Monday, 22 July 2019

LISTEN: Chloe Foy - 'Without You'

As she's a new name to me, let me introduce you to singer-songwriter Chloe Foy. Without You is hauntingly beautiful, with a string section half way through that really pulled me in, but it's Chloe's vocals themselves here that are most sublime here. With influences including Lucy Rose and Laura Marling, she has amassed over 10 million streams for her previous singles and was named one of BBC Introducing's 'Ones To Watch' for 2019. Things seem to be going pretty well!

Talking about the new single, Chloe explains that it is "a song about grief and the loss of someone close to depression. So it talks of the struggles of the person who passes away and then couples with that the exploration of grieving and how it changes from being the worst thing in the world one minute, to possibly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in the end, and how grief changes with the seasons."

Follow Chloe Foy - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

GIG NEWS: Bear's Den at Eventim Apollo (20th Feb)

Did I mention that I really love Bear's Den yet? Once or twice, probably. After playing a cracking headline slot on the Communion stage at Citadel Festival recently the guys have announced their next London headline show for next February. Having played a gorgeous show there in 2017, they're heading back to London's Eventim Apollo on February 20th and tickets are on sale now!

Tickets for the February gig, as well as their UK tours in August and November are on sale here.

Follow Bear's Den - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

WATCH: Matthew And The Atlas - 'Calling Long Distance'

Take one of my favourite bands (Matthew And The Atlas), one of my favourite music venues (Omeara) and one of my favourite actors (Charlie Cox) and you get something pretty special. Calling Long Distance is taken from the recent Morning Dancer album by MATA, and it's a beautifully understated track, showing off vocalist Matt Hegarty's unique tone. Loved catching the band again this weekend at Citadel Festival on the Communion Presents stage!

With a run of US and European shows coming up, the band return to the London stage with a headline show at EartH in Hackney on 20th November - full dates here.

Follow Matthew And The Atlas - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

ALBUM NEWS: Geowulf - 'My Resignation'

A few weeks ago I saw the first headline show from contemporary classical duo PĂȘtr AleksĂ€nder and it was a lovely surprise for them to bring out special guests Geowulf (and later Rae Morris!) to sing a reworked version of their track Saltwater from last year's album Great Big Blue. I'm really chuffed to share the news that they've released a date for their second album - My Resignation is due out on 25th October and their latest single He's 31 will feature on it.

Singer Star Kendrick explains that "trying to balance expectations and disappointment seems to have been a bit of a theme the last few years for me. I guess thing song is a love song about disappointment. When writing it I felt very raw & upset which I think comes through in the lyrics. Music has always been that space for me; where you can take all your disappointments/expectations and then try to make something of them. Feel pretty lucky to have that." 

Follow Geowulf - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

LISTEN: Rhys Lewis - 'What If'

I haven't yet found time to do a write-up of the incredible time I had volunteering for the second year in a row at Bushstock Festival about a month ago - it was a total joy to look after headliners Novo Amor and the rest of the gorgeous line-up we had playing at St Stephen's Church. One of those acts was Rhys Lewis - I've been a fan of his music for years and it was a dream to finally see him live. His powerful and unique vocals carried poignant, emotional lyrics around the church beautifully, performing to a packed out crowd. With the announcement of an Asian headline tour for August and his first ever UK headline tour in November, Rhys is back with brand new single What If. As always, it's a little bit of a heartbreaker.

Rhys explains that the track "came from the regret I felt from letting go of something good too soon. My mind was a mess at the time and I rushed into a decision to end things. Now thinking about her has become a bad habit, a kind of accepted addiction, like checking my phone. She changed me, and breaking up with her changed me, all in ways I'm forever grateful for. So it's hard to keep my mind away from the idea of going back to her, especially when the ways in which I've changed make me feel closer to her. I understand her more, I understand myself more. I never understood either when we were together which is why it didn't work at the time."

Rhys is currently working on his debut album, which is expected for release around the start of 2020 - his UK dates for November are below. Grab tickets for those here.

15th Nov: Roisin Dubh, Galway
16th: Glassworks, Derry
17th: Button Factory, Dublin
18th: King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
20th: Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
21st: Deaf Institute, Manchester
22nd: Thekla, Bristol
23rd: O2 Institute 3, Birmingham
25th: EartH, London
26th: Komedia, Brighton
28th: O2 Academy 2, Oxford

Follow Rhys Lewis - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 15 July 2019

LIVE: Citadel Festival 2019

On Sunday I had the absolute pleasure of joining thousands of music fans in (very) West London's Gunnersbury Park for this year's Citadel Festival. My third one-day metropolitan festival of the year, it was a gorgeous day of live music, surprisingly decent weather and brilliant company. I was there to review and found it particularly amusing when the guy on the press box office asked "what publication are you with?" to which I bemusedly gave the name of my tiny blog as confidently as if it were the NME itself.

