November 2016- What I’m Listening To

It’s been a long time. Too long. I’ve been busy lately, hence the distinct lack of blog posts, so this could be a bumper post. Brace yourselves.

Where do I even begin? Everything seemed to happen in November 2016!

Firstly, The Big Moon have finally announced details of their debut album. I can’t wait to hear the album because it has been a long time coming. I remembering hearing them for the first time about a year ago (when I found out they were supporting The Maccabees) and have been obsessed by their huge indie anthems and grungy guitars. The album is called Love In The 4th Dimension and includes songs such as “Cupid”, “Sucker” and “Silent Movie Susie” and is available to pre-order now, before it’s released on the 7th April 2017.

VANT took to the streets of London to play various anti-Trump shows in early November. The band played in various secret locations in London for #DontDoABrexit shows, such as Brixton station and Oxford Circus. They aimed to “encourage the idea of bringing important conversations back into the real world”. Despite the Trump win, I admire VANT for doing this. VANT are politically fuelled and inspired, in a real punk kind of way, which we don’t get so much anymore. There’s definitely a rise in this ‘punk-laced’ music, with artists like Slaves and Cabbage taking the world by storm, but there’s a distinct lack of activist and protest music about. We should be talking about things like this collectively. It only helps.

Blossoms have also announced a Spring 2017 tour, where they’ll play venues such as the London Roundhouse (!!!!) and The Brighton Dome. This announcement went hand in hand with an extended album announcement, which features all their previous EP tracks AND the latest album all in one album! I usually hate deluxe albums and extended editions, but this one is particularly stunning. All this was announced during the band’s latest sold out UK tour, where they played their biggest ever sold out show at London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

November was an unexpectedly big month for Circa Waves. The band announced details of their second album Different Creatures and announced the song ‘Wake Up’ as the lead single. The single is similar to their older material, however it’s seemingly less sun kissed than the last. I can imagine it being an absolute banger live, too. It’s a brilliant song. The record is out on 10th March (and co-produced by Alan Moulder, who has been a producer for bands like Arctic Monkeys and The Killers) and hopefully this means we’ll see them at a string of festivals next summer. The band have also announced a March/April UK tour, which includes a date at the O2 Kentish Town Forum.

I’ve spent the last few years wanting to go to Scotland’s iconic T in the Park Festival because I honestly believe it has the best line-up going. It’s line-up is an eclectic mix of the highlights from Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds and V Festival (amongst others) and I’m envious of those who get to go. Sadly it was announced late November that T in the Park would be cancelled in 2017, however reports suggest that the festival organisers will, however, host a similar (but separate) event in Glasgow next year instead. They’ve had problems over the last few years (mainly since the move to Perth) with site and traffic issues, drug related deaths, the stealing of an ATM at this year’s festival etc. and with the added pressure of financial issues the future remains uncertain for the festival. I was in Scotland- Edinburgh or Aberdeen- when the news broke and spoke to many local music fans about the news and many were sad about its cancellation (and countless suggested how great festivals in inverness are). I hope T in the Park pulls it back in the next few years because the line up is always class and I hope to go!

November was an incredible month for live music. I’ve been really, really bad at writing reviews though due to college and work experience. I think it’s probably a bit too late to write reviews now, however I’ll do some quick summaries now:

  • I saw Jake Bugg play at the O2 Academy Brixton on the 1st November. Bugg played a full band set with brilliant little solo, more stripped back songs. He played a mixture of songs which spanned accross his impressive three album back catalogue, yet managed to showcase the best from his latest record- On My One– which was released this year. ‘Broken’ remains poignant and one of my favourite songs to hear live. Everyone sings along and it feels very intimate and personal to many. Of course, the crowd were eagerly anticipating ‘Lightening Bolt’- Bugg’s breakthrough hit- as well as current chart singles, such as ‘Love Hope and Misery’ and ‘Gimme The Love’. I also loved how varied the age of the crowd was. I love seeing people of all ages enjoy music because I think music should be enjoyed by all and it’s now so easily accessible.
  • A few days later I saw Tom Odell play at the Brighton Centre (4th November). Tom Odell is a fascinating live act, who I love to watch. He ventured away from the piano at points, especially during songs from the latest album Wrong Crowd, and at one point he was even stood on the piano. The drummer dislocated his arm before going on stage and so the drum tech had to fill in for him at the last minute to save cancelling the show. There was plenty of on stage banter and support about this. Odell played songs from his first album, Long Way Down, too, such as ‘Another Love’ and ‘Grow Old With Me’. Odell’s voice is so brilliant that the room was silent when he sang, so much so that you could hear people’s movements and hushed chat around us. Tom Odell was supported by Rag ‘N’ Bone Man and Johnny Lloyd- neither of which I’d particularly want to follow. Rag ‘N’ Bone Man was actually in danger of stealing the show because of how brilliant he was. Keep a look out for him. He’s definitely the next big thing.
  •  Catfish and the Bottlemen played a sold out show at Wembley Arena on the 15th. It felt as much a showcase as to how far they’ve come in the last few years and a celebration of their new album success as it did a ‘normal’ show. The band played for nearly two hours. It didn’t seem as though they didn’t want to be there and it felt that they were genuinely grateful and wanting to share their music with fans. The band played songs from The Ride and The Balcony to a sea of singing fans, mosh pits and crowd surfers. It was huge.

Two Door Cinema Club released their latest album Gameshow. The album features the huge singles ‘Bad Decisions’ and ‘Are We Ready? (Wreck)’. The whole 80s inspired album is brilliant, fast paced and full of hits, which I can’t wait to hear live next year at Alexandra Palace. They’re a band with the capability of headlining- or at least co-headlining- festivals and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them topping bills soon.

I haven’t written a lot on here recently because I’ve been so wrapped up in my week’s work experience on tour with Black Grape. It was an incredible if not eye opening experience, which I’m sure I’ll remember forever. It was hard work, but it was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes, which, as a punter, you don’t get to see. Everyone was really friendly, normal and very skilled and good at what they do. It’s a whole other world and I did manage to see a bit of Scotland/Newcastle over my week away, too. If you haven’t heard of Black Grape then I think you’re missing out (although I might be slightly biased, I don’t know). Black Grape formed after the Happy Mondays disbanded in 1992, with Shaun Ryder as the front man (with Kermit from Ruthless Rap Assassins on vocals too). Ryder and Kermit still tour, however the other instrument players are (incredibly, incredibly talented) session musicians (who are incredibly skilled at what they do). They released their first album, It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah, in 1995- which went straight to number 1. Their music is so diverse, which I love. The music has grungy, brit-poppy undertones which are intertwined with hints of rap, tracks laced with samples and incredible instrumentals. I’d definitely have a listen to them. If you’ve not heard of them, listen to: In The Name Of The Father, Tramazi Party and Kelly’s Heroes (as a starting point). Enjoy!

I can’t wait to see the Courteeners next month at Banquet Records and also to see The 1975 play their biggest ever (sold out) headline show at The O2 Arena. Mad.

This month’s playlist features a lot of Black Grape, Two Door Cinema Club, (the incredible) Declan McKenna (who I absolutely love this month- check out Brazil and Bethlehem) and Catfish and the Bottlemen. I’ve added Catfish’s ‘Glasgow’ because Black Grape played Glasgow’s O2 ABC, which I believe is where the song is written about. I found this exciting.

 

 

 

 

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November 2016- What I’m Listening To

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