Friday, 16 November 2018

LISTEN: Moscow Apartment - 'Orange'

It's Mumford & Sons album release day finally! I can't wait to take my first listen.... With that in mind, I'm sharing some more indie folk in the shape of Orange from the Toronto based duo Moscow Apartment. Since finding the track in my inbox a couple of weeks back, I instantly added it to my playlists and desperately wanted to share it here. Making music in the same vein of bands like First Aid Kit, the duo is made up of multi-instrumentalists Brighid Fry and Pascale Padilla, who are ridiculously talented at just 15 and 16 years old. They describe the track as being about the "weird twilight-zone feeling that happens sometimes at sunset - when things suddenly don't feel read, like everything around you is a movie." Relatable - tick. They won the Canadian Songwriting Competition in the under 18 category with a demo of the track. Keep an ear out as they're currently working on their second EP!



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Thursday, 15 November 2018

WATCH: Pêtr Aleksänder - 'A Walk On The Seabed'

It was an honour to premiere a video for the duo Pêtr Aleksänder last year, and I've loved hearing their 'reimaginings' of tracks by Geowulf, Banfi and Interpol this year - but I'm particularly pleased to see that they are back with some new music of their own, their first release of the year! A Walk On The Seabed is the first track from their upcoming debut album, and its release is joined by a particularly stunning music video, taking footage from Italian BAFTA winning filmmaker Martina Amati's UNDER series. A genuinely sublime piece of art. If you like what you're hearing I implore you to take a listen to the rest of their work here - and await album news!


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Monday, 12 November 2018

WATCH: Cosmo Sheldrake - 'Hocking' (Live)

Watching this latest video offering from Cosmo Sheldrake I've settled upon my new favourite word to describe the feeling of listening to his music... invigorating.

He recently released a slightly reworked version of the tune Hocking, taken from his debut album The Much Much How How & I (which is pretty marvellous, if you were wondering) and shared a live video of the track from his headline show at Village Underground earlier this year. I missed the show (because I was busy catching Friendly Fires down in Brixton, a reasonable excuse...) and find myself pretty envious of those who were there to catch the performance firsthand. The clip shows Cosmo layering vocals and audio samples before introducing some drummers and brass players into the mix. Recorded from the stage, it's easy to see just how much energy and passion Cosmo pours into the performance, particularly in a rather endearing moment three minutes in where he restarts the brass players twice in order to get the track just right.


If you like what you're seeing and hearing (of which I've no doubt!) then you can catch Cosmo live across the UK later this month, with a show at London's EartH Hackney as well as dates in Bristol, Leeds, Manchester and Brighton. He's also just been announced for the Irregular Folks Christmas show at St Barnabas Church in Oxford alongside Sephine Llo, a beautiful venue for some beautiful live music! Find more info about the Oxford date here, and check out the other dates here.

Follow Cosmo Sheldrake - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 9 November 2018

WATCH: Gengahr - 'Atlas Please'

Gengahr have been a stand-out band for me this year. Released back in February, their second album Where Wildness Grows is one of my favourite albums of the year, and it has since been followed by a live album. Their headline set for So Young at The Great Escape was the pinnacle of one of my most memorable evenings of discovery through live music this year (and probably, ever) where I managed to catch Tamino, Sam Fender, Superorganism and Dizzy in various Brighton venues before staying out for what is almost certainly the latest (or should that be earliest?) live performance music I've watched. Nothing, not even a slightly sleep-inducing 1am stage time, was going to stop me catching the band.

Not content with releasing two full length albums in a year, the band shared the single Atlas Please a couple of months ago. They've just shared a video for the track, with the slightly ominous description "We almost died making this video. Literally buried ourselves in poisonous earth for your entertainment." With that kind of introduction, it would be rude not to check it out, right?


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Thursday, 8 November 2018

WATCH: Catgod - 'Sleep In'

My beautiful friends Catgod have shared their latest single Sleep In, just the right level of wonderful to leave me feeling a little homesick for their hometown, and my second home, Oxford, where we've had many an evening spent enjoying live music or eating brownies (never simultaneously, though that does sound pretty glorious.) Hearing the track for the first time while re-reading The Hobbit, it struck me that with its flute parts and soothing acoustic guitar, the track would fit perfectly in a Tolkien film adaptation - never a bad thing. As ever, Cat and Robin's vocals compliment one another perfectly in the song, but the closing flute solo really does steal the show for me. Sublime work!

They've filmed their first ever music video for the track, directed and edited by talented Oxford-based photographer Milly Cope, who has worked on several photoshoots with the band in the past. Check out some of her work here! It's a lo-fi, hazy video which perfectly matches the track and (as is always a sign of a brilliant music video) even features a cute dog. 10/10 from me!


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Monday, 5 November 2018

LISTEN: Strong Asian Mothers - 'All I Do'

It has been sitting on my list of tracks to write about for a couple of months, which usually means a track will disappear into the blogging abyss, but I knew I couldn't let this one slide - better late than never! London's Strong Asian Mothers returned with their latest single All I Do back in September. On first listen, the sound is a little darker than normal, contrasting with the almost amusing innocence of the refrain "All I do is drink... tap water from the kitchen sink." Their only new music of 2018, for me it's on another level to their previous releases, showing a band who are taking their time to create something truly worth sharing with their fans. Since the release the track has been added to the BBC Radio 6 Music playlist, making its way from the C-list to their A-list in a couple of weeks, and deservedly so. Get listening!



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Thursday, 1 November 2018

WATCH: Banfi - 'If Not For You' (acoustic)

Looking for some live acoustic kitchen session goodness on your Thursday morning? A very specific request, but you're in luck... Banfi have shared this session of their latest single If Not For You and it's all kinds of lovely. Complete with a melodica, tight harmonies and even a cat, its worth a watch! They're out on tour in Europe at the moment, with a run of UK shows coming up this month, including London's Moth Club on 18th November. Check out the full dates and grab tickets on their website here!


