Another up-and-coming Wes act that’s been previously mentioned on this site without explanation:
Francis and the Lights, led by Francis Farewell Starlite, with Rene Solomon ’07 on drums, have been gaining attention for their distinctive sound as well as an “eccentric and engaging” stage presence which Aural Wes called one of the most refreshing sets to grace Eclectic’s ballroom in a long time.
Francis and the Lights’ synth-laden tracks have the kind of funky guitar riffs and crooning, wide-ranging vocals which likely elicit a wave of nostalgia for 80’s pop. Put initial reservations aside and you’ll find a densely-layered aural experience, with soulful slow jams and meticulously crafted beats.
A somewhat cryptic band biography, via Better Propaganda:
The band’s sound is propelled by two live drummers playing in conjunction with sequenced percussion, balanced with intertwining guitar and synth parts. The band was formed at Wesleyan University – their first show was a performance of the posthumous Otis Redding record “The Immortal Otis Redding” in its entirety. After secluding himself in Oakland, CA to write songs, Francis Starlite drove cross-country in a decommissioned postal truck and formed the current incarnation of the band in New York.
Instead of signing to a major record label, Starlite recently announced the incorporation of Francis and the Lights, LLC, with a $100,000 investment from the Normative Music Company, a unique move which gives him complete control over artistic and business decisions and suggests big things to come.
Both EP’s, Striking and A Modern Promise, are available for free download at the group’s website. Check it out – I especially liked “How Could You“, “On a Train“, the more upbeat “Striking“, and the synth-heavy “Strawberries“, which has a little opening riff harking back to Prince’s “Little Red Corvette“.
Also streamable on the site: mournful covers of Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” and Kanye’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”.
Below, the video for “The Top”, a hypnotic, uncannily Prince-like track which sufficiently displays Francis Starlite’s fly moves: