Introducing Phoenix Martins – Heart Strings

Introducing Phoenix Martins – Heart Strings

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Phoenix Martins has just released the video for her debut single ‘Heart Strings’.  The visuals are a beautiful urban glowing nightscene with Martins taking a stroll with a red flare while she sings her floaty dreamlike new tune in her unique style; one we would describe as Lana Del Ray meets Kate Bush with a cool hipster East London vibe.  Its a stunning video that fits with the song perfectly and doesn’t distract from her amazing vocals.

The British-Nigerian singer/songwriter Phoenix Martins is set to release her debut single ‘Heartstrings’ on 24th June 2013. She has worked with an array of artists in the studio and on the road including The Noisettes, Fife Dangerfield and Ebony Bones and has featured as part of Damon Albarn’s Africa Express cross-cultural collaborations project.

The singer has also been supported by the likes of The Line Of Best Fit, Wonderland, Afropunk, Earmilk etc.  The new video is ensuring Phoenix Martins gets the press attention she deserves and this week was premiered on MTV’s The Wrap Up.

Facebook: Phoenix Martins Official

Twitter: @phoenixmartins

With credits to:
Photography: Phillip Suddick

Styling: Shopfloorwhore

MUA: Sherin Adams

Phoenix Martins will be performing with INK at Servant Jazz Quarters, Dalston, London on 25th June 2013, you can also see Phoenix at the following live events:
26th June – Notting Hill Arts Club
2nd July – The Vibe Bar
24th July – Strongroom

ZEBRA F*CKING KATZ – XOYO LONDON

ZEBRA KATZ IMA READ LONDON XOYO

On Thursday 6th June, XOYO Shoreditch, London, played host to Zebra Katz and Njena Reddd Foxxx.  If you’re unfamiliar with this act, Zebra Katz, real name Ojay Morgan, 26, is the genius behind cult song ‘Ima Read’.  Although the tune was written back in 2011, fashion designer Rick Owens chose to coin the phrase during his 2012 Paris fashion show – catapulting Mad Decent‘s Zebra Katz into the limelight.  Here’s ‘Ima Read’, which the duo actually chose to close the show with, throwing in an impromtu remix performed from within the crowd.  One word – Awesome.

Now going back to the start … Zebra and Njena first came on stage following support act MOKO (find out more about MOKO here).  Zebra came on wearing no less than a gimp mask and full overalls, Njena less freaky in some aztec MC Hammer pants and black vest top.  If you’re akin to Zebra Katz you’d expect nothing less.  Not only is Ojay a lyrical genius, but there is always a certain amount of theatre to his act, so his creepy presence in the chosen outfit worked well.  The show opened with the monotone & unwholesome number  ‘Sex Sells’ and ‘W8WTF’.

XOYO was the perfect venue for the duo to headline; underground, dark and intimate.  It is so refreshing to see live performers give their all  – Zebra Katz and Njena made sure we were paying attention at all times.  None of this Iggy Azalea crap of laying down on stage ‘because she was too tired’.  The duo werked it.  Njena killed it with her song ‘Needful Things’ – the song gave her a chance to show off her enviable rapping skills; while Zebra showed off his bitchin dance moves.

Zebra Katz and Njena Reddd Foxxx will be playing at other venues across the UK in the next few months.  They’ve just performed at Rockness Festival – INVERNESS 7th – 9th June 2013 and Parkflife Festival – MANCHESTER 8th – 9th June.  You can still get tickets to watch them supporting Die Antwoord at HMV Ritz – MANCHESTER – on 21st June 2013.  They are then at the O2 Brixton AcademyLONDON – on 22nd June 2013.  They’re also hitting the festival scene, performing at LOVEBOX, victoria Park London and Glastonbury.

They also performed ‘Hey Ladies‘, ‘Pull a Stunt’ and ‘Y I D O’ at XOYO.  It’s not often you come away from a gig feeling like the act have passed on some of their energy to the crowd – but these two did exactly that after their finale ‘Ima Read’.  All in all it was an amazing show with the right amount of everything.  I cant see Zebra Katz ever making it on to the mainstream unless he chose to tone down his lyrics; but I think thats all part of the appeal.  The New York rapper is comfortable in the underground scene and has gained respect from his position.  Who knows what Mad Decent’s DIPLO’s plans are for his future.  Will we be seeing Zebra Katz collaborating with a more mainstream artist soon?  Zebra supported Azealia Banks during her 2012 UK tour, and she released her own cover of ‘Ima Read’.  We predict a collaboration before the year is out 😉

Captivated by MOKO

Captivated by MOKO

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Last Thursday we arrived at XOYO Shoreditch to see Zebra Katz & Njena Reddd Foxxx.  Not knowing anything about the support act, promptly at 8.30 this amazing lady entered the stage with her super human drummer.  We were totally and utterly captivated by the lady that goes by the name of MOKO.

MOKO, 21, opened the night with her track, ‘Summon The Strength”.  The girl’s vocals are a mix of Adina Howard‘s power and Jessie Ware‘s smoothness; a perfect entrend recycled 90s vibe that we’d describe as electronic soul.  Not only did MOKO sing like a pro, she’s pretty on the eye with her afropuff pig-tail plaits and she already knows how to work a stage with her signature dance moves.  ‘Hand on Heart’ is going to make MOKO a star; you can imagine the club remix too.

MOKO is from New Cross in London and has just completed her degree at Goldsmiths Univeristy.  She sang as a child at church and during her time at university started experimenting her voice with bands.  She only has 2 videos (so far) and 4 songs (see her soundcloud).

‘Freeze’ is beautiful; it starts with a melancholy Jose Gonzalez ‘esque piano intro and then a Massive Attack ‘Teardrop’ beat kicks in.  When the song gets a bit more uptempo the tune samples a slightly modernised beat from Massive Attack’s ‘Unfinished Sympathy’.  MOKO’s vocals have a Mica Paris meets Soul 2 Soul vibe:

If you want to see MOKO, and you should, you can actually get free tickets to her headline gig at Electrowerkz in Islington on July 4th.  All you need to do is register for tickets at http://billetto.co.uk/moko – but hurry because we’re sure they will run out fast!

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Connect with MOKO:

AFROBEATS in LONDON – DJ ABRANTEE’S ‘AFROBEAT SUNDAYS’ @ INDIGO2

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On Sunday 26th May, The Indigo2, North Greenwich, played host to Choice Fm’s DJ Abrantee’s Afrobeat night ‘Afrobeat Sundays’ with live performances from Joey-B (Strawberry Ginger), D-Black (Oh Vera) and other UK Afrobeat Djs; following the success of the sold out Christmas Special.

We arrived at the night around 11pm to a bustling crowd getting down to some classic RnB and Hiphop (thinking ‘hello? where are the Afrobeats?’).  At around midnight the live performances started, with Ghanaian acts Joey-B and D-Black only doing their sets after 1am.  The performances were smooth and well rehearsed with DJ Abrantee regularly coming on stage to speak to the crowd and introduce the next artist who had flown in from Africa especially for the night.  Great Azonto dancers accompanied the singers – were they from the London Azonto all-stars?

‘Strawberry Ginger’ (featuring D-Black and E.L.) has been a massive hit for Black Avenue Muzik act Joey B.  Joey B only came onto the scene recently after featuring as an unsigned artists on D-Black’s hit tune ‘Oh Vera’.  Black Avenue Muzik signed him in a matter of months.  His new Azonto beat single ‘Benedicta’ is out soon – will he stand alone in the charts without D-Black?  Only time will tell.

D-Black performed his 2012 hit azonto tune ‘oh Vera’ (which stands for ‘very enormous round ass’) alongside Joey B.  For those of you unfamiliar with Ghanaian artist D-Black (aka Desmond Kwesi Blackmore) MTV BASE have crowned him king of GH-rap and an African Hip Hop star.

