Friday 30 November 2018

LISTEN: Little Brother Eli - 'Oops'

Little Brother Eli have had a pretty busy year but they're not slowing down just yet... they've just shared their fifth single of the year - Oops. Following up Stop Pretending, Wait For You, Our Kind Of Love and Tooth the track is true to LBE form - it's full of catchy pop hooks, shows off lead singer Alex Grew's unique vocals and makes use of the band's incredibly tight harmonies, which have been sharpened over the past couple of years across tons of acoustic performances, including many Sofar Sounds shows! Following up a show at London's O2 Islington last week, they're launching the track with a hometown show at O2 Academy Oxford tonight - grab tickets for the show here.

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Thursday 29 November 2018

WATCH: Franc Moody - 'Dopamine (Live)'

Franc Moody are one of my favourite live discoveries of the year. They supported at, coincidentally, one of my favourite gigs of the year, when Friendly Fires returned to the live stage with a show at O2 Academy Brixton back in April. As Friendly Fires have been a huge favourite of mine for years I had very high expectations for the show, and really loved their support set and was particularly impressed with just how well they fit alongside Friendly Fires. Support act choosing done very well. I've since been enjoying their Dance Moves EP a lot, and they've just shared a live video for the track Dopamine, which features one of the funkiest bass lines I've heard all year. Check out the video below, and if you want to catch them live, they're headlining London's Heaven on 17th April, tickets here.

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Wednesday 28 November 2018

TOUR NEWS: Low Island 'In Person' tour (March 2019)

The ever talented chaps Low Island have announced what I am pretty sure is their biggest run of UK shows to date for March 2019! The shows come in support of a new single due early in the year, with the tour taking in the likes of Southampton, Liverpool, Brighton, Nottingham, Reading and lots more, as well as a Low Island & Friends show at the Hackney Show Rooms in London. Pre-sale for the shows starts today with tickets going on general sale on Friday, 30th November. To whet your appetites and show you just how brilliant a Low Island live show here, I'm sharing this video of the brilliant track Too Young once again. Adore this.

Full dates: Boileroom, Guildford (12th March); Joiners, Southampton (13th); Cookie, Leicester (14th); Phase One, Liverpool (15th); Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds (16th); Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham (20th); Green Door Store, Brighton (21st); Hackney Show Rooms, London (22nd); Thekla, Bristol (26th); Soup Kitchen, Manchester (27th); Bodega, Nottingham (28th); South Street Art Centre, Reading (29th); Broadcast, Glasgow (3rd April); Think Tank?, Newcastle (4th). Tickets here!

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Tuesday 27 November 2018

WATCH: Cosmo Sheldrake - 'Pliocene'

It is testament to the weird and wonderful world of Cosmo Sheldrake's music that the idea of him performing a track live in a hot air balloon whilst it is in flight over Barcelona seems (almost) normal. Adding to this, apart from Cosmo's vocals, the track is made up almost exclusively of recordings of animals from ecosystems which are endangered. It is so typically Cosmo and I adore it. The track is Pliocene, one of my favourites from his record The Much Much How How & I and the video is more than worth a watch!

As Cosmo himself describes, "Pliocene is a song about deep time and extinction." "Many of the sounds that make up the tune are recordings of animals from endangered ecosystems. The beat is primary made using recordings of fish that the American military made during the cold war. The kick drum is an Oyster toad fish, and the snare a Buck toothed Parrot fish, both fish that are commonly found in coral reefs. And the main melodic sound is a recording of a raven recorded by the soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause in Algonquin national park. Bernie Krause has spent the last fifty years recording sounds from all over the world, many of the inhabitants of the ecosystems he has recorded are now extinct or endangered. The bass is made of a recording of a pig from a city farm in London." 

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Monday 26 November 2018

ALBUM NEWS: Jack Savoretti - 'Singing To Strangers'

Incredibly excited about this one! I've been a big fan of Jack Savoretti since hearing his third studio album Before The Storm back in 2012, and have loved watching his career blossom. In recent years, he's released two brilliant records, Written In Scars and Sleep No More, given several brilliant TV performances, supported the likes of James and John Legend on tour and played his own incredible live shows, touring the UK and further afield with his wonderful live band. His passion for music is infectious, and makes being a fan of his genuinely rewarding.

