PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Hammond
Lonesomeville is available via:
16th March, 2018
I have a lot to crack on with today...
PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Hammond
so it is best I get to talking about Louis Antoniou and his music. Before I do that, in fact, there are a few themes I want to address. I will talk about double-single releases and new ways of introducing music to the public. Following that, I will investigate songwriters who go deeper and produce original songs; why social relevance and observations are required this year; artists who develop their sound and build through time; sounds that need to be proffered and promoted this year – finishing by looking at the way music needs to evolve and shift this year. Antoniou is one of those artists who goes out of their way to explore new ground and push the limits of music. I am making changes to my blog in the coming weeks where I will go looking for more female artists – the majority of requests I get are from men; I want an equal split on my pages – and progress from the capital. A lot of what I do at the moment involves investigation of male artists from the capital – a lot of the same stuff coming my way. It can get a bit weary having bloke-heavy months where I am shifting and sifting through similar-minded acts. Luckily, and to come to my point, Louis Antoniou adds freshness and a unique edge that gives me something compelling to write about. Aside from the fact he does not have a Twitter account – folly given it is the most effective way to promote music – there is so much to love about him. I will come to my advertised points but, going forward, I would recommend a few things. I can never see any rationale and logic for artists escaping Twitter. Facebook is on its arse and will be a spent force soon enough. Gigs are a good way of spreading the word but, given the competition out there; Twitter is the fastest and most-powerful tool available to musicians. You can get your music out to the people very quickly and efficiently using Twitter. I would be nowhere were it not for the social media site and what it can do. Antoniou has his fans on Facebook, and a local crowd, but, if he wants to get to bigger audiences and get his music played widely – Twitter is a good idea for him. I can understand why some artists would avoid Twitter – if they feel it is a little commercial and obvious.
I have made so many contacts on Twitter through the years: Louis Antoniou would accrue a lot more fans if he floated his music on the site. Another recommendation would be for Antoniou to go a bit further regarding his photography and campaigns. The images used here – unless he comes back and supplies more – are from an interview I conducted with him a little while ago. That interview was for his previous single release. I am not sure whether they are bespoke for that campaign – or general images that can be used at any stage – but, given the nature of his latest release; some themed and unique images would be a great idea. He has a photographic allure that means the camera, it seems, loves him. I will talk about the poetry and desires of Antoniou soon but, for now, maybe some more shoots and campaigns would help get his music out to the people. The final point I wanted to make was promoting music further than the U.K. I know Antoniou wants to play church gigs this year – one of the first Rock acts to tear up a place like that! – but he seems like a natural fit for the U.S. He has gained great praise from U.K. sites since the start of his career. I know American audiences would love his music and back what he does. All of these modifications and tweaks would bring the brilliant music to more people and get Antoniou the credit he warrants. At the moment, the London songwriter has done sterling work and seen multiple sites/sources push his sounds. You Ain’t the Girl, his previous single, showed promise and a keen desire. Antoniou has come back with a brilliant double-release.
PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Hammond
I am not taking on the other side of the coin, I Let the Rain Fall Hard, because I only look at singles – at the moment, anyway. I have heard the song and can attest to its dark, gripping and dramatic tones. It is not as light as Lonesomeville and has different shades. This single is slicker, cheekier and different to his previous release. Whereas that song was a Blues affair that reminded one of the likes of The Doors, The Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley; here, we have something with humour, grizzled and frenetic. I will look at the way some songwriters develop their work quickly and have that restless nature. I get bored with the same sort of campaign and artists who bring out there music the same way. Usually, with an album involved; you get the first single/teaser that comes along. Maybe there will be a few clips and build-up of that introduction song. Before the L.P. arrives, we have seen, maybe, three or four tracks come through. You are familiar with that record but, more than anything, a little weary and keen for something new. It is a strange experience having that much familiarity with three or four songs – it sounds strange against the new tracks you’ll experience on the album. I wonder whether promotional campaigns are too predictable and full-on. Do we need so much material and relentless promotion before an album comes out?! New artists do not really have the same agenda and angle. They do things differently for single release, but still, there is too much of the obvious and weary. Louis Antoniou has taken a different tack and decided to release five singles this year. The double-release we have now shows another couple of sides to the songwriter. I am always looking for artists who do things differently and break with convention. The fact Antoniou wants to release more songs this year means he has a desire and passion to get things done. He wants to succeed an, with every new offering, takes a different approach.
