Friday, 14 December 2018

FESTIVAL NEWS: Bushstock line-up announcement!

This genuinely is some of the best music related news I've heard in a long time. My favourite festival Bushstock have announced the first few acts for the 2019 festival, including my favourite musical discovery of the year Novo Amor, who is the first headliner. Can. Not. Wait.

Bushstock is a one day multi-venue festival held in Shepherd's Bush and organised by the folks at Communion Music. Across my four years of attending I've caught the likes of Nick Mulvey, Matthew & The Atlas, Seramic, Amber Run, Ady Suleiman, The Staves, Tamino and Frances. They're my favourite label, working with some of my favourite artists, and it's always a wonderful day of music discovery - the worst part is deciding which artists to miss! Alongside Novo, they've also announced the equally brilliant MarthaGunn, as well as Apre, Olivia and Winnie Raeder with a lot more to be announced. Grab bargain early bird tickets for the festival, which takes place on June 15th 2019, here.

Follow Novo Amor - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

TOUR NEWS: Ferris & Sylvester (Feb 2019)

They've just finished up a support tour with Jade Bird, and Ferris & Sylvester have signed off by doing what any artist who loves playing music live would do... they've announced their first ever headline tour! They'll be heading out on the road in February, taking in shows across the UK including Leeds, Glasgow, Brighton and Dublin, as well as a show at The Lexington in London. They're a formidably talented duo and a brilliant live act - their set at The Great Escape in Brighton kicked off the festival for me back in May and I loved it! Check out their recent video for London's Blues below...

Tickets for the tour are on sale here, with full dates as follows: Oporto, Leeds (4th Feb); Poetry Club, Glasgow (5th); Eagle Inn, Manchester (6th); Cuban Embassy, Birmingham (7th); Cavern, Exeter (9th); The Lexington, London (11th); The Prince Albert, Brighton (12th); Joiners, Southampton (13th); Sound House, Dublin (14th).

Follow Ferris & Sylvester - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

LISTEN: Margot - 'Coffee Stained Smiles'

I am always up for a bit of dream-pop... I've really enjoyed discovering Honey Moon this year, and loved Willie J Healey's 666 Kill EP. The latest in gloriously smooth dream-pop comes in the form of Coffee Stained Smiles from London quintet Margot. It's the first in a series of three singles, each tackling the topic of mental health. This first track is inspired by a scene in the recent film Lady Bird, where the central character's mother only gets time to herself, time for contemplation, on her drive between work and home. As a retail worker (particularly over the festive period) this is pretty relatable - there's a constant pressure to be visible and welcoming to customers, who, particularly at this time of year, might not always show the same courtesy in return.

The track's inspiration is translated to an imagined middle-aged man's rainy drive, focusing upon his partner's concern for his mental health, with the repeated lyric "oh it's all so hard to tell, if he's up or down I can't tell." While the situation is imagined, it's all too common, as vocalist Alex Hannaway explains - "I've had experience with adults of that age stoically withholding information in regards to their mental health and I've seen how this can affect friends and family. It's desperation, it's unconditional love, and a hope that things can turn around." Listen to the track below and keep an eye out for the upcoming singles.
I’ve had experience with adults of that age stoically withholding information in regards to
their mental health and I’ve seen how this can affect friends and family. It’s desperation, it’s unconditional love, and a
hope that things can turn around.
I’ve had experience with adults of that age stoically withholding information in regards to
their mental health and I’ve seen how this can affect friends and family. It’s desperation, it’s unconditional love, and a
hope that things can turn around.
I’ve had experience with adults of that age stoically withholding information in regards to
their mental health and I’ve seen how this can affect friends and family. It’s desperation, it’s unconditional love, and a
hope that things can turn around.

Follow Margot - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 10 December 2018

LISTEN: Fil Bo Riva - 'Lo'ver'

Probably one of my most highly anticipated releases of 2019, I'm eagerly awaiting the debut Fil Bo Riva record Beautiful Sadness, which is due in Spring. Following up recent single Go Rilla, we've been treated to another taster of the album in the form of slow burning L'over. The quiet opening provides the perfect backdrop to highlight singer Filippo Bonamici's trademark vocals and shows us that the band are capable of scoring something beautiful with more than just punchy indie pop - though when they do that, they do it very well! Take Head Sonata (Love Control) as a perfect example.

