June 2017- What I’m Listening To

A month of festivals, tour announcements and new music (thank God).

Firstly, Rat Boy are finally releasing their debut album. The record is called Scum, which we already knew after Jordan Cardy (Rat Boy) teased it at Reading Festival last year. The record is out on the 11th August 2017 and features the previously released singles ‘MOVE’, ‘GET OVER IT’, ‘REVOLUTION’ and ‘FAKE ID’.

The Killers are back with a new album and single. The band are set to release their sixth sutdio album, entitled Wonderful Wonderful,¬†later this year. The band released the catchy lead single, The Man, simultaneously to the record announcement. The single channels Two Door Cinema Club’s funky 2015 album, whist remaining iconically infectious, like most of The Killers songs are. ¬†They’re also set to tour the UK in Winter this year, following their surprise Glastonbury set.

Everything Everything have announced a new album,¬†A Fever Dream, which is due to be released on August 18th. The band also released lead single ‘Can’t Do’, which is equally as fascinating, mad and marvellous as their previous material. I love the absurdness of Everything Everything songs, which often include one absolutely brilliant, strange line, which is madly catchy.

Mystery Jets are set to release a remix EP, called The Electronic Earth EP. Key tracks have been remixed and reimagined from their 2016 album Curve of the Earth,¬†especially to dance to and “shed new light on the material”, according to the band’s website.

Wolf Alice have released the raucous ‘Yuk Foo’ (or, err, “Fuck You”, as the song’s lyrics transpire) as the lead single from the second album, Visions of a Life, which is due to be released later this year. The single is explosive, angry and intriguing. You can’t tell a lot about how the album will pan out on just one song, as usually their songs are vastly different throughout- and that’s what makes them brilliant.

George Ezra has also released the lead single from his imminent second album. The single- which he debuted on his recent UK tour and is now a staple on his 2017 festival setlists- ¬†is called ‘Don’t Matter Now’. It’s infectiously happy, upbeat and filled with summery, laid back vibes. It’s gloriously optimistic and I love it. I was lucky enough to hear his 2017 festival setlist at Wildlife Festival (his first festival of the season no less) and at Glastonbury and it’s great to hear our George performing such wonderful new tracks. I can’t wait for the album.

Lorde has announced a September UK tour, which includes a date at London’s prestigious Alexandra Palace, as well as dates at the Brighton Centre and at a string of O2 venues across the country. She will be supported by Khalid.

Reading’s Sundara Karma have also announced a September/October UK tour, which features a HUGE date at the O2 Academy Brixton. It’s so exciting watching Sundara Karma get bigger, especially after the release of their triumphant debut album earlier this year. The band are on their way to big things.

Blaenavon have also released a tour (with The Night Cafe). The tour kicks off in November and features a date at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. These dates are set to be special, especially after the success of their debut album, That’s Your Lot, which was released earlier this year.

Just when you think there could be no more tour announcements… The Libertines released details of a seaside stop UK. The tour features dates in Brighton, Blackpool and Scarborough. I’m hoping the band showcase some new material, as a follow up to 2015’s Anthems For Doomed Youth.

Reading and Leeds festival have announced details of their Alternative Stage line-up. The stage offers a break from the music, with comics, speakers and DJs.  The line-up features DJ sets from Blossoms, Circa Waves and The Big Moon, as well as a Transgressive Takeover. The line-up also features comedy sets by Bill Bailey, Katherine Ryan and Joe Lycett.

Glastonbury Festival announced earlier in the month that Liam Gallagher and Johnny Depp were amongst the latest faces to join their mega 2017 line-up. The festival itself has since gone by in a flash and was a huge success. The festival was headlined by Radiohead, Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran and featured secret sets by the likes of The Killers and Elbow. Highlights across the weekend include the spectacular Lorde, Scotland’s finest Biffy Clyro and Blossoms. A full review will follow.

In July, I look forward to Finsbury Park’s first Community Festival (headlined by Catfish and the Bottlemen, with The Wombats, Slaves and Fickle Friends amongst loads of great acts) and the long awaited release of Declan McKenna’s debut album. There’s also Haim’s new album, which is set to be good.

This month I’ve listened to a lot of Anne-Marie’s brilliant ‘Ciao Adios’, which is already soundtracking my summer, as well as the Clean Bandit hit she features on- ‘Rockabye’- having seen her play at BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend. There’s also the summer hit that is Little Mix’s ‘Power’, which I’ve been enjoying (in various layers of guilty pleasure) since Big Weekend. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Everywhere’s latest single, ‘Man Up’, who are my new band of the month in June. I’ve also been loving Declan McKenna’s ‘Paracetamol’, as well as bit of Blondie. There’s also a lot of Lorde on this playlist, especially ‘The Louvre’, which I recommend you listen to at full volume on repeat for full effect.

 

June 2017- What I’m Listening To

BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend Hull 2017 (Review)

This year‚Äôs BBC Radio One‚Äôs Big Weekend was held in Hull, at Hull‚Äôs Burton Constable Hall, on the 27th and 28th May 2017. The free music festival was jam packed with the biggest and hottest names in the music industry and was a huge success. ¬†Katy Perry and Kings of Leon headlined the two day bank holiday weekend event, with acts like Two Door Cinema Club, Bastille and The Amazons playing across the weekend. It’s always one of the most fascinating and exciting music festivals of the summer, for where else can you watch Kings of Leon, Little Mix and Twin Atlantic all within a matter of hours?

I was lucky enough to attend the festival on the Sunday this year and the day was full of glorious pop music and all things Radio 1. Bands and artists played short hit fuelled sets (exactly the sort of thing you’d hear on the radio) with the station’s DJs playing in-between sets.

Here are my highlights (a very small selection of them)-

Little Mix opened the main stage on the Sunday. The X-Factor winning girl group played a phenomenal confetti filled set, full of all the hits (that you’d know even if you don’t- or rather won’t admit to- like), dancing timed to the second and huge, captivating graphics. It was totally feel good and empowering and distinctly awe-inspiring for the many families in the crowd. Little Mix are very clearly the biggest girl group in the music industry currently and what they’re doing for music is very significant, even if you don’t like it personally. The set felt special and unifying (especially considering the huge amounts of families, mainly children, in the crowd) after the tragic events in Manchester, which happened a matter of days before.

Bastille brought their worldwide tour (in support of their latest album, Wild World) to a sunny Hull and played an energetic afternoon set. The band played sing-a-long hits from their first album, Bad Blood, including ‘Flaws’ and the iconic ‘Pompeii’, as well as a whole host of songs from their UK number 1 2016 second album, Wild World. The highlights of the set was definitely when the single ‘Good Grief’ was played to a backdrop of post-modern, satirical, futuristic collage graphics.

Pop sensation Shawn Mendes brought illuminations to Hull with his Sunday set. Mendes brought all the hits to Burton Constable Hall in what transpired to be a huge sing-a-long spanning all ages. He played a selection of songs from his new album Illuminate, including the singles ‘There’s Nothin’ Holding Me Back’, ‘Mercy’ and ‘Stitches’. It was the Radio sensation’s first ever festival performance and he performed it with ease.

Brighton’s brilliant rock duo Royal Blood played a huge set headlining the Where It Begins stage at Radio 1’s Big Weekend. The band played what could’ve been an arena show to a packed out tent, just before the release of their second album How Did it Get so Dark?¬†(June 16th 2017). The band played a blend of stunning instrumental and memorable hit, including ‘Two Tonne Skeleton’, ‘Little Monster’ and ‘Figure it Out’ (from their 2014 debut album Royal Blood). The band also played new single ‘Lights Out’, which was met by applause from the eager crowd.

Scotland’s finest Twin Atlantic played the Where it Begins tent on Sunday afternoon to a captivated audience. The band played a riff filled set featuring songs from all four of their albums, including the latest album GLA (which was released last year). Frontman Sam McTrusty was full of energy as he leapt into the crowd and crowd surfed at the end of the set. Twin Atlantic are one of my personal favourite live bands ever because the energy their shows give off is just electric. You just have to experience it.

Alternative icons Circa Waves brought sun-kissed tunes and an overdue dance session to the sunny Hull festival. The band, who are consistently brilliant live, played a short set filled with songs from their 2015 debut album, Young Chasers, including ‘Fossils’, ‘Stuck in my Teeth’ and the fan favourite ‘T-Shirt Weather’, as well as a handful of tracks from their latest 2017 album, Different Creatures, including the mosh-pit inducing ‘Fire That Burn’s, ‘Goodbye’ and the single ‘Wake Up Call’. It was definitely one of the highlights for me.

Stockport’s finest Blossoms brought their huge debut album tour to Hull, one year on from their return to the festival as special guests on the BBC Introducing Stage in Exeter. Blossoms played a set filled with crowd pleasing hits, including ‘Blow’, ‘Blown Rose’ and ‘At Most a Kiss’. Like at ever Blossoms show, the band dedicated acoustic hit ‘My Favourite Room’ to a member of the crowd who had “recently been dumped”, an appreciated gesture. Lead singer Tom Ogden effortlessly merged the ending of the song into an impromptu mash-up of Babybird’s ‘You’re Gorgeous’ and Oasis’s ‘Half The World Away’, which the crowd loved. The band played latest single ‘This Moment’ (featuring Chase and Status) at the end of the set, before ending with the indie anthem ‘Charlemagne’, which never fails to excite a crowd.

The day was headlined by American rockers Kings of Leon, but their set was slightly lack lustre, bar the handful of iconic anthems the band have, which the audience and atmosphere made entirely. The band, whilst still sounding brilliant in instrument, played a 50 minute long set, which saw the audience consistently disintegrate throughout the set. The band’s iconic status made their headline set fitting, but their lack of connection to the mainly young, radio listening crowd seemed uncomfortable and awkward in part. It seemed as though the set was a year too late, as the hype for their latest album, Walls, had somewhat fizzled out. The band are set to headline British Summer Time in July though.

Overall the weekend was brilliant with plenty of huge sets. I’d like to mention how brilliant the tail end of Anne Marie’s set was (with the singer performing hits such as Christmas number one single, ‘Rockabye’, which was originally sung with Clean Bandit and latest single ‘Ciao Adios’), how fascinating Christine and the Queen’s captivating dancing was and the star filled Clean Bandit set, which was perfect for a Sunday afternoon dance.

BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend Hull 2017 (Review)

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

April 2017- What I’m Listening To

April was full of music surprises all set for summer.

George Ezra’s been popping up on festival annoucements ever since they’ve started releasing them late last year and he’s finally announced a UK tour, but shhhh it’s a secret. The nine night tour, which spans across late May and early June, visits some of the UK’s most obscure, intimate venues, with dates in places¬†such as Exeter, Barnstaple and Bath. The tour’s fully sold out now, but I’m sure it’ll be brilliant.

The Kooks played two very intimate shows in Brighton on the 8th April 2017, ahead of their sold out UK “best of” tour (in support of their upcoming greatest hits album). The band played two sold out shows: a matinee show at The Prince Albert (under 14s) at 1pm and a later show at The Haunt at 7:30pm. Tickets were made exclusively available from Resident Records, in Brighton, on the morning of the concerts, for ¬£11. Brighton is deemed the home for the Kooks, with the band forming there over ten years ago. Three of the four members attended BIMM Brighton. The shows were huge and a great way to start a month of touring across the UK and Europe.

America’s prestigious Coachella Festival took place from the 14th to the 16th April 2017 and a week later from the 21st to the 23rd April 2017. It was headlined by Radiohead (who struggled to overcome technical issues during their set), Lady Gaga (who replaced pregnant Beyonce, who has been confirmed for next year) and Kendrick Lamar. Artists, such as Lorde, Bon Iver and The XX, played to huge crowds across the weekend. I managed to catch some of Blossoms’ set via the Coachella live stream YouTube page, on weekend one. Their set was impressively brilliant from the Stockport lads, who dazzled a transatlantic audience. It’s strange to see Blossoms play to smaller audiences, having seen them sell out UK tours and play to big festival audiences, but it’s brilliant to see a band as good as Blossoms getting global recognition.

The news we’ve all been waiting for is finally here… Declan McKenna is set to release his debut album- called What Do You Think About The Car? –¬†which is set for release on the 21st July. The album is set to feature some of McKenna’s finest songs so far, including 2014’s ‘Brazil’, latest single ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’ and ‘Isombard’, as well as some brand new tracks. This could potentially be one of the year’s biggest records and I can’t wait to hear it. McKenna sets off on another UK tour in May, before playing a whole host of festivals.

Royal Blood have released details of their second album, How Did We Get So Dark?, which is due out on the 16th June 2017. The Brighton duo also premiered lead single ‘Lights Out’ this month.

Paramore have finally released details of their fifth album, After Laughter, which is set for release on the 12th May. The band announced lead single ‘Hard Times’ (which is heavily 80s influenced and a bold new direction for the band, which feels like a more mature, developed version of parts of 2013’s Paramore), closely followed by the release of another new song, ‘Told You So’, as well as details of a (now sold-out) June 2017 UK tour-¬†Tour One-¬†with the album details. The band’s new line up consists of Hayley Williams, Taylor York and rejoined member Zac Farro, having lost bassist Jeremy Davis in December 2015. I can’t wait for this release. Paramore are still one of my favourite bands ever and I love how their style constantly evolves into something more sophisticated than the albums that come before it.

The Sherlocks, too, are finally set to release their debut album, ¬†Live For The Moment, on the 18th August 2017. The Sherlocks are a band who I’ve been following for the last couple of years now, so this new has been a long time coming. The Manchester band featured on my list of bands to look out for in 2016¬†and I think it’s finally their time to shine.

Haim are back with the brilliant new song ‘Want You Back’. It’s chilled out and feels very summery and I think it’ll be a staple of festival season 2017. It’s nice to have the Haim sisters back again finally; it’s been a while!

The prestigious Ivor Novello Award nominations were announced in April. It’s an award ceremony which focuses on songwriting and has seen nominations for artists and writers including Blaine Harrison and Henry Harrison (Mystery Jets- ‘Telomere’), Adele Adkins and Tobias Jesso Jr (Adele- ‘When We Were Young’) and Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion and Chris Martin (Coldplay- ‘Hymn For The Weekend’ and ‘Adventure of a Life

Reading Festival released a mammoth line up update early this month. Artists such as Liam Gallagher, VANT, Blaenavon and Declan McKenna being added to the already brilliant line up. The festival is shaping up nicely and I can’t wait to be back at the Festival in August. The event is being headlined by Kasabian, Eminem and Muse and runs from the 25th-27th August 2017, which is, as always, bank holiday weekend.

Glastonbury continued to make line up announcements throughout April. Arguably most notably, the festival has announced the Field of Avalon Stage line up, with artists such as Busted, Birdy and Scouting For Girls being added to the already star studded bill. As well as this, Josh Barry won this year’s Emerging Talent Competition and will also perform at the festival. He beat a whole host of brilliant up and coming, unsigned artists, including Lucas & King, Silences and Young Yizzy. Previous winners of the competition include the incredible Declan McKenna. The event, which runs from the 22nd to 26th June, is headlined by Radiohead, the Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran.

Latitude Festival made another huge announcement this month. The bumper announcement includes artists including Mystery Jets, The Coral, Leon Bridges and Jesus Mary Chain.¬†Katherine Jenkins is also set to perform a special lakeside performance on the Sunday and it’s set to be magical. The festival is held between the 13th and 16th of July, in Suffolk, and is headlined by The 1975, Mumford and Sons and Fleet Foxes, .

In other festival news, Radio 1’s Big Weekend- which is due to be held in Hull on Saturday 27th May and Sunday 28th May-¬†has released its full two day line up. The event is being headlined by Katy Perry and Kings of Leon, with Plan B and Royal Blood set to headline the ‘Where it Begins’ Stage respectively. Artists including Biffy Clyro, Kasabian, Blossoms, The Amazons, You Me At Six, Lorde, Two Door Cinema Club and Alt-J have also been announced to play the event.

Record Store Day 2017 was held on the 22nd April internationally. The annual event saw thousands of music fans scramble for limited edition records by the likes of Bastille, David Bowie and Blossoms. However, as frequently seen in the music industry, limited edition records- once sold out in stores- were appearing across the internet for a grossly heightened price. The day was overall a triumphant success though.

In other news, The 1975 are set to release their third album entitled¬†Music For Cars¬†at some point in 2018. That’s something to look forward to.

This month I have been listening to a lot of Alt-J (because I have been doing a lot of A-Level coursework and Alt-J is perfectly ambient, especially good for revising), Tom Grennan (who is definitely someone to look out for because he’s brilliant), Paramore, Rat Boy (‘Revolution’ is their best yet) and I’ve been rediscovering Wolf Alice and Gorillaz. Pale Waves and The Night Caf√© are two to keep an eye on too.

Next month is a month full of releases, from Paramore to The Amazons. I’m also off to see The Kooks and to Radio 1’s Big Weekend, in Hull. It should be great.

 

 

 

April 2017- What I’m Listening To

BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend Exeter 2016- 29/05/2016

This year’s BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend was held in the scenic grounds of Exeter’s stunning Powderham Castle on the 28th and 29th of May 2016. It was headlined by Mumford and Sons and Coldplay, with other huge acts (such as Ellie Goulding, The 1975, Wolf Alice and Skepta) all playing over the weekend in the glorious sunshine across three main stages (the Main Stage, the In New Music We Trust Stage and, of course, the BBC Introducing Stage). I was lucky enough to have attended on the Sunday (and created a blog post about what I recommended you see across the weekend, which you can see here) and it was simply incredible. Bands and artists get roughly around 30 minutes each (which is PERFECT as they mostly play all their hits, which goes with the whole “radio appeal” theme), so you’re not left wondering when it’ll end as they’re playing tonnes of artsy album tracks and obscure b-sides, and headliners get about 50 minutes (although I’m sure Chris Martin could and would have gone on for a lot longer if allowed). DJs from the station, such as Greg James, Annie Mac, and Huw Stephens play short DJ sets in between sets which makes the waiting a bit more bearable.

Opening the festival on the Sunday were One Republic. Prior to the event I didn’t really know how much I knew of their material or how good they’d actually be. Not only is Ryan Tedder (lead singer) an extremely successful and incredibly talented song writer, he’s also an effortlessly brilliant front man with the most incredible live voice and captivating stage presence. They played songs such as “Counting Stars” and “Wherever I go” and also played huge hits such as “Apologise”, accompanied by Tedder on the piano. They’re back shortly and are touring the UK in 2017 (I believe) and I think it’ll be unmissable.

Panic! at the Disco opened the In New Music We Trust Stage. Panic! at the Disco played a nostalgic hit filled set and played classics like “The Ballad of Mona Lisa”, “Nine in the Afternoon” and “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”. They also did a breathtaking cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which the crowd loudly (and proudly) sang along with. Oh, and Brendan Urie (lead singer) did a back flip off the drum platform, of course. Every time I see Panic! I’m hit with an overwhelming desire to listen to all my old “pop-punk” records and relive my Panic! days. Again, Urie’s voice is simply stunning live and he’s charismatic and hilarious too!

Catfish and the Bottlemen conquered the Main Stage for the second year running (having filled in last minute for Sam Smith who was on voice rest after becoming ill and having surgery) and this year it was in their own right. I thought they were a band capable of playing higher up on the list and later in the day, but their early afternoon set proved popular among eager punters. They played songs from their recently released second album, “The Ride”, and their incredible first album, 2014’s “the Balcony”. ¬†Van McCann further proved his effortless capabilities of fronting the band and remained grateful for the experience. The crowd loved it from start to finish with many singing and the odd person standing on shoulders. Catfish know how to get a crowd excited and they’re constantly playing second-to-none sets.

Years & Years are a band who don’t get boring. Olly Alexander (lead singer) is an energetic, bubbly and enthusiastic front man who knows how to get the crowd excited. It was a pure visual feast with the bands logo changing colour in the background throughout on a large LED screen and dancers- one of which was Olly¬†himself! The band played songs off of their debut album “Communion” , such as “King”, “Shelter” and, with Olly on the keyboard, “Eyes Wide Shut”. There was also confetti and nothing gets a crowd going quite like confetti (which Olly noted himself).

The In New Music We Trust Stage saw Wolf Alice triumphantly play before Sketpa. Wolf Alice are everything you could want in a band. They’re one of my personal favourite live bands with their impeccable singing, no-fuss approach and captivating instrument playing. They played many tracks from their Mercury Prize nominated debut album, “My Love is Cool”, such as “Bros”, “You’re a Germ” and latest single “Lisbon”, as well as Grammy Nominated “Moaning Lisa Smile”. They’re fascinating to watch live, especially when they’re furiously jamming on their instruments, but they’re simply incredible.

Matty Healy (lead singer of The 1975) turned up to Radio One’s Big Weekend with dog Allen, who proved popular among the backstage crowd… It only got weirder from there! The 1975 played on the Main Stage, with a very drunk Matty Healy. They brought their incredible stage set up to Powederham Castle, as well as a stand in drummer (as George Daniel (drummer) is recovering from a¬†broken¬†shoulder). They played songs off their latest album, “I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It” (February 2016), such as “Somebody Else” and “A Change of Heart”, and their debut album “The 1975”, such as “Girls” and “Chocolate”. Matty was feeling particularly talkative throughout the set and spoke his mind on the BBC’s no drinking/swearing/smoking policy on stage (they run a “tight ship” at the BBC, apparently). He was especially sad about the swearing aspect. His vocals are starting to lose the shine they had at the start of the year, but with huge shows at Glastonbury Festival, Reading and Leeds and, of course, their headline show at the O2 Arena in December, I’m sure they’ll be able to get back to their best after some rest.

The Last Shadow Puppets played on the In New Music We Trust Stage. I’m a fan of both Alex Turner and Miles Kane respectively in their own rights, as well as when part of the ‘supergroup’, if you will, The Last Shadow Puppets and thought their last album, “Everything You’ve Come to Expect” was brilliant. I’ve been excited to see the pair play together live for a while now, but nothing (nothing) could prepare me for this. The band played with a stunning accompaniment of violins and other string instruments, which was not only exciting to hear, but lovely to see. Alex Turner, on the other hand, was, well, hilarious. He pranced around the stage, sometimes with a guitar other times not, and, at one point, was lying on the floor with his arms and legs up in the air¬†reassembling what could be described as some sort of bewildered insect placed upside down and still attempting to walk, or something.

Blossoms returned to the BBC Introducing set for a short set (before the brilliant Catholic Action headlined). Blossoms are a hugely refreshing and original up and coming act. They were one of the best acts I saw over the whole day. Their songs are new, current and exciting and they’re championed by Huw Stephens and BBC Introducing. They played songs like “Getaway”, “At Most a Kiss” and “Charlemagne” all with a dreamy indie rock feel. With a perfected indie rock ‘vibe’, think The Kooks, The Courteeners and Catfish and the Bottlemen, and the brilliant gratitude of Van McCann- it’s a perfect combination. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; they’re about to become huge.

Coldplay¬†headlined the Sunday night of the festival (and it’s not the first time they’ve done it). They pulled out all the stops with huge pyrotechnic displays (confetti, fire and all) and dazzling lights and graphics, along with ALL the hits. Singles, such as “Hymn For The Weekend” and “Adventure of a Lifetime”, from their triumphant latest album, “A Head Full of Dreams” (released November 2015), proved a hit with the Exeter crowd and dazzled young and old alike. The older classics, such as “Fix You” and “Yellow”, provided special moments shared by and across many generations. Their music is timeless and expansive of all age groups. I love how the music brought everyone together and provided a special experience for all. They covered Prince’s¬†“Raspberry Beret”, which Chris Martin dedicated to Prince, and his parents- this was another special moment (one of many throughout the set). Chris Martin was born and raised in Exeter, which made this performance quite something to be a part of. Martin hopped from piano to the ultimate entertaining front man and provided the most spectacular of sets. It’s hard to imagine a better closing to the weekend.

Overall the day was jam packed with a vast variety of music and some the finest acts music has to offer and it was all (yellow..?) free! All of the sets can be found on the BBC iPlayer for a short amount of time. I look forward to seeing wherever it’s held next and I hope I’m lucky enough to bag tickets!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend Exeter 2016- 29/05/2016

BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend Reccomendations 2016

Over the last few years I’ve been keeping track of BBC ¬†Radio One’s Big Weekend and hoping it would come within travelling distance of my home town. For me, BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend marks the start of a three month or so UK summer festival season and showcases some of the summer’s hottest acts and staple bands. Typically, it plays the stuff you hear on the radio, but with the ever increasing interest in genres like “alternative” and “pop-punk” becoming more ‘mainstream’ and the huge demand for bands like Bring Me the Horizon- who exploded all over the radio after releasing last year’s (pretty incredible) “That’s the Spirit”- becoming integrated into modern day mainstream culture and radio, it’s unsurprising to see some of your favourite “non-pop” bands on the bill too.

This year’s Big Weekend is being held at Powderham Castle in Exeter. The event runs for two days over the bank holiday weekend from Saturday 28th to Sunday 29th May. There were 50,000 tickets up for grabs, which all sold out in less than an hour, and 200,000 people trying to get them! Although, BBC Radio One have been running competitions for those who lost out. The event is being headlined by Mumford and Sons (who headlined last year’s Reading and Leeds festival) and Coldplay (who are headlining Glastonbury this year). The festival is free (although there’s a small booking fee of literally ¬£17 for two tickets)- yes FREE- which, in itself, is quite something. For the price¬†a booking fee you’re getting a day of excitingly current music (with line-ups condensed but on par with the likes of Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds) which, at pretty much any other festival in the UK, would ordinarily cost you hundreds of pounds- a concert ticket for Coldplay alone at Wembley Stadium this June would cost you upwards of ¬£70! BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend is Europe’s largest free music festival- so you’re lucky enough for it to be in your town, you’d be daft not to go for tickets!

