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.

 

Advertisements
June 2017- What I’m Listening To

March 2017- What I’m Listening To

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

March 2017- What I’m Listening To

Reading Festival 2016 Review

Reading festival 2016 took place from the 26th-29th August 2016. If you’ve not been to Reading before, Reading festival is a festival twinned with Leeds Festival  (in… well… Leeds) and they share the same star-studded line up. Reading and Leeds festival are festivals commonly associated young people, many of whom will have picked up their GCSE results the day before the music kicked off. This being said, there are still many people of all ages there (and I’m still not convinced people don’t bring their kids just to pick up used cups for a bit of cash), especially on the days where they pull in big classic headliners, this year’s being Red Hot Chilli Peppers and 2015’s being Metallica. This was my third Reading festival, but my first time camping and with my friends.

Whilst this year’s line up may have been sightly lack lustre and some of it seemed a bit odd to me, the weekend didn’t fail to impress, as always. The festival was headlined, or rather co-headlined, by Disclosure and Foals (Friday), Red Hot Chilli Peppers (Saturday) and Fall Out Boy and Biffy Clyro (Sunday). Other artists across the weekend included The 1975, Imagine Dragons, Jack Garratt and Blossoms.

Friday 26th August

The Wholls played their debut Reading Festival set on the BBC Introducing Stage early on Friday afternoon. The Bedford band “rolled out”, if you pardon the pun, to a large, inquisitive crowd, all eager and hungry for new music, under the beaming sun. The band played a short set, but attracted a large crowd. They played many a guitar laced rock song, including “Angry Faces” and the huge “X21”. I’ve been following the band for a while now and can’t believe they’re not bigger! With a true rockstar finish, a guitar was handed out into the crowd along with a few t-shirts. Keep tabs on The Wholls; they’ve not even started yet, but they’re about to grab your attention.

Manchester’s latest rising stars The Sherlocks once again dazzled a large Festival Republic Stage crowd. Following the success of last year and promising what was going to be a “special” show for the band, The Sherlocks played an energetic, optimistic set which proved their exciting future. The band played songs such as “Escapade” and “Live For The Moment” whilst fans sang, bounced and danced along. This set was special, as with their 2015 set, and will go on to define and shape their bright futures. The Sherlocks are a band not to be missed- and they’re currently on their UK tour, too.

Chvrches returned to Reading and Leeds following a triumphant set on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage in 2014, but this time they played on the main stage. Any band who dedicates a song to Harambe (“RIP Harambe”, Martin Doherty announced before playing “Under The Tide”) deserves a mention if I’m honest. The band played a significant set, which could see them progress to headliner status in no time. The band played a crowd pleasing selection of songs, new and old, from their two albums (2015’s “Every Open Eye” and 2013’s “The Bones of What You Believe”). The distinct lack of collaborator Hayley Williams on “Bury It” was not to be looked down on as the band managed to pull of an ambitious set in front and seemed the perfect transition into co-headliner Disclosure’s set.

I used to have a love/hate relationship with Twenty One Pilots, but after their Reading Festival set they have well and truly won me over. Throughout the day everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) had been gushing over how brilliant Twenty One Pilots are and how good they’d be later on in the day (many people came solely to see them). I must admit, I was originally skeptical. The tent was overflowing with fans who couldn’t squeeze themselves in and I ended up watching most of it from the screen outside of the NME/BBC Radio 1 tent as there was no way I could fit inside. The set was nothing but captivating. For starters, I’ve never seen a man with a drum kit crowd surfing, nor have I ever seen someone finish a show (albeit abruptly… there’s a lot of conspiracy about what happened when Josh (drummer) crowd surfed during the show) on top of a huge pole thing and I’ve only once before (A Day To Remember 2014, incidentally at Reading Festival too) seen someone sing whilst “zorbing”, too… It was genuinely fascinating to watch and they had a non-pretentious showmanship about them. The band played a hit filled set, which was filled from songs from their two albums (2015’s “Blurry Face” and 2013’s “Vessel”). They played songs, such as “Heathens”, “Car Radio” and “Stressed Out” (although many did leave after they played Stressed Out).  Given a few years and seeing their popularity rocket, I wouldn’t be surprised if Twenty One Pilots were headlining in the future, but for now you can catch them play two huge shows at London’s Alexandra Palace later on in the year.

