Thursday 31 March 2016

LISTEN: March 2016 playlist - my month in music!

At the end of February, I posted a Spotify playlist which encapsulated my month in music, and thought that, if the response was good, I could try to keep it up as a monthly feature on the blog. The response was in fact pretty staggering, so I've made a playlist for March which you can listen to below. With particular highlights including Jack Savoretti, Neverlnd and Biffy Clyro, the playlist is a mix of artists I've seen live during the month, and those who I've been listening to and writing about. If you find something new that you enjoy - feel free to comment below!

Brief explanation as to why I've chosen each artist/track: 
  1. Neverlnd Where Do I Start - this month came the news that the newly re-named Oxford band (previously Balloon Ascents) are heading in a new direction and planning to release a free track monthly, stepping away from the album format. This is the first of those free tracks and I can't wait to hear it at their Oxford gig in April!
  2. Benedict Benjamin Thin Skin - Ben played the Sofar Sounds Oxford show I went to at the start of the month, where I bought the first physical copy of his debut album Night Songs which has just been released, and I love this track from it!
  3. Biffy Clyro Wolves Of Winter - this one needs little explaining - Biffy are back and they're releasing an album in July. A completely triumphant return and a sprinkle of rock onto the playlist!
  4. Jack Savoretti Catapult - the highlight of my live music experiences over the month was probably Jack's London Cadogan Hall show generally, and particularly his performance of this track with a string trio, with whom he performed the track on The Graham Norton Show at the beginning of the year.
  5. Martin Harley & Daniel Kimbro Money Don't Matter - following the end of my placement with the lovely guys at Tigmus, I've kept in touch and I ran the door for a show with these guys headlining in Oxford in the middle of the month. It was a lovely Sunday evening blues show as part of a tour promoting a recent live album that they recorded together, and this track was a stand out for me on the evening! 
  6. Black Honey Corrine - I went along to see Black Honey at The Bullingdon without having listened to them beforehand. Watching from a distance to avoid the moshing at the front of the crowd, I enjoyed the set - if you're Oxford based and off to Truck Festival over Summer, I'd recommend checking them out as they've just been announced in the second wave of acts!
  7. King Charles Lady Of The River - would it be a playlist of mine without King Charles? This is one of my favourite tracks of Charles' second record and a music video for the track was released this month.
  8. Lucy Rose Nebraska - likewise, this beautiful track from Lucy Rose had a video released this month, with Danny Dyer in drag. Beat that, Charles...
  9. Roo Panes Stay With Me - I've known of Roo for a while after seeing a couple of videos he recorded with Burberry Acoustic a few years ago. This is the opening track from his new record Paperweights which was released earlier this month. I slightly regret not going to his show in the same venue that I saw Jack Savoretti at last week, because I was being sensible and staying in to write an essay!
  10. Bel Esprit Island - these guys are releasing their single Leave Me Here on 8th April and they are currently on a mini Easter tour to promote the track, playing Southampton tomorrow (1st) and London on Saturday (2nd). I loved this track when I caught their Oxford show at the end of February. 
  11. Little Brother Eli Dreams - one of my favourite discoveries through Sofar Sounds Oxford, where I saw them back in November. They announced this month that their debut album, Cold Tales, is being released in June, and it will feature this track...
  12. Jack Savoretti Breaking The Rules - when I saw Jack play in London, his performance of this track made me cry - happy tears, considering how well he is doing at the moment!
  13. Laish Song For Everything - another Sofar Sounds Oxford artist, Laish (aka Daniel Green) is releasing a record, funded through a crowdfunding campaign which just finished. This is the title track of the EP being offered to pledgers, a video for which was released during the campaign.
  14. Roberto y Juan Monster Love - these guys featured a couple of times in the February playlist, but as I saw them twice in March, I couldn't leave them out this time around! This is the title track of their second EP, which I described back in Feb as "some of the best new music I've heard so far this year."
  15. Bloom Twins Blue - another of the acts from the Sofar Sounds Oxford show I attended this month, these twins are based in London but originally from Ukraine, and are currently on tour with Duran Duran, so our intimate Sofar show was probably quite a change for them! 
  16. Martin Harley & Daniel Kimbro Nobody's Fault But Mine - when watching the set a couple of weeks ago, this track stayed with me (probably because the lyrics focus upon reading - and I'm doing a joint English Literature degree!)
  17. Benedict Benjamin Coward - having listened to the new record quite a few times, I struggled to choose two tracks to include in the playlist as I'm really enjoying it as a full record. If you like what you're hearing... I definitely recommend checking the whole thing out!
  18. Stornoway The Only Way Is Up (acoustic) - this beautiful cover seems like a great way to wrap up the playlist, taken from the Bonxie Unplucked EP. Stornoway announced this month that they are playing a show at the RSC theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon in July, which guarantees to be a special evening in wonderful surroundings! 

