Sunday, November 15, 2020

MEET... Miles Kane

Introducing, Miles Kane. The razor-sharply dressed Scouse buzzrocker, a man who is comfortable in the uncomfortable. The neo-veteran of the indie rock scene is known for oozing charismatic charm through his 60s and 70s inspired rock ‘n roll sound.

As an eighteen year old guitarist he joined Little Flames which caught the ears of NME and after a couple of members left Kane stepped up to frontman the band as lead singer of freshly renamed The Rascals. They released their debut album Rascalize in 2008 which was generally well received by critics but fell short of commercial success, Kane left the band the following year. While supporting the Arctic Monkeys he struck up a famous friendship and ultimate bromance with Alex Turner who described their two-band gang as ‘a sachet of delight!’. They had joked about making records together a while and when questioned why he didn’t join The Arctic Monkeys to replace bassist Andy Nicholson, Kane answered, ‘I really wanted to be a frontman at the time. I hadn’t been a frontman. I had a hard-on for that’. Eventually they formed baroque pop band, The Last Shadow Puppets. 

Most of their debut album The Age Of Understatement (2008) was recorded in France, the likely duo described sunny afternoons of topless bike rides filled with copious cake consumption and bottles of red wine - ‘it was like a Carry On film’ says Kane. The 22-piece orchestra backed composition of ‘would be Bond themes’ (NME) produces an intimate record that proves the pair were fated to collaborate. The album hit number one and duly received a Mercury Prize nomination. Six years later they followed up with Everything You’ve Come To Expect (2015), drifting away from nostalgia and more towards experimentation it topped the charts but didn’t quite live up to the debut.

For twenty minutes of pure entertainment watch the duo attempt to behave themselves in a rare interview. Alex’s t-shirt sloganing ‘being sexy is a nasty job but someone has to do it’ may give you a taste of the mood...

In between gallivanting with the Puppets, Kane released his punch-packed solo debut Colour Of Trap (2011). The highlight is a rude and rebellious ‘Come Closer’ featuring forceful bass, glittering guitars and raucous chords that just beg for foot-thumping. Kane successfully balances his assertive swagger, oddity and quirk with enough technical prowess to round off a well executed record that avoids chafing the ears off his audience. Tracks like these are juxtaposed with soft and creamy arrangements as in ‘Happenstance’, a sexy duet featuring actress Clémence Poésy. Her fragile and airy vocals combined with Kane’s vintage tone are echoed to the max and syncopated with a twangy and mysterious riff to produce an intoxicating track.

Noel Gallagher also makes an appearance as the backing vocals on ‘My Fantasy’ and Alex Turner teams with his best mate to write half of the record. Proceeding releases include Don’t Forget Who You Are (2013) and Coup De Grace (2018). The latter is Kane’s answer to a break up album, far from the emotional rage he is recognised for and includes collabs with Jamie T and Lana Del Rey. The record clearly pays homage to his love affair with T Rex’s Marc Bolan, Bowie and Paul Weller and twists it into a ‘camp and frantic’ sound. 

A year prior to the release of Kane’s third album, The Jaded Hearts Club was born as an answer to Matt Bellamy’s (Muse) 40th birthday entertainment. A star-studded Beatles’ cover band including Bellamy, Kane, Nic Cester (Jet), Graham Coxon (Blur), Sean Payne (Zutons) and Jamie Davis - evolved into ‘its own little world of whatever it is’ said Kane. The supergroup started off covering The Beatles, Cream and The Kinks as well reviving Motown Classics from the likes of The Isley Brothers, Marvin Gaye and The Four Tops. Kane says they give these dusty classics ‘a kick up the backside to bring them into the 21st Century’ to produce a unique Northern Soul. They quite literally brought The Beatles back to life when Paul McCartney joined them on stage at his daughter’s birthday party as Ringo Starr watched from the crowd. But they didn’t stop at wedding band, their studio album You’ve Always Been Here was released a few days ago which NME criticized as ‘well-intentioned but basically unlistenable dad-rock’. Perhaps the old fellas should stick to weddings. Nevertheless, Kane says he’s ‘itching to get hot and sweaty’ and when they can tour, they will. 

Here’s their music video for a rowdy rendition of ‘I Put A Spell On You’

Kane gifted his Instagram followers with fresh single, ‘See Ya When I See Ya’, a bright and nostalgic acoustic tune recorded on his living room sofa. Other lockdown treats include a special isolation version of ‘Rearrange’ and a cover of Tame Impala’s ‘The Less I Know The Better’ with indie pop band Blossoms. On a rainy Saturday afternoon in July, Kane front manned one of the UK’s first major gigs since lockdown for Camden Unlocked. He performed an acoustic set to 50 socially distanced, face mask donning punters - Kane said he ‘felt [he] was in X-Men’, quite the antithesis of a conventional British summertime but most certainly a step in the right direction. 

For a step inside Miles Kane’s music mind check out his Spotify playlist ‘Crispy Tunes’

Alexia Radkiewicz


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