April. What a month.
Firstly (and it seems I’ve sadly had to start many of these monthly roundups like this) it seems obvious to mention the sad death of the formidable pop icon Prince. This, like the death of David Bowie back in January, has had a hugely devastating impact on the music industry with many artists paying their respects to the legend across social media. Prince is an artist who shaped the industry and had a lasting impact and effect on many of huge artists of today. He combined visual arts with music and blurred the lines between art, music and reality. There’s no doubt that he’ll continue to have a lasting impact on our culture.
In other news… I’M GOING TO GLASTONBURY AGAIN. Ahhhh, how good it feels to be able to say that! I look forward to returning to Worthy Farm this summer and basking in the all the booze filled beauty that it has to offer. This month Glastonbury Festival held their annual emerging talent competition (won in previous years by artists like Scouting For Girls). The competition was won by four-piece band “She Drew The Gun”- who now have the chance to perform at the festival!
As well as this, Tom Odell is back with a new album and single. “Wrong Crowd” will be released on the 10th June. So far Odell has released the singles “Wrong Crowd” and “Magnetised”. “Wrong Crowd” is laced with his signature piano, but overlaid with strong beats and whistling sounds. The lyrics themselves are quite simple and catchy. It’s an effortlessly easy listen, despite its clear differences to his older material. I really like the song. I think it’s seemingly ‘cool’. “Magnetised” is similar in its clear differences to older material, but it’s again interesting and engaging. I want to dance to it- which isn’t something you say when talking about Tom Odell necessarily. There’s still traces of piano hidden within the drums, clapping and strong vocals. It’s fascinating to hear Odell sing songs like these and I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of the album having heard these songs. Odell has been playing a handful of dates up and down the country and the odd date dotted across Europe. He’ll also be playing the Saturday of BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend in Exeter later this month.
As mentioned previously Radio One’s annual Big Weekend is expected to take play next year at Powderham Castle in Exeter. The line up was released earlier this month. I’m attending on the Sunday and I’m very excited about it. On Saturday there’s the likes of Bastille, Jake Bugg, Tom Odell and Tame Impala nestled in amongst the likes of Bring Me the Horizon, Stormzy and Jess Glynne. It’s being headlined by Mumford and Sons no less who are set to bring a fascinating show to 25,000 or so people! On Sunday the likes of Catfish and the Bottlemen, Wolf Alice, The 1975 and The Last Shadow Puppets join ‘poppier’ choices like Ellie Goulding, Iggy Azalea and The Weeknd. Sunday is being headlined by Glasto headliners Coldplay, with Reading’s Sunday co-headliner Biffy Clyro headlining the In New Music We Trust stage. Whether you’re there or not it’s set to be unmissable and can be caught via the radio, BBC iPlayer and (probably) the BBC red button.
There’s also been a Reading announcement with the likes of The Japanese House, VANT, Sunset Sons, The Sherlocks, Blaenavon and Spring King added to the line up. Frank Turner also return for his 10th consecutive Reading and Leeds Festival (and he’s opening the main stage on Friday morning at Reading). These acts join the likes of The Vaccines, The 1975, Haim and The Wombats, who have all previously been announced. This is most likely the last- or one of the last- “big” announcements. The further few will most likely be smaller, up and coming acts for smaller stages or acts for stages like the alternative stage.
This month there has been the release of plenty of great albums from The Last Shadow Puppet’s “Everything You’ve Come to Expect” to Sunset Son’s “Very Rarely Say Die”. There’s also been major American music festival “Coachella” which is often celebrity filled and special guest packed! This year the likes of The 1975, Wolf Alice, Years and Years and Foals played the festival. It was headlined by LCD Soundsystem, Guns n’ Roses and Calvin Harris. It seems like Glastonbury’s lesser muddier cousin!
Ahhh it’d be silly not to mention the random bit of Adele in this month’s playlist. I’m not a huuuuuuuge fan of Adele usually. I like her music and obviously know quite a bit of it as I feel it’s probably obligatory or something in today’s society, but there’s something about “When We Were Young” which I adore so much. It’s simply a sweet song. The piano and some of the harmonising parts were provided by Tobias Jesso Jr., as the pair wrote the song one day. It’s quite incredible, in my opinion.
In this month’s playlist there’s also a bit of Black Honey (who I’m loving having seen- and met- them as support for Catfish and the Bottlemen earlier in the month), Slaves (with their cover of Skepta’s Shutdown because why not), Hinds and Panic! at the Disco (again, a random one, but one that just kept popping up this month). Also, George Ezra is baaaaack on the playlist… He’s been missed. With warmer weather threatening to appear, it was obvious to have Ezra back on the playlist!
There’s a lot to look forward to in May, with the most obvious thing being Radio One’s Big Weekend. I’ve always seen the Big Weekend as the beginning of festival season and, ultimately, summer. I’ve also got Jake Bugg at Banquet Records to look forward to on the 5th May. The gig should be pretty special as it’s always nice to see artists, like Bugg, play in special venues like that. I’ve also got Rat Boy on the 7th May too. I’m expecting it to be hot, sweaty and exciting. There’s so much happening this month (and hopefully I’ll be able to keep this blog up to date as it happens)!