The main stage was closed by Oxford math rockers Foals. The band played a huge headline set which proved the band’s headliner status. Foals are a band who deserve all the success they get; they put on good, entertaining shows, play catchy up beat songs and are so easy to listen to that anyone could listen and enjoy. The band played many songs from their vast back catalogue, but, again, the highlight of their set was “My Number”. The set was not without its long deep-cut songs, such as “Knife in the Ocean”, and it’s old classic. The band reminisced with “Cassius” from their first album, “Antidotes”, which they haven’t played for a number of years, during the encore. The encore was short and consisted of recent hit “What Went Down”, “Cassius” and, as always, “Two Steps, Twice”, where the band were joined by co-headliner Disclosure. It was a pretty special set. I’ve been so excited to see Foals conquer the main stage at Reading as it’s time we found the next generation of headliners.

Saturday 27th August

Reading’s own Sundara Karma opened up the Reading Festival main stage on Saturday morning, a huge leap from their Sunday morning Festival Republic Stage set last year. Sundara Karma are a band full of huge potential and a band I’ve loved for a good year now, so I’d been very excited about seeing the band play again. Prior to the show temporary Sundara Karma logo tattoos were handed out to fans at the front and many were seen dotted about across the day. The crowd were enthusiastic, despite the rain and early morning start, and many mosh pits were formed throughout (whether or not you can mosh to Sundara Karma is debatable, but everyone was enjoying themselves so). The band played a selection of new songs from their upcoming debut album, including new single “She Said”, as well as previously released hits, such as “Flame”, “Loveblood” and “Indigo Puff”. The band are due to release their debut album, “Youth is Only Fun in Retrospect”, in January.

Rag ‘N’ Bone Man is another of the George Ezra kind- what you hear and what you see is not what you first imagined, but it’s better than you could ever have guessed. My mum called me down to ask me who sang a theme tune song off of a programme not so long ago and it happened to be Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, so I felt I had to go and give him a watch. His voice is powerful and booming. It’s distinctive and unique, in a good way. I love the way he sings and how success close he is to success. The highlight of the set for me, though, was “Humans”, a song you should definitely have a listen to, if you haven’t done already.  “Hell yeah!” he managed to get the crowd to yell and “hell yeah” the set was good.

Ahhhh Blossoms, what would a 2016 festival be without them? It was a big weekend for Blossoms. The band played a brilliant little set on the BBC Introducing stage on Friday afternoon and I met them on the Saturday morning in the BBC Radio 1 signing tent and they managed to pull of a faultless Saturday afternoon set on the large NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage, a huge step up from the BBC Introducing stage they played last year. The band played a set full of songs off of their UK Number 1 debut album, “Blossoms”, including “Honey Sweet”, “Blow” and “Blown Rose”. Tom Ogden (lead singer) played a solo acoustic version of the stripped back “My Favourite Room” and dedicated it to a dumped fan and her ex-boyfriend in the crowd. He was engaging, sweet and comical. The band dedicated their, arguably largest, hit “Charlemagne” to their close friends and tour mates Viola Beach and their manager Craig Tarry, who were tragically killed in a car accident earlier this year. The band managed to get everyone to sit down before Charlemagne and jump up after the tune kicked in. Blossoms are on their way to something big, like a huge main stage performance, so keep a look out for the Stockport lads- they’re everywhere.

The Courteeners played a hit filled set under a  sea of colourful smoke flare mist on Saturday afternoon, on the main stage. The band sang songs off of their upcoming album, “Mapping The Rendezvous”, including the first released song from the album, “The 17th”. The set was energetic and engaged with the eager fans, many of whom had been anticipating their performance (judging by the many, many fans with Fallowfield Hillbilly shirts about- “Can you play guitar, my boy? Can you fuck?”). The band played songs from their large four album back catalogue (excluding the latest, unreleased album), including the incredible “Not Nineteen Forever”, which was easily the highlight of my weekend. It’s a song which I love so much, and so did most of the crowd, and the song that got me in to the Courteeners and so it was a pleasure to have caught it! The band are playing on a UK tour in November, in support of “Mapping The Rendezvous”, which is out on October 21st.

