Saturday 28 December 2019

My albums of the year (2019)

Frankly, 2020 can't come quickly enough - partly as it is bringing us a new Bombay Bicycle Club album and I am counting down each second until that is in my life. Beyond that, there are debuts from Seramic, Rhys Lewis and White Tail Falls to expect as well as new records from the likes of The Staves, Lucy Leave and The Big Moon - there's a lot to be excited about! Before all of that, however, it's time to look back on the music that I've been listening to this year with a round-up of my favourite albums of the year. I loved doing a post like this last year - when Novo Amor narrowly missed out on the top spot to the incredible Someone Out There from Rae Morris (you can catch up on last year's post here.)

As this blog is solely contributed to by me (hi!) the list is a bit of a self-indulgent reflection of the music that I've been loving this year. It's been a bit of a rollercoaster of a year, which kicked off with me being made redundant from my job at HMV back in February. I've traded music and films for a job as a bookseller now and I'm loving it, but I still miss being surrounded by music lovers every day. It has become even more important to me to have the blog to use as an outlet to ramble about the music that I love, and what follows below is five of the records that I've fallen in love with this year, with a further list of several more brilliant albums that I wanted to shout about.

1. Maggie Rogers - Heard It In A Past Life

Could there really be anybody else but Maggie Rogers in the top spot this year? Her incredible record has come to occupy a really special place in my heart. I first started listening to Maggie towards the end of 2018 when she was announced as tour support for Mumford & Sons. From then, my love for her grew with each new track that was released, and my anticipation for the record grew. The album itself arrived in January, while HMV was in administration and in the midst of a really confusing and stressful time for me. It is no exaggeration to say that it helped to ground me and bring me much needed joy through the experience of redundancy. I spent several weeks listening to the album at least once daily, finding new aspects of it to love with each listen.

I feel that it's worth noting that Heard It In A Past Life is Maggie's debut album, and as such it is even more impressive. She has recently been nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy award, the pinnacle of a whirlwind year of touring, huge TV appearances and a whole lot of dancing like nobody (or indeed, everybody) is watching. Given that I adore the album in its entirety, I struggle to pick a favourite track from it, but a stand-out track for me from the first few listens was Burning, so why not start there and then go on to check out the entire album. You can thank me later!

2. Friendly Fires Inflorescent

Next up an in a really close second is an album that I spent a long time waiting for, worrying that it might never exist. I think even the band themselves couldn't be sure that they would make this record, but I am so incredibly glad that they did. Friendly Fires were one of my favourite bands of the early 2010s and I worried that I'd never get to see them play live when they took an extended hiatus several years ago. To my delight they returned in late 2017 and I was lucky to see their triumphant London return last April. Fast forward a year or so and the moment that I'd been waiting for... an album announcement. The wait was finally over in August, and it was more than worth it. I think that I probably annoyed some people with how much I couldn't stop talking about the album when it was released.

The record is an injection of pure joy in what is very often a pretty miserable world. Friendly Fires are back with their infectious energy, catchy hooks, incredible live shows and an album to fix all of our problems. Or possibly just to get us dancing - but that's a start. Again, I really adore the full record but my favourite track would probably have to be Silhouettes. A certified bop.

3. Bear's Den So that you might hear me

Having been a big fan of Bear's Den for a few years, one of the coolest perks of running this little blog came earlier this year when I received a link to listen to their album and review it six weeks ahead of release. It arrived in my inbox while I was searching for a new job and feeling a little lost, and the album felt like something that I could keep to myself before it was released out into the world - it really came to mean a lot. I recall describing my review at the time as being like a love letter to the band. It sounds a little cliché to say that an album tangible helped you through a situation but it really did. I've been lucky to see the band live a few times this year in various settings (headlining a stage at Citadel Festival and the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire to name a couple) - it's been a Bear's Den kind of year and I'm very happy about that.

In their third studio album, we find the band enjoying the confidence that the success of previous records Islands and Red Earth & Pouring Rain brought, combining the acoustic and electric elements of both to explore new ground sonically. The record explores themes of intimacy and connection. with the band describing it as being about "trying to communicate with someone honestly [...] an attempt to reveal the honest and difficult challenge of communicating with anyone that you really care about." It is a gorgeous example of Davie's skills as a songwriter, bringing to life his story and those of others. A favourite track of mine is the opener Hiding Bottles, written about his relationship with a close family member with an alcohol addiction. From my first listen, the lyric "well I'm keeping it together but you don't know the half of it. It's starting to show, no I'm not on top of this" has really resonated with me.

4. Christof van der Ven You Were The Place

In a way, Christof manages to make his way onto this list twice - he's a touring member of Bear's Den, creating some gorgeous solo music in the spare time that allows him. Having released his gorgeous debut album at the start of last year, he's the only artist to have been on both the 2018 and 2019 lists, and deservedly so. I really really love this album - and was lucky to have an early listen of this one too. With the album in 2018, an EP release at the start of this year and a busy tour schedule with BD I'm impressed at the rate at which he got this album out into the world - I feel lazy just thinking about all of that. Written in response to the end of a brief but intense fling, this is an incredibly personal, yet relatable, record from Christof. As you might expect it is sad in places, while being full of optimism and hope in others. Production from bandmate Marcus Hamblett is superb too - the finished record is raw and intimate and really deserving of a spot on the list.

5. Lucy Rose - No Words Left

After a little thought about who finished up my top five albums of the year my thoughts kept on returning to Lucy Rose and her fourth studio album. It is, in a word, sublime. In direct comparison to her previous records, this one is incredibly stripped back (centring around vocals, guitar, piano and strings) and is as a result stark and vulnerable. At the time of release Lucy wrote online that "these songs have allowed me to get to know myself in a way I haven't before and I'm sure after you listen to it you'll end up knowing me better as well." It is a record which explores issues of anxiety, isolation and uncertainty without sugarcoating anything, it is exactly the kind of record that I needed to hear this year. While I really connect with a number of lyrics across the record, my favourite track is perhaps The Confines Of This World, in which Lucy delivers the lines "I really don't mean to bring you down, But I need someone to talk to." 

Well done for making it this far - that's my top five albums of the year. I genuinely adore each of them, and will enjoy listening to them on repeat for years to come, I hope. It's been a bit of an up and down year for me and these albums have really helped to bring some light into my life when I've needed it. But I'm not finished there... there's been plenty more (in fact, more than I'd realised) that I have loved this year, so here is a bit more of a list (in release order) of albums that I really recommend you check out. You'll love them too, I hope!

Busted - Half Way There
Stella Donnelly - Beware of the Dogs
Foals - Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost (Part 1)
Jack Savoretti - Singing to Strangers
Fil Bo Riva - Beautiful Sadness
Pêtr Aleksänder - Closer, Still 
SOAK Grim Town
Hailaker - Hailaker
Vampire Weekend - Father of the Bride
Benedict Benjamin - Truant
Matthew and the Atlas - Morning Dancer
Charlie Cunningham - Permanent Way
Bastille - Doom Days 
Two Door Cinema Club - False Alarm
The Black Keys - "Let's Rock"
Grace Lightman - Silver Eater
The Teskey Brothers - Run Home Slow 
Marika Hackman - Any Human Friend
Bon Iver - i,i 
Liz Lawrence - Pity Party
Geowulf - My Resignation 
Half Moon Run - A Blemish in the Great Light
Leif Vollebekk - New Ways
Marcus Hamblett - Detritus

Wednesday 18 December 2019

ALBUM NEWS: Lucy Leave - 'Everyone Is Doing So Well'

As 2019 draws to a close I'm feeling quite reflective about the albums I've loved this year - an albums of the year post is incoming, once I find the time to write it, but for now... here's an upcoming release to get excited about. The start of 2020 was already looking to be pretty special musically with new Bombay Bicycle Club and Gengahr albums on the way, and Oxford locals Lucy Leave join the party with their brand new album Everyone Is Doing So Well due for release on the Divine Schism label on 24th January.

This is really exciting news for various reasons - one huge one being that it's the first physical release from Divine Schism. They're an Oxford based DIY promoter, who have been putting on shows across Oxford and London for nearly a decade, giving a platform to artists they love. Having enjoyed the debut Lucy Leave album so much, they've extended this work to starting up a label to release their new album. Pre-order is live here now on the Divine Schism Bandcamp - go go go! Check out the gorgeous album artwork too, I love it.

(c) Chris Monger

The band have already released the triple-A single Thumbs / Snow / Hey, Male Saviour! and will be releasing a video for each over a few weeks in the run up to the album's release - the first video for Hey, Male Saviour! is below. Can't say that I've seen a webcam music video in a while! It's almost nostalgic...

On this track in particular Lucy Leave cite Soccer Mommy, Petsematary and Joni Mitchell (and particularly their use of open tunings) as influential, with the title being loosely inspired by The Fall's Hey Student. Lyrically they say that the track could be about any number of high-profile men within the music industry, whilst also operating as a call for self-awareness. It's clear that the band are incredibly socially aware themselves, fighting against injustice on a number of levels - notably calling out inequality in gig line-ups. It's refreshing to see a band who, as well as being all sorts of exciting in the musical side of things, really care about positive change within the industry (and the wider world.) They're good eggs, that's for sure.

If you'd like to see Lucy Leave live on album release weekend (frankly - why wouldn't you?) then you're in enormous luck because they happen to be playing shows in Oxford, Bristol and London.

24th Jan: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre, Oxford (w/ Duck, The Cooling Pearls and Basic Dicks) (event)
25th: White Rabbit, Bristol (w/ Megazine, Pega, Salvation Bill (solo)) (event)
26th: New River Studios, London (w/ Pega, Salvation Bill (solo)) (event)

Be sure to pre-order the new album Everyone Is Doing So Well on Bandcamp here.

Follow Lucy Leave - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 17 December 2019

WATCH: Ferris & Sylvester 'I Dare You'

Having recently played shows around the country on their biggest headline tour Ferris & Sylvester are back with a newly released video for recent single I Dare You. While they're sometimes an understated duo musically, this track and video sees them passionate and loud, it's a bit of an explosive powerhouse of a track. Speaking about the video, they shared that "it felt right to create something bold and vibrant. We shot the video whilst we were on tour and wanted to capture how it felt to play the song night after night. The song is angry and aggressive and we were keen to throw all of that at it. It certainly shows a darker shade of us and we're proud to have it out there." 

With a set coming up in January (28th at Oslo) for the UK Americana Awards Showcase, the duo are then off to tour around Europe with Jade Bird - a brilliant pairing!

Follow Ferris & Sylvester Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 16 December 2019

WATCH: Bear’s Den - 'The Star of Bethnal Green'

Today is very very very exciting because I'm taking a trip down to London after work to see the Bear's Den Christmas concert for CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably). True to form they've got a superb line-up alongside them with Matthew & The Atlas, Christof van der Ven, Seramic and Wovoka Gentle, AND the show is in a church. It's going to be a beautiful evening and all for a good cause - I can't wait! For now though, I'm revelling in the beauty of their brand new music video for The Star of Bethnal Green, taken from their recent Only Son of the Falling Snow EP. 

The track is about somebody at Christmas watching a singer in a bar and feeling overwhelmed by the performance, feeling as if their entire life and identity is revealed to them through the song. The video was written and directed by award-winning trans director, actor and activist Jake Graf - the band met Jake and his wife after a London show and were desperate to find something to collaborate on, and this was the perfect opportunity! Playing on the story of the ghost of Christmas past, the video highlights the pandemic of violence against trans people. 

Jake Graf shares that "as a trans man who grew up without any positive representations to aspire to, I know how important it is that we start seeing more trans visibility in the mainstream media. We have seen more and more allies to the community standing up and being counted but as our tiny trans community continues to be attacked and vilified we truly need all the support that we can get [...] trans murders have hit an all time high, with trans women in particular being targeted. This film combines the magic of Christmas with the powerful and hopeful story of an older trans woman being guided towards living as her authentic self. Older LGBTQ people are so often overlooked in cinema and the media that it felt like an important choice to depict such a rarely seen character."

Actor Jordan Revell talks about her involvement in the video, sharing that "I'm extremely proud to have worked with Jake Graf and Bear's Den on the video, telling a truth experienced by many trans people around the world. This story is personal to me as a transgender woman experiencing the fear of coming out, being mocked and discriminated against by the majority on a daily basis. I'm perhaps one of the lucky ones who so far has managed to avoid threats, acts of violence and hate against me, but not all of our trans brothers and sisters are so fortunate, and with this story we show our solidarity and commemorate the 331 murdered trans people this year alone [Trans Respect Versus Transphoboia (TvT) Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) research project update published 20th Nov 2019]. I hope this video inspires people to seek education and enlightenment on LGBTQ+ issues and in turn help us to work together for a more accepting and safe future for all.

