Wednesday 28 February 2018

WATCH: Everything Everything - 'Breadwinner'

It's been just over six months since Everything Everything released A Fever Dream, by far one of my favourite records of 2017. They're kicking off a UK tour to promote the record tonight, and have treated fans to a surprise EP, entitled A Deeper Sea. Alongside a pretty cool remix of Ivory Tower from Tom Vek, and their cover of Don't Let It Bring You Down recorded at a BBC Maida Vale session last year, there are two brand new tunes, The Mariana and Breadwinner. Check out Breadwinner below - the lyrics, track and video are all as unusual as each other, and I'd expect no less from the guys. The Mariana is pretty beautiful too - check out the full EP on Spotify here.

Follow Everything Everything online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 27 February 2018

LIVE: Sivu at King's Place (15/2/18)

This write-up has been a little while coming, but I just had to talk about the stunning Sivu gig I went to a couple of weeks ago at King's Place. I did a little calendar digging before the show and worked out that I hadn't been to a gig in nearly two months, the longest gap between shows since before I started university in 2014. I was particularly excited because of this, and there was probably more than a little extra pressure for it to be a special night, and he delivered in bucket loads.

Sivu has released some of my favourite music of the last few years between his recent record Sweet Sweet Silent and 2014 debut Something On High, which very quickly became an album of the year for me at the time, and it's always a joy to catch him playing live. He's just been on a tour supporting John Smith around the UK, and took time in between shows to play this one-off headline show in London (with a string quartet, no less!) Not only was he performing with an all-female quartet, but both support acts were female. It feels almost ridiculous that this is something that strikes me as unusual or worthy of praise, but with the intensity of male-dominated line-ups both at gigs and festivals, this was incredibly refreshing.

Gender aside, the whole line-up was magical. First up was Malena Zavala, armed with an electric guitar and delivering some really dreamy, soothing tunes - her single Could You Stay is below, taken from upcoming debut album Aliso. Next, before Sivu took to the stage, Imogen. Barely able to mask her excitement at playing the venue's Steinway piano, she had another reason to be pretty excited - this was her first live show since having surgery last year. If there were any nerves it certainly didn't show, her vocals were incredibly powerful and her songs moving - there's an EP coming out soon, so look out for that!

Once it was time for Sivu to take the stage I felt as if I'd already got my money's worth for the show - always an impressive and gratifying thought. It turns out it could only continue to get better, as he delivered a set with The Mangan Quartet (led by Kirsty Mangan, who composed all the string parts for both of his records) beautifully recreating tracks from both records. Particular highlights for me were the non-album track Cold Hands and Sleep from the first record - both are big favourites of mine, but there really weren't any weak links in the set, every track had clearly been so carefully rehearsed, and the strings worked so perfectly. Throughout the set, it was clear that Sivu was humbly overwhelmed by both the turnout and the incredibly positive response to each song, writing on Twitter the morning after that it was "my favourite show ever" - a fairly positive review, I reckon! It truly was something special.

Follow Sivu online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 26 February 2018

WATCH: Ady Suleiman - 'Need Somebody To Love'

Adore this guy AND I'm a total sucker for a one-shot music video so this one is pretty perfect, I reckon. It's just a couple of weeks until Ady Suleiman finally releases his debut album Memories into the world (9th March) and he's just shared a new version of his total tune Need Somebody To Love with a cracking music video to boot. For some reason, the video is cut pretty suddenly three minutes into the track, but it's totally worth checking out the full five minutes here. I'm also loving this acoustic version of the track which he shared recently. I can't wait to hear the record - I'm constantly blown away by Ady's voice, it's beautiful and unique, and I always get an overwhelming sense of the passion he pours into every track and live session.

Follow Ady Suleiman online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 23 February 2018

WATCH: Park Hotel - 'Good People Bad Dreams'

A new Park Hotel track is certainly a cause for celebration! I was really impressed by their single Going West last year, so much so that it made it's way into my thirty top tracks of the year (in a handy Spotify playlist here). New tune Good People Bad Dreams is catchy, fun and filled with all the disco vibes you need for the weekend right from the first few notes. Check it out with this fun hand-drawn lyric video...

If you like what you're hearing, Park Hotel headline a show at Moth Club on Tuesday (27th Feb) for the NME Awards tour. They'll be playing alongside The Modern Strangers and Ryder The Eagle - find out more here!

Follow Park Hotel online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 21 February 2018

LISTEN: Joe Hicks - 'Rest Your Head'

I've just realised that I've been to gigs on the 21st of February in 2015 (a Sofar Sounds Oxford show with Rachel Sermanni, Tom Terrell, Twin Hidden, Benedict Benjamin and Monument Valley), 2016 (Eliza & The Bear) and 2017 (Jack Savoretti playing an intimate acoustic show for War Child.) Not one to ruin a pattern, I'm looking forward to seeing Adam Barnes tonight at the launch of his brand new record Vacancy At Nasa at St Pancras Old Church. As if Adam and the special venue weren't enough for one evening, there's Christof and Joe Hicks in support - it should be a beautiful, if heartbreaking, evening. Who doesn't love sad acoustic/folk songs? In fact, I recently set up a playlist for my favourite acoustic songs this year!

I was first introduced to Joe Hicks as Adam's guitarist/backing vocalist back at one of the first gigs I went to while I was at uni, while volunteering at the local Oxjam Festival in October 2014. He's been releasing solo music for a year or so now and tonight is the first opportunity I've had to catch him playing live and I'm really looking forward to it! He recently shared his first new music of the year in the shape of the single Rest Your Head, a track written about a friend's struggle with depression. While the subject matter is sad, with lines like "you've gotta see you can fight this", "come and rest your head on me, if you're feeling low" and "I'll do anything if I see the signs" Joe has managed to maintain a pretty uplifting, empowering and inspirational message in the track. It's an incredibly moving tune and more than worth a listen.

Follow Joe Hicks online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

LISTEN: Magique - 'Eventually'

Magique graced us with a new single last week, which is currently sounding great on my 2018 playlist alongside new ones from the likes of Park Hotel, Banfi, The Wombats and Geowulf (listen/follow here.) The tune is a little dreamy, more than a little magical and delivering some long awaited Summer vibes - it's also making me think of the duo All Tvvins too, sonically.

Writing online, the Leicester-based artist said that "this has been my baby for the past year, I'm setting it free and now it's yours! Look after it, get to know it and keep it right by your side. This track means the absolute world to me, so I hope it can become the soundtrack of some important/fun/sad/loving times for you too." 

I caught Magique playing a brilliant opening set for Willie J Healey last May at a show which was a couple of days after handing in my last assignment for university, so quite a memorable night! He's opening for Geowulf at their album launch show a week today at The Lexington (info/tickets here) - their debut record Great Big Blue is sounding completely spellbinding, so I'm sure that will be a really special evening!

Follow Magique online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 20 February 2018

LISTEN: Fizzy Blood - 'CFO'

Short and sweet, that's the new Fizzy Blood single. The Leeds quintet caught my attention with tunes ADHD and Summer Of Luv last year, and they're back with a corker of a new single, CFO, just before heading on their first headline tour, fresh from touring with Spring King

Guitarist Paul Howells explains that, broadly speaking, the track "is a warning about pushing people away who only had your best interests at heart. It's easy to lose sight of things when you're mired down in a single minded pursuit. So what I'm trying to say is, stop and smell the roses every once in a while, you'll thank yourself later." The band worked and lived with the producer Alex Newport in Brighton while making the track, describing it as an "incredible experience" where they were able to "experiment with sounds and textures and then glue it all together" resulting in them creating what they think are some of the best songs they have so far - I can't wait to hear more!

You can (and should) catch Fizzy Blood on tour from the 22nd to 28th of February in Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds, Birmingham and London. Support comes from fellow Leeds band Forever Cult - grab your tickets here!