I saw Vegas rockers Imagine Dragons at Reading Festival in 2014 and swore down it was one of the most fascinating and captivating performances I’ve ever seen in my life. They had drums, beaming sun and an adored selection of songs from their debut album, “Night Visions”. The same, err, couldn’t be said for their performance at the O2 in November last year, which was easily the most dire thing I’d ever seen (and not because of the band, who were still brilliant). I don’t know why, but Imagine Dragons are a band who just work on festival stages, with the outdoor setting only complementing them. They thrive on the energy and enthusiasm of youth and manage to pull off incredible, fascinating performances consistently. The band played for the festival in the UK as a one off, in support of last year’s album, “Smoke and Mirrors”. The band managed to intertwine hits off of both albums to create a set to please fans both new and old. With a cover of Blur’s “Song 2”, Dan Reynolds (lead singer) singing from within the crowd and a lengthy guitar solo from lead guitarist Wayne Sermon (whose real name is Daniel… The third Daniel in the band), the band ended with a stunning performance of, arguably their biggest hit, “Radioactive”. The song was laced with booming drums and a chorus of people singing along to a song that many love a lot.  Whilst it didn’t top their 2014 performance for me, they sure played a memorable set which was loved and enjoyed by all in attendance.

Two Door Cinema Club are back. The band are due to release a new album, “Gameshow”, in October and played Reading and Leeds in anticipation of its release. The set follows a summer of festivals, including Glastonbury earlier in the year. The set was built around the band’s popular back catalogue, with huge hits, like “Something Good Can Work” (a song which holds many memories for me of being about 12 and shopping in Hollister), “Sun”, “We Can Talk” and “Undercover Martyn”, being played. The set was impressive and had interesting visuals on screens behind the band. It was amazing hearing some of their big songs played, but it was also good to hear songs off of their new album, including the brilliant “Bad Decisions” and latest single “Are We Ready? (Wreck)”. Their NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage headline set proved the bands popularity and potential and I’m sure they’ll be back to play the main stage once again soon.

Sunday 28th August

Spring king played a raucous set on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage on the Sunday afternoon. The band played songs from their debut album, “Tell Me If You Like To”. I love their live set up. For a starter, the lead singer, Tarek Musa, is also the drummer, which I find fascinating. The set was energetic and wild and the tent was packed out (and not because it was raining outside). The Manchester lads played songs such as “The Summer” and “Detroit”. They managed to get the crowd to sing “who are you?” along to the song of the same name and then ended the set with the popular “Rectifier”, which was met with applause. The band’s set cemented their place at the festival and welcomed them onto the larger stage, having played the Festival Republic stage last year.

Again, what would a festival be without Rat Boy? Jordan Cardy and his band mates pop up everywhere! The band played many a song off of multiple mix tapes and in the light of their future debut album, “Scum”, which is, hopefully, to be released early next year. The set was wild, hot and sweaty. The band, all bar Cardy himself, came on in masks of themselves, as seen on their Spring/Summer 2016 tour, along with a person dressed in a red boiler suit and a Rat Boy logo (I suppose)/Cardy creation yellow mask, who ran up and down the front of the stage and into the crowd multiple times in the set, like their own personal hype man. The set was full of crowd surfing, mosh pits, set climbing (and subsequent hand cutting) and jumping. The band played songs such as “Left 4 Dead”, “Fake ID” and “Sign On”, as well as their latest, recently released single, “Get Over It”. Rat Boy never fails to impress crowds with his antics- he even got the crowd to sit down (which they “did at Boardmasters”) and jump up at one point. I think they’ll keep going and going and I anticipate seeing them slay the 2017 festival scene once again.

Everyone loves The Vaccines, or so it seems every time I see them play live. Everyone knows The Vaccines; they’re pioneers of songs you know but can’t place just how and have been around for what feels like forever, or at least that’s what they mean for me. Their Main Stage set was busy, full of sing-a-long classics and thrilling from start to finish (although you wouldn’t have thought Justin Young (lead singer) thought so). They’re a band who can put together killer set lists and please fans of all ages. The band played songs from each of their three albums, including “Post Break-Up Sex”, “Teenage Icon” and “Melody Calling”. The highlight of the set was seeing so many people, old and young, dancing to “If You Wanna” at the end of the set, along with “Norgaard”. Easily one of the best acts of the weekend.

The Wombats are another band that you probably just know and don’t know how. They constantly create relatable songs filled with teenage heart ache, jaded youth and clumsy tales.  They’re, again, a band who hold a special place in my heart as they were one of the first “indie” bands I really got in to. In a weird turn of events, I managed to watch the set by myself and I can’t stress how amazing the experience was (watching one of your favourite bands by yourself and singing and dancing as recklessly as imaginable with no fear of real judgement is incredible). The band played songs from each of their three albums and played to a packed tent- a step up from last years very sweaty Festival Republic Stage headline set. The band played songs such as “Give Me A Try”, “Moving To New York” and “Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)”. “Jesus… and the Mary Chain” muttered the band as they realised the scale of which they were playing and how “insane” it was. The band closed with “Let’s Dance To Joy Division”, a song which holds many memories to many people. I can’t wait for The Wombats to be back properly again. I miss The Wombats.