Exciting news - he's just announced that his sixth studio record Singing To Strangers is due for release on 22nd March. Talking about the title of the record, Jack explains "that's my job: I sing to strangers. That's what I've spent most of my life doing. Singing to friends and family and fans; they're already onside, so you can, to some extent sing anything. Strangers need convincing, touching, connection." 

Produced by Cam Blackwood (George Ezra, London Grammar) and recorded in Ennio Morricone's studio in Rome this Summer, the record features Jack's live band, who he is taking on tour in April across Europe before heading back to the UK for a few shows. The tour culminates in a HUGE show at SSE Wembley Arena, which I absolutely can not wait for. I couldn't be prouder of the trajectory he's taking. Earlier this year, Jack featured on a duet alongside none other than pop legend Kylie MinogueMusic's Too Sad Without You is the closing track of her latest record - a live version from Venice features on Jack's upcoming record, check that out below! Grab tour tickets and pre-order Singing To Strangers in various formats, as well as signed copies, through Jack's website here.

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Wednesday 21 November 2018

LISTEN: Boat To Row - 'Spanish Moss'

Of all the musicians I had the pleasure of meeting while living in Oxford and working for Tigmus, running the door for various shows around the city, notably one of the loveliest was Michael of Boat To Row, who was playing a solo set for us. As far as I recall, he had driven from Birmingham especially for the show, and wasn't phased by a small crowd, delivering a beautiful set. I caught the full band playing a Sofar Sounds Oxford show a few months later in a bicycle café (where I in fact borrowed their film camera and took this rather snazzy shot of them between tracks) and loved their set. Their 2015 debut record I Found You Here is beautiful - I particularly love the track Handsome Beats

Brilliant  news! They're back with a new track and a new record is imminent. Spanish Moss is taken from Rivers That Flow In Circles, due for release in early 2019. To help with the final touches, the band have set up a Pledge Music campaign to take pre-orders for the record, offering the likes of tea towels, tote bags, house gigs and cover songs in return for pledges. Take a listen to the track below and show your support for the campaign here.

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Friday 16 November 2018

LISTEN: Moscow Apartment - 'Orange'

It's Mumford & Sons album release day finally! I can't wait to take my first listen.... With that in mind, I'm sharing some more indie folk in the shape of Orange from the Toronto based duo Moscow Apartment. Since finding the track in my inbox a couple of weeks back, I instantly added it to my playlists and desperately wanted to share it here. Making music in the same vein of bands like First Aid Kit, the duo is made up of multi-instrumentalists Brighid Fry and Pascale Padilla, who are ridiculously talented at just 15 and 16 years old. They describe the track as being about the "weird twilight-zone feeling that happens sometimes at sunset - when things suddenly don't feel read, like everything around you is a movie." Relatable - tick. They won the Canadian Songwriting Competition in the under 18 category with a demo of the track. Keep an ear out as they're currently working on their second EP!

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Thursday 15 November 2018

WATCH: Pêtr Aleksänder - 'A Walk On The Seabed'

It was an honour to premiere a video for the duo Pêtr Aleksänder last year, and I've loved hearing their 'reimaginings' of tracks by Geowulf, Banfi and Interpol this year - but I'm particularly pleased to see that they are back with some new music of their own, their first release of the year! A Walk On The Seabed is the first track from their upcoming debut album, and its release is joined by a particularly stunning music video, taking footage from Italian BAFTA winning filmmaker Martina Amati's UNDER series. A genuinely sublime piece of art. If you like what you're hearing I implore you to take a listen to the rest of their work here - and await album news!

Follow Pêtr Aleksänder - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 12 November 2018

WATCH: Cosmo Sheldrake - 'Hocking' (Live)

Watching this latest video offering from Cosmo Sheldrake I've settled upon my new favourite word to describe the feeling of listening to his music... invigorating.

He recently released a slightly reworked version of the tune Hocking, taken from his debut album The Much Much How How & I (which is pretty marvellous, if you were wondering) and shared a live video of the track from his headline show at Village Underground earlier this year. I missed the show (because I was busy catching Friendly Fires down in Brixton, a reasonable excuse...) and find myself pretty envious of those who were there to catch the performance firsthand. The clip shows Cosmo layering vocals and audio samples before introducing some drummers and brass players into the mix. Recorded from the stage, it's easy to see just how much energy and passion Cosmo pours into the performance, particularly in a rather endearing moment three minutes in where he restarts the brass players twice in order to get the track just right.

If you like what you're seeing and hearing (of which I've no doubt!) then you can catch Cosmo live across the UK later this month, with a show at London's EartH Hackney as well as dates in Bristol, Leeds, Manchester and Brighton. He's also just been announced for the Irregular Folks Christmas show at St Barnabas Church in Oxford alongside Sephine Llo, a beautiful venue for some beautiful live music! Find more info about the Oxford date here, and check out the other dates here.

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Friday 9 November 2018

WATCH: Gengahr - 'Atlas Please'

Gengahr have been a stand-out band for me this year. Released back in February, their second album Where Wildness Grows is one of my favourite albums of the year, and it has since been followed by a live album. Their headline set for So Young at The Great Escape was the pinnacle of one of my most memorable evenings of discovery through live music this year (and probably, ever) where I managed to catch Tamino, Sam Fender, Superorganism and Dizzy in various Brighton venues before staying out for what is almost certainly the latest (or should that be earliest?) live performance music I've watched. Nothing, not even a slightly sleep-inducing 1am stage time, was going to stop me catching the band.

Not content with releasing two full length albums in a year, the band shared the single Atlas Please a couple of months ago. They've just shared a video for the track, with the slightly ominous description "We almost died making this video. Literally buried ourselves in poisonous earth for your entertainment." With that kind of introduction, it would be rude not to check it out, right?

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Thursday 8 November 2018

WATCH: Catgod - 'Sleep In'

My beautiful friends Catgod have shared their latest single Sleep In, just the right level of wonderful to leave me feeling a little homesick for their hometown, and my second home, Oxford, where we've had many an evening spent enjoying live music or eating brownies (never simultaneously, though that does sound pretty glorious.) Hearing the track for the first time while re-reading The Hobbit, it struck me that with its flute parts and soothing acoustic guitar, the track would fit perfectly in a Tolkien film adaptation - never a bad thing. As ever, Cat and Robin's vocals compliment one another perfectly in the song, but the closing flute solo really does steal the show for me. Sublime work!

They've filmed their first ever music video for the track, directed and edited by talented Oxford-based photographer Milly Cope, who has worked on several photoshoots with the band in the past. Check out some of her work here! It's a lo-fi, hazy video which perfectly matches the track and (as is always a sign of a brilliant music video) even features a cute dog. 10/10 from me!

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Monday 5 November 2018

LISTEN: Strong Asian Mothers - 'All I Do'

It has been sitting on my list of tracks to write about for a couple of months, which usually means a track will disappear into the blogging abyss, but I knew I couldn't let this one slide - better late than never! London's Strong Asian Mothers returned with their latest single All I Do back in September. On first listen, the sound is a little darker than normal, contrasting with the almost amusing innocence of the refrain "All I do is drink... tap water from the kitchen sink." Their only new music of 2018, for me it's on another level to their previous releases, showing a band who are taking their time to create something truly worth sharing with their fans. Since the release the track has been added to the BBC Radio 6 Music playlist, making its way from the C-list to their A-list in a couple of weeks, and deservedly so. Get listening!

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Thursday 1 November 2018

WATCH: Banfi - 'If Not For You' (acoustic)

Looking for some live acoustic kitchen session goodness on your Thursday morning? A very specific request, but you're in luck... Banfi have shared this session of their latest single If Not For You and it's all kinds of lovely. Complete with a melodica, tight harmonies and even a cat, its worth a watch! They're out on tour in Europe at the moment, with a run of UK shows coming up this month, including London's Moth Club on 18th November. Check out the full dates and grab tickets on their website here!

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