Follow Bear's Den - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 13 December 2019

LISTEN: Little Brother Eli - 'Love Between Teens'

A couple of years after leaving the city, Little Brother Eli remain one of my favourite things about Oxford and it was lovely to see them a couple of months back when I dropped by to a Sofar Sounds show there. They played a new track at the show and the studio version is finally out in the world today. Love Between Teens is, if I recall correctly, a song the frontman Alex Grew wrote for his wife - adorable. With a strong bass line throughout it is a funky and catchy number which is sure to go down well in the band's annual Christmas show on 21st December at O2 Academy Oxford - event here for more info/tickets! Now, listen below...

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

Thursday 12 December 2019

LISTEN: Eliza Shaddad - 'One Last Embrace'

Eliza Shaddad is a new name on the blog but I've been distantly aware of her music for a couple of years now (I think she may have played alongside King Charles at some point and come onto my radar that way.) With her debut album Future released last year and a couple of EPs under her belt, she's back with a new EP due early next year, and the second single is out now. One Last Embrace is one of her darkest releases yet, a sort of grungy, indie, alt-rock fusion. She describes it as being "about a burning, swirling, complete irrational, totally overwhelming vortex of desire. That moment when you know something is wrong and over, but you want it all the same." 

Eliza will be heading out on a UK tour in March, check out the full dates below... tickets here.

9th March: Crofters Rights, Bristol
10th: The Cuban Embassy, Birmingham
11th: The Eagle Inn, Manchester
12th: The Hug & Pint, Glasgow
17th: The Hope and Ruin, Brighton
19th: The Scala, London

Follow Eliza Shaddad - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 11 December 2019

TOUR NEWS: White Tail Falls (March 2020)

Bit quiet on the blog front at the moment... working in retail over Christmas is taking its toll a little. A few posts still to come this month and I'll soon be trying to figure out my albums of the year list too! Exciting news to share today however - White Tail Falls has announced his first UK tour for next March and April. Following the release of debut single Give It Up, Son and the video (watch below) the tour will see him take in eight dates with a show at the gorgeous St Pancras Old Church in London on 26th March.

Full dates for the tour are as follows...

19th March: Head Of Steam, Newcastle
20th: The Poetry Club, Glasgow
21st: Royal Park Cellars, Leeds
26th: St Pancras Old Church, London
27th: The Hope & Ruin, Brighton
1st April: Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
2nd: Night People, Manchester
3rd: The Bodega, Nottingham

Follow White Tail Falls - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 5 December 2019

LISTEN: Bear's Den - 'Only Son of the Falling Snow' EP

Having kicked off the year with an early stream of the third Bear's Den studio album for a review, over two months before it was released into the wild, it seems only right to be finishing up the year with an early stream of their brand new EP. Only Son of the Falling Snow is released TODAY (listen here) and you can find out for yourselves the beauty that I've been keeping under wraps for a few weeks - I'm really excited for everybody to hear it. It's short but sweet at only three tracks, but holds a lot of seasonal goodness in those 12 minutes. Arriving several months after So That You Might Hear Me, the EP afforded the band the opportunity to work on new music between records, and to give fans an early Christmas present. Much appreciated!

As the band I've seen most this year, and with a show coming up in a London church next week, they've really had an impact on my year. The album stream I had earlier in the year genuinely helped me get through a rough time when I lost my job, and while I loved having the record to myself for a while, it's been incredible to see through gigs, social media posts and the Facebook group they've set up for fans, just how much the album and the band's music in general means to others too. They're a really special band and this EP is just the tip of the iceberg. If Bear's Den are a new name to you, there is so much for you to explore - some of my favourites are Hiding Bottles, Magdalene and Emeralds.

Discussing the new EP, the band's frontman Davie explains that "we wanted to make an EP that felt intimate, nostalgic and united by the theme of Winter. It was a chance between albums for us to work on and explore something more musically sparse and lyrically reflective, working with our longtime friend, collaborator, and producer Ian Grimble. The EP is a collection of songs united by a sense of what Winter means to us. In all its beauty, sadness, stillness and its ability to transform and bring things back to life.” 

Listen to the EP on Spotify here.

Follow Bear's Den - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

WATCH: 31hours - 'YoYo'

This is exciting - Oxford's 31hours have shared their first new music (as far as I can tell from a trawl of Spotify, Bandcamp etc...) since their 2017 debut album Tell Me What You See. I helped out with  promoting the album launch through Tigmus at the time and I'm excited to see that they're back with new music and to see what else they've got up their sleeves. With some clear local influences from fellow Oxford acts Radiohead and Foals the new track is a lovely little psychedelic indie tune with a cracking video to go with it. Listen/buy on the 31hours Bandcamp here.

Follow 31hours - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 4 December 2019

ALBUM NEWS: Brooke Bentham: 'Everyday Nothing'

Brooke Bentham has recently announced the release of her debut album Everyday Nothing on 28th February. At just 23, the album comes from a position of youth, in which hopes and dreams collide with frustration and confusion, resulting in a vulnerable and relatable record. Brooke explains that the record is "in part an ode to the little moments in life, the frustration of being young and unaware of what you want, but getting older and realising you still don't know. It's an album I searched for myself in, filled with questions I asked myself." 

The announcement of the record comes alongside the brand new track Perform For You, which focuses on the power dynamics in toxic relationships, and is inspired by novels Brooke was reading at the time. Talking about the track, she explains that it is "probably my favourite, because it reminds me of lots of the music I love. Once we'd recorded that, I knew we were making an album. Musically it was exactly where I wanted to be." 

Brooke Bentham is currently on a support tour with Sam Fender across the UK, with a free London headline coming up on 9th December at The Islington. She's playing a string of headline shows after the album release, dates below and tickets are here.

