Saturday 30 April 2016

LISTEN: April 2016 playlist

April has been a super busy month for me musically with 12 gigs (and the first of those wasn't until the 9th), some great EP/album releases and announcements, and meeting a bunch of great artists/music fans. I've just created the third of my monthly playlists, which, in keeping with the personal nature of the blog, is a collection of eighteen of the artists I've been enjoying listening to this month. Take a listen on Spotify below...

A little explanation as to why I've chosen each artist/track: 
  1. Water Pageant Overlaps - it only seems right to open the playlist with the last band I saw this month, at their hometown album launch last night. I had a great time running the door/selling CDs for them at the beautiful Art Jericho in Oxford (cue terrible photo.)
  2. Matt Woods Impression - Matt played at the Communion New Faces tour, and was my highlight of the night for sure. A beautiful and heartfelt set, and this track was a highlight for me!
  3. neverlnd We Don't Talk Like We Used To - I saw these guys play twice this month, first at a pretty busy Truck Store, and then at their headline relaunch gig. This is the second of their monthly free tracks (and you can download it here.)
  4. The Vaccines Minimal Affection - a musical highlight of the month, I got to see these guys play at the Royal Albert Hall (my first visit to the venue!) as a friend won tickets. It was superb to finally see them live, playing tracks from all three records.
  5. Bear's Den Magdalene - one of artists on the playlist I haven't seen live this month (but I did spot one of the guys on the underground last week..). They announced this month that their new album Red Earth & Pouring Rain is set to be released on July 22nd. This track is one of my favourites off of the first record!
  6. Lewis & Leigh Devil's in the Detail - this duo supported Neverlnd at their launch show, and I saw them back in January too. I've been really impressed both times and (possibly because it has the same name as a track by one of my favourite bands) this track has stuck with me.
  7. Rukhsana Merrise Money - Rukhsana was another of the artists on the Communion tour, this is her latest single, and there's a great Mahogany session of the track here that just got released.
  8. Jack Garratt Surprise Yourself - over this last year at university I seem to have won a lot of things and the latest was tickets to see Jack playing up the road at the O2 in Oxford. After seeing him support Mumford & Sons last year it was great to see him play a sold out solo show. He's recently released a fantastic video for this track, with members of the public facing their fears, which you can watch here
  9. Adam French More To Life - a catchy track from Adam, another of the four acts on the Communion New Faces tour.
  10. James Walker Right Person, Wrong Time - I've seen James playing keys and singing backing vocals for Adam Barnes a few times, and he's decided to release some solo music, setting out on a solo tour a week ago. This track is from his new Modern Medicine EP. 
  11. Jonny Payne Toronto - after running the door for his Oxford headline gig in Feb, I was glad to catch Jonny again this month, this time playing solo at the RSD celebrations at Truck Store. A great set (featuring this track) and he's also a really lovely dude too!
  12. The Beach Thieves - the final act on the Communion tour, and while it wasn't very busy, everyone seemed to be pretty besotted... 
  13. Tom Odell Wrong Crowd - the title track to the follow up to Tom's 2013 record Long Way Down, which is set to be released on June 10th.
  14. Joseph & Maia I Know - I saw this New Zealand duo supporting Adam Barnes in London, and loved their story of escaping a record deal, quitting their jobs and essentially travelling from city to city playing shows every night for around a year, wherever they get the chance. Loving this track which is on their recently released album Sorrento.
  15. Dizraeli It Won't Be Long - one of my favourite gigs of the month, it was great to run the door for Dizraeli and Jakaboski. I saw Dizraeli play a Sofar just over a year ago and loved this track at both shows! Would've included a track from his new EP but it isn't up on Spotify yet... but there's some cracking live sessions of some of the tracks from it on his Youtube here.
  16. Mumford & Sons ft Baaba Maal There Will Be Time - following a number one in South Africa, Mumford released this collaboration on vinyl for RSD, and have just announced it'll be released as part of an EP entitled Johannesburg, out in June.
  17. Everything Everything No Reptiles - having seen these guys live three times last year, I was just as excited to see them again supporting The Vaccines, and they played a superb set.
  18. Adam Barnes Tennyson - Adam played a beautiful sold out show at Bethnal Green's Gallery Cafe a week ago, I love this track which closes his One Day We'll Be Fine EP and seems like a lovely way to finish off the playlist!
If you like what you hear... share the post/playlist!

