1. Louder Than Bombs
3. Dragonflies & Astronauts
6. Giant Mistake
7. Bird in Flight
8. Solar System
9. I'm Only Human
10. Play On
11. I'll Be There
12. Disappear Without A Trace
SUGGESTED TRACKS: 1, 3, 6, 7
The Parlotones Kicked of their professional career in 2003 rising to the forefront of South African music by 2006 when they signed a European license deal on the back of their debut single beautiful being used in a Fujifilm commercial. Since then The Parlotones have become the biggest selling band in South Africa and have delivered over 200 shows in 2008 across SA, UK and Europe.
Key performances include:
· Live Earth, Coke Fest and V Fest.
Key acknowledgements include:
· #13 on CMJ’s Top 20 Adds chart (12/02/2008)
· Best Rock Album 2006 at South African Music Awards
· Best Music Act- People’s Choice awards 2008
· Best Band - You Awards 2007
· FHM Readers Choice 2007
· Best Video MK Awards2007
· Best Video nomination Resfest 2007
The Parlotones latest album is already platinum in South Africa and is due for release in UK/Europe and US in the new year.
KAHN MORBEE vocals, guitar
GLENN HODGSON bass, keys, vocals
PAUL HODGSON guitar
NEIL PAUW drums
THE PARLOTONES FROM SOUTH AFRICA...THE BOYS NEXT DOOR
“For sure, we owe [Morrissey] a case of beer” confesses Parlotones lead singer / song-writer / guitarist Kahn Morbee when queried about the use of the aforementioned rock icon’s famous libretto for the title of the first cut on the band’s brazen US bow entitled A World Next Door To Yours.
The official story goes like this: “When we were just starting out we would often play only to our friends who were all Smiths fans,” says Morbee. “We began throwing parties which we aptly named ‘Louder Than Bombs’ wherein we would perform, and our friends would take turns DJ’ing thought the night, playing music that provided the soundtrack to our lives. At that stage, there were no real clubs rendering music that was relevant to our tastes, as the scene was largely dominated by the raver-ers. Later on down the line, I wrote the song in homage to that period of our lives, and, of course, to the Smiths.”
The Parlotones, comprised of Morbee, bassist/keyboardist Glenn Hodgson, guitarist Paul Hodgson, and drummer Neil Pauw hail from South Africa. Akin to the Manic Street Preachers, Coldplay, Kasabian, early U2, and the Stereophonics, the lads’ meld of anthemic arena rock and punk is the stuff that platinum records are made of. Heck, Mr. Morbee’s lyrical prowess, as inspired by the above mentioned Moz, coupled with his soaring melodies, is strong enough to prompt Bono into retirement - though we will miss Sir Hewson’s patented wrap-around shades.
Since their professional debut in 2003, the quartet has toured extensively in Europe and the UK while accruing an impressive list of citations including: Best Rock Album 2006 (SA Music Awards), The 2008 People’s Choice Awards’ Best Music Act, Best Band You Awards 2007, FHM Readers’ Choice 2007, and Best Video MK Awards 2007, among others.
Now, America beckons. Can they conquer a continent sorely in need of an emotional rescue? “Right now, our ambitions are very high” notes Morbee. “We’d love to do well, but the U.S.A. is a tough market, coupled with the fact that the industry is changing at such a rapid pace. Plus, we’re from a relatively unknown rock entity - namely South Africa - which makes it a little harder, but doesn’t mean we’ll ever stop trying. Ultimately we just play music and if in some way we manage to lift spirits, that’s a bonus.”
The Parlotones attended the same primary and high school, though it took the intervention of a mutual friend to initially introduce Pauw and Morbee. Guitarist Hodgson was the next addition, who, in turn, recruited his brother Glenn, a proficient pianist. Since the bass chair was empty, Glenn took up the instrument - though keyboard textures aplenty emerge on AWNDTY.
“The music scene we come from is very diverse,” recalls Morbee. “We have eleven official languages as well as many different cultures and ethnic groups. In English alone there is the diversity across the various genres…these styles are spread across the language groups playing a style of music that is very specific to South Africa. Influences also flood in from around the world, and there are many ex-pats who live abroad and bring back music with them which has an effect on the local musical environment. When it comes to rock, I’d say the scene here is predominantly dominated by what trickles down from the big bands in the States and the UK.”
Teamwork is a key to the Parlotones vast resonance. Morbee relates “I generally come in with a completed song, which I play over and over to the band. During this process they ‘color up’ the song with their respective instruments. The song then moves from a stripped down acoustic song to a song with dynamics.” Tracks such as “I’m Only Human,” Giant Mistake,” and “I’ll Be There” are both confessional and confident - and decidedly universal in scope. “Life and its many nuances including love, death, sadness, happiness, loss etc. are my inspiration” reveals Morbee. “These are the things I experience, so I can write about them and remain relevant to an audience that probably experiences the same. I’m not about to write about quantum physics because despite the fact that I’ve read countless books, I still haven’t a freakin’ clue what they’re on about!”
Be warned, anything can happen at a Parlotones gig. “We had a guy propose to his girlfriend from the stage during one of our songs…we’ve also had guys begging us to sign their girlfriend’s boobs---weird, I know!”
