Monday, 27 February 2017

GIG NEWS: London Contemporary Voices present 'YES YES YES Guilty Pleasures Choireeoke' at Oval Space (6/4/17)

This gig announcement is pretty far from what I usually post about but sounds like it would be up most people's street... an evening of 'Choireeoke' with London Contemporary Voices. The show is at Oval Space on 6th April and will feature brand new a cappella arrangements, audience singalongs and a club night, and 'songs that everyone hates to love' (though really, we all just love them - right?!) Think Abba, Dolly Parton, Cyndie Lauper, Madonna, Celine Dion, a-ha and lots more... this video is an oldie but a goodie - the choir performing the track Judas, I Sympathise with the ever wonderful The Sea & I.

Tickets for the show are available now here - be sure to register your interest through the Facebook event!

TOUR NEWS: Johnny Lloyd tours in April to support 'Eden' EP

Johnny Lloyd has just released the incredibly catchy tune Running Wild, the first track from his upcoming Eden EP, set to be released  through Xtra Mile Recordings on April 14th. It's the result of six months of work between Johnny, Huge White of The Maccabees and Mike Crossey (The 1975), and Johnny describes the tracks as about "being free and trying to find a place in the world". Alongside Jamie-T, White co-produced Johnny's debut EP Dreamland which received lots of success with over half a million streams!

Having toured with the likes of Black Honey and Jamie T, Johnny heads out on his own headline tour to support the release of the EP in April, including a show at London's Scala on 20th April - his biggest London show to date.

Wed 19 Birmingham, Sunflower Lounge Glasgow, Oran Mor
Thu 20 London, Scala
Fri 21 Brighton, Sticky Mike's
Sat 22 Southampton, Joiners
Mon 24 Bristol, Louisiana  
Tue 25 Manchester, Soup Kitchen
Fri 28 Sheffield, Leadmill

Sunday, 26 February 2017

LIVE: Sofar Sounds Oxford at St Ebbe's Primary School (24/2/17)

Set up back in 2012 by Oli Steadman (who's band Stornoway head out on their farewell tour tomorrow - last tickets here), Sofar Sounds Oxford celebrated it's 50th show on Friday evening with a show at a local primary school, St Ebbe's. I just worked out that I've been to 16 of those shows, experiencing a huge range of artists of various genres in unique spaces including cafes, a cinema, The Ashmolean Museum and a living room. At Friday's show, as well as birthday cake, we were treated to sets from OUTLYA, Evarose, Vas Leon and Martin Luke Brown, and I took my camera along for the first time in a few months... I'll embed some photos in the post but you can see a full album here!

First up were OUTLYA, who you might know as Port Isla, who I caught at Bushstock a couple of years ago and enjoyed! They were a lot of fun on Friday and got some great crowd participation going on The Light, their debut single which they've released recently - there's a Facebook Live video I recorded of that one here. They're heading out on tour with Frances in April (tickets here) and they are performing at Barn On The Farm festival too.

Next up and from down the road in Banbury, four piece rock-pop girl band Evarose performed what I gathered for them was incredibly stripped back, telling the audience that they probably play a couple of acoustic shows a year. Their debut record Invisible Monsters is out now... there's a taster below with the track Provoke Me. They're back in town next Saturday with a proper rock show headlining the O2 Academy 2 Oxford on the first date of a UK tour, tickets for Oxford here!

Next up was Vas Leon with something completely different... you'll probably grasp from the music I post about that rap isn't high on my list of favourite genres to listen to, but part of the charm of Sofar Sounds is bringing an audience together to experience new things, and a rapper performing in a primary school is certainly a new one. Hear his track My Life below...

Finishing up the night and returning for his third Sofar Sounds Oxford, London's Martin Luke Brown treated us to a beautiful set including the tracks Shadow & Light (another Facebook Live video with some brilliant crowd participation here), Take Out Of Me and Scars On Scars, as well as a cover of Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

The next Sofar Sounds Oxford is on 8th March for International Women's Day and has been sold out for a while but you can grab the last few tickets to the show on 27th March here. If you're reading this and you're not in Oxford, Sofar exists in most cities around the UK as well as worldwide, check out the main website for local shows. I'd really recommend checking out a show, it's a really interesting and unique way of experiencing live music in a different environment and you never know what you might discover!

Saturday, 25 February 2017

WATCH: Little Mammoths play 'She Came In From The Storm' for Sofar Sounds

I had a great time at last night's 50th Sofar Sounds Oxford show in a primary school a little walk out of the city centre... I'll write up a post about that soon but for now, here's a wonderful new video from just over a year ago when I managed to help get Little Mammoths onto the line-up to play a stripped back set in town before their headline show I'd organised for the next week.

