Expanding on their impressive indie sound. Latest single ‘Early Dreamer’ sees Cardiff-based Twin Stranger introduce a refreshing twist on the genre, with a reflective and brooding, yet melodic breakaway track. As waves of psychedelic rock and power pop burst through, creating music that is both vibrant and immersive.
Opening lyrics battle the ever-tempting pull between saint and sinner, with lead Alex McConnachie enthralling us in the story of ‘Early Dreamer’. Interwoven among cool crisp guitars, and percussion hooks that latch onto its ever so catchy chorus. The single feels hypnotic and transportive, whilst lyrically able to explore the daily grind that everyday life can entail.
‘Early Dreamer’ really puts a spotlight on the fascinating capabilities that Twin Stranger have, to delve into such open and meaningful lyrics. Whilst maintaining a music style so uplifting, it scorches us with rays of hypothetical sunshine. This glorious contrast is often unseen at such an early stage in a band’s career, giving listeners an intriguing unique perspective, fuelling the momentum of what Twin Stranger are all about.
Placing emphasis on strong artistic collaboration from start to finish. McConnachie describes how Twin Stranger passionately craft every aspect of their music to perfection, including its artwork:
“The artwork for each release and visual aspect of things is very important, Joe comes up with a concept usually in the form of a little drawing or painting. It really feels like we’re building up to something.”
Building up to something, they certainly are. With ‘Early Dreamer’ affirming Twin Stranger as the up-and-coming band that you will certainly want to keep your eyes and ears on throughout 2021.
Hopes of an EP release are surely on the horizon, as this latest single continues on paving the road to success for Twin Stranger. Arriving off the back of a string of sublime singles, that firmly cemented their foundations in 2020. Anthemic debut ‘Tears of Joy’ was closely followed by summertime scorcher ‘Crushed’, preceded by the cathartic ‘White’ mid-year. All of which received high praise locally, and even gained the four-piece oversees exposure from US radio stations KROQ and SiriusFM. It is beyond inspiring that what initially began as a bedroom project for McConnachie, has grown to become so much more.
Twin Stranger are Alex McConnachie (Vocals), Joe Tobin (Synth/Guitar), Eric Karvik (Drums) and Josh Newington (Bass).
Stream ‘Early Dreamer’ on all platforms now via Rose Parade Record Co.
Despite the unprecedented challenges that 2020 has brought upon music, I have been incredibly inspired by the continued efforts of musicians and the entire industry. Those who have dedicated so much of themselves to creating. Doing all that they can to bring joy, in the darkest of times.
To celebrate their unwavering determination, I am so pleased to share with you, a list of 5 of my favourite EPs from this year.
Rosehip Teahouse ‘Chillin in the Void’
Wrapped in serenity and sweetness, Rosehip Teahouse’s first EP of 2020 quite literally transports its listeners away to another realm. From the softest twinkles of synths, to dreamy lullaby vocals from lead singer Faye Rogers. ‘Chillin in the Void’ is a completely mesmerising offering from the Cardiff-quintet. In tune with both music and emotion, Rosehip Teahouse infuse gentle instruments against tender lyrics. Enabling them to create a blend of indie-pop, that is poignant, but oh so pleasant. Yet, if one EP wasn’t enough, swiftly following ‘Chillin in the Void’ was latest EP ‘Fine’, another gorgeous slice of music goodness from Rosehip Teahouse.
Bursting with all of the brilliant enthusiasm and flamboyance that we have grown to expect from Cardiff’s Buzzzard Buzzard Buzzard.‘The Non-Stop EP’ is home to seventies power struts and a cool retro vibe. Certainly a delight to discover during a rather desolate year. Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard have a keen sense of embracing music from the past, but ensure they bring it bang up to date, with their own unique twist. Dancing with modern-day politics and an unabashed jest. We groove from the fun Double Denim Hop to the satirical quips of Hollywood Actors. With ‘The Non Stop EP’ catapulting this rising band headfirst into the spotlight.
Hauntingly beautiful, Manchester musician Lindsay Munroe entrances through debut EP ‘Our Heaviness’. Set against the backdrop of a rigid religious past, Munroe bestows her anguish in gorgeous confession. Pairing eerily muted vocals with a beguiling soundscape, ‘Our Heaviness’ is an EP bearing tracks that latch onto their listeners, and resonate within our very core. With Munroe evoking such a bold honesty, her music is profoundly moving, particularly the track Split. There is a captivating literary-feel present throughout her songwriting, that implores us to pry deeper into her inner-psyche. Proving that Munroe is not only a wonderful musician, but a fascinating muse.
London-based Talk Show have been acquiring a stirring buzz around their music for some time now. From a reputation for fearsomely frantic live shows, to brooding new single releases. 2020 saw the band present their highly anticipated EP ‘These People’. Boasting brash anger and unwavering lyricism, ‘These People’ is in full grasp of its gritty sound. Frontman Harrison Swann, an intoxicating enigma, standing centre stage among a band who channel all of their energy into these fast-paced, unforgettable anthems – look no further than Petrol Head, if you need clarification. Dominating a sinister charm, Talk Show rouse an indescribable impulse, dragging listeners kicking and screaming toward their addictively fierce new breed of punk.
Bittersweet and bold, Phoebe Green portrays the delirious intimacies of a corroding relationship on latest EP ‘I Can’t Cry For You’. Taking the listener on a hypnotic thrill ride, Green rebounds from the hard-driven indie of Golden Girl, to the distorted psychedelia in Grit. Unhinging senses and pushing the boundaries of every comfort zone, on her lyrically bruising but brilliant EP. Awakening a new persona, Green glows with flame-orange hair and a witty humour. As ‘I Can’t Cry For You’ bares a musician not afraid to toy with our inner-most thoughts and feelings.
Cradling tender emotion in the palm of their hands, is a skill that Cardiff indie-pop band Rosehip Teahouse have completely perfected. Boasting a back catalogue of gorgeously cathartic music. Latest EP ‘Fine’ merges old and new tracks, entwining memories, thoughts and feelings into just shy of a blissful 15 minutes.
Swooning vocals from lead singer Faye Rogers glide ever so delicately across a soundscape of lightly placed instruments. Twinkling keyboards shimmer among a subtle pop of synths. While guitars nip, and drums dance, adding just enough grandeur to collate that “full band” sound. Rosehip Teahouse carefully ensure their blend of instruments is not overpowering, but instead provide a sound that is wholesome and pleasant to the palate.
It is a delight to rediscover gems such as ‘No Gloom’ and ‘Summer Sleep’ from very early demo recordings, alongside new singles ‘I Meant What I Said’, ‘A Million Times’ and ‘I’m Not Whole’. We hear a progression in songwriting style as Rosehip Teahouse have grown, yet cherish the emotions forever present within their music. Embodying such poignant pleasure, from their very conception as a band.
Of Rosehip Teahouse’s latest EP, Faye expresses; “The fine EP is a collection of moments that span from 2016 to now. They cover love, losing love, fighting an eating disorder that wanted to take me over completely, my unregulated emotions, dreams (both literal and metaphorical) finding some sort of meaning amongst it all and coming out the other side, slightly stronger as a result of it. A lot of the songs are re-arrangements of the very earliest Rosehip demos and it’s been really cathartic and really special to let them free with the help of the rest of the band. I hope people can relate to the songs, give them a home for a bit and feel at least a little supported in the struggles we all have staying grounded in this overwhelming world.”
‘Fine’ is without doubt, another firm favourite, more than capable of capturing hearts and bottling heartbreak. Exquisite in its fragile delivery of unwavering lyrics, Rosehip Teahouse share a true depiction of our innermost self-doubts and worries. Swathed within the most beautiful music.
Stream ‘Fine’ on all platforms now via Big Indie Records
Bold and charismatic, an intoxicating charm blazes from the flamboyant powerhouse and emerging talent, that is Mr Bewlay. If personality alone is not enough to draw you in, and I dare anyone not to swoon under the spell of this captivating young musician. Latest single ‘Her Name is Juniper’ is the psychedelic spark that will ensure you fall head over heels for this intriguing “mista”.
