Monday, 15 October 2018

ALBUM NEWS: Johnny Flynn - 'Live at the Roundhouse'

For me, Johnny Flynn is a complete star. He is by far one of the best folk musicians of our generation, not to mention being a brilliant actor (Vanity FairBeastLovesick.) Seeing his show at London's Roundhouse last October was a complete joy and it was easily one of the best gigs I saw all year. It was a wonderful showcase of tracks from his latest record Sillion and his stunning back catalogue, including his debut record (and one of my favourite ever albums) A Larum, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. Support act Cosmo Sheldrake lent his talents to some tracks as an honorary member of Johnny's band The Sussex Wit and it was a beautiful set from start to finish...

Brilliant news! The show was recorded in its entirety and is being released by the wonderful folk at Transgressive on 30th November. As well as a digital version, the live album will be released on double CD and triple (!!) LP and you can pre-order all versions here - there are even signed copies! As far as I know, it's the first show that I've been to that is being released in this way, so I'm pretty excited to relive the show and have something concrete to treasure it by. For now, here's a video of the first track to be released from the show, The Night My Piano Upped and Died, with visuals from Sussex Wit bassist Joe Zeitlin. Similar visuals served as the backdrop for the show, reacting in real time to the sound levels in the room - it was truly magical to watch, adding another dimension to the performance.

A few words from Johnny himself about the show... "On 17 October 2017 we played a gig at The Roundhouse in Camden. It marked the end of a period of touring [and] happened around the ten-year-anniversary of recording our first album 'A Larum'.  It felt like a special night in lots of ways, but mostly because all our best beloveds were there and we were able to celebrate our friendship as a band and the music we have been making since those early days in the backrooms of pubs and flats, mostly a stone's throw from the Roundhouse."

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Saturday, 13 October 2018

WATCH: Cosmo Sheldrake - 'Tardigrade Song (Live at the Scrump)'

You learn something new every day... personally, I've just been taking a detailed listen to Cosmo Sheldrake's Tardigrade Song and learning about the resilient micro-animals that are Tardigrades. As if I didn't already think that Cosmo was a musical genius, I now discover that he's been educating listeners all this time... with lyrics such as "I can live life in vacuums for years with no drink, and put up with hardships more than you can think." Take a listen to the track in this brand new video, where, in true Cosmo form, he performs the track live at an apple orchard in Devon, while "industrial quantities of cider" are being made in the background. Check out the studio version of the track on his superb Pelicans We EP here.

Cosmo heads out on tour later this month, starting in Cardiff before taking in shows across Europe, with a string of UK dates in November, including at London's EartH in Hackney on 29th Nov. Check out the dates and grab tickets here (he's an incredible artist to catch live!)

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Monday, 8 October 2018

WATCH: Laurel - 'Adored'

I caught Laurel playing live in a cinema for a Sofar Sounds show in Oxford a couple of years ago, and was pretty instantly mesmerised by her. Over the last year or so I've been keeping an eye out as she teased us with singles, and she finally released her long-awaited debut album Dogviolet back in August. One of my favourite tracks from the record is Adored, and it has been given a wonderful music video to match which you can check out below! I completely love Laurel's vocals and this song is a beautiful display of them - get listening!

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Wednesday, 3 October 2018

LISTEN: Franc Moody - 'Night Flight'

With less than two weeks until their tour of the UK & Ireland kicks off, Franc Moody have released brand new tune Night Flight. It's all kinds of glorious. I fell for the band pretty quickly once I caught them opening for Friendly Fires earlier in the year - their Dance Moves EP is a triumph, it's full of funk and almost irresistible to dance to and this single follows in the foundations of the EP. Get listening...

If you like what you're hearing, you can catch Franc Moody live this month in: Headrow House, Leeds (12th October); Village Underground, London (16th); Deaf Institute, Manchester (17th); Exchange, Bristol (18th); Patterns, Brighton (19th) & The Grand Social, Dublin (20th). London is sold out, but there are tickets for the rest of the shows here!

Follow Franc Moody online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 28 September 2018

LISTEN: Swimming Girls - 'Beneath You'

I'm digging this new tune from Bristol's Swimming Girls. They're on a support tour with Pale Waves at the moment - if you're into PW you'll certainly love these guys. The track is being released through Yucatan Records (Matthew & The Atlas, Malena Zavala) and follows up the likes of the brilliant tunes Asking For It, Back Of Your Car and Tastes Like Money, which you can listen to here. Throughout their tracks, lead singer Vanessa's distinct vocals and often dark lyrics are backed up with catchy and Summer-y riffs, creating a really brilliant contrast, and this song is no different! They're making some really brilliant music and are also superb live - catch them headlining Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen on 15th October (tickets here.)

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Thursday, 27 September 2018

TRACK PREMIERE: Little Brother Eli - 'Stop Pretending'

I'm really excited to share this one! My first ever track premiere on the blog comes from my friends in Little Brother Eli. They're an Oxfordshire based band who have been making a name for themselves in the county and further afield, playing at various Sofar Sounds shows, festivals and running their own Eli Nights shows in London over the last few years. They've had a busy 2018 so far in the shape of three brilliant singles; Tooth, Our Kind Of Love and Wait For You, but they're not letting up! Stop Pretending, their brand new single, is being released tomorrow and I've secured a sneak preview... take a listen below! True to form, the track is completely catchy, and sees beautifully crafted harmonies surrounding the gloriously unique falsetto vocals of lead singer Alex Grew. One of my favourite tracks from the band yet!

They'll be playing the new single at two of their biggest headline shows yet this November - they're heading to London's O2 Academy2 Islington for a show on the 22nd, before heading back to Oxford for a hometown show on the 30th. Tickets for both shows, which are to launch their single Oops, are available here. They're an incredibly talented bunch and put on brilliant shows, with endless buckets of energy flowing from the stage, enticing the crowd to get up on their feet and dance - I really recommending getting along to one of the gigs!

