King Charles
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King Charles

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Band Alternative Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"King Charles (No 653)"

Hometown: London.

The lineup: King Charles (vocals, guitar).

The background: You'd have thought someone would have used the name before, but they haven't. We've had Prince, even a US funk musician called Prince Charles, not to mention all the royal female permutations you can imagine – notably Queen and Princess – but no King Charles. Until now. This one has never engaged in a power struggle with Parliament (neither the English governing body nor George Clinton's funk mob) but he is getting rave notices for his psychedelic acoustica, and his wild hair has been getting pretty good reactions too. The term "wigga" has been dusted down and brought out of storage. We prefer "wasta". He's from west London, you know, so some might say "trustafarian"...

He sounds as though he's got a bit of a lisp from the way he sings, but we're sure he'd not be embarrassed to admit it – he's been described as "an occasional shaman" who "tramples over the border of cool/not cool" with his knotted beehive, pirate shirts, black vests and waxed moustache. "Regal" might not quite be the right word for him, but he cuts a more interesting figure than his namesake with the pointy ears. He didn't have matted dreads at school, although it could so easily have happened considering how all his focus back then was on music – when he wasn't busy learning the cello or singing with the choir he was writing poetry and getting into folk and country via Bob Dylan. You would guess from his singles and their attendant B-sides – Love Lust, Mr Flick, Time of Eternity, Beating Hearts – that he also discovered at a young age the collected works of Donovan, Marc Bolan circa Tyrannosaurus Rex, and Syd Barrett because he is part of that tradition of uniquely English, psych-inflected pastoral whimsy (well, not completely uniquely – Devendra Banhart operates in a similar area). Not surprisingly, it's catching on with the same sort of people who last year loved Noah and the Whale and this year seem to have switched allegiances to Mumford and Sons.

In fact, Charles has toured with both the latter bands – after a year at Durham University studying Sociology, he formed a group called Adventure Playground, who supported Laura Marling and Noah et al, and more recently he's been on tour as a solo act with M&S. Before becoming the favourite new plaything of the likes of Tom Robinson and Huw Stephens, he spent some time gigging in girls' schools across England and apparently "rescued a baby giraffe from the jaws of a jackal" according to his press release, neither of which experiences inform the lyrics of his debut single, Time of Eternity, which appeares to address the apocalypse and death, in that order, over frazzled electric folk. On the follow-up, Love Lust, he compares and contrasts the relative merits of sex and the other thing over pounding piano and what sounds like a washboard. Elsewhere he uses ancient shanties, a cappella operatics, skiffle and raunch rock to enhance his idiosyncratic visions. Well, someone's got to do it, and it might as well be this dandy in the underworld.

The buzz: "Gloriously psychedelic and exploding with vibrant sounds."

The truth: It's folk-pop. Fop, anyone?

Most likely to: Cut a dash.

Least likely to: Cut his hair.

What to buy: Love Lust b/w Mr. Flick is released by Mi7 on 9 November.

File next to: Donovan, Syd Barrett, Devendra Banhart, Robert Wyatt.

Links: - The Guardian

"King Charles- Love Lust"

In June we introduced the strangely charming King Charles, a man of plentiful hair and pedigree tunes. You can read what we said then here. It now appears that the second single from King Charles will be the learned and sage Love Lust, released through Mi7 records at some point later this year, most likely we suspect around the time when he steps out on the road with Mumford and Sons for their September tour dates.

Starting with its multi layered and sentimental folkish a cappella chorus of “Never let a woman go, even when you know, she can always be replaced, she can always be replaced,” it’s one of those tracks that leaps out you from the very first moment, with its nippy twang, skittering percussion and celebration of true love over beauty. Then before you can say “The divine right of kings,” it warps into a headlong cavalry charge of psychedelic guitars and hyperactive keyboard riffs before concluding passionately that “Love will set your soul on fire.” Bow down before him and join his rallying call - long live the king! - Breaking More Waves

"King Charles"


I always wonder about that moment of transition, when an ordinary person becomes an artist, or an icon. Like, when did it become alright for Bruce Springsteen’s fans to call him ‘The Boss’? Or, for people to start calling Gordon Sumner ‘Sting’? I suppose it must have something to do with a depersonalization, or an elevation or a sublimination or something. Actually, on second thoughts, it’s probably just when they start wearing wacky clothes. But back to King Charles, a very exciting musician, as well as one that has the garments to match. He writes catchy anthemic folk songs with an epic pop seasoning and he may very well be the next big thing in the peaking folk scene, he has just released a new album with a couple of very catchy numbers, most notably the single ‘Time Of Eternity’ which almost screams chino shorts and deck shoes with a ukulele in the man-bag.