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Wednesday, 31 October 2018

WATCH: Thandii - 'Another One'

Need warming up? Bathe in the golden hues and seaside vibes of this new video from Margate's Thandii. The release is both visually and sonically stunning, showcasing her psychedelic sound with some strong 70s vibes. Having recently signed to 30th Century Records, the track is Thandii's first output through the label, and a track which she describes as being "written for cruising or travelling, without a place to be." The repetitive, almost hypnotic melody of the track (and by extension, the video) certainly gives off this vibe - we're not particularly getting anywhere, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Thandii describes the track as being about "infatuation or addiction, particularly between people [...] that moment when a person has succumb to the influence of another, and it has a powerful effect on them, but they're completely unaware of it." With this in mind director Tom Dream, Thandii describes, reflected this moment "with a wandering, slightly disorientated, dazed & confused cruise through different situations in day-to-day life."


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Monday, 29 October 2018

ALBUM NEWS: Indoor Pets - 'Be Content'

It's been a long time coming... Indoor Pets have finally announced their debut album Be Content, which is due for release on 8th March via Wichita Recordings. It has been co-produced by the band's guitarist James Simpson and Kristofer Harris (of Story Books), and mixed by Claudius Mittendorfer. The record features recent single Hi alongside brand new tune Being Strange, which is quickly becoming one of my favourite tunes from the band. With frontman Jamie Glass' trademark vocals and some juicy guitar hooks it's a pretty relatable pop tune with the refrain "I love being strange, it's an easy fit for me." Same.


The band are currently on tour with Bad Sounds, and they're heading out on a headline tour to promote the record in April, including a show at Scala in London on the 17th. Head to the band's website here for tickets and to pre-order the album!

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Friday, 26 October 2018

LIVE: Novo Amor at Union Chapel (23/10/18)

First things first. If you haven't yet, stop what you're doing and take a listen to the debut Novo Amor record Birthplace. You can thank me later. In the week since it's release I'm certainly into a double figure listen count (it's probably 20+ if I'm completely honest...) and I'm finding more things that I love about the record upon each listen. It is a sublime piece of work: atmospheric, lyrically beautiful and perfectly executed - one of the best debut albums I have heard in a long time. I simply adore it.

Novo Amor is the moniker of Welsh multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter Ali Lacey. He's in the midst of a mammoth twenty-nine show full-band tour across the UK, Europe and the US to promote the record, and I was lucky enough to catch the last UK show of the run, the second of back to back sold out shows at London's Union Chapel. As suspected, it was a completely magical experience, made only more-so by the venue - reminiscent for me of catching the likes of Bear's DenStornoway and Matthew & The Atlas playing in churches in the past few years. There's something truly special, and almost transformative, about hearing this genre of music performed in such a setting.


As those around me settled down for the show with mugs of hot chocolate and the lights went down, Anna Leone, tour support for the UK and European dates, took to the stage. With just her guitar for company, she transfixed the audience of the 900 capacity venue from the first notes, impressing with her well crafted lyrics and unique vocals. You'd hardly have guessed it was the biggest venue she'd played in, until she informed the crowd between tracks, describing it as a bit less daunting the second time around... but only a bit. Two of Ali's band members joined Anna on stage for the final track of her set, and we were given just a small indication of what we might expect from the rest of the evening.


With anticipation in the air, the band took to the stage. I knew that it was going to be great, but I wasn't prepared to be on the verge of tears a couple of tracks in... Nostalgic, emotive music is most certainly my thing and the set ticked all the right boxes in that regard. The band delivered an incredibly powerful opening to the set, displaying the strength of Ali's back catalogue by storming through the record's leading singles Birthplace and Utican in the first few tracks. The six piece ensemble shone in upbeat tracks such as Utican and Emigrate, with particularly stunning violin and trumpet parts. Stripped back moments in the set were a display of Ali's incredibly tight harmonies with guitarist, collaborator and producer Ed Tullett. It truly was an incredible show, leaving me with just one thought... how have I not cottoned on to these guys sooner?!


Ali seemed incredibly humble, always one of the best attributes for an artist to have. In a moment between tracks, he shared how grateful he was for us all coming along to the show and supporting his music, and how he was not only proud of his music being at a stage where he could fill a 900 capacity venue, but of the personal achievement in being able to stand up in front of that many people and perform. I find that we very rarely stop to think of the mental toll that performing in front of a crowd might have for our favourite musicians, and found it quite endearing for Ali to highlight this.

Also worth noting, is something which initially drew me to listen in more depth to Ali's music when I first discovered Birthplace back in June, through its video which aims to highlight the issue of plastic pollution in our oceans. After a little perusal of the Novo Amor website, I stumbled very happily across a 'Sustainability' page, where Ali shares the ways in which he is aiming to make both the record (recycled packaging AND recycled vinyl pellets!) and tour sustainable, by working with both Julie's Bicycle and Energy Revolution to minimise the environmental impact of the tour. In an interview for M Magazine (PRS) Ali explains that "when artists tour we rarely consider the environmental impact of what we're doing. We forget about the thousands of litres of diesel we burn across tens of thousands of miles, the plastic bottles and disposable cutlery we use once then throw away, and we don't often stop to think about the inks and fabrics we use for our merchandise." I was genuinely chuffed to see the band using reusable water bottles on stage... a little quick maths later, I figure that between six band members across twenty-nine tour dates, they're saving over 170 plastic water bottles, a sizeable impact from a relatively small change, and something which I hope that more touring artists will adopt to do their bit for the environment.

All in all, Novo Amor is quickly becoming my favourite musical discovery of 2018, and the show was a complete triumph. Check out the album, enjoy it as much as I am, watch out for future live shows, and if you're a band or musician - keep an eye on your environmental impact!


Follow Novo Amor - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

LISTEN: Fil Bo Riva - 'Go Rilla'

A couple of weeks ago, I went along to Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen to catch the only UK show on Fil Bo Riva's current tour. The show was a complete triumph, the venue was packed out with adoring fans, and songs new and old went down a treat. It was a really wonderful evening and great to hear a few unreleased tracks... Fast forward a couple of weeks, and FBR has (finally!!) announced his debut album Beautiful Sadness which is set for release on 22nd March next year. Still a little while to go, but from what he's released so far, I am certain it will be worth the wait! That includes brand new single Go Rilla, a tune which I simply can't get enough of at the moment.

