Tuesday, 25 June 2019

ALBUM NEWS: Friendly Fires - 'Inflorescent'

It is no exaggeration to say that I have been waiting for this news for years. Since their return at the end of 2017 and finally getting to see them play live last April, Friendly Fires have been teasing us with a couple of incredible new singles in the shape of Love Like Waves and Heaven Let Me In. The wait is finally over. New album Inflorescent, the follow up to 2011 (!!) record Pala is due for release  on 16th August and there is another cracking new single to sink your teeth into. Here's Silhouettes...


Pre-order the record here, and check out the band's site for upcoming festival appearances, including Glastonbury and Citadel.

Follow Friendly Fires - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 24 June 2019

WATCH: Dizzy - 'Twist'

Happy Monday! The absolute heroes Dizzy have shared a wonderful new video for recent single Twist. Featuring vocalist Katie Munshaw performing alongside bandmates Charlie, Alex and Mackenzie and a group of dancers, the video is a beautiful accompaniment to the track, which they released just over a month ago. It's somehow made me fall for them more than I already had. Katie explains that the track is about "missing someone so badly that you see them places and get really excited, and then realise it's not them. It's about the hold someone can have over you even after they've left your life." The track is taken from an EP due sometime this Summer, so keep an ear out for that!


Follow Dizzy - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 21 June 2019

LISTEN: Seramic - 'Angeline'

Seramic is back with a new track. All of the yes. I absolutely adore this one! The project, fronted by Marcus Foster, released the much quieter tune Keep On Breaking My Heart earlier in the year. Their second release of the year, Angeline arrives in contrast to the earlier track, and brings ALL of the funk we've come to expect from Marcus & co.

Talking about the track, he explains that "we hear one side of a conversation from a character phoning an old flame after some time apart. Finally he can articulate all the things that he could never possible say before, admitting all of his mistakes and asking for her help. But the audience never hears her side of the story, begging the question - is this real or imagined?" 



Follow Seramic online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

WATCH: Cosmo Sheldrake - 'Egg and Soldiers'

If you know anything about this blog you'll know I don't need much of an excuse to share something Cosmo Sheldrake related... but a new video seems a pretty good reason! Egg and Soldiers is taken from Cosmo's gorgeous (and gorgeously bonkers) debut album The Much Much How How And I which was released last April. The new animated video has been put together by May Kindred-Boothby, Zita Baynes and Rob Wills.


If you're in London and like what you're hearing you should most definitely get yourself along to Cosmo's only UK show of the year at Oval Space on 10th July. Tickets are available here but be quick - they will sell out!

Follow Cosmo Sheldrake - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

LISTEN: THANDII - 'Tides'

With their Serious Town EP due for release on July 5th, Margate duo Thandii have shared the third and final single, Tides. The track has been described as a tribute to climate activist Greta Thunberg with a nod towards her work in raising awareness of climate change. Themes of guilt flow through the lyrics, but it's hard to feel completely out of hope with Jess's silky smooth vocals.


You can pre-save the Serious Town EP here - it's due out July 5th.

Follow Thandii - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

LISTEN: Franc Moody - 'Dream In Colour'

All of my synth dreams came true last week with new Low Island, BE GOOD and Franc Moody tracks all being released. The latter followed up a recent announcement of some European tour dates in October with their second single of the year, Dream In Colour. I fell in love with the band when they opened for Friendly Fires last year and they've yet to disappoint, and I'm loving this one. I can see it going down very well live!


For those of us in the UK, you can catch the band opening for Parcels (a bit of a dream line-up!) at Somerset House on 18th July - tickets here. Very very tempted by this one!

Follow Franc Moody - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

WATCH: Bess Atwell - Ventnor Villas

I shared the gorgeous Bess Atwell EP at the end of May and wrote about how in awe I was of it... that continues to be the case with the equally enchanting video for the EP closing track, Ventnor Villas. Speaking of the track, Bess said that it "portrays the dynamics of an old relationship shifting into something new. The song sways between moments of clarity and moments of specific nostalgia. It's a love song about not longer being "in love". Every other song on the record is off balance, putting most of the emphasis on somebody else - I like to think Ventnor Villas is about regaining some of that back."



With a few festival slots still to play, Bess has a UK headline tour coming up in October, dates below and tickets here!

7th October: Bodega, Nottingham
8th: Broadcast, Glasgow
10th: Omeara, London
11th: Soup Kitchen, Manchester
12th: Louisiana, Bristol
13th: Hope and Ruin, Brighton

Follow Bess Atwell - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 17 June 2019

LISTEN: Honey Moon - 'Magic'

New Honey Moon - yes! Magic is their latest release through indie tastemakers Heist or Hit. With the crooning vocals of frontman Jack Slater Chandler and that trademark nostalgic sound it's another gloriously strong release from the London five-piece. Harmonies and strings elevate this one - it's something rather special!

Talking about the track, Jack describes that the band "wanted to explore the illusionary theme, to try and make something expansive and cinematic-sounding. 'Magic' represents the soul-mate style love we see in film, literature, Honey Moon songs - everywhere! What can seem like the most mundane, everyday elements of companionship are often the most important and overlooked. This sort of souped-up version of having 'one true love' is, whilst a nice idea, pretty difficult to imagine as anything that's realistically achievable, but there's something very real in the sentiment, and that's the 'spell', that's the illusion."



Follow Honey Moon - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 14 June 2019

LISTEN: BE GOOD - 'God Of Nowhere' EP

I really really really love this band. Oxford quartet BE GOOD have today shared their God Of Nowhere EP. As silky smooth as ever in the lyrics, vocals and sounds, the EP features brand new track Cape Of Night alongside five (ace) previously released tracks from the last couple of years, bringing together their best work so far (all of it?) into a gorgeous release. A favourite for me has to be It's Cool But It Ain't You - I adore that song.



The opening track of the EP, its centre piece is the band's debut track Not Waking Up, originally released just over two years ago. The track has been given a new video featuring band members Ash Cooke (vocals, guitar), Charlie Clarke (drums), James Cunning (synths) and Patrick Burley (bass).

Talking of the track, Ash describes it as being "about the time I woke up on New Year's Day covered in soot because I'd slept in a fireplace at a house party - the prick who was having the party wouldn't let me sleep anywhere else. Crawling out of the fireplace the next day felt strangely like a rebirth [...] in the end the track ended up touching on themes of disconnection and renewal, but you can really just take it as a groggy party anthem for the sleep-deprived." 


Follow BE GOOD - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

WATCH: Low Island - 'Search Box'

Low Island are back, and as always they are absolutely killing it with their brand new track Search Box. Doing exactly what it says on the tin, the lyrics explore an array of repetitive and random questions that we might genuinely ask an online search engine - "is it OK if I never get married, is it OK if I never own a house, and is it OK if I'm not OK?" with the chorus telling us to "put it in a box, everything you're asking" pointing out our slightly ridiculous over-reliance on search engines for the most menial of questions. The lyrics are set alongside some glorious instrumentation that I can imagine going down an absolute treat at a Low Island gig.

The band have set up a search bot of their own for you to ask your questions to (in response to my "when will it stop raining" it told me "you don't need to worry about this" so fingers crossed... and lots of fun to be had!)


The band have a few festival slots coming up, including a couple of sets at Glastonbury and Latitude before heading back to London for a headline Low Island & Friends show at Electrowerkz on 6th November - tickets & full dates here.

Follow Low Island - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

LISTEN: China Bears - 'Sunday'

Following their lively recent single Stay For Good, Somerset's China Bears are back with Sunday. Slower in pace to begin with, the track is a far more intimate and vulnerable release, building to a more energetic outro reminiscent of the likes of Dry The River and The National.

Guitarist Frazer explains that the track was "written about one particular Sunday afternoon. I had just moved away from home to university and became extremely isolated and insecure in myself and my abilities, and on that day it was a little too much. I think everyone goes through that feeling at some stage, circumstances cause friendships and relationships to change and you can feel like people aren't there for you anymore." 

"It's very honest and seems bleak but looking back I think it's quite hopeful. Its understanding I was struggling and being lucky enough to have someone there to confide in. I remember it being quite a quick writing process but it took a while with extensive sessions to get it sounding how it is now." 


Follow China Bears - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

WATCH: Say Yes Dog - 'Feel Better'

Fresh from supporting one of my favourite artists, Fil Bo Riva, on tour, German-Luxembourgish trio Say Yes Dog have shared the third single to be taken from their album Voyage, which is out now. Feel Better is a catchy slice of electro-pop, bringing 80s influences to the sound and video, which was directed by Adam Sait

Talking about the video, the band explain that “When we finished to produce ‘Feel Better’, we felt we needed a second layer to the upbeat vibe of the track to make it visually more fascinating. When we got Adam Sait on board to direct our video, he introduced to us the idea of turning the hook of the chorus into a liberating mantra, giving the song a more twisted take. [...] we let Adam follow his instinct and create an imagery for the song: the outcome is a silly, dopey representation of it. We feel that most of the time it is better and more natural not to take yourself too seriously rather than create an overly constructed vision of yourself and your song".


Follow Say Yes Dog - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

LISTEN: Christof van der Ven - 'A Darker Light

Currently in the midst of a US tour as a member of Bear's Den, Holland born Christof van der Ven has just released the second track form his upcoming second album You Were The Place, due for release 6th September via Planet Zog Records. If his debut album and recent EP Beneath The Ordinary Load are anything to go by it's going to be something rather special.

Written and recorded over the three month period following the end of a brief and intense fling, the track is a melancholic reaction to the situation. Christof explains that it is "about a conversation that I had late at night with my mum after some wine. I was looking for an answer, a way out of the emotional mess I was in. She offered her wisdom and helped me get over that mental hurdle."


You can catch Christof at The Hope & Ruin in Brighton (7th October) and The Lexington in London (8th).

Follow Christof van der Ven - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

TOUR NEWS: Spector (Oct/Nov 2019)

Newsflash. Spector are back! They've just shared brand new single I Won't Wait and it is an absolute treat to have frontman Fred Macpherson's vocals back. There are some pretty relatable lyrics in the track as "I've been scrolling forever" leads into "why is my contract so expensive if our talk's so cheap?" Check it out below...


The track comes alongside the announcement of Spectour VIII, taking the band around the country in October and November. Tickets are on sale here now, dates below.

October

18th: Komedia, Brighton
19th: Five Degrees West, Falmouth
20th: The Junction, Plymouth
21st: The Fighting Cocks, Kingston
22nd: The Forum, Tunbridge Wells
23rd: The Boileroom, Guildford
25th: Moles Club, Bath
26th: Think Tank, Newcastle
27th: King Tut's, Glasgow
28th: Polar Bear, Hull
30th: 10 Feet Tall, Cardiff
31st: Club Academy, Manchester

November

1st: Phase One, Liverpool
2nd: The Bodega, Nottingham
4th: The Cookie, Leicester
5th: Picture House Social, Sheffield
6th: The Fulford Arms, York
7th Castle & Falcon, Birmingham
8th: The Empire, Coventry
9th: TBA, Lincoln
11th: The Portland Arms, Cambridge
12th: The Bullingdon, Oxford
13th: Oval Space, London

Follow Spector - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 10 June 2019

LISTEN: Sonny Santos & Billie Marten - 'swear 2 g-d'

So this is a pretty special first single from London-via-New-York artist Sonny Santos, taken from his forthcoming debut album Hotel de Londres. The track is a duet with the impeccably talented British songwriter Billie Marten (who recently released her album Feeding Seahorses by Hand) and features Matt Ingram and Nick Pini of Laura Marling's band on drums and bass. With Sonny growing up between London and New York with a British father and an American mother, he sees his music as the memories of a man caught between, trying to find stability and trying to fit in.



Follow Sonny Santos Instagram.
Follow Billie Marten - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 7 June 2019

WATCH: MF Tomlinson - 'Nature Boy'

MF Tomlinson's Nature Boy remains one of my favourite tracks to be released so far this year. I shared it here a few weeks ago and I'm delighted that it now has an equally glorious video to match. (For one: check out the outfits. Lovely.) Directed by Eddie van Whelan, the video draws on classic films like Vertigo and Don't Look Now to create a sinister feel, while the track is musically inspired by 1970s action greats. The song is written in reference to eden ahbez's Nature Boy in which he said that "the greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return." 

With the movie inspirations in tow, the video features some of Tomlinson's musical collaborators, notably flautist Ami Koda, and shows us some of his songwriting locations... including the Pacific Social Club, Cable St Studios, and his rooftop. It really is rather lovely. Did I say that already?   
 

With a recent sold out show at London's The Lexington to his name, MF Tomlinson is soon to support Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever at Village Underground on July 17th. Tickets on sale today here.

Follow MF Tomlinson - Facebook | Instagram.

TOUR NEWS: Ferris & Sylvester (Autumn 2019)

With a sold out headline tour across the country already under their belts earlier in the year, the magical Ferris & Sylvester have just announced a 20-date UK and Ireland headline tour through September and October. They'll follow up a string of festival slots at the likes of Bushstock, Glastonbury and Boardmasters from June to August with shows in Oxford, Brighton, London, Manchester and many (many) more. 2019 is looking to be a pretty sweet year for the duo who have also taken their gorgeous blend of blues, folk and Americana to SXSW, The Great Escape, on a support tour with Billy Lockett and recently on the Under The Apple Tree tour with Wildwood Kin. Check out this stunning Maida Vale session performance of recent single Sickness to see for yourself just how superbly talented the pair are (also - that harmonica!)


UK tour dates below - check out their website for tickets (on sale today!) and a list of their upcoming festival appearances.

September

3rd: Boiler Room, Guildford
4th: The Horn, St Albans
5th: Omeara, London
16th: Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
17th: The Bullingdon, Oxford
18th: Metronome, Nottingham
19th: Green Door Store, Brighton
20th: Think Tank?, Newcastle
22nd: Stereo, Glasgow
23rd: Mash House, Edinburgh
25th: Lost Lane, Dublin  
27th: Phase One, Liverpool
29th: The Wardrobe, Leeds
30th: The Portland Arms, Cambridge

October

1st: Deaf Institute, Manchester
3rd: Forum, Tunbridge Wells
4th: Frog & Fiddle, Cheltenham
6th: Sin City, Swansea (Fringe Fest)
8th: Old Bakery, Truro
9th: Phoenix, Exeter

Follow Ferris & Sylvester - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

INTERVIEW: Joe Hicks (June 2019)

I've been wanting to start up interviews on the blog for a while and who better to be the first in over a year (oops!) than the lovely Joe Hicks. He recently shared his single Hollow and is touring with the equally wonderful Adam Barnes soon - I'll let him introduce himself!


Hello! First and foremost, for those who aren't (yet) familiar with your music, who is Joe Hicks? How would you describe your sound?

Hi Megan! Lovely to speak to you again! I’m a singer-songwriter from sunny Newbury in Berkshire. I’ve been releasing my music for just over 2 years now and I’d say my sound is kind of guitar led pop with bluesy/folky/indie tinges. Definitely a melting pot of my influences for sure. The main sound is electric guitar based, but I’ve also had a lot of fun arranging and releasing acoustic led versions of a lot of my songs to accompany the fuller band sounding recordings. 

With this in mind - who are your biggest influences? Anybody that we probably wouldn't expect?

How long have you got? Haha. Well it sounds cliché but my parents definitely subjected me to a lot of The Beatles and bands like Squeeze growing up, but also folk music from Fairport Convention to John Martyn. I also had a time of listening to heavier bands in my teens, but nowadays my main influences are anyone who’s done well at keeping the guitar at the forefront of great songwriting. People like John Mayer, Sting, Eric Clapton, Paul Simon. Then again the other day I wrote a chord progression on the back of hearing a Zara Larsson song so I don’t always look to the same sources. I think that’s what’s interesting about people making music over the past 5 years or so. Due to playlists and Spotify and all that, genre lines are completely blurred and we all listen to a multitude of different stuff and draw influence from wherever. Look at that new Bring Me The Horizon album. How do you pigeon hole that? It’s about 6 ‘genres’! 

You released the brilliant new track 'Hollow' last week, your second piece of new music for the year. I'm loving how relatable the track is, which seems to be a theme throughout your music. Is there anything that you can tell us about the writing and production process of the track? 

Thank you Megan! Really glad you are enjoying it :). I can’t say that I set out with the intention of making it relate I just tend to write from personal experience a lot of the time so it’s great to hear it can connect. Although the song is not necessarily about an ideal time in my life so I suppose part of me would love to hear that no one else can relate to that kind of experience. But if it can help those who can then that’s great! 

I wrote Hollow over about a week, just at home on an acoustic guitar. When I started to demo it was when I got the idea to add all the guitars playing 16ths to drive the chorus along. Then when I went into Studio 91 with Sam Winfield we tried to take it even further that way. I had that Friendly Fires song Jump in the Pool in my head as the direction I wanted to take all the percussion and everything, and I think we did well in achieving a similar vibe! My friend Ed Broad played the drums and he’s a mighty man behind the kit, especially his hi-hat work, so it all came together smoothly. 



As we (scarily) draw close to the halfway point of 2019, what are your plans for the rest of the year, musically? More singles? Or dare I hope... an EP?

You’re not wrong with ‘scarily’, I’m still saying Happy New Year to people.. Musically I’m sitting on a little bit more music to put out this year that I’m really excited about! It’s already been recorded and I’m hoping to put something out over the summer. Not sure whether I’ll culminate this years music into anything like an EP yet but we’ll see. I’m definitely keen to release something of a longer form soon having released a string of singles over the past year. Watch this space. 