The 1975 have been building up to their Reading and Leeds sets for a good while now. The band have played many festivals this summer and promised their Reading and Leeds sets would be something special, and they were. Matty Healy (lead singer) was sounding the best I had seen for a while and sang often with cigarette in hand, obviously. I can’t help but love and be fascinated by Healy every time I see him.  The first time I saw The 1975 play was at Reading Festival in 2014, where I was converted to being a fan of the band. The set was boozy, but something else. It was the last thing I properly saw at Reading Festival in 2014 and, incidentally, the last thing I saw at Reading Festival in 2016… Headlining the festival in 2018? It wouldn’t surprise me. The band played in front of their stunning visuals, which they’ve toured with for nearly a year, and back with their drummer, George Daniel, again. They played songs from their debut album, “The 1975”, and their latest album, “I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It”. The band played songs such as “Loving Someone”, where Healy even spoke the spoken word part in the middle, “Sex” and “The Sound”, where everyone had to jump on the count of four. “We’re going to go away and make another record and then come back and headline this whole thing” Healy promised fans, whether or not they will only time will tell, but for now their stunning NME/BBC Radio 1 set was enough to keep them remembered and treasured by fans. I look forward to seeing them play a sold out show at London’s O2 Arena in December.

Overall, Reading Festival 2016 was, once again, a huge success. With secret sets from You Me At Six, incredible performances on the BBC Introducing Stage and huge headline sets across all stages, I look forward to what Reading 2017 might entail. I can’t wait! I might, in the future, make a blog post about what I think festival season 2017 might look like.

 

 

 

Reading Festival 2016 Review

Glastonbury Festival 2016- Friday 24th June 2016

This is the second of four blog posts about the festival weekend. You can find the first post and the ‘introduction’, if you like, here.

Whilst this post is about the Friday of the festival, I saw a handful of brilliant acts on the Thursday evening and thought it’d be worth giving them a quick review too. Whilst the music technically doesn’t start until Friday, there’s always the odd act which plays on the Thursday evening. We managed to see three live bands (Clean Cut Kid, DMA’s and Rat Boy) on Thursday evening on the William’s Green stage- one of my favourite stages of the whole festival. William’s Green is an incredible little stage. It’s a stage which bursts with “new” talent, with the odd surprise. I suppose I have so much affection for it because last year I saw artists like Swim Deep and Palma Violets play sweaty little energetic shows there which had a totally different dynamic to their other performances, incidentally on the Other Stage, across the weekend.

THURSDAY 23RD JUNE 2016

CLEAN CUT KID– Clean Cut Kid were a pleasant surprise to see hidden among the line-up. I had wanted to see them, having heard them being played at work and on the radio, for a while as I love how chilled out and cool they are. They played a short set compared to many of the acts across the weekend, but they managed to satisfy a music hungry crowd (and it’s very hard to follow the hype and enthusiasm of a The Smiths tribute act, called The Smyths).  They’ve got that Of Monsters and Men and The Lumineers feel about them. They’re a band to keep an eye on and I recommend you have a listen to “Vitamin C” or “Runaway”.

RAT BOY– I felt a bit sorry for Rat Boy. Unlike Clean Cut Kid, they weren’t previously listed on the line up for that slot. It was simply labelled “live band”. Whilst I was overjoyed about it being Rat Boy (knowing I would miss him playing on the John Peel Stage on the Friday), there were plenty of perplexed people there thinking it would be someone ‘huge’- the Radiohead rumours were rife throughout the weekend. Whilst not Thom Yorke, Rat Boy played an energetic and fun set. They played songs such as “Left For Dead”, “Sign On” and “Move” as the tent gradually thinned out. The crowd weren’t really feeling it and it looked as though the Essex lads were having a pretty painful time with a crowd that was almost dire. Rat Boy gigs are often hot and sweaty with plenty of “moshing” and dancing. This, on the other hand, was an hour or so of Cardy (Jordan Cardy or ‘Rat Boy’) shouting “JUMP” at a crowd with no intention of moving, other than out of the tent. The attempt at a “wall of death” style move was particularly hilarious to witness. Nonetheless, they played an incredible set, it just wasn’t really appreciated by the middle aged, ever hopeful Radiohead fans.

