Wednesday, 21 February 2018

LISTEN: Joe Hicks - 'Rest Your Head'

I've just realised that I've been to gigs on the 21st of February in 2015 (a Sofar Sounds Oxford show with Rachel Sermanni, Tom Terrell, Twin Hidden, Benedict Benjamin and Monument Valley), 2016 (Eliza & The Bear) and 2017 (Jack Savoretti playing an intimate acoustic show for War Child.) Not one to ruin a pattern, I'm looking forward to seeing Adam Barnes tonight at the launch of his brand new record Vacancy At Nasa at St Pancras Old Church. As if Adam and the special venue weren't enough for one evening, there's Christof and Joe Hicks in support - it should be a beautiful, if heartbreaking, evening. Who doesn't love sad acoustic/folk songs? In fact, I recently set up a playlist for my favourite acoustic songs this year!

I was first introduced to Joe Hicks as Adam's guitarist/backing vocalist back at one of the first gigs I went to while I was at uni, while volunteering at the local Oxjam Festival in October 2014. He's been releasing solo music for a year or so now and tonight is the first opportunity I've had to catch him playing live and I'm really looking forward to it! He recently shared his first new music of the year in the shape of the single Rest Your Head, a track written about a friend's struggle with depression. While the subject matter is sad, with lines like "you've gotta see you can fight this", "come and rest your head on me, if you're feeling low" and "I'll do anything if I see the signs" Joe has managed to maintain a pretty uplifting, empowering and inspirational message in the track. It's an incredibly moving tune and more than worth a listen.

Follow Joe Hicks online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

LISTEN: Magique - 'Eventually'

Magique graced us with a new single last week, which is currently sounding great on my 2018 playlist alongside new ones from the likes of Park Hotel, Banfi, The Wombats and Geowulf (listen/follow here.) The tune is a little dreamy, more than a little magical and delivering some long awaited Summer vibes - it's also making me think of the duo All Tvvins too, sonically.

Writing online, the Leicester-based artist said that "this has been my baby for the past year, I'm setting it free and now it's yours! Look after it, get to know it and keep it right by your side. This track means the absolute world to me, so I hope it can become the soundtrack of some important/fun/sad/loving times for you too." 

I caught Magique playing a brilliant opening set for Willie J Healey last May at a show which was a couple of days after handing in my last assignment for university, so quite a memorable night! He's opening for Geowulf at their album launch show a week today at The Lexington (info/tickets here) - their debut record Great Big Blue is sounding completely spellbinding, so I'm sure that will be a really special evening!

Follow Magique online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

LISTEN: Fizzy Blood - 'CFO'

Short and sweet, that's the new Fizzy Blood single. The Leeds quintet caught my attention with tunes ADHD and Summer Of Luv last year, and they're back with a corker of a new single, CFO, just before heading on their first headline tour, fresh from touring with Spring King

Guitarist Paul Howells explains that, broadly speaking, the track "is a warning about pushing people away who only had your best interests at heart. It's easy to lose sight of things when you're mired down in a single minded pursuit. So what I'm trying to say is, stop and smell the roses every once in a while, you'll thank yourself later." The band worked and lived with the producer Alex Newport in Brighton while making the track, describing it as an "incredible experience" where they were able to "experiment with sounds and textures and then glue it all together" resulting in them creating what they think are some of the best songs they have so far - I can't wait to hear more!

You can (and should) catch Fizzy Blood on tour from the 22nd to 28th of February in Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds, Birmingham and London. Support comes from fellow Leeds band Forever Cult - grab your tickets here!

Follow Fizzy Blood online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

WATCH: Swimming Girls - 'Back Of Your Car'

Bristol dream pop four-piece Swimming Girls treated us recently to their new single, the utterly catchy Back Of Your Car. The track is their third single and I can't help but assume that this could be a pretty exciting year for the band if they keep releasing tunes as good as this! The track itself is upbeat, almost summery, a mirror of its dark and mysterious video, directed by Aidan Zamiri. Watch that below - if you like what you're hearing, you can catch the band supporting Fickle Friends on a few of their upcoming tour dates in Norwich, Lincoln, Portsmouth and Bath - tickets here.

Follow Swimming Girls online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 19 February 2018

LISTEN: Banfi - 'Never Really Cared'

I'm so glad that my favourite chaps Banfi are back! Ahead of touring the UK and Europe in March they've just released their first piece of new music for 2018. A live favourite of mine, Never Really Cared is atmospheric, building from a slow start to some powerful (and frankly heartbreaking) vocals from frontman Joe. The track is taken from their upcoming The Jack Powell EP, due for release on the 16th March - this will be the band's first EP, a big cause for celebration if you ask me! Listen below, and if you're enjoying the track, check out this superb live session performed for Sofar Sounds Nottingham in March 2017 - I love it!