Owning an eccentric Bowie-esque swagger, Mr Bewlay demands our attention from the very get-go and ‘Her Name is Juniper’ soars with effortless precision. Turning a sharp tongue to lyrics that drip in bubbly lovelorn lust, and pairing them with a melodic soundscape of synths. Showcased is a true showman, impeccably switched on to what sounds good and harnessing the electrifying capabilities of shooting to stardom, with both a driving talent and compelling alter-ego.
Oozing all of the makings of a musical muse, Mr Bewlay is mysterious, wickedly brilliant and devilishly fun. An enchanting character that dominates both their sound and style, ‘Her Name is Juniper’ is the catalyst that will surely send them to the stratosphere.
Having produced a single so strikingly catchy, Mr Bewlay can boast their intent of enchanting any and every listener they ensnare. There is no denying that ‘Her Name is Juniper’ will snake around your mind and invade your brain, nestling itself delightfully into your memory, until its firmly lodged at the top of every playlist and listened to on repeat. It is a chaotically fantastic funhouse, for all of our senses.
For fans of Adam Ant, Mr Bewlay is a musician that exudes such a delectable confidence. Something so inherently appealing is paraded by their utterly compelling uniqueness. A trait that makes them stand out and shine bright, above all others.
There is an overwhelming urge to shout loudly, that Mr Bewlay will soon become the next big thing we will all be talking about, listening to, and loving. Whether it is a result of the magically mesmerising ‘Her Name is Juniper’, or their vibrantly playful personality leading the charge. I for one, cannot wait to watch them skyrocket.
As Cardiff continues to produce an array of exciting and talented musicians. Meet Static Inc. A three-piece alternative rock group, who are crossing borders not only musically, but also where language is concerned.
Combining both English and native Welsh within their debut track. Latest single ‘Tangelo’ is enriched by its varied blend of tongue, adding an interesting perspective. Lines interchange their language seamlessly, meaning verses are coolly multi-lingual, in an effortless transition.
Often musicians sing in just one language during a track, but to hear two very different languages laced together in such a way, is a breath of fresh air. Despite drawing on lyrics that are solemn and moody. The gritty realness that exudes from this debut is refreshing, as Static Inc place heart and personal experience within their music.
Based on a bedrock of rumbling alt-rock. Static Inc build truly expansive music, as they progress through their multi-layered track. Standing at an impressive seven minutes, ‘Tangelo’ is segmented with upbeat, catchy guitar solos, that schmooze against fizzing drums. Musical correlations flow from one part to the next, and motions are fluid-like within this rock-operatic daydream.
Varying sections create a single that is digestible and easy to listen to. Even with its lengthy playtime, ‘Tangelo’ never falters. Faint hums of influence spark from Queen’s 6-minute ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’, with similar styles that only deepen in intensity as the minutes progress.
As a strong instrumental closure brings ‘Tangelo’ to its crescendo. Drums clash with an industrial fury and guitars pulse along in a medley of sound. Incorporating an entirely different style, when compared to the multi-lingual lyrical moodiness of the opening few minutes. These purely playful 4 minutes, allow for such a profound instrumental pitch, that charges the track with a new lease of energy.
Static Inc are clearly a budding new band, out to prove that language is certainly no barrier when it comes to music. All whilst harnessing a unique and intriguing sound. Capable of telling a story entirely its own, without the use of any words at all.
Through a pulsing guitar, we are hurtled into the fast-paced, loud and untamed music of South Wales’ Alternative Rock Band Feverjaw. Since bursting onto the scene last year, they are a band that have made an impact, and their music continues to be very well received by fans and the industry alike. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that they are planning to unveil their debut album very soon. With first single Bloodwork due to be released this Friday (4th September).
As boisterous guitars meet the clash of drums. Sparks fly on their tantalising latest track. With an opening riff that is strong and punchy, Feverjaw ensure we are hooked within the very first few seconds. Gritty rock music, delivered in a fresh and exciting new way. Bloodwork is fuelling and gloriously energetic.
Vocals from lead Dale Hawkins blaze through with bold ferocity. Providing that biting satisfaction, as this track roars to life. Exuding an undeniable air of confidence, Feverjaw are unflinching in the message they wish to convey. Brooding lyrics thrive over intense instrument playing, meandering between menacing and subtle melancholy. There is a definite ‘fight over flight’ fury that is uplifting and inspiring. The raucous music tearing throughout the track, ensures Feverjaw can be heard loud and clear. As Bloodwork shines to become an anthem of positivity.
Stirring and vibrant, Feverjaw are undoubtedly giving us a little more than just rousing rock music alone. With lyrics laced in thoughts and feeling, this sense of self and empathy that burns throughout their music, adds a layer of depth to your typical rock n’ roll façade. As we discover a band capable of becoming a beacon of hope. Feverjaw grasp rock music with all of its chaotic energy, and channel this to confront chaotic emotions head on.
Bloodwork is out on 4th September via Tone Burn Records
Exploring emotion and self-expression in such a profoundly beautiful way. Discover the latest EP from Rosehip TeahouseChillin in the Void. Led by the breathtaking vocals of Faye Rogers, Rosehip Teahouse hold our hand through their wonderous journey. Gifting music that swells with woozy love songs, earnest daydreams and intense emotion.
Gorgeously soft vocals set against twinkling synths and instruments, to create the loveliest blend of indie-pop. Emotive lyrics are woven with care, resulting in music that is tender and nurturing. Ensuring a comforting warmth wraps around us like a hug. No strangers to addressing fragile subjects; Rosehip Teahouse strip emotions bare, presenting them in their rawest and most vulnerable state. With an honesty so stark, their music is undoubtedly tinged with sadness. However, the resounding amount of empathy overwhelms any other disposition.
Chillin in the Void contains three previously released singles; It’s The Wrong Time,Regretting It and Thought Number 3. Alongside two brand new tracks; Space to Think and Lightfooted, for Once. Each exquisitely written, is home to its own unique message, meaning or purpose. Such sincerity sparks from their unflinching honesty in harnessing everyday thoughts, feelings, and struggles. Alluding that the ordinary is indeed rather extraordinary.
Magic found from within nostalgia and pondering, when thoughts are turned into lyrics.
You can stream or purchase Chillin in the Void via Sad Club Records
Ahead of the release of their debut single Key Largo. I caught up with Cardiff-based indie pop band Angel Hotel, to find out how life has been for them since lockdown and what their plans are for the future!
Hi Guys! So first of all, I have to ask how are you all coping during lockdown? I hope you’re alright and staying safe and well!
Hiya Becky! We’re great thanks and thank you so much for including us in your blog!
How have you found the current situation? Has it impacted your music and how you all create as a band? Or have you managed to find a way to make it work?
Like a lot of bands dealing with the current state of the world – we’ve been doing our very best to make the most out of a bad situation. Not being able rehearse as a full band, let alone play live shows, has been detrimental to so many of us but on the plus we’ve been using this opportunity to write as much new material and refine our live set to the best of our ability given the bizarre restrictions. Simply put, we are VERY excited to start playing live again!
Eagle-eyed music lovers would have noticed that you have recently made the decision to change your band name! Formerly known as Apostle, you are now the newly formed Angel Hotel!
What were your reasons behind this? Can we expect an exciting new sound from Angel Hotel?
The change in name primarily came from an evolution in sound. The initial concept of Apostle would be a solo project, but as the music developed – and so did the band – we no longer felt that it was a suitable name to call the outfit. In addition to this we felt that the name Angel Hotel was a better representation of our sound, branding and artistic vision. As well as it being our new name, Angel Hotel is also a famous Cardiff landmark that’s housed a litany of international artist. It’s a Welsh icon, and is as Welsh as Bara brith! We’re inspired by our city and we’re proud to represent it.
Who would you say are your biggest influences in music, both previously and going forward?
