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

Declan McKenna, Concorde 2 (31/05/2017)

Up and coming indie-rock sensation Declan McKenna played a triumphant show at Brighton’s Concorde 2, on the 31st May 2017. Girli (an energetic, feminist artist, with a sound vaguely reminiscent of a young Charli XCX with a Ke$ha edge) played a support set worthy of a headline act and managed to get the whole crowd engaged.

Declan McKenna- clad in the most fabulous American flag leggings, over laying pinafore and made-up, glittered face- brought his charming (and extremely significant) political tunes to a receptive Brighton audience. He opened with crowd favourite ‘Isombard’, which was met with dancing amongst the packed out audience, before seamlessly blending into ‘Bethlehem’. McKenna and his touring band played a selection of crowd-known hits, including ‘Basic’ and ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’, as well as ‘Paracetamol’, a poignant song which draws on audience reflection.

McKenna also played a selection of songs from his upcoming debut album, What Do You Think About The Car?¬†McKenna has debuted tracks such as ‘Make Me Your Queen’, ‘Listen to Your Friends’ and ‘Why Do You Feel So Down?’ on this tour, all of which were enjoyed by the eager audience. McKenna played his latest single ‘Humungous’, which got the crowd singing along, with its catchy chorus, despite it only being days since its official debut. The already sweaty, packed out crowd danced all evening to what shaped up to be a career defining set.

McKenna ended the set with Brazil 2014 World Cup protest song, ‘Brazil’, which helped the 18-year-old win Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent competition in 2015. The song was played to a sea of confetti filled balloons (as McKenna couldn’t find any confetti cannons) bouncing on top of an already bouncing audience. He left the stage to huge applause.

There’s always a sense of protest, of teenage rebellion, of revolution at a Declan McKenna show, something which most gimmicky pop gigs lack. Yes, there’s confetti and glitter galore, but it’s not a gimmick. It’s a statement. At 18, McKenna voices a generation and I can’t wait to see where it takes him, especially after the release of the album in late July. Watch this space. It’s definitely his time to shine.

Declan McKenna, Concorde 2 (31/05/2017)

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

FEBRUARY 2017 WHAT I’M LISTENING TO

February saw the continued festival announcements and there were plenty to keep you busy. With announcements from festivals, such as Victorious Festival (Friday 25th, Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th August, Portsmouth, headlined by Madness, Stereophonics and Elbow, with the likes of Slaves, Jake Bugg and Sundara Karma announced so far), Parklife Festival (10th and 11th June, Manchester, headlined by The 1975 and Frank Ocean, with artists like George Ezra and Two Door Cinema Club also announced to play), Festival No. 6 (September 7th- 10th, Portmeirion, headlined by Bloc Party, Mogwai and The Flaming Lips, with artists like Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, Kate Tempest and Charlotte Church announced to play)¬†and Boardmasters (August 9th-13th, Cornwall, headlined by Two Door Cinema Club, Jamiroquai and Alt-J, with artists like The Vaccines, Kate Nash and Frank Turner recently added) just a few of the month’s announcements.

Now sold out Truck Festival unveiled their 20th anniversary celebration lineup, which announced The Libertines, The Vaccines and Franz Ferdinand¬†to headline. The festival takes place from 21st- 23rd July and is set to play host to a whole host of brilliant artists, such as The Wombats, Sundara Karma, VANT and Twin Atlantic. Clearly, it’s the place to be this summer for up and coming artists.

Glastonbury have announced the Foo Fighters as their Saturday night headliners, which has been highly anticipated. The band were due to headline in 2015, but pulled out¬†as lead singer Dave Ghrol suffered a leg injury before the event (they were, however, replaced by the phenomenal Florence and the Machine). The band announced their prestigious headline slot by playing a secret set in Frome, Somerset. Tickets were sent out exclusively to fans via boarding passes. Their headline set is set to be a spectacle and I can’t wait.

The line-up for Community Festival was released in February and it looks insane. Community Festival is a day festival held at London’s Finsbury Park on July 1st, which, boasted by its website, is a “one day celebration of the best in new music”. The event is headlined by Catfish and the Bottlemen, with artists like The Wombats, Slaves, Nothing But Thieves, The Hunna and Fickle Friends announced to play the ¬£40 festival- a bargain!