Friday 29 April 2016

WATCH: Rukhsana Merrise 'Money' for Mahogany

Last night I went to the Oxford leg of the Communion New Faces tour, where the line-up comprised of Matt WoodsRukhsana Merrise, Adam French and The Beach. I hadn't listened much to any of the artists, but have huge confidence in the line-ups championed by Communion, and although for some reason, the crowd was pretty tiny, all four artists played great sets and are surely destined for great things. On the tour around a year ago, I saw Frances, who yesterday played on Radio 1's Live Lounge and is doing very well for herself! 

Mahogany released this video yesterday of Rukhsana Merrise performing a session of her track Money, certainly worth a watch! Funnily, the session bassist who currently plays with The Hoosiers was on bass in her band last night, and once I'd got over that unexpected surprise, I really enjoyed the set! 

A quick mention has to go to Matt Woods who opened the night, and who I was pretty mesmerised by. His performance was really beautiful and emotional, his range is pretty insane, and (especially as I couldn't spot him to go and grab a CD) I hope I get chance to see him live again pretty soon! Here's his most recent track, Ain't No Use.

The New Faces tour finishes up in Brighton tonight, and Bristol tomorrow night, tickets and more info here.

Thursday 28 April 2016

LIVE: Dizraeli at Jericho Tavern 26/4/16

Today I submitted the portfolio (distant cheering!) for my placement module (for which I helped Tigmus out for a month.) I've got to give a poster presentation on my placement tomorrow and then the module will be finished. I'm still involved with Tigmus though, helping out online and at shows, and the latest of these was Dizraeli at the Jericho Tavern in Oxford earlier this week, a brilliant evening of hip-hop/spoken word/rap/folk! Support came from Jakaboski (watch a video of him performing a track about festival romances at a Sofar Sounds show here.) 

I saw Dizraeli at one of my favourite Sofar Sounds Oxford shows just over a year ago at The Hatch, which I think sadly closed recently, and was really looking forward to running the show, and for good reason - he smashed it! In a series of session videos for tracks from his Eat My Camera EP (click to watch Ariane and Dona Diaz) the latest to be released is below, Morning Light

Nearing the end of his tour to promote the new EP, Dizraeli plays a sold out London show tonight, with a Nottingham date next month (19th May). If you get the chance in the future to go and see Dizraeli live, I'd certainly recommend it. His stories between tracks, about, for instance, a recent trip to the refugee camps in the so called Calais Jungle, and about homophobia, are worth the ticket price by themselves. A very talented, clever guy who had the crowd (albeit small) yelling for more. 

WATCH: Mumford & Sons ft. Baaba Maal - 'There Will Be Time'

Mumford & Sons have this week announced that There Will Be Time, the track they released for Record Store Day, featuring Baaba Maal, will be released as part of an EP in June. The track reached number one in South Africa and was debuted live at the band's recent SA shows. The 5-track EP, Johannesburg is being released on the 17th June (just in time for my birthday on the 20th..), featuring Mumford on all the tracks, alongside Baaba Maal, The Very Best and Beatenberg. You can listen to the track on Spotify here.

EP artwork
The announcement is accompanied with a live video of There Will Be Time in South Africa, featuring Baaba Maal and The Very Best. Mumford are at their best when collaborating, and this is a stunning, powerful track and performance. Also, it's brilliant as ever to see Tom Hobden up there on stage with them on violin, killing it as always. Definitely worth a watch!

The Johannesburg EP is available to preorder on 10" vinyl, CD and cassette (an interesting resurgence is happening!) here.

Monday 25 April 2016

LISTEN: Flyte - 'Sprawl II' (Arcade Fire)

As a fan of Arcade Fire and harmonies, I'm loving this video of Flyte covering the track Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) which I've just watched 4 or 5 times in a row. Seriously beautiful stuff, filmed by the talented Katie Craik under Westminster Bridge, very much worth a watch...

Flyte are starting up a club night, with the first coming up on May 4th at Moth Club, tickets available here

WATCH: King Charles 'Gamble For A Rose' for Sofar Sounds

Two of my favourite things in the world collide... King Charles and Sofar Sounds, as Charles recently played Sofar in London (if I'm not wrong, I think he actually played two nights in a row!) The only bad thing is that I wasn't there to watch, but this beautifully filmed video of Charles playing the title track of his January release Gamble For a Rose makes up for that a little!

