Sunday, February 5, 2012

Black History Month: Kele Okereke (Bloc Party)

Kele Okereke is the lead singer behind the British UK band Bloc Party, a band who's debut album Silent Alarm was the indie darling of 2005, winning praise from publications like British heavyweight NME.

Interestingly enough, Franz Ferdinand's lead singer Alex Kapranos gave Bloc Party a hand after hearing a demo of "She's Hearing Voices". The live session they played on BBC led to what became the debut single off of Silent Alarm, "Banquet".

Silent Alarm went platinum in Britain with succeeding singles, such as "Helicopter".

Silent Alarm was so popular amongst indie rock fans that it had been re-released with B-sides such as "Two More Years" and later as a remix album.

The remix album led them to explore a dancier side of Bloc Party (as if there wasn't a dance-y side already) with A Weekend in the City, led by the lead single "The Prayer". "I Still Remember" became their most successful song radio wise here in the States.

Towards the end of the A Weekend in the City era, they put out a non-album single called "Flux" that hinted at the sound of the band's next album Intimacy.

"Mercury" was the first single off of Intimacy. Intimacy was originally released as a download and later physically (with added bonus tracks), which wasn't terribly common a few years ago. Unfortunately, due to the music industry bottoming out, Bloc Party's third album wasn't nearly as successful, so they decided to go on a hiatus after 2009's non-album single "One More Chance".

All of the members of Bloc Party moved onto their own projects, including Kele's 2010 debut solo album The Boxer, which was led by the electronica-infused lead single "Tenderoni".

The band reconnected in 2012 with plans to work on their upcoming fourth record.

What I like about Bloc Party is that they put out so much material. There are so many B-sides that they have put out that are every bit as good as their album material. It'll be interesting to see where Bloc Party goes with this album...whether they put out something closer to Kele's solo album or whether they go back to their Silent Alarm roots.

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