The Naked and Famous
The Naked And Famous reached the end of a remarkable two years in June 2012, finally leaving the road having completed a 250 gig campaign reaching 24 countries in support of their debut album Passive Me Aggressive You (Fiction Records).
The journey began with the release of the single “Young Blood” in their home country of New Zealand in June 2010. The delirious hit went straight in at the top of the NZ charts and has gone on to be viewed over 20million times on Vevo and Youtube and heard in countries many thousands of miles from their home. It is now certified Gold in the U.S. and Canada, and Platinum in Australia and New Zealand.
TNAF have built an ever-growing audience around the globe for their pulverizing live shows, a blend of the pure pop exhilaration of the hit singles “Young Blood” and “Punching In A Dream” with the thrilling dark electronic arts that drive the group’s sound.
In between sell-out tours of Europe, the USA and UK, the band took away a record-breaking haul of eight NZ Music Awards, including the big prizes of Best Album for Passive Me Aggressive You, Single for “Young Blood” and Best Group.
They add these to the NME Radar Award collected in February 2011 and the Silver Scroll songwriting prize already won in 2010 for “Young Blood”, the song that saw TNAF explode onto the world stage and airwaves this year. The group’s masterfully melodic blend of rock and electronic elements fronted by the boy-girl vocals of Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith has made them a festival hit around the world in 2011 and Passive Me Aggressive You a critical favourite on its way to already selling over quarter of a million copies. The self-produced Passive Me Aggressive You received glowing four-star reviews in Uncut and Mojo and many other publications. NME’s 8/10 review called it a ‘glorious melting pot of pop perfection’, saying that the band’s ‘passive melodicism and aggressive innovation clash in a dazzling blaze of psych/sonic fireworks’.
TNAF’s 2011 festival triumphs include Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds and Latitude in the UK, Lollapolooza, South By Southwest, Fuji Rock in Japan, Australia’s Big Day Out, and Germany’s Rock Am Ring. These five young New Zealanders have at their disposal a seemingly effortless ability to capture the giddy fun and relentless hooks one has come to expect from the very best electro-pop, while at the same time striving for something grander, more brooding and atmospheric.
Their production skills were honed since the day TNAF formed in the early weeks of term at an Auckland music college. Initially they were a duo of Thom and Alisa, with Aaron Short providing behind-the-scenes production with Thom on their 2008 EPs, This Machine and No Light. Drummer Jesse Wood and bassist David Beadle had joined by the time TNAF began writing and recording Passive Me Aggressive You – the recording process itself still taking place in a mix of bedrooms and small studios with Thom and Aaron always at the controls.
Their achievements to date already mark this New Zealand band as an exciting one in the new generation of electronic rock acts. A young group of warped sound merchants making do-or-die, heart-in-mouth, chart-bound pop to invest your heart and soul in, they’ve taken their meteoric rise and the workload of hundreds of gigs and relentless touring that goes with it in their stride. Passionate about their music and connected to their equally fervent legions of fans, The Naked And Famous are very much not the emperor’s new clothes, they’re something special indeed.
Morgan Kibby captured hearts and eardrums as the beautiful, spectral voice on M83's near universally acclaimed LP, Saturdays = Youth, and she now unveils White Sea, with a newly completed EP, This Frontier, due digitally October 5.
White Sea emerges out of Kibby's creative endeavors with French electronic-pop guru M83. Having started as a co-writer, including the runaway anthem "Kim & Jessie," Kibby went on to contribute vocals and synthesizers on stage, stepping into a more collaborative role and soaking in all there was to learn in her rousing setting.
"While on tour with M83, I was exposed to so many new things," Kibby explains. "When I returned home, I sat down and taught myself Pro Tools, and how to produce. I've really spent the last year figuring out what music I'm excited about making."
Conceived, recorded and produced nearly entirely on her own, This Frontier, embodies the multifaceted nature of Kibby's cosmos, which draws inspiration from disco bass lines, '60s spaghetti westerns and the envelope-pushing work of Ennio Morricone's soundtracks. The five-song indie-pop EP explodes with cinematic crescendos, tinkling chimes, shining harmonies, dramatic bass lines, party beats, tempered synthesizers, all threaded by Kibby's unmistakable, angelic voice. Fused in layered textural complexity and cascading vocals, the scope of material defies categorization other than anthemic, dancey, and rich with harmonies, proving Kibby to be entirely more than just a pretty voice.
Embracing her new toolbox of skills, Kibby expanded her repertoire further and recently completed a bouncy remix of School of Seven Bells' "Dust Devil," rich with her signature moody synth sound. The track will accompany the September 14 digital release of single, "Heart Is Strange."
Next up, White Sea will set sail live. Stay tuned for tour dates.