FBR details that the track is "about unbridled passion and the rapturous idea of escaping the real world" which came about "in Manchester in 2016 while supporting Joan as Police Woman through Europe that winter. It was raining outside and I was in the bathroom just before soundcheck... somehow I started staring at this poster of the club we were playing called Gorilla Club. I don't know why but I just got a flash inspiration, took my phone out and immediately started singing the chorus melody and words. Everything else developed some time after when I found other lyrics I had written down after a dream." 



The new track and album announcement come alongside a tour announcement too - he'll be taking Beautiful Sadness on tour across April and May next year, taking in a show at London's Oslo Hackney on the 1st of May. Full dates and tickets are available here.

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Tuesday, 23 October 2018

WATCH: Django Django - 'Swimming At Night'

The Friday before last was a pretty exciting day for Paris / London based indie label Because Music. Not only did they put out the debut Parcels record (which, by the way, is rather wonderful and well worth a listen!) but they released a brand new Django Django EP. The Londoners have had a busy year with the release of brilliant third record Marble Skies at the start of 2018, and they're back already with the Winter's Beach EP. As is part of their charm, no two songs on the release sound the same, they're constantly bending genres and experimenting with new sounds. Closing track Blue Hazy Highs is a little slower than we've come to expect from the band, putting the focus entirely on the vocal harmonies that the quartet are loved for. For me, lead single Swimming At Night is my definite highlight of the EP, take a listen with the official video below, and check out the full EP on Spotify here!


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Monday, 22 October 2018

WATCH: Rae Morris - 'Dancing With Character'

Rae Morris is a complete star. Her record Someone Out There was released at the start of the year, and as I've written on here a few times already, it very quickly became a favourite of mine - it's my album of the year so far, easily. Not only did I completely love the music, but I connected with the lyrics on several of the tracks. It's a little bit of a cliché and not something I'm really accustomed to, but it felt as if Rae had penned down tracks explaining exactly how I was feeling at the time. It is now one of my favourite ever records, and I was ecstatic to see Rae perform live in Nottingham's Rescue Rooms a few weeks back, bringing tracks from the record (and her beautiful debut Unguarded) to life with infectious energy, passion and humility.

While some of the faster tracks like Dip My Toe and Atletico (The Only One) are highlights of the record for me, I was really struck by the album's closing track (and slightly slower tune) Dancing With Character upon the first few listens. In a track by track description of the album, Rae details the beautiful story behind the track, which was inspired by her best friend's grandparents. It is a simultaneously heart-wrenching and heartwarming track if you listen to the lyrics closely. Signing off on the Someone Out There era, Rae has shared a simple but rather exquisite video for the track, dancing with her gran in Blackpool Tower Ballroom. From Rae: "Thank you for all your passion, love and constant support for this record. I'm going away for a few months to write the next era. I've got a good feeling about this one." I absolutely can not wait to see what Rae does next, and will be listening to this record with so much adoration for a while to come yet!


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Friday, 19 October 2018

WATCH: Sivu - 'Trickle' live at Mizpah Studios

Sivu shared this completely stunning video of recent track Trickle, performed live at Mizpah Studios, earlier this week (in a magical coincidence, I was wearing a Sivu t-shirt at the time and longing for some new music.) The track was released a couple of months back, with Sivu explaining that it had been written while he was working on second album Sweet Sweet Silent, but that the track didn't fit with the rest of the record. Luckily for us, he chose to share the track around the year anniversary of the record, and it is (true to form) a complete treat, and this live performance is an absolute dream. It's a little bittersweet however, as Sivu has labelled the track as a "final chapter" of the record, allowing him to "take a step back to work on new ideas and re discover musically where I want to take the next chapter of me". I'll just have to listen to Sweet Sweet Silent on repeat for now then...


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Thursday, 18 October 2018

LISTEN: Friendly Fires - 'Heaven Let Me In'

They're back!! Friendly Fires have shared their second single of 2018 in the shape of Heaven Let Me In, which was premiered by Annie Mac as her Hottest Record in The World earlier this week. It's a complete and utter tune, and was co-produced by Disclosure no less. In true Friendly Fires style there is so much going on in the track, with the funkiest of beats gravitating around frontman Ed Macfarlane's soothing vocals, coming together to make something altogether... well, heavenly. During the premiere, Annie interviewed the guys, who told her that the tune, alongside Love Like Waves, are taken from an upcoming record (!!) which Ed explains is "going good. We have a deadline and we're getting there." You'll find me eagerly awaiting news of this record until it arrives!


Seeing Friendly Fires live earlier in the year as they returned after a few years away from the stage was honestly one of the best live music experiences I've ever had. The show was a complete joy from beginning to end. Not least because of Ed's infectious dance moves. They've just announced an intimate club tour for November, where they'll be playing live in club venues, where they started out, alongside a line-up of DJs - tickets go on general sale tomorrow, grab yours through their site here.

Follow Friendly Fires - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

WATCH: Public Service Broadcasting - 'White Star Liner'

Back in May, Public Service Broadcasting performed on the Titanic Slipways in Belfast for BBC Radio 6 Music's 'Biggest Weekend' festival. For the show, the band were commissioned to create tracks surrounding the theme of the Titanic, which frontman J. Willgoose, Esq. described as "our attempt to pay tribute to the people that built her here in Belfast, the spirit of optimism of the age that she represented and the 1503 people who died when she sank at sea." You can watch the four tracks being debuted at the show here. They're finally releasing the tracks as an EP next Friday (26th), and have released a video for the title track White Star Liner which you can (and should!) watch below.


I can't wait to see the band perform at London's iconic Royal Albert Hall on 1st November (my third show in the venue this year!) - particularly after their show at Eventim Apollo last October was a musical highlight of the year for me. The RAH show sold out pretty quickly, but there are some tickets available (here) if you're willing to sit in the choir seats - a unique view of a beautiful venue!

Follow Public Service Broadcasting - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 15 October 2018

ALBUM NEWS: Johnny Flynn - 'Live at the Roundhouse'

For me, Johnny Flynn is a complete star. He is by far one of the best folk musicians of our generation, not to mention being a brilliant actor (Vanity FairBeastLovesick.) Seeing his show at London's Roundhouse last October was a complete joy and it was easily one of the best gigs I saw all year. It was a wonderful showcase of tracks from his latest record Sillion and his stunning back catalogue, including his debut record (and one of my favourite ever albums) A Larum, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. Support act Cosmo Sheldrake lent his talents to some tracks as an honorary member of Johnny's band The Sussex Wit and it was a beautiful set from start to finish...

Brilliant news! The show was recorded in its entirety and is being released by the wonderful folk at Transgressive on 30th November. As well as a digital version, the live album will be released on double CD and triple (!!) LP and you can pre-order all versions here - there are even signed copies! As far as I know, it's the first show that I've been to that is being released in this way, so I'm pretty excited to relive the show and have something concrete to treasure it by. For now, here's a video of the first track to be released from the show, The Night My Piano Upped and Died, with visuals from Sussex Wit bassist Joe Zeitlin. Similar visuals served as the backdrop for the show, reacting in real time to the sound levels in the room - it was truly magical to watch, adding another dimension to the performance.


A few words from Johnny himself about the show... "On 17 October 2017 we played a gig at The Roundhouse in Camden. It marked the end of a period of touring [and] happened around the ten-year-anniversary of recording our first album 'A Larum'.  It felt like a special night in lots of ways, but mostly because all our best beloveds were there and we were able to celebrate our friendship as a band and the music we have been making since those early days in the backrooms of pubs and flats, mostly a stone's throw from the Roundhouse."

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Saturday, 13 October 2018

WATCH: Cosmo Sheldrake - 'Tardigrade Song (Live at the Scrump)'

You learn something new every day... personally, I've just been taking a detailed listen to Cosmo Sheldrake's Tardigrade Song and learning about the resilient micro-animals that are Tardigrades. As if I didn't already think that Cosmo was a musical genius, I now discover that he's been educating listeners all this time... with lyrics such as "I can live life in vacuums for years with no drink, and put up with hardships more than you can think." Take a listen to the track in this brand new video, where, in true Cosmo form, he performs the track live at an apple orchard in Devon, while "industrial quantities of cider" are being made in the background. Check out the studio version of the track on his superb Pelicans We EP here.


Cosmo heads out on tour later this month, starting in Cardiff before taking in shows across Europe, with a string of UK dates in November, including at London's EartH in Hackney on 29th Nov. Check out the dates and grab tickets here (he's an incredible artist to catch live!)

Follow Cosmo Sheldrake - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 8 October 2018

WATCH: Laurel - 'Adored'

I caught Laurel playing live in a cinema for a Sofar Sounds show in Oxford a couple of years ago, and was pretty instantly mesmerised by her. Over the last year or so I've been keeping an eye out as she teased us with singles, and she finally released her long-awaited debut album Dogviolet back in August. One of my favourite tracks from the record is Adored, and it has been given a wonderful music video to match which you can check out below! I completely love Laurel's vocals and this song is a beautiful display of them - get listening!


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Wednesday, 3 October 2018

LISTEN: Franc Moody - 'Night Flight'

With less than two weeks until their tour of the UK & Ireland kicks off, Franc Moody have released brand new tune Night Flight. It's all kinds of glorious. I fell for the band pretty quickly once I caught them opening for Friendly Fires earlier in the year - their Dance Moves EP is a triumph, it's full of funk and almost irresistible to dance to and this single follows in the foundations of the EP. Get listening...



If you like what you're hearing, you can catch Franc Moody live this month in: Headrow House, Leeds (12th October); Village Underground, London (16th); Deaf Institute, Manchester (17th); Exchange, Bristol (18th); Patterns, Brighton (19th) & The Grand Social, Dublin (20th). London is sold out, but there are tickets for the rest of the shows here!

Follow Franc Moody online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 28 September 2018

LISTEN: Swimming Girls - 'Beneath You'

I'm digging this new tune from Bristol's Swimming Girls. They're on a support tour with Pale Waves at the moment - if you're into PW you'll certainly love these guys. The track is being released through Yucatan Records (Matthew & The Atlas, Malena Zavala) and follows up the likes of the brilliant tunes Asking For It, Back Of Your Car and Tastes Like Money, which you can listen to here. Throughout their tracks, lead singer Vanessa's distinct vocals and often dark lyrics are backed up with catchy and Summer-y riffs, creating a really brilliant contrast, and this song is no different! They're making some really brilliant music and are also superb live - catch them headlining Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen on 15th October (tickets here.)



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Thursday, 27 September 2018

TRACK PREMIERE: Little Brother Eli - 'Stop Pretending'

I'm really excited to share this one! My first ever track premiere on the blog comes from my friends in Little Brother Eli. They're an Oxfordshire based band who have been making a name for themselves in the county and further afield, playing at various Sofar Sounds shows, festivals and running their own Eli Nights shows in London over the last few years. They've had a busy 2018 so far in the shape of three brilliant singles; Tooth, Our Kind Of Love and Wait For You, but they're not letting up! Stop Pretending, their brand new single, is being released tomorrow and I've secured a sneak preview... take a listen below! True to form, the track is completely catchy, and sees beautifully crafted harmonies surrounding the gloriously unique falsetto vocals of lead singer Alex Grew. One of my favourite tracks from the band yet!


They'll be playing the new single at two of their biggest headline shows yet this November - they're heading to London's O2 Academy2 Islington for a show on the 22nd, before heading back to Oxford for a hometown show on the 30th. Tickets for both shows, which are to launch their single Oops, are available here. They're an incredibly talented bunch and put on brilliant shows, with endless buckets of energy flowing from the stage, enticing the crowd to get up on their feet and dance - I really recommending getting along to one of the gigs!

Follow Little Brother Eli online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

LISTEN: Willie J Healey - '666 Kill'

It's been just over a year since Willie J Healey treated the world to his debut record People and Their Dogs - worth a listen for that title alone, the album is a total joy and a triumphant debut from the Oxford export. He's following it up with a brand new EP entitled 666 Kill due for release on the 19th October via YALA! Records. It's title track is WJH's first new release since the record last year, and it marks a confident return. Returning to his earlier roots with an acoustic track, the song highlights his unique (and rather lovely) vocals, delivering a promising sample of what's to come from the EP, which you can pre-order here.


