Reading Festival, 25th-27th August 2017 (Festival Review)

So Reading (and Leeds) Festival is over for another year and this year’s festival was a huge success. The event, held at Richfield Avenue, took place from Friday 25th August to the 27th August and was headlined by Kasabian, Eminem and Muse. There were a couple of (not so) secret sets over the weekend too, including appearances from Wolf Alice and Queens of the Stone Age (who will no doubt be back next year, perhaps the latter as headliners).

Here are my highlights:

Friday

The Magic Gang¬†played a triumphant late morning set on the BBC/NME Stage to set off an exciting weekend of live music. The Brighton band played an enthusiastic and energetic set, filled with previously released songs- including ‘All This Way’ and ‘Jasmine’- as well as their latest single ‘Your Love’.

If you haven’t seen Declan McKenna¬†in 2017 then I don’t know where you’ve been! He’s played pretty much every UK festival and Reading and Leeds was no exception. The 18-year-old played his first ever Reading and Leeds set (having attended Reading for the past two years) on the BBC/NME Stage to a packed out audience. McKenna sang songs from his debut album- What Do You Think About The Car?– and jumped into the audience a few times in the set, with the first time unsuccessfully ending up in the middle of a mosh pit. McKenna laughed off forgetting the words to ‘Paracetamol’ and continued to gleefully run around the stage as the audience sang, cheered and clapped along. Declan McKenna knows how to excite an audience.

Anne-Marie might not have seemed an obvious choice for Reading Festival, but by the sheer amount of people who turned up to see the ‘Rockabye’ singer she’s clearly a popular one. The singer played a mixture of singles, including ‘Do It’ and ‘Alarm’, and lesser known songs, before ending with the hit-singles ‘Ciao Adios’ and a stunning version of Clean Bandit’s ‘Rockabye’, which she features on. The audience were in awe as she sang pitch perfect songs and as she jumped into the crowd to take selfies with the audience.

It’s been quite a year for Two Door Cinema Club. Last year they headlined the BBC/NME Stage and now they’re creeping up the Main Stage line-up, with a new album and countless tours under their belts. Two Door Cinema Club know how to put together a good setlist, which featured hit after hit and a copious amount of fan favourites. They always put on a good, feel-good show.

Bastille brought the Wild Word tour to Reading Festival, with brilliant visuals and stories of politics and life laced throughout. The band played songs spanning their back catalogue and the radio-hits from their latest album. The drumming on Pompeii was an obvious highlight, as the audience loved singing along.

British rock band You Me At Six¬†closed the first day of the BBC/NME Stage. The set- which featured huge pyrotechnic displays- was plagued by technical difficulties, which prompted a spine-tingling acapella rendition of ‘Lover Boy’ from the album Sinners Never Sleep. The band played under a sea of mobile phone lights and lighters during ‘Take On The World’, before bringing guitar lead rock hit after hit to the Reading Stage. The band treated fans to songs from their debut album- Take Off Your Colours– ahead of its 10 year anniversary next year, with front man Josh Franceschi telling his desires of wanting to do an anniversary tour next year. The band were on top form that night.

Saturday

The not-so-secret secret act Wolf Alice¬†played to dedicated fans and festival goers at 11:00am on Saturday morning. The set was incredibly lively with famous fans, label mates and onlookers (including The 1975’s Matty Healy and Slaves’ Isaac Holman) stood side of the stage. The band played songs from their 2015 debut album, My Love Is Cool, and showcased new songs from their forthcoming second album, Visions of a Life,¬†including the singles ‘Yuk Foo’, ‘Beautifully Unconventional’ and ‘Don’t’ Delete The Kisses’. The atmosphere was incredible.

Blaenavon¬†played the BBC/NME Stage early on in the day. The band brought That’s Your Lot to Reading Festival and treated the crowd to their mature, alternative music. The band played songs including ‘Orthodox Man’, ‘Let’s Pray’ and the stunning ‘Prague’ before front man Ben Gregory jumped into the crowd.

Dan Stock¬†played on the BBC Introducing Stage. Singer songwriter Dan Stock stood solo centre stage and played as if he were playing to an arena. His lyrically clever and satisfying songs echoed that of Alex Turner and his assured stage presence commanded the respect of Jake Bugg, Declan McKenna or Liam Fray. With the aid of a band (eventually) he could become pretty huge. He’s definitely one to watch.

A couple of weeks before Superfood¬†released their triumphant ‘comeback’ album Bambino¬†the band played Reading Festival. The festival gave a platform for the band to showcase songs from the upcoming album, including ‘Where’s The Bass Amp?’, ‘Double Dutch’ and ‘I Can’t See’, throughout which they encouraged the audience to dance. The band also played tracks from their 2014 debut album Don’t Say That, including the song ‘Superfood’.

