UK trip-hop trio London Grammar returned to Underground Arts on Saturday night as part of their North American tour. Playing a sold-out show, lead singer Hannah Reid captivated the crowd with her soaring, yet intimate vocals. Backed by Dot Major on keyboards, djembe, and drums and Dan Rothman on guitar, the band played a mesmerizing 10-song set of sparse and ethereal electronic pop off their debut album If You Wait and Metal & Dust EP. Brooklyn indie pop group Haerts opened the show playing a synth-pop set including songs from their 2013 EP Hemiplegia. Check out the set list and a photo recap of the show below.
Year End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2013 awesome. In this installment, contributing writer Sameer Rao talks about songs that make you feel.
For those who are true monsters, hardened against moments that expose you for the vulnerable and fragile human that you really are, please stop reading here.
For the rest of us, we occasionally crack at the wail of a guitar, the cry of a love-lorn singer, or the naked clarity of a synthline (or, more often, all of the above). I call these moments “gut-punches” – musical cues that can stop you in your tracks or make you uncontrollably sob in the middle of a friend’s Christmas party, screaming “It’s just so beautiful!” as you wipe your snot-encrusted nose with that ugly sweater you bought just for that occasion.
Moments like this confirm why music in the age of digital reproduction can still be powerful and transcendent, and I masochistically yearn for them with every new record I listen to. Fortunately, we had a bunch of great ones this year. I’ll try not to stain my shirt as I run down the list of 2013’s Top 5 Musical Gut-Punches.
5. Little Big League – “Tokyo Drift” from These are Good People
The exemplary debut full-length from Philly’s own Little Big League is filled with moments that compel you to scream out for jilted love, but this song was a personal stand-out. It’s a song that evolved in texture throughout live performances from the past two years, blending classic shoegaze and 90s melodic rock into a volatile cocktail that threatens to overflow through the song’s delay-heavy bridge. Just when you think you’ll punch a hole in the drywall, squeals of feedback withdraw into singer Michelle Zauner’s haunting and understated soprano before the song gracefully shimmers into thin air. You’re left coming to terms with your own power, or your shattered hand in the drywall – either way, you’re still grateful to be alive.
When London Grammar performed on World Cafe last month, they performed a haunting cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.” The band recently covered “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus for BBC Radio 1 in their Live Lounge. They add an extra pinch of tenderness to Miley’s original and lead vocalist Hannah Reid sings it like a solemn prayer. Watch it below. WXPN Welcomes London Grammar to Underground Arts on Saturday, April 12th.
The downbeat three-piece London Grammar – who were XPN’s Artist to Watch last month – just announced a spring tour that brings them to Underground Arts in April. The 21+ show goes on sale this Friday, November 22nd, at noon and tickets will be available here. In September, the band released its debut LP If You Wait, and XPN’s Bruce Warren said it recalled “Portishead, The XX, and the more contemplative moments of Florence and the Machine.” Watch the video for “Strong” below.
With the September release of If You Wait still on their heels, London Grammar is bringing their penetrating sound to Underground Arts tonight. The English pop trio is currently on a world tour promoting the debut album after reaching number 2 on the U.K. indie album charts. Don’t miss them by checking out tickets and details for tonight’s show here. Get excited for the show with the video for somberly echoed single “Strong” below.
XPN’s October Artist To Watch London Grammar made a mix for Wonderland Magazine, that you can listen to below. They make their Philadelphia debut this Monday night, October 7th at Underground Arts. Go here for tickets. The band just released its debut album, If You Wait. It’s a mesmerizing collection of down to midtempo ambient, electronica featuring Hannah Reid’s exquisite lead vocals.
01 London Grammar – Strong (Fracture Remix)
02 Bobby Tank – Vorpheum (Original Mix)
03 Moderat – Rusty Nails
04 The Presets – Its Cool (Andrew Bayer & James Grant Remix)
05 Jon Hopkins – Abandon Window
06 London Grammar – Strong
07 Jon Hopkins – Open Eye Signal
08 Cyril Hahn – Perfect Form
09 Moderat – Versions
10 Maya Jane Coles – Everything feat. Karin Park (Original Mix)
11 Bicep – You feat. Ejeca
12 Jon Hopkins – Breathe This Air
The British trio London Grammar make their Philadelphia debut on Monday, October 7 at Underground Arts. They recently did a BBC Radio 1 Maida Vale session and covered “Wicked Games” by Chris Isaak. True to the orginal, the band beautifully captured the haunting ambience of the song, convincing us even more that lead singer Hannah Reid is one of the most gorgeous new voices we’ve heard recently. Listen to it below.