Talking of the rest of the year... you've got some shows coming up with Adam Barnes in Oxford, Bath and Nottingham in June. Acoustic guitars, gorgeous harmonies and fantastic beards aside, what should we expect from the shows?

Well I have no plans or even biological ability to grow a good facial offering so the beards will be singular on that tour. Really excited to play with Adam again, he’s one of my best friends and we’ve been playing music together in various forms for about 7 years so it always feels very natural. At the Oxford show in particular we’ll both be bringing slightly bigger setups, but the other two shows will be two young bucks with our guitars playing our songs and trying to collaborate on each others stuff as much as possible! Well worth checking out the deer in the background of the tour poster. Possibly my finest photoshop moment to-date.

Is there anything else in the pipeline for the next few months? Any festivals coming up?

I’ve got quite a few shows coming up in June and over the rest of the summer. Readipop Festival on the 13th of July is going to be a lot of fun! They’ve done a lot to try and support artists from the local area, so it will be brilliant to be a part of that. I’m also playing in Southampton, London, Portsmouth, Devizes, Didcot, Bristol and Newbury currently, with more shows in the pipeline. Hopefully going to go back to Europe in the Autumn and do a bit more too. Details on all my confirmed shows can be found here.

Finally... here is your chance to recommend some music to me! I'm curious - what is in your headphones a lot at the moment? Lately I've been listening to a lot of Novo Amor in anticipation of his headline slot at Bushstock Festival in June, I can't recommend his debut album enough!

Oh awesome! I shall check him out. Definitely a name I’ve been seeing pop up a lot (perhaps a lot on your blog) so I’ll give him a go. I’d love to recommend something super cool but the reality is I’ve been listening to mixes of my next release a lot and very little else. I did however have Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Out of My Head on super loud in the car driving back from Oxford the other night so I think everyone should go back and listen to that. 

If you want a more current answer I’d say you should check out the band LongDayLateNight from Newbury. Very good, lovely gents, annoyingly young. 

Follow Joe Hicks - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

LISTEN: I See Rivers - 'Helios'

Norwegian trio I See Rivers opened for Cosmo Sheldrake on his UK tour at the end of 2018 and their set at Earth Hackney was genuinely all kinds of wonderful. With an infectious energy the trio brought energy to the room with their fun melodies, gorgeous harmonies and endearing personalities. While adding tracks to my playlist on Friday I noticed that they'd just released a new track - Helios is taken from their forthcoming debut record, which they're recording this year with help from the PRS Women Make Music grant. Check out the track below...


Follow I See Rivers - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

WATCH: Fil Bo Riva - 'L'impossibile' (Mahogany Sessions)

It has been a while since I last posted a video from the lovely folk at Mahogany Sessions, so what better video to share than a recent session I'm a little in love with. If you've been following the blog for the last couple of years you'll know that I'm rather fond of Fil Bo Riva. After a couple of years of releasing singles and an EP he released his debut album Beautiful Sadness back in March (read my review here). For me, L'impossibile is a highlight of the record, with Fil moving seamlessly between auto-tuned verses in English and Italian choruses. In this session we're treated to an entirely stripped back version of the track, just Fil and a piano, showcasing the vocals beautifully.


Follow Fil Bo Riva - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 3 June 2019

LISTEN: Geowulf - 'I See Red'

Brilliant news - Geowulf are back with their first new track since debut album Great Big Blue, which was somehow released way back in February last year. I See Red is the first collaboration with the duo's new writing partner Justin Parker (Lana Del Rey, Bat For Lashes) with whom they've worked on several tracks from their upcoming second record My Resignation, due for release later in the year.


Front-woman Star Kendrick (Geowulf is Star and Tempesst frontman Toma Banjanin) explains that the new track was written after an argument with her sister. "The song was a realisation that you are only ever your most raw, horrible self when you're with the people you love to death and who love you." 

"I have been very proactive over many years in going to therapy, talking openly about mental health and have constantly taken steps to control emotions, moods and even my temper - having a family history of mental illness, this is something my siblings and I have had a lot of awareness about. This song is about that process and what I've learnt. The ebbs and flows of trying to be the best version of yourself." 

You can catch Geowulf headlining London's The Waiting Room on 11th June - tickets here.

Follow Geowulf - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 31 May 2019

WATCH: Oscar Jerome - 'Gravitate' (live)

I am completely adoring this new live video from Oscar Jerome for his brand new track Gravitate. The new track follows a string of support dates with Kamasi Washington and the live video shows Oscar alongside Ezra Collective member Joe Armon-Jones and members of Kokoroko performing the track in the studio. Following up recent single Misty Head / Sunny Street, the track is his first release through Caroline International, who signed him almost instantaneously after catching him playing at this year's SXSW Festival

Holding the torch for London's thriving jazz scene and following in the recent steps of Bombay Bicycle Club frontman Jack's project Mr. Jukes (whose album I love) the new video features a stunning guitar solo, set across percussion, keys and harmonies, the perfect backdrop. Discussing the track, Oscar explains that "it pays homage to a lot of the pioneers of the British broken beats genre as well as a lot of my soul, jazz and rock influences. The subject matter is both cosmic and personal. I reference a lot of imagery of the early life of a star in space as well as ideas of individuality and self-acceptance." 


With the release of the new track, Oscar has just announced a 15-date EU tour across October and November, including London's Heaven on November 19th. Full dates and tickets here.

Download/stream the track here.

Follow Oscar Jerome - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

LISTEN: Bess Atwell - 'Big Blue'

A quick post this evening to share that I am in awe of just how gorgeous Bess Atwell's new EP Big Blue is. Recorded during four days on a boat on the Thames, the EP was produced by Giles Barrett (Johnny Flynn, Marika Hackman). Following her debut album Hold Your Mind, released back in 2016, the new EP joins her love of folk music with indie rock influences from the like of The National, Fleet Foxes, Lucy Dacus and Soccer Mommy.