If you're in Oxford, be sure to check out Willie's show at the Ultimate Picture Palace for local promoters Future Perfect on 19th October, where he'll be premiering his new short film Hot Air and performing an acoustic set (having volunteered at a Sofar Sounds show in the cinema I can attest to it being one of the coolest spaces I've seen live music in...) He'll also be performing a full-band set at London's Moth Club on 20th October (tickets here) AND supporting fellow Oxford artist Gaz Coombes on his upcoming UK tour (dates/ tickets here) so there are plenty of opportunities to get your live WJH fix soon!

Follow Willie J Healey - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 24 September 2018

LISTEN: Low Island - 'Low Island 17-18'

The ever wonderful Low Island have just shared one of my favourite releases of the year in the shape of Low Island 17-18. Not quite an album, it's a collection of tracks from the three EPs they've released in the last couple of years - including the likes of Holding It Down, Anywhere and Too Young. They've also snuck in a brand new track, Hot Air, which I'm enjoying a lot on the first few listens! The band's Carlos Posada explains that the release is an "opportunity to take stock of our journey so far" and that it presents a "snapshot of our first chapter as a band." For a band who are still in reasonably early days, this release is incredibly strong, and shows huge promise for them in the future. They're a hardworking, collaborative and incredibly friendly bunch who deserve all the success they've been getting this year, with slots at various festivals, and a triumphant local return to the stage with a show at the O2 Academy in Oxford over the weekend. They've got more shows coming up in Glasgow, Cardiff, Oxford & London - check out the dates on their site here, and stream/buy Low Island 17-18 here.


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Friday, 21 September 2018

LISTEN: Mumford & Sons - 'Guiding Light'

"Let's call it an album. Let's call said album Delta. And let's get said album out in November."

Not a drill. Everyone's favourite folksters (and often, not-so-folksters) Mumford & Sons are back with new music. Since smashing onto the scene with their incredible debut record Sigh No More in 2009, their rise has been pretty stratospheric. Two more albums, worldwide arena tours, headline slots at some of the world's biggest and most prestigious festivals and receiving a Best Album Grammy award for Babel are just some of the things they've been up to over the last few years. Not to mention frontman Marcus Mumford producing Gamble For A Rose, the superb second record from King Charles, and Ben Lovett opening one of London's best new music venues, Omeara. 



From the first days of Sigh No More they became an instant favourite of mine, introducing me to a new style of music and opening up a world of new artists to me, even now. Most notably, they introduced me to one of my now absolute favourite bands, Dawes, when I saw them opening up a show for them in 2012. The two bands coming together to cover With A Little Help From My Friends for the show's encore is a pretty accurate representation of Mumford's intense desire to collaborate with other artists both on and off of the stage. Ben's label Communion, which I very often cite on the blog, has been a massive reference point for my music taste over the last few years, helping me to discover some of my favourite new artists and experience some of the best live music.

In short, they're one of my favourite bands and honestly mean the world to me, so the prospect of new music, which they've been teasing for a few weeks now, was pretty exciting. They premiered brand new tune Guiding Light on Radio 1 last night with Annie Mac as her 'Hottest Record in the World' and they definitely didn't disappoint. It's the first single from fourth studio record Delta, which is due for release on the 16th November. Fans are describing the track as blending their latest record Wilder Mind, which took a fairly synth-ladened route, and their earlier, more acoustic tracks. It's a beautiful combination, and one that shows a band who are refusing to set themselves boundaries sonically, with Winston discussing in the radio interview that at the start of recording, the band fell back in love with the acoustic instruments that they didn't use on the latest record, but with a desire to "make these instruments sound not like these instruments [...] trying to make the banjo not sound like a banjo". Listen back to the radio premiere and interview here from about 25 minutes. I for one can not wait to hear the record!


The band are announcing a string of tour dates to support the release of the record in a couple of weeks - make sure to pre-order the record through their website to gain access to the pre-sale - I can attest to their live shows being a joy to be a part of!

Follow Mumford & Sons - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

LISTEN: Indoor Pets - 'Hi'

When they're not too busy maintaining their brilliantly amusing social media presence, the guys in Indoor Pets also make some pretty great music. Barbiturates was in my opinion one of the best tracks of last year - and it was a total joy to hear it live when I finally caught the band at this year's Great Escape Festival down in Brighton. Though their set was announced at the very last minute as part of the Alt Escape, they completely packed out the room, with fans piling up the stairs to catch it.

They've just shared their first new music in months in the shape of single Hi, released through Wichita Recordings. In a tweet about the band, the label wrote that "we've been really missing having a great guitar band from the UK to work with [...] nothing new was floating our boat.... THEN we heard the fantastic Indoor Pets and everything changed. Smart/DIY/funny with hooks and tunes for days!! The process of working on their amazing forthcoming album really has been a great reminder of how exciting working with a young band hitting their stride can be." High praise, and I couldn't really put it any better myself! I can't get enough of those guitar hooks and the lead vocals from Jamie Glass - this is on repeat on the blog's 2018 Spotify playlist!


Follow Indoor Pets - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 17 September 2018

LISTEN: Cosmo Sheldrake - 'Run Rings Right Wrongs'

It's been almost a year since I caught Cosmo Sheldrake live, supporting the legend that is Johnny Flynn. I instantly fell in love with his music, which is utterly magical and usually more than a little bit bonkers. His debut record The Much Much How How & I, released earlier in the year, is one of my favourite debut records in a long time. He's back with a new single, called Run Rings Right Wrongs, in which he samples "a Bulgarian man I met on a mountainside wearing a green shell suit clapping ... and the sound of some mead that my brother Merlin and I were making bubbling away in a demijohn among many other things!" 

This is just one of many examples of Cosmo's talent for seeking out and recording peculiar sounds, often from the most unexpected of places. Written down, they often sound as if they shouldn't work in a song - yet they blend to create a unique sound which I adore. It is like nothing I have heard before, which I love.



