Friday, 30 September 2016

LISTEN: September 2016 playlist

I moved back to Oxford this month for my third and final year of university (quite scary) and I've already been to some cracking gigs... but October is looking particularly busy (we'll get to that when it happens!) Here's my playlist for the month, a snapshot of the music I've been listening to this month, whether live or otherwise - hope you enjoy!!

1. Dawes One Of Us - the most exciting thing to happen in music for me this month was that one of my favourite bands, Dawes, released their fifth studio album. We're All Gonna Die is the follow up to last year's All Your Favourite Bands, one of my favourite records of all time so this one had a lot to live up to and I haven't been disappointed. Feels only right to kick off the playlist with the opening track of the album!

2. Jack Savoretti When We Were Lovers - my favourite artists are the gift that keeps on giving, as this month another big favourite, Jack Savoretti, announced his new record Sleep No More which is set to be released on 28th October, and released the first single from the album which is an absolute corker. Less than a month to go, very excited to hear more of the album - you can also hear a lot of it debuted live on his upcoming UK tour.

3. Slate Hearts Take Me to the Green - in a busy first week back in Oxford I went to a few gigs, one of which was the fantastic Lucy Leave hometown headline to round off their debut UK tour. These guys were supporting and they're pretty exciting, love this track.

4. Fil Bo Riva Killer Queen - I was sent Fil Bo's track Like Eye Did last month and loved it, so was glad to hear that this month he's released another. The studio version is pretty cool but I'm also digging this live version, his voice is really something special.

5. Bastille Power - another of the gigs I went to this month was finally seeing Bastille in Kingston, where they played much of their new record Wild World, a lot for the very first time which was cool to see/hear. It's been a while coming since their hugely successful debut album back in 2013 but the new record is definitely worth the wait and has just seen two weeks at the top of the charts (and it's looking like it'll be a third week tomorrow!)

6. Bon Iver Minnesota, WI - a much older track than the rest, I've been in quite a classic Bon Iver mood this month after security a ticket to one of the upcoming London shows in February. I bought this record entirely on a whim a couple of years ago because I had just bought a record player and wanted more to listen to and I adore it from start to finish. 

7. homeplanetearth Find Me - these guys are a superb local Oxford band who have just toured the UK to celebrate their debut EP (which this track is taken from) including a huge show for Tigmus upstairs at the O2 Oxford which was the day before I moved back to town, very gutted to miss it!

8. Laurel Life Worth Living - a couple of days after moving back I attended my first Oxford Sofar Sounds in 6 months (absolutely crazy that it's been so long!), one of our acts was London based singer songwriter Laurel who had the crowd absolutely mesmerised. A beautiful stripped back set in the stunning venue, an independent cinema just up the road from me.

9. Tom Speight Falling - Tom was announced as support for Bastille the day before the show so I didn't get chance to check out any of his music before the show apart from a snippet of this track which went down pretty well on the night. The hardcore Bastille fans at the front were absolutely loving this guy who seemed pretty overwhelmed by all the loving, and by the fact he was using in-ear monitors for the first time. 

10. Twin Atlantic The Chaser - I finally grabbed a copy of the new Twin Atlantic record a couple of weeks ago and it's got everything you might expect of their records, including the brilliant first single No Sleep and this recent single.

11. Lucy Leave Fighter Pilot - as mentioned above I saw these guys play in Oxford this month, where I ran the door for the show (an absolute pleasure!) I've heard of them on the scene for a while now and been really keen to catch them live so glad that I finally got the opportunity to do so! 

12. Bon Iver 33 "GOD" - until it came to choosing a playlist for this month I hadn't actually given any of the new Bon Iver record (released today but I haven't had chance to listen fully yet!) a listen, but this track, which samples a bit of Paolo Nutini is quite cool, if a bit of a departure from the other track earlier in the playlist! Looking forward to taking more of a listen to the record and most importantly hearing it live in February!

13. Dawes Roll With The Punches - this is one of my my favourite tracks from the new Dawes record, which Taylor describes as a track which deals with separation not in a personal way, but looking at the consistencies in any separation/break-up, things that everyone can relate to. My enjoyment of the track is probably more in the sound than the deep meaning, but I definitely appreciate the songwriting which as always with Dawes is pretty clever!

14. Bastille Four Walls (The Ballad of Perry Smith) - another of my favourite tracks from the new record, very much a slower tune but still really catchy. As I write this I've just received an email saying my video of Bastille from the show last week has been taken down from Youtube and I've received a copyright strike - had to sit through "copyright school", the joys..

