Since coming back to university it's been a really busy time, doing lots of work for the lovely Tigmus guys, including towards our huge show at The Sheldonian Theatre a couple of weeks ago with The Fusion Project, and I've been to gigs all over the place. Possibly the most I've been to in a month before - definitely the most intense with four and then five back to back shows! I've made a playlist for the month, featuring tracks from a few of the artists I've seen live over the month and a handful of new releases and new discoveries for me!
1. Jack Savoretti Helpless - one of only a couple of entirely new tracks on the playlist this month, this is taken from Jack's new record Sleep No More, and is one of my favourite tracks on it! It's the follow up to his brilliant 2015 record Written In Scars, and he's kicking off a UK tour in support of the record tomorrow night in Leeds.
2. King Charles Find A Way - another exciting new release this month, a surprise new track from Charles while he is busy touring in the US on a support tour with Allen Stone. Really proud to see Charles playing to crowds of excited American fans, but also can't wait for him to return to the UK and hopefully play us a little show!
3. Bear's Den Dew on the Vine - one of the most exciting live shows I saw this month was an intimate unplugged set from these guys, and I'm loving the video for this track which is their latest single!
4. Richard Walters July Bones - during last week I ran the door for a few shows, the first of which was Richard's homecoming at The Library, the first time I ran the door for anything but a Tigmus show (traitor!) Had a blast and met some lovely people, and most importantly listened to some cracking music, like this track taken from Richard's album A.M which was released this month.
5. Public Service Broadcasting The Other Side - since a friend introduced me to these guys on a train journey a couple of years ago I've been keen to see them live, and narrowly missed them headlining Audioscope in 2014 as I was working on the day of the show. I was very glad to finally catch them live at Music Venue Trust's 'Fightback' show this month. They didn't play this track but it's one of my favourites from the latest record, and they released a beautiful version of it for this year's RSD.
6. Stornoway Lost Youth (Acoustic) - sad music news this months comes in the form of the lovely Stornoway guys announcing that after ten glorious years they're parting ways (as much as a group of really good friends and two brothers can part ways). Fear not, it's not over quite yet: they're playing a farewell tour up and down the UK in March but tickets are already shifting rather speedily so hurry!
7. Biffy Clyro Howl - certainly the show I'd been waiting for for the longest time since buying the ticket, this month I was lucky enough to see Biffy play an acoustic show in a Kingston theatre. Playing two separate shows, they had different setlists and unfortunately (because I love the acoustic version of this track which they performed on Radio 1's Live Lounge) they didn't play this at the show I was at, but aside from that, pretty incredible stuff!
8. The Fusion Project I See Fire - as mentioned above a big highlight of the month definitely has to be seeing this group of musicians sell out the massive and iconic Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, a show I was looking after for Tigmus. When the first Hobbit film was released I was pretty mad about this Ed Sheeran track from it and absolutely adore their cover of it!
9. Everything Everything Spring/Sun/Winter/Dread - headlining the Fightback show alongside Public Service Broadcasting were these guys, who finished off the night, and their year of touring, in total style!
10. Boat To Row Time and Time Again - last week we had Michael, frontman of Boat To Row, playing a solo set as support at a Tigmus gig with local band Case Hardin. I'd heard of BTR before, what felt like years ago, but hadn't given them a listen - more fool me! Mike's set was my highlight of the evening and I've since checked out (and enjoyed!) I Found You Here, the record this track is taken from. With the full band comprising of six members I definitely need to get along to a proper show somewhere along the line!
11. Waylor Silver & Gold - supporting Richard Walters at his show on Wednesday was Waylor, aka Matt Taylor, guitarist of one of my favourite bands of the last few years, Dry The River. They were the first band I saw (twice in one day) when I moved to Oxford so it was nice and nostalgic to see Matt, and while I don't think he played this track on the night (it was a solo set and I'm not sure how well it would translate without the drums) I'm really enjoying being reintroduced to it after it was released almost a year ago.
12. The Eskies Fever - another of the Tigmus shows I ran the door for this month was The Eskies, a Dublin band playing 'sea soaked gypsy folk'. While my highlight of the show was the absolutely hilarious onstage banter, the music was pretty fun too, mostly taken from their 2015 record After the Sherry Went Round.
13. Two Door Cinema Club Bad Decisions - after what seems like forever, Two Door are finally back and while I'm a little ashamed to say I haven't listened to the record more than once or twice (yet), this track is pretty funky.
14. The Travelling Band Passing Ships - these guys have been going for ten years and just finished off their ten year anniversary tour with an Oxford show for Tigmus to an adoring crowd of family and friends. I hadn't had chance to listen to them before the show but I was sold at seeing a violinist on stage, and this track encouraged a great sing-along!
15. Liu Bei Infatuation - listening to Richard Walters, both live and with the release of his new record, inspired me to return to some of his band Liu Bei's back catalogue, including this corker!
16. Little Brother Eli Roll Away - although it feels like a world away now, near the start of the month Tigmus ran a cracking and fairly busy show upstairs at the O2 in Oxford with these guys headlining and a line-up of three more great local bands. Really inspiring to see so much love for local music!
17. Public Service Broadcasting Spitfire - the PSB guys did play this track at Fightback and it was just about as exciting as I could've hoped for. Absolute tune! I can't help but associate it with when I was at an airshow in Eastbourne over summer, and they played the track following a flyover by a Spitfire - made my day!
18. Biffy Clyro God & Satan - while they didn't play Howl at the early show, Biffy did play this, probably my favourite track from Only Revolutions and obviously perfectly suited to the atmosphere of an acoustic show. Video from the night here!
19. Jake Isaac Home - playing an early set at the Fightback show, my friend and I were struck by Jake's infectious energy, and this was probably the standout track of his set for me!
20. Richard Walters Young Folks - while I don't want the playlist to become too much of a Richard Walters appreciation post... I can't resist but include this stunning cover of the Peter Bjorn and John track (in my head it's called "the whistling song") which I was really glad to hear Richard play on Wednesday!
21. Rob Heron & the Tea Pad Orchestra Devil Wears a Blue Tie - Rob and his band played a cracking show for Tigmus on Thursday night but the highlight for me was definitely this track they played for the encore... one of the first political tracks I've totally identified with, worth a listen!
22. Everything Everything No Reptiles - I remember hearing this track when I saw EE live for the first time last April and being struck by the pretty unusual lyrics... it's been a live favourite since then and went down smashingly at Fightback!
23. Jack Savoretti Tight Rope - one of the more stripped back songs from Jack's album (particularly compared to Helpless as featured at the start of the playlist!) this is a real chance to appreciate to his vocals and songwriting. Highly recommend a listen of the new record, and getting along to see him on his tour if you can, he's an incredible musician surrounded by a brilliant band!
24. Stornoway The End of the Movie - with the news of these guys splitting up it feels fitting to feature this beautiful track from their 2010 record Beachcomber's Windowsill as the close of this months playlist. Having only known of them since moving to Oxford and meeting bassist Oli through Sofar Sounds, I don't feel like I have the right (?) to be as sad as much of Oxford (and music fans in the rest of the country) are at the moment, but after spending Sunday listening to their stunning back catalogue while essay writing, I'm definitely feeling fairly mournful! It's really heartwarming seeing how many people in Oxford and further afield have been affected by the news, showing just how many people their music has reached over the years. Looking forward to the fairly emotional final show of the tour in Oxford, gonna need the tissues!