Thursday, 23 May 2019

LISTEN: Joe Hicks - 'Hollow'

Joe Hicks is one of the kindest people and musicians I had the pleasure of meeting during my time studying in Oxford, it's always a joy to check out his new music. We first met at the end of 2014 when I was volunteering at the local Oxjam Festival and watching Adam Barnes' set (Joe was playing guitar with Adam) - across my three years in Oxford I saw Adam and Joe in various places including a church, school, cafe, house and theatre and it was lovely to finally hear some of Joe's solo music when he released Best Clothes around two years ago. A string of single releases later, Joe has spent the last couple of year performing around the country, often at Sofar Sounds shows. His latest single Hollow is another slice of relatable and vulnerable songwriting, exclaiming "I don't wanna feel the weight of all of this, on me. I've taken all that I can take, I knew I'd break, eventually." Check it out below - it also features on the latest CMAT playlist update!

You can (and should!) catch Joe playing alongside Adam Barnes at three UK shows this June...

20th June: Jericho Tavern, Oxford
22nd June: St. James Wine Vaults, Bath
24th June: Rescue Rooms, Nottingham

Follow Joe Hicks - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

LISTEN: MarthaGunn - 'Love & Emotion'

It's that (glorious) time again - time for a new MarthaGunn track. I absolutely love these guys - they're come across as some of the sweetest people in music, hardworking, incredibly talented and they fill me with some serious hair envy. Brand new track Love & Emotion, released yesterday, is the second single of their current campaign, following up Saint Cecilia. Sharing the track online, the band's lead singer Abi explained that "I wasn't prepared for what this song was telling me, my sub conscious spoke for me a long time before my conscious mind could pull away. Love & Emotion had a powerful voice, one I couldn't ignore, one I was just facilitating."

If you like what you're hearing, you can catch MarthaGunn at Omeara in London on 13th June as part of Communion Music's SWITCH evening. They're also playing a set at the label's festival Bushstock on 15th June (I am crossing my fingers I can catch this while volunteering at the festival!)

Follow MarthaGunn - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

LISTEN: Charlie Cunningham - 'Bite'

With a new record on the way in just a couple of weeks, Charlie Cunningham recently shared Bite, the fourth track to be taken from the album. Sink In, Don't Go Far and the album's title track Permanent Way have already racked up over 5 million streams in the last couple of months. The new track was recorded during sessions in LA with producer Rodaidh McDonald (The XX, King Krule) and it showcases what audiences have come to love from Charlie - gorgeously vulnerable vocals sit across slightly Nick Mulvey-esque guitar playing to create something that is quite magical. Mesmerising, even.

Charlie is an incredible live act, you should most definitely get yourself along to one of his upcoming live dates. Full list of shows and tickets available here, with some UK shows in November.

2nd Nov:  Redgrave Theatre, Bristol
3rd Nov:  City Varieties Music Hall, Leeds
4th Nov: Sage Gateshead (Hall 2), Gateshead
6th Nov: RNCM Concert Hall (Hall 2), Manchester
7th Nov: Holywell Music Room, Oxford
8th Nov: The Old Market, Brighton
10th Nov: Liverpool Philharmonic Hall 2, Liverpool
11th Nov: Oran Mor, Glasgow
12th Nov: Button Factory, Dublin

Follow Charlie Cunningham - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

LISTEN: Annabel Allum - 'You Got It Good'

"What if I told you this is how it's meant to be?" 

Really digging this new track from Annabel Allum - You Got It Good is the first single to be taken from a forthcoming 6-track EP, due for release this Autumn via London label Killing Moon. She's been busy making a name for herself with her trademark punk sound for the past few years, opening for the likes of Nadine Shah and Beth Ditto, performing at The Great Escape, Reading and SXSW festivals and gaining support from DIY, The Independent and BBC Radio 1. 

Annabel describes the source of inspiration for the new track... "I wrote this song after a friend came to me in a very low state. This is the conversation I had with them. Sometimes we need to go through hardship to grow as people, and understand ourselves & the world around us better. To adapt & learn from negative situations allows us to appreciate life more."

Follow Annabel Allum - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 20 May 2019

WATCH: Honey Moon - 'If I Could Only Dream' (live session)

"complete with drum machine and homely botanical surroundings"

Surely the best possible set-up for a live session video? Those lovely crooners Honey Moon have shared a live performance of their recent single If I Could Only Dream. Since being sent their track (Why Do You Think You're So) Special? to review last year these guys have stolen my heart and I'm adoring this session and wanted to share! Catch the chaps live tomorrow evening in London opening for Trudy and the Romance at Oslo Hackney. 

Follow Honey Moon - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

LISTEN: Dizzy - 'Twist'

It's been just over a year since I was first introduced to Dizzy. A friend encouraged me to go along to their set at The Great Escape festival - I knew nothing about them, what sort of music it was, just the name, but I went along and absolutely loved it. Their debut album Baby Teeth was released a few months later and quickly became one of my favourite albums of the year. Working at HMV at the time, I loved playing it in store and getting some colleagues to fall for the record as much as I had. The band is made up of brothers Charlie, Alex and Mackenzie Spencer and their neighbour Katie Munshaw who have been making music together through high school - there is something incredibly endearing and loveable about the group. The critics agree - they received the Juno Award for Best Alternative Album back in Canada. I'm really excited to hear that they're back, with new single Twist being the lead track from an upcoming EP due later this Summer via Communion Records.