If you're ever after some new music to listen to, a browse of the Sofar Sounds Youtube channel is a great place to start, with videos filmed at their shows, which take place in over 240 cities. 

Sunday 24 April 2016

LIVE: Adam Barnes at The Gallery Café (23/4/16)

To round off a great week of music (gutted I'm going home from uni soon and won't be able to keep this up...), my fifth gig of the week came last night with Adam Barnes playing Bethnal Green's The Gallery Café. 

Huge thanks to Adam for getting us in to his sold out gig - I'm very glad I travelled to London for it! I think the show was my fifth time seeing Adam (the last being in a primary school for Sofar), and I was as impressed as the first time. The set included a bunch of my favourite tracks of his from his album and the EP his released towards the end of last year, as well as a couple of tracks that were completely new. He has a brilliant skill of turning pop songs that few people would admit to liking (or knowing all the lyrics to) into huge singalong tracks, performed beautifully, which last night came in the form of Britney Spears' Baby One More Time (watch below) and Whitney Houston's I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

The venue was a great setting for Adam's music, and the evening was set up perfectly by the support set from Joseph & Maia, a duo from New Zealand who, after escaping from a record deal that, by the sound of it, didn't offer them much creative freedom, quit their jobs and have been travelling around playing music since, releasing a record through a crowd funding campaign. They had arrived in London the night before, and were flying back out today, and the passion they had was pretty obvious through their performance and their stories, and I really enjoyed the set, and look forward to hopefully crossing paths with them again in the future. Below is a Mokum Sessions performance of their track I Know, a highlight of their set.

They joined Adam onstage to sing backing vocals for  his track Come Undone, and at another point in the set, Joe Hicks, who is often seen playing guitar with Adam, lent his vocals to Darling, a track taken from the recent EP. For more info on Joseph and Maia (and tour dates) check their site here, and, I think his UK tour is over now, but you can check out Adam's music through Bandcamp here.

Saturday 23 April 2016

LIVE: Neverlnd launch gig at JDP Music Building (22/4/16)

I had a great time last night at my fourth gig of the week, seeing local lads Neverlnd play the stunning (and pretty well hidden) Jacqueline du Pré Music Building in the grounds of St Hilda's College. The show was to relaunch the band, who recently renamed themselves (they used to be Balloon Ascents) and the setlist was awash with their well loved tunes, their two recently released tracks Where Do I Start and We Don't Talk Like We Used To, and a few completely new tracks.

Neverlnd brought their new 'Dot Dot Dot' theme to JDP... 
Support for the show came from Lewis & Leigh, a duo I saw open for Dreaming Spires back in January (and thought that they stole the show, to be honest!) Their stunning harmonies had the crowd mesmerised, and a particular highlight for me was their track Devil's In The Detail, which you can listen to in their Missing Years EP below. 

After a short break, out came Neverlnd. Every time I see these guys play, they impress me more and more, and the experience always feels really communal, with a lot of the band's family, friends, and the Oxford Sofar crew attending the shows. The band continue to get more and more polished with each performance, and the new tracks match the calibre of the old stuff. Judging by what people were saying afterwards, everyone really enjoyed their performance of Aberration, and Cutout remains a favourite of mine (that bass!!) - and No was pretty beautiful, as always (check out a performance of the track at a Sofar Sounds in Reading here.) Also a special shoutout has to go to Ben, who joined the guys onstage playing keys, and did a pretty splendid job.

I took my camera along to the show but, rather amusingly, there was somewhat of a small crowd of photographers hovering in front of the stage, so after some lens issues, I gave in after a while and watched. While a big proportion of my photos are a blurry mess, I've salvaged some and put them in an album on my Flickr here.

Frontman Thomas right at home on the piano
If you're in Oxford, you can catch Neverlnd at the upcoming BBC Introducing 'Uprising' show at O2 Academy Oxford on 20th May (Jonny Payne & The Thunder are also on the line-up!). Information about that show and tickets for it here.

Friday 22 April 2016

GIG NEWS: Neverlnd and Moulettes in Oxford (today!)

