Shop 'Til You Drop: A Listen To Commercial Vibe by James Leonard Hewitson
Updated: Jul 20
S'lun favourites Frankie and the Heartstrings know talent when they see it, witnessing the potential of James Leonard-Hewitson unfold in front of their very eyes as he obtained a slot as a session trumpeter for the lads when they toured with The Charlatans back in the winter of 2015. Deciding to follow his instinct and go it alone, Leonard-Hewitson ushered his influences into one room: post-punk, brit-pop & indie-rock mingling with new-wave and classical, only to emerge with his brand of lo-fi pop.
2020 debut album Only The Noise Will Save Me soundtracked numerous TV shows and enabled a jubilant win for the End of The Road Festival’s Play EOTR competition - judged by The Line of Best Fit - claiming a coveted spot for James to play at the 2021 festival. Originating from Hartlepool in the North East, the singer-songwriter continues to prosper and recently unveiled his fresh track Commercial Vibe - the lead single from expected EP Commercial (out July 29th).
Observing the elasticity of capitalism and the burning urge of society to spend online on unneeded expenses and impulses - delivery drivers never far from a door - throughout the global COVID- 19 pandemic, he conveyed these notions into song. Of this, he communicates,
“It’s mainly about and inspired by the cold resilience of capitalist thought in society and government during the Coronavirus pandemic. How, despite disaster, death and tragedy, whims and desires were still being packaged and sent out from Amazon Warehouses.”
Parallel to Candian rockers Pottery, the New Wave retro sound of continuous synth work is propelled into a modern era by its indie bass riffs and blend of electric and instrumental beats, coated in the spoken style Garage Rock delivery of the lyrics. It is tongue-in-cheek: spirited in sound, yet sinister in tone: 'Commercial vibe all the time, commercial vibe run for your life.' Check out the quirksome vintage visualiser that pairs up with the song using fun-filled footage of years gone by twisted by the words and meaning applied from JLH.
30/07 - South Durham Social Club, Hartlepool
08/08 - The Cluny, Newcastle
22/08 - Hardwick Festival, County Durham
26/08 - The Engine Room, North Shields
02/09 - End of The Road Festival, Dorset
08/09 - Old Cinema Launderette, Durham (w/ The Primitives)
09/10 - Twisterella, Teesside
22/10 - Head of Steam, Newcastle (w/ Ed The Dog)
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Article by Beverley Knight