Bestival has announced that they’re having a change of site in 2017. The festival is moving from the Isle of Wight to Dorset! The festival is being played in September by artists such as The XX and Jamie T.

Imagine Dragons have teased the follow up to 2015’s Smoke and Mirrors,¬†with new single “Believer”. It remains in a similar vein to their old material. It’s got their iconic heavy use of drum, catchy lyrics that warrant area/festival crowds chanting and it’s no doubt a brilliant comeback from the Las Vegas band.

The Amazons released their new single ‘Black Magic’ in anticipation from their debut album release, which is due this year. It’s a huge, guitar laced track and hopefully an indicator of what’s to come- it’s brilliant. The Amazons are destined to be huge. They’ve recently toured Europe with You Me At Six and set out on UK tour in April.

All Time Low are set to release a new album, the first since 2015’s Future Hearts, called Last Young Renegade. It’s the first album they’ll have released on their new record label, Fueled By Ramen, who support huge artists like Paramore and Panic! At The Disco. ¬†The band have released the lead single from the record, entitled Dirty Laundry, ahead of their UK tour next month.

18-year-old indie-rock master Declan McKenna released his latest single- ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’- this month. It’s a brilliant song, which you won’t be able to get out of your head. Declan McKenna keeps bringing out absolute bangers, and this one is no different. McKenna speaks for a lot of young people and, with bands like VANT, are hugely necessary in today’s world. The lyrics, again, are politically laced and set off by an chilled out indie-rock tune. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

The dreamy Will Joseph Cook has announced details of his debut album, Sweet Dreamer, which is due to be released on April 14th this year, on Atlantic Records. The 12 track album features the singles ‘Take Me Dancing’, title track ‘Sweet Dreamer’ and ‘Girls Like Me’. It’s set to be huge.

From one debut album announcement to another… Clean Cut kid are finally releasing their debut album! The album is called FELT¬†and is due for release on the 28th April. The album will feature all their previous hits (I hope) and is set to be a success (they deserve it). The band are off on a UK tour in April/May and are set to support The Kooks with Fickle Friends on their May UK tour, which features a sold out night at Alexandra Palace.

The 1975 released a charity single, in support of children’s charity War Child,¬†ahead of their charity concert in London, for Brits week. The song ‘By Your Side’- a cover version of a song by Sade- is a slight change of direction from the band, yet it’s exciting to hear new music from the Manchester band.

This year’s Grammy awards took place and saw records taken home by the likes of Beyonc√©, Twenty One Pilots, Chance the Rapper and The Chainsmokers. Adele won plenty of awards (obviously) and took away the prestigious ‘record of the year’ award, beating Beyonc√©’s Formation.¬†Adele did, however, snap her award in half giving half to Beyonc√©. Standard.

This year’s Brit Awards took place at The O2 Arena, London. The awards ceremony saw performances from The 1975, Emeli Sande, Ed Sheeran (with special guest Stormzy), Little Mix and Katy Perry (with dancing houses and giant Trump/May puppets, no less) amongst others. Awards were won by the likes of Bowie, Emeli¬†Sande and Little Mix. The 1975 won ‘Best Group’, which was very exciting, and Blossoms were beaten by Critic’s Choice Award winner Rag ‘N’ Bone Man to the prestigious ‘Best British Breakthrough Artist’ award. Robbie Williams was honoured at the ceremony and celebrated with a shocking, yet memorable performances.

Next month I look forward to seeing Blossoms and Circa Waves, as well as Circa Waves’s new album.

This month I have been obsessed with Blaenavon’s ‘Orthodox Man’ because it’s absolutely brilliant (a real masterpiece). The playlist also features Ed Sheeran, Pulp, the Happy Mondays and King No-One.

FEBRUARY 2017 WHAT I’M LISTENING TO

January 2017- What I’m Listening To

2017 is off to a fine start on the music front, with comebacks, new singles and a whole host of festival announcements.

Firstly, Bon Iver has cancelled his Winter 2017 UK and European tour due to “personal reasons”. The tour, which covered dates in Blackpool, Edinburgh and a four night stint in London, will not be rescheduled and refunds for the shows will be given. We hope to see Justin Vernon and co back in the UK soon!

