Sunday, 31 July 2016

LISTEN: July 2016 playlist

Compared to the last couple of months, July has been pretty busy, with gigs from King Charles, Twin Atlantic, Jack Savoretti, Harry Pane, The Hoosiers, Bear's Den (as well as attending a TV recording and seeing a play a couple of times). The playlist reflects the music I've been listening to live at those shows, as well as some great new releases, and I've explained why I've added each track/artist below - check it out and let me know here or on Facebook if you enjoy the tracks! Spread the word... 

1. Viola Beach Swings And Waterslides - with their album released posthumously on Friday, it feels only right to start the playlist with this track. Back in February I went along to a Blossoms show on the tour where Viola Beach were due to be playing as support, and out of respect they played a live recording of their set from an earlier show of the tour. I can't wait to take a proper listen to the record once I get some time to sit and give it my full attention.

2. Bear's Den Emeralds - I'm loving Red Earth & Pouring Rain, the new record from these guys a lot, and apparently so are lots of people as it reached number 6 in the album chart on Friday (YES!). While it's difficult to pick a favourite track as the whole thing is pretty incredible, this is a stand out track for me!

3. Biffy Clyro Animal Style - these guys released their latest record Ellipsis this month, and I'm very excited to have grabbed a ticket to see them play an acoustic show for Banquet Records in October. 

4. Leo Stannard In My Blood - Leo's pretty close to announcing news of his debut album (I hope) and I was very excited to listen to the studio version of this track, released this month. I loved hearing the track when he played it live for the first time back in February.

5. Tempesst Broke Down Blues - this track was debuted online just before I saw these guys play at the Reach Out charity gig, and it went down really well with the crowd as did the rest of the set. They were really fun live, and they've got a headline London show coming up in September through Communion, tickets here.

6. Twin Atlantic Crash Land - this month I finally got to see these guys play live, in the pretty intimate Scala. While the rest of the show was loud and energetic, a highlight for me (probably as a big fan of acoustic music) was that they performed this track, accompanied by some pretty loud singing by the crowd.

7. Jack Savoretti Sweet Hurt - I was really lucky to get into Jack's sold out Somerset House show this month, and while all of his music is pretty special to me, there's something extra lovely about this non-album track. An added bonus for Bella Italia to play the track when I was grabbing some food there before heading to the show!

8. All Tvvins Darkest Ocean - these guys, a duo from Dublin, supported Twin Atlantic on their recent tour and their set was a whole lot of fun to kick the night off with. I was particularly fond of how much fun it seemed the guitarist was having (and the fact that the bassist was the lead vocalist - hooray for changing up the normal dynamic!) Their debut album IIVV is released in a couple of weeks (iTunes pre-order) and they're playing a UK tour in October (dates on their site here.)

9. The Hoosiers Up To No Good - a highlight of the month was definitely catching these guys (for the 11th time) headlining a new festival in Rescue Rooms in Nottingham where I first saw them live over 5 years ago. They play a huge London headline in September, tickets available here.

10. Geowulf Saltwater - a really lovely summer tune, this is the debut track from Geowulf, a new duo who opened up the Reach Out Charity gig this month. 

11. Tom Lowman Blue State - this pretty cynical and relevant track ("the country's going mad, perhaps it always was") is taken from Tom's debut album Tales from the Wrong Side of History (available on iTunes here.)

12. Harry Pane Cold Light of Day - this is from Harry's Changing EP, the title track of which featured in last month's playlist as I loved the EP so much. I was really glad to catch Harry playing a short set in Shoreditch this month as part of the Coffee House Tour.

13. Gizmo Varillas Give a Little Love - Gizmo played a fun support set when I saw Jack Savoretti this month - his debut album El Dorado is out later in the year!

14. Twin Atlantic Gold Elephant: Cherry Alligator - while the other track by these guys in the playlist is from their 2012 record, this is a new track from their upcoming release GLA (a nod to their Glaswegian roots) which is out in September (pre-order on their site here and get three tracks  including this one instantly.)