Sunday 27 March 2016

LISTEN: Cast Of Light - 'Acer Avenue'

In the same vein as my post earlier about the upcoming The People The Poet EP, Reading based pop-folk band Cast Of Light are releasing their Acer Avenue EP digitally on Friday 1st April too. They released the EP physically at a February Tigmus show they supported on, and with the digital release just around the corner, I was sent a link to listen to the EP.
Acer Avenue EP artwork
Though I'd heard of the band through seeing their name on the line-up for the Tigmus show back in February, I hadn't listened to them before but I'm digging the EP. A quick look at their Facebook page and I can see recommendations to fans of artists such as Imagine Dragons and Of Monsters & Men, with their Soundcloud page reading "imagine Bastille infused with Noah & The Whale, Frank Turner and Ed Sheeran" - the Noah reference has me sold, to be fair... You can listen to Youth, the second track of the EP, below, and there are some older tracks from the band here.

The EP is pretty lovely all round with the opener, A Time Will Come, building slowly into a brass section (I could be lying - my music detection skills aren't spot on), definitely like Of Monsters & Men or Mumford & Sons in style, a big track. Youth, the above track, is upbeat and fairly catchy, contrasting folky acoustic guitar with an almost rock-like chorus of powerful vocals, something mastered by many of the influences mentioned above. The title track opens slowly and is fairly reserved, but grows in momentum towards the end. The tracks all have in common a contrast, and a fairly nice mixture, between a 'big' sound, and personal vocals. The vocals take the forefront throughout the EP, standing out and placing focus upon the lyrics, making you feel as if you could have been transported to a Cast Of Light concert, standing less than a metre from the stage. 

Keep an eye out for the digital version of the EP which will be released (on iTunes etc) on Friday 1st April. If you're more of a fan of physical music, you can grab the CD version of the EP already here - limited to 100 copies and certainly worth it for that beautiful artwork!

LISTEN: The People The Poet release single 'Club 27'

I get quite a few tracks/EPs sent to me to write about, however among work for university I sadly don't get chance to check it all out - I was pleasantly surprised when I found a track from Welsh rockers The People The Poet in my inbox! Four years ago in 2012, they were supporting Charlie Simpson on tour alongside Sam Beeton and I caught the show in Birmingham, it was the first gig I had an AAA pass for so it is a very fond memory, and I remember enjoying the bands set. There's also a lovely impromptu cover of Paul Simon's You Can Call Me Al that Sam and TPTP filmed backstage at another of the shows on the tour. 

Paradise Closed EP artwork
Since then, they've gone from strength to strength, releasing their debut record The Narrator in 2013, touring it extensively, supporting bands such as Deaf Havana and Straight Lines, and performing at a range of festivals including Latitude and The Great Escape. They've just returned from SXSW, which they were invited to play after impressing at the festival last year. They're set to release a new EP, entitled Paradise Closed, on April 1st via Beeline Records. The six track EP features the track Club 27, a track which pays tribute to the members of the so-called '27-club' (musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and Amy Winehouse, who died when they were only 27 years of age). It was recently debuted on Huw Stephens' BBC Radio 1 show, and you can listen below... 