The writing process behind Angel Hotel songs have always been inspired and in part influenced by existing films soundtracks, while also adding our contemporary twist to a classic sound. We love 80s films! We are trying to encapsulate the way they make you feel rather than the way they are sonically – It’s the sound of nostalgia. It’s the sound of hearing something for the first time as a kid and falling in love the way it made you feel. The easiest way to categorise our genre would be under the umbrella of power pop, with the audience likening us to that of alternative pop and even grunge. Others have said that we have a sound reminiscent Bruce Springsteen crossed with the high energy Blink-182. Whatever the comparison, we hope people enjoy it.
Your debut single as Angel Hotel ‘Key Largo’ will be out very soon!I’d love to hear all about your ideas behind writing it, and what fans can expect to hear from your new single?
It’s a contemporary love letter littered with introspective reflections and a poignant hindsight, combined with a drinking sesh haha. The song isn’t our most energetic recording recently, however I think it showed a coherency that was more representative of our overall direction.
With the release of a new single, a new sound, and a new band name to go with it! Are you hoping to record your debut EP soon?
Our EP has actually already been recorded! We are beyond excited with the results and it was an absolute honour to be able to record at the legendary Long Wave Studios earlier in the year. We’re just so happy that we not only got to work with producer Tim Woodcroft but we also managed to finish the whole thing in two days, long before lock down restrictions were enforced so we are undoubtedly counting our blessings. The plan so far is to release the EP as individual singles – possibly three our four – and then release another full EP a little later down the line. Artists tend to release one song at a time because of how Spotify has taken over! Wish we could go back to the old days of releasing a full album! We’re chuffed nonetheless.
As well as being the lead vocalist of Angel Hotel, Sion has also just released a brilliant single as a part of Taf Rapids Stringband, and his own solo music! How are you finding juggling different musical projects with being in a band? It must be a lot of fun, but a lot of hard work too!
I [Sion] have found it a lot easier with the introduction of lock down to be honest. Since I lost all of my gigs I have found time to write. Taf Rapids Stringband is a blue grass venture completely different to my other projects but a style of music I’ve always loved playing. There hasn’t being a huge amount of other stuff to get on with so it’s been a fantastic excuse to get stuck in with as much music related work as possible.
It is clear to see how much love and passion you all have for music! Looking back over just a short space of time, you’ve had your own tour, have supported the likes of Dan Bettridge and most recently performed for free in aid of flood relief in our South Wales valleys, which was extremely kind hearted of you! What would you say has been your favourite show to date?
To be honest we’ve only had four gigs! We had a lot more planned this year with festival season looming. But sadly due to the virus all the festival plans were inevitably cancelled. Sad times! However, back in February we were fortunate enough to play a headline slot at The Moon on Womanby Street [In Cardiff]. It was great to see so many faces in attendance and gave us a taste of what’s to come and a great motivator to focus on the band going forward. We’ve definitely put all of our energy into writing the past few months and have managed to put together a library of new potential tunes, hot and ready to record.
It was also great to see so many local bands coming together for a great cause during the flood fundraiser. Cardiff is host to a plethora of fantastic bands and the Moon Club has always been one of the best places in the city to discover new grass roots bands.
What are your ideas for Angel Hotel after lockdown? Can you share with us any hints of your dream album in the works, or any future tour plans?
We’d love to work more with Tim [Woodcroft] and it would be an honour to do loads more recording at Longwave Studios. We plan for making up for lost time, and we intend on doing this by booking as many gigs as we can as soon as lock down is lifted. The long-term plan is to continue to produced music of a high quality and live performances of an exciting nature. We are looking to forward to catching up with as much live music as we can as soon as restrictions lift. With so incredible local bands to pick on, we’re spoilt for choice! We’re willing to bet there’ll be plenty of shows in the pipeline.
The Debut Single from Angel Hotel Key Largo will be out on 14th August
Follow Angel Hotel on their socials below
If you enjoyed what you read, and want to keep up to date with my writing. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook! @beckyandthebands
3:00am. Despite the stillness of the night, you find yourself lying awake. Looking again for the hundredth time, at the hand crawling around the clock. “Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock!” rattles through your brain like a dull ache. Bleary eyed and tired. Your inner monologue just won’t stop tonight. Sleep would be nice, but the thoughts are too loud.
Latest single Thought Number 3 from Rosehip Teahouse embodies those lonely hours we share with the moonlight. Basked in nothing but our own thoughts. Sleep will not come, because we are too exhausted by our minds.
Peering in through the glass of Rosehip Teahouse, we steal a glimpse at the thoughts keeping lead vocalist and songwriter Faye Rodgers awake. What begins as gentle musings, soon spiral.
Wrapping sincere lyrics within soft, delicate sounds. Rosehip Teahouse create emotional music, without any crushing weight to it. Instruments are kept light, and twinkling synths sparkle throughout the track like stars.
The woozy, dreamlike soundscape sets a scene of calm and tranquillity. Lyrics highlight Faye’s gorgeous song-writing abilities, and flawless vocals remain perfectly harmonious. The soft nature of the song, almost for a moment, allows for an escape from the sadness behind the words sung to us. Until we are jolted by the poignant finale.
Pairing opposing elements, of deep sadness and soothing music, together so beautifully. Fragile emotions are cradled and vocals lullaby soft. As though warming us with a comforting glow in the darkness.
At just over a minute and a half long; Thought Number 3 is a tender little indie-pop track, with huge emotional, poetic, and personal reach. For Rosehip Teahouse to have conveyed music so moving and resonate within such a short duration of time, is truly wonderous.
Thought Number 3 is available to stream now via Sad Club Records
Through a happy-go-lucky swirl of sound, we are swept away by latest single This Side of Luv from Cardiff-based band KEYS. Honing inspiration from psychedelic pop of the 60s and 70s, their music is a glorious clash of instruments with the grooviest lovelorn vocals from lead Matthew Evans. Bedroom recording at its best, the track is a glowing example of plug in and play. In no way overthought or finely tuned. Instead This Side of Luv took shape during the recording process and came to life using cassette four-track machines during lockdown.
Reflecting on Britain in the early 70s, KEYS recall how joyous music emerged from bleak moments. Pondering over its effect on history, they express how music has the power to lift the spirit, and hope to achieve this with their very own modern-retro sound in 2020. Without any shadow of a doubt, This Side of Luv is a song capable of boosting any glum mood. Seeking beauty in heartbreak, the track radiates fun and happiness in the brightest of technicolour. I long for the moment I can dance around to a spinning KEYS vinyl.
With an unmistakable early Beatles vibe, KEYS provide a perfect nod of nostalgia, but shake things up with a new-age bang. Rhythmic drums and guitar hooks flow marvellously throughout the track. Yet without drawing on any formalities, it is safe to say that this is simply a great piece of music.
KEYS have blown me away with a brilliant blend of vintage vibrance for This Side of Luv, that commanded my attention from start to finish.
This Side of Luv is out now via Libertino Records
Follow KEYS on their socials below
If you enjoyed what you read, and want to keep up to date with my writing. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook! @beckyandthebands
Fun, flamboyant and wearing the best 70s fashion you could ever behold. Cardiff’s very own Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard have strutted their way through 2020, with a string of singles in tow. The grand finale is the welcomed release of their highly anticipated The Non-Stop EP.
Culminated over several years. The Non-Stop EP is the epitome of Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard. Containing classics from their colourful catalogue, that date back to their formation. Taking time and effort to carefully curate this EP, has undoubtedly been worthwhile. Spellbindingly professional, without curbing any of that wonderful spirit and energy that Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard are so cherished for. Songs fans have adored at shows, are now presented in a glistening new light. Meaning that we will all be doing the Double Denim Hop around our living rooms before we know it.
Keeping old classics company on the EP, are numerous brand-new singles, such as What Is Hate? and Sugarloaf Mountain Crucify Me. Charged with as much exuberant energy as I had dreamed. Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard have blazed through with guitar-driven anthems, fuelled by lyrics equally as passionate from lead singer-songwriter Tom Rees. Creativity has spanned from politics and history, to love and life. With a sound so unique and exciting, their musical capabilities seem endless.