If you're in Oxford and short of something to do tonight... then I wholeheartedly recommend that you get down to one of two brilliant gigs put on by Tigmus in the city tonight.

First up.... Neverlnd (previously Balloon Ascents) play the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building (at the end of Cowley Road/Iffley Road, just off of the High St). The show is a relaunch for the new name and slightly new sound, and the band, with a very loyal local supporting are certainly not to be missed, and it'll hopefully be a sell out! Here's a stripped back video of the guys from a Sofar Sounds London gig at the beginning of 2015... 

Tickets for Neverlnd are £9 advance and will be £12 on the door, you can grab them here

Second up (and a gig I'm gutted to be missing!) is Moulettes at The Cellar. I recently posted a video of their track Behemooth filmed at Sofar Sounds Oxford, but below is an even livelier version which debuted online a few weeks ago. I really enjoyed their set at Sofar, and, describing their music as chamber/psychedelic/progressive/folk rock, I can only imagine that their electric show will be quite something to behold. Definitely recommend getting to the show and reporting back to me how it was! 

This one's £14 advance and £15 on the door, and you can grab tickets here. I hope you can get to one of the shows.... and if you do, enjoy!

Thursday 21 April 2016

LIVE: The Vaccines at Royal Albert Hall for Teenage Cancer Trust (20/4/16)

I was supposed to be going to a house gig put on by the lovely folk at Sofar Sounds Oxford last night, but when a friend offered me a free ticket (as she'd won a competition) to see The Vaccines and Everything Everything at the Royal Albert Hall, I couldn't really turn it down!

Tim Lovejoy was hosting the evening, and Pumarosa opened (watch the video for their track Priestess here), with The Horrors Tom Furse DJing between sets. It was my fourth time seeing Everything Everything and they continue to amaze me, filling the beautiful venue with their fantastic tunes, a lot of which were taken from latest (brilliant) record Get To Heaven. Recorded a snippet of the title track of that record, which is below...

It was my first time seeing The Vaccines live, but I've been a big fan of their music since the first record (What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?) and they've had great success since then, with 2012 release Come Of Age and last year's English Graffiti, and they played three nights at O2 Academy Brixton in November. The set was full of tracks from all three records, a tour of some superb tracks, with a particular highlight being a beautiful solo rendition of No Hope to open up the encore. Everyone seemed to be having such a great time, and the night was for a brilliant cause, making up one part of a week of shows for Teenage Cancer Trust (I wasn't aware, but they've been putting on shows for the charity for 16 years now, and it's their biggest fundraising event of the year), with John Bishop hosting a comedy show the night before, Simply Red tonight, and New Order, Bring Me The Horizon and David Gilmour still to come. There's always a great buzz at charity shows, particularly one of such a scale, and I love being involved in something so fun that's making a difference. Definitely a gig to remember, and it'll probably be one of my favourite shows of 2016! Here's a clip of them performing first album track Wetsuit.... 

More info about Teenage Cancer Trust here, and the upcoming TCT shows at the Royal Albert Hall here.

Wednesday 20 April 2016

GIG NEWS: London Contemporary Voices takeover at Bush Hall (8/5/16)

With deadlines looming, lots of gigs, and various other commitments, I'm not always managing to check out the things that are emailed to me for posting on the blog - but I was pretty interested to find this in my inbox. Collective London Contemporary Voices, the capital's leading contemporary choir, who have worked with a list of great artists too long to reel off, have a first 'takeover show' at the beautiful Bush Hall (in Shepherd's Bush) in May. I saw (some) of LCV playing alongside favourites of mine, The Sea & I, at the end of 2014 (post about that here), and I'm particularly fond of an Amber Run session that they feature in for Mahogany Sessions - so are a lot of other people, it seems, as the video (below) has over a million views!

They are hosting a show at Bush Hall on 8th May, where special guests Sam Brookes and Tom Speight head a line up including a selection of others artists (Kin ChoirLa QualiaKate Westall, Connor Roff, Cerian, Elimarit, Sasha and Freya Lily). The beautiful venue (where I went to a Bushstock show in June, and saw King Charles in July) will also have a magical lantern installation from artist Jennie Fagerstrom. In these stunning surrounds, and with a specially curated line-up, the choir will be performing cover tracks of artists such as Bon Iver, Ben Howard and Imogen Heap, and the night should be really special indeed!