FRIDAY 24TH JUNE 2016

This year the Friday of the festival was headlined by Muse. It was a day filled with an eclectic bunch of music, rain (including non-waterproof jackets), sun and plenty of mud. Acts across the day included James, Skepta, ZZ Top and Foals.

Everything seemed to be going wrong for those working at The Other Stage on Friday morning. The main area surrounding the stage had been fenced off to allow the preservation of the last remaining green patches of mud and the recovery of the land prior to the mad rush of people, but when it’s 10 o’clock (and the first act is due on at 11) and you’ve still got wood chippings to put out, tractors to move and a, erm, wall to build, you’ve got a few problems. After a somewhat wild (yet, attempted to be controlled by specialised security) rampage, The Other Stage was opened by none other than Michael Eavis (the first of a few lucky sightings) cutting a red ribbon before 80s band James took to the stage. I grew up listening to James in my dad’s car, so I was weirdly looking forward to seeing them. Granted, I only knew one song prior to seeing them (that being “Sit Down”, which they, devastatingly, didn’t play), but they managed to impress a crowded field of fans. They dedicated “Sometimes” to none other than Michael Eavis, as, apparently, “when you look into his eyes you can see his soul” or something. They managed to embody the spirit of the festival as Tim Booth (lead singer) got into the crowd multiple times, managed to crowd surf and ended up with a beautiful mud smear across his forehead (and finished the show with it). Eavis branded them “one of the best bands of the 80s” and they certainly did deliver a brilliant set filled with new and old songs.

Stockport’s finest, Blossoms, played on the Other Stage for the first time this year. Blossoms are an incredibly talented new, up and coming band. If you’ve not listened to them yet I strongly urge you to do so (as I do believe they’re about to become huge). They played songs such as “Getaway”, “At Most a Kiss” and “Blown Rose”. They dedicated “Charlemagne” to their late friends in Viola Beach- the first of many Viola Beach tributes across the weekend. Viola Beach were touring with Blossoms when they, and manager Craig Tarry, were tragically killed in a car accident. The band also played “My Favourite Room”, which is a new song. Blossoms are brilliant and can be found at pretty much every festival this summer as well as on tour this autumn, it’d be stupid not to see them whilst you can.

Two Door Cinema Club are well and truly back. At this point on the Friday afternoon it was pouring with rain. The pouring rain over the Pyramid Stage juxtaposed the sun kissed indie rock of Two Door Cinema Club’s set and was almost even distracting. The band played songs from their two previous albums, “Beacon” and “Tourist History”, as well as their latest single “Are We Ready? (Wreck)” from their new album “Gameshow”, which is due for release this October. They also played the title song, “Gameshow”, from the album. The Irish lads managed to win the crowd over in the rain by playing the upbeat hits, such as “Undercover Martyn” and  “Something Good Can Work”, before ending with the hugely popular “What You Know”- which even my dad knew. Everyone (surely) knows, or at least recognises, a Two Door Cinema Club song, which is what makes them so fascinating to watch. I think the band are back and better than ever and I look forward to seeing them (hopefully) lots over the next year, with their new album.

Jess Glynne, accompanied by her live band and two dancers,  played the Pyramid Stage at the festival and made the sun come out. She wore the most incredible green suit, too (on a completely unrelated note). Jess Glynne had to pull out last year, due to illness, so it was exciting to see her come back and play at the festival this year. She played an optimistic, fun set, perfect for a Friday afternoon. She played songs from her debut album, “I Cry When I Laugh”, such as “Hold My Hand”, “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself” and “Take Me Home”, as well as emotional acoustic version of “My Love”, for her parents, and songs which she collaborated with the equally as brilliant Clean Bandit on (“Rather Be” and “Real Love”). Glynne was just one of the strong female artists I saw over the weekend and she shone a beacon of light for the women in music. It was incredibly refreshing and inspiring to see someone like Jess Glynne play high up at a prestigious festival like this. She was one of the best acts over the weekend, too!

Just before Muse took to the stage Oxford’s Foals played. Allegedly, the festival wanted Foals for The Libertines’s surprise slot last year, so it was hardly surprising (especially after the success of their latest album, “What Went Down”) that they were asked to play this year. They played a nostalgic set filled with old and new songs. “My Number”, from “Holy Fire”, always gets the crowd going and warmed the crowd up for Muse. They also played songs, such as “Snake Oil”, “Mountain At My Gates”, “What Went Down” and, the lengthy, chilled, “A Knife In The Ocean”, from the newest album. These songs proved popular with the Worthy Farm crowd. The PR and sound broke during the last song, “Two Steps, Twice”, but it was amazing to see the band still going on unfazed and unaware nonetheless. They played a triumphant set and proved worthy of their huge set. They’re definitely headliners of the future. The band will co-headline Reading and Leeds later this year.

