Thursday, 22 June 2017

LISTEN: Nick Mulvey - 'Myela'

If you read my Bushstock Festival write-up you'll know that the wonderful Nick Mulvey is back and totally smashed his headline set, playing to an adoring crowd of fans. Following a couple of warm up shows in Oxford, Bristol and London last week, Nick has just released another new track from his upcoming record. Myela, featuring the beautiful sing-along refrain "you are my neighbour" went down a treat at Bushstock, and the idea for the track came from Nick's awareness of the refugee crisis. Talking about the track, for which he is working in partnership with Help Refugees, Nick wrote that: 

"Like most people my heart breaks seeing the unprecedented refugee crisis unfolding across Europe. On top of this I felt disturbed and confused by the uncaring attitudes of many of the authorities and media. I wanted to write about the humanity of those suffering- how they are all people and families, with lives more or less like yours and mine. And so the idea for 'Myela' came and I began to work on it in partnership with my musician friend Federico Bruno. To be honest, we felt unworthy to write poetry about this subject. So instead we explored first-hand accounts of refugees journeys, and drew the song from there. We want to give them voice and to share that voice with the people who listen to my music, to make them aware the situation continues."

Myela and the previously released track Unconditional are taken from Nick's upcoming studio album Wake Up Now, the follow up to the critically acclaimed 2014 record First Mind. Pre-order your copy here!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

WATCH: Everything Everything - 'Can't Do'

It seems to be a great time for some of my favourite artists coming back with new music and last week was no exception as total legends Everything Everything returned with the absolute tune Can't Do. Their last record Get To Heaven, released in 2015, was my favourite record of the year so I'm really looking forward to hearing it's follow up - A Fever Dream is out on 18th August. They're in the midst of a mini warm-up tour before a couple of festivals, but hopefully a full tour to promote the album will be announced shortly! Check out the (pretty strange) video for Can't Do below...

Like what you're hearing?! Pre-order A Fever Dream here.

Monday, 19 June 2017

LISTEN: My Crooked Teeth - 'Better Off'

Got four minutes to spare?! Take a moment to check out Better Off, the new track from Oxford's My Crooked Teeth, aka the all round lovely chap Jack Olchawski who I've had the pleasure of meeting at some recent Tigmus shows. A wistful take on the final days of a relationship, the track crescendos from Jack's beautiful vocals to a much fuller sound, departing from his debut EP as this is the first track to see Jack backed by a band with drums, double bass, slide guitar and banjo in the mix. I have to agree with The 405 when they say that "My Crooked Teeth is a straight up heartbreaker."

Check out Better Off on Spotify (and add it to your playlists) here or buy it on iTunes hereMy Crooked Teeth play this year's Cornbury Festival in July, alongside two of my favourite singer-songwriters, Jack Savoretti and Sam Beeton and a whole host of other brilliant artists - tickets.

GIG NEWS: Banfi at The Cellar, Oxford (8th Sep)

As I've finished uni I've left Oxford but as I've been blogging about gigs I've seen in the city for the last couple of years most people reading this are probably from the area - if so, you're in luck because one of my favourite bands have just announced an Oxford gig. Banfi have added a date to their first headline tour in September, they'll be playing at The Cellar on the 8th. They smashed their support slot at Oxford's O2 with Bear's Den back in March and I caught them at last weekend's Bushstock Festival where they played the best set I've seen them do yet. With an album in the works and some superb singles under their belts I seriously recommend getting along to this tour while they're playing in intimate venues - they've also just announced Bryde as support for the tour so it gets better and better! 

You can grab tickets for the Oxford show here or check out the full list of tour dates (including London's Lexington) here!

Friday, 16 June 2017

WATCH: Public Service Broadcasting release video for 'They Gave Me A Lamp'

Hearing lines such as "politics is life and everything to do with it affects you directly or indirectly" and "'You can't come with us because you're a girl', and it made me damn determined to do it", I can't help but think that the sampled lyrics of the latest offering from the brilliant Public Service Broadcasting couldn't be more poignant and relevant to the current day, despite being taken from the 1980s.