15. Jack Savoretti The Proposal - while Jack's huge success over the last couple of years has coincided with the release of his latest record Written In Scars and its subsequent re-release, I'm a huge fan of his third record Before The Storm and it was great to hear tracks like this one in the Somerset House setlist! Check out a video of the track being performed at the show, filmed by Martin who I met in the queue with whom it turns out I have a few mutual friends and musical interests!

16. King Charles Love Lust - while I'd definitely have considered going along to the Reach Out charity gig if Charles hadn't been on the line-up (cake, charity, other great acts and a whole host of lovely people!), it was definitely a bonus. Playing as a stripped back 3-piece band, with a temperamental guitar and scheduled after the Euro 2016 final (meaning the set was cut short a little) the night was pretty fun and it was a pleasure to see Charles & co play as always! 

17. Tom Figgins Rain On Me - I'll stop rambling about the charity gig soon (did I mention it raised around £1650?!) but one last thing... it was great to see Tom play again, with a highlight of the night being an impromptu performance of his stunning track Crave (not on Spotify but a demo on Soundcloud) to 5 or 6 of us as he tested his guitar after it fell from his case as he tried to leave. 

18. Bear's Den Gabriel - to celebrate the release of their record, Bear's Den played a mini tour of record stores, including Rough Trade in Nottingham (read my post about the show here.) With the band finishing off their beautiful, full and fairly warm set with an unplugged performance of this track within the crowd (like this performance in The Netherlands), it feels like a nice place to finish the playlist at!

Thursday, 28 July 2016

LISTEN: Geowulf - 'Saltwater'

When I bought a ticket for the Reach Out Charity Gig back in June, Geowulf were the only act on the line-up whose music I couldn't find online (shock horror!) Opening up the show, they're a duo made up of Star Kendrick and Toma Banjanin of Tempesst who were also playing on the night. Not knowing at all what to expect apart from a male/female duo, I had pretty high hopes based on the rest of the line-up, and I really enjoyed the set which did a great job of easing everyone into a night of beautiful music and fundraising! They've recently debuted their first track Saltwater online, listen below!

Keep up to date with all things Geowulf on their Facebook page here.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

LIVE: Bear's Den at Rough Trade Nottingham (23/7/16)

Surprisingly, though I seem to get about quite a bit for gigs, I've only ever travelled to London from my home train station - until yesterday! I took a trip to Nottingham on the train to catch the lovely Bear's Den guys playing one of their album release shows at Rough Trade. The new record Red Earth & Pouring Rain was released on Friday, and with three instores, a New Slang show in Kingston, a slot on BBC Radio 6, a performance on the Radio 1 Live Lounge and appearing on Sunday Brunch this morning, the guys have been very busy promoting it. A few listens in, I'm totally blown away by how beautiful the record is and want everybody to hear it - particular highlights for me are Emeralds and Dew On The Vine, but as a whole album, there are no disappointing tracks in my opinion!

The set yesterday was opened with a few tracks from the new album, including the title track and the first single Auld Wives, easing the crowd in before playing some of the more known tracks from the first record, encouraging lots of audience participation and a very happy band! While Agape, Isaac and Above The Clouds of Pompeii got as big a response as you'd expect, for me, I was pretty excited to hear Magdalene, as the band missed it out from their Bushstock set last month and it's my favourite track from the debut album! For the final track, the crowd parted to make room for the band to come and play Gabriel, the latest single from the new record, unplugged - a pretty special moment! It was particularly lovely to meet Davie and Kev after the set and have a quick chat about the record, Bushstock and what I missed when I left their set at the festival during the encore to catch the train... 

Bear's Den tour the UK and Europe later in the year taking in Brighton, Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Norwich, London and Bristol at the start of November. Tickets and more info on their site here.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

WATCH: Tom Figgins 'Bury My Ghosts' for Sofar Sounds

The video dropped a few days ago from when troubadour Tom Figgins played at Sofar Sounds London back in March. The track is Bury My Ghosts and it's great, but lets be honest - Tom's new puppy is definitely stealing the show over on his Instagram. How sweet is Treacle?! 

