and to dream.
Shop new in and see what you might like to order to get your five free tracks. Don’t forget to download the official iTunes Festival App to get more information and watch all the shows from iTunes Festival live until the end of October using your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch or on your computer.
Posted on September 4, 2013
We’ve waited a long time for the arrival of the iTunes Festival and last Sunday they finally arrived in what we can only describe as one seriously artful BANG! The queen of pop, princess of avant-garde and “Head Monster” Lady Gaga kicked off the iTunes Festival with a show that knocked us for six.
5,000 competition winners – including the lucky 12 who won through our Twitter competition! – swarmed the Roundhouse in Camden town donned in their finest Lady Gaga inspired dress. We saw painted faces, shell bralets and a lot of hair bows in the queue that wound it’s way down Camden road. Some of which had been waiting all night to ensure a spot right at the front of the stage!
The moment finally came just after 9pm, when Gaga appeared as dramatic as ever in a black mask, glossy wig and was suddenly hoisted into the air in a tomb-like cage. Naturally, the crowd went wild and what happened next was a mass of Gaga theatrics. Dancers dressed as gas-masked pigs crawled across the stage, a giant illuminated egg was used as a plinth to sing from and aerial artists took to the ceiling rigging’s. Amidst the chaos was Gaga herself in complete performer mode – describing the meaning behind each song with emotion and giving us a glimpse into her psyche
This time around there was no Poker Face or Born This Way but 6 completely new tracks all from her up coming album ARTPOP and all of which were in the same sweet melodic-chord that we’re used to from the goddess of Pop. Needless to say, we’re sure that album will be flying off the shelves and her Little Monsters will be more than happy!
Don’t miss out on your chance to get tickets to the iTunes Festival by entering our competition over on Twitter.
Posted on September 2, 2013
Super talented Illinois native Lissie, first popped up on our musical radar with her numerous festival appearances and cool laidback style. Next month sees the release of her much anticipated second album, so we caught up with her in-between gigs to talk T-shirts, TV series marathons and what she can’t live without on tour.
What artists or people inspired you to go into music?
My grandfather was a singer so I think I got it from him. I started out really liking musical theatre as a kid, the idea that you could sing your life and feelings was fascinating to me. Around the age of 12 I got Sheryl Crow’s album Tuesday Night Music Club, it was the first time I realized, as a girl, I could learn guitar and write songs too. From then on I was writing and teaching myself guitar.
What was it like growing up in Chicago and how did that inspire you?
I actually grew up in rock island, Illinois which is three hours west of Chicago, right on the Mississippi river bordering Iowa. People from the Midwest are pretty straight forward, no frills people. I think that gives me directness in my personality and music. Also because it was a place where if you stood out, you’d get funny looks, the struggles I had motivated me to succeed.
What are you currently listening to?
I’ve been listening non-stop to the Kendrick Lamar album good kid, m.A.A.d. city. I grew up listening to gangster rap and I think he’s the most exciting rapper I’ve heard in a while for his beats, poetry and raw, honest perspective.
What do you take with you on tour?
My band, a suitcase full of jeans and t-shirts and a good moisturiser is always important. Recently I bought a tiny acoustic guitar to have on me in case I feel inspired to write a song. I also have a stuffed monkey that I got when I was two that I usually bring to give me a little feeling of home.
How would you describe your style and has it changed at all?
I’d say my style is pretty basic. I wear jeans and t-shirts a lot. I like motorcycle boots and baggy sweaters and I love a leather jacket. I don’t wear jewellery except for a mood ring my sister bought for me at a service station last year and a string friendship bracelet I bought in Mexico– my friends still have theirs on too. My style has only changed in that as I am exposed to more fashion and designers, I go for better quality and better tailored basics than I would have when I was younger.
When you’re not writing music or performing – what do you like to do with your spare time?
I like the simple life. I like a day with nothing to do but to go for a long walk in the sunshine. I have a dog and he’s pretty entertaining. I like taking him out for hikes. I also love to binge watch TV shows like True Blood and Mad Men. I like to cook and drink wine, read books – mostly solitary activities.
What makes a great gig?
When the crowd is really pumped up and in it with you! When the band and I are working like we are one brain. When I’ve had a little bit of tequila and I feel like tearing it up.
What’s been one of your favourite gigs to play so far?
There have been a lot of excellent gigs the last few years. I always say that Glastonbury 2010 was a huge and exciting moment for my band and I because the album had just come out and I had no idea if anyone knew us or not. We got a great turnout for our Park Stage set and the weather was incredible. The whole weekend the vibe was just spectacular!
Tell us a secret…
I am a hopeless romantic.
Lissie’s new album Back To Forever is out on 18th October, buy it here.