May 2017- What I’m Listening To

Firstly, I’d like to open this post with something tragically sad that I wish I didn’t have to talk about- the horrific terrorist attack on Manchester Arena. The terrorist attack on the Manchester Arena happened on the 22nd May 2017, after an Ariana Grande concert, and the death toll stands at 22, with many others injured and still in hospital. The youngest victim was 9. Many parents collecting their children were injured, as well as many (young) concert goers. Ariana Grande has offered a HUGE amount of support for the victims though and even managed to arrange (or rather be the crucial figure head of) a One Love Manchester¬†benefit concert, with some of the biggest names in the music industry, which raised millions, within weeks of the event. It didn’t stop her, which it quite easily could have. I think it’s important to talk about these sorts of things because we have to get on with our daily lives in the same ways as we did before and because they’re tragically sad and need to be talked about. What really struck me was that it was just young kids enjoying music, something which I strongly believe we should all do and expose our children to (it’s a beautiful thing). It’s the fact that these children would’ve gone to see their favourite pop star, perhaps on their own or with their wonderful families (I have so much time for parents who take their kids to see things, regardless of whether or not they actually like it), at a place where they clearly felt safe and how they were met with terror and lifelong fear. It’s the blatant attack on a culture full of compassion, love and acceptance. It really hit me when I saw Little Mix at Radio One’s Big Weekend. There were children everywhere, with their (albeit less enthusiastic) parents, singing their hearts out and dancing to their childhood heroes, the ones they look up to. It was quite magical and to think someone would go about trying to destroy the innocence of this is truly heart breaking. I hear security is being stepped up, but of course this can’t be undone. We just can’t let it stop us.

 


 

Paramore have released their new album (finally)! It’s the band’s first album since the 2013 self-titled album and since bassist Jeremy Davis’ departure and ex-drummer Zac Farro’s return. It’s a stunning blend of old and new and feels more perfected and polished than their other albums. Their genre certainty feels assured and confident. They’ve definitely matured and are undoubtably on the top of their game. The album’s called After Laughter and was released on the 12th May. I thoroughly recommend you check it out (or read my review of it here). ¬†They’ve also announced their third ‘Parahoy’ cruise, which sets sail from the 6th to the 10th April 2018, on a cruise around the Bahamas. It’s set to be huge and they’re set to welcome some of the biggest, most exciting names in the music industry on it too.

Glastonbury Festival have announced the famous Shangri La’s 2017 line-up this month. The line up features names from Rat Boy, Napalm Death and Gentleman’s Dub Club across eight stages. The stunningly artistic, themed area (which features artwork by the likes of Stanley Donwood) has welcomed a brand new area this year- the Earache Express- which is dedicated to metal music, a first for the festival! This joins the newly added, 2016 addition, women only venue ‘The Sisterhood’ in the area. You can’t forget to mention the stunningly immersive 360 experience of the gas tower either, which features 360 degree screens around a permanent gas tower structure, where many DJs play throughout the festival, including DJ Yoda.

Glastonbury also released their full line up this month, where names like Liam Gallagher joined the bill. The festival runs from the 22nd to the 26th June 2017, at Worthy Farm, Pilton.

Haim have released their latest single, ‘Want You Back’. The single is a brilliant blend of pure pop, with hints of the classic alternative vibe that made them famous. It’s a significant follow up single and makes me eager for their new album, Something to Tell You, which is due out in July (07/07/2017).

90s band Black Grape have announced their first album in 20 years, Pop Voodoo. It was initially due for release on the 7th July, but has been pushed back due to mixing delays. The album features the newly released songs ‘Everything You Know is Wrong’ and ‘Nine Lives’. The album gets political in lyric, so is crucial to our current (volatile) political climate. It’s set to be huge.

Wolf Alice have been sending our cryptic postcards to unsuspecting fans with lyrics on the back. These mysterious ‘clues’ are hopefully an indication of new music!

Blossoms have released a huge new song with Chase and Status called ‘The Moment’. It’s a blend of Blossoms’ glorious indie-rock, with a clear Chase and Status touch. Perhaps this collaboration was unsurprising as a follow up to their 2016 collaboration with Slaves on ‘Control’.

Sundara Karma have also announced that they are re-releasing their debut album, Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect, which originally came on in January this year. ‘Explore’ is the first new single to be released, joining two other new tracks on the re-release, which is out on the 7th July. I can’t wait!

Soundgarden’s front man Chris Cornell sadly died this month, at the age of 52, on the 18th May. The news is tragic, but his will undoubtedly live on.

Next mont is set to be massive. There’s Wildlife Festival, Paramore at the Royal Albert Hall and, of course, Glastonbury. There’s even a new release from the mystical Lorde. I can’t wait!

This month’s playlist features Liam Gallagher’s new single ‘Wall of Glass’, Blondie and The Courteeners, as well as Alt-J’s stunning new song ‘3WW’ (which I’ve had on repeat) and a throwback to Mystery Jet’s stunning Radlands hit ‘Greatest Hits’ (another on repeat track). There’s also Biffy Clyro, Dan Auerbach, The Kooks and The Magic Gang’s new track.

 

 

 

 

 

May 2017- What I’m Listening To

BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend Hull Recommendations 2017

BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend marks the beginning of festival season for me and has been a significant event on the music industry calendar for years. Its star studded line-up features some of the hottest, hugest and perhaps even most exclusive artists and bands that the music industry has to offer, as well as a whole host of up and coming bands championed by BBC Introducing. Typically the artists found on the bill are those who get played on Radio 1, but, with an ever expanding audience and increasing interest in what would once have been hailed “niche” genres, the line up now crosses multiple genres and appeals to the masses, with grime becoming a big part of the two-day festival.

This year’s BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend is being held in Hull, at Hull’s Burton Constable Hall, on the 27th and 28th May 2017. The bank holiday weekend event is fully sold out now, with 50,000 tickets up for grabs across the two days, however Radio 1 have been running competitions to win the last few tickets. The event, as usual, will be streamed online, played live on BBC Radio 1 and the red button, and highlights will be shown on BBC 4 and on the BBC iPlayer. This year’s event is headlined by US pop sensation Katy Perry (who will also play Glastonbury Festival next month) on Saturday and BST headliners and alternative icons Kings of Leon. The festival is free ( apart from a very small booking fee)- yes, that’s right, FREE- and is currently Europe’s largest free festival, with some of the most successful artists in the world filling out the huge line-up. This is extraordinary in itself (especially when you look at the line up).

I was lucky enough to attend last year, on the Sunday, in Exeter and it truly is a world class festival. It was a gloriously hot weekend in one of the most beautiful parts of the UK I’ve ever had the privilege to visit. The sets are the perfect length of time- probably around half an hour per artist, with an hour for the headliner, meaning the bands really only play the hits (with is good when the line-up is so diverse)- and there’s backing dancers and confetti galore! It set me up for festival season perfectly. Not only is Radio One’s Big Weekend a FREE event (and last year I was lucky enough that I got to see some of my favourite artists perform, let alone Coldplay, who I went on to spend over ¬£70 trying to get tickets for at Wembley and saw again at Glastonbury), it also showcases some of the UK’s most wonderful places by bringing world class music to somewhere that doesn’t get much live music. It’s professionally curated and managed and is a brilliant family day out. You’d be a fool to miss it if you ever got the chance to attend.

This year’s line up is jam packed full of headliner worthy artists, spanning three stages- the Main Stage, the newly named ‘Where It Begins’ Stage and, of course, the famous BBC Introducing Stage (which even features some returning acts from the prestigious alumni). This year is set to be unmissable with artists from Biffy Clyro to Little Mix to Kasabian and Lorde all set to perform at the event over the weekend. I’m lucky enough to be attending on the Sunday again this year and I truly cannot wait.

Here are my weekend recommendations:

SATURDAY

Katy Perry (Main Stage headliner)– Pop-princess Katy Perry brings her bubblegum pop hit fuelled back catalogue to Hull for what promises to be an unforgettable headline set.

Biffy Clyro (Main Stage)– Scotland’s undeniable rock God’s are returning to Big Weekend, having headlined the In New Music We Trust Stage last year, in Exeter. Their set is obviously going to be brilliant, if their co-headline slot at Reading Festival last year is anything to go by. The band will surely play all the hits- from “Mountains” to “Bubbles” to the anthemic classic that is “Many of Horror”- as well as a whole host of songs from their latest album, Ellipsis.

Imagine Dragons (Main Stage)– If you haven’t seen an Imagine Dragons live set you’re missing out. The atmosphere- especially at an outdoor event- is not comparable to anything. The atmospheric drumming live in their hit single ‘Radioactive’ is phenomenal and never fails to excite a crowd. Their live sets are encapsulating and engaging.

Kasabian (Main Stage)– Reading Festival 2017 headliners are set to perform the Hull event amongst a whole host of equally as huge artists. Kasabian’s expansive back catalogue- spanning over 10 years- is sure to provide the weekend’s biggest sing-a-longs, not to mention their brilliant later releases, such as ‘I’m in Love With a Psycho’.

Lorde (Main Stage)– New Zealand’s finest talent Lorde is back and better than ever. The ‘Royals’ singer has released her first new music since 2013’s stunning Pure Heroine. Lorde has matured over the last few years and her songs are more sophisticated and catchy than ever. She’s set to steal the show at Big Weekend, especially after seeing¬†her own Coachella earlier this year.

Zara Larsson (Main Stage)– She’s been part¬†of the last year’s biggest and best collaborations, from ‘Symphony’ with Clean Bandit to ‘Girls Like’ with Tinie Tempah and even had one of the biggest songs of last summer with ‘Lush Life’. She’s one of pop’s most exciting up and coming artists.

Haim (Where it Begins)– Haim are well and truly back- having cancelled a load of festival performances last summer in order to finish their new record. The band have recently released the new single ‘Want You Back’, as a follow up from 2013’s Days Are Gone.

Lana Del Rey (Where it Begins)– Lana Del Rey isn’t as common a UK festival find as many of the artists on this list. This rare appearance is set to be something special, as the ‘Video Games’¬†singer gets ready to release her latest album, Lust For Life, which is due out in July.

Rag ‘N’ Bone Man (Where it Begins)– I’ve been saying it for the last year now, but if you haven’t seen Rag ‘N’ Bone Man you’re most definitely missing out. The 2017 Brits British Breakthrough Artist award winner (which was voted by BBC Radio 1 listeners) has a phenomenal, almost gospel voice that can draw crowds of thousands in. I expect Rag ‘N’ Bone Man will pull out all the hits of his debut album, Human, including the title track, which is sure to be a memorable sing-a-long moment.

The Amazons (Where it Begins)– The Amazons release their self-titled debut album the day before they conquer the Where it Begins stage (26/05/17). The Amazons are a band who have been supported by the BBC since the beginning and also made it onto my bands to keep an eye on in 2017 list.

Two Door Cinema Club (Where it Begins)– Two Door Cinema Club sing all the songs. Their sets are full of songs that you undoubtedly know, but don’t know how or why (and they’re bloody brilliant live). Their set promises to be huge, with songs from their impressive back catalogue of indie classics. You’d be daft to miss them play on a stage as small and exclusive as the Where it Begins stage; they could quite easily be headlining!

You Me At Six (Where it Begins)– Ahhh, You Me At Six. I listened to a lot of You Me At Six when I was in my early teens and it was a brilliant time of my life. The band knows how to push and play with the genre of pop-punk to create massive pop-rock records that are infectiously catchy and brilliant. They’ve just released their fifth record- Night People– which is full of bangers.

Declan McKenna (BBC Introducing)– Declan McKenna is returning to the BBC Introducing stage for a one-off return treat. He’s set to dazzle the audience with songs such as ‘Brazil’ and ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’ ahead of his debut album release, What Do You Think About The Car?, which is due out in July. This could be your last chance to catch the indie-rock king that is Declan McKenna before he becomes huge and continues to play increasingly large stages over the festival season.

Superfood (BBC Introducing)– Superfooood. They’ve been around for a while and have put out some brilliant records over the last few years, but it’s finally becoming real for the band. They’ve signed to Dirty Hit Records- who are the record label of Wolf Alice, The 1975 and The Japanese House- and are starting to release new music and, with the help of BBC Introducing, they’re set to make a comeback to remember. Superfood could easily play the bigger stages, so seeing them play the BBC Introducing stage is a treat.