Catch Banfi on tour in March - after a few Europe dates they're heading to Edinburgh, Manchester and Bristol before finishing up at London's Oslo Hackney on 23rd March. Support on the UK dates comes from Mummy (check them out here) and you can grab your tickets here.

Follow Banfi online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

WATCH: The Vaccines - ‘Nightclub’

They've been a pretty constant favourite of mine since the release of their first record in 2011 and I'm more than a little bit glad to have the total heroes The Vaccines back releasing new music. Now three records down, they are at the absolute top of their game on the campaign for their new record Combat Sports, due for release on 30th March. Lead single I Can't Quit is an instant classic and was followed by the guitar propelled Nightclub, for which they've just shared a live performance video. Take a watch below.... like I said: they're at the top of their game.

Watching the brill new video is making me a little bit more gutted that I missed out on tickets to their intimate comeback show at House Of Vans last week but I need not fear, they're out on the road in April, with a huge show at Alexandra Palace in London rounding off the 9-show run on the 14th. Full dates and ticket info here.

Follow The Vaccines online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 16 February 2018

LISTEN: Rhys Lewis - 'Bloodstains'

Scrolling my release radar playlist on Spotify last week I stumbled across this brand new Rhys Lewis tune, and was instantly drawn in by the stunning vocals. It's been in my headphones (in between the new MGMT and The Wombats records, of course) pretty much constantly since. Bloodstains follows a number of moving, powerful and lyrically impressive singles from the last year or so, and is taken from the upcoming Bad Timing EP, due for release on 23rd Feb. Rhys wrote online that the track was written "about someone who had me in the palm of their hand" - it's angry, heartfelt and heartbreaking in equal measure and I'm really digging it.

Follow Rhys Lewis - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

WATCH: Indoor Pets - 'So Soon'

They're fun, they're loud, and more than a little bit dorky. Indoor Pets (fka Get Inuit) are back with new tune So Soon and a unique music video, featuring a bunch of polaroids and a tour of London's sights courtesy of frontman Jamie Glass. It'd take quite a lot to reach the heights of their absolute tune Barbiturates, but this one comes pretty close. Take a watch...

Indoor Pets head out on a UK tour this month, kicking things off this evening in Birmingham, before taking in Newcastle, Glasgow, Bristol, Manchester, Nottingham and finishing up with a show at London's Borderline on 22nd Feb. Grab your tickets here!

Follow Indoor Pets online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

LISTEN: Self Help - 'Daydreams'

I'm really missing Oxford (and particularly it's beautiful music scene) at the moment - it's hard not to when there are the likes of Self Help putting out tunes as good as this! I was first introduced to the four-piece at our Tigmus all-dayer at Tap Social Movement over Summer, where they played on a line-up with Tig faves Holly Redford Jones, Hazey Jane, Bright Works and Slate Hearts and more! Daydreams is a track "reminiscing on an old friendship" and is taken from the band's upcoming Birthdayboy EP - they're currently on tour to promote the EP, with shows coming up in London on 16th March and Oxford on the 23rd March!

Follow Self Help - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

WATCH: Gengahr - 'Before Sunrise'

I've rambled a little in the past about how brilliant the people of Transgressive Records and the artists that they work with are (the likes of Foals, Johnny Flynn and Cosmo Sheldrake) and this band are no exception to that rule. Gengahr supported fellow Transgressive band Dry The River on the first show I went to upon moving to Oxford for uni in 2014 (alongside Pale Seas - what a line-up) so they hold a pretty special place in my heart, as the gig was the first I'd gone along to by myself. They released their debut album A Dream Outside back in 2015 and have recently announced it's follow-up, Where Wildness Grows, which is due for release on 9th March.

With tunes Carrion and Mallory under their belts, the London four-piece recently released the pretty magical and almost glimmering tune Before Sunrise which I totally adore. It's a really promising sign of an album that I'm pretty excited for. They've just shared the video for the track, shot by Jamie Whitby over two days in Casablanca, Morocco. Writing of the video the band note that "when [Jamie] first told us about this teenage moped gang 'The Anfa Riders' in Morocco, we knew they would be the perfect visual accompaniment to the track. Watching the footage on his return we were blown away by the joyful sense of adventure the riders possess - it's a beautifully shot piece that perfectly captures the essence of the song." I couldn't agree more!

Follow Gengahr - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.