After shipping out copies of their debut album Phantom Dreams recently (buy on vinyl or listen on Soundcloud), they've already got to work on album two, which this track is going to be on. Enjoy!

Friday, 24 February 2017

ALBUM & TOUR NEWS: Luke Sital-Singh - 'Time Is A Riddle'

After catching Luke Sital-Singh play a secret set at Bushstock last year and being pretty impressed, I went out and bought his 2014 record The Fire Inside, which features the total tunes Bottled Up Tight and Nothing Stays The Same - it was one of those special moments where the first time hearing an artist is in a live performance and I was pretty taken aback by his performance and that I hadn't took a listen sooner...

Luke has announced the details of his new record, Time Is A Riddle, which is set to be released on 12th May, and the first track to be taken from it is Killing Me, a raw and emotional track written in tribute to his grandmother. The music video features clips that his wife's grandfather shot in the 70s, so there is a real nostalgic feel running through the track and the video, and they combine to make something really beautiful!

Luke is going on tour with Ciaran Lavery in support of the record in May, including a show at London's Union Chapel, all the dates below -

Tue 9 Tobermory, Isle Of Mull, An Tobar
Wed 10 Inverness, Eden Court
Thur 11 Ullapool, The Ceilidh Place
Fri 12 Aberdeen, The Lemon Tree
Mon 15 Edinburgh, Teviot Debating Hall
Tue 16 Glasgow, Oran Mor
Thu 18 Leeds, Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen
Fri 19 Bristol, The Lantern
Sun 21 Nottingham, The Bodega
Mon 22 Manchester, The Deaf Institute 
Tue 23 London, Union Chapel
Wed 24 Brighton, The Hope and Ruin
Fri 26 Exeter, Exeter Phoenix

Tickets are available from 10am today here, and you can pre-order the record here!

Thursday, 23 February 2017

WATCH: BaDow - 'Storm'

Super exciting news - I reached 400 likes on the Facebook page for the blog over the last few days (thank you!!!!) The mini milestone has got got me thinking about my reasons for blogging, which initially was simply because I really get a kick out of recommending the music I love to others and envisioned creating a sort of community around all my favourite bands... it's still pretty small scale but knowing that four hundred people (enough to fill The Library in Oxford eight times over) have taken the time to like the page and look at some of the things that I post is pretty insane. As I'm fairly busy with both my university and Tigmus work and due to the quite personal nature of the blog, I rarely get chance to check out all the music I'm sent on a daily basis to post about, which I feel pretty awful about because people are taking their time to send stuff for review... so as I handed in a dissertation draft today I've spent the evening sorting through some submissions and was struck by a video for a track I received today amusingly entitled Storm.

The band are the onomatopoeically named BaDow (I wonder if it is 'dow' as in 'down' or 'dough'?) and they're a 'soulful, heavy blues/rock trio' from the South Coast. As the music industry trundles along and tries to catch up with equal gender representation and the like, the video struck me as the band is fronted by a girl, not really shocking in itself, but a female drummer fronting a band... that's fairly unique. For me the choruses don't really stand out enough from the rest of the track but it's a professional looking video produced by Glass House Productions and the guitar riff running through the track is pretty addictive! Check out more from BaDow on Facebook here.

LIVE: Jack Savoretti at Hoxton Hall for War Child (21/2/17)

If you know anything about me, you'll know I'm a pretty big fan of Jack Savoretti, so I was chuffed to win some tickets in the prize draw to his intimate show for War Child earlier this week. The last time I saw him playing at his last (and biggest) London headline show to date was to a five-thousand strong crowd at Hammersmith Apollo (read my post about it here), so the couple of hundred capacity Hoxton Hall made quite a change!
Texting during a gig?! Ah... Jack and Nikolaj are texting SAFE to 70444 to donate £3 to War Child (you should too!)
With the semester speeding by and my time at university drawing to a close, I'm starting to think about where my career after I graduate might take me. It's still pretty crazy to be able to say that I work in live music with Tigmus and special shows like last night (and most of Jack's gigs, to be honest) totally affirm my love of live music. If I ever end up working in management, touring with bands or anything like that, if I get to work with musicians who are half as talented and as hard-working as Jack then I'll be incredibly lucky.

