Friday, 16 March 2018

LISTEN: Low Island - 'This Other Life'

In the space of just over a year Low Island have made huge waves, releasing some truly unique and brilliant music, playing shows to ever-growing crowds both in the UK and further afield, and earning themselves spots on various festival line-ups. They're one of my favourite bands at the minute, and I'm ridiculously excited to share the news that their new EP This Other Life has finally been released!

They've teased us over the last few months releasing four of the six tracks as singles, and I'd like to say that they've kept back the best till last but the quality is incredibly high throughout the entire EP! Opener Too Young is one of my favourite tracks of the year and the piano lead closing track Tomorrow remains completely sublime. Make it past the half way line in the release, and you're treated to The Lines, which is a safe bet for getting everybody up and onto the dance floor. My favourite at the minute is brand new tune The Whole World Tucked Away - but I'm adoring the entire release.

The band had filmmaker Ben Ogunbiyi follow them on the Low Island and Friends tour last year, which took in shows in the likes of their hometown Oxford, London, Manchester and Barcelona. They've just shared the product of this filming, a mini-documentary for DIY Magazine. It's a really interesting insight into touring life, the tight friendships among the band and their crew, and their approach when it comes to putting on a show - collaborating with other artists in areas such as illustration, movement and design. It is this desire to collaborate, to push boundaries and work against expectations that I think will really help to make the band successful. They've made a pretty good go of things so far, but this can surely only be the start of much more exciting things to come.

You can catch Low Island playing their biggest headline show to date at Scala in London on 26th April - tickets here!

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Thursday, 15 March 2018

WATCH: Flatlands - 'Reset'

It has been far too long since I was last in Oxford after graduating back in June, but since moving home I've been keeping a beady eye on the local music scene - especially the likes of my faves Catgod, BE GOOD, and Low Island. Another local band who I caught last time I was in town are Flatlands, a young and relatively new indie quartet who are releasing a new EP, rather charmingly entitled At The Time It Made Perfect Sense, in a month's time. They're launching the EP with a show at Oxford's The Cellar on 14th April - tickets here. Check out the video for recent single Reset below!

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Wednesday, 14 March 2018


I've been wanting to do interviews on here for a while, and where best to start than with one of my favourite discoveries of the last couple of years, the utterly sublime Fil Bo Riva. Traversing the boundaries between a solo project and collaborative group, they are led by 24 year old half-Italian Filippo Bonamici, who spent his youth in Ireland and studied for a while in Berlin. With a beautiful EP under their belts, they're finishing up their debut record, and are set to tour the UK and Europe in April and May to share new music. Check out the full dates and ticket info on the website here, and read my interview with Fil himself below...

(c) Juliane Spaete

Firstly (and most importantly) - how close is the album to being ready? I absolutely can not wait to hear it!

We're nearly done! There's still one or two songs to be finished but the rest is slowly going to the mixing engineer. We could have worked on it for another year but at one point you just gotta stop or else you'll keep on turning and turning around the same things for ages.

Between the utterly brilliant If You’re Right, It’s Alright EP of 2016 and the recent single Head Sonata (Love Control) you’ve already got some pretty great tunes under your belt. My go-to FBR tune is Franzis - what’s your personal favourite of the tracks already released and why?

Oh well, I guess that's a hard question since all the songs mean something to me. But right now I'm simply more into "Head Sonata" cos it's newer to my ears. But honestly I still love every single song on the EP.

Your music always strikes me as raw, emotional, and on the whole fairly heartbreaking. Where does the inspiration come from when writing? Has the shift from a solo project to a collective changed the songwriting process or any other aspects of the music?

I usually write about stuff I've gone through, other times - more on some of the new songs - I make up a little story and combine it with real stuff… so I guess it's pretty basic song writing. But the way I write my songs hasn't changed really, most of the time I still sit at home and play my guitar or the piano and then just come up with chords and melodies. That's the most beautiful part of all.

Back in 2014 you left studying behind for busking on the streets of Berlin. It sounds like a huge leap (but I’d say that it paid off!) - what gave you the courage to drop out of college at the time? At what point did you know that you wanted to pursue a career in music?

I always knew I wanted to do music or something artistic. I just wanted to create stuff and one day I noticed I had forgotten the music because of my studies so I just took a decision and started. It was hard at the start because nobody really believes in a musician in the beginning but a lotta work and a little bit of luck made it all real, and now we're here.

Would you say that busking so much in the early days helped to shape the music that you’re making now, and the way that you perform it live?

Of course, first of all that helped me to have the courage of playing in front of people. I was extremely scared about that and still am somehow, but it definitely helped me build some kind of natural feel where my head tells me not to go on stage but my stomach says the opposite. I like that battle.

You’re heading on a pretty extensive run of dates around the UK and Europe soon to promote the new single. What can we expect from the shows - plenty of new tunes I hope? Any pre-gig rituals?

Yes, fresh new tunes and the old ones as well. Before a gig we usually sing a Johnny Cash tune together, to warm us up and build the energy.

Is there anywhere that you’re especially excited to play, any cities perhaps which always bring a great crowd, or places that you’ll be visiting for the first time?

Honestly I don't really think about which crowd is the best, I noticed that every place has it's own way of communicating and interacting with the band. I really like this contrast cos it doesn't get boring!

Finally - what music is in your headphones or on your playlist at the minute? For me it’s the new Rae Morris record ‘Someone Out There’ - it’s wonderful!

I'm listening to "Pink Lemonade" by James Bay since last night, I like it a lot!

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

WATCH: Public Service Broadcasting - ‘People Will Always Need Coal’

Public Service Broadcasting played one of my favourite shows of last year with the London date of their UK tour in October - their tunes hold a really special place in my heart. They've just shared a new video for People Will Always Need Coal, the latest single to be taken from their 2017 record Every Valley. The video features footage from various NCB (National Coal Board) recruitment adverts from the early and mid 1970s and fits the track perfectly. From memory I'm fairly sure that parts of the video were playing alongside the track at the show in October... their way of combining the live performance with video (both in found footage such as this, and live shots of the band) and an impressive light show is what makes their gigs so great in my opinion!

Catch the band on their next UK tour in April (no London headline this time around as they're heading to places that missed out on the last tour) - tickets for all the shows here, a couple have sold out already so be quick!

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Monday, 12 March 2018

WATCH: Everything Everything - 'The Mariana'

"I don't know where I have been lately, I found myself in somewhere strange."

I recently shared the new Everything Everything tune Breadwinner - it was taken from their surprise EP A Deeper Sea, which opens with the much slower, much more delicate but just as hard-hitting tune The Mariana, for which they've shared a new video. Speaking with the NME about the song, the bands singer and lyricist Jonathan Higgs explained that the title refers to the deepest part of the world's oceans, the Mariana Trench, and the song itself is "about male identity and suicide and the current crisis there is, whether you believe it or not, with being male [...] it's another way to talk about things like depression." Though I couldn't make the show because I work weekends, I'm feeling incredibly proud of the band for performing what I imagine was an incredible show at Alexandra Palace this weekend - especially after the first three shows of their tour were cancelled due to the weather a couple of weeks ago!

Follow Everything Everything online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

LISTEN: Spector - 'Fine Not Fine'

Surprise! A new Spector EP was released on Friday, entitled Ex-Directory and featuring recent single Untitled in D and new track Fine Not Fine. The tune is described by the band's Fred Macpherson as "a stream of consciousness inspired by the more self loathing corners of sad twitter" - it's got some pretty striking lyrics ("some of your best friends are tories") and sadder themes ("I'm fine I'm fine I'm fine I'm fine I'm not fine") masked by their signature upbeat sound. Check out the full EP on Spotify here.

You can catch Spector on the Ex-Directory tour in May - they'll be heading to The Plug in Sheffiled, The Bodega in Nottingham, Thekla in Bristol, Gorilla in Manchester and Scala in London - tickets are available here.

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Friday, 9 March 2018

LISTEN: Blossoms - 'I Can't Stand It'

Blossoms are back! The Stockport five-piece teased a return online by creating their own rumours of a break-up/drama within the band... but panic over, as they're very much still together, and releasing new record Cool Like You on 27th April. I'm absolutely digging the first single I Can't Stand It which was released last week. It's a bit of an instant classic which I anticipate going down really well at their live shows - they're heading out on a UK tour shortly after the album release, including a show at O2 Forum Kentish Town on 10th May, tickets on sale here from today!

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WATCH: Sivu - 'Four Leaf Clover Love'

It's always lovely to share something new from Sivu, this time in the form of a pretty nostalgic new lyric video. The new video offering is for his tune Four Leaf Clover Love, taken from his recent EP This Unfruitful Love and it has got me feeling a sense of longing for a slightly simpler time, back when mobile phones could essentially make calls, send messages, and play Snake. It's a simple video but has me totally transfixed, and it helps that the track is utterly sublime too. Check it out below, and take a listen to the EP on Spotify here.

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Thursday, 8 March 2018

LISTEN: Banfi - 'Mercy Street'

It's always lovely to hear bands and artists discuss the musicians who inspire them and whose work they admire, in a way peeling back a layer of their work to reveal some of its origin. You'd probably be hard pressed to find an interview with Banfi where they don't talk about their love of Peter Gabriel (of Genesis fame). In fact they love him so much that the second track from their upcoming EP is a cover of his tune Mercy Street, taken from his record So. Listen to the track below and keep an eye out for the EP, which is due for release on 16th March!

Banfi head out on tour next week - taking in some shows around Europe before playing Edinburgh (19th March), Manchester (20th), Bristol (21st) and London's Oslo (22nd). Tickets for all the shows are available here.

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WATCH: Cosmo Sheldrake - 'Wriggle'

Often, music videos which look to be fairly low budget are completely endearing and look like they were probably a total blast to make - and that's certainly the case for the latest offering from the absolute genius Cosmo Sheldrake. The new video for his tune Wriggle was made by Wilm Danby and it's giving off vibes of some of the TV programmes of my early childhood. In the video, Cosmo writes, "we follow a bird as she introduces us to three separate systems and their daily tasks and habits. Sunflowers dance, ships brave the frothing seas, fish glug past volcanic vents, a scraggly bird gets eaten by a sea monster and galleons with netherworldly banditos dance and sing." The description and the video fit Cosmo's music perfectly - it's all pretty bizarre and wacky but simultaneously wonderful. Get watching/listening and look out for Cosmo's debut album The Much Much How How And I on 6th April!

Follow Cosmo Sheldrake online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.