Ed Sheeran has released two new singles, Shape of You and Castle On The Hill, ¬†from forthcoming album¬†√∑ (divide), which is due out on March 3rd. Ed Sheeran has also announced a European/UK/South American tour (spanning over four months) and is heavily rumoured to headline Glastonbury Festival in June. Shape Of You and Castle On The Hill could not be more different, and I think that’s possibly part of the reason for their success. Castle on the Hill is more chilled, alternative. It’s a beautiful little song recalling life whilst growing up and you can see it appealing to alternative/indie fans. On the other hand, Shape of You is an upbeat song which echoes previous hits like ‘Sing’ and ‘Don’t’. It’s upbeat and full of energy and has more of a dance vibe, as opposed to the chilled out pop-alternative which can be heard laced through hits like ‘Thinking Out Loud’ and the acoustic dream ‘A-Team’. ¬†I can’t wait to hear more of the album as it is released.

Blaenavon, too, have announced details of the release of their debut album, entitled That’s Your Lot,¬†which is due for release on April 7th. They have also shared their brilliant new single ‘Orthodox Man’, which I haven’t been able to get out of my head since first hearing it. It’s one of those songs you want to have on repeat. I can’t wait for the 59-minute-long album and it’s one of my most highly anticipated albums of the year so far. I love Blaenavon and think they’re wholly underappreciated. Their music is timelessly classic, utterly stunning and something you should dedicate time to falling in love with (oh, and lead singer Ben Gregory has the greatest monobrow going). They’ve also announced a March UK tour covering dates in Southampton, London and Brighton.

The Brits announced their nominations in January with artists like the brilliant Blossoms, Christine and the Queens and The 1975 all up for awards. It has been announced that artists like The 1975 and Little Mix will perform at the ceremony, which is due to happen in Feburary. I’m so pleased that huge grime artists like Skepta have been nominated too, especially after the award company coming under fire for their lack of diversity in previous years. These artists join the first 2017 Brits winner, Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, who has already been announced as the Brits Critics Choice artist.

Boardmasters festival have announced their first wave of artists. The festival have announced all three headliners and a whole host of brilliant artists and bands. The three headliners are Two Door Cinema Club, Jamiroquai and Alt-J. Other artists performing include Slaves and Jake Bugg. The festival is held from Wednesday 9th- Sunday 13th August, in Cornwall.

Rudimental and Disclosure’s Wildlife festival is set to return to Shoreham airport for another year. The festival will be¬†held on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th June, having moved to Friday to allow for longer event times. The first wave of acts sees artists like Jess Glynne and Fatboy Slim announced, with other artists like Brighton’s own Rag ‘N’ Bone Man and George Ezra. I can’t wait!

TRNSMT Festival have pulled out the most impressive festival line up of the season so far. The new event, which is held in Glasgow, will be held from the 7th-9th July, as a temporary replacement for T in the Park, which announced last year that they were not returning this year following teething problems over the last few years at their new site in. The festival will be headlined by Radiohead, Kasabian and Scotland’s own¬†Biffy Clyro. The weekend will see artists like Catfish and the Bottlemen, “Special Guests” The 1975, George Ezra, Circa Waves and Blossoms all take to the stage. There is no overnight camping, however.

January really was the month of festival announcements! Manchester’s Parklife Festival announced that The 1975 and Frank Ocean will headline the two day event, which runs from the 10th to the 11th June. Two Door Cinema Club, Jess Glynne, George Ezra and Boy Better Know will all be performing too (as well as¬†many others).

Oh, and Zac Farro is back in Paramore! Horray!

This month Declan McKenna released the brilliant single “Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home” and Sundara Karma released the most stunning debut album, which I reviewed here.

This month I’ve been listening to a lot of Sundara Karma’s brilliant new album, Youth is Only Fun in Retrospect, Declan McKenna and The Stone Roses. I’ve also listened to a lot of The XX’s new album, I See You, which was released this month too.

Next month I look forward to seeing Two Door Cinema Club (with Sundara Karma and Circa Waves) and VANT, ahead of the release of their debut album, Dumb Blood.

