Tuesday, 31 May 2016

LISTEN: May 2016 playlist

With deadlines, and moving back home (and away from Oxford and it's wonderful music scene) I've only been to a couple of gigs this month, so when it came to making a playlist of what I've been listening to this month, I couldn't just rely on artists I've seen live... One of the shows I have been to is childhood favourites Busted, so they feature, alongside current (teen?) favourites The Hoosiers, so this month's playlist is pretty nostalgic. Here's the playlist, and I'll write a little to explain why I've included the tracks below. 

  1. Busted Meet You There - loved seeing this track performed live from the B stage at their arena show in Nottingham, one of my favourite tracks by them! 
  2. Tom Odell Magnetised - new track from Tom's upcoming album Wrong Crowd which is released on June 10th! Wish I'd nabbed a HMV priority ticket to his London instore album launch/signing... still tempted by Brixton later in the year! 
  3. Leo Stannard Lost (acoustic) - can't get enough of Leo at the moment, excited to see he's done an album cover shoot this month so hopefully some album news is on the way!
  4. The Hoosiers Cops and Robbers - my favourite band, featuring three times on this month's playlist (deserved!) because on Saturday (28th) it was 5 years since I saw them live for the first time, which was my first proper gig too! SO many great times since then.
  5. Grace Lightman Faultless - I saw Grace supporting Liu Bei last October, her vocals on this new track are pretty stunning.
  6. Sam Beeton Moving Out - what makes being a fan of The Hoosiers even more special for me is that at that first show 5 years ago, Sam was supporting and I quickly became a huge fan of his music. 
  7. Neverlnd Someone - my favourite local Oxford band, sad to miss these guys playing both the recent BBC Introducing show at O2 Academy and at the first Common People Festival this weekend which I'm sure they smashed! This is the latest in their monthly free tracks, and is avaialble to download here.
  8. Robot Swans Pricks of the Trade - alongside Busted, these guys were my only other gig this month, running the door for their Tigmus album launch at Modern Art Oxford. Listening to them beforehand and at the show this is the track that stuck with me.
  9. James Blake (ft. Bon Iver) I Need A Forest Fire - James Blake made a return this month, and while I struggled to choose which track of his to include, I couldn't really steer away from his collaboration with Bon Iver. Those beautiful vocals!
  10. Jake Houlsby Carousel - recommendations always come from wonderful places and I was pointed towards this track by my secondary school Media Studies teacher - love it!
  11. Fyfe Stronger - after seeing him on the Communion New Faces tour back at the end of 2014, I'm glad to hear that Fyfe is returning with an EP, of which this is the title track.
  12. The Hoosiers Don't Say What Nobody Wants To Hear - another track from these guys, my favourite from their acoustic album, recorded in a church in London (video of this track here, and some more videos of tracks from that album here.) 
  13. Busted Sleeping With The Light On - with the house lights down and everyone's phone torches on, and everyone singing to their heart's content, this track was pretty special at the show a couple of weeks ago!
  14. Wheatus Teenage Dirtbag - this will probably make me lose my music cred faster than Busted, but it was pretty fun to hear this performed live as they're supporting Busted on the tour!
  15. Sam Beeton Can You See The Light - album version of one of my favourite tracks of Sam's, taken from his record In The Yard which was released early last year. It was great to meet up with him and catch up after not seeing him for over two and a half years this month!
  16. The Hoosiers Everything Goes Dark - there is no better way to finish off the playlist than with another Hoosiers track (especially as, being pretty nostalgic, what I've been listening to this month includes a LOT of their music.) EGD is certainly my favourite track from their debut record, and probably my absolute favourite. I adore this acoustic version filmed in Arizona which is on the DVD that accompanies the re-release of their second record.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

WATCH: Ady Suleiman 'Serious' for Mahogany

The Mahogany Sessions never fail to disappoint, and the calibre of their artists leaves a lot to be desired of other session channels. This new session features Nottingham musician Ady Suleiman performing his track Serious. I saw Ady live opening up Bushstock last year as the friend I went with was a big fan and recommended we check his set out. Very glad we did! Check his session out below and then if you're looking for more, his session for them a couple of years ago is a good place to start, with over 150,000 views!