The new track, Fil explains, is a "song [that] is trying to celebrate this weird twist of feelings - it's pretty much an homage to the little ups and downs that come with every liaison, a song inspired by that incredible strange feeling that we call jealousy." 

Follow Fil Bo Riva - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 7 December 2018

LISTEN: Saint Raymond - 'Echo'

I've been tidying up my submissions inbox over the last couple of days and was reminded of this track which I couldn't let slip through the net - it's been on repeat a lot since I first heard it a month or so ago! Following the success of his debut album in 2015, Nottingham singer-songwriter Saint Raymond has recently signed a deal with Cooking Vinyl for his second record. Echo is his first release with the label, a track "about how opposites in a relationship are sometimes what makes it work." Talking of his new deal he explains that "I cannot wait to work with them on my second album, which feels like it has been a long time coming. The chance to go ahead and fulfil that is amazing. I'm so happy with the songs I've been writing and very excited about what is to come." Listen to Echo below...

Follow Saint Raymond - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

WATCH: Maggie Rogers - 'Light On'

I saw my favourite guys Mumford & Sons play live last week, performing on the tour for their latest studio album Delta. They were brilliant (of which there was no doubt) but I was almost equally excited for the support set from American singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers, who I've been hearing a lot of positive things about for a couple of years now. She took complete control of the arena crowd, delivering a set full of tracks from her upcoming debut album Heard It In A Past Life, due 18th Jan. I'll take a punt - it'll probably be an early entry for one of the best albums of the year (you heard it here...) Pre-order the record here.

Light On is Maggie's most recent single, which, at the show, she described as being all about the last two years of her life and career, which have been a bit of a whirlwind. In a press release for the track, she details that "this song is a letter to my fans about the last two years of my life. There was so much change that happened so fast, I wasn't always sure how to make all this stuff feel like me. I was really overwhelmed for a while, and scared too - my life became so public so fast and there were times I wasn't sure that this was all for me. But I never had doubts about the music. And every night I got on stage and was reminded why I love doing this. This is the most vulnerable I've felt in a song and it's me saying thank you for all the light my fans brought me when I couldn't find it for myself. I love music more than anything else in the whole world and I always have. This song is me actively choosing this life - in my way and in my time." 

Follow Maggie Rogers - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

LIVE: Cosmo Sheldrake at EartH (29/11/18)

If you take a quick glance through the posts I've shared this year it's probably not much of a surprise that Cosmo Sheldrake is likely to feature in my albums of the year post (coming soon... when I get time to write it!) I was therefore VERY excited to catch the London date of his The Much Much How How & I tour last week, as I've been eagerly awaiting a full live set since catching him supporting Johnny Flynn at The Roundhouse last October. Describe the show in a short sentence...? Complete and utter genius.

The gig took place in newly launched venue EartH in Hackney, which has instantly become one of my new favourite London venues. Formerly known as Hackney Arts Centre, the venue (full title Evolutionary Arts Hackney) is a "progressive and essential multi-arts space for the 21st century". They aim to be inclusive to all and to provide a broad spectrum of arts to live audiences. The space itself is the site of the Savoy Cinema, which opened back in the 1930s. After the show I took myself to Google and did a little research, finding this article from the Hackney Citizen about 'long lost cinemas' in Hackney which explains that there have been over 60 cinemas in the area, with around 30 operating simultaneously between 1920 and 1950. While the majority of the sites have been redeveloped into flats, supermarkets and buildings of similar purpose, it is particularly heartwarming to see the Savoy being used as a cultural hub once more. It's a unique space and I hope that it thrives!

Gigging alone and having travelled down to London straight from a shift at work, I took myself down to the front of the venue, settled down with a book, and waited for the first set. Finnegan Tui took to the stage with his guitar, but any expectations I had for just-another-solo-male-artist-with-an-acoustic-guitar were quickly torn away. At just 18, his talent is pretty mind-blowing and his style incredibly difficult to pigeonhole. He very quickly informed us that Cosmo was one of his favourite musicians and an inspiration for him and it was easy to hear this in elements of his performance, but he was particularly individual, at one point using a drum pad to play a solo with samples of an oboe. I'll certainly be keeping an ear out for Finn in the future!