 

 

 

 

January 2017- What I’m Listening To

2017- Ones to Watch

If there’s anything certain for 2017 it’s that the music industry is about to be stormed by a handful of up and coming artists who are just about to break it. Last year’s list featured artists like Blossoms (who went on to pretty much own 2016), Rat Boy and The Japanese House, all of which have gone on to have huge success. There are hundreds of bands and artists I could write about (and I’m still planning a huge master post of them all), but here are a selection.

Sundara Karma– I featured Sundara Karma on the list last year and they’ve done a lot since then (toured constantly, played Reading Festival, Glastonbury etc), however I think 2017 is going to be their year. They released their debut album,¬†Youth is Only Fun in Retrospect,¬†at the beginning of January and are about to go on a UK headline tour (featuring a date at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire) and support indie giants Two Door Cinema Club. There’s no doubt that the band will probably play all the festivals (John Peel or The Other Stage at Glastonbury maybe?) and they’ve probably got a few more tour dates up their sleeves (a huge Brixton show would be brilliant?!). You’d be mad not to catch them. I’ve been saying it for the last couple of years, but Sundara Karma are a band with songs that could easily fill arenas. Their songs are catchy, upbeat and powerful. I can’t believe it’s taken so long to get the recognition they deserve.

FOR FANS OF: Two Door Cinema Club, Circa Waves and (mainly) easy listening, feel good indie rock.

HAVE A LISTEN TO: She Said, The Night and Flame

Rag ‘N’ Bone Man– Rag ‘N’ Bone Man- whose real name is Rory Graham- is set to become one of the most successful up and coming artists of 2017. Graham started as an MC and some of this still seeps through into his current material- take ‘Wolves’ for example (a collaboration with Stig Of The Dump) or ‘Rain’ (with Kate Tempest). He has the most stunningly beautiful blusey voice. It’s deep and powerful. It’s another George Ezra effect, you don’t expect the man singing to look how he does but in all honesty it tops it off perfectly. Brighton based Rag ‘N’ Bone Man has already won 2017’s Brits Critic’s Choice Award, following in the footsteps of Adele and James Bay (amongst others). There’s actually nothing quite like him. His voice is so powerful. He’s already confirmed to play Isle of Wight Festival and Wild Life Festival.

FOR FANS OF: Something unique and soulful, blusey, powerful voices.

HAVE A LISTEN TO: Wolves, Human and Hell Yeah

Declan McKenna: Newly turned 18 year old Declan McKenna is already taking the music world by storm. Having toured with the likes of Blossoms and Cage the Elephant, performed on Later Live With Jools Holland¬†and having won the 2015 Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition he’s definitely someone you should know about. His music has a laid back quality, whilst still remaining witty in lyric and incredibly catchy. McKenna is a brilliant example of what the future has in terms of music. He’s got something important to say, too. His song ‘Paracetamol’ was inspired by a transgender girl, Leelah Acorn, who committed suicide in late 2014 and the media’s representation of the LGBQT community, incredibly infectious ‘Brazil’ is all about the corruption within FIFA and the effects of the World Cup on Brazil and ‘Isombard’ has hints of extreme right wing views trying to be justified by those with power without proper understanding and a total disregard for those who it affects (ignorance I suppose). Declan McKenna is important and necessary in today’s world and I couldn’t be happier that people like him are leading the way for my generation. McKenna has just finished on a UK tour and has just released his latest single, “The kids Don’t Wanna Come Home”.

FOR FANS OF: The View, music with a message and brilliant indie-rock.

HAVE A LISTEN TO: Brazil, Bethlehem and Isombard.

VANT: “We’re VANT from planet Earth” is what Mattie Vant (lead singer) introduced the band as. It’s something I’ve remembered. This is a significant statement; they don’t believe in world boarders. VANT are a politically driven band producing today’s version of protest music. They stand proud for what they believe in and aren’t afraid to fight for it. Their music is loud and unbelievably catchy. ¬†It’s a breath of fresh air on the indie-rock scene. The music creates a hybrid across genres, too. They’ve toured with the likes of You Me At Six, regularly feature in Kerrang, they’re an NME favourite, they’ve already triumphantly conquered Glastonbury and Reading Festival AND they’re due to release their debut album this Feburary. Their music is universally relevant and something you should check out.