Cosmo was one of the best live acts I saw in 2017 - his style of introducing some of the samples he uses to the audience was completely endearing, and helped to deconstruct the tracks, before seeing them come to life before us. He's touring across Europe and the UK over the next few months, with a show at EartH (Hackney Arts Centre) on 29th November - check out all of the live dates here.

Follow Cosmo Sheldrake - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 14 September 2018

WATCH: Novo Amor - 'Utican' & 'Birthplace'

I hadn't heard anything from Welsh artist Novo Amor (aka Ali Lacey) until I heard his single Birthplace earlier in the year. It's a beautiful track, and if you're a fan of early Bon Iver you'll probably love it, as well as new track Utican which I'm sharing below. His falsetto vocals are striking, accompanied by music that is vast, atmospheric and often cinematic in its nature, making use of some really exciting instrumentation, including soaring strings. Both tracks come from his upcoming debut solo album Birthplace, due for release on October 19th - if the rest of the record matches these singles in it's quality, I absolutely can not wait to hear more.


Beyond the music, which is utterly spellbinding, there are plenty more reasons to fall for Novo Amor, especially his care and love for the environment, which we should all share. There is a sustainability page on his website, detailing the steps he is taking to make his record and upcoming tour more environmentally friendly. These include using recycled and recyclable materials (right down to the LPs) to reducing waste (including plastic and food) on the road - by making use of refillable water bottles and "only asking for what we need, not what we want". As someone who has helped to supply riders for artists in the past - I fully approve of this point, because I have seen firsthand how much waste there often is, when artists request as much food and drink to be backstage as the promoter will provide. I've also often been concerned about the scale of single-use plastic used at shows in terms of plastic water bottles - and wondered why more touring bands couldn't just use refillable bottles. Hopefully more artists will follow suit!

In addition to this, for the video for Birthplace, Ali and his team enlisted the help of British Champion Freediver Michael Board to highlight the major issue of plastic pollution in our oceans. In the video, which you can (and definitely should) watch below, we are introduced to the beauty of the oceans, before being shown just some of the impact that plastic pollution is having on the incredible creatures which inhabit our oceans.


The video has been viewed over 750,000 times on Youtube alone, and was awarded 'Independent Video of the Year' at the AIM Awards recently. There is a behind the scenes video showing the sheer time and effort which went into creating such a visually impactful video, from both the creative team and locals in Bali. The video has an accompanying website, highlighting some fairly unbelievable statistics about worldwide plastic consumption via Earth Day, here are some which I found most shocking:

91% of plastic waste isn't recycled. 
500 million plastic straws are used everyday in America. 
Nearly two million single-use plastic bags are distributed worldwide every minute. 
There are over 300,000 plastic beads in a tube of face wash. 

Buy a reusable water bottle. Take a reusable cup to get your takeaway hot drink. Carry a backpack or tote bag for your shopping. Say no to a plastic straw or disposable cutlery. Boycott micro-beads. There are SO many ways that you can reduce your personal plastic consumption and make even the smallest of differences. For more info on the issue and what you can do to make a change, check out Plastic Oceans, and check out Novo Amor's upcoming tour dates here to hear this beautiful music live.

Follow Novo Amor - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

LISTEN: Banfi - 'If Not For You'

It's been almost exactly a year since I last saw one of my favourite bands, Banfi, playing a storming sold-out headline show in London. Since the show, they've gone from strength to strength - they've released their The Jack Powell EP and played shows to adoring crowds up and down the country and across Europe. They've just released brand new single If Not For You, which was recorded over summer and was produced and mixed by Eliot James, one half of the classical duo Pêtr Aleksänder. It's a slightly more pop-oriented track than their previous releases, showcasing a band who are trialling new sounds and becoming more and more comfortable in themselves. As always, lead vocalist Joe Banfi's distinct vocals shine through the song beautifully, and from the opening lines "If not for you / Lying wouldn't feel so bad / And dying wouldn't seem so sad" we're instantly drawn in to the world of the song.


Banfi play a single launch show at The Windmill in Brixton on Monday 17th September (it's free!) before heading off on tour - check out the full dates on their website here.

Follow Banfi Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 10 September 2018

WATCH: Parcels - 'Lightenup'

About time! Parcels have announced their debut self-titled record, which is set for release on the 12th of October. The release comes alongside a brand new single and music video, Lightenup - it's pretty typical of their work (typically brilliant, that is) and sounds just as if Nile Rodgers himself had a hand in the guitar work. They're a five-piece disco-pop group, originally hailing from Australia but now living in Berlin. In 2017 they were the first emerging band ever to collaborate with Daft Punk, a collaboration which resulted in the absolute tune Overnight, which has had over 23 million listens on Spotify alone. Tieduprightnow, a single from earlier this year, is probably my favourite track from the band - I'm very much looking forward to the album release! Also worth a mention - they recently shared a completely spellbinding a capella version of Bemyself online which you can check out here.


Parcels are touring to promote the record later in the year, with a small run of UK shows in November. They play: Academy 2, Manchester (5th); SXW, Bristol (6th); Stylus, Leeds (7th) and Roundhouse, London (8th). Tickets for all the shows here!

Follow Parcels - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

WATCH: Ten Tonnes - 'G.I.V.E'

I often see music videos and think about how much fun it would've been to be part of the crew or just to have watched it be filmed - this entirely fits in that category. Ten Tonnes has shared the video for his latest single G.I.V.E - complete with lots of beautiful dogs. Not only is the video filled with loads of glorious pups, but the track itself is pretty wonderful too. The younger brother of that little known chart topper George Ezra, Ethan (aka Ten Tonnes) has been making a name for himself with tunes like Lay it On Me and Born To Lose for the last couple of years. He's been rewarded for his hard work with support slots for the likes of Stereophonics, Blossoms and Tom Grennan and slots at festivals such as Bushstock, Dot To Dot, Live at Leeds and Barn On The Farm. Keep an eye out - it's only a matter of time before he's rivalling George in the charts!


