Focus Wales: from folk sounds to post-punk

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Focus Wales brought us an amazing sixth edition. From folk to indie post rock, we made various discoveries through the weekend.

Friday, we started our journey with Lizzy Farrall a young singer songwriter from Chester who blew us up with her vocal ranges sometimes soft and sometimes raw. You can check out her single Broken Toy


We headed to the conferences afterwards, first was the one about how selling, kind of, your music, to international festivals, TV shows, videogames, platforms of various genres, followed by another one on how to pen a good tune. Even if we’re only radio djs that’s good to see the other sides of the industry.

As the day before, we went to Royal Oak for a pint. We started with Kyle Lee from The Mexican Walking Fish  with his well-joyful sometimes melancholics pieces which was followed by our Canadian fella from Regina, Nick Faye, with a set of originals and covers, interacting so perfectly with the public.

We continued quickly after a short dinner to the St-Giles church to see The Voice finalists, Into The Ark, with all the soul in the harmonies, fitting perfectly with the church ambience.


We stayed at the same venue for Billy Bibby and the Wry Smiles fresh from Llanduno in the heart of Wales, listening to the Americana countryside vibes.


After this set, we ran to Central Station to catch pop punk outfit Chupacabra, hailing from North Wales with their driving guitar riffs, dancing along to their first EP hits and singles as the likes of My Girl or Mouths To Feed.

Then, we saw one-man project Meursault from Edinburgh at The Rock suite. We could say it was a piece to see absolutely, rendering his folkish sounding lullabies with lots of emotions and even walking out the stage on his title I will kill again taking us by surprise. Lovely set indeed. 

Heavy rain just poured down outside while we were ready to catch Campfire Social at Oriel Wrecsam, a pretty small artsy venue perfect for the music mood. Glockenspiel, melodies and catchy songs were just bringing the shiny dangling joy in our minds.

A few minutes after the set we ran to Rock Suite again to watch Lush Purr, a new Glasgow band, who were playing tracks from their brand new album Cuckoo’s Waltz, out on Song By Toad label. The young band delivered guitar staccatos, hooked vocals and plenty of mixed influenced from pop to indie and punkish styles.

We ran back to Rewind to see Newcastle-Upon-Tyne well-deserved hyped band Coquin Migale which released their first album Munro last year. With a blend of sonic fuzz guitars and shoegaze, the guys delivered a performance of a lifetime in front of a jam-packed crowd.


We finally headed to Central station for our last gig of the night, from Manchester’s post-punk rebels, Cabbage. Stocked in the front, we were into the moshpit that started just after a few songs. Political, satirical in their lyrics, they transmitted a joy-divisionesque musical painting on stage. We gave up all our energy into this.

Focus Wales: a journey inside the Welsh music industry part 1

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For our 4th year in a row, we lived another hectic weekend in the sunny roads of Wrexham’s town. We made loads of discoveries from many genres during that edition who went more and more under international exposure, but also still concentrated on the local bands and their proeminent creativity.

Again, this year was pretty hectic, full of clashes. We wanted to see as many bands as possible. Running through the different venues, we caught up with so many gems.

This was a pure weekend from Thursday May 11th to May 13th exposing bands like established act British Sea Power or doing the underground promotion of the new refreshing ones.

We started our journey on Thursday afternoon with some interesting conferences about how to sell your own bands to people of the industry likewise and how to grow your chances of making it abroad in that post-Brexit era. Then, we went to some acoustic folk acts performance at the Royal Oak, a small pub in the heart of town. Singer-songwriters Andy Hickie, Garry Rowley and many more took the small stage with their joyful or sometimes melancholic original music and covers. In between, we watched special performances by Kidsmoke’s Lance Williams and folk acoustic experimental Meilir 


We then saw Gorweilion/Horizons sponsored act Danielle Lewis with her poetic voice. She wrote her songs with a touch of magic and makes us travel around the world with her beautiful melodies.


Then we headed to Old no 7 bar to cheer up for our Canadian team, which was amazingly present at Focus Wales. Poor Nameless Boy from Saskatchewan took the open mic to sing lovely folkish songs. After the set, we ran to Rewind just around the corner to rock on to the vibes of Pink Killer, a local Wrexham band who just started a few years ago. With loads of reverb, loads of psych references, they blasted the microphone to start an amazing first festival night. Things got heavier some minutes later with regulars of the festival Doppelgänger. They smashed the Central Station stage with their energetic guitar riffs. It was followed by the beats and rhymes of Spitbucket, a local hip hop collective with the help of Someperson on the background beats. Despite no actual releases, the band got a well deserved jam-packed dancing and sing-along crowd.

But, Focus Wales was also a festival full of hard choices to make. Had to pick between a special and rare performance from Georgia Ruth before she was quitting the gigs for a while and post-experimental outfit False Hope For The Savage. As the venues were close from each other we splitted our time between both, enjoying the synth-folk ballads of Georgia and then headed to hear the melodic instrumentation of Cardiff’s FHFTS. With Mogwai’s alike influences and deep guitar riffs, the band formed by the members of Cut Ribbons, The Echo and The Always and Samoans, delivered the merchandise with such energy.