Talking in a mini documentary video about the new track which you can check out below, Katie describes that the album had been written straight out of high school, meaning that there was quite a length between writing the tracks and when they were released and audiences were able to connect with them. With new tracks on the way which were written in the past few months, the band are clearly raring to release them. Katie explains that while "Baby Teeth was written about bedrooms, parking lots, restaurants and movie theatres, the new stuff is coming from a well of travelling and touring. Twist is really about missing someone so badly that you see them places and get really excited, and then realise it's not them. It's about the hold someone can have over you even after they've left your life."

They've just finished up their first headline tour back home but fear not, they're coming to England very soon with a few shows - not to be missed! Tickets here.

29th May: Rough Trade, Bristol
31st May: The Eagle Inn, Manchester
1st June: All Points East x Gentlemen of the Road, London
2nd June: Notting Hill Arts Club, London

Follow Dizzy - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

LISTEN: Cousin Kula - 'Stacked'

Bristol based 6-piece Cousin Kula have recently shared Stacked, the second track from the forthcoming second EP, due later this year. Combining psych-pop, jazz and electronic pop, the track was lyrically inspired by singer Elliot's Mum going through a divorce. Band mate Douglas explains that "although it's a song to his mum post divorce, I hear its message as being quite positive and hopeful, like: 'you've got it all stacked up against you, but I back you to come through it all on top." 

Originally coming together over a shared love for a variety of genres from pop and psych through to prog and disco, the members found themselves living together in Bristol with a rehearsal room in their basement, quickly becoming one of the tightest bands on the Bristol circuit and creating a name for them with them energetic live performances.

You can catch the band at the following festivals...

24th May: Dot to Dot, Manchester
25th May: Dot to Dot, Bristol
26th May: Dot to Dot, Nottingham
27th July: Farm Festival, Bruton
17th August: TRUE Fest, Hay on Wye

Follow Cousin Kula - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

WATCH: China Bears - 'Stay For Good'

With a sound sitting somewhere along the lines of Blaenavon and influences including The National, Dry The River and The Maccabees, Buckinghamshire based quartet China Bears are back with the video for their latest single Stay For Good. It is a punchy indie anthem with some pretty emotive lyrics... "the less I know love the less it hurts". The track is the first single they've released through Fierce Panda Records (a band / label match made in heaven based on those names!) and it is taken from a forthcoming EP which they'll be releasing in Summer as the label celebrates its 25th birthday.

Originally forming in Somerset in 2015, China Bears are twin brothers Ivan (guitar/vocals) and Frazer (guitar) with James (bass) and Dean (drums) joining the band at university in Guildford later that year. With a few self-released singles under their belt they've had a lot of radio support and have opened for the likes of Gengahr, To Kill A King and The Big Moon along the way. Check out the new video below...

Follow China Bears - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

WATCH: Gia Margaret - 'Birthday'

This track has been sitting in my list of things to write about for just over a month so it's probably about time that I got around to it. So without further ado.... here's the new (ish) video for Birthday from Gia Margaret. The track is taken from her 2018 debut album There's Always Glimmer, which is getting a full release outside of Northern America on May 24th via Dalliance Recordings. 

Having played guitar and piano growing up, Gia has been writing and performing music for years, inspired and informed by the likes of Nick Drake and The Roches. Working on demos and an online series of covers, Gia took her time to work on the album, self-producing and releasing it last year. The record brings together tracks from Gia's archive of material, with home recordings of Groceries and In Normal Ways making the cut, emphasising the homegrown nature of the release. The tracks explore themes of anxiety, depression and alienation, but hint towards hope, echoed by the album's title.

Gia supports the release of the album with a run of shows - including a current Europe support tour with Novo Amor, with whom she released singles No Fun and Lucky For You earlier in the year (listen here!) She'll be heading back to the UK in September for End of the Road Festival and her first run of headline UK dates. All the dates and tickets here.

Follow Gia Margaret - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

LISTEN: Pale Moon - 'Dust Of Days'

Better late than never with this one I think! I'm finally getting around to sharing Dust of Days, the recently released EP from Icelandic duo Pale Moon. The band is Árni (who, among other bands, worked with Of Monsters and Men on their debut album) and Natasha, a singer-songwriter originally from Russia. First up - as I've said before, it's kind of nuts that a band from Iceland found the blog and want me to write about their music... the power of the internet!

While Árni declares "I just want to make music and nothing else" and he has been playing in bands for much of his life, Natasha let music take a back seat and headed to Barcelona to study fashion. The duo met in Barcelona, deciding on a month long trip to Mexico to record some demos of Natasha's tracks. The three tracks that make up the EP explore different sounds and themes, coming together to create a really strong first release. Lead track Exile proves its worth as single material, being the punchiest of the three with stand-out harmonious choral sections. Once they've pulled you in with the  more rock-y opener, Waiting for the sun and Everything Is Alright bring some more psychedelic vibes to the table, sounding somewhere along the lines of Tempesst and Geowulf. Check the EP out for yourself below!

Follow Pale Moon - Facebook | Instagram.