There is no denying that asides from being in the same room as them; every morsel of Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard’s chaotic brilliance is encapsulated within this EP. Late Night City can be turned up loud for a dance, or we can have a little cry to Long Day/Free Day. With a whopping ten tracks in total to listen to, this extended play is nothing shy of album quality.
The Non-Stop EP is available to stream and purchase now via Communion Records
Follow Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard on their socials below
If you enjoyed what you read, and want to keep up to date with my writing. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook! @beckyandthebands
Upbeat swirls of indie-pop flutter amongst emotive lyrics. Yet again, Rosehip Teahouse swoon with latest sad bop Regretting It. Gorgeously distressed acoustic guitars marry beautifully against lead vocalist Faye Rodgers’ lovelorn lyrics, as we drift along in this dizzy daydream.
A wonderfully intricate songwriter, Faye is able to wrap sincerity and truths within her music. Yet there is undeniably such a wholesome care to her craft. With lyrics so unwavering and pertinent; carefully and delicately delivered. Such sweetness is derived from a conscientious nature, resulting in the glorious music we are led to behold from Rosehip Teahouse.
The ability to convey sadness with uplifting music is no easy task, certainly if you want to do it well. However, Rosehip Teahouse have balanced this to perfection. In one hand cradling the emotional weight of the track, and in the other ensuring the track remains bubbly, by nurturing its musical sound to light acoustics and a pop of synths.
Little whistles and claps provide Regretting It with a kind-hearted lift. Helping soothe an affirmation in my mind, that despite the majority of us continuing to experience difficult feelings and struggles at the moment. If we try our best to hold onto a little positivity and happiness in our lives, then somehow we can get through this. However small and gentle these little pieces of happiness may be.
Regretting It is available to stream on all platforms now via Sad Club Records
You can follow Rosehip Teahouse on their socials below
I could not love Panic Shack any more if I tried. Their fierce bad girl attitude, tongue in cheek humour and adoration for chaos, all creates an impressively powerful emerging punk band. How close they are means they are more like sisters than friends, and they are quickly becoming the band that everyone wants to know. Causing carnage with raucous live shows, and acquiring a cult following. Panic Shack have already supported infamous punks Amyl and the Sniffers, and are tearing up Cardiff’s live music scene as they go. Once you have seen Panic Shack perform at a gig, you certainly won’t forget them. A band that were born to break the rules. Combine crazily good music with an infectious amount of energy, and they are able to command a crowd and deliver a gig like no other.
Panic Shack’s debut single ‘Who’s Got My Lighter?’ was a roaring success. The band are renowned for playing a number of unreleased songs at their gigs, so fans already knew what to expect from their loud and untamed debut, and its popularity has continued to soar ever since. At Panic Shack’s headline gig in March the track had its first live outing since its release. A boisterous crowd and a night fuelled with frenzy, meant their debut hit went down a storm, and blew the roof off Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach. Since its release, the single has received airplay on a number of radio stations, including BBC Radio 1. YouTube views are racing up by the day, and streams are continuing to spiral. A lockdown is not going to reckon with the force of Panic Shack.
Today the band are releasing their latest single ‘Jiu Jits You‘. An unapologetic anthem that is as bold as its title suggests. The track tells the tale of a night out, and the idiots encountered along the way. Not shy in speaking their mind, Panic Shack do not hold back on this brilliant spoken-word story and express in no uncertain terms what they would like to do to anyone causing them trouble. In true Panic Shack style it’s all delivered in good humour, proving they are as fun as they are fierce, but you’d still be a fool to think you could mess with them. Especially if they really do know Jiu-Jitsu!
Their ability to blend spoken word stories with rebellious punk music, provides Panic Shack with a unique edge that certainly makes them memorable. Many punk bands can spit out their lyrics with a harshness and throw themselves around a stage, but Panic Shack have a different appeal. Although rebellious and wild, they also bring in a girlish charm and there is a bubble gum pink theme surrounding them. A female-fronted punk rock band with two personalities, that clash gloriously together.
Bringing in an added element of fun with the song’s catchy chorus and shout-out chants, ensures that ‘Jiu Jits You’ really sparks to become a hit that you can sing along to. It is not for the faint hearted, but is fun and fiery, and I love that they make no apologies for that. Guitars blare, and vocals shout out to pack a punch on this screamer of an anthem.
‘Jiu Jits You’ will plant itself firmly in your mind and knock you out by how good it is. It is a very strong follow-up to Panic Shack’s debut single, that shows listeners exactly what they are all about.
You can follow Panic Shack on their socials below:
Rosehip Teahouse are back with a beautiful, woozy track written in isolation by lead vocalist Faye Rogers. Always sharing messages of positivity and kindness, Faye is a movingly brave lyricist who sings openly of our innermost human emotions and fragile experiences. Her latest track is a glowing beacon in dark times. Her vocals soar on the DIY single, and it is a delight to listen to.
A slice of indie goodness, soothing and soft. It highlights a tender, delicate subject and wraps it in sweetness.
Faye of Rosehip Teahouse has a gorgeous gift of comforting listeners through her music. ‘It’s The Wrong Time’ is about those self-destructive thoughts that often invade our minds when we are on our own, and linger. Faye has written and performed the song to raise awareness that we are not alone in encountering these frightening feelings, despite feeling like we might be, and to help those who may be struggling during such a strange period of our lives.
Everything about this song is beautiful; its vocals, its meaning, the subtle backing music. The track is simply made, but truly glows. A slice of indie goodness, soothing and soft. It highlights a tender, delicate subject and wraps it in sweetness. Faye’s voice is set against twinkling sounds from a keyboard, which compliments the serenity of her latest single, and swirls us around in a lullaby haven. Although ‘It’s The Wrong Time’ does have lyrics relating to unnerving thoughts, worry and fear woven within it, the song is subtle and so caringly delivered by Faye, it is a beautiful safety net rather than a trigger. Personally, I believe a lot of listeners will find solitude and peace within this blissfully blended track.
I commend Faye for once again having the boldness and bravery to record such a touching, emotional song and perform it with such wonderful composure.
If you enjoy listening to Rosehip Teahouse’s latest single, please do go and listen to their other singles on Spotify, and tune into any livestream sessions Faye is performing on Instagram. Often, you will be able to hear unreleased music that the band are working on, and I assure you these are equally as stunning. The band hail from Cardiff, and have performed a string of gigs locally and further afield over the years. Next time they are playing near you, it would be wonderful if you would go out and see them live. Their shows are completely mesmerising. I featured them as one on the best, emerging Welsh bands that you need to know about, back when I first started my blog in December 2019. You can read that here if you like.
Follow Rosehip Teahouse on their socials below:
‘It’s The Wrong Time’ is out now exclusively on Bandcamp.
Clwb Fuzz are brooding newcomers to Cardiff’s music scene, and already they are creating a buzz with their fresh, grungy, post-punk sound. The moody tones that surround this band are hot on trend at the moment, and their live performances are preceding them as they are continuing to rise in popularity amongst the live circuit. Channelling the likes of The Breeders for inspiration, Clwb Fuzz provide us with crushing basslines, sniping drums and hushed stirring lyrics from co-vocalist Emily Kocan. Today they are sharing their newly-recorded single ‘No Heaven’ with us, and it is definitely one you will want to listen to.
The track has been a favourite on their live sets already, and it went down a treat during their recent live-streamed gig with Let It Happen via Instagram. The single has been produced by Tom Rees, who has already worked with bands such as Panic Shack, and his own band Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard are taking the music scene by storm. Clwb Fuzz are certainly in good hands here. ‘No Heaven’ has been released through Libertino Records, who already nurture the likes of Adwaith and Los Blancos; they are certainly off to a very promising start.
Clwb Fuzz have nailed getting the balance right between echoing wistful vocals and biting guitars in the verses of ‘No Heaven’, but it is in the build-up that we really feel co-vocalist Emily Kocan’s voice rouse our senses and throttle with its grip.