Follow Fizzy Blood online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

WATCH: Swimming Girls - 'Back Of Your Car'

Bristol dream pop four-piece Swimming Girls treated us recently to their new single, the utterly catchy Back Of Your Car. The track is their third single and I can't help but assume that this could be a pretty exciting year for the band if they keep releasing tunes as good as this! The track itself is upbeat, almost summery, a mirror of its dark and mysterious video, directed by Aidan Zamiri. Watch that below - if you like what you're hearing, you can catch the band supporting Fickle Friends on a few of their upcoming tour dates in Norwich, Lincoln, Portsmouth and Bath - tickets here.

Follow Swimming Girls online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 19 February 2018

LISTEN: Banfi - 'Never Really Cared'

I'm so glad that my favourite chaps Banfi are back! Ahead of touring the UK and Europe in March they've just released their first piece of new music for 2018. A live favourite of mine, Never Really Cared is atmospheric, building from a slow start to some powerful (and frankly heartbreaking) vocals from frontman Joe. The track is taken from their upcoming The Jack Powell EP, due for release on the 16th March - this will be the band's first EP, a big cause for celebration if you ask me! Listen below, and if you're enjoying the track, check out this superb live session performed for Sofar Sounds Nottingham in March 2017 - I love it!

Catch Banfi on tour in March - after a few Europe dates they're heading to Edinburgh, Manchester and Bristol before finishing up at London's Oslo Hackney on 23rd March. Support on the UK dates comes from Mummy (check them out here) and you can grab your tickets here.

Follow Banfi online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Saturday 17 February 2018

WATCH: The Vaccines - ‘Nightclub’

They've been a pretty constant favourite of mine since the release of their first record in 2011 and I'm more than a little bit glad to have the total heroes The Vaccines back releasing new music. Now three records down, they are at the absolute top of their game on the campaign for their new record Combat Sports, due for release on 30th March. Lead single I Can't Quit is an instant classic and was followed by the guitar propelled Nightclub, for which they've just shared a live performance video. Take a watch below.... like I said: they're at the top of their game.

Watching the brill new video is making me a little bit more gutted that I missed out on tickets to their intimate comeback show at House Of Vans last week but I need not fear, they're out on the road in April, with a huge show at Alexandra Palace in London rounding off the 9-show run on the 14th. Full dates and ticket info here.

Follow The Vaccines online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 16 February 2018

LISTEN: Rhys Lewis - 'Bloodstains'

Scrolling my release radar playlist on Spotify last week I stumbled across this brand new Rhys Lewis tune, and was instantly drawn in by the stunning vocals. It's been in my headphones (in between the new MGMT and The Wombats records, of course) pretty much constantly since. Bloodstains follows a number of moving, powerful and lyrically impressive singles from the last year or so, and is taken from the upcoming Bad Timing EP, due for release on 23rd Feb. Rhys wrote online that the track was written "about someone who had me in the palm of their hand" - it's angry, heartfelt and heartbreaking in equal measure and I'm really digging it.

Follow Rhys Lewis - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 15 February 2018

WATCH: Indoor Pets - 'So Soon'

They're fun, they're loud, and more than a little bit dorky. Indoor Pets (fka Get Inuit) are back with new tune So Soon and a unique music video, featuring a bunch of polaroids and a tour of London's sights courtesy of frontman Jamie Glass. It'd take quite a lot to reach the heights of their absolute tune Barbiturates, but this one comes pretty close. Take a watch...

Indoor Pets head out on a UK tour this month, kicking things off this evening in Birmingham, before taking in Newcastle, Glasgow, Bristol, Manchester, Nottingham and finishing up with a show at London's Borderline on 22nd Feb. Grab your tickets here!

