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THE ONE NIGHT STANDS
“THE BEST SOUTH AFRICAN ALBUM OF THE PAST 5 YEARS!!!”
“I KNOW it’s a statement that is going to rankle with people, and upset them even. There has been fantastic music made in last 5 years, but there’s never been an album like this before….”
And so says Lu de Pina, lead singer, guitarist and songwriter in the group The One Night Stands.
The Johannesburg four piece, who stormed the airwaves back in 2008 with a string of hits, including the majestic ‘Seconds’, are set to release their sophomore album ‘Songs From The Edge Of The World’ in February, on the Sting Music label. The album was recorded and produced, once again by Matthew Fink at Sting Music’s studios in Johannesburg. A mature work, painstakingly created over the last year, it shows the band at the height of the powers.
“We’ve been through a lot in the last year. The band has changed – it’s gotten better, stronger, harder and faster. The songs here represent that change and they explore a myriad of emotions as well as embracing a wide scope of influences.”
Whereas their self-titled debut album evoked the sounds of the 80’s, ‘Songs From The Edge Of The World’ features a more sophisticated palette. There are snippets of modern electronica (‘Frequency’ and ‘Isolation’), the 60’s thrash of ‘Slippery Slope’ and ‘The Spirit Of ’76’, a lighter-waving anthem in ‘Heavy Freight’ and even the straightforward pop of the forthcoming single, ‘Johnny Wants The Big Time’.
“We plundered our record collections, bringing in everything we loved … From things like the blues of Son House and Robert Johnson, to the folk of Nick Drake, 60’s Psychedelia, Motown, Funk, Reggae and Punk, right down to the electronic music of new bands like Broadcast and MGMT.”
Enormous interest is already being leveled at the group in anticipation of this release. Record industry giants EMI will be distributing the album, and the group is preparing to embark on a 6 month promotional schedule which will take them around the country, onto TV screens and onto the internet. The group’s strong and devoted following is ever increasing and with cool and funky sponsors like Iron Fist, Volcom, Italia Guitars, TC Electronics and Touchbase Pro ready to lend support, the future looks particularly good the ‘Stands.
“I am thrilled with this album, because more than anything it’s a personal achievement. I don’t mean to sound arrogant by saying these things, it’s just that I know I’ve put the best of myself into the record and I really hope that people can relate to it.” Lu
‘Songs From The Edge Of The World’ is released on Valentines day, 2011 and the band will be showcasing a special album release party at an–as-yet undisclosed JHB hotspot. Catch all the latest updates and information at :-
(1) Since the release of your debut album last year, your first three singles have received extensive airplay. Is this airplay helping to stimulate albums sales – and have your album sales been notably strong in any particularly regions such as Johannesburg, Cape Town or even Pofadder?
(L) I think radio play has helped album sales, but I wouldn't say as much as our two music videos have. The videos have done really well for us and ultimately they reach a greater population. The strongest sales probably still come from JHB as our impact is felt more immedietely here.
(2) Has your promising debut album played a key part in helping the band to get more gigs, especially outside greater Johannesburg?
(L) Yes, I'd say so. Having an album in the marketplace brings a lot of credibility. For example we were able to play some big venues in Cape Town off the fact that we had released an album, and had a single charting on 5FM's High 5@5
(3) What gigs do you have lined up for late-June, July and August?
(L) We've decided to take a little break for a while and concentrate on writing the second album. The few shows we are doing are because we've been offered a lot of money! So we are playing a private party for a film crew in Cape Town later this week. On the 27th of June we're on SABC's Yo-Tv playing live. On the 2nd of July we perform live again on Studio 1 on MNET'S MK channel.
(4) Back to the album, has Sting Music set its sights on trying to release the album internationally, perhaps in the UK or USA? If so, what is the status?
(L) Sting have been great and they've been pushing the album. It was taken to the annual Middam festival in France this year as a Sting Music 'Top Priority'. They're also in the process of setting up links to get it on Amazon & Kalahari.net
(5) Have been you been writing promising new songs and, if so, are you considering the possibility of recording a follow-up album over the next year or so?
(L) Our new material is fantastic. The songs are more thought out and little less improvised. I've tried to think more about the lyrics. We've started playing a couple live already : - "Johnny Big Time", "Sometimes" and "Ayla"......
(6) Moving beyond the One Night Stands for a moment, how do you view the current South African music scene, particularly the indie-rock scene? Are we shaping up at home and moving to the point where the world might sit up and take serious note of some of our better bands?
(L) I think the scene's at its best at the moment. There are some shit-hot bands! Cassette, Ashtray Electric, Tales Of The Sun, Cortina Whiplash, Black Hotels .. All these bands are doing some really interesting stuff..
(7) If there is such a thing as rock renaissance in South Africa at present, which bands do you regard as the inspirational wayfarers – and why?
(L) see above - because the music they are making is as good as anything i've ever heard.
(8) The decades roll by and still we are waiting for that ONE South African band to break BIG in the world market. In recent years, Seether has enjoyed some moderate success after relocating to the USA, but are we going to have our own Vines, Powderfinger and Wolfmother (of Australia) or Veils (part-New Zealand)?
(L) Well, we have the Parlotones, who - think of them what you will - are a huge national band. They've sold upwards of over 50 000 units. Having said that, we've got a long way to getting to the kind of point you're talking about here in South Africa. You gotta understand we don't have the infrastructure that those huge musical terriories have. We don't have the support. The fans. The fanatical hero worship. We don't have the venues. We don't have the money. It involves a change of thinking by everyone. It asks for South Africans to become extremely open-minded. We support our sport teams in a BIG way, it should be the same with our music. Until going to gigs becomes as popular as going to the movies, supporting SA bands will always be the priveledge of the loyal few.
Michael Waddacor Review
Posted on August 2008
Artist: The One Night Stands
Album: The One Night Stands
Producer: Matthew Fink
Recording engineer: Johan van Schalkwyk
Label and catalogue no: Sting Music, STIDCD (ECD) 152
Slated release date: First fortnight of September 2008
Review date: Thursday August 29 2008
A merry Night to remember
Through their melodically lush eponymous debut album, Jozi’s exuberant and free-spirited One Night Stands remind us that there were many gleaming aural gems in the 1980s. With their promising, new collection of 11 songs (including a Talk Talk cover), they could well be the torchbearers for a welcome retro-rock revival, while simultaneously inspiring the development of fresh, new indie rock styles in South Africa, writes Michael Waddacor.
More than 20 years ago, despite my deep, lifelong love of rock and pop music, I decided one night to stop writing about South African music because of the persisting malaise of mediocre music, lacklustre album productions, amateurish live performances, pathetic music-industry politics and egos, and the lack of intrinsic financial prospects to sustain a rewarding livelihood. In the ensuing years, I have largely followed the domestic rock scene from afar, with only a small cluster of artists and bands having the right doses of artistic integrity and musical creativity and freshness to arouse my interest and, perhaps, convince me subliminally to visit a neighbourhood music store to buy their latest album.
In more recent weeks, however, one band has gone several steps further by whetting my aural taste-buds with a finely produced debut album that grows in warmth and luminosity with every subsequent listening. This is eponymous debut album of one of Jozi’s favourite indie bands, The One Night Stands – a talented four-piece featuring Lu on lead vocals and guitar, Sarah on keyboards and backing vocals, Martin on bass guitar and George on drums and backing vocals.
Produced by Matthew Fink of Jim Neversink repute with excellent support from recording engineer Johan van Schalkwyk, The One Night Stands is a startling and reassuring debut album by four gifted musicians with an uncompromising love of the great British and American pop and rock of the 1980s. For someone who grew up on a staple diet of 1960s and early 1970s rock, pop, proto-punk, soul, blues and folk, the post-punk years of new wave rock, synth pop, New Romanticism and the like seemed like a hideous dream after The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, for example.
After listening to this new album at least 10 times, however, I am reminded nobly and reassuringly that the 1980s did feature some wonderful music and a few marvellous artists. Listening to the exquisitely crafted and highly melodic synth-and-guitar driven music of The One Night Stands, I fondly recall the best of The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, Joy Division, New Order, Talk Talk, U2, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and Simple Minds, among others groups.
Delightfully retro, refreshingly now
Drawing deep inspiration from the best intelligent rock and pop of the 1980s, as well as their contemporary revivalists and admirers (such as Editors, Interpol and The Killers), The One Night Stands mostly write and perform a cheerful, melodic and up-tempo form of indie-style rock built around classic verse-chorus-and-bridge structures with a freshly woven melodies, harmonies and arrangements that make for immense radio appeal. Yet, there are some serious, sometimes poignant lyrics and messages beneath the seductive hooks and the emotive and often kaleidoscopic guitar-and-synth interplays that are founded on a rock-solid, but subtly styled rhythm section. As a compliment to Lu, Sarah, Martin and George, this is a thinking person’s blend of marketable social-commentary rock and intelligent pop that is at once delightfully retro and refreshingly now.
The delightful discovery is that the 45-minute-long, 11-track album does not feature a dog track, so one is free to enjoy it at leisure without an index finger hovering ominously over the CD player’s remote-control forward-skip button. In fact, this is one of the best indie rock albums so far of 2008 and I have certainly enjoyed it more than the new albums by Coldplay, The National and My Morning Jacket.
Based in Johannesburg, Michael Waddacor is an independent writer, the editor of the occasional Strange Brew rock ezine, and an avid Beatles collector and commentator. He is a former music critic for the Rand Daily Mail and The Star newspapers and a former editor of Top 40 music magazine. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.