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For many, Miles Francis’ debut EP, Swimmers, was an introduction to a new artistic vision and unique sound - but Miles had already been around for years. You might have seen him on Late Show with David Letterman drumming with Arcade Fire’s Will Butler, or on Jimmy Kimmel Live! keeping time for Antibalas; in South Africa onstage with Angelique Kidjo, in Hollywood playing with Amber Mark, or at the Apollo Theater backing up the late Sharon Jones. Born and raised in New York City, Miles grew up seeing his father play trumpet at local jazz clubs, playing raucous rock shows in high school, and leading underground afrobeat parties in college. At home, he studied his wide range of influences with intensity, plucking elements that appealed to him from any direction - Bowie’s delivery, Sly Stone’s melodies, J Dilla’s rhythm, Talking Heads’ orchestration, D’Angelo’s feel, Paul McCartney’s bass lines, Fela Kuti’s guitar parts, Prince’s drum patterns. All of these influences and experiences coalesced into Swimmers, which also featured a companion short film and NYC gallery show. It was an impressive display by a young artist who had obviously been immersed in music his whole life so far.

Miles Francis now presents “Sophomore Slump” - an infectiously catchy ode to an all-too-familiar phenomenon. The song tries to make light of an unfortunate situation: “I liked the idea of creating a new ‘dance craze’ for something bleak, like failing to reach expectations. It’s my way of pushing through - instead of wallowing in the feeling, try to make light of it and do this dance.” The accompanying visual, directed by Charles Billot (who directed all of the videos for Swimmers) presents Francis flanked by two figures in black bodysuits wearing white feather boas, popping colorful balloons and following the double entendre dance instructions of the chorus: Tense up your body, freeze up your mind, move around in circles and do the Sophomore Slump. “Those figures are like the editing voices that appear as you grow older, telling you what you can or cannot do. You have to recognize your personal voices, learn to live with them, and in this case, dance with them.”


Marisa Brown @ Brilliant Corners –