They Gave Me A Lamp reflects upon the history of coal mining communities in the UK, addressing the political awakening among women's support groups at the time of the South Wales mining strike. Featuring post-rock trio Haiku Salut the track itself undergoes an awakening of sorts, raising in volume and pace as it progresses, and the newly released video for the track was shot underground in a former mine, incorporating footage of the Welsh Valleys mining community. Alongside the first single Progress, the track is taken from the band's upcoming album Every Valley (due 7th July) a major the theme of which is disenfranchisement, a story of dignity and social responsibility set against the backdrop of industrial decline.

If you like what you're hearing be sure to pre-order the new record Every Valley and check out the upcoming tour dates on the PSB site here - they're heading to the US in September, UK in October and Europe in November, as well as some album launch shows here in the UK at the start of July.   

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

LIVE: Bushstock Festival 2017

At the weekend I caught my third Bushstock Festival, a day of superb music curated by the lovely folks at Communion Music in venues around Shepherd's Bush. Highlights of 2015 included seeing this year's headliners Nick Mulvey and The Staves play secret acoustic sets in a tiny wine bar, and last year's festival gave me the chance to see Bear's Den for the first time alongside the likes of Matthew & The Atlas, MarthaGunn, Dan Croll and Charlie Cunningham. A glance back at the past line-ups shows the likes of George Ezra, Bastille, Michael Kiwanuka and Hozier playing before they were well known, so as you'd imagine the atmosphere is great and the festival has a loyal following, there to try and discover the next big thing (and like I've said many times, a line-up curated by Communion is bound to be wonderful!) As with any festival there are clashes galore and the strength of the line-up doesn't help in this respect, however despite missing the likes of The Staves, Rhys Lewis, Isaac Gracie, The Big Moon, Spring King and loads more I had a great day, here's a little round-up of who I managed to catch!

Kicking off my day was Rukhsana Merrise, who I caught on a Communion New Faces tour a year or so ago and really enjoyed. Yesterday was her first live show for a while and a chance to debut tracks from her forthcoming record, and despite playing pretty early in the day she drew quite a crowd at the Courtyard stage. The venue was a trek from the others (I thought) but worth it once you got there with food, drink and a little pop-up record store surrounding the stage which was underneath a sea of rainbow umbrellas - luckily none of them needed as the sun came out and made the day even better! Check out the absolute tune Money below...

Rukhsana Merrise at the Courtyard stage

Next up I was headed towards Defector's Weld, where two friends I'd met up with were keen to see John Joseph Brill. He seems a lovely chap and I enjoyed his EP so was up for checking his set out when my phone buzzed with a twitter notification - Seramic were the second secret set of the day. Sad to miss JJB but I'm sure another chance to see him play will come up soon, so I headed to the wine bar, met up with another friend and waited... they ran behind schedule while they waited for a keyboard stand but it was completely worth the wait. I've seen Seramic play as a full band a few times over the past months and in this stripped back set-up for a couple of tracks at the Bear's Den Christmas show in December, so knew that I was in for a treat but even my high expectations were blown out of the water. I couldn't stop smiling, the tunes made me so happy and as I watched Marcus and Layla grin to one another it struck me how important it is to see that the band are enjoying playing for you to really take something from a set. Taking us through some tracks from their two EPs, they finished off the set with Trying, my favourite track from the recent I Got You EP, wowing the crowd with some seriously crazy notes. With two really strong EPs under their belts and some seriously impressive live performances I can't wait to see what Seramic do next!

Seramic secret set at the Albertine Wine Bar

We headed back to the Courtyard stage after they had finished to catch some of Ten Tonnes' set - I've heard good things about him but hadn't listened to his music before, all I really had to go on was that he's George Ezra's brother, which seems like a pretty good sign of musical quality. I was impressed by his voice and the crowd seemed to be having as much fun as he was up on stage. He released his second EP, Born To Lose, on Friday, and I'm digging the title track (listen below) which went down pretty well on Saturday afternoon - stream the whole EP on Spotify here!

