The Noisettes

The Noisettes Biography

We'd like to tell you the story of the most unconventional and imaginative band in today's rock n' roll spectrum. She was an effervescent actress and ex-choirgirl from a Zimbabwean single mother, and a drifter from the public housing estates of South London. She once trained for the circus and choreographed racy burlesque routines. He was a quirky, shy, blues-loving boy with a drive to play like Jimmy Page, inspired by his father's own history playing harmonica in a blues bands. It was one fateful day in music class when Shingai Shoniwa and Dan Smith met, Shingai deciding to introduce herself by singing along to a tune Dan was strumming on his guitar. Aware of the impenetrable and unlikely match, they were magnetically drawn to one another musically and personally, and set forth on a journey to create a sound as ingenious and diverse as themselves.

Not long after, in search of their missing link, Dan found himself entranced by the drummer he caught performing on the popular British TV show, "Later With Jools Holland." His name was Jamie Morrison, an afro'd veteran (previous member of 16 bands before the age of 21) who'd proven himself sufficiently obsessive by telling a tale of how he spent three solid years of his teendom locked in his room playing drums eleven hours a day and never leaving the house. Bizarre for some, but just what Shingai and Dan had been waiting for. Jamie joined the band and soon thereafter they were signed to UK indie label, Side Salad Records releasing their debut EP, Three Moods of the Noisettes, mid-summer 2004. Combining Shingai's unashamed theatrical stage antics, and bass playing, Dan's powerful and lacerating guitar sound and Jamie's thunderous and methodical drum patterns,
Noisettes were quickly dubbed "the best live band in London." They played anywhere and everywhere - on rooftops, in squats, on boats, in schools and timber yards. They embarked on international tours with Bloc Party, Babyshambles and Muse, while continuing to work on their LP. A couple of years playing all over the world provided new directions, a variety of inspiration, a lot of material, and one incredibly special outcome, which is where our story takes a marvelous turn: Noisettes will release What's The Time Mr. Wolf? on Universal Records on April 17th, 2007.

The truth is, a secret this good can't be kept. Noisettes were hand picked by The New York Times as one of the best bands of SXSW 2006 based on their fierce and frenzied live performances, and since then, fans and critics around the world have shared in the excitement and anticipation. They have received a smattering of praise in the few live shows and fan-circulated MP3's in the recent months, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that Noisettes have made the album everyone hoped they'd make...and beyond.

Upon first listen, one can't help but be mesmerized by Shingai's powerful and throwback vocals. A mix of Billie Holiday and Poly Styrene set to bluesy, punk rock songs with complex and textured arrangements. The clues are there in the spiritual emancipating, rattle-anthem tracks "Iwe", "Scratch Your Name" and "Sister Rosetta (Capture The Spirit)," but the album also writhes with soulful jazz oriented arrangements as heard in "Cannot Even (Break Free)" and the album closes with the hidden track, an acoustic lullaby, "Never Fall In Love Again" embellished with stunning layered harmonies sung by Dan and Shingai.

"[lead singer] Shoniwa is a living, breathing manifestation of the rock &roll spirit, with a voice that is equal parts Iggy Pop and Billie Holiday."- Rolling Stone

"Exhilarating and explosive, jumping from era to era- punk-funk to vaudeville swing to blues rock"- The New York Times

"What's the Time Mr Wolf ? is an album fuelled by eye-popping energy and visceral power, but counterbalanced with idiosyncratic mischief and tales of the unexpected" -Mojo

The Noisettes All Music Guide Biography

Beginning as a ragged but energetic garage-influenced indie rock group with the ferocity of punk but with a soulful, bluesy edge and later delving into disco and unadulterated pop, the Noisettes were founded by guitarist Dan Smith and singer/bassist Shingai Shoniwa, who previously worked together in the band Sonarfly. While the pair already had a working relationship, in the spring of 2003 they began getting together to write songs, and their new project fell into place when they met drummer Jamie Morrison, whose manic approach matched Smith and Shoniwa's brash, physical style but also left room for the latter's diva-gone-wild vocals. Adopting the name the Noisettes, the trio started playing out in late 2003, and in 2004 went into the studio to record a four-song EP, The Three Moods of the Noisettes. In early 2005, the disc was released by the U.K. independent label Side Salad Records and attracted the attention of a number of well-known British acts, including Babyshambles, Bloc Party, and Muse, all of whom invited the group to tour with them. The disc also found appreciative ears at Universal Music, which signed the Noisettes to an international deal in 2006, releasing their material through Motown/Vertigo in Europe and Mercury in the United States. The group's debut album, What's the Time Mr. Wolf?, was released in February of 2007. The band returned in March 2009 with the single "Don't Upset the Rhythm," which introduced the Noisettes' newfound pop polish and disco influences; later that spring the group's second album, Wild Young Hearts, arrived. The album was released in the U.S. that fall. Morrison left the group in early 2010; later that year, the core duo of Smith and Shoniwa issued a cover of the Buzzcocks' "Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn'tve)" and a re-recorded version of "Sister Rosetta" for the soundtrack to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1. The Noisettes' third album, Contact, arrived in 2012, and its singles "Winner" and "That Girl" revealed the duo was moving in even more eclectic directions. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


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