Focus Wales 2018: a journey to Welsh music

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Image may contain: 2 people, people on stage and people playing musical instrumentsLet’s prepare for another big edition this coming May. Fresh from prizes and awards for promoting the Welsh music and arts culture, the Focus Wales festival will be back from May 10th to May 12th 2018.

A first wave of acts were announced recently. Of course, local bands will take a huge part of the bill again. From rock to electro to folk, we’ll get some regular festival acts like Campfire Social, Kidsmoke, Baby Brave, Lovers Open Fire.

Some big figures from the Welsh culture and beyond will be performing as well. Euros Childs and John Lawrence, formerly from Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci will fill the stage with their experimental folkish pop melodies as well as Mancunian songstress, Jane Weaver, indie dream popper Genghar and The Coral’s  singer songwriter Bill Ryder Jones.

For newbies or just if you wanna know what’s going on in the industry, don’t forget to attend the conferences held by people from labels, festivals, music platforms and various medias. This coming year, you will be able to hear Martin Elbourne from Glastonbury festival, Rich Walker from 4AD,Feedy Frizzi from Moshi Moshi Management amongst many other prestigious people.

Three days of guaranteed fun and discoveries. You can head to www.focuswales.com
for further info on the festival

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Airways/Nothing But Thieves @ Le Belmont

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Heavy rain was pouring in Montreal like on  a typical London night but it didn’t kept us away from enjoying great rock’n’roll.

In such a tiny place, it was jam-packed for the first band Airways, a rock outfit now based in Peterborough, England. This was a short sweet rock’n’rollish set as the band just have an EP out now oairwaysn Itunes, Starting To Spin. Energetic basslines, Arctic Monkey’s alike attitude, no wonder why they are really influenced by them musically, Airways proved British rock is alive and well.

For their first time in Montreal, Canada, the band dropped their shyness and interacted perfectly with the crowd who seemed really pleased with the music played. Rock’n’roll was vibing loads in the place.

Then, Nothing But Thieves came on, fresh from the release of their brand new album Broken Machine.  Heavy drum and guitar riffs were filling the small venue from downtown Montreal with the crowd singing along to the melancholic and Muse-like driven songs.

nothing but thieves

Image may contain: 2 people, people playing musical instruments, people on stage and nightImage may contain: 2 people, people playing musical instruments, people on stage and nightFrom the contagious beats of Live Like Animals to their rocking deep tracks Trip Switch  and  Hostage passing by the post-punkish I Was Just A Kid , the London band showed us that one day they’ll hit a bigger stage. Nothing But Thieves delivered it all with a boost of energy like never before. We also saw a little bit of their softer side with some solo acoustic performance by Conor.  Sweet ballads entertwined with more upbeat tunes made the perfect blend.

We can’t wait for the return of both bands around! Right now, they’re on a UK tour if you want to catch them on!

New bops!

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Niterooms-Headway

If you like ambient electronics hops with some great rhymes, you are gonna fall in love with this tryptic outfit from Brithdir, a small mining town from South Wales.  Playing withThe project self-titled EP is due for released on November 20th and here’s the first song from it with a video directed by Ed Townsend.

 

 

The Tates-Water

Here’s the brand new single from The Tates. Water is such an infectious track with synthpop bopping melodies. Hailing from West Wales , the quintet have such harmonies that can’t get out of our heads. There’s nothing hidden in the water while listening to it, it’s clear it’s a pure hit! Water will be out December 1st on Libertino Records.

BDY_PRTS-Fly Invisible Hero

Glaswegians knows how to make us dance. BDY_PRTS is one of these refreshing new bands coming from this scottish well-known city. With solid smooth vocal harmonies blended with electric piano vibes, we just can’t help stomping our feet to the songs, especially on this one Rooftops, which is one of the first single from the album Fly Invisible Hero out now on Aggrocat Records

Ramona Rose-Grand Canyon

Due to release as a single on November 24th here’s Leeds singer songwriter who penned a very emotional track Grand Canyon.  She’s telling her own stories with a deep soul that reminds us of Anna Calvi or even PJ Harvey with an heavier rock sound. It’s angry but beautiful at the same time. Here’s a live version of the track on her youtube channel.

Liam Payne-Bedroom Floor

It may be a pop act, but we are totally addicted to these falsettos on that song penned by Charlie Puth. The chorus is infecting our ears with amazing vibes and we can’t get the lines out of our heads. Thumbs up to Liam Payne’s vocal range!

Welsh music prize

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For the 7th year in a row, a panel of people from the heart of Wales nominated their favourites twelve albums from their native lands. From this list, only one would be voted as the best of the year. 2017 is not an exception for the emerging and established talents coming from this area.

Who will be following last year’s Meylir Jones’ steps?