Keep an eye on Tom's Facebook for info on upcoming releases and shows - if you're interested in theatre, he's performing in a new production that's headed to Edinburgh Fringe soon and is previewing in London on the 28th, info here.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

LISTEN: Leo Stannard - 'In My Blood'

Best news - Leo Stannard has released In My Blood, the first taste of how his debut album is going to sound. Leo debuted the track when I caught him playing a show for Mahogany in February, and it really stuck with me for the beautiful and powerful singalong (pretty special particularly for Leo to have so many singing to a completely new song). You can watch a similar performance for the Ruby Sessions here

Leo is going on tour in October (including a show at the lovely OSLO Hackney), all the dates and tickets are here. I'd recommend getting along to a show if you can and if you enjoy the track, particularly while he is still playing these small venues! As well as stunning tracks like this on the piano, Leo is primarily a guitarist, and his live show is something to behold, with his unique percussive style gaining him comparisons to the likes of Ben Howard. I really hope that he gets all the success he deserves when it comes to the release of the record!

Monday, 18 July 2016

LIVE: The Hoosiers at Sweetnotes Festival, Rescue Rooms (16/7/16)

Another day, another gig, and I rounded off another great week in July seeing my favourite guys, The Hoosiers on Saturday night. It was a homecoming of sorts, seeing them headline a new festival, Sweetnotes, in Rescue Rooms in Nottingham, the venue where I first saw them on a tour over five years ago. It's actually pretty nostalgic to be back there, as it's the only place where I've seen all three of my favourite artists (TH, Sam Beeton who was supporting them, and King Charles in 2013.) That show back in 2011 was also the first proper gig I went to, so it's really the place where it all started, in a way! Following a day of shopping/grabbing food, we headed to the venue, and caught a couple of the sets before The Hoosiers were on, including local band The Mocking Jays who were quite fun! 

Though having four albums means that favourite tracks are always going to be missed out of setlists (miss you, Giddy Up), I'm chuffed that they're playing a couple of tracks from the first record The Trick To Life that haven't always been in the set, including Run Rabbit Run. And although the crowd was nowhere near as big as the show all those years ago, I had a brilliant time, and it was great to see the guys for the first time since the tour in October, and an acoustic show in November. They even smuggled a couple of little covers into the set, The Weeknd's Can't Feel My Face and Womack & Womack's Teardrops. Sad not to get to chat afterwards (but some lovely tweets from the gigs fixed that), but very much looking forward to the start of September, when I'll hopefully see the guys play their huge O2 Islington show (tickets here for 3rd Sep) and maybe even the Milton Keynes show they've just added for the day before.

LIVE: Jack Savoretti at Somerset House (15/7/16)

The fifth trip to London in a couple of weeks, I was (very) lucky to catch Jack Savoretti play his long sold out Somerset House show on Friday evening. In such beautiful surroundings Jack and his incredibly stylish band looked totally at home as they're definitely getting used to playing to such huge crowds. In a set filled with tracks from his last two albums including the hits Catapult, Home and Written In Scars, Jack wowed the crowd and filled us all with a lot of hope and positivity in the midst of such dark times. Singing along constantly through the night, particular highlights for me were third album tracks such as The Proposal, Jack's solo performance of his cover of Nobody Cept You, an unreleased Bob Dylan track, and the lovely track Sweet Hurt (check my video of it below!) Funnily enough, the last two times I've seen Jack, I've been to Bella Italia beforehand, and both times they've played this track! The support set from Gizmo Varillas was a also a lot of fun and a great fit, check out a Sofar Sounds performance of his track Freedom For A Change here.

From first hearing Jack when his single Take Me Home (from the album Before The Storm) was released over four years ago, I've been a pretty big fan, and the success of his latest record Written In Scars fills me with so much pride and joy - so seeing Jackuge crowd was a great moment! It's also really heartwarming considering that Jack had all but given up on the industry after the release of his second album. Nights like Friday make me so appreciative that he fell back in love with music, and that the industry and music fans are giving him so much love in return. As well as being incredibly talented, he's also a really kind and deserving man!

