New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
This follows kaleidoscopic single & video for "Popular," featuring Lizzie
Loveless and Lou Tides (aka Lizzie
and Teeny Lieberson, formerly of TEEN) on background vocals. To celebrate the release, Francis took to the streets of New York for live performances from a moving truck - watch footage from "Popularalooza" here. The polymathic artist is also known for collaborating with the likes of Angélique Kidjo, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, and Arcade Fire's Will Butler, also earning praise from the likes of FADER, Stereogum, KCRW and beyond for their solo work on 2018's Swimmers EP.
Naming shapeshifters like Prince
Bowie among their essential touchstones along with Afrobeat music, Francis ultimately alchemizes those inspirations with their childhood obsession with early 2000's boy bands. The result is a highly percussive form of art-pop, both lavishly orchestrated and visceral in impact. "I grew up with Backstreet Boys
posters lining my bedroom walls, floor to ceiling. That era of music is dear to my heart, but upon closer look those songs are ridden with anxiety, songs about male adolescence written by grown men."
Francis matches their incisive observations with a direct outpouring of feeling and, in many cases, fantastically offbeat humor. On "Service," they deliver a pitch-perfect send-up of the over-the-top obsequiousness that pervades countless classic boy-band songs ("There's this very impulsive offering of help and support, in a way that makes you wonder if there's some other motive that's not named in the lyrics," Francis notes). On "Popular," that seemingly supportive character is turned into a monster. "It's my own little Jekyll and Hyde," Francis adds. "One minute, it's 'I'll do anything for you' - the next minute, it's 'I don't care for you.'" The music reflects that shift, as "Popular
" barrels forward from the first drumstick count-in to the last guitar lick. "I am interested in man's two-faced-ness - our ability to show one thing to the world and someone completely different in private."
" and "Service" are, at their core, about ego. "Power is essential to the male ego. That ego is a house of cards, of course, threatened by even the slightest loss of control. These songs and videos are meant to illustrate that delicate balance between control and disarray."
Polymathic artist Miles Francis is already known amongst musicians as one of the best kept secrets of the NYC music scene. Since they started playing - first the drums at 6, then guitar, bass, keyboards, other percussion - they have been an audiophile of the highest order. As a working musician, Miles has collaborated and performed with Sharon Jones, Amber
Mark, Angelique Kidjo, Allen Toussaint, Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio) and many others; toured the world with Will Butler (Arcade Fire), Antibalas, and EMEFE; and appeared on shows like Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
and The Late Show with David
Letterman. Following 2018's Swimmers EP, Francis has released two new singles in 2021 - "Service" & "Popular
" - from a project to be announced later this year.