Follow Indoor Pets online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

LISTEN: Self Help - 'Daydreams'

I'm really missing Oxford (and particularly it's beautiful music scene) at the moment - it's hard not to when there are the likes of Self Help putting out tunes as good as this! I was first introduced to the four-piece at our Tigmus all-dayer at Tap Social Movement over Summer, where they played on a line-up with Tig faves Holly Redford Jones, Hazey Jane, Bright Works and Slate Hearts and more! Daydreams is a track "reminiscing on an old friendship" and is taken from the band's upcoming Birthdayboy EP - they're currently on tour to promote the EP, with shows coming up in London on 16th March and Oxford on the 23rd March!

Follow Self Help - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 14 February 2018

WATCH: Gengahr - 'Before Sunrise'

I've rambled a little in the past about how brilliant the people of Transgressive Records and the artists that they work with are (the likes of Foals, Johnny Flynn and Cosmo Sheldrake) and this band are no exception to that rule. Gengahr supported fellow Transgressive band Dry The River on the first show I went to upon moving to Oxford for uni in 2014 (alongside Pale Seas - what a line-up) so they hold a pretty special place in my heart, as the gig was the first I'd gone along to by myself. They released their debut album A Dream Outside back in 2015 and have recently announced it's follow-up, Where Wildness Grows, which is due for release on 9th March.

With tunes Carrion and Mallory under their belts, the London four-piece recently released the pretty magical and almost glimmering tune Before Sunrise which I totally adore. It's a really promising sign of an album that I'm pretty excited for. They've just shared the video for the track, shot by Jamie Whitby over two days in Casablanca, Morocco. Writing of the video the band note that "when [Jamie] first told us about this teenage moped gang 'The Anfa Riders' in Morocco, we knew they would be the perfect visual accompaniment to the track. Watching the footage on his return we were blown away by the joyful sense of adventure the riders possess - it's a beautifully shot piece that perfectly captures the essence of the song." I couldn't agree more!

Follow Gengahr - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

LISTEN: Bryde - 'To Be Brave'

Bryde played a superb set opening up for Banfi back in September, and I'm digging her new single To Be Brave. London-based and Pembrokeshire-born, Bryde, aka Sarah Howells, is "a girl and an electric guitar playing fierce and fragile songs [...] swaying from vulnerable to uncompromising [...] honest and furiously authentic", a description which fits the new single pretty perfectly. She's recently announced her debut album Like An Island, which you can pre-order in various formats and bundles here, and catch her on tour (with a bunch of brilliant support acts across the tour including Pip Hall and Sick Joy) across April and May (dates and tickets here.) 

Follow Bryde online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 13 February 2018

LISTEN: Cosmo Sheldrake - 'Wriggle'

One of my most eagerly awaited records of the year, Cosmo Sheldrake's The Much Much How How and I is due for release on 6th April via the legends at Transgressive Records. He's recently shared Wriggle, the latest single to be taken from the record. True to form, it is pretty immense, and features sounds including Japanese koto drums, marching band percussion, a nightingale from Kent and a host of woodwind instruments. Cosmo writes that the tune was the last to be written for the record, emerging a couple of weeks before starting the mixing process, and that "it is a song about celebrating life in the hope that it was one well lived." If you like what you're hearing, check out the album's first single Come Along and grab tickets for the album release tour here!

Follow Cosmo Sheldrake online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 12 February 2018

LISTEN: Ferris & Sylvester release 'Made In Streatham' EP

I've had quite a soft spot for boy-girl duo Ferris & Sylvester since finding their track Berlin in my blog submissions inbox over Summer. They've just followed up their The Yellow Line EP from which the track was taken with the Made In Streatham EP, featuring the lively singles Better In Yellow and London's Blues alongside three more brilliant tunes. I love the faster tunes but I'm also adoring the strings of the slower tune Loser, which repeats the refrain "I always knew you were a loser, and now you're gonna lose her." If you're after some cheerful lyrics, you're probably not in the right place - but everyone loves some sad tunes, right?

Writing of the release of the EP online, Issy and Archie wrote that "it means a great deal to us that we can share these songs with you all [...] We wrote and recorded all the songs in our South London flat with our favourite people. We had a really strong vision of what we wanted it to sound like - we wanted it to be completely real and genuine. All live instruments, no funny business. So we did it our way. [....] Thank you for coming on this journey with us. We're only just getting started!" Here here...