15. The Hoosiers Weirdo (Acoustic) - my first gig this month was my last gig of the Summer, The Hoosiers headlining the O2 in Islington. Though I've seen them over 10 times it was the first time seeing them play in London and was made even cooler by interviewing Irwin and Al before the show for some research I'm doing. Sadly it was Sam's last (sort of) gig with the guys and I love this track from their third album where he takes lead vocals, particular this version on an acoustic album!

Monday, 26 September 2016

TOUR NEWS: Dawes (!!!!!) November 2016

Some of the best news to wake up to is usually a tour announcement and today that came in the form of Dawes... I've been raring to see them live again since I caught them in the intimate Oslo Hackney last August, and they've just announced a tiny run of UK shows to celebrate the launch of their new record, We're All Gonna Die.  

I finally grabbed a copy of the new record at the weekend when I took my first trip to Oxford's new Fopp (simultaneously the best and worst thing that could've opened in town...) and after a few listens I'm totally adoring it. Yes, it's different to the previous record which I totally love and without a shadow of a doubt place in my top 3 albums of all time, but difference isn't always a bad thing and the record is great! I'm really excited to grab a ticket and hear the new tracks performed live. 

Dawes play Glasgow's King Tuts on 2nd November, Manchester's RNCM Concert Hall on the 3rd and finish up in London's Islington Assembly Hall on the 4th. Tickets are available at 9am on Friday here.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

LIVE: My week in gigs... Khamsina, Sofar Sounds, Bastille and Lucy Leave (Sep 2016)

I moved back to uni a week ago today and I've already managed a stretch of four gigs in 6 days. First up on Sunday was a Tigmus show, with local band Khamsina launching their album Everything I Am. I hadn't listened to them before the show but was pretty impressed and it was a lovely evening of folk music to ease myself back into the local scene! I took photos on the evening, a few of which are on the blog Facebook page!

Next up on Tuesday evening was my first Sofar Sounds Oxford since March - I can't believe quite how it's been so long but it's always lovely to see the crew, a really nice bunch of people! When I got the email saying where the show would be (as they're secret venues, announced a couple of days before) I could've cried out with joy as it was in the local independent cinema up the road from me. A gig in a cinema! Definitely as cool as it sounds... 

As we were squeezed in after the early evening film, we had less bands than normal, as there can sometimes be up to five acts, but the three that played, though very different in terms of genre, were received incredibly well. First up was Laurel, an acoustic singer-songwriter originally from Southampton and now based in London. She's got almost twenty thousand likes on Facebook so is clearly doing something right and we were lucky to catch her in this intimate environment. Next up were electro-visual duo Enno and Shalti who made use of the cinema screen, showing visuals alongside their set (which I think they were producing at the time using a programme they'd created.... I can't say I understand in the slightest but it was cool!) Last up were local band The Shapes, a 7-piece band who were glad to be asked to play as they reckon it's hard to get gigs if you're not an 18 year-old hipster. They might have a point. Photos from that night are up on the page here.

On Thursday night I ventured a little further to Kingston, to catch the Bastille album launch show, with Tom Speight supporting. I've been wanting to catch them live for a while and, travel stress aside (don't get me started... who's idea is it to finish shows at half 11 when we're a half hour train out of central London?!), it was a brilliant night! I went along with a friend who lives locally who'd mentioned she'd love to go to another show there so it was a great opportunity when I noticed the ticket and CD bundles on sale. As it was a show for the new album (which just got its second week at number one... no big deal) Dan was quick to say that they'd be trying to play as much of it as possible, and they premiered a lot of the tracks ( tells me they played 6 debuts!) so that was pretty special to see, but of course it was also great for them to finish off with just a couple of tracks from the first record (Things We Lost In The Fire and Pompeii), they definitely left the crowd wanting more! Below is a little video of Power being played for the first time.

Last up this week I ran the door for the last night and homecoming show of the Lucy Leave Tigmus tour on Friday night at The Cellar, with three other locals bands on the line-up, Slate Hearts, Holy Moments and Kancho, all of whom were lovely and it made for a grungy, rock-y evening loved by all who came (as displayed by the crazy head banging and dancing.) Of course they had to end on the title track of their recent Fighter Pilot EP, but they squeezed in Carry just before (video below), inviting the Slate Hearts lads to play with them, as they'd toured with them as main support for all dates. It was especially lovely seeing how much fun they were all having up there, and seeing the various bands watching each other's sets throughout the night!

A very busy (but fantastic) week and while I haven't currently got anything planned next week, October is looking very busy which should make up for that (also uni starts up this week so that should probably take some priority...)