Charles works within a sort of belle époque, Edwardian Dandy aesthetic, his videos and his tailoring hint at an odd confluence of ‘Brideshead Revisited’, Roman Polanski’s ‘Oliver’ and that slightly annoying Meerkat off that ‘Compare the meerkat, compare the market” advert on TV. “I like really fine stuff” Charles says, somewhat lugubriously with his legs up on a buttoned leather couch. We were in the Pigalle club on Picadilly, you see, and he was launching his album there but he might as well have lived there as the décor matched his own look so seamlessly. The Pigalle Club will make you want to say things like ‘louche’ or ‘chaise longe’. It’s just that sort of place: Lots of crushed velvet, gilding, ormolu candelabra, brass stair rails and the like, in a warren of cellars and halls under some lumbering Edwardian wedding cake of a building, almost too good to be true. When I finally did meet Charles (it took a while to find the artiste) he was remarkably candid about his own background and the birth of the band. “It all started about three years ago, I was playing what you could describe as folk but with electric guitars and stuff… but I felt it lacked punch, I wanted to play with bands that were writing more rock and roll tunes… I wanted it to be a bigger show”.Unhappy with the way his music was progressing, Charles very much took control. He formed his new band and began feverishly constructing his new sound, only leaving his room for the studio when he felt the music was ready: “There’s two parts to the album process, one is me, on my own in my house, the next stage is in the studio… I played all the instruments on the album, I wrote the album and I recorded the album” and, although Charles insists the other musicians he works with “are still part of the band”, for Charles “it’s still a solo thing”. - This is Jack


A. Time of Eternity
B. Beating Hearts


A: Love Lust
B: Mr.Flick

Radio play from Radio 1: Rob Da Bank, Zane Lowe, Lauren Laverne, Tom Robinson, Huw Stephens. XFM: John Kennedy.
202,900 plays on Myspace

Double A-Side: Love Lust/Mr.Flick

Radio play from
Radio play from Radio 1: Rob Da Bank, Zane Lowe, Tom Robinson, Huw Stephens. XFM: John Kennedy.
17,000 plays on Myspace



Since the launch of his debut single “Time of Eternity”, King Charles has picked up huge press, online and radio support gaining radio plays from the likes of Rob Da Bank, Zane Lowe, Lauren Laverne, Tom Robinson, Huw Stephens and is now a hotly tipped act for 2010. He’s also received rave reviews from a summer’s worth of gigs such as Field Day and Glastonbury Festival, where he supported Laura Marling.

‘Time Of Eternity’ is a sinister yet romantic picture of skewed psychedelia. Within the frantic, Pixies meets Syd Barrett explosion of chaos, lies a melodic heart, a pop song fighting its way out of the sonic maze. B-side ‘Beating Hearts’ is a more conventional love song, yet still delivered in King Charles’s own edgy, slightly warped way.

• “A phenomenal record”- HUW STEPHENS, RADIO 1
• “The most startling performer I saw during the whole of this years Glastonbury”- TOM ROBINSON, BBC RADIO 6
• “As honest and true a romantic as there’ll ever be. His music is a ferocious battle cry for love. To me, it seems impossible not to be moved by it.”- YOUNG TURKS BLOG
• “Wonderful”- THE P.I.X
• “The king of pop may now be dead, but here’s a new king for the streets.” -BREAKING MORE WAVES
• “SPLENDIFEROUS. I can’t seem to stop listening to it.”- PASTAPRIMA
• “I will give you five dollars if you can get the chorus on this thing out of your head.”- CITIZENDICK

As a boy, Charles learned the cello, sang in the school choir and trained his voice classically as a treble. He fell in love with country music, took up the guitar and started listening to Bob Dylan who he says, “made the world bigger for me.” Charles started writing country-style songs at seventeen when he also began writing poems. “Music was a good way to take the edge off the cliché of the young poet”, jokes Charles.

Following a year at Durham University, he returned to London without a Degree but with the nifty new moniker of King Charles. He formed a band, Adventure Playground who, along with other like-minded souls made West London scene hotspot Bosun's Locker their base. Adventure Playground were soon touring with Laura Marling, Noah and The Whale, Marcus Mumford (of Mumford and sons).

His latest single, “Love Lust/Mr.Flick” is a double A-side out later this September. “Love lust” proves his maturity as lyricist, born from his poetic nature, but also as a supremely talented songwriter with catchy hooks and arrangements. “Mr. Flick” is more a demonstration of his rock roots, but still has the contemporary, melodic, exciting, signature style of any King Charles track stamped all over it.

• “It’s one of those tracks that leaps out you from the very first moment…Bow down before him and join his rallying call- Long live the king”- BREAKING MORE WAVES
• “[Love Lust] which teams mantra-like vocals with big noisy guitar solos is actually brilliant.” – HOT PRESS
• “Infused with the spirit of abandon.”- ARTROCKER
• “These tracks flit effortless and memorably between salty sing-along folk
chants to explosive rap-rock protest songs with a smattering of electronica
and psychedelic romance. – METRO