Back to Tuesday... opening up the night, the supremely talented Gizmo Varillas took to the stage with just his guitar, a contrast to his full band set opening up for Jack at his Somerset House show in Summer. What he lacked in a backing band he made up for in charm and some pretty amusing chatter in between tracks, including the really exciting story that I've been seeing online over the last week or so (Wales Online), that Yoko Ono had given him permission to sample John Lennon's voice on No War, a track from his recently released debut record, El Dorado - check out the music video below!

The crowd suitably warmed up, a couple of people from War Child spoke a little about the charity (find out about the work they do here) before welcoming Jack and his keys player, Nikolaj Torp, to the stage. A couple of tracks into the set Jack warned us "we've never done this before.... well we do this every night as some of you might know, for many years, but we've never played any of these songs just me and the incredible Nikolaj Torp", encouraging us to talk amongst ourselves if they needed to figure out what key to play in. The night was full of lots of interaction with the crowd, and there was a really great atmosphere, a sense that we were all there to support this wonderful charity.

The pair played a beautiful set predominantly filled with tracks from the latest record, Sleep No More, including the singles When We Were Lovers, I'm Yours and Only You, which I filmed and you can watch below! Mixed in with those were a few of my favourite tracks... The Other Side Of Love, Sweet Hurt and Breaking The Rules (I was chuffed to bits to hear this version after seeing this video of a stunning performance on the recent German tour - seriously, if you're new to Jack's music, the vocals on this video are insane). It was a really great mixture of old and new tracks, and they finished up with the wonderful mash-up of Written In Scars and Knock Knock (video of that from Hammersmith here).

Despite it taking me three hours to get back to my flat after the show, it was a total blessing to be part of such a special evening, and even better that I got to share the evening with my mum who is also a big fan of Jack's - it seems all of our get togethers whilst I'm at uni over the last year have been to see Jack live, and neither of us are complaining. The next show is London's Royal Festival Hall (where I saw Poetry Live with school, so I'm intrigued to see a gig there)... it's sold out, as are a lot of dates on the tour, but all the info and remaining tickets are here!

Monday, 20 February 2017

WATCH: Little Brother Eli release video for 'Oceans'

As my time at university in Oxford is drawing to a close (and nope, I've no idea what I'm doing after...) I'm feeling reflective over some of the great bands I've discovered through the incredible local  music scene. One of my favourite discoveries have been Little Brother Eli, who I've seen a few times over the last couple of years, in venues around the city and got to know through Sofar Sounds Oxford and my work with Tigmus. They released their new music video for the brilliant track Oceans today, and while it's a little odd to see lead singer Alex standing so still as he's a very energetic performer during their live performances, I'm loving the video! Check it below...

The band are playing in London on 17th March at Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen and at the Reading festival Are You Listening? on 22nd April - get along to a show, they're certainly worth catching live!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

WATCH: Dawes release video for 'Roll With The Punches' (and a new live record!)

Crikey. You wait for some new Dawes content and they deliver twofold on Valentine's Day with a new music video for the absolute tune Roll With The Punches and a new live record We're All Gonna Live to stream on Apple Music, Spotify etc. The record features recordings from their current An Evening With Dawes tour in America, where they're playing two sets each night, firstly with tracks from their latest studio record We're All Gonna Die, followed by a set of fan favourites (and with four other records, there's a lot to choose from.) You can listen on Spotify below... holding out for a physical release!

While I went to a seminar and tried to get over the excitement of the new live record, the band went and blew my mind by releasing their latest music video for what is possibly my favourite track from the latest record, Roll With The Punches. My favourite lyric of the track is "how dying love manifests, in a rug or a chest" and in an interview with the band Taylor discussed wanting to write a song about separation that focused on these smaller things, rather than the grand gestures of saying goodbye. In the video Taylor splits on screen with his real life girlfriend Mandy Moore, and a bunch of burly men proceed to split household items in half - most hard-hitting is probably the guitar and teddy bear! Get watching...

Here's hoping the An Evening With Dawes tour makes it to the UK eventually!

Thursday, 9 February 2017

WATCH: Tom Lowman - 'Mine is a Selfish Dream'

Debuting yesterday, here's a new live video from Tom Lowman, a singer-songwriter from Winchester. As the name of the track suggests, Mine is a Selfish Dream is about "trying to have everything all at once, and the inevitable failures that result from such an approach", which sounds pretty relatable, and it's taken from Tom's upcoming Live & Lost EP out this Good Friday. The video shows off the strength of Tom's voice, and I'm pretty fond of session type videos performed on electric guitars! Tom is yet another artist I have Sofar Sounds Oxford to thank for introducing me to, as he played one of the first Sofar Oxford gigs I went to around two years ago. Probably the loveliest venue of all the shows I've been to, in Worcester College Chapel.