Follow Ten Tonnes - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 7 September 2018

WATCH: Fleet Foxes - 'I Am All That I Need / Arroyo Seco / Thumbprint Scar'

Hearing that Fleet Foxes were releasing a new album after a six year break last year was probably the highlight of the year, musically. Crack-Up, as expected, was beautiful - one of my favourite records of the year. It's been out for over a year, but the band are still very much in my headphones, recently becoming a favourite reading soundtrack for my commutes to work. They've just shared the video for I Am All That I Need / Arroyo Seco / Thumbprint Scar in the form of a 35mm short film directed by Sean Pecknold, the brother of vocalist Robin, who has made eight music videos for the band.

In the video premiere on WePresent, Sean describes the video as "a chance to revisit a song that you've heard and experience it anew." He goes on to add that the "song lent itself so well to visuals - the strings, the big sections. This kind of inherent, cinematic quality to it made it that much better to pair with film and make a video out of it." I imagine it to be quite an intimidating and difficult task to match the beauty of the band's music in a video, but Sean has achieved this time and time again!


Follow Fleet Foxes - Facebook | Instagram.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

LISTEN: Tempesst - 'Doomsday' EP

London based psycho-folk quintet Tempesst recently shared their Doomsday EP, following up last year's Adult Wonderland. The release sits somewhere in between a contemporary sound and something of the 60s and 70s, eras of music which hold particular influence for the band. Vocalist Toma Banjanin explains that the band tracked the EP in just four days back in January, and that they "wanted the tracks to sound quite classic, but also [...] with nods to psych, folk, indie and alternative bands around now." The choice to lean towards a faster recording process enabled the band to retain a more organic sound for the release.

I've been really enjoying the already released singles A Little Bit Of Trouble and title track Doomsday, but since the release of the EP, Roller Coaster has become a firm favourite. The idea for the track came from singer Toma during a camping trip with his girlfriend, and put simply, it's everything you want from the band - full of beautiful strings and harmonies, and transporting you straight to a seaside resort.

The band originated in Queensland, Australia, and is made up of twin brothers Toma (vocals, guitars) and Andy Banjanin (drums), alongside Kane Reynolds (keys), Blake Misipeka (bass) and Eric Weber (guitars). They moved across the globe a couple of years ago, and as a collection of tracks, the EP brings to attention the daily anxieties and temptations that come with living in a busy city like London. Opening track A Little Bit Of Trouble nods towards an ill-fated encounter with some locals in a London pub, while the almost MGMT-esque closing track Eric's Dream, penned by the band's guitarist Eric, reflects the anxiety and sleeplessness they found in their new hometown.



Tempesst are heading on a UK tour this month to celebrate the release of the EP, with a show at The Victoria in London on the 27th - check out the other dates and grab tickets for the shows here.

Follow Tempesst - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

LISTEN: Gengahr - 'Atlas Please'

A midweek treat! Just months after releasing Where Wildness Grows, one of my favourite records of the year, the total heroes Gengahr have shared new single Atlas Please. Produced by Jack Steadman (Bombay Bicycle Club, mr jukes) you barely need to listen to know that it's going to be something rather special - they're a bit of a dream combination! 

Talking about the track, vocalist and guitarist Felix Bushe explains that it is "us considering that our lasting memories are the ones shared in good company - although, at times it can feel as though the weight of the world is resting on your shoulders. Talking to friends and considering our own personal experiences we're mindful that we often find it easier to suffer in silence than to open up - so being able to identify when someone you care about is hurting and to make the time to help them is an incredibly important and powerful thing to do."


Follow Gengahr - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 3 September 2018

LISTEN: Holly Redford Jones - 'Big Blue Sky'

Here's a Monday morning treat for you... easing you into the week with the debut single from Holly Redford Jones, Big Blue Sky. She's an artist I've had on my radar for a couple of years, having caught her playing at shows in Oxford, London and Brighton for Tigmus, at which I've always been particularly impressed with her guitar playing and her unique tone of voice, delivering an almost husky, jazz-tinged vocal.

In a submission to the blog a few weeks back, Holly explained she had gone to the US earlier this year, where she did some recording in Nashville. The track has been floating around as an idea for a while (there's even a demo recorded by Catgod's Robin somewhere!) and marks Holly's return to music - with plans for an EP to be recorded and released later in the year.


You can catch Holly in London tomorrow evening at The Finsbury for Stop Look Listen info here!

Follow Holly Redford Jones - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 31 August 2018

LISTEN: Honey Moon - 'Yours, Girl'

After really enjoying their last single (Why Do You Think You're So) Special? I was pleased to find a new track from London 'croon-pop quartet' Honey Moon in my inbox last night. It's a beautiful early morning tune which, as lead vocalist Jack Slater Chandler explains, "shoots straight down the ballad barrel. The recording is intentionally quite clean and simple - no flashy production tricks, no crazy effects, just one single unadulterated slice of dreamy seaside pop. One for the lovers." 

The track comes alongside the announcement of the band's forthcoming EP Four More From... which is set for release by Heist or Hit on 21st September. The band are playing across the UK later this year, with an EP launch show at The Waiting Room in London on 27th September (it's a free gig!) followed by a support tour with label mates Her's across September and November.


Follow Honey Moon - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

WATCH: Tamino - 'Persephone'

One of my favourite discoveries of the year so far is Tamino - he's a 21 year old singer-songwriter of Belgian, Egyptian and Lebanese heritage, and his music is breathtaking. He's another Communion Music discovery for me - I first saw him play at their showcase at The Great Escape in May, and later at the venue I was volunteering at for this year's Bushstock Festival. His vocals are simultaneously incredibly powerful yet measured, and his range is seriously impressive - to the extent that the first time you hear the high notes live you're left a little shocked!

He has shared the single Persephone, announcing the release of his debut record Amir on 19th October. The record features the single alongside the tracks from his beautiful Habibi EP which was released earlier this year. If these five tracks are anything to go by, it's sure to be a sublime record - you can pre-order it on his site here!


Tamino plays for Communion at The Courtyard Theatre in London on 12th September - grab tickets for the show here.