A reduced train service combined with a fault on the line held me up and meant that we missed the start of MarthaGunn's set but thankfully caught the majority of it, heading in the direction of recent single Saint Cecilia once we'd made it through security. Playing on the stage closest to the festival entrance, they opened up proceedings beautifully for those just arriving, showcasing brand new tracks and old favourites to the crowd at the Communion Presents stage. Closing the set, early single Heaven was a highlight, and I'm quickly realising that lead singer Abi is my hero.

As if all of my 2017 Communion dreams had come true, next up on the stage were Banfi. I caught some of their set at Bushstock recently, but couldn't see much from the back of the venue so it was great to see them again - my tenth time seeing them live and always a treat! Newly appointed manager/bassist Scott Miller (of Dry The River fame) fits into the band perfectly. They too delivered a set combining old favourites She Comes Home, Never Really Cared and Happy When You Go seamlessly with brand new tracks from the debut album they're working on. (Can't wait!!)

Next, with a gap in our schedule we had a break from the music, and explored more of the festival site. Near the main stage we found an area hosting a range of comedy, science and circus performances. We were drawn in by some dance, and were shortly being a little bit mesmerised by some diablo skills in the Roundhouse Presents area.

After a while of watching and repeatedly exclaiming "how? HOW?!" at the mind-boggling talent on show, we headed back towards the Communion tent, walking via the main stage and catching some of The Coronas on the way. After enjoying their new track So Caught Up recently I was really looking forward to checking out what Melbourne's The Teskey Brothers had to offer. Despite their early afternoon slot, they filled out the tent and played blues rock to a hugely enthusiastic crowd, hanging off their every word and over the moon at the addition of a harmonica to the mix. As their bio says, "onstage, singer Josh Teskey's smoke whiskey voice defies expectation, flooring audiences." Their new album Run Home Slow is out August 2nd!

We stuck around at the Communion stage afterwards - as I said in my preview of the festival, the quality of their booking means I could've happily stayed there all day. Next up was Matthew And The Atlas - my fourth time seeing the band, but the first out of the surroundings of a church venue (twice at Bushstock Festival and once at a special Bear's Den Christmas show.) Vocalist Matt Hegarty and his incredibly talented band ran through a set featuring two of my favourite tunes, On A Midnight Street and Pyres, before treating us to a peaceful rendition of Elijah. Watch out for a post on his brand new video later this week!

Cue a dash for food and a rush to the main stage, where we managed to catch the end of the DMA's set. Hailing from Sydney, I'd never listened to them before and quite enjoyed what we saw - it was pretty clear that they were well loved. In parts it felt like the vocals of Blossoms tied with the guitar lines I love from The Vaccines - a solid combination indeed. We managed to make our way through the crowd and get much closer to the front for the set I'd been most excited for, the opportunity to see one of my absolute favourite bands live again.

Friendly Fires delivered a hell of a performance, with frontman Ed Macfarlane showing us his signature (and frankly marvellous) dance moves from the first notes of opener Lovesick right through to closing track Kiss Of Life. I'm not really one for much dancing at gigs but it's impossible not to find your hips swaying along to these guys. In a completely joyous set (complete with a LOT of singing along on my part) the band ran through tracks from their self-titled debut album, the utterly sublime second album Pala and singles from upcoming album Inflorescent, due for release 16th August. It's been a long wait and from the tracks we've heard so far, I think it'll have been worth every second.

Feeling completely elated from their set, we quickly headed back to the Communion stage to catch the second half of Jade Bird's set. She was a last minute addition to the line-up, replacing Matt Corby due to illness, and what a welcome addition. I've been wanting to see her live for a while and really enjoyed the set, full of tracks from her recent self-titled debut - the only sad thing is that I think I missed her playing my favourite track, Uh Huh. I guess I'll just have to go and see her play again!

In a miraculous turn of events, we managed to get back to the front row in time for the stage's (reasonably early, at just after 7pm) headline set from one of my favourite bands, Bear's Den. It was my fourth time seeing them on the So that you might hear me run of shows and it was an absolutely triumphant return to the hometown stage after months of touring the album across Europe and the US. In a typical 21st century move, a guy on the front row was streaming the cricket live on his phone, holding it up for those around him to watch before the band started, and an amusing moment in the set arrived when the crowd cheered and clapped for a while after the second or third track. The band looked chuffed and I joined in, thinking it was sweet that the crowd loved them so much, before realising that it was because we'd just won the cricket.