If you're in the Winchester area, Tom plays a hometown show with Harry Pane on May 4th (tickets and info.)

Sunday, 5 February 2017

WATCH: Seramic - 'I Got You'

The feeling I get from the Seramic tunes we've been blessed with so far is that upon listening to them, almost anyone would feel the urge to dance. It makes sense then that their two music videos to date both include a lot of dancing, first up in the Greg's Love video with gymnast Sophia DeJesus, and now in the brilliant (seriously - it's great) video for recent track I Got You, which features a couple of GB Olympic synchronised swimmers, Olivia Federici and Katie Clark.

Synchronised swimming is probably one of the sports I watch with most awe when the Olympics comes around and the video is a total winner, with the underwater filming showing off the magical moves the ladies are pulling off under the water and all the work which takes place under the surface which you don't usually see. In particular the upside down shots (such as the sequence from 3:13) are totally confusing and magical all at once, and the video is a really beautiful compliment to the track!

If you fancy dancing to some Seramic tunes yourself then you're in luck, they're headlining London's lovely venue Omeara on 1st March - tickets here!

Friday, 3 February 2017

LISTEN: Banfi - 'Rosedale House'

Writing this, I'm sat in my (surprisingly quiet) university halls, in a pretty bare room (although I am proud of the big collage on my wall, with photos of friends, family, gigs and theatre from the last few years), but there's two posters on the wardrobe door. Firstly, a beautiful Banfi print by their art director Jake Dypka, which I got at their Old Blue Last show last November. Below it there's a poster for the Bear's Den Christmas show in December, and as coincidence would have it, the news broke yesterday that the latter had invited the former on their European tour with them... which is really rather exciting as both are brilliant!

As if that little token of Banfi news wasn't enough, they released their latest track Rosedale House yesterday too and it's a bit of a tune. At the show last November they'd mentioned it was going to be their next single and I'm glad to finally hear the studio version, which has been on repeat for much of today! Really impressed with all the tracks they've put out so far (check out Where We Part and Happy When You Go) and can't wait to see where 2017 takes them!

I'm really looking forward to catching Banfi live again this Wednesday at Old Blue Last again with Bad Parents and Mummy - that show is sold out but you can catch them with Tempesst in Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester (tickets), and with Bear's Den on their European tour, though lots of those shows are sold out already so be quick, dates and tickets here! The Oxford date of the BD tour is the day before my dissertation is due, so while it falls in a pretty scare time I'm hoping by then it will be submitted and the show will be be the perfect celebration!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

LISTEN: Josh Savage - 'Whisper In The Snow' (feat. Alice Pearl)

For my dissertation (which is due in less than 8 weeks... nobody panic!) I'm looking into why people attend gigs, comparing the motivations of those attending a 'proper' gig with a Sofar Sounds show, concluding on ways to get more people into live music (quite a big ask!) In my opinion, the whole Sofar package is something really special, bringing together a bunch of strangers into a unique environment, usually somewhere where you wouldn't normally encounter live music, and giving them an evening of acoustic music from artists of various genres and backgrounds, and offering artists a truly attentive audience.

Few people represent the success of Sofar Sounds quite as much as Josh Savage, who I had the pleasure of meeting when he played at our Oxford Sofar on Friday evening (read about the show here.) Josh set up the Winchester branch of the shows, and played his fiftieth Sofar on Saturday evening in Birmingham - the most that anybody has played, which is quite the accolade! Alongside living room shows, Sofar has enabled Josh to tour much further afield than the UK, in places such as the United States and Europe, where his current tour is taking him over the next couple of months. Years ago it would've been crazy to conceive that somebody without the backing of a major label could be touring as much as Josh, let alone somebody without 'management, publishing or record support to speak of', but things like Sofar make it possible - although of course it's massively down to Josh's talent too! Things are starting to look pretty exciting, as on Saturday Josh received his first play on BBC Radio 2, with Jo Whiley playing the new single Whisper In The Snow. The track, much like the name suggests, is a really delicate duet with Alice Pearl, and I'm loving the session video below with Susie Blankfield on cello.

If you dig the track, be sure to check out the live remix version and download the studio track on iTunes or stream on Spotify! If you want to find out more about Josh's living room shows, check out  the The Living Room Tour documentary, and finally, if you want to be kept up to date about upcoming shows, join the mailing list!