Thursday, 22 September 2016

GIG NEWS: Little Brother Eli in Oxford (14/10/16)

The first time I saw Little Brother Eli play was at the first Tigmus show I attended back in October 2015, the Neverlnd (then Balloon Ascents) EP launch upstairs at the O2 Academy. It was a line-up that sounded pretty crazy on paper, those two, and two more local acts Esther Joy Lane and Loud Mountains, but it worked amazingly and local music writers Ocelot celebrated it as their gig of the year, and I was really impressed by the guys' set as I hadn't listened to them properly before the show. It's pretty exciting then that now, working for Tigmus, I can say that LBE are headlining the same venue on the 14th October! 

When I decided to post about this show (which you'll gather I'm pretty excited for) I searched for a video, and was going to attach an acoustic performance... Little Brother Eli are pretty superb in a stripped back setting but this recent music video really captures their boundless energy which you'll most definitely see at this gig. 

The show is part of the Tigmus season upstairs at the O2 Academy Oxford, which started up with a show I'm devastated to have missed on Friday night, with the lovely homeplanetearth kicking off their debut UK tour with a hometown headline, with a cracking support line-up from Little Red, Roberto y Amigos (local fave!) and Swindon's Polar Front. In November Little Red headline the venue, finishing up with Peerless Pirates in December but now it's Little Brother Eli's turn and I'm really excited about that!

The four band line-up is completed by a bunch of local talent: My Crooked Teeth, WOLFS and Lucy Leave (who also headline The Cellar this Friday 23rd Sep as part of their debut UK tour - come see me as I'll be on the door!!) and while it's probably best to expect the unexpected, I can promise some brilliant music and a very dapper band (although I can't shift the idea of thinking that LBE look like a band of Geography teachers...) 

Tickets for the show are available through Tigmus with no booking fees here, and check out the rest of the site for loads more artists of various genres playing shows in Oxford over the next couple of months!

Monday, 19 September 2016

WATCH: Jack Savoretti - 'When We Were Lovers'

The beautiful first track from Jack Savoretti's upcoming record Sleep No More, has an equally beautiful video to accompany it which was released today. When the track When We Were Lovers was released, I had it on repeat for the day and still can't get enough of it, I'm really looking forward to hearing more of the new album which is released on October 28th. The more I listen to Jack, the more I'm blown away by his talent and super proud that he's receiving the recognition he deserves!

The new album, Sleep No More, is up for pre-order on Jack's website including signed copies of the LP and CD as well as a limited edition phonebook - you also get this first single instantly when you pre-order.

Friday, 16 September 2016

WATCH: Bear's Den - 'Emeralds'

I'm really excited to hear that Emeralds is the latest release from Red Earth & Pouring Rain, the stunning recent record from Bear's Den! The whole album is an absolute triumph but this is definitely one of my favourite tracks and it's great to see it get a proper release - the more that I listen to the guys, the deeper I'm falling in love with their music. I was a fan from a distance for a year or so, enjoying their debut record, until I was completely bowled over seeing them headline Bushstock this Summer. They're incredibly talented and totally humble guys and I love knowing they're off conquering America at the moment. I was really looking forward to catching them earlier in the month at a special intimate show for Amazon... sadly the show had to be rescheduled (but thankfully not cancelled) so I'm looking forward to seeing them next month, and loving the signed poster of the artwork that Communion sent to make up for it! Check out the new video below...

Bear's Den play a UK tour to celebrate the release of the album in November - unsurprisingly the majority of shows, except Brighton and Norwich, are already sold out. Due to demand they've added a new London date at the Hammersmith Apollo in April, tickets for all the shows through the site here, and after seeing them at Bushstock and playing an instore set this Summer, I'd heartily recommend catching them live, as I imagine their full headline set must be even more impressive!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

LISTEN: Dawes - 'We're All Gonna Die'

How can you not love a track when it's positively entitled We're All Gonna Die... It's the title track of American legends Dawes' upcoming record which is released this Friday... I'm currently trying to avoid the stream of the whole album over on NPR as I'd rather it be a surprise on Friday! The guys fourth studio record, All Your Favourite Bands, released the middle of last year, is one of my favourite albums of all time and features probably my favourite ever track.

It's easy to get a little dazed and confused when a band's next record takes a change in direction (which a lot of people commenting online seem to be), which is definitely the case with this and When The Tequila Runs Out, the first single from the album. With this being their fifth studio album however, it's natural that the sound will evolve - where's the fun in remaking the same album five times?! I'm no musician but I imagine it'd get pretty boring to keep doing the same thing over and over, and they'd lose the love in creating music... I'd much rather that a band continues to make music and enjoy doing so! After a few listens I'm really loving both of the tracks and hope that will be the case for the whole album - and I'm holding out for some UK tour dates to be announced before long too as I'm desperate to see them live again.