Ten Tonnes at the Courtyard stage

After a quick stop off for some food came a tough decision between Isaac Gracie and Tender Central... I've been wanting to catch Isaac for a while and after missing his set at The Great Escape had assumed I'd definitely watch him at Bushstock, and was particularly keen as he was performing in the beautiful surroundings of St Stephen's Church, but I was also curious about Tender Central, and it meant less walking as I was sticking around for Banfi in the same venue afterwards. TC is the project of India Bourne, who plays in Ben Howard's band, and for the show she was joined on stage by Banfi's own Aaron and Joe, and while I heard great things about Isaac's set from friends that were there, I was glad I'd stuck around and really enjoyed the set! Check out the beautiful Wake Me Up below...

Tender Central at Traid

Next up and also playing in Traid, one of my absolute favourite bands of the moment, the lovely Banfi chaps. It was my seventh time seeing them and they're getting better every time, the busy touring schedule is working wonders for their live performance, with slots at Dot to Dot festival a couple of weeks ago and Citadel coming up in July, as well as heir first headline tour (dates) in September which I can't wait for! Having seen them lots in such as short space of time even the unreleased tracks feel incredibly familiar, so it'll be great to hear more of them recorded as studio versions (check this exciting tweet about album mastering!) and I'm chuffed to hear that they're releasing She Comes Home at the end of this month! Get listening to the tracks they've put out to date, including Rosedale House which is below and fall in love with them in time for the September tour!

Banfi at Traid

After some quick chats and hugs with the band it was a rush back to the Courtyard, where it was far easier than I'd expected to get in for Nick Mulvey's albeit quite early headline set. He's been away working on new music and with his beautiful baby boy for a while now and it was so great to have him back playing his first live performance for some time, with a stripped back version of his new live band. I was a little unsure as the crowd chattered away over the first chords of the first track, the recently released single Unconditional, but they soon fell under Nick's spell and spent fifty minutes totally entranced by his beautiful music, as did I! Sneaking only Fever To The Form and Meet Me There into the set from his first record we were treated to an array of entirely new tracks and it really felt like we were all part of something special, singing along to tracks as we heard them for the first time, and it feels amazing to have Nick back - and the joy at the crowd's response was so clear across his face too!

Nick Mulvey at the Courtyard stage

The second Nick had finished the crowd all rushed out of the venue, with most headed towards the church to try and get in for The Staves. I knew there would be no chance of getting in for their set so headed back towards Traid where I'd left my friend, whose favourite band Seafret were headlining, so of course I had to see what all the fuss was about. The venue is a charity clothes shop, raising money through donated clothes to target child and sweatshop labour in fashion, a really interesting and worthwhile concept, and as I stood at the back of the crowd a friend from Oxford tapped me from behind the clothes rails, isn't it lovely to bump into friends unexpectedly?! Stood quite far back it seemed as if the stage was a little dark but the sound was great in the venue and I definitely hope that they use it as a venue for the festival again next year. The singer Jack has great hair and a great voice and they were a really fun way to finish off my festival - I already can't wait for the next year of Bushstock!

Seafret at Traid

If you like the sound of Bushstock, be sure to sign up to the Communion mailing list for a weekly mailout about their upcoming releases and tracks. After ten years in the business they are continually killing it, working with some of my favourite artists on some really special concerts in London and further afield. Long live Communion!! 

LISTEN: Ferris & Sylvester - 'Berlin'

I'm a little late to the party and this track has been out for a couple of weeks now, but checking back through the PR emails I've missed over the last few weeks I knew I had to share this. It's from Ferris & Sylvester, the project of Londoners Issy Ferris and Archie Sylvester who met as solo musicians in the busy London music scene and started to make music together. The track Berlin is taken from their upcoming EP The Yellow Line, due next Friday (23rd), and combines some beautifully soft vocals, strings (always beautiful) and finger-picked guitar. About the single the pair say "Berlin' tells the story of a love coming to an end. The song doesn’t romanticise the situation or shy away from the stark reality of it; it shows the confusing, awkward and lonely journey of leaving someone and where that can leave you."

Be sure to keep an eye out next Friday for the full EP, also featuring their first single Save Yourself.