Again, the panel curated by Huw Stephens amongst many others made an eclectic selection for the shortlist. From rock to pop passing by some electronic and even hard-metallic vibes, the Welsh music is healthy at the moment.

Here’s the full lists of nominees:

Baby Queens – ‘Baby Queens’

Bendith – ‘Bendith’

Cotton Wolf – ‘Life in Analogue’

The Gentle Good – ‘Ruins/Adfeilion’

Georgia Ruth – ‘Fossil Scale’

Gruff Rhys – ‘Set Fire To The Stars’

H Hawkline – ‘I Romanticize’

HMS Morris – ‘Interior Design’

Kelly Lee Owens – ‘Kelly Lee Owens’

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard – ‘Y Proffwyd Dwyll’

Sweet Baboo – ‘Wild Imagination’

Toby Hay – ‘The Gathering’

Who’ll win? What are your best bets?

The award ceremony will take place on October 20th in Cardiff.

Rock in style

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We took the road in Boston this weekend to get to the one and only Harry Styles show. He may have been in One Direction since 2010, still he’s an accomplished solo artist.

He was used to big stadiums back in the days and now decided to tour up small venues like the Wang Theatre in Boston for an intimate sold out 3500 people capacity.

We entered the venue at around 7pm (with a huge line up early in the freezing temperature). Muna went on with their electro rock à la New Order, eighties music with their own tracks and a beautiful endearing cover of Stevie Nick’s Edge Of Seventeen.

Then…. the curtain went on.

People were screaming, singing along to the classic rock songs played during intermission until we saw only a shadow.

Starting with the first notes of Ever Since New York, we felt the crowd good vibrations.

Strumming his guitar, dancing with the stage presence which is already known coming from him, Harry’s is a real rock star who knows how to entertain. The soft melodies of Two Ghosts and Sweet creatures were so emotional and delivered with tenderness. Harry was there to spread the love no matter what.

More upbeat songs were part of the lists too like the popular hooks of Kiwi and Only Angel.

In between the screams, he talked sweetly about how he was lucky to be there on stage for his first solo tour. Though, he didn’t forget

where he was coming from with this beautiful cover of Story of My Life. He let the crowd singing together in harmony and it was brilliantly magical.

He also pleased the crowd with What Makes you beautiful and his own version of Just A Little Bit Of your heart, a song he once co-wrote for Ariana Grande.

Harry Styles is also a great classic rock lover. During the encore, he covered a Fleetwood Mac masterpiece The Chain which he did firstly at the Live Lounge on Radio One. We could live the pureness of this song live and he finished the show with his first solo hit Sign of the times which closed beautifully the concert.

Just one word for this show: love!

Jamming and rocking

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We’re no heroes-Youth

Funky new track from the Cardiff trio out now on Spiral Icon Records. Youth is an ode to the future with groovy bass  and drums rhythms. If you like early Foals mixed with soul, you’re gonna be hooked to it!

Seazoo-Shoreline

Also hailing from the Welsh lands, Seazoo, which is greatly influenced by indie pop fusioned their style with fuzzy psych guitars which gave an interesting blend of sounds. Seazoo proved again that Welsh bands rock the world!

Jessie Ware-Selfish love

After a few collaborations and a praised first album, Jessie Ware is back with this new track Selfish Love, an ode to ambient bossa nova music. We can feel the Sade in her soulful deep sensual voice.

 

Inheaven-Inheaven

We’re rock’n’rolling with the London outfit with their raw and rebellious staccato beat invading our ears. Sometimes exploring the old sixties vibes, sometimes more violent noise, this album is a grower from the beginning throughout all the glowing tunes!

 

 

 

New weekly jams!

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Pet Crow-How Are You Wired?

Newly out on vinyl through Too Pure, the Derby outfit, Pet Crow, sliding into a pop punk raw short song for the follow up of their first album A Simple Guide To Small and Medium Pond. Still awesomely energetic with the fast drums, staccatos, we cannot get over the late 70s punk vibes of the Slits back in the days. A must listen!

Mogwai-Party In the Dark 

A brand new track taken from their forthcoming album Every Country’s sun on Rock Action. We still hear the usual experimental vibes but with a small post-punkish electronic approach which goes kind of New-orderesque in the melody. We can’t wait to hear the rest of the album next week!

St Jude The Obscure-Wreckage

Formerly musicians from Feral Love and Bird, this duet of Liverpudlians  went on their own way with these synth poppish soft melodies with vaporish vocal harmonies which hits us like a refreshing breeze.

Shock Machine-Shock Machine

We can’t get enough of dancing melodic tracks mixed with some sadness at some point. The king of nu-rave, formerly with Klaxons, Jamie Righton, proposed a brand new project on his own, Shock Machine. A psychedelic travel around love, loneliness and getting up in our dreams. Totally dig it!