Just a couple of minutes later, we walked at Un Deg Un to get a little taster from The Immediate new EP due for release in the summer. The Mod-britpop inspired outfit hailing from the small neighbourhood of Mold rocked The Void with their guitar riffs and their jiving sounds.

At the end, we went downstairs to see a couple of tunes from Bryde , a mix of raw rock’n’roll with deep vocals for the likes of St Vincent or PJ Harvey. This girl’s got talent and was so confident on stage. She put the Un Deg Un on fire!


With the rock’n’roll vibes going on, we got back to Rewind to see Delta Radio Band performing their own bluesy tunes intertwined with huge classics like Canned Heat’s On The Road Again. It was definitely a short set like many other we experienced at the festivals, but it felt so intense and raw. The party started on that first Focus Wales night.


We finished our first night with hip hop vibes with Cardiff’s Astroid Boys. While waiting in the jam-packed Central Station, we danced to the beats in a very festive ambience. The rap outfit came onstage a little bit later, spitting their rhymes to the crowd, with the full moshpit going on. What a night ending for us!

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Weekend vibes

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Here’s some stuff we listened through the weekend, some pop, some rock braving the rainy weather.

White-One Night Stand Forever

If you need some tipsy 80’s era Bowie, you’ll need this album from White, an upcoming act from Glasgow. Every first notes are bringing us to the dancefloor. If you were in love with Franz Ferdinand back in the days, you’ll deffo should keep an eye of this band called simply White. This album will deffo hit the club nights around.

The Sundowners-Cut The Master

The second album from these Liverpudlians signed on The Coral’s record label Skeleton Key is a pure bliss. All we need is an old 60’s western-spaghetti movie on mute with this album as the soundtrack.

 

Joe Goddard-Electric Lines

Going through a rollercoaster of emotions, the other half of Hot Chip delivers a Drive-alike soundtrack mixed with pumping beats and Giorgio Moroder disco influenced tracks.

 

Zayn Malik-Still Got Time (The Remixes)

He maybe once a part of One Direction, but he found his own way with this collaboration with Toronto’s own Party Next Door. While the original version is spinning on the radio, there is an absolute gem EP just released with remixes from London’s Ray BLK and Team Salut, LA’s own Vindata and part-Russian Devi. It’s so addictive!

Focus Wales is coming…..in two weeks

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We’re prepping our roundtrip to Wales and here’s some live acts you should definitely see at the festival

Eyre Llew are hailing from the Sherwood forest of Nottingham…but they’re not the Robin Hood’s of music. They are not stealing anything, putting some melodies together in an amazing soundscape. We are escaping ourselves into the guitar tremoloes and the smooth vocals.

 

 

After being finalist on Tom Jones’ team on The Voice UK, this Welsh duet is delivering powerful and soulful vocals.  With lots of grooves mixed with folkish acoustic riffs, you’re gonna fell in love.

 

 

Pink Glitter is a local Wrexham outfit who described themselve as pop-noir. Dark melodies and atmospheric tension are coming over in the progression of the tunes. We also love that grunge vibe in the raw kind of voice and in the drumlines. A must-see.

From Liverpool with love

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Liverpool gave us so many talented bands and Sugarmen is just emerging from this beautiful Merseyside county. Their first single Sold is a two minutes-less track but it’s all we need. We love the Buzzcock-esque vibes in the vocals and in the driven guitars. Punk’s not dead and this new upcoming act is proving it again. This single is an endless delight.

 

Welsh psychedelic sounds

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From the northern welsh land, Lastigband, is releasing their brand new EP, Torpido, through Cae Gwyn Records. Throughout the EP, exclusively in Welsh language, we are melting in a strange universe. Going from buzzing guitars to melodic and poetic acoustics, Lastigband is one new band to watch. Some pieces are reminiscent of Blur’s eponymous effort in 1997 but still with some late sixties, early seventies psychedelic and magical vibes.

Hear the track Jelo below:

Time for grunge rock

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Freshly released on Alcopop recordings, The People are Revolting is the third album from Hampshire quintet Freeze The Atlantic. Hailing from the depths of Hundred Reasons and Reuben back in the days, we have raw songs, rebellious in the sound.  Starting with El Nitro, a little short instrumental prelude, it brings us in some math rock vibes that we can feel all over the album. Then, we go from old nineties grunge riffs mixed with heavyweight drums with some emo-era nostalgia. Browsing the album could definitely cut us off like a razor. The bass, drum and guitar lines are entertwined perfectly to make us sing along into the powerful driven melodies. We feel through listening the chemistry between the instruments and the vocals with a desire of delivering a political message. It’s a must have in your collection if you like Lost Prophets, Future Of the Left or the legendary Silverchair or Nirvana.

Enjoy the title track here: