Sunday, 17 June 2018

The Riptide Movement - Plastic Oceans

The Riptide Movement on Friday returned with their brand new single, Plastic Oceans. Recorded in London with producer Chris Coady (Future Islands, Slowdive), the Irish four-piece provide an alluring taste of their new sound, encased in anthemic qualities and scintilating synth-work. Having long proved themselves in their native homeland, the band begin to branch out to the UK and beyond and I'm sure will have no issues creating equal success. Speaking on the track, lead singer Mal Tuohy states: "We're honoured that our music will help raise awareness of one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time. Our reliance on single use plastics is destroying our oceans, so well highlighted by David Attenborough in Blue Planet 2. As the saying goes, ‘there are plenty more fish in the sea’ but if we can’t stem the tide of plastic, by 2050 there'll be more plastic than fish in our oceans. The future is in our hands".


Friday, 15 June 2018

ORKID - Obvious

Having massively impressed with her debut single released back in March, Swedish pop-wunderkind Orkid returns with her stunning new single, Obvious. Listen below.


Thursday, 14 June 2018

Sam Fender - Leave Fast

"Leave Fast is an archetypal song about growing up in a small town, and the frustrations that are often felt by those who feel trapped within them" Sam Fender explains of his latest single. Having grown up in Swansea, whilst not the complete middle of nowhere (though, some would disagree), I can relate all too well. Dubbed an an ugly, lovely town by Dylan Thomas, better phrased as a pretty shitty city by cult Welsh film Twin Town, it's a place I've found myself stuck in for the last 27 years. That feeling of claustrophobia gets perfectly dictated through Fender's disconsolate vocals and echoing guitar strings. It's a raw and enlightened vision in to the way small towns often leave you feeling trapped with the resonating words "Leave fast or stay forever" being all too true. The track was released today and comes backed with a wonderfully shot clip filmed on 16mm film that candidly follows Sam around his hometown of North Shields. Take a watch for yourselves below.

Live Dates
23rd June – Bushstock, London
24th June – Traumzeit Festival, Germany
29th June – TRNSMT Festival, Glasgow
1st July – Community Festival, London
6th July – Rock Werchter, Belgium
8th July – Barn on the Farm, Gloucestershire
14th July – Latitude Festival, Southwold, Suffolk
15th July – Citadel Festival, London
27th July – Standon Calling, Hertfordshire
28th July – Kendal Calling, Penrith
29th July – Y Not Festival, Derbyshire
4th August – Indiependence, Cork
12th August – Boardmasters, Newquay
18th August – Lowlands, Netherlands
19th August – Dockville, Festival Hamburg
24th August – Leeds Festival,
26th August – Reading Festival,
8th September – DCODE Festival, Madrid


Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Elke - Without the I

Still catching up on emails since I let things slide whilst at Primavera, at the tail end of April Elke dropped this massive single and accompanying video. Taken from her recently released debut EP 'Bad Mettaphors', the track's vivacious melodies and raucous energy gets the vibrant video it so deserves. "We filmed it at Rhys’ house upstate that his dad built and planted all the trees there in ‘69" explains Kayla. "It was an excuse to be in a magical place with my friends". Take a watch for yourselves below.

Photo credit: Bérénice Eveno

Boy Bjorn - Anchorage

Communion’s latest signee Boy Bjorn recently shared the visuals for his debut single Anchorage. With the project set up to 'capture moments lost', with delicately pieced together clips of childhood home-videos, Brian Holl's latest single delivers all the warmth and emotion you'd expect it to. "This song started when I woke in the dead of morning from a dream about my Grandma Bernita. She's been gone for some time now and I was never able to talk with her in my adult year" Holl explains. Explaining further: "But dreaming sometimes affords you the impossible. She told me she liked Michael Jordan – thought he was the greatest basketball player she’d ever seen. We talked like we were never given the chance to. That dream led me to thinking about all of the other relationships in my life that haven't deepened with people who are still here. Missed connections we all live with when the walls between each other are too large to break down over occasional visits". Take a watch/listen below.

Boy Bjorn’s Anchorage is out via Communion Records.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Swn Festival Announces initial 2018 line-up

Swn Festival 2018

Following last year's month long celebration of new music and sound, Cardiff's esteemed multi-day/venue festival returns to its original format this autumn. Now in it's mighty fine twelfth year, Swn Festival will take place on Wednesday 17 through to Saturday 20 October and tickets go on sale for this Friday (15 June) at 9am from the website here:

In anticipation the festival have this week announced the first initial wave of artists and it's packed with plenty of choice. Check out the line-up as it stands below.

Guto Brychan, Chief Executive of Clwb said, "Many people think of us just as a live music venue, but more recently we’ve been putting on events in other venues and locations around Wales. Providing a showcase for emerging artists and developing new ways to nurture them is core to what we do. When John suggested they wanted to handover Sŵn, it was the obvious next step for us to continue to grow and we are excited to be taking the helm and continuing its legacy."

Continuing, Jon Rostron adds "When we established Sŵn we always envisaged that at some point we would hand it over to the music community and step away, and we now have the right opportunity to do this. It’s thrilling and exhilarating to step away yet know that Sŵn will continue to develop in new hands. Without doubt it will be weird to go and not have any work to do, but I’m looking forward to being free to see as many bands as humanly possible that week"

Sŵn, founded by Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens and John Rostron in 2007, was the first multi-venue music festival in the UK outside of London, inspired by trips to SXSW in Austin, Texas and Iceland Airwaves in Reykjavik. This year it falls under new management from the team behind Clwb Ifor Bach.

"Swn Festival 2018 line-up"

Ticket Prices

Gwenno / Adwaith / Audiobooks / Halo Maud
Wednesday 17 October

Drenge / Rolling Blackout Coastal Fever / more to be announced
Thursday 18 October
The Great Hall

Four-day Early Bird Golden Tickets
£50.00 (very limited)

Weekend (Friday & Saturday) Early Bird

Ben Howard Announced 2018/19 Winter UK Tour

Following on from the release of his superb third a;bum 'Noonday Dream', Ben Howard has announced a string of additional UK shows in support. Taking in arenas at Glasgow and Cardiff, Ben will head up what will be two very special nights at the O2 Apollo, Manchester before concluding with a further two nights at London O2 Academy Brixton in January 2019. Tickets go on sale this Friday 15th June via his website here:

UK Live Dates
13th June – Eventim Apollo, London SOLD OUT
14th June – Eventim Apollo, London SOLD OUT
28th June – Playhouse, Edinburgh SOLD OUT
29th June – Albert Hall, Manchester SOLD OUT
30th June – The Eden Sessions, Cornwall SOLD OUT
1st September – Stradbally, Electric Picnic

7th December - Hydro Arena, Glasgow
8th December – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
10th December – O2 Apollo, Manchester
11th December – O2 Apollo, Manchester
16th January 2019 – O2 Academy Brixton, London
17th January 2019 – O2 Academy Brixton, London


Monday, 11 June 2018

Live Review: Primavera Sound, Barcelona 30 May - 3 Jun 2018

With Glastonbury's grass a luscious green and the stages packed away until next summer whilst it basks in a year off, I made the decision to fill the void with my first European festival in its place. With the dust settled I can finally put together some words from my experience.

Should you ever find yourself in this position, what's on offer is extensive to say the least. Trying to narrow down a choice from the mouthwatering line-ups is no easy task; from Mad Cool and Rock Werchter through to Sziget and Rock Werchter the list never ends. Having heard my fare share of rave reviews though and with plenty of accolades from friends who've attended Primavera's past years, I took the plunge jetting off to sunny Barcelona in the reassurance of warm weather, a hotel bed to sleep in and not having to traverse muddy fields with luggage.

With several stages set across its vast site just a stones throw away from the beach, Primavera boasts an impressive array of acts playing over the weekend, all the while championing its fair share of new and unheard of artists. Unlike UK festivals, the music doesn't start until the early evening so it gives ample time to explore the sights of the city, returning for the entertainment as the sun sets. A perfect pairing. Add to that the extravagant food on offer, its self-described “festival within a festival” made-up of three stages and its own private beach and warm weather in tow, it makes for a pretty spectacular escapade.