As a side note: the line-up for this year's Bushstock is, as is to be expected from Communion, looking pretty fantastic. Last year was superb, and I'd certainly recommend checking it out and grabbing a ticket here.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

TOUR NEWS: Little Brother Eli (June 2016)

With the release of their album coming up next month, looks like Oxford's Little Brother Eli are going to be pretty busy with this list of gigs coming up in June, with a lot of festivals in Oxfordshire (including Common People Festival in Oxford this weekend!) Anyone that's seen them live will know I'm not lying when I say their shows are pretty infectious, with lead singer Alex Grew's energy bursting from the stage. The upcoming debut record Cold Tales is released 24th June and features many of the tracks that have stuck in my head following the three shows I've seen them play, including Who Do You, Dreams, and Gold, and you can pre-order it on iTunes here. I'll hopefully get something written up about the album a little closer to the time! 

Probably the show most worth mentioning among these is the band's album launch show at the Bullingdon in Oxford on 25th June, where Neverlnd are supporting if I'm not mistaken! Info on all the upcoming shows on the band's site here.

WATCH: Leo Stannard - 'I Need Time'

I feel like I've started posting about him quite a bit but that certainly isn't a bad thing... Leo Stannard has today shared a picture of a photoshoot in London which, hopefully, means that artwork/promo for the record is being shot - so there's got to be an album announcement in the pipeline! For now, here's an acoustic performance of I Need Time, showing that beyond being a pretty skilled guitarist, Leo is pretty handy on the keyboard...

Monday, 23 May 2016

LIVE: Busted at Motorpoint Arena Nottingham (18/5/16)

Now I might lose all my music cred (is that a thing, and do I really have it?) for this, but no regrets - last week, I went to see my childhood favourites, Busted, play at the arena in Nottingham. I know I'm certainly not alone in saying that they were my favourite band growing up, but I feel a special connection to the music... music plays such a big part in my life, and they were the first band I felt a real love and a passion for, so getting to see them live was pretty fantastic. 

It was particularly special because Charlie has rejoined them, and while as you'd expect there's a lot of scepticism about him joining just for the money, well firstly - who wouldn't?! It was a surprising U-turn but honestly who cares what his intentions are... the three of them seemed to be having a good time and so were the rest of us, yelling out the lyrics to classics such as Crashed The Wedding, What I Go To School For and Year 3000, after warming up with a Teenage Dirtbag singalong as America's Wheatus were supporting (alongside Emma Blackery.) I loved that they played their track from the Thunderbirds movie which went down really well - I remember going to see the movie in a preview at the cinema (my dad was a huge fan of the classic Thunderbirds) and us being the only two in the room. While they didn't play my favourite track, She Wants To Be Me, they did perform on a second stage and sang the beautiful stripped back version of Meet Me There which they recently recorded at Abbey Road Studios (below.) Somehow they managed to make that feel really intimate and emotional! 

The day was also pretty special as before the show we caught up with one of my favourite artists, Sam Beeton, over a coffee, after last seeing him over two and a half years ago! Glad to hear he's well and working on new music, which we'll have to carry on patiently awaiting! Pic or it didn't happen....

If you'd like to relive your childhood and catch a Busted show, there's still some of the tour left (the O2 at the weekend is highly tempting...) and they're also playing some dates over Summer, all of the info here

Saturday, 21 May 2016

GIG NEWS: London Contemporary Voices 'Epoch' at Union Chapel (18/6/17)

Following their event at Bush Hall earlier this month, London Contemporary Voices are hosting a night at the stunning Union Chapel in June. The night, entitled 'Epoch' features Alex Vargas, Aquilo and Manu Delago as well as the choir itself covering various contemporary tracks with over 100 voices, alongside Kin Choir and London Cello Quartet. The show comes a year after LCV's sell-out 'Oscilloscope' show, and will explore the theme of time and the human journey through life. Popular contemporary songs reimagined on the night will include tracks by The Staves, Jack Garratt, and Matt Corby. The show is the LCV's last of the 2015-2016 season before they embark on the festival seasons including Secret Garden Party, Bestival, and Wilderness.