London Contemporary Voices
If you're interested in going along, tickets are available here.

Tuesday 19 April 2016

WATCH: Moulettes 'Behemooth' for Sofar Sounds

Very excited about this one, a video of Moulettes playing their track Behemoth at Oxford Sofar Sounds (more info here) last month has just premiered on Youtube. I'm a big fan of string instruments and harmonies, so the performance is pretty superb, in my opinion, and was great on the night (read my write-up of the show, where we also had Benedict Benjamin and others performing, here.) The guys from Sofar have done a great job on the edit for the video, and I couldn't help but rewatch it a few times...

If you live in Oxford (or nearby) and you haven't heard already, or you're just discovering Moulettes now... they're touring soon, starting on Thursday, and play The Cellar on this Friday, 22nd April, for Tigmus. Tickets for that show are available here.

LISTEN: Zurich 'Small Wars' EP

Last night saw the first of a few shows this week, running the door for local guys Zurich (previously The Scholars) at The Library. The band are 'an English rock band from Oxford who play widescreen post-punk rock with a nod to the darker side of 80s electronic pop', and to prepare for the show, I dug up the internet for some of their music and found the Small Wars EP, which they were selling at the show last night, and was released towards the end of last year. It's some seriously catchy stuff, and I'm really enjoying it - and loved the band's set last night. It's a shame that the gig, being on a Monday night, didn't pull much of a crowd, but those that were there really enjoyed it. Particularly like Nick's (of Oxgigbot Twitter fame..) comment that it was less like a gig and more like we were privileged to be watching one of the band's rehearsal! A fun night anyway - and the band were lovely guys too! Take a listen to the EP below...

The band are on tour for the rest of April as well as a couple of festival appearances at the beginning of May. Dates, and information on purchasing the above EP, on their site here.

LISTEN: Homeplanetearth release new single 'Find Me'

I've been super busy so have only just had chance to finally take a proper listen to this track from Oxfordshire band homeplanetearth (made up of Josephine Panton, Thomas Panton, Jack Cowley, George Purnell and Gregory Holmes). Their second single, Find Me, the follow up to the brilliant Phat Phil, was released on Friday and discusses 'the significance of overcoming addiction.'

It's pretty catchy, and if you fancy hearing it live, the band play a big show headlining upstairs at the O2 Academy in Oxford later in the year on 16th September, with Roberto y Juan and Little Red supporting, tickets available here for £6.

homeplanetearth at The Bullingdon supporting Bel Esprit in February
You can download the track from the band's Bandcamp for the bargain price of 59p here. (Bargains galore!!!)

Sunday 17 April 2016

LIVE: Record Store Day/Folk Weekend Oxford (16/17 April)

I've had a busy couple of days of music this weekend - which kicked off with queueing early at Truck Store in Oxford for Record Store Day 2016. Although someone pushed in front of me in the doorway and had the Public Service Broadcasting 7" that I wanted, all was good as after a frantic search I found a copy, and got that, as well as the Mumford & Sons and Foals 7"s, Hozier 12" EP and the Communion Music compilation. After a quick trip back to my flat, I popped into town for an early Count Drachma set in the peaceful confines of Blackwells Book Shop. A project fronted by Oli Steadman, bassist of Stornoway, it's a return to his South African roots, performing in Zulu and Xhosa (apart from a Paul Simon I Know What I Know cover) and I am really interested in the music - and loved the set, especially the high kicks!

Count Drachma in Blackwells

Once wasn't enough and I saw Count Drachma for a second time in the early evening, at the Oxford Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre. The sets were both part of Oxford's Folk Weekend (a weekend where lots of morris dancers and folk lovers descend upon the city) - and to get into the set for free I stewarded afterwards at a French dance. Everyone seemed to be having a great time and I met a lot of lovely people (apart from one random drunk guy who managed to cause trouble for a lot of people, but didn't manage to spoil the evening!)
French ball at Folk Weekend, with the band playing amongst the dancing to let the crew clear the stage as everyone wanted to carry on past the end time!
This afternoon, Truck Store carried on their RSD celebrations with a couple of great artists. The first of which was Jonny Payne, who I saw a couple of months ago with his band (Jonny Payne & The Thunder), so was cool to see his solo set. Second up were local legends Neverlnd, minus a full drum kit (but the keyboard 'impersonating' a drum kit sounded great), playing a few new tracks alongside popular track Cutout in a stripped back style.
Jonny Payne at Truck Store