1. Performance-wise Chvrches new album was sounding incredibly vibrant live. The National and The War on Drugs both went about curating wonderful set-lists, the former being one of my highlights with a touching tribute to the late Scott Hutchison. Elsewhere Lorde was sounding magnificent on the Seat main-stage as she and her choreographed dancers jumped around with a sprightly energy. The quality in sound here being one of the best I'd heard all weekend. Arctic Monkeys left behind any previous pretentious inclinations emerging to the crowd on time. Turner has truly become a fine front-man and it's evident in their performance abilities. There's still one or two songs that could be dropped from the set-list though in favour of some of their more popular choices (Mardy Bum or a Certain Romance could so easily replace some of the less well received tracks. I guess I just need to accept this era has been left behind). Other worthy mentions would be Haim who put on an incredibly fun performance, alongside Jon Hopkins Live, Public Service Broadcasting and Beach House who all delivered. 

2. Food glorious food. At festivals it's often a sore point but I felt most things here were reasonably priced. Less than 7 Euros for a pizza is pretty good going (something that would set you back £10-£12 at most UK festivals). Fries were a little pricey but Burritos and Baguettes were all on point. Very tasty too.

3. Smell ya later. The toilets were of an incredibly high standard. Whether this has something to do with festival goers staying off-site I'm not sure, but even on Saturday the cubicles next to the busy food-court remained remarkably clean.

Pepperoni pizza? or 3/4 margarita.
1. Let's talk about the sound. Sadly this seemed to be a big issue site-wide which didn't improve as the night's went by. I really struggled to enjoy Arctic Monkeys it was that bad. Above all the chatter of people who seemed to have no interest in the band playing with their backs facing the stage it was difficult to really get involved in the moment.

2. Add to this two rude Spanish girls berating me for being tall and standing in front of them, despite me being there first. I've never been made to feel uncomfortable at a show before and I wasn't going to let them be the first to do so but I'd be lying if I say it didn't kill my buzz. These same two girls talked the whole way through the band's set anyway so I have no idea why they wanted me to move in the first place. Perhaps they would have got more enjoyment with their heads down a portaloo and done us all a favour.

3. It would seem Primavera is most certainly a festival of queues. There are THREE to get in on-site. Yep, three.  It's a strange system of 1. bag search 2. wristband check 3. card scanning and turnstile entrance. Once finally in you realise quickly how difficult it is to get served at the bars. There wasn't necessarily many people waiting but they struggled to meet demand. They were severely understaffed and you'd often end up sobering up by the time you got a drink 30-40 minutes later. Most places had run out of mixers by 1am.

4. Put on your dancing shoes. Before any other type of shoe to be fair. It seemed a trend across the weekend that DJ's were put on really early. Maybe it's just the rut I'm stuck in but I'm used to seeing bands in the day/evening and DJ's at night to keep me pumped. This wasn't the case here with both Four Tet and Seth Troxler being on super early. 

5. Timetabling. There's a lot going on but the first night I found large gaps in my itinerary of up to 2 hours. Surely some of the clashes could have been avoided and spread out more. Navigation around the site wasn't the most simplistic. The site is large. Not on Glastonbury's scale but when popular acts are set to play preceding each other on the two furthest points of the grounds, it was never going to end well. Getting to the Primavera Bits stages I often found my journey taking 30 minutes at a speedy stroll. You can add to that anything up to an hour+ when at peak congestion as the bridge access bottle necked, preventing anyone crossing.

6. This brings me nicely on to the traffic management (or lack of) which proved to be dangerous at best. I witnessed large crushes at some of the stages, Arctic Monkeys especially. Why festival organisers haven't introduced a one way entry/exit at the main Seat/Mango arena yet is beyond questioning. Facing away from the stages, entry to the arena should be on the right-hand side only (next to the food stands) so it can funnel in safely, and exit to the left up the stairs yet fans were fighting against the flow to leave and enter until security finally closed off the road.

7. Switch up look sharp. Changes are inevitable. Migos cancelled due to a missed flight. Haim pushed back. Delayed even further again a second time. Skepta announced as Migos' replacement. Also delayed. Pushed back another day all the way until the final night at 3am. Delayed coming on stage, again. It's a theme that run true through my schedule. 

8. Not so much anything to do with the festival and sort of out of their hands but there was a lot of shady folk outside forcing their warming beer cans in my face. It seems a common issue in Barcelona here for people to sell beer on the streets. I have no harm in anyone doing so to make their money but please respect peoples space. I felt harassed every time I left the metro station.

Overall, whilst Primavera had the weather, the line-up and food, sadly it wasn't to be for me with its poor running and organisation. Would I return? Most certainly not in a hurry. The line up next year would have to be seriously impressive with such strong competition in the running.