FOR FANS OF: Spring King, Palma Violets and music with a message.

HAVE A LISTEN TO: KARMA SEEKER, FLY-BY ALIEN and DO YOU KNOW ME? (yes, they’re all brilliantly capitalised)

¬†The Big Moon– The Big Moon are a dreamy all-female four piece indie-rock band from London. Their music sounds like the firey remains of their 90s predecessors and their melodic tunes are nothing but a treat. ¬†I first heard of the band because they were supporting The Maccabees on their January 2016 UK tour and I’ve been hooked since. Their music is so easy to listen to and unbelievably catchy and their live shows are frill-free and fascinating. They’re set to release their debut album, Love in the 4th Dimension, this year too.

FOR FANS OF: Haim, Spring King and Sundara Karma

LISTEN TO: Sucker, The Road, Cupid and Silent Movie Susie

Blaenavon– I can’t quite describe how much I love Blaenavon. Their music is the type of music you want to fall in and out of love to, look dramatically out of bus windows on drizzly days to and dance to, simultaneously (or maybe that’s just me). Their music has this sophisticated, laid-back indie vibe and it’s something you don’t see a lot at the moment. Their EPs are each stunningly composed with absolute bangers, from the loud ‘Hell is in my Head’ (which I first heard in a supermarket car park on Annie Mac’s BBC Radio 1 show) to their latest single ‘Orthodox Man’, which you can help wanting to sway to. They’ve done a lot of supporting over the last year (from Sundara Karma to The Hunna) and I think it’s paid off. Blaenavon are a gem and shouldn’t be missed. Their debut album,¬†That’s Your Lot, is out in April (and their EP and album artwork is brilliant too).

FOR FANS OF: Swim Deep, Peace, Circa Waves and Sundara Karma

LISTEN TO: Let’s Pray, Orthodox Man, Hell is in Your Head and Prague

Cabbage– Cabbage are Manchester’s answer to the universe. Their music tells the truths of Tory Britain, struggles of modern day life and are a beacon of truth for many of Britain’s youth. Again, their music has something significant to say (and something that shouldn’t be ignored). They definitely don’t want it written about in The Sun though. It’s not something your parents will love (and that’s the point). They join the NME tour with Blossoms later this year and you should probably prepare to see them at pretty much every festival going.

FOR FANS OF: Slaves, Palma Violets and The Libertines

LISTEN TO: Fickle, Terrorist Synthesiser and Dinner Lady

Will Joseph Cook– Nothing but feel good indie rock from a chilled out teenager who knows how to write a killer tune. Ugh, it doesn’t get much better than ‘Take Me Dancing’. It’s the epitome of euphoric music. Will Joseph Cook goes on tour supporting Sundara Karma this month.

FOR FANS OF: (a toned down) Everything Everything, Cage the Elephant and Viola Beach

LISTEN TO: Take Me Dancing, Sweet Dreamer and Girls Like Me

Clean Cut Kid– ¬†I don’t really know how Clean Cut Kid aren’t huge. They’re here, there and everywhere at the moment and have been firm festival favourites, supported bands like the Courteeners and have released a handful of brilliant EPs brimming with feel good hits. The band offer something unique that works, but also something that remains quite classic. I can’t wait to see where this year takes them.

FOR FANS OF: alll the indie music and something a bit different

LISTEN TO: We Used to be in Love, Vitamin C and Runaway

The Amazons– The Amazons are one of those bands on the cusp of success. They’ve been around for a couple of years, but they’re just starting to make their mark on an ever evolving industry. Their area sized songs echo that of successful bands that have come before them. They’re going to be a band you hear about a lot over the next year. Watch this space.

FOR FANS OF: Sundara Karma, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Viola Beach, The Sherlocks and Blossoms

LISTEN TO: Ultraviolet, Stay With Me, In My Mind and Night Driving

Of course, there are many other artists who could’ve been featured on here and I’m still planning a huge post with them all on, but for now these are my essential ones to keep an eye on. This year’s future big names are mainly young people with message who write music with meaning. Long are the days where music is all about ex-lovers and turbulent relationships. It’s all about making the world a better place and fighting for what you believe in.

2017- Ones to Watch