For more information about the show and to buy tickets, which are £18 in advance, check out LCV's site here.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

WATCH: Dawes 'Things Happen' at Chicago Music Exchange

A couple of weeks ago, Dawes posted a photo saying that they'd ended their tour in a guitar shop in Chicago. The photo got me pretty hopeful that someone had filmed some of the set, and the band shared this video today...

Playing on gear taken straight from the wall, they are sounding superb as always and in pretty impressive surroundings. Their next UK dates can't come quickly enough and it's great to see them sharing photos from the recording of their 5th release (though it'll take a lot to beat their latest record, All Your Favourite Bands, which is one of my favourite albums of last year and probably of all time!)

LISTEN: Fyfe - 'Stronger'

Fyfe, who I saw back in November 2014 as part of the Communion New Faces tour, has released a new track, following up his 2015 record Control and Songs EP. The track is the title track of a new EP, Stronger, which he'll launch at a London show at The Waiting Room on 5th July (ticket info below.) The album featured tracks such as Solace, For You and Holding On which you might be familiar with! The new track feels a little more upbeat than the previous material, but retains the underlying darkness to the music, and his voice is as brilliant as ever!

You can buy the new track on iTunes here and grab tickets to the London launch show on 5th July here.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

WATCH: Sofar Sounds at Art Jericho (Feb 2015)

Rewind to last February, and at Sofar Oxford we had a beautiful line up of Monument Valley, Benedict Benjamin, Twin Hidden, Tom Terrell and Rachel Sermanni in the stunning surroundings of Art Jericho. The editing team seem to have been pretty busy lately and a flurry of videos from Sofar Oxford shows have been surfacing on the Sofar Youtube, including three from that night. The videos of Twin Hidden and Benedict Benjamin aren't up yet but you can check out this great video from a Sofar Benedict played in Bristol last year.

Rachel Sermanni (pic by me)
First up is Monument Valley performing the track When I Go Clear. He's supporting Bryde tonight at her sold out Slaughtered Lamb show!

Next up is Tom Terrell playing The River on what seems to be a pretty big banjo, and which a quick Google search suggest is a 'cello banjo', but perhaps in more friendly terms, Gretta, as Tom named it/her in his FB post about the video. I can remember being pretty mesmerised by Tom's set on the night and you can certainly see why!

Last up is Rachel Sermanni, joined by Tom (they were touring together at the time) to perform a track called Tractor which Rachel explains has nothing to do with tractors... They were a beautiful pairing, both joining each other during the other's set, and those who go to see them playing full live shows together were lucky indeed, though their sets in the intimate art gallery venue were both pretty special.

You can find out more about Sofar Sounds in Oxford here, and apply for tickets for the upcoming show on 24th May which is in association with the Common People festival. Also if these videos left you wanting more, check out the main Sofar Sounds Youtube page here, which is constantly updated with new sessions from the shows around the world!

LISTEN: Baio - 'Don't Fight Fate'

A little over a week ago Baio (the solo project of Vampire Weekend bassist Chris Baio) released a new track, entitled Don't Fight Fate, which is being released as part of Amazon Music's Song's of Summer compilation (out in June.) I've posted about Baio quite a bit before and can't stress enough just how brilliant his solo record The Names is, would definitely recommend a listen - glad to have some new music from him!

You can listen to a couple more tracks from the compilation on Amazon Music's Soundcloud here.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

LISTEN: Jake Houlsby - 'Carousel'

I love a music recommendation - and got a great one from my secondary school Media Studies teacher earlier, in the form of Jake Houlsby and his track Carousel. A little scroll through his Facebook page, he seems a pretty hard-working musician, busking on the streets of Newcastle pretty regularly for the last few years, building up a local following. This track got played on BBC 6Music a few days ago, take a listen below...