SUNDAY

Kings of Leon (Main Stage)– ¬†Kings of Leon headline the Main Stage on the Sunday of the festival. The band will play hits from their 14 year+ career, hopefully including the likes of ‘Sex on Fire’ and ‘Use Somebody’, as well as songs from their hugely successful latest album Walls, which was released last year. It promises to be big.

Bastille (Main Stage)– ¬†Bastille played the festival last year and they were one of the acts people talked about for ages. Their first album- Bad Blood– is full of memorable, sing-a-long classics and it’ll be great to hear some of their 2016 latest album- Wild World– at the festival. Bastille have been touring a world tour, which saw them play nights at the O2 Arena.

Clean Bandit (Main Stage)– Clean Bandit could wheel out the special guests, due to their many collaborations with huge artists, which could potentially be exciting. I always end up in weird places watching Clean Bandit and I don’t know how or why but they’ve always been a treat. They’re brilliant live.

Little Mix (Main Stage)– Little Mix are opening the Main Stage on the Sunday. They’re set to bring a healthy helping of guilty pleasure, girl-band hits to the party to get it underway. The band- undeniably- have some absolute bangers and I’m fully expecting fellow Sunday performer Stormzy to join the band for their latest single, ‘Power’. Watch this space!

Shawn Mendes (Main Stage)– Shawn Mendes is another guilty pleasure, gloriously unapologetic pop act. He’s on a UK tour and this set in Hull is set to impress the pop hungry crowd. It’s hard to forget the catchy choruses and hooks of songs like Stitches and Mercy.

Stormzy (Main Stage)– Stormzy played the event last year and was undoubtebly one of the most talked about acts of the event, along with fellow grime artist Skepta. As grime continues to make waves in the music world, it’s especially significant that artists like Stormzy are getting the chance to dazzle such mainstream audiences on hugely accessible platforms. He will no doubt be talked about a lot this year again.

The Chainsmokers (Main Stage)- They’ve come along way since the “lemme take a selfie” days back in the Flappy Bird days of early 2014 (a time best forgotten). They’re responsible for some of the biggest collaborations of the last year, including ‘Something Just Like This’ with last year’s headliner Coldplay, which was debuted at the Brit Awards this year.

Royal Blood (Where it Begins headliner)– ¬†Royal Blood are back with the first new music since their phenomenal self-titled album was released in 2014. Again, their music is probably something you’d recognise, even if you didn’t know they sung it. The Brighton duo are already huge and this set is set to be very special and I, for one, can’t wait.

Alt J (Where it Begins)– Alt-J’s incredibly atmospheric, ambient music is coming for Hull on Sunday afternoon. It’ll be great to finally hear songs such as ‘3WW’ and ‘Cold Blood’ played live, nestled between the songs that made they the band they are today. Here’s praying for Ellie Rowsell from Wolf Alice to join them for 3WW.

Christine and the Queens (Where it Begins)– I’m told she’s unmissable. 2016’s Chaleur Humaine¬†was one of 2016’s big albums and her dancing is something to behold. The French performer’s incredible stage presence and brilliant songs are set to make this set something to remember.

Twin Atlantic (Where it Begins)– Twin Atlantic are undoubtedly one of the greatest bands that I’ve ever seen live (and the most down to earth, lovely band that I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet). The Scottish band are Sunday’s answer to the magnificent Biffy Clryo and they’re set to tear the Where it Begins stage up with huge rock riffs and loud lyrics. They’re something else live. It’ll be great hearing songs from their latest album, GLA, live, finally.

Circa Waves (Where it Begins)– Circa Waves are another great indie-rock band. Their sun-kissed sounding, glorious first album,¬†Young Chasers,¬†could soundtrack the perfect sunny Sunday, whilst their brilliant latest album- Different Creatures– brings a slightly heavier vibe. Here’s hoping for ‘T-Shirt Weather’.

Blossoms (Where it Begins)– No festival would be complete without Stockport’s finest export Blossoms. Blossoms bring their continuing tour to Hull to play songs from their debut album, Blossoms, as well as songs from its extended edition, which was released late last year. The band played a triumphant set as a returning guest on the BBC Introducing stage last year, which was brilliant, so this is set to be a treat.

Pale Waves (BBC Introducing)– ¬†Pale Waves are label mates with the likes of Wolf Alice and The 1975. Their new music is The 1975 produced, too. What more could ¬†you want? They’re about to hit the big time, so catch them playing intimate stages whilst you can!

The Big Moon (BBC Introducing)– The Big Moon return to the BBC Introducing Stage after the release of their debut album, Love in the 4th Dimension, which was released earlier this year. The band have been championed by Huw Stephens for years.

Of course, there’s so many other huge artists playing across the weekend who I haven’t named here- including Anne-Marie and Mura Masa- but these are my picks. You can check out the whole line up on the BBC Radio 1 website (https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/eppp6q) and it’s useful for more information if you’re going. You can keep up with the event via their Facebook page or via Twitter (@BBCR1). Below I have linked their own playlist of artists playing across the weekend for you to get hyped about, or pretend you’re there to, if you’re not going.

If you’re going I hope you have a great weekend and have a brilliant time. Let’s hope the summery weather holds like last year!

 

 

 

 

 

BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend Hull Recommendations 2017

March 2017- What I’m Listening To

March was yet another glorious music month filled with festival announcements, new music and brilliant live music.

Lorde is finally back with new single ‘Green Light’ and it’s taken a while. At first ‘Green Light’ was uncomfortably different, but once you’ve heard it a few times it becomes a wonderfully sublime, boldly fearless track, with a prominent beat and¬†strong keyboard. It’s unafraid, unexpected and urges you to dance. Lorde also announced a new album, Melodrama, which is due to be released on June 16th. The album follows her 2013¬†stunning debut album, Pure Heroine, which demands your undying attention in all it’s brilliance.¬†Lorde showcased the heartbreaking song ‘Liability’, a few days after the release of ‘Green Light’. A lot of the album was inspired by Lorde’s breakup, which happened when she was writing the album. Along side the songs, she’s recently been announced to play a whole host of festivals globally, including Glastonbury, as well as a scheduled appearance at Coachella, in April.

Alt-J are also back with new single ‘3WW’. The track features Ellie Rowsell from Wolf Alice, in what feels like a huge uniting of two huge indie forces. It’s irresistible laid back feel, with acoustic guitar intertwined with a classic Alt-J twist, and theatrical love tale telling lyrics make it something not to be overlooked. The band ¬†later released the song ‘In Cold Blood’, which retains a signature Alt-J feel. They also announced the release of their third album ‘RELAXER’, which follows the 2012 Mercury Prize Award winning album,¬†An Awesome Wave, and 2014’s This Is All Yours. The album is due to be released on June 9th this year.

Ed Sheeran had a pretty good March, too. He released his number one, multi-record breaking album, Divide. The album is quite something. You won’t be able to escape it! I reviewed the album, which can be found here.

The Happy Mondays have announced a mega tour at the end of 2017. The Manchester band have announced a 25 date UK tour, which features huge dates in London and Brighton. The greatest hits tour is set to be big.

March was a big month for Kasabian. The Leicester lads announced a new album (with the most brilliant album artwork), called For Crying Out Loud, which is due to be released on the 5th May. They also announced new single ‘You’re In Love With a Psycho’, along with a music video (featuring Noel Fielding and dancing in a psychiatric hospital, which has recently come under fire), as well as a short April UK tour, which sold out very quickly, unsurprisingly, and features three sold-out nights at the O2 Kentish Town Forum. This comes after an announcement that the band will headline Reading Festival in August.

The album announcements keep coming, with London Grammar also announcing a new album- Truth is a Beautiful Thing- which is due to be released on the 9th June. The band released the title track as the lead single.