14th March: Whelan's, Dublin
16th: Yes, Manchester
18th: Crofters Rights, Bristol
19th: Omeara, London

Follow Brooke Bentham - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 3 December 2019

WATCH: Leif Vollebekk - 'Blood Brother'

A few weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Leif Vollebekk opening up for fellow Canadians Half Moon Run in Brixton. Having listened to his new album New Ways before the show, he was as talented and mesmerising on stage as I'd expected, and I really enjoyed his set. One of my favourite tracks from the album is Blood Brother and I'm excited to see that there is now a music video for the track! The cinematic new video sees Leif hand-cuffed to a seat on a vacant open-top bus as it drives through recognisable parts of central London. Having danced his way to freedom, Leif  gets off of the bus, passing his burden to another passenger.

The video's director Joe Connor (Mumford & Sons, Coldplay) elaborates on the concept behind it: "Leif is an artist whose music takes me to a dreamlike space. I wanted to create a video that found Leif in the middle of a story, where he has come from and where he is going is unknown but the beauty in this video is that here we find an artist, handcuffed and adrift in a city in the early hours of the morning. This beautiful video presents London in the most spectacular way and sets Leif as a quiet voice amongst the rolling city.” 

He's just announced a European headline tour for April 2020, with a second London show after the first sold out in a couple of days. UK listings below - tickets here.

27th April: Bush Hall, London
28th: Bush Hall, London
29th: Exchange, Bristol
30th: Soup Kitchen, Manchester
1st May: Poetry Club, Glasgow
2nd: Soundhouse, Dublin

Follow Leif Vollebekk - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Monday 2 December 2019

WATCH: Gengahr - 'Heavenly Maybe'

Fresh from supporting Bombay Bicycle Club on tour recently, London four-piece Gengahr have shared the second track from their upcoming third album, Sanctuary. Premiered as Annie Mac's Hottest Record in the World on BBC Radio 1 a few nights ago, Heavenly Maybe delivers another slice of Gengahr magic and I can't get enough of it. An irresistibly danceable tune (do you hear that bass line?!) at heart, frontman Felix Bushe's trademark falsetto takes the spotlight and sounds as glorious as ever. Watch our for Sanctuary, it's due for release on January 31st.

If you like what you're hearing, you can catch Gengahr across the UK and further afield next year across February and March - UK dates below and tickets/album pre-order here.

13th Feb: Band on the Wall, Manchester
14th: Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
16th: King Tuts, Glasgow
17th: The Sound House, Dublin
19th: Fleece, Bristol
20th: Patterns, Brighton
21st: EartH, London

Follow Gengahr online - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 29 November 2019

WATCH: Bombay Bicycle Club - 'Everything Else Has Gone Wrong'

To set the scene for this post, you find me writing it far too late in the evening when I should be asleep because I'm in the midst of working in retail over the busy Christmas period. (Help!) It's a busy and stressful time so, as with most situations of the like, I'm looking to music to find some solace. Bombay Bicycle Club are delivering that in spades, with the second (and title) track from their upcoming record, Everything Else Has Gone Wrong.

Sharing the track online, the band explain that it is "about finding hope, safety and comfort during times of despair, when everything is seemingly crumbling all around you. It's about finding light in the dark, and the cathartic role that music can play in bleak situations." Enjoy the video, directed by long-time friend of the band Louis Bhose, below.

The new album Everything Else Has Gone Wrong is due for release on 17th January, and the band will be touring the UK soon after, with support from bandmate Liz Lawrence (who recently released a brill album) and The Big Moon (who have an album on the way). Dates below, remaining tickets here.

20th Jan: Corn Exchange, Cambridge
21st: Academy, Bournemouth
23rd: De Montfort Hall, Leicester
24th: University Great Hall, Cardiff
25th: Academy, Leeds
27th: Academy, Newcastle
28th: Barrowland, Glasgow
31st: Academy, Birmingham
1st Feb: Centre, Brighton
3rd: Victoria Warehouse, Manchester
7th: Alexandra Palace, London
10th: Vicar Street, Dublin
12th: Ulster Hall, Belfast

Follow Bombay Bicycle Club - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Thursday 28 November 2019

WATCH: Low Island - 'When You Wake At Night'

Those Low Island chaps have taken the DIY music video to a whole new level with their latest offering. Shot and directed by the band themselves, the video sees Carlos running around the outskirts of Oxford as the sun goes down. Splitting up the roles of driving, make-up, acting and directing between the four of them, it's a real joint effort and the effect is a really unique video giving you a glimpse of that gorgeous Oxfordshire countryside, set against a stunning track.

The track is taken from recent EP Shut out the Sun, on which it is joined by Long Answer, Search Box and In Person - it's a really strong release but I'd expect no less from these guys, they're incredible. The band are currently in the midst of a UK tour for the EP, with shows coming up in York (2nd Dec), Stoke (4th), Tunbridge Wells (5th) and their hometown shindig at The Bullingdon in Oxford (6th) - they're a superb live band (and can only have got even better in the couple of years since I last saw them) so I'd really recommend getting along to a show.

Follow Low Island - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Wednesday 27 November 2019

WATCH: The Big Moon - 'Take A Piece'

"Look we made a pop song!" 

This one is sounding glorious on the blog playlist this week, nestled between new tracks from Friendly Fires and Love Fame Tragedy. Taken from upcoming album Walking Like We Do (due 10th January via Fiction Records), The Big Moon are paying homage to some rather legendary 1990s boybands with the video for their current single, Take A Piece. Worth a watch for the overwhelming nostalgia alone.

Talking about the track, vocalist Juliette Jackson explains that "I initially wrote this song for someone else [...] I'd written an album's worth of songs but a lot of them felt similar to our first album and I wanted to try something different."

"I'd just watched a documentary about this pop star and seen how insane their life was and their intense relationship with their fans, and was blown away by how much of themselves they'd had to give up to have the life they had [...] This mega pop star's life was literally nothing like mine but I could really identify with the vulnerability of being a performer and standing on stage every night and feeling the eyes of an audience, which can feel either grounding and unifying or - occasionally - scary and isolating." 

If you'd like to catch the band playing live soon, you're in luck as they're heading out on tour with Bombay Bicycle Club across the UK in January and February - and they've just announced a run of their own shows for Feb/March. Full listings here.