CHART ATTACK (CANADA)
The Parlotones Venture Beyond Their World
by Antoinette Mercurio
The Parlotones may live on the other side of the world, but that hasn't stopped the South African band from trying to reach Canadian audiences.
Vocalist/guitarist Kahn Morbee, drummer Niel Pauw, bassist/pianist Glenn Hodgson and Glenn's big brother, guitarist Paul Hodgson, are making the lengthy trip to Toronto for Canadian Music Week in the name of music.
"I place value on most music festivals and shows that ultimately bring a lot of people together for the advancement of music," says Morbee.
"Sure, maybe only a handful of bands benefit from the once-off show, so even if nothing comes from this, we manage to gain some experience, meet new people, get some press, open up new opportunities and we know we'll be back at some other event to try and improve on the last effort."
The Parlotones will make their North American recorded debut with A World Next Door To Yours, a 12-song LP that put them in the spotlight in their homeland when it was released there in 2007.
It's melodic and playful, with some serious undertones, and was produced by the band and Theo Crous (The Springbok Nude Girls). Morbee, the band's principal songwriter, uses all the quirky things he encounters to spark his creativity.
"Life is the main inspiration, and people with all its nuances, shades and colours such as love, loss, happiness and heartbreak," he says.
The Parlotones are keeping a level head about things despite crossing the Atlantic to play CMW and the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas the following week. They know North America is a competitive place with many bands trying to make it, so rather than making the trip with a "make it or break it" mentality, the quartet are living the life and loving every moment of it.
"We're obviously out for the big prize, but essentially we love the journey along the way, and that’s what it’s all about," Morbee says. "Being in a band allows you the freedom to experience the world and do the job you love most at the same time.
"So instead of working in summer camps or in bars to experience another country, we play music."
The Parlotones will play the Annex Wreckroom on Thursday with The Light Division, Benefit Of A Doubt and Crash Parallel. You can follow them here after that:
March 14 New York, NY @ Lulu's Village Pub
March 17 Austin, TX @ Friends Bar
March 20 Austin, TX @ Maggie Mae's w/The Beat Poets, Devil Makes Three, Hot Lava, The Temper Trap, Gay Blades, Gliss, Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, The Forms, Dead Confederate, Wild Light, Sprengjuhollin and Takeover UK (SXSW)
March 21 Austin, TX @ Maggie Mae's Rooftop w/Sara Haze, Meese, Twin Atlantic, Vinil Laranja and Fair To Midland (SXSW)
March 25 London, England @ Indigo w/Starsailor
March 26 Glasgow, Scotland @ ABC w/Starsailor
March 27 Manchester, England @ Ritz w/Starsailor
March 28 Sheffield, England @ The Leadmill w/Starsailor
March 30 Liverpool, England @ O2 Academy Liverpool w/Starsailor
March 31 Leeds, England @ Leeds Metropolitan University w/Starsailor
April 1 Wolverhampton, England @ Wolverhampton Civic Hall w/Starsailor
April 3 Oxford, England @ O2 Academy Oxford w/Starsailor
April 4 Portsmouth, England @ Pyramids Leisure Centre w/Starsailor
April 7 Cambridge, England @ Junction w/Starsailor
April 8 Norwich, England @ University Of East Anglia w/Starsailor
April 9 London, England @ O2 Shepherds Bush Empire w/Starsailor
April 15 Belfast, Northern Ireland @ The Spring & Airbrake w/Starsailor
April 16 Dublin, Ireland @ O2 Academy Dublin w/Starsailor
The ParlotonesA World Next Door To Yours
Classic progressive indie pop rock all the way from South Africa
Rising to the forefront of their musical career with quartets track ‘Beautiful’ being used in a Fujifilm commercial, this album sets about proving to the world that they are not just another one hit wonder.
‘A World Next Door To Yours’ starts off in a very upbeat manner, with catchy hooks, and some instantly relatable lyrics. The first track ‘Louder Then Bombs’ is a competent choice to open the album, but does not live up to the title however.
The album continues in a very similar vain, with well put together melodies, and a high level of musicianship, but just lacks the cutting edge, with the one exception ‘Bird in Flight’, which offers a more attitude lavished approach. If the album included more tracks of this nature it would make this an instant success.
While the album has a handful of ascendable peaks, mainly within ‘Dragonflies and Astronauts’, ‘Colourful’ and ‘Giant Mistake’ which all encapsulate beautiful flowing melody, riding the mildly curved waves to each peak of the album, there is a left over feeling that this band have a lot more to offer.
A world next door to yours
South Africa based band The Parlotones formed in 2003, six years later they have become one of the biggest selling bands in South Africa.
Their debut single "Beautiful" was used in a Fujifilm commercial and their latest album "A world next door to yours" is already platinum in SA.
They have performed at the huge event Live Earth and in 2006 they won an award for Best Rock Album at South Africa Music Awards, the band is fronted by Kahn Morbee who has a real passionate voice.
The vocal performance is magical in "Giant mistake" which also is one of the highlights along with the hit "Beautiful", another great song is "Dragonflies and Astronauts" that has potential of making the band big outside of SA.
The album is a bit uneven but fortunately, the good songs are in majority here.
Combining indie rock, Britrock and New wave is a winning formula!
For fans of The Smiths, Oasis and The Stone Roses.