Last month, at the Brit Awards, The Chainsmokers unveiled what could potentially be the song that defines summer 2017-¬†‘Something Just Like This’, in collaboration with Coldplay. This month, Coldplay have announced a brand new EP, which is set for release on June 2nd (June is currently shaping up to be a brilliant month). The EP is set to be the “sister release” to the band’s latest album, A Head Full of Dreams, which was released in 2015. The EP features new “non-single” ‘Hypnotised’, which is pretty deep-cut and slow for a Coldplay single. The EP will also feature ‘Something Just Like This’, as well as three other new, unheard tracks and I can’t wait to hear it. The band will tour with this EP, including dates in Wales.

Rat Boy still hasn’t released an album, but he has released a brand new single- ‘Revolution’- ahead of his upcoming UK tour, which features a huge night at Camden’s prestigious Roundhouse. The song is one of Rat Boy’s best yet. The song has a chorus worth chanting, it’s pretty huge. The lyrics echo tales of youthful life and the pitt falls of our generation, something laced through most of his songs. Now… when’s that album coming?!

The Kooks have announced a ‘best of’ album to accompany their ‘best of’, greatest hits (so far) tour, which kicks off in April and leads through May this year. This comes 10 years after their stunning debut album, Inside In/Inside Out,¬†which holds a special place in my heart and soundtracked a fair bit of my childhood. The album comes out on the 19th May. The band have also released new single ‘Be Who You Are’, which remains loyal to the band’s classic sound (it sounds quite Catfish and the Bottlemen… or rather, do Catfish sound a bit like The Kooks..?!). The band are supported by Clean Cut Kid and Fickle Friends on tour later this year.

There have been many festival announcements this month including Latitude Festival¬†(13th-16th July. Headlined by The 1975, Mumford and Sons and Fleet Foxes. Other artists announced to play include Fatboy Slim, Glass Animals and Declan McKenna), fully sold-out¬†Truck Festival (21st-23rd July. Headlined by The Libertines, Franz Ferdinand and The Vaccines. Artists announced this month include The Big Moon, Deaf Havana and Hinds), Brighton’s mammoth¬†Great Escape Festival (18th-20th May. Newly announced 150 artists including Fickle Friends, RAT BOY and Strong Asian Mothers),¬†Boardmasters¬†(9th-13th August. Headlined by Two Door Cinema Club, Jamiroquai and Alt-J. New artists to announce include Idris Elba and Wretch 32).

This month’s most anticipated festival announcement was the longly awaited first Glastonbury Festival line-up announcement. The festival, which runs (officially) from the 21st-25th June, will be headlined by Radiohead, Foo Fighters, and Ed Sheeran. The line-up announcement included artists like Katy Perry, Biffy Clyro and Lorde, as well as Royal Blood, George Ezra and Boy Better Know. The legends slot will be played by Barry Gibb (of Bee Gees fame). Gibb played a song with Coldplay when they headlined in 2015. Although this is literally a fraction¬†of the artists playing across the weekend, the line up is shaping up quite nicely and I can’t wait to see who else is announced.

Aaaand Palma Violets are believed to have split this month. The Lambeth band¬†released two brilliant albums (180 (2013) and Danger in the Club (2015)) – which featured such delights as ‘Best of Friends’, ‘We Found Love’ and ‘Rattlesnake Highway’- and quickly became one of my festival¬†favourites. I fondly remember watching the band play William’s Green at Glastonbury in 2015, before watching Kanye headline on the Saturday evening. The band played the most fascinating, energetic, mad, raucous set I’ve ever seen (I’ve not seen anything quite like it since) and the euphoric feeling having seen it all play out, as if it didn’t happen. It was all topped off by a huge stage invasion (which saw one of my dad’s work colleagues on the stage). It was unforgettable and one of the greatest highlights of my first Glastonbury. They’re a band I will miss.

In other sad news, Chuck Berry has died aged 90, on the 18th March. The rock ‘n’ roll legend leaves a huge legacy of influential rock ‘n’ roll music, which will undoubtably go on to inspire generations to come.

This month’s playlist includes The Black Keys (who I’ve been listening to a lot lately, off the back of Dan Auerbach’s solo album intention announcements), Tom Odell and Alt-J (who are proving to be the perfect revision band). The playlist also features a lot of Ed Sheeran (sorry.)

 

March 2017- What I’m Listening To