Next up, tour support I See Rivers took to the stage. Often at gigs it can feel as if you're willing time to pass quickly for the support sets so that you can watch the artist you came along to see, but during their set I was very quickly struck with the thought that I'd happily have gone along to see both supports playing their own show (a similar thought occurred to me when I first saw Cosmo play, in fact!) They're a Norwegian trio playing folk music with an infectiously positive stage presence and beautiful harmonies, and they warmed the crowd up wonderfully.

With a lot of anticipation in the air, Cosmo finally took to the stage, and opened his set with my favourite track The Moss. Things could only get better from here... right?! Right. We were treated to the likes of Hocking and Pliocene from his record, but highlights of the set came in the form of improvisations, which cemented my pre-existing view that Cosmo is an absolute genius. It was a treat, and almost intimidating to witness him creating quality music on the spot, in front of a sold out crowd. Two examples of creative craziness came in the shape of gargling some water and looping it, and looping the noise of a desk-fan brushing against the microphone.

I'd anticipated dancing, and a previously relaxed crowd couldn't hold it in once Cosmo played the utter tune Come Along. Fans flocked down to the front of the auditorium and didn't stop dancing for the rest of the show, which featured a collaboration with I See Rivers on Rich, a sunflower dance troupe (no, seriously) for Wriggle and a brass band for Hocking, which I would place as one of the best tracks I've heard this year. An explosion of sound, and what feels like an insight into the inner workings of Cosmo's mind, it is truly something to experience live. Here's a video from his last London show...

To sum up - from what I've seen of Cosmo on stage and online, he seems to completely adore what he does, giving it his all to create the best work he possibly can. He is an incredibly talented and intelligent human being (in the best way possible, a Cosmo Sheldrake gig feels like attending a science lesson) and he is creating music that sounds like nothing I have ever heard before. To watch his live show is genuinely a privilege. I implore you to listen to his record and catch him live if you get the chance!

Follow Cosmo Sheldrake - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 30 November 2018

LISTEN: Little Brother Eli - 'Oops'

Little Brother Eli have had a pretty busy year but they're not slowing down just yet... they've just shared their fifth single of the year - Oops. Following up Stop Pretending, Wait For You, Our Kind Of Love and Tooth the track is true to LBE form - it's full of catchy pop hooks, shows off lead singer Alex Grew's unique vocals and makes use of the band's incredibly tight harmonies, which have been sharpened over the past couple of years across tons of acoustic performances, including many Sofar Sounds shows! Following up a show at London's O2 Islington last week, they're launching the track with a hometown show at O2 Academy Oxford tonight - grab tickets for the show here.

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

Thursday, 29 November 2018

WATCH: Franc Moody - 'Dopamine (Live)'

Franc Moody are one of my favourite live discoveries of the year. They supported at, coincidentally, one of my favourite gigs of the year, when Friendly Fires returned to the live stage with a show at O2 Academy Brixton back in April. As Friendly Fires have been a huge favourite of mine for years I had very high expectations for the show, and really loved their support set and was particularly impressed with just how well they fit alongside Friendly Fires. Support act choosing done very well. I've since been enjoying their Dance Moves EP a lot, and they've just shared a live video for the track Dopamine, which features one of the funkiest bass lines I've heard all year. Check out the video below, and if you want to catch them live, they're headlining London's Heaven on 17th April, tickets here.

Follow Franc Moody - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

TOUR NEWS: Low Island 'In Person' tour (March 2019)

The ever talented chaps Low Island have announced what I am pretty sure is their biggest run of UK shows to date for March 2019! The shows come in support of a new single due early in the year, with the tour taking in the likes of Southampton, Liverpool, Brighton, Nottingham, Reading and lots more, as well as a Low Island & Friends show at the Hackney Show Rooms in London. Pre-sale for the shows starts today with tickets going on general sale on Friday, 30th November. To whet your appetites and show you just how brilliant a Low Island live show here, I'm sharing this video of the brilliant track Too Young once again. Adore this.

Full dates: Boileroom, Guildford (12th March); Joiners, Southampton (13th); Cookie, Leicester (14th); Phase One, Liverpool (15th); Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds (16th); Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham (20th); Green Door Store, Brighton (21st); Hackney Show Rooms, London (22nd); Thekla, Bristol (26th); Soup Kitchen, Manchester (27th); Bodega, Nottingham (28th); South Street Art Centre, Reading (29th); Broadcast, Glasgow (3rd April); Think Tank?, Newcastle (4th). Tickets here!

Follow Low Island online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.