In an hour long set (my only complaint is that this passed far too quickly) showcasing favourites from all three albums, the crowd proved themselves to be very much in love with the group, singing at the top of their lungs and clapping along at every opportunity, and occasionally resorting to cries of "we love the Den!!!" between tracks. It was my 11th (I think) time seeing the band but felt just as exciting as the first, with the opening banjo notes of final track Agape still instilling a lot of joy. After a Highlands & Islands tour of Scotland next month they're touring the UK later in the year, and have just announced a show at London's Eventim Apollo for 20th February - full dates here.

After catching up with some friends we headed back through the festival site to the main stage to watch some of the headline set from Catfish and the Bottlemen. For some reason I've never really taken a proper listen to the band, and mostly know them from what I've heard on the radio, but as we walked across the park, I could hear their first album hit Kathleen and couldn't help but speed up to get closer ("I know this one!"). With the morning's train woes in the back of my mind, we didn't stay for the whole set so that we could beat the crowds back to the tube, but from what I did see they proved themselves more than worthy of the top spot on the billing.

All in all I totally loved my first Citadel Festival and would certainly recommend it to people looking for a family friendly Summer festival that has things other than just music on offer. If the line-up next year is anything as strong as yesterday's (bear in mind that I missed Bastille and a host of other brilliant artists) then you'll be in for a treat.

LISTEN: Dizzy - 'Heavy'

"isn't it endearing, wearing all these problems on my sleeve?"

On Friday Dizzy released the Heavy / Twist EP, featuring recent single Twist, brand new track Heavy and remixes from Cecile Believe and Mystery Jets. In the bands own words, the two tracks form a middle ground between their debut album Baby Teeth and the next - "we're going away to write a record now. see you on the other side of it". I'm really enjoying the new track and absolutely can't wait to hear what they do next - I've come to really adore their debut, playing it in the HMV store I worked at tons and getting various colleagues to fall for the band too. Katie Munshaw is one of my favourite vocalists around at the moment, for sure.

If you like the track, there's a recent session performance that the band did with CBC Music in Canada below - equally gorgeous!

Follow Dizzy - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 12 July 2019

LISTEN: MarthaGunn - 'Honey, Let Me Know'

This one isn't strictly new, but it's super exciting to have this track back! MarthaGunn took their previous releases off of the likes of Spotify to start from scratch with recent singles Saint Cecilia and Love & Emotion - but fans have called for the old tracks to come back and they've re-released Honey, Let Me Know. The best news. I can't wait to see these guys for the first time in a couple of years this weekend at Citadel Festival - looking forward to hearing old tunes and new!

Follow MarthaGunn - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

LISTEN: Christof van der Ven - 'Lucky'

"How lucky are we to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?"

It's probably quite obvious from my posts that I am partial to a quality sad folk song. Christof van der Ven is delivering (as always) with new track Lucky - featuring such tear-jerking lyrics as "right now you occupy just everything, I find it hard to let you go" - taken from his upcoming second record You Were The Place. It's due for release on September 6th and as I've had a sneaky listen (I'll share a review closer to the time) I can tell you that it is a gorgeously heartbreaking (but also hopefully optimistic) album, written in response to the end of a brief and intense fling. If you can't wait until September, you should most definitely check out his debut album Empty Handed and recent EP Beneath The Ordinary Load, both beautifully crafted collections of tracks.

In support of the album, Christof plays a run of European shows including Brighton's The Hope & Ruin on October 7th and London's The Lexington on the 8th. He'll also be opening up for touring buddies Bear's Den (and playing in the band) on their upcoming Highlands & Islands tour around Scotland in August - full tour dates here.

Follow Christof van der Ven - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

LISTEN: Heavy Heart - 'Cry Ice'

Since first listening to London alt-rockers Heavy Heart back in March or April, I've spotted their name cropping up a lot - with recent radio support from Phil Taggart and Steve Lamacq and shows and support slots for the likes of Communion Presents. 

New song Cry Ice, the third of a trilogy of singles that the band are releasing in 2019, is an atmospheric and emotionally charged track. The quartet describe it as being "about the end of a love affair; the glacial, slow, final moments of it all. Specifically, the song is about two people dying together on the side of a mountain, frozen forever just out of reach of each other." The dreamiest of dream pop.

Follow Heavy Heart - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.