Follow Little Brother Eli online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

LISTEN: Willie J Healey - '666 Kill'

It's been just over a year since Willie J Healey treated the world to his debut record People and Their Dogs - worth a listen for that title alone, the album is a total joy and a triumphant debut from the Oxford export. He's following it up with a brand new EP entitled 666 Kill due for release on the 19th October via YALA! Records. It's title track is WJH's first new release since the record last year, and it marks a confident return. Returning to his earlier roots with an acoustic track, the song highlights his unique (and rather lovely) vocals, delivering a promising sample of what's to come from the EP, which you can pre-order here.

If you're in Oxford, be sure to check out Willie's show at the Ultimate Picture Palace for local promoters Future Perfect on 19th October, where he'll be premiering his new short film Hot Air and performing an acoustic set (having volunteered at a Sofar Sounds show in the cinema I can attest to it being one of the coolest spaces I've seen live music in...) He'll also be performing a full-band set at London's Moth Club on 20th October (tickets here) AND supporting fellow Oxford artist Gaz Coombes on his upcoming UK tour (dates/ tickets here) so there are plenty of opportunities to get your live WJH fix soon!

Follow Willie J Healey - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 24 September 2018

LISTEN: Low Island - 'Low Island 17-18'

The ever wonderful Low Island have just shared one of my favourite releases of the year in the shape of Low Island 17-18. Not quite an album, it's a collection of tracks from the three EPs they've released in the last couple of years - including the likes of Holding It Down, Anywhere and Too Young. They've also snuck in a brand new track, Hot Air, which I'm enjoying a lot on the first few listens! The band's Carlos Posada explains that the release is an "opportunity to take stock of our journey so far" and that it presents a "snapshot of our first chapter as a band." For a band who are still in reasonably early days, this release is incredibly strong, and shows huge promise for them in the future. They're a hardworking, collaborative and incredibly friendly bunch who deserve all the success they've been getting this year, with slots at various festivals, and a triumphant local return to the stage with a show at the O2 Academy in Oxford over the weekend. They've got more shows coming up in Glasgow, Cardiff, Oxford & London - check out the dates on their site here, and stream/buy Low Island 17-18 here.

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Friday, 21 September 2018

LISTEN: Mumford & Sons - 'Guiding Light'

"Let's call it an album. Let's call said album Delta. And let's get said album out in November."

Not a drill. Everyone's favourite folksters (and often, not-so-folksters) Mumford & Sons are back with new music. Since smashing onto the scene with their incredible debut record Sigh No More in 2009, their rise has been pretty stratospheric. Two more albums, worldwide arena tours, headline slots at some of the world's biggest and most prestigious festivals and receiving a Best Album Grammy award for Babel are just some of the things they've been up to over the last few years. Not to mention frontman Marcus Mumford producing Gamble For A Rose, the superb second record from King Charles, and Ben Lovett opening one of London's best new music venues, Omeara. 

From the first days of Sigh No More they became an instant favourite of mine, introducing me to a new style of music and opening up a world of new artists to me, even now. Most notably, they introduced me to one of my now absolute favourite bands, Dawes, when I saw them opening up a show for them in 2012. The two bands coming together to cover With A Little Help From My Friends for the show's encore is a pretty accurate representation of Mumford's intense desire to collaborate with other artists both on and off of the stage. Ben's label Communion, which I very often cite on the blog, has been a massive reference point for my music taste over the last few years, helping me to discover some of my favourite new artists and experience some of the best live music.

In short, they're one of my favourite bands and honestly mean the world to me, so the prospect of new music, which they've been teasing for a few weeks now, was pretty exciting. They premiered brand new tune Guiding Light on Radio 1 last night with Annie Mac as her 'Hottest Record in the World' and they definitely didn't disappoint. It's the first single from fourth studio record Delta, which is due for release on the 16th November. Fans are describing the track as blending their latest record Wilder Mind, which took a fairly synth-ladened route, and their earlier, more acoustic tracks. It's a beautiful combination, and one that shows a band who are refusing to set themselves boundaries sonically, with Winston discussing in the radio interview that at the start of recording, the band fell back in love with the acoustic instruments that they didn't use on the latest record, but with a desire to "make these instruments sound not like these instruments [...] trying to make the banjo not sound like a banjo". Listen back to the radio premiere and interview here from about 25 minutes. I for one can not wait to hear the record!

The band are announcing a string of tour dates to support the release of the record in a couple of weeks - make sure to pre-order the record through their website to gain access to the pre-sale - I can attest to their live shows being a joy to be a part of!

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Thursday, 20 September 2018

LISTEN: Indoor Pets - 'Hi'

When they're not too busy maintaining their brilliantly amusing social media presence, the guys in Indoor Pets also make some pretty great music. Barbiturates was in my opinion one of the best tracks of last year - and it was a total joy to hear it live when I finally caught the band at this year's Great Escape Festival down in Brighton. Though their set was announced at the very last minute as part of the Alt Escape, they completely packed out the room, with fans piling up the stairs to catch it.

They've just shared their first new music in months in the shape of single Hi, released through Wichita Recordings. In a tweet about the band, the label wrote that "we've been really missing having a great guitar band from the UK to work with [...] nothing new was floating our boat.... THEN we heard the fantastic Indoor Pets and everything changed. Smart/DIY/funny with hooks and tunes for days!! The process of working on their amazing forthcoming album really has been a great reminder of how exciting working with a young band hitting their stride can be." High praise, and I couldn't really put it any better myself! I can't get enough of those guitar hooks and the lead vocals from Jamie Glass - this is on repeat on the blog's 2018 Spotify playlist!

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