Described by Tom Sarig (Twin Atlantic and Gaslight Anthem manager) as the best music the band have written, the upcoming EP also features the tracks Matchday and When The Fire Goes Out which have received radio play from the likes of Huw Stephens and Dermot O'Leary. Having just listened to  the full EP, I can heartily recommend taking a listen when it is released next week. It's a pretty varied set of tracks so I'm struggling to give a "if you like this... you might like it" style recommendation, but they're predominantly a rock band, with the press release for the EP highlighting comparisons between the tracks to artists such as Manic Street Preachers, The Killers, Snow Patrol, Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam - an eclectic bunch! 

The People The Poet play a hometown EP release show at The Muni in Pontypridd on 1st April, and you can pre-order the Paradise Closed EP through iTunes here.

Thursday 24 March 2016

LIVE: Jack Savoretti at Cadogan Hall (23/3/16)

Last night I saw my 20th gig of the year, Jack Savoretti playing in the beautiful Cadogan Hall in London. The show was acoustic, a stark contrast to his lively full band shows, a stunning evening.  Support came from Amy Lawton and her band, a really nice opening set - will definitely be keeping an eye out for her at upcoming shows! Having been a fan for a few years, Jack is one of my absolute favourite artists, with his unique, 'gravelly' (if that's a word) accent coming across in the music beautifully. I'm so glad that Jack is doing so well at the minute following support from Radio 2 and a performance on The Graham Norton Show, where he played his track Catapult (from the re-packaged version of his latest record Written In Scars) with a string trio. While being interviewed on the show he invited them to join him at the Cadogan Hall show, and luckily they accepted - watch my video below of them performing the track together!

He talked last night about wanting the show to be 'about old friends', with a guest pianist (who's name I didn't catch!) and Italian artist Violette Zironi joining him for a few tracks. The stripped back set allowed him to play some tracks that he doesn't often get to, such as Harder Than Easy, Between The Minds and Chemical Courage. My favourite song from the latest record, The Other Side Of Love, was a highlight of the evening, and I shed a few tears through Breaking The Rules. If you're interested, there's a bit of his back story on the about page on his website, after his first two albums, he had given up on music, and this track, he described last night, was him sticking it to some of the industry, when he returned with his third record. Thinking about how well he is doing at the moment, and how lucky we are that he carried on playing and writing music, the track made me cry - happy tears though! All in all, a lovely evening. 

Jack plays a show at Somerset House in July, but sadly it's sold out already (the only date to be sold out so far I think, with other acts including Everything Everything, Benjamin Clementine and Laura Mvula, so no mean feat and just another indicator of how successful Jack is being at the moment!) After last night's show, I'm wishing I'd got a ticket before it sold out - now I will have to spend the next few months looking out for one! 

Wednesday 23 March 2016

LISTEN: Bel Esprit - 'Leave Me Here'

Premiering on Soundcloud, take a listen to Leave Me Here the new single from Bel Esprit, below. I've known about the band almost since I started university, as they played at Oxjam Oxford in 2014 when I was volunteering on the door, but it wasn't until the end of February this year when they played a show at The Bullingdon in Oxford that I took the time to listen to them properly, and I'm really enjoying what I'm hearing. 

I initially went along to the Oxford show to catch Homeplanetearth who were supporting, but was impressed by the set from Bel Esprit, you can read my post about the evening here. If you like the track then you're in luck as they're playing a mini Easter tour to promote the single, starting tonight (23rd March) in Reading at Purple Turtle, a hometown Southampton show at Joiners on 1st April, London on 2nd April at The Good Ship and Bournemouth's 60 Million Postcards on 7th April. 
Photo by me from their recent headline Oxford gig at The Bullingdon.
Leave Me Here will be released on iTunes, Spotify (and all that jazz...) on 8th April.