This year’s line up is composed of some of the world’s most current and exciting bands and artists across three stages- the Main Stage, the ¬†“In New Music We Trust” stage and, of course, the BBC Introducing stage. From The Weeknd to Bring Me the Horizon to Catfish and the Bottlemen, whether you’re watching there live or in the comfort of your own home via the red button or catching up with the highlights on BBC 4 television or on the internet, there’s bound to be plenty of unmissable stuff. I’m lucky enough to be attending on the Sunday, which I’m so excited about and have been for months! Below are some of my most unmissable acts from across the weekend.

SATURDAY

Mumford and Sons (MAIN)– Mumford and Sons are playing the event for the first time this year- and they’re headlining… Is there anything more exciting than hearing the well known classics and hits of Marcus Mumford and Co live? Following their formidable visual feast of a headline set at Reading and Leeds Festival last year, you won’t want to miss Mumford and Sons.

Jake Bugg (MAIN)– It’s no secret that I love Jake Bugg. Having seen him a few times here and there it’s safe to say he’d definitely be on my watch list and with new material from his upcoming album, “On My One”, which is due out in June, he’s an obvious one not to miss! There’s something timeless about Bugg’s voice which is so familiar and comforting to many, across all ages. He has an incredible stage presence too, where he manages to win over and transfix crowds.

Tom Odell (MAIN)– Tom Odell is back properly for the first time since the release of “Long Way Down” in 2013 (and the stunning 2014 John Lewis coveted christmas advert single, where he covered John Lennon’s “Real Love”) with the album “Wrong Crowd”, which is, again, released in June. Tom Odell has an incredible voice which, accompanied by his band and piano, is certain to mesmerise in Exeter (especially after his hugely successful live lounge in Exeter last week). He’s sure to leave the crowd dazzled with old hits and new tracks across both albums.

Bring Me the Horizon (the In New Music We Trust stage)– Bring Me the Horizon are headlining the In New Music We Trust stage on the Saturday of this year’s festival. Somehow, through brilliant song writing and modern day music fan appeal, this current blend of “post hardcore”and popular culture has intertwined to allow incredibly unique bands headline ‘mainstream’ events like these. Getting your hands on Bring Me the Horizon tickets ordinarily is difficult, as they go like hot cakes, so I wouldn’t miss the chance to catch them. This could be a career defining set, especially in terms of the radio.

Tame Impala (the In New Music We Trust stage)– Tame Impala’s psychedelic pop/rock is another different choice for the festival. Kevin Parker and co are set to bring something truly exciting and unique to the festival, with their laid back tracks and radio singles. They’d be an interesting and worthy watch- I couldn’t think of anything better for a Saturday afternoon.

Spring King (BBC Introducing)– Spring King are returning to play on the BBC Introducing stage in Exeter. Spring King are a band on their way to success, with triumphant sets on Jools Holland and at The Great Escape festival already under their belt this year. Songs like “Rectifier” are huge and not worth missing live. They’re on the brink of success and you’d be silly not to see them now.

The Hunna (BBC Introducing)– Again, why not catch them playing smaller stages whilst you can? The Hunna are another up and coming band who are on the brink of something big. With the support of the BBC it’s highly likely we’ll see them playing bigger stages at some point and here’s your chance to be there “from the start” so you can say ‘I was there’ in a few years time!

SUNDAY

Coldplay (MAIN) – Coldplay are headlining BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend on Sunday. Chris Martin, lead singer, is from Exeter so it’s sure to be a huge set. They’ve played the event before and each time they’ve provided the crowd (and effortlessly won them over) with an energetic set full of fan favourites and current tracks. 2016’s “A Head Full of Dreams” featured some great tracks which will surely be played live. It’s the ultimate Glastonbury warm up show and will, undoubtedly, be a defining moment of the weekend.

Catfish and the Bottlemen (MAIN)– With the release of their latest album “The Ride” due for release two days before they play the event, it will be one of the first times they’ve played since the album release. The band played last year and it was heavily talked about. Either way Catfish and the Bottlemen are one of the UK’s most exciting bands and I think you’d be mad to miss them considering their tours sell out in minutes! With countless anthemic tunes, a new album, Van McCann’s admirable stage presence (and copious “thank yous”) and incredibly supportive fans they’re sure to be a hit (as they have been at every other festival in the UK).