Listening back to the older tracks, it's already possible to hear a huge improvement between the two releases, and to pinpoint a really exciting point in a promising career. The duo have recently been nominated for a couple of awards at the Unsigned Music Awards 2018 (best folk/country act and best songwriter) among scoring various other accolades, including topping Rolling Stone Magazine's 'Top 10 New Artists You Need To Know' feature, earning a spot in BBC Introducing's 'Best of 2017' list with Better In Yellow and earning support from the likes of BBC Radio 2, BBC Introducing and various Spotify playlists. It's all looking fairly promising for a brilliant 2018 for the young duo!

Follow Ferris & Sylvester online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

WATCH: FIL BO RIVA - 'Head Sonata (Love Control)'

Very much something beautiful out of the blue, the FIL BO RIVA chaps have premiered the video for recent single Head Sonata (Love Control) this week ahead of an extensive UK and Europe tour. The band released the stunning If You're Right, It's Alright EP in 2016, cementing themselves as one of my favourite new artists - the new tune is just as great, and its video documents the last year in the studio working on their debut album, and on the road supporting Milky Chance across Europe.

Writing about the video, frontman Fil explains that "When we were touring Europe last year and were recording Head Sonata in Berlin just before then, it was the first time that we let a camera follow us around. It was a strange feeling at first but after a while, no one really noticed anymore. Playing [these shows] was a blessing and a wonderful contrast to our current time in the studio, where we've been working on our album for the last year now. I would say that the studio and the travelling were a very big part of our life last year so the video somehow shows what we've gone through. It's a very personal memory and the right pinch of Rock n Roll."

Words can't really describe how much I love these guys, so I implore you to take a watch, take a listen to more of their tunes (Franzis is a stunner) and get along to their upcoming shows - all the dates and tickets can be found here.

Follow FIL BO RIVA online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 9 February 2018

LISTEN: Little Brother Eli - 'Tooth'

Let me introduce Little Brother Eli to you - they're a four piece rock band from Oxford who deliver energetic performances and who have been impressing fans on the local scene and further afield for a couple of years now. Watching them grow as a band was one of the musical highlights of the three years I spent studying in Oxford, and I'm glad to say that they're back, following up their 2016 debut album Cold Tales with a brand new single. Tooth represents a slight change in direction for the band, experimenting with disco rhythms and electronic sounds to spruce up their sound, while maintaining what I've come to love them for - namely singer Alex's impressive vocal range.

Like what you're hearing? Catch the band at their single launch show on Feb 24th at The Wheatsheaf in Oxford - more details about the show, where Quartermelon and Lucy Vee are in support, here. Tickets are flying out so be quick!

Follow Little Brother Eli - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 8 February 2018

LISTEN: Christof van der Ven - 'Empty Handed'

"In December 2011, I moved to London to establish myself in the music scene. This proved rather difficult. [....] Since April last year, I joined Bear's Den as a session musician and have had the best time since..." Christof van der Ven is probably most well known as a touring guitarist for Bear's Den, who I've seen him playing with several times, but he's also a pretty talented artist in his own right, and has been plugging away for several years, releasing such gems as the Montreal EP of 2016.

It's been a week or so of incredibly exciting news for Christof, announcing the release of debut album Empty Handed with the premiere of it's beautifully delicate and understated title track, which you can listen to below. Alongside that news, he's been announced as main support for none other than Bon Iver (!!!) at one of their upcoming London shows on 26th Feb, the Willy Mason show at Moth Club on 24th Feb and he's also been added to the line-up for the wonderful Adam Barnes' album launch party at St Pancras Old Church on 21st Feb alongside Joe Hicks - sure to be just as lovely an evening as the other two gigs, which are sadly already sold out! Remaining tickets for Adam's launch show here - and listen to his new album Vacancy At Nasa here!

Follow Christof online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.