I have seen artists release B-sides and bring their material out on cassette. That may sound a bit vintage and outdated against the modern world: the fact artists are willing to retain the sense of wonder and old makes me hopeful. I am pleased we have the Internet and streaming services but I yearn to retain physical forms and, at the very least, see music remain agile and unpredictable. Having the same artists release the same material, in the same way, gets boring very fast. Antoniou wants to stand out and, as such, has started this year with intensity and meaning. I will come to look at Lonesomeville very soon but, right now, I am interested in that double-release. The public gets two tracks at once and, with it, separate songs and sounds. The two singles do not have the same tones and dynamics. There will be a couple more releases coming before the end of the year – I am interested to see where Antoniou goes and what he produces. I know Antoniou loves music of the past and grew up around the likes of The Rolling Stones. You can hear their mix of Blues and Rock in his music. What I would like to see from a songwriter as appealing as Antoniou is to retain that blend of older and new. The London artist still engages in the motions of modern promotion: teasing material and releasing on streaming sites; building up hype and attention. I hear an old master with one part of his mind set on the glory days. Maybe he would consider releasing to cassette or including covers in his repertoire. Perhaps there will be an album that has a narrative arc based on modern life and ways we need to develop as people. Each new song provides another part of the jigsaw. I feel there is a massive success waiting around the corner for Antoniou. He is always pushing himself to be better and finding ways to distinguish himself from the masses. Lonesomeville is a brilliant way of doing that.
There is a series of BBC Radio 6 Music, presented by Chris Hawkins, that looks at bands involved in politics. The programmes chats to artists who involve themselves in social and political concerns. I think IDLES are one of the acts being featured. The reason the show interests me is seeing how music is changing at the moment. There are artists who remain in the commercial and obvious realm. Against that (commercial aspect) are the musicians going out their way to talk about something more relevant and meaningful. We need artists to take a more conscientious approach to songwriting; look around them and document what is happening – and how the world is being impacted. That is one trend unfolding in music right now: bands and new acts talking about modern life and how the nation is changing. Antoniou is someone who understands this and has the potential to join the elite of music. One of the suggestions I would urge is to turn his powerful and engaging music to areas like social change and politics. He has looked at love and humorous sides: a gaze into the modern world, and the way people are living their lives, is a good shift. Like peers such as Louis Brennan; delving into subjects most songwriters avoid would be a good idea. I can see a soul and conscience in Antoniou that wants to go beyond the similar and boring – a more invested, curious and striking heart. The way he goes about music has impressed and stunned me. Bringing that wit and humour into a politically-charged number would see him join artists like IDLES and Cabbage in the leagues of the aware and divining. Those bands see the way the world is splitting and, alongside tales of everyday life, are striking out. In fact; IDLES do not only look at politics and attacking bad practice. They view the streets around them and all the odd romances, ambitious people and strange scenes.
Antoniou has a great Blues and Rock sound, I feel, could stir the same kind of passion as Punk. He is someone determined to keep his music real and relevant – ensuring it is never grey, common and lacklustre. He provides songs that stay in the memory and stray from the routine. I feel his wit and fantastic music could do wonders when looking at social concerns and divides. I am not saying he needs to go the same way as IDLES and Cabbage: investigating political stresses and anxieties, with his humour laced in, would be a great move. Maybe that sounds too controlling – Antoniou has his own way and motives right now. I feel the songwriter has goals for 2018 and wants to make changes in the music world. I can hear that endless passion and curiosity come through in every note. From interviewing Antoniou; he told me he has a set of poems that look at the Seven Deadly Sins. Maybe a crowd-funding campaign could get them to life. Those songs would look at modern life and bring the listener into something fascinating, strange and wondrous. Antoniou is a big fan of artists like Father John Misty, Arctic Monkeys and Bob Dylan. He loves Shame – all artists who involve social commentary in their music. I am interesting seeing where Antoniou goes and how his music develops. There is the humour of Father John Misty and the Blues chops of The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. Engaging with those Punk ideals and shining a light on the changing faces of Britain would seem, in my view, a great step for him. That might get him gigs with the likes of Shame, one would imagine. Maybe he has different objectives but, when interviewing him, that 2018 goal stood out: performing in a space like a church; blowing the roof off and bringing something raw to that setting. It would be, in a way, Antoniou’s version of Bob Dylan going electric (“Judas!”).
PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Hammond
Although love, lost and estranged, is part of his locker right now; I wonder whether the songwriter will tackle fresh topics in his remaining releases. I am not in a rush to see Louis Antoniou rush ahead and change things too much. Recording at The Crypt Studios; the talented songwriter goes beyond the garden-variety songwriters who strum and sing the same stuff! Over the course of a few songs; Antoniou has moved from Blues-out strands and tales of wrong love and misguided affections. Here, on Lonesomeville, there is a different sound and different course. More wit had come in; the song is faster and rawer, in a sense – stepping more into Blues territory, I guess. A lot of new songwriters get a bit tense and feel the best way of getting under the skin of people is to repeat themselves for a while. They will release similar-sounding music to get their ‘sound’ and identity cemented. It is understandable given the way music has changed and how competitive things are now. You can alter your music and take in new influence without alienating people and scaring critics. I have seen artists take big steps between songs and get more people recruited. Antoniou has a common core but, with each single, brings in something amazing and unexpected. Lonesomeville is a track that will register with those who have followed his career so far. Anyone new does not need to go back through his catalogue and familiarise themselves with his work. Basing himself in London; there is a lot happening around and changes in the air. I feel it is only a matter of time before Antoniou is thinking of an album or something bigger. The fact he does not remain rooted and reproduce average music means he is a step above many out there. I would like to see him embrace the full spectrum of music and bring more of his influences in. I can hear the likes of The Rolling Stones and Father John Misty in his sounds. Given his talent and immense drive; who knows what he can achieve before the end of the year?!
There are little nods to Arctic Monkeys and Elvis Presley in the early stages of Lonesomeville. There is an allusion to Heartbreak Hotel and some of the vocal sounds of Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys). I hear elements of John Lee Hooker, The Beatles; Led Zeppelin and Blues masters in the song. It is a rollicking and explosive track that bursts forth and whips up energy. One can imagine the song being played in a cool bar with some fired-up and dancing patrons. What one experiences is all the strands and colours of Antoniou come through. You have the modern production backing a song whose lyrics investigate love and loneliness in a rather classic, old-fashioned way. You do not get the same clichés and obvious lyrics so many modern songwriters trot out. One hears bits of the 1950s come through in the verse. It is a witty and evocative number that has that physicality and story-like quality. Antoniou introduces story and conversation through the song. The girl, whoever she is, is a stickler for rules and guidelines. Maybe there is strictness and rigid façade that has got our man angry and alone. I am not sure, in the early stages, whether the two are together or not – or, whether this is a sense of pondering from the sidelines. The sweetheart has stamped on Antoniou’s heart – and his balls, in a sense – and left his jaded and spun. I am not sure what has compelled this assault and crush. Maybe she has been too uncaring and cold in the relationship. I feel, in a way, the hero was after a conquest and sense of satisfaction. Like The Rolling Stones and their lust for sex and getting their rocks off – I feel a sense of longing from Antoniou here. Maybe he did not aim for long-term and serious: a chance to get close to the woman and experience the thrill of the chase. That might sound cynical but, given the race and pace of the music; one gets into that mindset and hole. It is an energised and kicking start that gets you invested and thinking.
