Friday 28 September 2018

LISTEN: Swimming Girls - 'Beneath You'

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

Follow Swimming Girls - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 27 September 2018

TRACK PREMIERE: Little Brother Eli - 'Stop Pretending'

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

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

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

Tuesday 25 September 2018

LISTEN: Willie J Healey - '666 Kill'

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

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

Follow Willie J Healey - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 24 September 2018

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

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

Follow Low Island - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 21 September 2018

LISTEN: Mumford & Sons - 'Guiding Light'

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Mumford & Sons - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 20 September 2018

LISTEN: Indoor Pets - 'Hi'

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

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

Follow Indoor Pets - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 17 September 2018

LISTEN: Cosmo Sheldrake - 'Run Rings Right Wrongs'

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

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

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

Follow Cosmo Sheldrake - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 14 September 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Novo Amor - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 11 September 2018

LISTEN: Banfi - 'If Not For You'

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

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

Follow Banfi Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 10 September 2018

WATCH: Parcels - 'Lightenup'

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

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

Follow Parcels - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Saturday 8 September 2018

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

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

Follow Ten Tonnes - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 7 September 2018

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

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

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

Follow Fleet Foxes - Facebook | Instagram.

Thursday 6 September 2018

LISTEN: Tempesst - 'Doomsday' EP

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

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

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

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

Follow Tempesst - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 5 September 2018

LISTEN: Gengahr - 'Atlas Please'

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

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

Follow Gengahr - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 3 September 2018

LISTEN: Holly Redford Jones - 'Big Blue Sky'

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

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

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

Follow Holly Redford Jones - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.