Listening to more of Jake's music on his Youtube channel now and would recommend you do the same, very much enjoying what I'm hearing and will be keeping an eye on his music! If you happen to be in the Newcastle area, he's playing a show on the 28th May, details here.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

WATCH: Sam Beeton - 'Can You See The Lights'

Feeling a little nostalgic at the moment for Sam Beeton, one of my favourite artists who I first saw live just under five years ago but haven't been able to see for over two and half years now (been a few gigs but too far from uni). This video of Sam performing one of my favourite tracks of his, Can You See The Lights, a few years ago at Boardmasters is usually a must when I make playlists of acoustic videos to play in the background when doing some work, and I guess it's particularly relevant with the sunny weather lately! 

It's a bit of a trek for me but in the interests of you all having a great summer of music, check out the Boardmasters website here for info on the line-up and where to get tickets. It's in August and the line-up is looking pretty great, by which I admittedly mean that Jack Savoretti is on it, but there are tons of other great artists too! 

Monday, 9 May 2016

WATCH: Leo Stannard 'Lost' for Mahogany

Second year is over (woo!) and I've been spending the last few days trawling the library for books relevant to my dissertation topic, but I felt like posting something, so my first step was to visit the Mahogany Youtube. I wasn't disappointed as last month they uploaded a new Leo Stannard session performance of his track Lost. I was lucky to win tickets to his Mahogany show back in February and was really glad to finally see him perform live after being a fan from a distance for a few years. He's just finished up a small support tour with Nina Nesbitt and (a quick read of his Facebook tells me) he's heading straight to the studio to work on some new music which is great to hear!

You can get this track on Leo's Free Rein EP alongside three other superb tracks from iTunes here.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

LISTEN: Grace Lightman - 'Faultless'

Following from last night's post, heres some more new music, this time Faultless, the second single from Grace Lightman. Managed by Richard Walters (solo musician and lead of Liu Bei, who has recently set-up a PledgeMusic campaign for his latest solo record here), I saw Grace supporting Liu Bei back in October and was really impressed by her set. She was joined by Patrick James Pearson for the set, and he produced this track, with James Bragg on mixing and mastering duties. Take a listen to the beautiful track below... stunning vocals!

You can grab the track on iTunes here, and catch Grace live supporting BC Lamplight in Birmingham at Hare & Hounds on May 29th and the following day (May 30th) in London at The Lexington, tickets for those dates here.

Friday, 6 May 2016

LISTEN: Neverlnd - 'Someone'

It's that time again! New Neverlnd track got released this morning, you can listen below and download the track (as well as two others!) for free through Soundcloud here. It's Someone, a track the band have been playing live for a while and I'm very glad to have a studio version of... I particularly love the guitar effects about 2 minutes 20 seconds in. 

The effects on Thomas' vocals were reminding me of a track I've been listening to lately but I couldn't put my figure on it until I finally realised it was Daft Punk's track Instant Crush which features The Strokes' Julian Casablancas, which was actually recommended to me by Thomas a few months ago when I found myself at the band's shed/studio after a gig. Big recommendation for that track if you haven't listened to it! 

You can catch the guys live in a couple of weeks in London at New Cross Inn on 18th May and in Oxford at O2 Academy on 20th May.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

LISTEN: Roberto y Amigos - 'Ready When You Are'

Last week when I gave a presentation about my placement with Tigmus, I focused upon the Little Mammoths gig I put on, mentioning the support band on the night, Roberto y Juan. Confusingly enough however, they'd announced just a couple of hours before that they were changing their name to Roberto y Amigos (sorry Jonny), an easy enough switch at this early stage as the band starts to find its feet musically. The new name reflects that they're more than just a duo, firstly as George of homeplanetearth has been playing with them at the last few live shows (but Roberto y Juan y Jorge doesn't sound as catchy), and as many other musicians are also part of the music that the guys are producing.

Along with the new name came a new track, Ready When You Are, with Neverlnd guitarist Henry on lead guitar and Robin's sister Cat on lead vocals, reflecting the collaborative, collective element of the ensemble. Listen above!