27th Feb: The Fleece, Bristol
28th: O2 Academy 2, Liverpool
29th: Summerhall Arts Centre, Edinburgh
2nd March: Contemporary, Nottingham
3rd: O2 Academy 2, Oxford

Follow The Big Moon - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 26 November 2019

LISTEN: Bad Sounds - 'Breathe'

I had a busy weekend at work (the joys of retail at Christmas...) so didn't get around to writing a blog post for yesterday but today I'm attempting to make it up by bringing you an exciting new tune that was released yesterday. Having returned to our hearts (and our ears) with Sympathetic Vibrations recently, the ever wonderful Bad Sounds have just announced their Escaping From A Violent Time Vol. 1 EP and shared the second track from it, Breathe. Aiming to create a representation of where the band currently stands, without outside influence, the EP was self-produced by the bands frontmen, brothers Callum and Ewan Merrett. Writing and recording underground in a former prison cell in Bristol, they describe wanting to make the EP feel "visceral, and of this moment." 

Talking in more detail on Breathe in particular, Callum explained that "Breathe is about the inescapability of our own human nature. How we are destructive purely by existing, and it isn't something we can help. Some of us carry the burden of that responsibility and truly feel the guilt of being human. We're all kind of hoping that it means something in the end, but perhaps that's just desperately optimistic. Naive even. Also there is a chainsaw at the start." 

You can catch the band live at the following dates:

1st May: Deaf Institute, Manchester
12th: Lafayette, London
13th: The Fleece, Bristol

Follow Bad Sounds - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Friday 22 November 2019

LISTEN: Max Bloom - 'Bottle'

Psssst. New today - Bottle from Max Bloom. It's his third solo single of the year and it's a really honest, personal one. After eight years of playing and touring as the frontman of Yuck, the breakdown of an eight-year-long relationship proved the catalyst to him making his own music in 2017, as his tastes began to shift from those which informed Yuck. The creation of solo material was, for Max, a way of processing the changes he was experiencing at the time, without the pressure of an established audience or a sound to follow. The result is a project which is experimental, open and intimate. 

Talking about Bottle in particular, Max explains that "this song is about the moment when my ex-girlfriend and I ended our relationship after 8 years. It was just after Christmas, and we met up in a busy bar in Soho. She gave me a bag of Christmas presents from her family. She broke her stoicism for one second to say the words ‘I always thought that we’d be together forever,’ and I completely broke down. Suddenly, for the first time in 8 years, I found myself completely alone. I’ve come a long way since then, but the way I felt at that moment will stay with me forever.”

Max Bloom heads on his first solo UK tour this December, dates as follows and events/info here.

4th: Headrow House, Leeds
5th: The Library, Oxford
6th: Cafe Kino, Leeds
7th: Kazimier Stockroom, Liverpool
8th: Jimmy's, Manchester
9th: Paper Dress Vintage, London

Follow Max Bloom - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 21 November 2019

LISTEN: Maggie Rogers - 'Love You For A Long Time'

I'm gonna love Maggie Rogers for a long time indeed. Almost without warning (beyond some mysterious lyric posts on instagram) she's just dropped her first new music since debut album Heard It In A Past Life back in January. With a catchy chorus and her ridiculously impressive vocal range, Love You For A Long Time has all the hallmarks of a brilliant Maggie Rogers track, and it arrives in the wake of some very (VERY) exciting news. Yesterday, Maggie became a Grammy nominated artist in the 'Best New Artist' category. Hugely deserved, and I can't get enough of her reaction video (here.) Good luck Maggie!

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Wednesday 20 November 2019

TOUR NEWS: MarthaGunn (March 2020)

Last week I shared the new (but also kind of old) MarthaGunn track to the blog. As I'd scheduled the post a few days before I was already slightly behind as they shared the music video just before my post went live. As well as that, having just wrapped up some touring across Europe supporting Palace, they've announced a tour of their own for next Spring. Check out the video for Heaven below...

The tour dates are below and tickets are available here.

22nd March: Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds
24th: Broadcast, Glasgow
25th: Think Tank, Newcastle
27th: The Castle, Manchester
28th: Dead Wax, Birmingham
30th: Heartbreakers, Southampton
31st: Louisiana, Bristol
1st April: Hope & Ruin, Brighton
2nd: Courtyard Theatre, London

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Tuesday 19 November 2019

WATCH: Halloweens - 'Hannah, You're Amazing'

I am ridiculously excited to share this one. I'm not much of a Halloween fan, but I can certainly get behind Halloweens. The duo is a new project from Justin and Timothy of The Vaccines, and that's pretty much all the information as I needed to be entirely sold on it. Joining Hannah Hunt (Vampire Weekend) in my personal hall of fame of brilliant tracks with the name Hannah in their title... Hannah, You're Amazing reels you in from those first notes, I'm loving it and must say that it is a joy to have Justin's vocals back with new music. They also shared a cracking video to go alongside the track - worth a watch!

Posting the track online, they explained that it "started life as a song about getting high and falling in love with an amazing stranger at a house party. by the time we finished it, we'd zoomed out and started daydreaming about biblical figures and philosophers and finding/losing faith/hope in others on a much larger scale. An ode to enlightenment and a song of entitlement. it goes both ways."

The track was shared alongside Ur Kinda Man which is a really sweet piano ballad - listen here. Crossing my fingers for a show announcement, but only if they'll commit to wearing those costumes.

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Monday 18 November 2019

LISTEN: BE GOOD - 'Sickie'

If you know anything about this blog or the music nerd behind it, you'll know that I have quite a bit of love for Oxford band BE GOOD. They came into my life just after I moved out of Oxford but I've loved getting to know them through their releases for the last couple of years as they've released tune after tune with the likes of Nightbus and It's Cool But It Ain't You. Earlier in the year, they shared their debut EP God Of Nowhere and started to really break through with features on various playlists. Sickie is their first release since the EP - it's typically BE GOOD, melancholic and nostalgic as slick music wraps around lead singer Ash Cooke's distinct and vulnerable vocals.

Discussing the track, Ash explains that it "takes a look at a few small vignettes from past relationships, and contrasts those with imaginary moments of a future that never happened. Sometimes you can get so wrapped up in waiting for a particular version of your life to materialise that you don't realise everything was changing anyway, without you." 

They're currently on tour across the UK with fellow Oxford musical legend Willie J Healey (who just released a cracking new EP) with shows in Southampton (Joiners on Weds) and London (Omeara on Thurs) still to come, before their triumphant hometown return to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre on 29th Nov for Divine Schism.

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Friday 15 November 2019

LISTEN: Christof van der Ven - 'Live at RAK' EP

In 2019, Christof van der Ven has managed a kind of new release hat-trick. The legend. Back in March he released one of my favourite EPs of the year, Beneath The Ordinary Load, before returning in September (after a stretch of touring with Bear's Den) with the stunning record You Were The Place. As if those two weren't quite enough, he's recently shared the Live at RAK EP, which features the audio from some session videos that he recorded at the RAK Studios in London. Featuring a whole bunch of talented musicians from the Bear's Den and Matthew & the Atlas live bands and elsewhere, it's hard to imagine it being anything but completely beautiful, and it is. A highlight for me from the album and this EP is 4AM, which you can watch in the session video below.

Check out the full Live at RAK EP from Christof van der Ven here.

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Thursday 14 November 2019

LISTEN: MarthaGunn - 'Heaven'

A new MarthaGunn song, which is technically an old MarthaGunn song, but new. They've just brought out a new studio version of Heaven, which if I recall correctly was their debut single a few years back (at least, one of the first.) As such, it was the starting point of my live for the band and has always been a live favourite so I'm really glad to see the return of the track and I'm loving this version.

Frontwoman Abi Woodman, when sharing the track to the band's social media, explained that: "I am not comfortable being comfortable. I always want more. Sometimes I don’t know whether to accept the beauty of simplicity or to self-sabotage to find something greater. When I wrote ‘Heaven’, I was playing out a fantasy in my head and exploring a path I could only dream of taking. A few years on and I have stopped living in fantasies. I go after everything my soul desires. Heaven is a song for anyone dreaming of something more."

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Wednesday 13 November 2019

LISTEN: Rayowa - 'Better Man'

I'm delighted to have been sent this track from Rayowa - they're a band made up of brothers Dan, Reece and Luke, who have translated their mutual love of soul, funk and pop into their debut single Better Man. Released on Mahogany, the track is perfect for fans of the likes of Jungle and Franc Moody, an irresistibly catchy disco tune, with tasty bass lines, falsetto vocals and live brass elevating it beyond expectations.

Exploring the lyrics of the track, the band say that it is "about being faced with a situation that you have no control over. It's about the fear of change and being forced to take the positives from a bad time which allows you to grow and become a better person." 

I'll certainly be keeping an ear out for more music from the trio - there's another track from their upcoming EP due in January!

Follow Rayowa - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Tuesday 12 November 2019

LIVE: Half Moon Run & Leif Vollebekk at Electric Brixton (7/11/19)

Last Thursday I had the utter joy of seeing Montreal indie rockers Half Moon Run headlining Electric Brixton at the London date of their tour supporting brand new album A Blemish in the Great Light. The album was released at the start of the month and I'm really enjoying it, with highlights for me being the single Favourite Boy, the quite intense and immense (over seven minutes long) Razorblade and the lyrically humorous Jello on my Mind.

Opening up for the band for the current run of European shows is fellow Canadian Leif Vollebekk , who created the perfect atmosphere for the show. It's a pretty positive sign when a support act can get some crowd participation going in the first track of their set. When not helping with harmonies or clapping/clicking, the crowd was mostly quiet for his set, respecting and clearly enjoying his music.  There was a really endearing effortlessness as he made up the setlist on the spot. Flitting between the piano and guitar, Leif's musicality was as compelling as his beautifully unique vocals which really captured my heart when I first heard his music through single Hot Tears a few months back. If you like the track below, he released his album New Ways on the same day as HMR - listen here.

Once Leif had finished up, it wasn't long until Half Moon Run took to the stage. I last saw them back in 2015 when they headlined the much smaller Oslo in Hackney, and I'd forgotten quite how impressive a live band they are. All multi-instrumentalists, they're each usually playing more than one instrument at once, or at least switching between one or two seamlessly within tracks. Drums and keys? No problem. Guitar, harmonica and keys? Easy. Slide guitar and guitar? Not an issue. All of this while coming together to create the sublime four part harmonies that the band are loved for. The result of these various additional instruments is that the band are able to create a much richer soundscape, with far more depth than you might expect from a four-piece band.

The setlist featured a mix of tracks from all three albums; the new record, their debut Dark Eyes and second album Sun Leads Me On. The newer tracks were received incredibly well and it seemed the crowd had already learned a lot of the lyrics, despite having had just under a week to do so! Favourites from the past two albums elicited a lot of singalongs, mainly on the likes of Call Me In The Afternoon and Full Circle, two of their best known songs from the debut. A highlight of the set was a stripped back performance of Sun Leads Me On at the front of the stage around one microphone, with the band showing that they can tackle the quieter tracks just as well.

There was a slightly overwhelming response from the crowd as the band took back to the stage for the encore, with unfailing clapping and cheering, which the band lapped up. Eventually, Dev asked for quiet for a "serious" song... cue Jello on my Mind. It was a really superb evening with two brilliant artists and a whole lot of talent on show. If you get the chance to see either of them live - be sure to take it. In fact, Communion have London shows coming up with both of them - Half Moon Run are at the Roundhouse on 12th March (tickets here) while Leif Vollebekk headlines Bush Hall on 28th April (tickets here.)

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Monday 11 November 2019

WATCH: Bad Sounds - 'Sympathetic Vibrations'

If you missed Bad Sounds' debut album Get Better when it was released last August, you'll first need to set aside 41 minutes to acquaint yourself with it. Then, when you've fallen for it, especially tunes like Avalanche and Evil Powers, get excited about the fact that they're back with new music and an upcoming London show! Brilliant news. Sympathetic Vibrations premiered on BBC Radio 1 recently, and musically I'm really enjoying it but mostly I can't get past how entirely mesmerised I am by the music video. Watch below... 

If you like what you're hearing, get yourself along to their first show in a while, an intimate night at Colours Hoxton on 28th November. Event here for more info/tickets.

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Friday 8 November 2019

LISTEN: Winnie Raeder - 'She'

One of my favourite discoveries of the year, Winnie Raeder shared her debut track Don't You Dare back in Spring. The track became the opener of her From Here EP which was released in June - and Winnie is back with gorgeous new track She. It's hard to believe that the tracks she has released are still in single figures... there's a level of accomplishment and confidence which comes through the track, alongside vulnerable and exposed vocals.

A song that was written with her friends Josh Record and Jacob Attwooll, Winnie explains that "we started playing around with some chords and started with the title 'She' before we had written any of the rest of the lyrics. It felt really interesting to pair a traditional folk sound with a song written for and sung by a woman. We kept the language poetic and romantic and the song almost wrote itself." 