Talking about the EP, Bess explains that it "explores conflicting themes on identity, romanticism and reality. I have an amazing full-time band now who worked on these songs with me outside of the studio and so, when the time came to record, we just went into the studio and essentially played the songs." 



With a few festival appearances on the way, Bess plays a headline tour this October. Full dates and tickets here.

7th October: Bodega, Nottingham
8th October: Broadcast, Glasgow
10th October: Omeara, London
11th October: Soup Kitchen, Manchester
12th October: Louisiana, Bristol
13th October: Hope and Ruin, Brighton

Follow Bess Atwell - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

LISTEN: Jordan Mackampa - 'Under'

Jordan Mackampa is back with his gorgeous soulful vocals (and backing vocals too), a lovely bass-line and acoustic guitar in tow on new track Under. Thought I've been spotting his name on line-ups, playlists and such for a couple of years now this is my first time listening to Jordan and I'm really digging the track. 

Talking about the new track, he explains that "Under is about falling for someone you only met briefly on a train journey, but feeling as if they could be the new love of your life, without hardly knowing them. But, within that journey home/work, you've let your mind drift off to who they might be as a person, what kind of food they like, tv shows you could watch together basically imagining your whole life with them, whilst understanding that none of that will happen, if you don't go over to them & ask them out on a date, before they leave."


Jordan has just announced a run of shows for later in the year across Europe, with a show at London's Village Underground on 25th November. He's also performing at Bushstock on 15th June alongside some incredible artists. Check out the full dates and grab tickets here.

Follow Jordan Mackampa - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

LISTEN: Pelicandy - 'White Sky'

Time for some new music from London alt-pop duo Pelicandy. White Sky is their second release of the year and I'm getting some Foster The People and Friendly Fires vibes from it - definitely a good thing. Synths and drum machines galore, it's a gloriously breezy track sure to get audiences up on their feet (if they aren't already, of course) and tapping those toes. Talking about the track, vocalist TC Beecham states that "White Sky is about realising the ability to focus and reframe your own thoughts and perception of reality. Choosing what world you want to live in depending more on your mind-set than your surrounding environment, it's like a superpower that anyone can learn." Listen below!


Follow Pelicandy - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 27 May 2019

LISTEN: Winnie Raeder - 'I Wear A Ghost'

Fresh from releasing her utterly mesmerising debut single Don't You Dare a few weeks back, Winnie Raeder is back. I Wear A Ghost, a co-write with RØMANS, is her second single and it's displaying those gorgeously heartbreaking vocals.

Talking about the process of creating the track, Winnie explains that "you have baggage from previous times in your life that will manifest today, in the present, because where you have been in your life makes you. It shapes you." Talking about co-writing the new track with RØMANS, she goes on to say "it felt like it was already written. We had a conversation and the song just happened so naturally. We were just two people talking about life, talking about how things feel and how it feels to be human."



As well as a slot of the upcoming Bushstock Festival on 15th June, Winnie plays her first, sold out, headline show at St Pancras Old Church on 3rd June.

Follow Winnie Raeder - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 24 May 2019

LISTEN: Wovoka Gentle - 'Tell 'Em, Makoto!'

A little (very) late sharing this one, but here's the latest from London trio Wovoka Gentle (William J. Stokes and twins Imogen and Ellie Mason). Tell 'Em, Makoto! is taken from their debut album Start Clanging Cymbals, which is due for release on 7th June via Nude Records. With inspiration from the psychedelic sounds of the late 60s, the trio use sampling, sound manipulation and classic instrumentation to create some really unique sounds. New track Tell 'Em, Makoto! is impressive in its vastness and variety.

Will explains that the track is inspired by the book Culture Care by Makoto Fujimura. "He talks about Mahalia Jackson and how people like her exist on the periphery of influence; they exert influence on people who are actual influencers, and that's the role of art in society. And Mahalia Jackson is a good allegory for him. She was next to Martin Luther King during a speech that was flagging and she shouted to him, 'Tell that about the dream, Martin!' And that's how the 'I Have A Dream' speech started."



Wovoka Gentle launch their debut album Start Clanging Cymbals at London's Corsica Studios on 5th June - tickets here.

Follow Wovoka Gentle - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

LISTEN: Jolé - 'Picture Perfect'

Jolé, AKA London-via-Brighton singer-songwriter Josh Oliver, has recently released Picture Perfect. It follows in the steps of previous singles Seldom Seen and All I Need, Josh continues to wear his heart on his sleeve in this track, with exposed vocals creating a real intimacy, while gorgeous strings flip this intimacy on its head. Josh explains that Picture Perfect is "about appreciating what you have in a relationship, it's a personal message to thank that person for what they do/have done for you. I wrote this as a type of apology, to let someone know they are acknowledged and needed."



Jolé releases his debut self-titled album on May 24th - catch the album launch show at London's The Waiting Room on May 28th. Tickets here.

Follow Jolé - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

LISTEN: Joe Hicks - 'Hollow'

Joe Hicks is one of the kindest people and musicians I had the pleasure of meeting during my time studying in Oxford, it's always a joy to check out his new music. We first met at the end of 2014 when I was volunteering at the local Oxjam Festival and watching Adam Barnes' set (Joe was playing guitar with Adam) - across my three years in Oxford I saw Adam and Joe in various places including a church, school, cafe, house and theatre and it was lovely to finally hear some of Joe's solo music when he released Best Clothes around two years ago. A string of single releases later, Joe has spent the last couple of year performing around the country, often at Sofar Sounds shows. His latest single Hollow is another slice of relatable and vulnerable songwriting, exclaiming "I don't wanna feel the weight of all of this, on me. I've taken all that I can take, I knew I'd break, eventually." Check it out below - it also features on the latest CMAT playlist update!



You can (and should!) catch Joe playing alongside Adam Barnes at three UK shows this June...