‘No Heaven’ is a churning, post-punk anthem that will leave you stunned, in the best possible way. Its lyrics are in no way delicate, and remind me of those internal screams that swirl around in our minds when it plays with choking wild thoughts and delusions. These thoughts are captured and bottled by Emily’s initially soft vocal delivery, that could almost trick you into thinking the song is nice on your first listen. When in reality it contains words that snake menacingly around your soul. The moody tension makes it all even more unnerving, but the shudders you experience are glorious. Clwb Fuzz have nailed getting the balance right between echoing wistful vocals and biting guitars in the verses of ‘No Heaven’, but it is in the build-up that we really feel co-vocalist Emily Kocan’s voice rouse our senses and throttle with its grip.
Clwb Fuzz’s menacing moody sound is completely captivating and it is clear to see from this track alone, that they are a wonderfully talented emerging young band. ‘No Heaven’ progresses stunningly well, and I can’t wait to hear more of what they have to offer. I adore how this single, that is at first quiet, wistful and eerie, evolves into a shredding-guitar track with a snarling bite, that will definitely leave a mark.
Clwb Fuzz’s Debut Single ‘No Heaven’ is available NOW on all platforms via Libertino Records
Since becoming more involved in my local music scene than ever before, I have been introduced to an expansive array of musical genres and styles. It has been no secret that I am a lover of indie rock music and that type of sound. However, I am not ignorant to other genres, and given the chance, will always consider and explore new music in whatever format it may be. Whether I like it or not, would be a personal preference. However shaking my music tastes up has always been intriguing to me. Therefore, when I had the chance to attend the Horizons variety gig as a part of IVW. It was a chance for me to see an array of talented musicians and performances, outside of my usual go to indie rock bracket.
One of the bands I was lucky to catch that night, were Codewalkers. A reggae, rap and rock fusion, mashed together to create an immersive, fresh and exciting sound that explodes during their live performances. Codewalkers absolutely blew the room up that night, with their energetic and vibrant set. This band commanded their crowd brilliantly well and got everyone dancing and enjoying themselves in no time, including myself. No matter what style of music you’re in to, I challenge you to watch Codewalkers live, and not end up having a smile on your face.
Codewalkers pick-a-mix style of music is superb to behold, and their personalities shine through beautifully. I always love watching a band with such character and passion performing. Codewalkers bring fun, laughter and an insane amount of energy, which shed a different light on rap, reggae and hip hop for me. They infused the genres with rock and electro-pop, creating a blend of music to suit almost everyone they possibly could.
Their latest single remix is a different take on their 2019 track Roadman. The single remix was born from a collaboration with New York Producer, King Ital Rebel. Originally hailing from Jamaica and working on a number of reggae tracks, Ital was the perfect match for Codewalkers front man Seun Babatola who has roots in Nigeria, their musical styles compliment one another and they had a lot of fun working on this latest single release.
With the remixed version of Roadman, Codewalkers are delving further again into their expansive genre collection, this time taking on the popular dancehall style, with touches of dub thrown in. Whilst I appreciate this style of music is on the rise, it is still very new to me. I can say that the sound is different and certainly interesting, but I won’t embarrass myself by attempting be the expert on it.
I’ll let you discover Codewalkers energetic sound on their latest single for yourself, if you like it, please let me and them know! The original Roadman track is definitely worth a listen too, personally I prefer this track as I’m not a huge fan of dance music. However, I can say with certain assurance that Codewalkers are definitely something special to behold live. If you get the chance, definitely go and check them out.
Codewalkers Remix of Roadman feat. King Ital Rebel is available for you to steam on all platforms NOW!
Panic Shack absolutely rocked Clwb Ifor Bach with an immense performance.
On what was possibly the most chaotic night of weather this year, Clwb Ifor Bach was gearing up for its most chaotic gig. Smashing into the music scene last year, PanicShack have quickly made a name for themselves and are storming Cardiff with their live music. Following the recent release of their debut single ‘Who’s Got My Lighter?’ next up for Panic Shack was their very first headline show, and to say I was excited would be a major understatement. Battling through the rain, I made my way to Clwb Ifor Bach, fuelled by the swirling storm and adrenaline. For this sold out gig, we were all going to be packed into the downstairs room of Clwb, which I knew would provide such an intimate gig experience. Perfect for Panic Shack.
I walked in just as first support The Mudd Club were starting their set. A punk-rock wonder to behold, lead singer Sadie was a gothic dream with fired up vocals that charged their music. I was really impressed by their sound, and even more so when I spotted their drummer. For his age this young man is insanely talented, and insanely cute too. I would describe The Mudd Club as a blend between an early Siouxsie and The Banshees meets Joan Jett. Listen to them live, and I’m sure you will see what I mean. The crowd quickly gathered as their music filled the downstairs room of Clwb, and already I could see that people were dancing and enjoying the evening. The Mudd Club were a fantastic first support, who ramped up the night with their punk-rock energy. Little did I know, they are actually siblings, which makes this band even more heartfelt and special in my opinion.
Next up, were Grandma’s House. A band that completely blew me away. I didn’t expect the sound I heard from them at all, but it was such an intensely riveting surprise. Lead Singer Yas posseses a deep coarse grit within her vocals, that tears apart your senses and enthrals you in their music. This contrasts beautifully with the vocals of drummer Poppy, adding a slight sweetness to this heavy punk infusion. The trio blend together with shredding guitar riffs and drums to provide a truly unique sound, that is unlike anything I have ever heard before. For this alone, I would say they are worth seeing live as they really will scorch themselves into your brain and leave you wanting to know more about them. Their appearance did not match their sound at all, so in this case I would say never to judge a book by its cover is certainly a statement to uphold. It was their first live performance in Cardiff last night, and the trio hail from Bristol, but hopefully they will be back on Welsh soil very soon.
The atmosphere in Clwb was electric at this point. The downstairs room was packed from wall to wall, and there was so much laughter and energy present. Whilst waiting for Panic Shack to perform I caught up with Minty from Minty’s Gig Guide, and lovely readers of my blog Sarah and Louise who came over to say hello and watch the gig with me, which was so incredibly kind and sweet. I know I say it a lot, but honestly it really does mean the absolute world to me that you are taking the time to read my writing. I love getting to meet you when I’m at gigs, so please if you see me out and about, don’t be afraid to cover over and say hello.
It wasn’t long before our headliners Panic Shack took to the stage. At this point, the crowd went wild. It was clear that there was such an overwhelming amount of love for them squeezed into that room, and they are so deserving of it. Panic Shack’s fantastically fun, tongue in cheek lyrics and catchy music brings so much happiness and excitement to wherever they perform, it really is uplifting to witness. The first time I saw them when they supported Amyl and The Sniffers in November, they brought the night alive for the crowd and me, with an exhilarating burst of energy from their wonderful persona. With an amazing atmosphere from the start of their headline set, it was no surprise that the crowd swirled and drank in the madness from the get-go. It wasn’t long before I spotted the first crowd surfer, and with craziness and glee we all danced and sang.
Panic Shack’s music is energetic-punk, consisting of humorous spoken dialogue wrapped within their songs. You feel as though you’re in that dodgy party, drinking that cheap Lambrini right there with them, as they slur and chant their chaotically fun stories back to us all. Each band member in their own rights is such an essential part of this band, that I cannot imagine Panic Shack ever existing without any one of them. They are not only friends, but give out vibes of a family. With their inseparable bond and onstage presence that is so infectious within the crowd, you feel as though you’re a part of Panic Shack too.
A fabulously fun band, that take the seriousness out of the Punk genre, by injecting vibrance and colour. With their quirky style and welcoming approach, they’re a band you can’t help but want to be friends with. Panic Shack treated us to songs such as Jujitsu Bitch, The Ick and a song all about a Tesco Meal Deal, which made everyone laugh. Lead singer Sarah reckons you can know a lot about a person by their meal deal choices, and being honest it’s probably true. The band involved the crowd by asking what’s your favourite sandwich, side and drink. For anyone curious, I’m a chicken and sweetcorn kind of girl. Needless to say though, it’s these fantastic silly little touches that make Panic Shack so brilliant and special. So many bands are agonisingly serious, but Panic Shack can laugh at themselves and have fun. Which believe it or not is a rare quality. In my eyes, and many others, this makes a Panic Shack gig an instant hit with any crowd.