The first mainstream afrobeat / azonto tune that entered the UK charts was ‘Oliver Twist’ by D’Banj )aka Dapo Daniel Oyebanjo) the Nigerian singer-songwriter, back in Spring 2012.  Since that song came out we’ve seen azonto become the new urban dance craze in London and the ‘London Azonto Allstars’ appear on the scene with their part 1 and part 2 videos.  Around the same time British artist (of Ghanaian descent) Fuse ODG released his track entitled ‘Azonto’, further embedding the dance into the UK scene with (slightly cringeworthy) ‘step by step’ scenes to show you how to Azonto!

5 months ago Fuse ODG brought out their new remix of ‘Antenna’ featuring Wyclef Jean (check our earlier post here).  This tune is properly propelling the afrobeat genre into the mainstream.  The tune has a London feel about it and with international artists Wyclef Jean onboard it has managed to diffuse the Ghanaian / Azonto / Afrobeat vibe into a track that already mainstream Radio 1 Dj’s are raving about.  D’Banj’s ‘Oliver Twist’ was definitely not met on this level by chart followers.

DJ Abrantee Very much made the night feel like it was an event for Africans in London – and not for those who appreciated African influenced music. There were numerous shout outs to people in the crowd from African Nations – but no real love for Brits who were there purely for the love of the tunes; which was disappointing considering the night was in London and not Africa! Dj Abrantee also has his own Afrobeat compilation Album out (available on Itunes) off the back of the branding for his Afrobeat Sundays club nights – but after attending the night, the album now sounds like a diffused version of the original music and less authentic. Somehow the album didn’t quite match the night’s ‘world music’ vibe, but looking at them as separate entities – both deserve credit in their own right.

“This is not an ASAP Rocky Show, this is the ASAP Rocky Mother F*ckin Party N*ggas” Brixton Academy May 2013

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The air was thick with the sweet smell of mary jane.  The Brixton Academy crowd was hungry to see A$AP.  White sheets hung flapping around the empty stage while Kendrick Lamar beats were played out.  We were all waiting patiently for 24 year old Harlem rapper, A$AP Rocky and his mob to get up on stage and spit some lines.  After a silence the heavy beats dropped and the young rapper took to the stage for one hell of an intro to the show and as the lights pierced through the smokey haze the mob went straight in with ‘Suddenly’.

A$AP Rocky is an amazing performer – he literally hit every beat spot on and blew the album out of the water.  The playlist for the night included ‘Suddenly’,  ‘Long Live ASAP’ , ‘Whassup‘ , ‘ Angels’ , ‘Wild for the Night’ , ‘Pretty flacko’ , ‘Trilla’, ‘Goldie’, ‘Fuckin Problems‘ & ‘Peso’.

During his intro to ‘Purple Swag’ the rapper addressed the crowd with his expectations for the night saying “I want you to know, they called me here to perform today, but I came here to party tonight.  This is not an ASAP ROCKY show, this is the ASAP ROCKY mother fucking party niggas!  I wanna see crowd surfing, I wanna see mosh spinnin, I wanna see slam dancing, I wanna see bitches with their titties out…..I wanna see some weed smoking…

A$AP definately ran the show true to his word despite security’s attempt to stop him.  He himself got into the crowd (and afterwards complained on the mic that a girl had got a little too personal with his privates), he crowd surfed, he got fans up onstage – he got properly involved.  There was no ego, no attitude, no self-ritiousness – he was 100% committed to the night and the crowd.  At one point during the night he asked for all the girls to come to the front of the academy so he could choose the prettiest ones to get up on stage – only to humiliate them after about 8 seconds of dancing telling them to get the hell off cause their dancing wasnt up to scratch!

The performance ended at around 10.30pm – making it feel like a very short performance. I guess he ‘ended on a high’ which is not a bad thing. All in all a class act, from the minimal white stage lit up with chandelier and purple lights, to the totally engulfing beat, all orchestrated by a seriously talented young rapper. I know tonights show is completely sold out – those lucky enough to have tickets, you will not be dissapointed!

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