The track arrives amidst a UK support tour with a big favourite of mine, Charlie Cunningham. I can only imagine how sublime those shows will be! After a run of shows in the UK for the next week or so, she's also supporting Tamino (an equally sublime artist) in Antwerp, Berlin and London. In between shows she's also playing her third London headline of the year (following two sold out shows in 2019) at Courtyard Theatre on 27th November. Tickets for that one are here.

Follow Winnie Raeder - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Thursday 7 November 2019

LISTEN: Rhys Lewis - 'Be Your Man'

While we've technically heard a stripped back version of this one before, Rhys Lewis has shared new (ish) track Be Your Man recently. I love it. It's got all the soulful vibes you'd expect from one of his tracks, with those gorgeously strong and raw vocals carrying an emotional story of unrequited love, and the feeling of being in a relationship with somebody who still carries feelings for an ex. Rhys is here to tug at your heartstrings again, and I wouldn't expect anything less.

Talking about the track, Rhys explains that it is "one of those songs that I'm still very much connected to emotionally, whenever I sing it live I get taken right back to the way I felt in the relationship at that time. It's horrible to feel like you're not enough for someone, that you're being compared to the person they were with before. I think if she'd wanted something new then we might have had something, but deep down she was looking for what she'd had with someone else. It's been great revising this song in the studio, the original acoustic version is quite tender and soft, so it's been really interesting discovering a darker tone within the song." 

Currently in the midst of a US support tour with Julia Michaels, Rhys embarks on his biggest UK tour later this month. Tickets available here.

20th: Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
21st: Deaf Institute, Manchester
22nd: Thekla, Bristol
23rd: O2 Institute 3, Birmingham
25th: EartH, London
26th: Komedia, Brighton
28th: O2 Academy 2, Oxford
30th: King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
1st Dec: Button Factory, Dublin

Follow Rhys Lewis - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

LIVE: Dawes at Islington Assembly Hall (4/11/19)

It's been exactly three years since Dawes were last over in the UK, playing a trio of shows to promote fifth album We're All Gonna Die. I saw them at the Islington Assembly Hall at the time, and found out during the show that they were playing an acoustic set at Rough Trade the following afternoon. Cue a spontaneous decision to travel back to London the next day, obviously. I also found out about a Sofar Sounds show they were playing and somehow managed to get into that too, and it became a really dreamy couple of days following a band I love around London. I've spent much of the time since eagerly awaiting their return, particularly after they released Passwords last Summer. Fast forward three years and I find myself in the exact same venue, watching them exactly three years to the day - I approve of the synchronicity. I wasn't planning to review the show, and spent much of the evening in a combined state of sleepy (I'd travelled to the gig straight from work) and in awe, but considering the rarity of a London show for the band, a write-up feels deserved. 

With ten years as a band under their belts, what always excites me about seeing Dawes live is how much they are genuinely enjoying themselves up on the stage. You most certainly should not go to a Dawes gig if you're hoping to watch them play their albums exactly as they are on record. Instead, expect SO much more. Enigmatic and endearing frontman Taylor Goldsmith provides vocal variations to keep the audience on their toes, and a procession of wild guitar solos as he jams with bassist Wylie Gelber, drummer Griffin Goldsmith and Lee Pardini on keys. As somebody with very little musical skill myself, it's impossible not to be in awe of the band through these instrumental sections, skirting the line between it seeming completely effortless, and as if they are giving the performance every ounce of energy. 

Beyond the music itself, the lyrics of Dawes, mostly the work of frontman Taylor, are pieces of poetical wonder. He manages to blend sadness and humour beautifully, drawing from real life experiences, relatable scenarios and contemporary issues. While quite simple, one of the lyrical highlights for me is the closing track All Your Favorite Bands, where the crowd prove their worth with a powerful singalong. The title track to album four, it's a kind of romantic ode to a lover, a friend, anybody that you care about, exploring various ways in which you could tell them just that, and settling on "may all your favourite bands stay together." I absolutely adore the sentiment.

Elsewhere in the set, the crowd singalong throughout, but most fervently for the likes of When My Time Comes, Somewhere Along The Way and A Little Bit Of Everything. With six albums to choose from, the setlist (which changes between shows, offering the band the opportunity to cycle through rarely played tracks alongside the favourites) actually manages to touch fairly equally on all albums, giving fans a real snapshot of the progression of the last ten years. Even without my favourite track (I Can't Think About It Now - I simply adore the instrumental section in it, it's one of my favourite tracks ever because of it) it was probably my favourite Dawes set that I've seen. A completely magnificent return to London. Now, perhaps not a three year wait for the next one? Fingers crossed!

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Wednesday 6 November 2019

LISTEN: BENEE - 'Monsta'

Coming about as close to feeling any Halloween vibes as I got, I'm digging Monsta,  the brand new track from New Zealander BENEE. Having shared her track Find An Island to the blog and playlist just a couple of week ago I think that I'm enjoying this one even more. With two million monthly listeners on Spotify and over 26 million streams on her breakthrough track Soaked, things are looking pretty sweet for the young NZ artist. Listen below...

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Tuesday 5 November 2019

EP NEWS: Bear's Den - 'Only Son of the Falling Snow'

If the 2016 track Berlin is anything to go by, Bear's Den are the masters of creating beautifully cosy music for the cooler months. Which is good news, because they've just shared new track Only Son of the Falling Snow, alongside news of a three-track EP of the same name, due 6th December. Their first new music since the release of their album So that you might hear me back in April, Davie explains that creating an EP between albums offered the opportunity to "work on and explore something more musically sparse and lyrically reflective [...] a collection of songs united by a sense of what Winter means to us. In all its beauty, sadness, stillness and its ability to transform and bring things back to life." 

Talking about the title track of the EP, Davie continues to explain that it is "a very nostalgic and reflective song. It imagines someone looking back on their own life and walking into their old house, reliving some pivotal moments of their life and re-engaging with who they are as a person and where they're at now. I read Winter, the novel by Ali Smith, and it really inspired me to want to write songs specifically about Winter. I think it's an incredibly inspiring time of year and it was a really fun and collaborative process for Kev and I to work on these songs, flesh them out, and bring them to life: embracing piano ideas and more acoustic elements whilst still exploring electronic textures behind the more reflective lyrics and sparse arrangements."