To close their show, Panic Shack absolutely rocked Clwb Ifor Bach with an immense performance of their debut single, ‘Who’s Got My Lighter’. This song has always been a crowd-favourite at a Panic Shack gig, but this time there was an insane amount of energy from both the band and their audience. Honestly the place exploded. I can’t even describe how amazing it was. I could feel the floor moving beneath my feet, as the crowd went mental for this screamer of a song. Panic Shack gave it their all, blaring vocals into the crowd and playing their instruments wildly. The room swallowed the song up and the band and the crowd were at one. It was magical to be a part of.
There was no shadow of a doubt that an encore would be demanded, and our pleas were answered with a cover of a Jaxx song. As an added bonus we also had a guest drummer for this one, as Tom from Buzzard Buzzard Buzzardburst on to the stage out of nowhere, after Panic Shack asked if there were any drummers wanting to play. For one, I didn’t know he could play drums, and two he’s a very good drummer also. Seeing his face beam across the stage made me so happy, as you know I adore Buzzard’s music so this was such a nice surprise. A Panic Shack and Buzzard combination was truly dreamy.
The set came to an end, and I can honestly say no one wanted it to end, as hardly a soul left the room once the gig finished. Panic Shack had absolutely smashed their headline gig, and it was so lovely to have been there and seen it for myself. I’m sure this will be a gig in a few years time, that I look back on and think ‘Wow, I can’t believe I was lucky enough to see their first headline gig, look at them now.’ I am certain that Panic Shack are going to completely dominate live music, as they are already in my eyes. If you are yet to see Panic Shack live, you can catch them along with Buzzard at G39 in Cardiff for The Rat Trap closing party on 28th March, shortly after this they are also supporting fellow-punks Talk Show in venues across Wales. I will link the tour posters and tickets below for you if you want to grab them whilst you can. I just wanted to say a special thank you to the lovely Emily from Panic Shack who went out of her way to say hello and give me a hug last night. Panic Shack were the band that first inspired me to write on my very first blog post, and they have been so incredibly supportive since. It was very special for me to see them performing their first headliner last night, like I said, they really are not only wonderfully talented but are so friendly and such a lovely band too. Congratulations on a truly special gig, Panic Shack.
Usually on my blog, you will see me reviewing gigs from emerging bands in smaller venues. Here is my first take on an arena gig review, and what other band to break that in, than The 1975.
The 1975, led by frontman Matty Healy, are passionate about not only music and their fans, but about the world we live in, and a multitude of related important topics. A band that voice their concerns via their music and use their platform to harness change for the better. Their headline set at Reading last year allowed them to express great concern over global warming, in collaboration with young climate change activist Greta Thunberg. The 1975 are a band, but they’re a band that care, as well as enjoying their rock and roll lifestyle too of course.
I have seen The 1975 before in Cardiff, however on that occasion I was stood so far at the back of the room I couldn’t see a thing that was happening on stage. This time around, I was determined to be closer to the front. Arriving at the Motorpoint Arena, I made my way to the side of the stage. Thankfully, to my relief my view was incredible. I couldn’t believe my luck.
The atmosphere whilst waiting for the band to come on was electric. The 1975 have a dedicated fan base, who love their music and them wholeheartedly. There was such giddy excitement filling the room. When lights out came, the darkness ensued a wave of screaming.
The 1975 stormed on to the stage, with a blaring opening of their latest debut single People. The heaviest and fastest paced of their offerings to date, it charged the crowd ready for the rest of the set. With the band on stage, the arena was more alive than ever, it was busy but the atmosphere never faltered.
Matty introduced himself and the band to us before delving into the second song, one of their very first hits, Sex. A classic, that will always be loved by fans. I absolutely adore hearing this song live, as it’s one where not a soul in the room mistakes the lyrics, everyone sings back to the band in harmony and it really brings home why we all love The 1975 so much. Their controversial lyrics and catchy melodies make for fantastic music.
The set continued as Matty danced his way through song after song. The 1975 have a way of producing singles that are instant hits, and this is apparent when you watch them performing live. Popular songs such as Chocolate, Give Yourself A Try, and Somebody Else made everyone dance and sing along with him. It was overwhelming to see just how many singles The 1975 have that are so popular and loved by myself and fellow fans, spanning across all three of their existing albums. Newest singles from their upcoming fourth album, including Me and You Together Song and Birthday Party also went down immensely well with the crowd.
As a treat, Matty and The 1975 also decided to play some of their older songs, such as Undo and Me. Some of these, people clearly never expected to hear live, as cheers reverberated around the room at the announcement they would be played. Matty himself admitted he wasn’t sure how performing them live was going to go. There was no mistaking though, that their older songs proved to be as loved now as they were back then.
On the other end of the spectrum, The 1975 also played us unreleased songs from their upcoming album Notes on a Conditional Form, which is due in April. One song which I believe is called Guys, included a gorgeous montage video played across the screens behind the band. It featured their own recorded clips of them throughout their life as a band. We saw a very young Matty, George, Ross and Adam through their own eyes. It was such a lovely song, with touching lyrics, that really resonated through the crowd.
As well as performing their songs on stage, there was a moment where Matty asked for complete silence from the audience. We were played their spoken track recording, entitled The 1975, which features climate change activist Greta Thunberg, whom I mentioned previously. The track expresses deep concerns over climate change, and played out to the audience, stressed how we can all make a difference and help stop global warming. In an arena environment which is usually chaotic and loud, it was emotional to see everyone completely silent and respectful of what was being shown to them. The recording being played during the gig expressed to me that The 1975 care enough to voice their concerns clearly. The issue was not woven into lyrics and played via a song during the set. Instead the band chose to set aside a portion of their performing time, to highlight extreme worries and fears, which are fundamentally important. The 1975 have a young following, and their urge for us to help in any way we can, was clearly manifested. Everyone listened.
After the spoken segment finished, the set continued with The 1975s rebellious track Love It If We Made It, which tied in brilliantly. The track is an anthem of non-conformance to society as we know it. The band came back with a fresh energy, and threw everyone into the moment and into the music. The 1975 really had made an incredible statement. Their performances were flawless, with Matty’s vocals proving to be as good if not better than the album standard. Regardless of them having toured relentlessly. Before Cardiff they had a run of two nights in London, Matty did admit the set list for Cardiff had to change slightly due to tiredness, but the band never wanted to let any fans down, and still delivered a beautiful show.
Asides from the music, The 1975 sent across a clear message regarding climate change, and spoke to their fans in a way that was different to any band I had seen before. The gig was moving and emotional, and it is undeniable that there is a huge amount of passion and genuine care driving this band forward. For every ticket sold on their tour, The 1975 have pledged that a tree would be planted for each one. Many criticise this band for their music and for mistakes they may have made in the past, but asides from all of that, for now and for the foreseeable future they are trying to make a difference to this world. For that alone they deserve a huge amount of respect and recognition.
The 1975 brought music and heart to Cardiff last night. Their performance was sublime, the stage aesthetics and lighting were as gorgeous as ever. Their love for performing and for their fans shone effortlessly. I absolutely loved seeing them live again. I heard songs I adore, sang, danced and had a brilliant time. A few of my favourite tracks even found their way onto the setlist, such as Robbers and I Always Wanna Die.
I also listened, took in a very important message and reflected as the night went on. Music is a message, and it is wonderful to see bands such as The 1975 using their platform for positive change. Music and political messages have gone hand in hand for decades, but in this day and age, The 1975 are really giving us something to wake up and think about.
Last night saw Clwb Ifor Bach become home to a wonderful music event, hosted by Horizons Cymru. Showcasing some incredibly unique and diverse musicians and bands, spanning across all genres. There really was something for everyone. Acts including Sonny Winnebago, Panic Shack, Lucas J Rowe, HANA2K, Codewalkers, Esther, Darren Eedens and Gruff Rhys all took to the stage to perform, for the gig celebrating Independent Venue Week 2020.