Neverlnd at Truck Store

Both artists have Oxford shows coming up - Jonny Payne & The Thunder play The Library on the 28th April (details here), I sadly can't make it to that one but Jonny smashed his last show there when I was working on the door! Neverlnd play a show for Tigmus at the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building this Friday, 22nd April, tickets available here

Wednesday 13 April 2016

GIG NEWS: Jack Savoretti at Hammersmith Apollo (9th Nov)

The best kind of news is a Jack Savoretti show announcement... he continues to grow more and more popular so I'm feeling very lucky to have grabbed tickets in the pre-sale for his London Eventim Apollo show on 9th November. It's a long time to wait but will be worth it entirely, as Jack and his band are superb live, and it doubles up as a birthday present as the gig falls on my mum's birthday - perfect timing!

As if you need persuasion, or if you're oblivious to Jack's talent, here's a new live video from the Written In Scars tour, of the track Home, which is being released as a single in May. 

The venue has a pre-sale tomorrow from 9am through this link and general sale will be Friday at 9am. Hugely recommend grabbing a ticket and doing it quickly if you plan to - there will be a lot of demand. The Cadogan Hall show last month and his upcoming summer show at Somerset House both sold out very quickly!

Tuesday 12 April 2016

LIVE: Jack Garratt at O2 Academy Oxford (11/4/16)

Yesterday I was feeling sorry for myself having not bought a ticket to see Jack Garratt at O2 Academy Oxford as the show was sold out and I've been really loving his debut record Phase, and enjoyed his support set when I saw Mumford & Sons back in November. In a sudden turn of events, I noticed Jack was offering a pair of tickets on Twitter, and all you needed to do was tweet him your favourite Looney Tunes gif. So I found a gif, tweeted, and half an hour later Jack replied saying I'd won the tickets. It was a superb evening, Jack is a multi-instrumentalist and an absolute machine (who, much to his surprise, didn't die half way through the set considering how warm it was in the venue), and he is so deserving of all the awards he received last year (BBC Introducing Artist of the Year, Brits' Critics' Choice, BBC Sound of 2016). I hadn't listened to him much before I saw him in November, but loved this song on the night and it is one of my favourite tracks on the record.

I was surprised, considering how much love was in the room for him, and that the show had been sold out for a while, that only me and a couple of other people stuck around to try and meet him. He took a while to come out but was really friendly when he did and I was glad to get the opportunity to thank him for the free tickets in person. He's certainly set for huge things, so the chance to see him in a venue of this size won't come around for much longer, as well as the chance to meet him after shows!

I definitely recommend getting along to one of his shows if you can, the current tour is almost over and the remaining dates are sold out, but he's touring again in November (dates/tickets here) as well a bunch of festivals including Glastonbury, Reading/Leeds, T In The Park, Lovebox and his first festival headline slot at Barn On The Farm

Sunday 10 April 2016

WATCH: Little Brother Eli perform 'Gold' for Sofar Sounds

After moving back to Oxford on Friday, last night I went to my first gig for just over two weeks (the longest gap between gigs since my first of the year, I think!) - and caught Little Brother Eli playing an acoustic set at The Bullingdon for Oxfam. I owe discovering them partly to Oxford Sofar Sounds and partly to Tigmus, and in my opinion, they're one of the best local bands at the minute - and certainly one of my favourites. Their unique musical style and the energy that lead singer, Alex, puts into performances, makes their sets really enjoyable - and he puts as much into acoustic sets (such as last night, and when I saw them playing at Sofar Sounds Oxford last year) as full band electric sets. Loving this new video of the band from Sofar in London, which has gained over 1000 views in just a few days!

Go here to read my post about the recent album announcement - it's called Cold Tales and is out on 24th June, and they'll be back at The Bullingdon on 25th June to launch it. Gutted I didn't take cash to the show last night as they actually had copies of the album for sale... love grabbing records at shows before their release date, especially over 2 months before!

Friday 8 April 2016

LISTEN: Neverlnd - 'We Don't Talk Like We Used To'

It's surprisingly already been a month since Neverlnd announced that they'd got a new name (previously Balloon Ascents) and planned to release a free track each month. The second of these tracks, We Don't Talk Like We Used To, is online now and available to download. They're one of the most exciting local Oxford bands, in my opinion - and that of a few others, too, as they've recently been announced to be playing the Uncommon Stage at new festival Common People Oxford. The line-up for the stage has been handpicked by Nightshift Magazine and includes other great local acts such as Little Brother Eli, Esther Joy Lane and Cameron A.G. 

As well as the festival, the band have a headline show at Jacqueline du Pré Music Building for Tigmus on 22nd April. Americana duo Lewis & Leigh have just been announced as support for the show, tickets are available online here, and if you book by Sunday 10th you'll get a free signed poster!

Tuesday 5 April 2016

PREVIEW: James Walker - 'Modern Medicine'

If you're from Oxford, you might recognise James Walker from the Adam Barnes band, as he plays keys for Adam, having just been on a European tour with him. He's also a vlogger, has over a thousand subscribers and recently celebrated his 1st anniversary on Youtube, you can see his vlogs here. Now - he's venturing into the world of solo music, and his debut EP, Modern Medicine, is being released by Wild Native Records on 11th April.

EP artwork for Modern Medicine
I've been sent a link to listen to the EP before next week - and listen I have, three times in a row... The EP is a beautiful collection of tracks, well produced and performed, a stunning first release from James that I'm really impressed by. Having only heard James sing backing vocals and play keyboard for Adam, I wasn't sure what to expect but anything that I did expect has been surpassed. If you're a fan of stripped back acoustic music then the EP is for you, for sure, but the EP is so much more than that - beautifully hitting the mark between intimate acoustic music and a much bigger sound, particularly in the latter half of the title track, Modern Medicine. A highlight for me is the slightly more upbeat Right Person Wrong Time with some great intricate guitar playing, but I'm a big fan of the whole EP and heartily recommend a listen next Monday when it's released!  

My photo of James, playing with Adam Barnes at Sofar Sounds Oxford last year
James heads out on a tour with Kira and August Is Ours in April and May with a few dates in the UK and several further afield in Germany and the Netherlands.

Monday 4 April 2016

ALBUM NEWS: Bear's Den & Tom Odell announce new records

Exciting news today with two album announcements from a couple of artists who I'm a big fan of. The follow up to their beautiful debut record, Bear's Den release Red Earth & Pouring Rain on July 22nd, and there's a trailer below. Of the record, the guys say 'To say we are VERY excited is an understatement. In fact there's no way of overstating how excited we are. We are excited.' So - maybe we should get excited too?! It's been produced by Ian Grimble who produced the debut record, Islands, and the band have announced a bunch of tour dates for October/November across Europe. 

The new album (on signed CD and vinyl, digital and a bunch of bundle options) is available to pre-order from the band's site here, where you can also find links to the ticket pre-sale. 

Second piece of news - Tom Odell is releasing Wrong Crowd, the follow up to his 2013 record Long Way Down, on June 10th. Hopefully the record will be better than the album cover... which, in my opinion, looks a little like someone might make for a GCSE project! The video for the title track premiered today and you can watch that below. The track is a positive indication for what is to come from the rest of the record, with enough of the style that we've come to love Tom for, but seemingly heading in a slightly more pop-y, upbeat direction - but that might just be the reason it's the lead track for the record, with it's catchy beat and repetitive lyrics meaning it'll probably be all over the radio for the coming weeks!

You can pre-order the record digitally, on signed CD and vinyl, and cassette (!) from Tom's site here, and if you pre-order you'll be given pre-sale access to his tour, as well as a chance to see him at Islington Assembly Hall.

WATCH: Two Door Cinema Club - 'Next Year'

I don't really need an excuse to post a 2012 session video from Two Door Cinema Club, but their tweet "Album 3. Finished." is a pretty great one. 

Even if you don't know the band by name, there's little chance you haven't heard them before, with their first record, Tourist History (released way back in 2010 - what?!) featuring such tracks as Undercover MartynWhat You Know, This Is The Life and I Can Talk. It's one of those timeless summer-y albums that can always put a smile on my face. The second record, released two years later, didn't seem to get as much recognition, but the band have been working away on their third record and, according to their Twitter, it's ready. Hopefully there will be a new track released soon, and when the release date is announced I'll be sure to post it on here!

The band have already confirmed slots at Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds in the UK, as well as various other festivals further afield, and a new album means a tour. I'm pretty keen to check them out live, as a few friends have spoken to me about seeing them live before, half seem to think they were great live, and the other half were left unimpressed, so I'd like to make up my own mind! Either way I'm looking forward to some more studio recordings from the band! 

Sunday 3 April 2016

WATCH: Band Of Skulls - 'Killer'

Check out the video for Killer, the first track to be taken from the new Band Of Skulls record, By Default. Directed by Yonatan Weisberg, the video is a fitting support for the track, which has been supported by BBC Radio 1 (also, you can't go wrong with 240,000 likes on the band's Facebook page!) 

The record is due to be released on May 27th through BMG Recordings, produced by Gil Norton (Foo Fighters, Pixies) and recorded at Rockfield Studios. The band have been described to be at the best form of their career, 'more engaged and focused than they've ever been'. The record represents a step back for the band from their heavy touring schedule, but they're back at it at the end of April, playing warm-up gigs in Guildford and Stoke, headline shows in London, Paris and Amsterdam, and a variety of festivals, including Glastonbury. 
Source: Andy Cotterill
The dates are as follows: 

April 28th - Boiler Room, Guildford (SOLD OUT)
April 29th - Sugarmill, Stoke
April 30th - Live at Leeds
May 1st - Stag & Dagger, Glasgow
May 19th - Electric Ballroom, London (SOLD OUT)
May 20th - The Great Escape, Brighton
May 24th - Le Trabendo, Paris
May 25th - Paradiso, Amsterdam
May 28th - Soundcity, Liverpool
June 4th - Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff (supporting Stereophonics alongside The Vaccines)
June 22-26th - Glastonbury Festival
July 14th - Dour Festival, Belgium
July 16th - Out Of The Woods Festival, Austria
July 22nd - Secret Garden Party, Huntingdon
July 29th - Leopallooza Festival, Cornwall
July 31st - Kendal Calling Festival, Kendal
August 5th - Forgotten Fields Festival, Tunbridge Wells

You can pre-order the new album, By Default, on iTunes here, as well as from Amazon on CD and vinyl

Saturday 2 April 2016

LISTEN: Howland - 'Callout/Slow Down'

If you look at Howland's Facebook page, specifically the genre section, it reads "Our jobs were boring so we made a garage indie band." Seems as good a reason as any, and the four piece band from Brighton have just released their debut single, and are embarking on a tour, starting tonight with a hometown show at Brighton's Green Door Store. 

Howland are Tyler Adams (rhythm guitar, vocals), Lee Vincent (lead guitar), Tim Beavis (bass guitar) and Jake Saunders (drums) and they're no strangers to live shows, having supported the likes of Fickle FriendsLittle Comets and Foals! This debut single, Callout/Slow Down is certainly something for them to be proud of. The music is indie-rock with a fairly summer-y vibe (nice with the weather picking up!) and is reflective, partially, of the likes of The Wombats and The Maccabees. If you read my recent posts about Bel Esprit, they've got a similar sound - and Howland  actually supported Bel Esprit at their Southampton Tigmus gig at the start of the year.

Howland play a mini tour promoting the single this month, dates are as follows:

2nd April - Green Door Store, Brighton
5th April - The Joiners, Southampton (supporting High Tyde)
8th April - Barfly, Camden (playing Jubilee Club)
22nd April - Sanctuary, Basingstoke
29th April - Thorngate Halls, Portsmouth (supporting VYNCE)

If you like what you're hearing on the Soundcloud links above, you can download the single on iTunes here.

WATCH: Ryan O'Reilly releases lyric video for 'The Northern Line'

With a week before I return to Oxford, and having been fairly productive writing an essay over the last few days, I thought I'd catch up with some blogging - and wanted to share the new lyric video for the title track of the new Ryan O'Reilly album, The Northern Line. If you're from London or, like my, visit quite a bit, the tube-related lyrics might resonate with you, but the track is worth a listen either way. I'm particularly fond of the strings towards the latter half of the track, and I'm a big fan of the tone of Ryan's voice - glad to have seem him live twice in February supporting King Charles and will definitely be looking out for another show. 

The new album, The Northern Line, is due to be released on 6th May, and you can preorder it digitally from Amazon here.