Tuesday 22 March 2016

ALBUM NEWS: Biffy Clyro - 'Ellipsis'

After a week or so of cryptic social media posts, last night saw the premiere of Wolves of Winter (the name interestingly inspired by a David Attenborough documentary), the first track from the new Biffy Clyro record Ellipsis, which is due out on the 8th of July. In short: get excited. You can hear the full track (for the next 30 days) on Annie Mac's show, upon which it was the 'Hottest Record In The World', along with an interview with frontman Simon Neil, here. Listening to the track, it starts almost tamely, giving us a quiet, reserved side of Biffy, but we're soon dragged back to the distinctive Scottish lead vocals of Neil, alongside powerful drums, guitar and almost chant-like backing vocals, a "snarling song" as Simon referred to it during the interview. As Annie Mac so accurately put it, it's a "ferocious return from the band that we all love", and it's so great to have them back, I can't wait to hear more of the record. 

There's a preview of the track here too if you can't access iPlayer, or if you just want to listen for a bit longer (which I wouldn't blame you for as I've just listened 5 or 6 times in a row...)

For more information on the record Ellipsis, which is out 8th July, head to the Biffy Clyro store here. They're also playing their biggest Scotland headline show to date in Bellahouston Park in the last weekend of August, during which they'll also be headlining Reading and Leeds, a fairly busy weekend - information about all the upcoming dates on the site here.

LISTEN: Spector - 'Tenner'

The ever wonderful Spector (with James from Swim Deep filling in for Danny) recorded some tracks at Youtube HQ recently, the first of which was released yesterday. It's a new track, Tenner, with a catchy beat and some superb guitar and bass solos - great to hear new music from them considering their second studio album, Moth Boys, wasn't released that long ago! I first watched the video on my laptop, thinking 360 did just mean that it was shot as a panorama, but... check it out on your mobile devices and you can be in the centre of the performance, turning your phone to look in various directions. I'm slightly blown away by the fact that camera technology allows us to view the performance in this way online! 

Watch our for more videos from the session...

WATCH: Benedict Benjamin - 'I Wish Your Lies Were Better'

At the risk of becoming a Sofar Sounds Oxford alumni fan-page (though it's testament to the fact that many of my great musical discoveries since being at university have been through helping out at Sofar), here's the new video from Benedict Benjamin for his track I Wish Your Lies Were Better, taken from his debut record Night Songs.

The record is due to be released through Sugarcoat Records later this week (25th) - I was lucky enough to buy the first copy directly from Benedict after his set at our recent Sofar show (post about the night here). At the Sofar show I was struck by the careful, controlled nature of his vocals, holding the whole audience in silence, and this certainly comes across on the record. I don't regularly compare artists but I'd say the record should appeal to fans of the likes of Fleet Foxes, though the style is pretty fresh. The above track is one of my highlights of the record among others including Thin Skin, Move On Those Tired Feet and Coward, though having listened to it 2 or 3 times in a row initially, and several times since, I can confidently write that the whole record is a beautiful debut and totally worth your time (and money!)

You can pre-order the record, Night Songs, which is released this Friday (25th March) through the Bandcamp page here, and grab tickets for Benedict's show in the intimate confines of London's The Islington on 30th March here.

Sunday 20 March 2016

ALBUM NEWS: Little Brother Eli to release debut album 'Cold Tales'

Following from my post about the new Laish album, comes another album announcement from Sofar Sounds Oxford alumni Little Brother Eli. The more I listen, the more I'm enjoying their music,   which has been compared by some to the likes of The Black Keys, all surrounding the powerful vocal range of frontman Alex. They're a superb, energetic live band, both in a full band set-up and acoustic shows, and I'm intrigued to hear how much of this comes across on the record. They'll be playing a show at The Bullingdon in Oxford (their hometown) to promote the release, more details at the bottom of the post. The album, Cold Tales, is due for release on 24th June (pre-order on iTunes here) and you can get a taster of the music through a variety of videos of the band on Youtube, including this of them performing the brilliant track 'Shake Me' at Sofar Sounds Nottingham

My photo of Little Brother Eli playing Sofar Sounds Oxford back in November
The track listing for Cold Tales is as follows:

Who Do You
This Girl
Roll Away
Shake Me
Beautiful People
Cold Tales

Album artwork, sketches by Merlin Porter
Little Brother Eli play an album launch show on 25th June at Oxford's The Bullingdon with support from Nine Miles South and Neverlnd (I'm gutted I won't be in Oxford for the show - sounds like it'll be a great evening!) You can grab tickets here.