Follow Tamino - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 27 August 2018

LISTEN: Archie Faulks - 'It Rains'

It's always exciting to share a debut single... this time around, it's from Archie Faulks. You might not be a total stranger to his sound, as he was on the scene a few years ago under the name Tenterhook. Under that name, he played on a Communion New Faces tour and released a couple of EPs, as well as the total tune What I Like. He disappeared a couple of years back, and has returned to release music under his own name for the first time. Debut track It Rains is a soothing showcase of his lovely vocals and features strings from Tom Hobden, always a brilliant addition to a track! 



His first solo show (as Archie) will be in a couple of weeks at Servant Jazz Quarters, on 4th September - that one sold out quickly but fear not, he's added a show at the beautiful setting of St Pancras Old Church on November 12th. Tickets here.

Follow Archie Faulks - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

LISTEN: Geowulf - 'Saltwater' (reimagined by Pêtr Aleksänder)

I'm really pleased to share this track - not quite a remix, but a 'reimagining' of Saltwater by the lovely Geowulf who released their debut record Great Big Blue earlier this year. Classical duo Pêtr Aleksänder have reworked the track, adding in some beautiful strings, much like their recent version of the Banfi tune Future.

With a few of their own tracks under their belt, including Bells, the video premiere for which is the most viewed post on the blog (check that out here) the duo have recently signed to Communion Music, and I can't wait to hear what they release next! 



Follow Geowulf Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Follow Pêtr AleksänderTwitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram.

Friday, 24 August 2018

LISTEN: Sam Fender - 'Dead Boys'

Testament to the scores of incredible artists they work with, it often feels a little like I'm running a Communion Music fan blog. Here's a new track from Sam Fender, one of the latest in a long line of artists I've discovered thanks to Communion. While volunteering at The Great Escape earlier this year, I couldn't decide who to go and see one evening, and took myself along to the label's showcase, catching Sam after Tamino. I'd never listened to either, but have a lot of love for so many of the label's artists - it's usually safe to assume that if Communion likes an artist, I probably will too.

Much the same as with Dermot Kennedy the previous night, it was clear that Sam already had quite a loyal following thanks to a string of quality singles. The latest is Dead Boys, which has been gaining support from the likes of the NME and BBC Radio 1, and which was shared alongside news of a UK tour later in the year. The track explores themes of toxic masculinity and suicide among young men, focusing around the main refrain "we close our eyes, blind our pain, nobody ever could explain, all the dead boys in our hometown." Talking with the NME, he explains that he has lost close friends to suicide and that playing the track to people has made him realise just how far reaching the issue is, saying that "if it gets to one person and they feel like they should reach out an talk to somebody, then it has done a good job." In the interview, he also shares his belief that "archaic" beliefs of how men should behave, in terms of their reaction to emotional stress, is what kills men. There's always room for socially conscious young artists in my playlists - get listening to the track now!


Full tour dates: The Mash House, Edinburgh (29th October); Fibbers, York (30th); King Tut's, Glasgow (31st); The Chapel, Leeds (2nd Nov); The Leadmill, Sheffield (3rd); Soup Kitchen, Manchester (5th); The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool (6th); Thekla, Bristol (7th), Rock City Basement, Nottingham (10th); Omeara, London (12th and 13th); Newcastle University, Newcastle (17th). Tickets available through Sam's site here.

Follow Sam Fender - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

LISTEN: Sivu - 'Trickle'

For years Sivu (aka James Page) has held a really special place in my heart - his stunning vocals, songwriting and the production of Charlie Andrew have made for some of the best new music of the last few years. Tracks like Sleep and Family Tree mean the world to me. Sivu returned last Summer with Sweet Sweet Silent, the follow up to debut record Something On High (2014) - both are sublime pieces of art.

He's recently shared Trickle, a track which was written and recorded during work on the second record, but which didn't fit with the rest of the record. Luckily for us, as James begins to write and figure out where to take his music, particularly in the light of his experiences with Ménière's disease, he has shared the track. In its lyrics and sound, the track is both exposed and exposing, Sivu explains it is about "feeling awkward in your own skin and realising not everything is within your control." 



Follow Sivu online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 20 August 2018

LISTEN: Low Island - 'Holding It Down'

The gloriously talented bunch Low Island are gearing up to release Low Island 17-18, a collection of their tracks so far (categorically not an album) in September, and they've just shared a revamped version of early tune Holding It Down. Consider my interest piqued. I love these guys, not only are their studio recordings some of the best tracks I've heard over the last couple of years (a favourite has to be (Pause)) but they're a wonderful live band, and this new track captures the energy of a Low Island show.



If you're in the Oxford area and fancy catching them live (why wouldn't you?!) then you're in luck as they're launching the collection with a hometown show upstairs at O2 Academy Oxford on 21st September with support from locals BE GOOD (who I completely adore too) and Theo. Grab tickets for the show here!

Low Island 17-18 is being released on vinyl on 20th September, their first physical release - pre-order it here!

Follow Low Island online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

LISTEN: Ferris & Sylvester - '(I Think That You Look) Better In Yellow'

I don't need much of an excuse to share anything related to Ferris & Sylvester... but this is a perfect reason! They've released a new, spruced up version of their tune Better In Yellow and while it's just as beautiful as the original, it showcases a more confident, more powerful duo than the one which released the track earlier in the year. I loved their set at The Great Escape earlier in the year - if you want to catch them live, they're playing the September Communion Music Club Night at Notting Hill Arts Club on 2nd September - info here!



Follow Ferris & Sylvester - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

LISTEN: Jade Bird - 'Uh Huh'

I've made the mistake of not really listening to Jade Bird until now, but after finding her new single Uh Huh in my Spotify new music playlist last week I've had it on repeat ever since. The power and control in her voice is sublime and I'm adoring all versions of the track that I've listened to so far, including these sessions for Vevo DSCVR and CPR's Open Air. The track follows up her 2017 EP Something American and singles Furious and Lottery. 

Her Spotify bio describes her as "Classic, contemporary, and a total breath of fresh air in the current musical landscape [...] that rare, next-generation artist who appears as clued up on the past as she is determined to learn from its lessons: in control, sometimes in your face, and in possession of gifts beyond her years." I couldn't put it better myself.


Follow Jade Bird - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.