The 1975 (MAIN)– The 1975 seem to pop up everywhere! They’re currently on tour in the States with label mates Wolf Alice, who are also playing, but are returning back to the UK for the event. They played “Radio One Presents” back in February for Annie Mac’s show where they, along with fellow Big Weekend performer Jake Bugg, managed to dazzle a crowd of all ages. They bring their stunning live set up and catchy tunes with them as they prepare for a long festival season. The band will give a taste of what to expect over the festival season with songs from their latest album (“I Like it When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It”) and last album (“The 1975”), and perhaps a few EP favourites, hopefully on the setlist. With George Daniel’s (drummer) shoulder broken there will most likely be a stand in drummer playing with the band (I believe Dave Elitch of The Mars Volta will be joining the band for a bit as a stand in).

Biffy Clyro (the In New Music We Trust stage)– Biffy Clyro played¬†the event in 2013 and are co-headlining Reading and Leeds Festival this summer. This year they’re headlining the “In New Music We Trust” stage. It’ll be interesting to hear Biffy Clyro play new songs, like “Wolves of Winter”, with the likes of popular favourites, such as “Many of Horror”. Biffy Clyro always seem like fan favourites at these events and are always heavily enjoyed by the crowds.

Panic! At The Disco (the In New Music We Trust stage)– Panic! are the best band to listen to if you want a bit of mid 2000’s nostalgia or a quick fix of all things “pop-rock”.The best part is that they’re still creating absolute tunes and only get better. With songs like “Victorious” being popular with radio listeners, it’ll be exciting to hear them play at an event like this. They’re also headlining “Slam Dunk Festival” that weekend!

The Last Shadow Puppets (the In New Music We Trust stage)– Turner and Kane are back to play songs form their latest album, “Everything You’ve Come to Expect”, and, of course, from “The Age of The Understatement”. ¬†I’m excited to see the pair live as I find their style interesting, especially with their incredibly written lyrics and unusual style.

Skepta (the In New Music We Trust stage)– Ahhh, how can you not mention grime? Grime is currently dominating the UK music scene, with the likes of Sormzy performing on the Saturday. Last year Skepta performed his hit “Shutdown” with Slaves (and it’s something quite special). “Shutdown” is undisbutedly a tune. I’m hoping for some more incredible collaborations- maybe Wolf Alice?

Wolf Alice (the In New Music We Trust stage)– You can’t miss Wolf Alice. Wolf Alice are one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen; they’re different, incredible live and simply brilliant without all the funny gimmicks. They’re full of good songs and have a brilliant track record of appearances at festivals. They’re headliners of the future, along with Catfish and the Bottlemen.

Blossoms (BBC Introducing)– Returning back to the BBC Introducing stage, possibly for the last time before the release of their debut album, will be a defining moment for the band. Blossoms are currently one of my favourite up and coming bands. You can’t miss them this summer. There’s something so comforting in the vocals that sort of reminds me of a the Kook’s style mixed with a dash of Catfish and the Bottlemen. Songs like “Charlemage” and “At Most a Kiss” have already been popular, and they’re ones to look out for (they were part of my “ones to watch in 2016”). Their current single “Getaway” is creating quite a storm among radio listeners too and, having played it on Jools Holland recently, they won’t have to work too hard to win budding fans over!

Catholic Action (BBC Introducing)– I saw Catholic Action support Swim Deep last year at Concorde 2 in Brighton and since then I’ve been supporting them and their music. They’re seriously talented and will undoubtedly be back. They’re new and current and ones to look out for across the weekend. Catch them whilst you can!

Of course, there’s many more across the weekend and those mentioned here are just a fraction of the brilliant music that the weekend has to offer. There’s Ellie Goulding, CHVRCHES, Years and Years, Jack Garratt, THE Craig David (who did a brilliant weather report for the week on Nick Grimshaw’s Breakfast show- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pD1zG0yN ) and Twenty One Pilots along with a whole host of other acts. Check out the BBC Radio One website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/e2f9rz) for more information or keep up to date with it via the BBC Radio One facebook page or Twitter (@BBCR1). Below is BBC Music’s playlist of artists you can catch over the weekend.

If you’re going I wish you the greatest weekend and hope you enjoy yourself! Here’s hoping the weather is nice.

BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend Reccomendations 2016