Thursday 17 March 2016

WATCH: Lucy Rose 'Nebraska' and King Charles 'Lady Of The River'

The Easter break is looming, and after a group presentation task tomorrow, I've got a little break from assignments (who am I kidding? They're always lurking around the corner...) Over the last few days I went to London a couple of times, first for the DICE Girls Music Day event on Saturday, with several women discussing their careers so far within the industry, and second for the last night of Letter's Live (Jude Law, Benedict Cumberbatch, Matt Berry & co reading letters, and a couple of pretty special performances from Benjamin Clementine), and I ran a Tigmus gig at The Bullingdon in Oxford a few nights ago, making a wonderful discovery in the duo Martin Harley & Daniel Kimbro, who are touring to promote a live album they recorded together, a perfect blues-y Sunday evening! A busy few days so I'm surprised I've managed to squeeze some essay writing in - but amongst all that, a couple of new videos dropped which I'm pretty excited about and wanted to share. 

The first was for Lucy Rose's track Nebraska, and rather impressively, as Lucy wrote on her Facebook post 'Every single person who worked on this did it for free to try and make something beautiful that tells an important story.' The focus is, of course, Danny Dyer, an unexpected collaboration but a beautiful piece of work promoting freedom of expression and the breaking down of stereotypes - take a watch. 

The second new video was premiered yesterday, for King Charles' track Lady Of The River, taken from his January released record. Charles first premiered tracks from the record on a tour last February, and I was shocked to hear this track live. Having toured across America with his Mumford pals a few years previous, there are various videos on Youtube of Charles and the guys performing the track with the other support bands, so to hear it live and discover it would be on the album was exciting. Particularly fun too was seeing Charles perform it live with Marcus Mumford when he played alongside Charles' band at his Bush Hall gig last July. I'm so chuffed that the track has a video to accompany it as a single and that more people will get to hear the track - take a look at the video below! 

Saturday 12 March 2016

ALBUM NEWS: Ryan O'Reilly - 'Northern Line'

Exciting news yesterday from Ryan O'Reilly, who supported on the recent King Charles tour. His album The Northern Line is set to be released through DNA Records on 6th May. Posting the announcement on Facebook Ryan wrote "We'd like to thank you all for following us over the last weeks, months and years, it's been a long exciting road for all of us involved and we're very proud to finally have a collection of music like this."
Album artwork, source:
The track list is as follows, and features November (embedded below), one of the tracks that stuck with me from the two support sets I caught him playing in February:

Northern Lights
Sometimes Things Just Happen
The Love That You Wasted
Evil Quarter Mile
The Black & The Blue
The First Time
The Northern Line
Gypsy Tree
I Never Told Her
The Flood
The One
Boats Against The Current

Friday 11 March 2016

WATCH: King Charles 'Tomorrow's Fool' acoustic

Amidst a flurry of uni deadlines and catching a cold/sore throat from a flatmate I've been feeling rubbish for a few days but something which brought a little cheer was this new acoustic video from King Charles, performing his track Tomorrow's Fool. It's one of my favourite tracks from Charles' January release Gamble For A Rose, and although the cracking guitar solo is my favourite bit, I love this stripped back version! It's also 4 years ago today since I saw Charles live for the first time back in 2012...

Wednesday 9 March 2016

GIG NEWS: Stornoway at the RSC (10/7/16)

I'm usually fairly in the loop... finding it hilariously ironic that because I was busy writing a Hamlet essay for English for most of yesterday I missed the news that the fantastic Stornoway guys are playing a show at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon on 10th July! Here's my favourite video of them to get you in the mood... 