Bear's Den have just kicked off another leg of touring for So that you might hear me, with shows in the UK until mid November preceding a string of European dates, before they return for a triumphant London headline at the Eventim Apollo on February 20th. Full dates and tickets here.

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Monday 4 November 2019

INTERVIEW: Geowulf (October 2019)

Always excited to get to do an interview on here - time for another one, this time around with one of my favourite duos, the absolutely dreamy Geowulf, AKA Star Kendrick and Toma Banjanin. After releasing their debut album Great Big Blue at the start of last year, they recently shared the follow-up, My Resignation. Just before they head off on some US and UK tour dates (go!) I caught up with them for a few questions about the album, which you can (and most definitely should) listen to here.

(c) Tom Oxley

Hello! Happy release week! Firstly - who are Geowulf and how did the band come to be? 

Thank you! We’re old friends. Starting writing together for fun four years ago and voila ! 

We’re chatting (via email, it is 2019 after all) because your new album My Resignation was released on Friday. Congrats! How does it feel to have finally made it to release week?

Yeah pretty surreal. Super nice to have it out there. You spend such a long time writing, recording, mixing, marketing etc so just feel really ready to share it. 

As I’m listening to the record I’m hearing some relatable and heavy themes - loneliness, relationships, break-ups and generally trying to figure out the space that you occupy in the world. That’s my interpretation - how would you describe the themes/story behind the record?

Yeah I think you’re pretty bang on. Felt quite reflective I suppose. A lot of coming to terms with things and moving on and accepting things you can’t change. Important themes for life definitely. 

With that in mind, how did you approach the writing process for the album? Is writing a collaborative process? 

Yeah a few songs with different people this album. Justin ParkerBen Christopher and my good friend Jordan Purvis. Just felt nice to shake things up a bit and let other cooks in the kitchen. Nothing was written with any pressure. We were just real and honest in the moments and got some cool songs out of it. 

Where did the new album come to life, and how did recording differ to your debut record?

Australia! Which was really nice. Being able to record over the summer and with all our old friends around. It differed because we were able to record all at once. Hence probably giving it more continuity. First album was recorded over a period of time because I had a lot of trouble with visas etc.

I absolutely LOVE the Pêtr Aleksänder rework of your breakthrough track ‘Saltwater’ with added strings. Hearing you both sing it live with the duo at their recent London show was a gorgeous surprise. If you could get them to rework a song from the new album, which would you choose? Anybody else you’d like to work with on a remix?

Um maybe Celebrate I reckon. It’s one of my favourite songs on the album. Remix ... hmmm dunno open haha. Hit me up. 

Now that everybody has hopefully fallen in love with the album, where can we see you perform it live in the coming months? 

Ah! US 7-15th November and UK 18-27th! (Tickets here.)

Finally - your chance to recommend us some music. Who is in your headphones at the moment?

The Walters, Flyte, John Myrtle, Aldous Harding, Charlotte Gainsbourg.

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Sunday 3 November 2019

LISTEN: Hailaker - 'Iridesce/Famous'

For a few months now I've been settling into a bit of a routine with the blog to fit around work commitments, sharing posts in the week, so it's been a while since I shared anything at the weekend but I really can't wait to share these two brand new Hailaker tracks with you. I absolutely adore this duo. Their debut self-titled album has a pretty high chance of featuring in my favourite albums of the year list (you heard it here first...) and these first new tracks since the release are a perfect Autumnal listen. First, here's Iridesce.

Discovering Novo Amor last year (you may well have seen me ramble about Ali and his music quite a bit here since...) was a complete joy for several reasons, one of which was that I discovered Hailaker off the back of that. Made up of British musicians Jemima Coulter and Ali's collaborator Ed Tullett, the duo enlist the help of various Novo Amor live members, and US-based artist Mike Roth to create something together which is really special and unique. There's a slight 'British Bon Iver' feel to the project, a community vibe. I'm really digging Famous, which is below...

Hailaker play a couple of UK shows this evening and tomorrow in Leeds and Manchester, in support of American Football. If you missed the debut album, give it a listen here - I hope you love it just as much as I do. 

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Friday 1 November 2019

LISTEN: Mumford & Sons - 'Blind Leading The Blind'

Aaaaand they're back. Granted, they haven't really gone away as they've been touring the world for several months, but it has been just over a year since Mumford & Sons last released new music, in the shape of their fourth studio album Delta. For bigs fans of the band who have heard the track at shows over the last couple of years, the release of Blind Leading The Blind has been hotly anticipated and it is finally here! The release brings with it a sense of some unfinished business being attended to.

While standing apart from the record, the track has its own history being a source point thematically for much of the album, as the band explained on a post online: " [it has] been a song we've had up our sleeves for some time, which ended up being a catalytic song for much of our work on Delta, its themes and feelings, but that we never got round to finishing in time to put it on the original release. We're proud that we've finally finished it, as it feels like one of the most challenging songs, thematically, that we've put out there, both for ourselves and our audience. It feels it's becoming harder and harder to coerce yourself into a listening, present and unafraid disposition, but that's the gauntlet we're throwing down for ourselves." 

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Thursday 31 October 2019

LISTEN: Spector - 'Simplicity'

I really really love Spector. I think I see them as some sort of modern day indie heroes - a very deserved title. Debut album Enjoy It While It Lasts is somehow seven years old this year, featuring such absolute tunes as Chevy Thunder, Celestine and Friday Night, Don't Ever Let It End. OK, let's be honest: the entire album is brilliant. They followed it up with the equally superb Moth Boys in 2015 and last year's Ex-Directory EP. A recent bout of single releases comes ahead of an upcoming EP, with Simplicity the latest track from the band, released just ahead of their current UK tour.

Enigmatic frontman Fred Macpherson explains that the new track is "about getting the opportunity to leave it all behind [...] to walk away from the things that make you unhappy, to care less, make better decisions, treat yourself and others more sensitively, to not engage in petty hierarchies, not look at your life in terms of achievements (or lack of them), to spend more time with your family and people you actually like, be less selfish, less bitter, to give something back. It's about recognising the opportunity to do all those things and not taking it." 

Spector are currently in the midst of a UK tour - taking in shows across October and November, finishing up with shows at Oxford's Bullingdon on 12th Nov and London's Oval Space on 13th. Full dates and remaining tickets here.

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