Muse headlined the Friday night of Glastonbury Festival, on the Pyramid Stage. They played off of the back of their recent arena tour, with their latest album “Drones”. Whilst there were no drones on site, as it was not allowed by the farm, the set proved simply mind blowing to watch.  I’ve never been hugely into Muse, but even I thought this set was something else. They opened, behind and through doors,  with “Psycho”, after a tape had played. There was a huge graphic of a military figure plastered across all the screens saying things like “I am a psycho killer”, which is quite disturbing and unsettling. The band know how to put on a show though. Matt Bellamy’s (lead singer) singing and guitar playing were perfectly executed and added to the buzzing atmosphere over the night. They played songs, such as “Supermassive Black Hole” and “Madness”, to which the crowd sung along. The songs were cut up by various clips and tapes, such as a speech by JFK. It was all very cleverly put together- their production (and stage presence) is definitely worthy of such a big slot. Muse ended with a three song encore (before being cut due to curfew). They played “Uprising”, “Mercy” and “Knights of Cydonia” as the encore and left the crowd wanting more as they exited the stage at just got twelve! The band pulled off a tricky set with ease. Live settings, like this, definitely do them justice.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

Glastonbury Festival 2016- Friday 24th June 2016

May 2016- What I’m Listening To

May was a good month with its fair share of brilliant new releases from many huge artists and bands, both new and old.

Firstly, Jake Bugg has released a few songs off of his upcoming album- “On My One” (out June 17th)- prior to its release. The latest single is called “Love, Hope and Misery” and it’s a huge bittersweet ballad. It’s not unusual for Bugg to throw a few of these in here and there (see “Broken” from his debut album “Jake Bugg”- simply stunning) and “Love, Hope and Misery” joins the already brilliant “Gimme the Love” (an excitingly new and upbeat sound for Bugg, boasting outside influence) and “On My One” (the total opposite to Gimme the Love. Love, Hope and Misery meets nicely in the middle). He has also released “Bitter salt” another interesting and unique new song for the Nottingham lad. So far we’ve heard may different styles seep from the seemingly impressive album. Luckily, there’s only a few days before its official release (and Bugg himself says the record is “make or break”).

The Stone Roses are back! The first single from the new album is called “One For All” and it was released early last month. It was an exceptionally great song for a band whose reunion was, or rather is, arguably, the most highly anticipated reunion of 2016. I like the song, but many were left disappointed by the, perhaps ‘lack lustre’, comeback single. It’ll be interesting to see, or rather hear, what the other songs are like. The band are about to embark on a four night stunt at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, before headlining T in the Park, in Scotland, in July.

Tom Odell has been the highlight of my month… From his stunning BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge cover (in Exeter) of Mike Posner’s “In Ibiza” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYGq7CyrXq0), to buying his first album and playing it over and over and over (after years of being a fan) and to the new songs he released before the whole album, “Wrong Crowd” (June 10th). Singles like “Here I Am” and “Magnetised” are proving extremely popular among audiences and I’m excited to see what the album release brings for him!

I’m really in to Blossoms at the moment. Their set at BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend, in Exeter, was absolutely amazing (one of my favourites). Their latest single, “Getaway”, proved popular among the audience both at home and in the studio on “Later… With Jools Holland”. This series of Later… With Jools Holland has been incredible. From (Alex Turner looking like… erm… someone’s Grandad) The Last Shadow Puppets to Spring King, we’ve seen it all this series.

Catfish and the Bottlemen released their second album “The Ride” on the 27th May. The album is bursting with hits and crowd pleasers. The album has been playing a lot around the house and in the car. It’s one you need to listen to a few times to fully appreciate, but it’s a good album nonetheless- one that I’m sure will be overplayed!

This month I’ve seen Rat Boy, which was very energetic, mad and ridiculously hot and sweaty. I also saw Jake Bugg play an intimate acoustic show at the Hippodrome in Kingston. There were only a handful of people there which made the evening extra special. Bugg played a selection of acoustic versions of well loved, previously released songs and newer, unreleased gems. I’ve also been to Radio One’s Big Weekend (in Exeter) which, again, was amazing. There’s been so much good music this month and Big Weekend has opened me up to more genres and I got to see some of my favourites- result!