Ahead of their biggest UK tour to date (which features shows at London’s O2 Brixton Academy) Sundara Karma delighted the Reading audience to a spectacular homecoming show. The Reading band played a no-gimmick set filled with tracks off of their (now extended) debut album, Youth is Only Every Fun in Retrospect, which was released earlier this year. The band opened up the Main Stage at Reading Festival last year in what turned out to be a career defining performance and this felt like a triumphant progression. Sundara Karma are continuing to make waves with their effortlessly cool, alternative music and the fans sure are loving it.

Everything Everything¬†played a lot of their new album A Fever Dream¬†at this year’s Reading Festival. The band’s set featured heavily a lot of new tracks, including the single ‘Can’t Do’, with the odd fan favourite peppered in to the audience’s excitement. The highlight of the set was the weirdly wonderful ‘No Reptiles’, with its absurd, yet clever lyrics and infectiously catchy nature, with songs like ‘Distant Past’, ‘Kemosabe’ and ‘Spring Summer Winter Dread’ also loved by the fans. It’s great to see Everything Everything back with refreshing new material though, even if it seems relatively toned down compared to what came prior to it.

Glass Animals¬†are a band so powerful that they brought on an entire pineapple ban at this year’s festival. The Oxford band brought How To Be A Human Being to Reading with it’s chilled out, psychedelic (almost) tracks and performed in front of the world’s largest golden pineapple disco ball and a plethora of pineapples and cacti on stage. The ban on pineapples did not stop fans from smuggling the odd pineapple in, as those successful sat holding their prize goods high on top of the shoulders, commanding proud applause. The band opened up with the gloriously energetic ‘Life Itself’ and closed with the song that brought on an entire fruit ban, ‘Pork Soda’. Front man Dave Bayely even performed the entirety of ‘Gooey’, from their debut album, stood in the crowd. It was a sight to behold.

Sunday

Ten Tonnes played to a packed out tent full of festival goers on the Festival Republic Stage. The singer songwriter graduated from The BBC Introducing Stage, which he played last year, onto the Festival Republic Stage in a move that felt fitting with his growing audience. Ethan Barnett- as he’s formally known- is gathering momentum, with his catchy, easy to love, feel-good songs.

Up and coming London band¬†King Nun¬†played a raucous Sunday afternoon set on the Festival Republic Stage, where they showcased previously released singles including ‘Speakerface’ and ‘Tulip’. Their punk riddled indie-rock music proved popular with the young crowd who jumped, danced and moshed accordingly.

The Sherlocks returned to Reading Festival for the third year, having progressed up to the BBC/NME Stage this year. The tent was filled with fans and flares and had a similar feeling of excitement to that of a Courteeners concert. This came a week after their debut album, Live For The Moment, was released, so the band treated fans with hit after hit from the album.

Will Joseph Cook¬†brought his gloriously, sun-kissed indie-rock tunes to a blissful Reading Festival late on a sunny Sunday afternoon. His set rivalled Giggs’¬†on the Main Stage- who brought pop/hip-hop sensation out Drake– and the atmosphere in the tent was chilled out in comparison. He played a whole host of songs from his debut album, Sweet Dreamer, and also treated fans to songs from his earlier EPs.

Blossoms¬†played a tricky set before Liam Gallagher on the Main Stage. Blossoms are a band completely capable and worthy of playing huge stages, but this felt as though they were swimming against the tide, with crowds refusing to participate, Muse fans sitting about in preparation for the evening, huge lack of singing, support and engagement with the audience. The band seemed to pick up on this and it all felt a bit depleting. Having said this, the Stockport lads delivered a set full of the hits- with everyone going crazy for biggest hit ‘Charlemagne’- from their debut self-titled albums, with the usual gimmicks thrown in for good measure. I could probably recite the whole set by this point; it’s quite predictable now!

Liam Gallagher¬†performed a gallant set on the Main Stage at Reading Festival before headliner Muse. The icon, clad in his usual green trench coat, sunglasses and iconic haircut, sang Oasis hits (including ‘Morning Glory’ and ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Star’) and songs from his forthcoming debut album, As You Were,¬†which is due for release in October. Gallagher ended his set with the indie classic and obvious anthem ‘Wonderwall’, which saw fans of all ages united in song. Liam actually sounded top of his game though and seemed as happy as ever.

Halsey played the BBC/NME Stage whilst her North American tour mate Charli XCX brought her iconic pop hits and bubble-gum pop to the Dance Stage. Charli XCX played surrounded by pink confetti, dancing blow up ‘people’ (I suppose) and her all-female band and brought the party to the festival. The tent overspilled with people jumping and dancing all around. Definitely a highlight.

Haim closed the BBC/NME Stage at Reading Festival with a spectacular headline set. The band’s performance was a year over-due, as they cancelled their headline slot last year due to wanting to finish up their new album, but it was definitely worth the wait. The band played hits from their first album- Days Are Gone – and their latest album, Something To Tell You. The set featured a lot of dancing, bursts of humorous chat, a bucket full of bass face and the most captivating drumming display ending. Definitely a huge highlight over the weekend.

Overall, it was another great Reading Festival and the strong line-up proves why the festival is still going so strong after so many years. The good festivals do it properly and well, setting them miles apart from the rest.

 

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Reading Festival, 25th-27th August 2017 (Festival Review)

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

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

August 2016- What I’m Listening to

What a month August was- complete with break ups, plenty of festivals and many an announcement.

During August, this year’s Mercury Prize nominations were announced with The 1975, Skepta, Radiohead and David Bowie all in the running. This year there was the first ‘public vote’, where members of the public could vote for their favourite album among the shortlisted to go straight into the final five. It’s weird writing about this in retrospect, as it’s already happened, but more to come in next months post!

This year’s AIM awards took place in August. The AIM awards celebrate everything indie in the music industry. From independent bands, artists, labels and record stores, the AIM awards showcase the best in independent music around. Christine and the Queens won the Independent Breakthrough Artist of the Year award, Oscar won¬†Independent Video of the Year for ‘Sometimes’ and Adele, of course, won Independent Track of the Year for ‘Hello’. Stormzy was hailed with the Innovator Award and, none other than Banquet Record’s, Jon Tolley won the Indie Champion Award- because that’s what he is. The full list of winners at this special awards ceremony can be found here.

Blossoms released their absolutely incredible debut album, Blossoms, this month. The album has been played on repeat throughout the month and has easily become one of my favourite albums of the year so far. It’s so easy to listen, doesn’t get tiresome at all (and I’ve played it a lot) AND every song is an absolute banger. You don’t get many albums like this- especially debut albums- and a follow up could be a mammoth task. I was lucky enough to see Blossoms play an intimate album release show at The Hippodrome, in Kingston, with Banquet Records. Not only do Blossoms produce albums and EPs where every song is a hit, they’re also an incredible live band too. The band are on tour in September and October, as well as later on in the year, where they play their largest show to date- at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

And from one Blossoms set to another! Reading Festival took place over August bank holiday weekend. Like every year, the festival was full of incredible live acts, new discoveries and a lot of surprises (including a Blossoms BBC Introducing set). My favourites across the weekend included The 1975, The Wombats, The Vaccines, Two Door Cinema Club, Twenty One Pilots, Foals and The Wholls. Reading Festival is a festival especially close to my heart, as I’ve been going for a few years now, and it’s one that I look forward to every year. I can’t wait to see what next year’s line up brings; I’m sure it’ll be brilliant. You can find this year’s review here.

Frank Ocean has resurfaced with new album Blonde. The album was released on the 21st August and was available with a magazine, Boys Don’t Cry, from pop-up shops across the world- and it was given away free. The album has 17 tracks and features appearances from huge artists like Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar.

Slaves, too, are back. The duo announced a new album earlier this month, along with two tours. The band will tour the UK on a 15-date tour in November, as well as on a small venue “Back in the Van” tour in September. All the tickets for the latter sold out within an hour of being on sale- and all tickets were ¬£2.99. The latest album, Take Control, is released on the 30th September.

BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge month happens throughout September. The names for this year’s Live Lounge month include Christine and the Queen, Bastille and Biffy Clyro, among many others. The 1975 are set to finish off the month of live music with a stunning set at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom (yes, the one off of Strictly), accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Tickets are all sold out now and it’s set to be beautiful.

Sundara Karma also announced their debut album, Youth is Only Fun in Retrospect, in August. I’m beyond excited, as I’ve been loving Sundara Karma for what feels like ages now. The album is set for release early next year, on the 6th January, via RCA / Chess Club Records.

Finally, there’s The Maccabees. I’m devastated. After 14 years The Maccabees have called it a day and I, along with what seems as ¬†half of the world, am devastated. The band have had a huge impact on the music industry, with some of their albums and songs going down ¬†as classics. The band released a statement, which you can read here.

This month’s playlist features a lot of Blossoms, The Maccabees and bits and bobs from Reading Festival, along with Will Joseph Cook (because ‘Take Me Dancing’ is beautiful), Blaenavon (because ‘Let’s Pray’ and ‘I Will Be The World’ are tunes) and Twenty One Pilots (I’ve been pleasantly surprised by their latest album recently).

Next month there’s lots to look forward to in terms of Always the Sun Festival, in Guilford, more of Blossoms and album releases from Bastille and Jamie T.

 

 

 

 

August 2016- What I’m Listening to