Stornoway and Shakespeare - my kind of night for sure! Having recently played two triumphant shows at Oxford's SJE Arts church venue on a tour promoting their Bonxie Unplucked EP (on iTunes here - I particularly love the The Only Way Is Up cover on there) and with dates at the beautiful Sheldonian Theatre under their belts too, they're no strangers to playing spectacular venues and this will certainly be a special evening! I went to the theatre back in 2013 for a school trip to see As You Like It and really hope I can get along to this show, particularly as I didn't get chance to explore Stratford itself on that day. I heartily recommend the show if you're in the area, I saw them three times last year in three totally different settings and was blown away by their performance every time.

Stornoway at St John The Evangelist back in November, photo credit: Megan Seekings
Tickets for Stornoway's show at the RSC theatre in Stratford Upon Avon on July 10th are available here.

Monday 7 March 2016

LIVE: Sofar Sounds at The Jam Factory (6/3/16)

With a really gig heavy February, and April looking like it could be quite busy (Tigmus have a lot of Oxford shows coming up in April), March is seeming pretty empty, with just a couple of shows lined up. I almost didn't go to a gig last week.... almost! Luckily Sofar Sounds Oxford managed to squeeze me into their show at The Jam Factory last night, with artists Oceans, The Bloom Twins, Benedict Benjamin, Jali Fily Cissohko, and Moulettes. I live-tweeted the night over on the Oxford Sofar Twitter, and it was the first Sofar I've been to where I haven't been taking photos, so slightly less stress involved...

I haven't been to the venue before but it provided a really nice intimate setting perfect for a Sofar show. First up was Oceans, originally from Finland, providing us with some experimental electronic pop to wake us up and kick off the evening nicely. It was clear he was being totally genuine in his gratitude that people were sitting and listening attentively as he was shaking during the performance - some tracks are over on his Soundcloud here, listening to him while I write this and really enjoying - particularly his Jack Garratt remix.

Carrying on the European trend... next up were Ukrainian act The Bloom Twins, fresh from arena shows supporting Duran Duran they took to the intimate confines of our Sofar Sounds show perfectly. Once I'd got over the fact that they were identical twins, I loved their harmonies, and a particular highlight of the set was a slowed down BeyoncĂ© Crazy In Love cover (you heard right!)

The Bloom Twins
Next up, third act of the evening and the first guitar of the night... Benedict Benjamin, who played a Sofar in Oxford just over a year ago and I was glad to get to see play again. You could hear a pin drop through his performance, there's a beautiful tone and a vulnerability to his voice - someone came to speak to him after his set and described it as 'controlled', a good word choice I reckon. He played tracks from his upcoming album Night Songs, set to be released on 25th March (with a launch show at The Islington in London on 30th March - ticket and CD bundle here) - he had copies with him so I became the first person to buy a copy, just finished my first listen and loved it! Definitely watch out for it later in the month... 

Benedict Benjamin
Travelling continents, next up we had Jali Fily Cissohko, playing the Kora, an African 21-string harp. The whole crowd were mesmerised and I loved the clap-along for the last track, but spent most of the set wondering just how difficult it must be to play the kora! 

Jali Fily Cissohko
Last but by no means least and really brightening up our Sunday evening were Moulettes. Having not played a show since December they admitted to being a little rusty - I'd like to see what they're like on top form as I loved their set! Playing some new tracks for the first time, they described the concept of their latest album (quote taken from their site), "a record about the phenomenal creatures that inhabit the earth". They're playing a Tigmus gig in Oxford at The Cellar in April, tix here, that's part of a UK tour, full dates, and info about pre-ordering their fourth record is on their site here.

All in all - very glad I could get along to the show and excited to hear who's playing the next one which is tonight, as they've got two very intimate shows this month - I'll be in London seeing play The Maids tonight but interested to see what went down. It was also great to see Merlin Porter at the show, an artist based in Oxford, who actually has an exhibition at the venue running until today, who paints at shows. As a photographer, it's incredible to see Merlin's work coming to life so quickly during a short Sofar set. Give his Facebook page a like here to see more of his work.