Although the Glastonbury announcement was (technically) this month (June) I will talk about it now as it won’t be relevant next month, as Glastonbury is NEXT WEEK!!!!!!!! (<slightly, or very, unnecessary I suppose). New additions include Tom Odell, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Tame Impala, which join the likes of Coldplay, The 1975 and Wolf Alice. I can’t get over how amazing it will be. I’m overwhelmed by all the talent, new (The Big Moon, Blaenavon, VANT) , old (Adele, The Last Shadow Puppets etc) and well loved (ELO, Madness, ZZ Top), which Glastonbury has to offer.

Other additions to this month’s playlist include Jack Garrett (I loved “Surprise Yourself” especially this month), Years & Years (as I can’t get over how sweet Olly Alexander is) and Biffy Clyro (for that odd bit of rock; it’s good for the heart, or something). Also, there’s Mumford and Son’s beautiful song “There Will Be Time” with Baaba Maal (a lovely song to lie in bed and listen to; it’s quite something).

June brings Glastonbury, obviously. As well as Coldplay (on and for my birthday) as I was so moved by the performance at Big Weekend. I think it’ll be a very special day.

Enjoy!

 

May 2016- What I’m Listening To

Rat Boy- Concorde 2, Brighton, 07/05/2016

On Saturday the 7th May 2016 Essex’s Rat Boy- AKA Jordan Cardy- finished his UK tour by playing Brighton’s Concorde 2. He was supported by NYC’s energetic Skaters and Cosmo Pyke. Rat Boy were one of my “ones to watch in 2016”.

I’ve been looking forward to Rat Boy’s headline tour since seeing him play at Banquet Records last year and at Reading Festival. I also saw him support The 1975 at the Brighton Centre back in November last year, where his wild antics got seemingly lost in the (mostly perplexed) crowd. This tour has been far from the tame crowds of last year’s The 1975 concert… There’s been security pulling them off stage by their chains and their London show at the Electric Brixton having to be pulled by the venue as a result of Cardy literally getting into the crowd (bear in mind this is the first time they’ve ever had to do this).

Even before Rat Boy started there was an air of hysteria and excitement. When Jordan and co came on stage, wearing caricature masks of themselves and Jordan’s artwork, and burst into latest single “Move”, the crowd literally began to move and didn’t stop for a further hour and a bit. There were people jumping, “moshing”, stage invading, limply attempting to crowd surf, and some guy was literally wrestled ferociously by security out of the venue- it was certainly quite entertaining to watch.

They showcased an array of new songs, like “Hanging Round”, within a few familiar favourites, like “Wasteman” and “Left For Dead”. They followed this by playing a short two song encore featuring “Sign on” and “Fake ID”, which left the crowd in a hot and sweaty state. At this point- when everyone (including the band) her presumed the concert had finished- Jordan decided to play “Move” again because a) it was the end of the tour and b) why not?

Overall, it was a great concert in one of Brighton’s greatest hidden, little venues. It was hot and sweaty and fuelled with teenage enthusiasm. Jordan and co look as though they’re having the time of their lives and I eagerly anticipate an album in the future, as well as seeing them conquer various festivals throughout the festival season.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Rat Boy- Concorde 2, Brighton, 07/05/2016

What I’m Listening to- February 2016

February was another huge month for the music industry and it was a leap year!

Firstly, there was the tragic death of Viola Beach and their manager Craig Tarry. The band had just played their first overseas show, in Sweden, when their car was plunged into a canal having missed the warning signs that the bridge was actually open. They were on tour with Blossoms at the time and were due to play The Boileroom, in Guildford, the night of the accident. Blossoms played a recorded version of the band’s set where they would’ve played at each show. The band also entered the UK charts at number 11, with “Swings and Waterslides”, following an online petition supported by huge artists and bands, like the Courteeners. I’ve spoken about the band before (they even featured in my playlist of last month) and was looking forward to seeing them at various festivals and concerts over the next year. They were extremely young, promising and genuinely talented. They had an admirable dedication to the band and the music industry and in time I believe they would’ve grown to be hugely successful and highly influential. They were truly amazing.

Also, JAKE BUGG IS FINALLY BACK. For the last year or so I’ve been waiting for Jake Bugg’s return and he’s finally back. Jake Bugg is back with two new songs, “On My One” and “Gimme The Love”. “On My One” is a short and simple track which retains a sound true to Jake Bugg and his previous records. It’s worth the wait and fulfils the crave for new music from the 21 year old. The acoustic song is stripped back and Bugg’s voice is so potent and powerful with forefronted themes of fame, God and his roots. Bugg has matured his sound, but still has this raw and unique quality which makes his music so irresistibly good and interesting. On the other hand, there’s “Gimme The Love”. “Gimme The Love” is a lot different to some of his other material. It’s upbeat and reminds me a bit of Saint Raymond. It’s undeniably catchy but seemingly more ‘commercial’ sounding. I look forward to hearing what else he releases, especially knowing he was influenced by hip-hop artists. He revealed that he’s releasing a new album on the 17th June this year called “On My One”.

This month has also seen the release of The 1975’s stunning second album, “I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It”. It’s so incredible and I was fortunate enough to have seen them play live for the first time since its release on the 29th February. The album is an eclectic masterpiece filled with beautifully composed and brilliantly written songs. The album almost seems as though it has been curated for vinyl as it works best when listened to as a whole and requires that dedication to be listened to the whole way through.

Catfish and the Bottlemen released their latest single, “Soundcheck”, last month too, as well as a short, small venue tour and a string of festival dates. They’re playing venues like The Brighton Dome, O2 Kentish Town Forum and The Doncaster Dome. Tickets sold out within 5 minutes and proved they could sell out larger venues. Their latest song is exactly as you’d expect from the band. It’s catchy, anthemic and guitar solo heavy. Van McCann is sounding better than ever! I can’t wait to hear them play it on their upcoming tour.

In February we were treated to the annual Brit Awards, hosted by Ant and Dec. Adele won almost everything, obviously. James Bay won Best Male Solo artist, Coldplay won Best British Band and Tame Impala won Best International Band (which I was so pleased about). The highlight of the evening for me was Catfish and the Bottlemen winning Best British Breakthrough Artist. It’s so well deserved and they had the most shortest, to the point acceptance speech ever.  They were up against Wolf Alice, who I love too, James Bay and Years and Years (among others). Wolf Alice, having just got back from the Grammy’s having been nominated for Best Rock Song, were sad about the lack of representation of the Grime genre at the awards and talked about how they wanted to walk down the red carpet with grime artists like Stormzy and Skepta. There was also an incredibly touching tribute to the late David Bowie which saw Lorde, who Bowie was a fan of himself, sing with his band. It was incredibly moving and reinstated just how much of an impact he has made on our world.

Also last month Glastonbury Festival released its Friday night and Sunday night headliners. On the Friday night at Worthy Farm Muse will headline and on the Sunday night it will, of course, be Coldplay! They join the likes of Jeff Lynne’s ELO (for the coveted Sunday afternoon tea-time slot) and P J Harvey.

Rat Boy, too, has new songs. Following the release of “Move” in January, he has released “Tracks” ft. Casso Clay. Jordan and co are currently unstoppable. Tracks is an angsty, teenage fuelled song which features Casso Clay.  It’s heavily 90s influenced rap but has a catchy chorus. It’s different to their other tracks, like “Fake ID” and “Wasteman”, but I can’t wait to hear it played live in May and see how the audience reacts. 

In February we also saw the annual NME awards. The highlight of the evening, obviously, was Oli Sykes of Bring Me the Horizon standing on Coldplay’s table, screaming, whilst it collapses. Whether or not it was an act of revenge or just a spur of the moment impulse act, it was absolutely hilarious and worth a watch! Big winners of the night included Rat Boy, The Libertines, Glastonbury Festival and Wolf Alice (who’d been to two awards ceremonies in something like less than 48 hours, one of which was The Grammys).

February was a brilliant month for live music. I saw Foals play a triumphant set at The SSE arena, Wembley, as part of their first ever arena tour. I saw Sundara Karma play the small underground venue “Patterns” in Brighton. I also saw, on the 29th February (leap year day, how exciting), an incredible evening of live music at The O2 Kentish Town Forum for BBC Radio 1 Presents as part of Annie Mac’s radio show. There was live music from the incredible Jake Bugg, hugely talented Lady Leshurr and the ever brilliant The 1975. I’ve been very lucky this month. In March I have The 1975 and Wolf Alice to look forward to.

On this month’s playlist there’s also songs by The Wholls (who I’ve been loving this month), Superfood, Jamie T and Blossoms.

 

 

 

 

What I’m Listening to- February 2016