The guitars grumble, yowl and scratch; the percussion rumbles and the strings twang, guide and dance. The hero rises above the band and lets his voice radiate. His heart has been broken and he has been left alone. I am not sure whether it is a big disappointment in terms of a missed relationship of the denial of satisfaction. It seems my natural scepticism has avoided looking at the song as a break-up and deep thing. Too many love-songs investigate splits and relationships with seriousness and dour countenance. It is all very po-faced and teary. Here; we have a song that has youthful cheekiness and does not take itself too seriously. The script was written with the girl in mind; she has the starring role and our man, he says, will bring her flowers before every show. At once, you get an ideal of classic films and something older. Whether you project the girl as a film-star siren or Muse of the stage – there is something oddly classy about the pursuit. Our boy does not want to slow and is trying everything in his book to get the girl’s focus. She is giving him the cold eyes and not fooling for his pound-store routines. That sounds cruel to the hero: he is putting the effort in and laying his heart on the line. One gets involved in the going-ons and pictures the two exchanging glances and intent looks. They are on different sides and, perhaps, have different ambitions. Antoniou locks his sites on the woman and makes it known he is a solid guy. I guess there is a part of him – no guessing which one! – that wants to get a thrill and find some physical release. The rolling and persuasive clamber of the composition keeps the energy levels high and gets the listener moving from the very off – keeping you here until the final notes. Towards the end stages; the Blues guitars howl and stand aside. There is some soloing that gives the song additional spark and sexuality. It is a fantastic parable that, when fused with bold percussion and disciplined bass; creates something fantastic and raw. By the time the song ends; you are looking for more and, ironically, want that musical orgasm. I am not sure whether the hero got his way and managed to win the girl around. All good songs leave the listener guessing and speculating after it has finished. You write new scenes afterwards and envisage alternative endings. Lonesomeville is a cracking song from Louis Antoniou and shows he is a step above most of his contemporaries. Make sure you get behind his latest work – and I Let the Rain Fall Hard – and see where the London-based artist is heading. It might be early in his career but, if he keeps releasing songs like this; I can see him going very far and playing some big stages. On a very cloudy, unpredictable and grey week – Lonesomeville is the song everyone needs to bring some sunshine, cheer and hope into the landscape.
I recommend you have a listen to Louis Antoniou’s other single, I Let the Rain Fall Hard, as it shows incredible ambition and ability. That double-sided release is something we need to see more of in modern music. I get irritated seeing the same promotional campaigns and familiar promotional circulating the Internet. Putting out a twin-release means the public get two songs at once and, with it, differing stories and sounds. I have mentioned those who release material on cassettes – a great way of keeping the magic and charm in music. It might sound quite ‘cute’ given the fact cassettes are very rare and, well, obsolete. I wonder whether Antoniou will release his work to vinyl or bring in some cassettes releases. Antoniou has some London gigs coming up and, following a memorable past year; he is capitalising on that success and experience. Those gigs are a great way to get new material to the people. Antoniou seems comfortable in London and is taking a lot from the people and streets. The mixed population and constant energy runs through his blood and has compelled his imagination. I can see Antoniou going further and taking his music to other parts of the world. It is still early in his career but, from these early signs, there is every evidence to suggest he will be a big name very soon. I love what I have heard on Lonesomeville and am already looking ahead to see what comes next. Songwriters, now, do not really bring much wit and humour into music. I hope he thinks about a Twitter account – unless there is one and I have missed it completely! – as that will get his music to influential radio stations and sources instantly; ensure artists and labels around the world hear his stuff; gets to a large audience very quickly indeed. It makes sense in the modern times that every artist exploits every option available to them.
PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Hammond
I will end this by talking about where Antoniou heads and why he is a name to watch closely. He looks at love but never does it in a hackneyed and stifled way. He is an expressive and open songwriter who ensures his music has a unique aspect and plenty of interest. I have been a fan of his for a while and seen the changes coming into his music. It is an exciting time for Louis Antoniou and his music. He has won legions of fans – but this is only the start of things. He has options ahead of him and various routes he can take. I know there are more singles coming and there will be gigs approaching. If you have not familiarised yourself with his music; ensure you get behind him and watch his every move. I said I am embracing female artists more and trying to create a sense of parity on my blog. Most of my requests are coming from men; a lot of what I do is about artists from London who produce the same sort of thing. That might sound gloomy considering the fact I am reviewing Louis Antoniou! What I mean is I have been wiped by a familiarity and lack of engagement. What I have found with Antoniou is someone who goes beyond the conventional and ordinary. His music has a spark and candour that is missing in the industry right now. Because of that; I know he will go far and collect plenty of praise. The double-release, Lonesomeville/I Let the Rain Fall Hard, is a wonderful offering from a songwriter who wants to go as far as possible. Get your ears behind Lonesomeville and experience something incredible. Even though these are the first steps from Louis Antoniou; I know his future will be very busy and bright. In a world with a lot of depression, hardship and struggle; we need an artist, like Louis Antoniou, who…
PUTS some cheer back.
Follow Louis Antoniou