Merlin Porter's artwork

Saturday 5 March 2016

LISTEN: Neverlnd - 'Where Do I Start'

Exciting news this Saturday morning... Neverlnd, the newly renamed Balloon Ascents, have just released a new track entitled Where Do I Start, which you can listen to below. The talented bunch of school friends from Oxford will be releasing a free track each month through a mailing list (sign up here), with all the tracks produced by the equally talented Ian Wallman. They've also announced a show, organised by Tigmus, at an intimate venue in Oxford at the end of April (details at the bottom of the post).

Having been introduced to the band through the fact that the Sofar Sounds Oxford organisers manage them, I've seen them a few times over the last year and they've never failed to put a smile on my face, playing fun and superb live sets in a variety of settings, from a stripped back set at Truck Store to a couple of headline shows across the road at the O2 Academy Oxford (one of which was the first show I've had a proper photo pass for back in May, see my shots from that gig here.) Seeing them play in January at an Independent Venue Week show, it struck me that they have got better and better each time I've seen them play, and I feel lucky to know them - but especially to know of their music at this exciting time in their careers.

Photo credit: IWphotographic
Tickets for their intimate Oxford show at Jacqueline du PrĂȘ Music Building on 22nd April are on sale through Tigmus here - I'd snap one up quickly as it'll likely sell pretty quickly, these guys are very well loved in Oxford!

WATCH: Laish - 'Song For Everything'

Since taking photos at some of the Sofar Sounds Oxford shows over the last year and a half I've made some fantastic musical discoveries, one of which is Laish, project of indie pop singer/songwriter Danny Green and his band. Gutted I'm missing Sofar this month as they're putting on two smaller shows and I'm busy one day and they can't fit me in for the other!

With a new album in the pipeline, Danny, as Laish, has recently launched an indiegogo campaign to raise funds for the studio costs, promotion and manufacture of the album (on CD and vinyl), offering up an instant download EP as one of the incentives. A quirky video for the title track of the EP, Song For Everything, premiered online last week, take a listen/watch below. With some lovely strings and Danny's captivating vocal, the track is great and it is refreshing also to find a fun music video that I happily sat and watched from start to finish - doesn't happen a lot anymore. 

If you like what you hear and want to support the album campaign, the link is here. Incentives include signed CDs and vinyl, drawings, a cover song of your choice, a personal concert and even a song written especially for you - all sound interesting, and projects like this are in my opinion a really worthwhile use of your money, helping independent artists to share their work with the rest of the world. 

Soundcheck before Laish solo set at Art Jericho for Sofar Sounds Oxford, photo: Megan Seekings
To launch the Song For Everything EP, Laish are playing a full band headline show at London's Sebright Arms on 21st April with support from Chris Belson, tickets for that are here.

Friday 4 March 2016

TOUR NEWS: Communion New Faces (April 2016)

Announced today, The BeachAdam FrenchRukhsana Merrise and Matt Woods play venues in Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, London, Oxford, Brighton and Bristol in April for the latest Communion New Faces tour. 

It feels like barely any time has passed since the last tour - but it was actually announced at the beginning of September, with FlyteSeafretDan Owen and Jack Watts touring in November. Other previous line-ups have featured acts such as FrancesPixel FixAmber Run and Eliza & The Bear, just a small indication of the caliber of the acts. I haven't listened to any of the four new artists before, but aside from listening to a track or two from each to embed something of theirs below, I will probably leave it until I see the show in Oxford - it's sometimes nice, especially for this kind of gig, to go along without any preconceptions, hearing the music for the first time live, letting the artists sell their music to you.

I say it a lot but I have an awful lot of trust in Communion, and often discover fantastic new artists through them. Therefore, evenings such as these, particularly with tickets a mere £8 (£2 per band!) for all the shows apart from London, are a superb showcase of four artists who are likely to have a brilliant 2016, and you'll be glad to have seen in venues of this size! Here are tracks from each of the artists...

Tickets for the shows are available now through the Communion website, through which you'll receive an EP with tracks from the artists with every purchase.