I could easily watch Jack play live pretty regularly, and can't wait to see him play another huge London show at the Eventim Apollo on 9th November. Tickets for that show are available here, and with Jack mentioning being back in October/November, it sounded like a tour could definitely be on the cards! Particularly as Jack has since posted about the show on Instagram, saying that they'll be back on the road in October "with a new album" - the BEST news!

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

WATCH: Twin Atlantic - 'No Sleep'

Kind of Twin Atlantic to schedule the release of their new video to just after I've seen them live... They played the London date of their July tour last night at Scala (a lovely venue and a lot smaller than I expected) and I loved every second of it! I was a bit of a boring grown up and stood on a small balcony at the back of the room to keep away from the mosh pits - but it was actually a great choice as I could see straight over the crowd and didn't have to worry about being pushed around (definitely not my idea of fun!) Support came from All Tvvins, who were pretty impressive and I might have to check out when they play Oxford later in the year for Future Perfect (check out a track on Soundcloud here.) The guitarist's energy was pretty infectious... 

Playing a set that featured all the hits from Free and Great Divide, they also played some tracks from the upcoming record GLA, including No Sleep, which went down really well as lead singer Sam McTrusty threw himself into the crowd. As a frontman, McTrusty had the crowd eating out of his hand, belting out the lyrics to all of the songs, and jumping around for the whole night. It was definitely one of the most fun gigs I've been to in a long time! A highlight for me was a slightly more relaxed part of the night however, with the band performing Crash Land, my favourite track of theirs! At this point of the night and throughout, it was really clear how humbled the Scottish band were that, being so far from home, so many people had turned out and were having such a great time. 

Twin Atlantic play a tour of the UK and Ireland in October and December to promote the new record GLA, which is released on 9th September - all the dates and tickets here.

LISTEN: Bear's Den - 'Gabriel'

With just over a week left to wait, I'm getting very excited for the release of the new Bear's Den record, Red Earth & Pouring Rain, and the suspense and excitement has been raised as they've premiered another track from the record. Gabriel is the penultimate track from the record, and when I saw the guys headline Bushstock last month, they played the track unplugged in the middle of the church, something truly beautiful to witness (after a little digging I've just found a video of that here.)

The album is released next Friday, 22nd July, and you can pre-order it here. Bear's Den are also playing a few instore shows to promote the release - they'll be in London on 21st/22nd for Banquet Records and Rough Trade East, and then Nottingham Rough Trade on 23rd, and Bristol's Rise Records on the 25th (go!!!!!)

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

WATCH: Sam Beeton - 'Late For a Train'

You could say it's been a while... after the release of his record In The Yard at the start of 2015, and a few session videos last Spring, it's been just over a year since we've heard any new music from Sam Beeton - until now! Sam is back with new track (ahh!!) Late For A Train, filmed in a session with new channel Bee Happy, in the stunning setting of a 19th century reservoir. 

I know that Sam's been busy working away on new music for the past couple of years, so it feels great to finally get a sneak peak into some new material and I love the track. Hopefully it's a sign that there's more to come in the not so distant future... maybe even a chance to see Sam live (the last show I caught in November 2013 is a long time ago!)

Monday, 11 July 2016

LIVE: Reach Out charity gig at The Lexington (10/7/16)

If you didn't get along to the Reach Out charity gig at The Lexington last night then you missed a pretty great night - it's a definite contender for one of my favourite shows of the year so far. A great atmosphere was thanks to great company, great cake and most of all a wonderful line-up of bands, all raising money for a hugely worthwhile cause in the form of Medecins San Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). Massive shoutout to Emma and Mercedes for their wonderful organisational skills and for putting on such a fun night.

It all kicked off pretty early to squeeze in the Euro final in the middle, and first up were Geowulf, a duo comprising of Toma from Tempesst and Star, with some pretty lovely harmonies and starting the evening in a really lovely way (with a cookie in hand - more gigs need cake stalls!)

Soon after their set, Tempesst took to the stage, with Toma quickly transforming from a member of a chilled out duo to an energetic frontman. Performing the three tracks I'd heard on their Soundcloud and a couple more, the set was really enjoyable - even if their bassist was an iPhone for the night! I'm digging the new track Broke Down Blues which I posted about recently, and the track Too Slow which I've put below. 


Before the footie, the legend Tom Figgins and a couple of members of his band played, premiering a couple of new tracks which went down pretty well with the crowd, as did tracks like Let Your Roots Grow and Permafrost. A highlight of the night for me though, was after it had all finished, and a few of us were chatting, and Tom's guitar fell out of his bag and down some stairs. He proceeded to check it was alright and sat and sang Crave, my favourite track of his!

Tom Figgins
It's testament to how great the night was that having one of my favourite artists, King Charles, headline after the football, was just a bonus of being there. Sitting in while they sound-checked, it was really interesting to hear the stripped back sound with Charles performing with just drum and bass backing from Nick and Tom (very cool to finally hear Nick on drums as he's currently playing drums for SG Lewis!) The set, comprised mostly of second album tracks, went down really well even if it was cut short as they went over the live music curfew. Charles brought out a new (very small) guitar for its first (and last) gig, as the strap fell off and it went out of tune for the last track, Love Lust - irritating but provided lots to laugh about and a great video below..

Having missed a train to catch the end of the set, I stayed around for an hour after the show finished, and it was so good to catch up with a bunch of my favourite people, and to meet some new people too! The night felt like such a success and I hope that reflects in the amount taken for MSF which I can't wait to find out! Seeing everyone having such a good time, from the bands, their friends, family and fans, is also really inspirational in wanting to carry on working towards a career in music and particularly live music! 

Now - when can we do that all again?!

Saturday, 9 July 2016

LISTEN: Tempesst - 'Broke Down Blues'

After a couple of trips to London this week for a TV recording and a brilliant play, I'm pretty excited to return tomorrow for the Reach Out Charity Gig where Tempesst form a quarter of the line-up. They've just released this new track, Broke Down Blues, which is sort of mystical and feels like it should be on a movie soundtrack, definitely. After missing their set at Bushstock I'm really looking forward to seeing them on Sunday evening.

If you'd like to come along to the show on Sunday night, tickets are still available here for £10, an absolute bargain (and all going to a hugely worthwhile cause), particularly because as well as Tempesst and Geowulf, the wonderful Tom Figgins and King Charles are playing (and if you're worried about missing the football - they're showing the match before Charles' set!) Come and join!!!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

WATCH: Tom Lowman - 'Blue State'

"The world is going mad, perhaps it always was..." Yet another discovery from Sofar Sounds in Oxford, Tom Lowman recently released a pretty topical new track and video, Blue State, from his upcoming debut album Tales from the Wrong Side of History. Of the track, Tom says "it's a song about disillusionment, and a general sense that things are sliding in an increasingly negative direction." Agreed...

Tom launches his album at two shows in London and his hometown Winchester on 27th July and 13th August, and before that he's also supporting at a Tigmus show with Daisy Chute in London on 21st July (tickets £4 here.)

Saturday, 2 July 2016

LISTEN: June 2016 playlist

Among all the excitement/drama of the EU referendum, the Euros and my twentieth birthday I just about forgot to make a playlist for the month so it's a couple of days late, but it's a pretty brilliant one! I only got to Bushstock this month but caught seven fantastic acts that day, so the playlist is made up of tracks from those artists as well as a flurry of new tracks from some of my favourite artists including Twin Atlantic, Two Door Cinema Club and Neverlnd. Take a listen below and look down the post for a little explanation of why each track is in the playlist!

  1. Bear's Den Auld Wives - much of my month has revolved around these guys musically, from listening to this first single from their upcoming new record, to entering countless competitions to win tickets to see them headlining Bushstock (which I did!) 
  2. Two Door Cinema Club Are We Ready? (Wreck) - after what seems like many many years, Two Door are back with a track from their new record Gameshow, which is released this October.
  3. Little Brother Eli Gold - one of my favourite band's from Oxford, I'm really happy for them to have released their debut album this month! This is one of my favourite tracks from the record, I love this Sofar Sounds session video of the track.
  4. Harry Pane Changing - Harry's just played two sold out shows for Tigmus, and I reviewed his new EP, of which this is the title track, for the Tigmus blog. It's a brilliant EP and well worth a listen!
  5. MarthaGunn Heaven - I keep hearing about these guys (but at first I mistook them for a solo singer I knew of a few years ago) and they supported at recent Toothless and Bear's Den shows, so I caught their set at Bushstock and really enjoyed it, they're certainly ones to watch for the rest of the year. 
  6. Neverlnd Neighbours - alongside LBE, these are another of my favourite Oxford-based bands, and this is their latest (brilliant) free monthly track!
  7. Jake Bugg Gimme The Love - Jake released his third studio record On My One in June, and this was the first single from the record, and a very catchy one!
  8. Billie Marten La Lune - I'd heard of Billie before but hadn't really listened to her (although I think I may have caught some of her set at Festifeel last year) until her new video for this track found its way into my inbox, but this track is too beautiful not to share (and she's only seventeen!!)
  9. Mumford & Sons ft. Baaba Maal, The Very Best & Beatenberg Wona - Mumford's Johannesburg EP, in collaboration with these three artists, was released this month. The collection of five tracks were created from scratch over a couple of days between shows in South Africa and this was the second track to be released at the start of this month. Very uplifting!
  10. Charlie Cunningham Telling It Wrong - I saw Charlie last November supporting the wonderful Stornoway guys in a beautiful church in Oxford. Who knew that in just about 7 months time I'd recreate the experience in a church in London... glad I could catch most of Charlie's set while at Bushstock!
  11. Tom Odell Concrete - there's been so much great new music this month and Tom's new album Wrong Crowd is no exception. I've already shared the brilliant title track and Magnetised in previous playlists but I'm loving the record and this is another favourite from it. 
  12. Lucy Leave Carry - these guys played a really successful Tigmus show recently and while their recent EP which the show was the launch for isn't on Spotify (listen here instead) I'm digging this track from another EP of theirs!
  13. Luke Sital-Singh Nothing Stays The Same - Luke's was the first set I caught at Bushstock, a secret set in a wine bar. I was having some food in Westfield up the road and saw the announcement, very glad I managed to go and get my ticket and get back to the venue and grab a spot. Hadn't listened to his music before and I was really impressed, I've since grabbed his CD and I will keep an eye out for the new music he played in the set!
  14. Matthew & The Atlas Temple - on just before Bear's Den at Bushstock, I was at the very back of the church for their set, and (as always!) stood behind some very tall guys, but from what I could hear, the set was pretty beautiful. 
  15. Bastille Good Grief - even more brilliant new music! After a year or two away, the guys finally released a new track from their upcoming record, released in September. 
  16. Amber Run Haze - considering the pretty long queue outside the bar, I felt very lucky to be in the right place just as they announced these guys as one of the secret acts at Bushstock. I hadn't listened to this track before, which they released a couple of months ago, but it really stuck with me after the set. A highlight of the day was a guy who hadn't got into the set, but who stayed outside the venue practically a pane of glass away from the band, singing along to every single word of their set. I saw him at some other sets later in the day and it was pretty sweet to see how much it all meant to him and how passionate he was about the music. 
  17. Dan Croll From Nowhere - the final Bushstock track in the playlist and the way in which I won tickets for the festival - as I won tickets to see Dan (who was headlining one of the biggest venues) in someone's back garden, a secret stage organised by TOMS shoes. He played a beautiful set and I felt pretty honoured to witness it!
  18. Little Brother Eli Beautiful People - I'm that excited about these guys releasing their debut record that I have to put two tracks from it into the playlist. Wholeheartedly encourage you to go and take a listen to the full album and to catch them live if you get the chance, they're a brilliant live band!
  19. Twin Atlantic No Sleep - not only for the reason that I'm writing this at 1am, this track is perfect to round off the playlist as the first new music I got pretty excited about in June. It's on their upcoming album GLA which is also out in September, and I'm very excited to hear more tracks from the album in a couple of weeks when (provided it isn't cancelled for health reasons as a few recent shows have been) I see the guys live in London for the first time!