Sunday, 28 August 2011

Warpaint: a fitting tribute to the legend that is

I am aware that there will be some people out there who don't know who Billie Holiday was or what she did. Well Billie was a revolutionary black American jazz singer songwriter in the forties and fifties who's works include God Bless The Child, Lady Sings The Blues and Strange Fruit. At that particular time in America the white society severely mistreated the black society (you must have heard of Martin Luther King) and, growing up, life was not easy for her and she was at one point sexually assaulted. So Billie took refuge in her music and worked her way up to become one of the first major black American singers ever. But Billie had a tough personal life and drug and alcohol addictions which eventually killed her aged just 44.

Billie Holiday is also the name of the new single by the chilling art rock four-piece Warpaint from their debut EP Exquisite Corpse. It's a hauntingly beautiful track from a hauntingly beautiful EP by a hauntingly beautiful band. Dark, a bit eerie but if anyone just needs to calm down then stick this song on. The slowness and the repetitivity and the absolute perfection will ease you into a state of absolute bliss. That xx CD will just have to get used to being second on the pile.

The track is also very minimalistic. Three voices and two acoustic guitars (Stella wasn't in the band when the EP was released) is all it takes to create this extremely relaxing piece of music. The harmonious vocals and enchanting guitar chords gel together really well, and the outcome is phenomenal. Warpaint are a truly stunning band.

And then there are these "Soundies" (see video below). I did a bit of research and it turns out that they were three-minute music videos around when Billie Holiday was making it big that would be played on video jukebox projectors called Panorams in clubs, pubs and restaurants.

But today they are the name given to a series of live one-take on the street music videos available at I think it's a really good idea and it makes the performance much more raw and true however, well certainly with Warpaint, cars rev in the background and one of the band gets the giggles which spoils it a bit. But what do you expect from one-take videos eh?

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