20th June: Jericho Tavern, Oxford
22nd June: St. James Wine Vaults, Bath
24th June: Rescue Rooms, Nottingham

Follow Joe Hicks - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

LISTEN: MarthaGunn - 'Love & Emotion'

It's that (glorious) time again - time for a new MarthaGunn track. I absolutely love these guys - they're come across as some of the sweetest people in music, hardworking, incredibly talented and they fill me with some serious hair envy. Brand new track Love & Emotion, released yesterday, is the second single of their current campaign, following up Saint Cecilia. Sharing the track online, the band's lead singer Abi explained that "I wasn't prepared for what this song was telling me, my sub conscious spoke for me a long time before my conscious mind could pull away. Love & Emotion had a powerful voice, one I couldn't ignore, one I was just facilitating."


If you like what you're hearing, you can catch MarthaGunn at Omeara in London on 13th June as part of Communion Music's SWITCH evening. They're also playing a set at the label's festival Bushstock on 15th June (I am crossing my fingers I can catch this while volunteering at the festival!)

Follow MarthaGunn - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

LISTEN: Charlie Cunningham - 'Bite'

With a new record on the way in just a couple of weeks, Charlie Cunningham recently shared Bite, the fourth track to be taken from the album. Sink In, Don't Go Far and the album's title track Permanent Way have already racked up over 5 million streams in the last couple of months. The new track was recorded during sessions in LA with producer Rodaidh McDonald (The XX, King Krule) and it showcases what audiences have come to love from Charlie - gorgeously vulnerable vocals sit across slightly Nick Mulvey-esque guitar playing to create something that is quite magical. Mesmerising, even.


Charlie is an incredible live act, you should most definitely get yourself along to one of his upcoming live dates. Full list of shows and tickets available here, with some UK shows in November.

2nd Nov:  Redgrave Theatre, Bristol
3rd Nov:  City Varieties Music Hall, Leeds
4th Nov: Sage Gateshead (Hall 2), Gateshead
6th Nov: RNCM Concert Hall (Hall 2), Manchester
7th Nov: Holywell Music Room, Oxford
8th Nov: The Old Market, Brighton
10th Nov: Liverpool Philharmonic Hall 2, Liverpool
11th Nov: Oran Mor, Glasgow
12th Nov: Button Factory, Dublin

Follow Charlie Cunningham - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

LISTEN: Annabel Allum - 'You Got It Good'

"What if I told you this is how it's meant to be?" 

Really digging this new track from Annabel Allum - You Got It Good is the first single to be taken from a forthcoming 6-track EP, due for release this Autumn via London label Killing Moon. She's been busy making a name for herself with her trademark punk sound for the past few years, opening for the likes of Nadine Shah and Beth Ditto, performing at The Great Escape, Reading and SXSW festivals and gaining support from DIY, The Independent and BBC Radio 1. 

Annabel describes the source of inspiration for the new track... "I wrote this song after a friend came to me in a very low state. This is the conversation I had with them. Sometimes we need to go through hardship to grow as people, and understand ourselves & the world around us better. To adapt & learn from negative situations allows us to appreciate life more."



Follow Annabel Allum - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday, 20 May 2019

WATCH: Honey Moon - 'If I Could Only Dream' (live session)

"complete with drum machine and homely botanical surroundings"

Surely the best possible set-up for a live session video? Those lovely crooners Honey Moon have shared a live performance of their recent single If I Could Only Dream. Since being sent their track (Why Do You Think You're So) Special? to review last year these guys have stolen my heart and I'm adoring this session and wanted to share! Catch the chaps live tomorrow evening in London opening for Trudy and the Romance at Oslo Hackney. 


Follow Honey Moon - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

LISTEN: Dizzy - 'Twist'

It's been just over a year since I was first introduced to Dizzy. A friend encouraged me to go along to their set at The Great Escape festival - I knew nothing about them, what sort of music it was, just the name, but I went along and absolutely loved it. Their debut album Baby Teeth was released a few months later and quickly became one of my favourite albums of the year. Working at HMV at the time, I loved playing it in store and getting some colleagues to fall for the record as much as I had. The band is made up of brothers Charlie, Alex and Mackenzie Spencer and their neighbour Katie Munshaw who have been making music together through high school - there is something incredibly endearing and loveable about the group. The critics agree - they received the Juno Award for Best Alternative Album back in Canada. I'm really excited to hear that they're back, with new single Twist being the lead track from an upcoming EP due later this Summer via Communion Records.


Talking in a mini documentary video about the new track which you can check out below, Katie describes that the album had been written straight out of high school, meaning that there was quite a length between writing the tracks and when they were released and audiences were able to connect with them. With new tracks on the way which were written in the past few months, the band are clearly raring to release them. Katie explains that while "Baby Teeth was written about bedrooms, parking lots, restaurants and movie theatres, the new stuff is coming from a well of travelling and touring. Twist is really about missing someone so badly that you see them places and get really excited, and then realise it's not them. It's about the hold someone can have over you even after they've left your life."


They've just finished up their first headline tour back home but fear not, they're coming to England very soon with a few shows - not to be missed! Tickets here.

29th May: Rough Trade, Bristol
31st May: The Eagle Inn, Manchester
1st June: All Points East x Gentlemen of the Road, London
2nd June: Notting Hill Arts Club, London

Follow Dizzy - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

LISTEN: Cousin Kula - 'Stacked'

Bristol based 6-piece Cousin Kula have recently shared Stacked, the second track from the forthcoming second EP, due later this year. Combining psych-pop, jazz and electronic pop, the track was lyrically inspired by singer Elliot's Mum going through a divorce. Band mate Douglas explains that "although it's a song to his mum post divorce, I hear its message as being quite positive and hopeful, like: 'you've got it all stacked up against you, but I back you to come through it all on top." 

Originally coming together over a shared love for a variety of genres from pop and psych through to prog and disco, the members found themselves living together in Bristol with a rehearsal room in their basement, quickly becoming one of the tightest bands on the Bristol circuit and creating a name for them with them energetic live performances.



You can catch the band at the following festivals...