Monday, 12 September 2016

LISTEN: Homeplanetearth release self-titled EP

The absolutely lovely Oxford based homeplanetearth have released the fourth and final track from their debut EP, their self-titled demo CD which they're releasing through a massive Oxford show on Friday night. I'm moving back to university on Saturday and gutted to be missing the show, particularly special as it's the first show of their debut UK tour, and the first of Tigmus' season of shows at the O2 Academy in Oxford. 

The EP opens with the band's debut track Phat Phil, the first track I heard from the band back in February before meeting Josephine and Thomas and realising they were as lovely as their music (and their beautiful artwork!) Alongside the track come Find Me and Luca, and the new track Vi Er Dig. The band write of the new track that it "discusses a world where we are all human, we are all the same, yet we fight over menial matters and ruin beautiful things" - couldn't say it better myself, and applaud the guys for tackling these deep issues (their track Luca discusses the feelings associated with abusive relationships). Check out the EP and get along to their show on Friday as my proxy.. they also play Bristol, London, Norwich, Southampton and Brighton - tickets and info for all the shows here!

LIVE: The Hoosiers at O2 Academy Islington (3/9/16)

Last weekend I caught my first proper gig in a few weeks, seeing my absolute favourite guys The Hoosiers play their last headline show for a while, a big London gig. I've seen them play in various places and to much bigger crowds at a couple of small festivals, but this was my first time seeing them play a London show so it was a pretty special one for me. As the first band whose music really stuck with me since the first record back in 2007 when I was starting secondary school, the first proper gig I went to and a band through which I've made a lot of friends, I think of them as the root of a lot of my current passion for music. I definitely think it goes without saying that my love of the band and their music has been pretty formative in my life so they'll always hold a really special place in my heart (not to mention the fact that they're some of the loveliest guys I've had the pleasure of meeting at various shows) and it's always great to catch them live. 
The show was also pretty exciting as I'm interviewing people about it for my dissertation, for which I've chosen to study live music, looking at the motivations of people attending live music events. I love going to gigs and have had some of my best experiences at them, and generally, I'm interested in finding out why other people go to shows. Specifically, I think it can be pretty heartbreaking to see a great band play to a non-capacity crowd, and with revenue from live music being of increasing importance to artists, I think it's important for promoters to understand why people go to shows (as well as the various types of people that go to their shows). This is in the hope that they can more successfully promote their shows to these various audiences, benefitting both the promoter and the artists, and helping more people to have a great time. I'm planning to focus upon a Sofar Sounds show too so that I can compare the two (quite different) gigs and the different reasons people have for attending them. I'm currently interviewing some people who attended the show last weekend, which I'm loving as it's always great to discuss a mutual interest, and I love hearing the lovely things people have to say about the guys.

As there were four support acts (four?!) it felt quite a long night and it meant that the guys' set was a little shorter than it probably should've been considering it was their headline show, but it was one of my favourite times seeing the band play... perhaps it's the fact it was a London show and a London crowd, but it felt extra fun, and Irwin's falsettos (often one of the highlights of their live shows) were on a completely different level.. I loved that every time his voice went high, the guys stood in front of me looked at each other in complete amazement. As if the show itself weren't great enough, Irwin and Al were sweet enough to allow me into their dressing room to ask them some questions for my project. My first face-to-face interview and it's with my favourite band... not bad going! It's crazy to think what 11/12 year old me would've thought, faced with the idea of being backstage with the guys and chatting to them!

It's pretty bizarre to think that with the first record being released in 2007, I've been a fan for almost half of my life, and at the show on Saturday, Al properly announced that they'll be returning in 2017 for a ten year anniversary tour, playing the record in its entirety for the first time. Huge sadness however as Sam, who has played keys and sang backing vocals with they guys for a long time, is leaving the band and Saturday was his last show... he's off to release his solo music and work on some other projects and I'm excited for him but it's always terribly sad when a member of your favourite band leaves! Of course we're all holding out a tiny hope that they'll reunite with Martin as part of the anniversary tour but who knows?! For now, Irwin's off to star in Big the Musical with an all-star cast, which runs in Portsmouth and Dublin over November and December, hopefully being followed by a run in the West End! Seems a right time to put some music in this post... a video of the guys performing probably my favourite track of theirs, Everything Goes Dark, acoustically in Worcester last November.

In the meantime, if you've made it this far through the post and you're wondering how the guys are still gigging off the back of the first album - they've since released three more records including last October's The Secret Service. Details of all the releases is on their site here where you'll also find news about live shows as and when they happen!

Friday, 9 September 2016

LISTEN: Fil Bo Riva - 'Killer Queen'

Just over a month ago I posted about Like I Did, the debut single from half-Italian, half-Irish Fil Bo Riva, whose voice struck me as pretty impressive and whose Italian roots caught me reminiscing on Jack Savoretti's music. He's just released Killer Queen, the second track from his upcoming debut EP If You're Right, It's Alright, set for release in a couple of weeks time. I'm loving this live performance of the track and hope that you enjoy his gravelly voice as much as I do!

If you enjoy the music, spread the word and be sure to keep an eye out for the EP, which you can pre-order on iTunes here.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

GIG NEWS: The Fusion Project at The Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford (Oct 2016)

I'm super excited that Tigmus, a promoter I've been working with since Feb, have today announced their biggest Oxford show to date, and a pretty special one it is. Oxford based Indian fusion band The Fusion Project, who put their own South Asian twist on popular songs (such as Ed Sheeran's I See Fire, below, and Adele's Hello), are headlining the stunning Sheldonian Theatre, a rare show for the beautiful venue and tourist hotspot. I am incredibly excited to be able to help with the show in the run up to the evening and on the night itself, with it taking place next month on 21st October.

The mission statement of the band is to take the beauty and depth of Indian classical music to a wider Western audience, and to bring the music back to a new generation of South Asians for whom Western music usually takes the forefront. As students at the University, the band are keen for the show to be a student-led evening, almost crafting a link between Oxford University and Brookes, where I'm studying. A coming together of people listening to music in a beautiful space, you can't argue with that! 

To stay up to date with announcements about the show, mark yourself as interested on the Facebook event here, and tickets are available (including student prices) through Eventbrite here

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

WATCH: Tempesst - 'Broke Down Blues' live video

Tempesst, who played at the Doctors Without Borders charity show with King Charles back in July, are one of my favourite new bands this year, and I love their track Broke Down Blues. Digging this new video of them performing the track on a roof somewhere in London!

If you like what you hear and fancy catching them live, they headline London's Moth Club for Communion on 29th September, tickets here! (If you've a music taste anything like mine, you'll know that Communion back the best artists, so that's a pretty good accolade!) 

Monday, 5 September 2016

WATCH: Little Mammoths - 'Uncle Ken's Bar'

Back in February I organised my first ever gig, with Little Mammoths headlining the basement of a cool pub in Oxford, and on the day of the show, Matt sent me the final mix of their debut album to listen to. It was the perfect thing to get me excited for the evening, and it's a brilliant record, I was very excited for others to get to hear it... not to mention impressed that they'd whittled down their material to a 10 track record, as they're known to play three hour long sets!

It's been a while coming since then but last week they announced that the album is out, and you can listen to it online in full HERE! For a taster, watch their new video for Uncle Ken's Bar, filmed on a recent tour. The track, about one of their favourite places (probably THE favourite) to play in Ireland is really fun, and fast-paced, and this is captured so well in the video, showing lots of people in some busy pubs having a brilliant time watching the guys play live... an impressive fusion of guitar, drums, bass, slide guitar and a horn section (though I've seen them with even more guys playing with them for their premature album launch back in October.)

Though you can listen to the album straight away online, they'll be releasing it on CD soon, and they've launched a campaign to try and get a limited run of 200 vinyl records printed. If you're interested in getting one, enter your email address to show your interest and if you're in the first fifty you'll even be featured on the artwork! I know it'll mean a lot to the guys to get the vinyl campaign up and running, so please support!

Thursday, 1 September 2016

LISTEN: Jack Savoretti - 'When We Were Lovers'

When We Were Lovers, the first single from Jack Savoretti's upcoming new record was debuted on BBC Radio 2 this morning, and it was totally worth waking up early for. While a few have commented that they can't wait to hear an acoustic version (and I totally agree, as Jack's acoustic performances are always superb) I'm already incredibly fond of this version of the track. Hearing Jack talk on the radio before the track was played, it was lovely to hear that the track, and the album, are an absolute match of how he wanted them to sound - you can't hope for better than that! 

The track is the first from Jack's upcoming fifth studio album Sleep No More, which is going to be released on 28th October (very exciting news!!!) You can pre-order all sorts of signed versions of the record (or through iTunes if digital is more your thing) here, and check out Jack's updated show listings, with some European dates just announced here.