24th May: Dot to Dot, Manchester
25th May: Dot to Dot, Bristol
26th May: Dot to Dot, Nottingham
27th July: Farm Festival, Bruton
17th August: TRUE Fest, Hay on Wye

Follow Cousin Kula - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

WATCH: China Bears - 'Stay For Good'

With a sound sitting somewhere along the lines of Blaenavon and influences including The National, Dry The River and The Maccabees, Buckinghamshire based quartet China Bears are back with the video for their latest single Stay For Good. It is a punchy indie anthem with some pretty emotive lyrics... "the less I know love the less it hurts". The track is the first single they've released through Fierce Panda Records (a band / label match made in heaven based on those names!) and it is taken from a forthcoming EP which they'll be releasing in Summer as the label celebrates its 25th birthday.

Originally forming in Somerset in 2015, China Bears are twin brothers Ivan (guitar/vocals) and Frazer (guitar) with James (bass) and Dean (drums) joining the band at university in Guildford later that year. With a few self-released singles under their belt they've had a lot of radio support and have opened for the likes of Gengahr, To Kill A King and The Big Moon along the way. Check out the new video below...


Follow China Bears - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

WATCH: Gia Margaret - 'Birthday'

This track has been sitting in my list of things to write about for just over a month so it's probably about time that I got around to it. So without further ado.... here's the new (ish) video for Birthday from Gia Margaret. The track is taken from her 2018 debut album There's Always Glimmer, which is getting a full release outside of Northern America on May 24th via Dalliance Recordings. 

Having played guitar and piano growing up, Gia has been writing and performing music for years, inspired and informed by the likes of Nick Drake and The Roches. Working on demos and an online series of covers, Gia took her time to work on the album, self-producing and releasing it last year. The record brings together tracks from Gia's archive of material, with home recordings of Groceries and In Normal Ways making the cut, emphasising the homegrown nature of the release. The tracks explore themes of anxiety, depression and alienation, but hint towards hope, echoed by the album's title.


Gia supports the release of the album with a run of shows - including a current Europe support tour with Novo Amor, with whom she released singles No Fun and Lucky For You earlier in the year (listen here!) She'll be heading back to the UK in September for End of the Road Festival and her first run of headline UK dates. All the dates and tickets here.

Follow Gia Margaret - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

LISTEN: Pale Moon - 'Dust Of Days'

Better late than never with this one I think! I'm finally getting around to sharing Dust of Days, the recently released EP from Icelandic duo Pale Moon. The band is Árni (who, among other bands, worked with Of Monsters and Men on their debut album) and Natasha, a singer-songwriter originally from Russia. First up - as I've said before, it's kind of nuts that a band from Iceland found the blog and want me to write about their music... the power of the internet!

While Árni declares "I just want to make music and nothing else" and he has been playing in bands for much of his life, Natasha let music take a back seat and headed to Barcelona to study fashion. The duo met in Barcelona, deciding on a month long trip to Mexico to record some demos of Natasha's tracks. The three tracks that make up the EP explore different sounds and themes, coming together to create a really strong first release. Lead track Exile proves its worth as single material, being the punchiest of the three with stand-out harmonious choral sections. Once they've pulled you in with the  more rock-y opener, Waiting for the sun and Everything Is Alright bring some more psychedelic vibes to the table, sounding somewhere along the lines of Tempesst and Geowulf. Check the EP out for yourself below!



Follow Pale Moon - Facebook | Instagram.

Monday, 13 May 2019

LISTEN: Thandii - 'Company'

Thandii are back! Their first release as a duo (following up the likes of Another One and Alkaline when it was a solo project for Jess) Company is the first track to be taken from their forthcoming EP which is due later this year and which the duo wrote, recorded, mixed and produced themselves. With gorgeous synths throughout drawing you in and making it difficult to resist the urge to dance, the track explores the nuances of a failing and monotonous relationship, as Jess asks the rhetorical "Don't you know what I need?" 



Thandii headline The Waiting Room in London on May 15th - grab tickets here.

Follow Thandii - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

ALBUM NEWS: Two Door Cinema Club - 'False Alarm'

It still feels slightly mind-boggling to think that Two Door Cinema Club released their superb debut album Tourist History over nine years ago. I don't think that it's an exaggeration for me to credit discovering them and The Wombats at a similar time as marking a shift in the sort of music I was listening to and opening my eyes and ears to the beautiful world of indie rock. A couple of albums later and they've been away working on music for a while, but returned with Talk recently. It's finally time for their new (fourth!) album - False Alarm is due for release 14th June and brand new track Satellite is below. Pre-order the record here.


The band are playing an arena (!) tour later in the year to support the release of the record, with tickets for the shows available here.

3rd October: Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
4th & 5th Oct: O2 Academy, Glasgow
7th & 8th Oct: O2 Victoria Warehouse, Manchester
10th Oct: Bonus Arena, Hull
11th Oct: The O2, London
13th Oct: Pavilions, Plymouth

Follow Two Door Cinema Club - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday, 10 May 2019

TRACK PREMIERE: Hazey Jane - 'Lay Low'

Let me introduce (or hopefully re-introduce) you to Hazey Jane. I have a bunch of lovely memories of seeing them live over the last couple of years... running the door for a fun headline Oxford gig, having them play at the Tigmus festival we organised a couple of summers ago, and two wonderful sets at The Alternative Escape in Brighton. A video premiere I did for the band remains one of my most viewed posts of all time. Taking inspiration from the likes of Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell and Ben Howard, their music is driven by gorgeous four-part harmonies, storytelling lyrics and pop hooks. Whether live or otherwise, you can't help but smile listening to these guys. 

It's a joy to be asked to premiere their latest single, Lay Low, which is out today. Calling for the listener to "bury your phone in the soil" and to "put yourself first, put yourself out of range" the track speaks to some modern day anxieties that a lot of us share. The band describe the track as "encouraging the listener to bury their phone and slow down, Lay Low explores ways in which to release modern-day pressures that lead to worry." Take a listen below - and on Spotify.


Hazey Jane celebrate the single release with a headline show at London's Old Blue Last on 15th May - event here.

Follow Hazey Jane online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

WATCH: Jack Savoretti - 'Love Is On The Line'

The fact that it is finally May brings a really exciting concert for me, as I'll be heading to London at the end of the month to catch Jack Savoretti (who happens to be one of my favourite musicians) headline actual Wembley Arena (!!!) The show is the last in a string of UK dates this month, in support of his recent record Singing To Strangers. The record went Silver and charted at number one in its first week of release back in March.

Jack has recently shared a video for current single Love Is On The Line, directed and produced by Emiliano Bechi Gabrielli, and featuring footage from his recent Italian tour. Talking of the track, Jack explains that "the idea was to write over string parts rather than the other way round - melodically, strings can give you the courage to go somewhere vocally you might not otherwise go. They give it gravitas." 


Follow Jack Savoretti - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

LISTEN: Marika Hackman - 'i'm not where you are'

"Ladies and gentlemen hold on to your wigs cause this bish is back." 

And with that short post to social media Marika Hackman returned, bringing glorious synth-laden new track i'm not where you are with her. I'm guilty of (perhaps foolishly) only listening to Marika a little over the past few years, but I caught a really interesting panel on her music at The Great Escape in 2017, just ahead of the release of her last album I'm Not Your Man. Marika was joined by her producer Charlie Andrew (Alt-JSivu), Tim Dellow of Transgressive Records (management and publisher) and her radio plugger Claire Collins of Scream Productions. It was really interesting to hear from the various panellists about the various elements of the album campaign (particularly as I have a massive soft spot for Transgressive!)

In a press statement, Marika describes the new track as being "about breaking up with people, or self-sabotaging relationships, that feeling of not trusting ones emotions because you can't seem to get to the same place as the other person. On the surface it seems like an arrogant 'everybody falls in love with me' kind of song but its actually incredibly lonely, introspective and self deprecating." 


Follow Marika Hackman - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

LISTEN: Benedict Benjamin - 'Truant'

Not that it was ever in doubt... but Truant, the new record from Benedict Benjamin, is a triumph. A sign of a great album, it's incredibly personal for Ben, while remaining relatable. In the way that a piece of literature might reflect the time in which it was written, this record sees Ben detailing the challenges and joys of experiencing parenthood for the first time following the birth of his daughter. His talent as a storyteller is exhibited through an array of lyrical themes, which give an honest account of his experiences of introversion, incompatibility, lack of sleep, family, relationships, heartbreak and love.


Sitting in between slower tracks I Spy and Halo, album singles Ain't EasyTell Me If You're Lonely and The Way You Talk To Waiters provide the more full band sound that Ben has employed for his second album, a departure from his debut Night Songs, though the influence of early sixties music is still very much present. 

Melodically, Culture War is one of my favourite tracks from the record - which was a highlight of a recent live set I saw Ben play in London too. Elsewhere Baby's Crying provides the most obvious comments on Ben's new found parenthood, with lyrics such as "it don't stop because it never does, there's always something new" proving the harsh reality of the situation. A lyrical favourite of mine from the record is the track Alone, a gut-wrenching song positing that "I don't know why I am like this, I have done my best to fight it, sometimes I just need some time to be alone."

Closing the record, Motherfucker (another favourite at the gig recently) provides an amusing but succinct summary of the emotions that run through the record. "I'm a motherfucker baby, my mum's a motherfucker too, you're a motherfucker baby and that's what I like about you. Now we're gonna have a daughter, and we're gonna raise her right, she'll be a motherfucker always cos that's the only way to live a life." Ben describes it as "a song about the core unit of people in my life and how much I love them" and closes the track, and the record, with"you keep me strong, I'll steer you right" - a lyric full of hope. 

Follow Benedict Benjamin - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

WATCH: Cosmo Sheldrake - 'Cuckoo'

Cosmo Sheldrake is a genius - no debate. He shared a couple of new tracks on Friday in honour of International Dawn Chorus Day on Sunday. Dawn Chorus is a gorgeous instrumental track featuring a recording made in Dorset one midsummer morning that Cosmo posits could be "a tune to listen to while waking up." 



The second track is handily entitled Owl Song. Sharing the track online, Cosmo explained that it is "a piece I composed in 2012 in response to a painting of an owl that my girlfriend Flora painted for me. At the time she wasn't sleeping very well so I wrote it as a kind of lullaby. It is composed of recordings of all the British owls: The short-eared owl, long eared owl, little owl, tawny owl, and the barn owl. Of all these birds, the tawny owl and the barn owl are both on the amber list of endangered British Birds." 


As if the new tracks weren't enough of a treat, he headed out on release day to film a performance of the Benjamin Britten song Cuckoo at 5am, with the dawn chorus backing him up! It is a total treat for the ears, but the setting is equally sublime, with the sun breaking through the trees - very much worth a watch! Along with the video, Cosmo shares the fact that Cuckoo populations in the UK have dropped by 50% since 1995, and that they are on the red list of endangered British Birds.


Catch Cosmo at his only UK headline show of the year, London's Oval Space, on July 10th. Tickets available here.

Follow Cosmo Sheldrake - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

LISTEN: Far Caspian - 'Astoria'

I'm quickly realising (via the medium of writing blog posts) that I am very much a fan of a good old hazy pop track. Some of the best of the moment is coming from Leeds trio Far Caspian, with recent singles Conversations and A Dream of You providing perfect samples of this. They're back with brand new single Astoria, the final preview of their upcoming EP The Heights, which is due for release via Dance To The Radio on June 11th.



Discussing the new track, the band's frontman Joel Johnston describes it as "the song on the EP that kind of sums up the feeling we wanted to put across, embracing the good things in your life when things aren't so good." 

"Before we had started writing any of the songs I had already decided that there would be a track with this name. It's a town in Oregon where the Goonies was shot. The Goonies has been my favourite movie since I was no age, and I've always wished I lived in that neighbourhood - this is me trying to emulate what I heard in my head when I pictured the town."

Follow Far Caspian - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.