Each act had a short-burst set of half an hour, which was just enough time for them to give us a flavour of what they were all about. The night began with Sonny Winnebago and Panic Shack, who I heard performed amazingly well. I was gutted to have missed their sets at the start of the night, but time got the better of me on this occasion. Arriving a little later than I’d planned, I just managed to get through the door as Lucas J Rowe began his set in the downstairs room of Clwb. With a sound similar to what I would describe as Bruno Mars meets the Weeknd, Lucas brought hip-hop pop to Cardiff, and it was definitely something different for me to see on the stage, compared to my usual indie-rock gigs. I enjoyed his set, it was refreshing to explore a different genre to what I’m used to seeing live, and I loved how much he interacted with the crowd and brought everyone’s attention to the stage.
This gig had an upstairs, downstairs approach, which was entertaining, as after each set finished, a hoard of us would all dash between the top and bottom rooms of Clwb. One band would play downstairs, and as soon as they’d finished the next would be upstairs, so it added an unexpected bit of comedy to the night, with everyone running back and forth. This was highlighted in the moments where each band was introduced before their set, with Minty from Minty’s Gig Guide hosting the stages. I’ve always been a fan of Minty. He is fantastic at promoting and supporting Cardiff’s local music scene, as well as of course always being on the pulse with sharing upcoming gigs and events to look out for. Minty was a great on-stage host, and made us all laugh on multiple occasions, it was fab to see him taking on the role so confidently and boldly.
The next act on upstairs was HANA2K, so we all dashed up to watch her perform. Hana was introduced by Minty, and the rising pop-icon took to the stage. Hana has had a marvellously successful few years, most recently even performing at the Welsh Music Awards, which is a fantastic achievement. This was my first time seeing Hana and her music did not disappoint. I was expecting a pop-princess, but Hana is so much more than this. Incorporating meaningful emotive, heartfelt lyrics, all whilst remaining sassy and confident, providing an upbeat, bubbly performance. Hana reminded me of Zara Larsson, with the lyrical power of Maisie Peters, a great combination. Hana is one to watch, and I have a feeling this is only the beginning for her.
As soon as Hana’s set finished, we were back downstairs ready for the next band that followed. Stand out surprise favourites of the night for me, Codewalkers blew us away with their energy-packed set. Their music is a swirling mix of genres, ranging from rap, to rock, with a touch of reggae thrown in. They effortlessly switched genres even within each individual song. It really was great to see, and I couldn’t help but have a smile on my face throughout their performance. It was different, unique and really brought life to the downstairs room of Clwb, with seemingly everyone in the room getting involved and engaging with them. The band were clearly enjoying being there, and all mashed brilliantly together when performing. Codewalkers were smiling and laughing throughout their set, a confidence which exuded marvellously in the fun but fantastic show that they gifted us with.
By this point in the night, Clwb was getting really busy, and there was a great atmosphere building. It was lovely to see that so many people had turned up to support these bands, and with every person walking through the door making a contribution to Children in Need, it was all even more worthwhile for such a fantastic cause. The gig was obtaining coverage on BBC Radio 6’s show, as well as being recorded by Horizons. It was a high-impact event and a great celebration of Independent Venue Week. In the slight breaks in between sets, it was apparent to see that it was also a chance for people to network and get to know each other better. Everyone was chatting and laughing, and it was clear that something rather special was taking place. I managed to chat with several people I knew myself, this included meeting the very talented Welsh Music Podcast boys for the first time, who were so lovely and chatty! Saying hello and meeting people at gigs is always a favourite part for me.
Following Codewalkers set was the sublimely mesmerising Esther. Channelling an angelic, bohemian style, Esther danced and sang her way through her set. Carrying a softer tone to her vocals, when compared to the previous acts that had performed, I did feel that it was a shame not all of the crowd acknowledged this by giving her set the respect it deserved. Esther battled admirably against the noise and chatter that was rising due to the venue getting busier. However, I will admit I did struggle to hear some of her lyrics which was a shame, as the songs I was able to hear were beautifully delivered. I’d absolutely love to see Esther perform again in a quieter room, with an audience dedicated to her. Esther possessed a voice that was soothing, yet bold in parts, and I’d love to listen to her more closely.
Next up was Darren Eedens and his band The Slim Pickin’s. Wow, were they a breath of fresh country air. Bringing fantastically fun country music to Wales, Darren Eedens set was absolutely brilliant, and got the room up and dancing. Canadian-born Darren told us how he’d moved to Wales five years ago, and explained how welcoming he’d found all of the local Welsh people. It was a lovely little nod to our Welsh spirit and culture, and in turn he is sharing with us his wickedly quirky, country music, that really sent out such a feel good vibe across the venue. His set was an explosion of fun and friendship, with everyone seeming to enjoy it and get involved! Darren Eedens is definitely someone I’d recommend you to see live if you love a muscian that can have fun, all whilst still being incredibly talented. Darren Eedens and The Slim Pickin’s played an array of instruments from the banjo to the violin, that brought together this sensational country music collective.
Last but not least, the headline act Gruff Rhys embraced the stage. Having achieved success in both his solo career, and through a number of bands, Gruff Rhys is certainly not new to the Welsh music scene. It felt like a real privilege for me to get to see someone who many consider to be a Welsh music legend on stage for the first time. The beginning of his set mainly consisted of his Welsh language songs. Not being a Welsh speaker myself unfortunately, the lyrics were lost on me, but I was appreciative of the music and it was wonderful to see how in awe of him his fans were. His music is certainly something I could enjoy given a few more listens, just as I love other Welsh language music from bands such as Adwaith and Chroma. The second half of the set really picked up though, when Gruff began playing his hits that everyone knew and loved. I could hear the crowd singing and there was an electric atmosphere. The room was absolutely full to the brim and full of life, which wasn’t bad at all for a mid-week gig on a rainy Wednesday night.
All in all, I found this gig a lot of fun. It was so interesting to see such a variety of brilliant musicians, that really gave it their all. The gig brought a strong sense of community spirit to Cardiff’s music scene. Everyone involved rallied together to put on a fantastic show, and had clearly all worked incredibly hard to make this event so successful. They should all be very proud of themselves. The night was in aid of two well deserving causes; for charity, and for promoting Wales’ wonderful musical talent, within Cardiff’s great music scene.
Well Christmas is almost upon us, and the end of the year is in sight. The festive season is often a period of reflection for many of us. For me, this means an opportunity to look back on all of the amazing gigs I’ve had the pleasure of attending in 2019. Live music is a big part of my life. A couple of years ago I made a promise with myself not to miss out on gigs I wanted to go to. I started going to more gigs in local venues, and it has honestly been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I’ve gotten to know so many new bands, and discovered some incredible music, along with meeting the loveliest people.
I thought I’d share with you, 5 of my favourite gigs from the past year.
Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres – Sin City, Swansea, February 2019.
Peter Doherty and The Puta Madres are a fantastically talented band of musicians, that perform blissfully well together. They really are a must-see. Their origins as a band derive from playing together during a string of festivals. At which time they whipped up a frenzy with fresh, exciting music, and firmly squashed rumours that they were merely a side project for Peter Doherty.
In February of this year, I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to see them for myself. In typical fashion, the gig was running late, door staff had informed me. Peter was out walking his dogs along the Swansea coastline at sunset, and who could blame him? It is beautiful. Once we were allowed in, I remember being puzzled for a second, as the band were already on stage. It took a moment for me to realise what was going on, and then I noticed Peter moving amps around and Jack tuning his guitar – it was soundcheck. They’d let us walk in on soundcheck. It was such an amazing experience. You could see the band were enjoying the unexpected early attention. With the gig being in the heart of Swansea, it gave Trampolene front man (AKA Puta Madres guitarist) Jack Jones, the opportunity to play up to a home crowd, reciting one of his most popular poems ‘Pound Land’. Pete also treated us to a few chords from beloved Libertines tunes, that really got the crowd going. There was no doubt in my mind then that this was going to be something extraordinary.
When the band came back on for their main performance, it was wonderful to see how chaotically perfect they were together. Resembling a gypsy punk-band, The Puta Madres are a spectacular sight to behold. As their debut single ‘Who’s Been Having You Over’ blared out to the crowd. Keyboard player Katia was a stunning free-spirit on stage. Drummer Rafa was the best kind of crazy. Needless to say, if you have read my previous posts you will know the adoration I have for guitarist Jack. Violinist Miki was kind and gentle amongst the madness. Bass player Miggles was more sensible on stage, but was wonderfully close to them all. I got the impression The Puta Madres are a band of friends, a band of lovers even. They have an adoring relationship with each other, and this is reflected beautifully in their stage performance.
The band sang and laughed, engaging with the boisterous crowd throughout the night. To hold on to my barrier position was hard, but by God there was no way I was giving that up. They introduced us to new single ‘Paradise is Under Your Nose’ and other soon to be album tracks. As well as performing hits from The Libertines and Babyshambles. As a treat for Jack’s birthday, Pete also gave him a moment on the microphone where he performed a stunning song ‘Lighter than Paper’, that is still yet to be released.
Honestly, I cannot explain to you just how much I enjoyed this gig. It was different, it was wild. I cannot recommend The Puta Madres enough.
This is The Kit – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, August 2019.
This gig was a real standout for me, because believe it or not, before that night I’d never heard a single song of theirs. I went to see This is The Kit with someone who adores them, in Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach, and I decided to treat myself to the rare experience of hearing a band for the first time on stage. No spotify binging desperately trying to learn lyrics, no frantic searches for past set-lists. I just wanted to enjoy seeing them fresh in front of my eyes.
Honestly, the performance was sublime. Kate Stables, singer and founder of the band has an exquisite voice that really shone under the spotlight the night I saw them. Speaking openly, I’d say I was transfixed for most of that evening. Without questioning her vocal talent, she is also a wonderfully gifted songwriter. The lyrics in her songs are beautiful, and work stunningly well when placed against her voice, and the soft soothing playing of her instruments, whether it be the guitar or banjo. I remember being lost in songs such as ‘Bullet Proof’ and ‘Solid Grease’. I was frantically asking the person next to me as soon as they would finish, “What is this song called?” I went into the gig with an open mind, and it was sublimely rewarding. I was met with a beautiful band, in which all members are gloriously talented. Aside from Kate Stables, other band members such as Rozi Plain, are vocally talented in their own rights. Rozi has a growing solo-career ahead of her too, having recently played Cardiff’s Sŵn festival, amongst other locations.
You can clearly see during a This is The Kit gig, how in love with them their fans are. They have a niche cult following, that I’d guess they have acquired from dedicated festival going. This band can silence a room with their purely gorgeous soft songs, and in the next breath make them dance and sing with fan favourites such as ‘Moonshine Freeze’. All of which I had the glory of beholding for the first time. I watched how adored they were by those that knew them, and I too was captivated.
Now, I cannot even begin to tell you how desperate I am to see this band again.
This is The Kit are a gem certainly not to be missed.
The Amazons – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, February 2019.
Before I begin, I just have to say that this gig really was something special. I’d only managed to find out about it a few days before. The Amazons weren’t playing at many venues and had kept their announcements rather low-key. Probably because they were channelling much of their energy into the new album, but being as dedicated to music as they are, of course they wanted to treat us to a ‘little something’ before the release. I remember frantically searching to see if any tickets were still available, and to my relief, thankfully there were. I was so excited. Especially as I knew the venue was smaller, which makes all the difference. Although, of course I do go and see bands in larger venues, I much prefer a smaller gig, as the band are not lost on the stage and lighting. They are there, right in front of you. No huge barrier gap, no security guards in your way. It’s just you and the band. I think that was what I enjoyed most about that night. The atmosphere was just so intimate. To have the honour of seeing a successful band like The Amazons on a stage at my level, not high in the sky. It was fantastic. Honestly, if you go and see any band you love in Clwb, trust me when I say you will not be disappointed, but The Amazons really took the roof off the place!
I remember the night vividly, the room was awash with dedicated fans, all eagerly waiting for the band to take the stage. On a cold February night, the turnout was brilliant, and it was so great to see. It had been a couple of years since the release of their debut self-entitled album, and at this point in time, us fans had only been graced with new album Future Dust’s first single ‘Mother’. With the new album due in May, anticipation lingered strongly amongst the crowd. We were all anxiously waiting, desperate to hear any new material, and of course the classic tunes that we all knew and loved. The Amazon’s certainly obliged our request, by scattering new songs amongst our favourites. Us fans rejoiced. Any Amazon’s gig would be fantastic, but it really felt exclusive to see them playing in the small but mighty venue that is Clwb. We hung off every word that fell from Matthew’s mouth. Lyrics were sang adoringly back to the band, and they revelled in it. The room was alive, Clwb was alive.
Everyone was there for one reason, to witness the sheer amazing power of The Amazons.
They certainly delivered this, and more.
I remember the ending of this gig was phenomenal. Having kept us waiting, craving throughout the entire setlist. We were hit with it. ‘Junkfood Forever’. Mine, and I’m sure many others, favourite Amazons song. It was fantastic. The room completely blew up, and I’d say going to this gig was worth it just for this song if nothing else. That’s how good it was.
The All-Dayer (Headlined by Matt Maltese) – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, November 2019.
This all day gig was a real treat. Starting earlier than usual, it was a jam-packed line up born from a collaboration between Council Records and So Young Magazine. Bands including Rosehip Teahouse, Drug Store Romeos, Talk Show and Happyness took to the stage. Headlining last but not least of course was the king of wounded lovers, Matt Maltese.
The first band I saw that evening, Rosehip Teahouse, are a wonder to behold on stage, their performances are beautiful every time, and this gig was certainly no different. Personally, I find them so endearing as a fresh, new band that I’ve written about them in more depth in my post on 10 Emerging Welsh Bands.
Drug Store Romeos were a new band on me, but their sound was so unique and different to anything I had heard before. To put it simply, they were nothing short of mesmerising. Lead single ‘Now You’re Moving’ was stunning, and Sarah was fascinating to watch perform, with her ability to sing and play piano, all whilst dancing and engaging with the crowd at the same time.
Despite this gig having a lengthy line-up, the intervals between each band were kept short and concise. I think this is what made everything run so smoothly, the gig was constantly moving, and there was never a point at which the evening lost momentum. In the intervals where bands were not on stage, I could see it was a fantastic opportunity for networking. Event organisers and representatives from the magazine and label mingled in with the crowd of fans, and band members who were also watching each others’ set. People were chatting, and getting to know each other. It really seemed as though there was a community spirit here, and that this was something more than a gig. Something rather special, I’d say.
The next band to take the stage were Talk Show. The lights were completely dimmed, and it was at that moment I felt the atmosphere change. I could see lead singer Harrison limbering himself up to take to the microphone, as if preparing for an exorcism. Holy hell did the devil take hold. Trust me when I say, I was blown away. Talk Show switched the night up in seconds, turning it into an eery, energy-filled punk show. Honestly, this band ripped my heart out of chest and stuffed it back in again with their music. Possessing a real “hold on for your life” feeling. They dominated that stage, and their performance. Talk Show hail from South London, and are similar in style to Slaves or Idles, but with more of a frightening twist to their lyrics and sound, that makes them so much better.
I wasn’t sure where the night was going to go after this, as Talk Show were so different to what I was expecting, given the style of previous bands and the subsequent headliner to come, Matt Maltese. I think that was the reason why, unfortunately the next band Happyness didn’t do it for me after that. I can understand how the mood needed to be changed, due to the complete contrast between Talk Show and Matt Maltese, but for me Happyness just didn’t work here. I hate to review anything negatively, and this is not a reflection on them as a band at all, as I could see how their sound was fun, and catchy, but it was just not right for this segment of the line-up I’m afraid. This is just my personal taste though; the crowd seemed to love them.
Last in the line-up was Matt Maltese. I absolutely adore this man and his music. I discovered him following the release of his single ‘Greatest Comedian’. Matt’s album ‘Bad Contestant’, dominated my summer last year and was mostly all I listened to for the remainder of 2018 if I’m being honest. On vinyl, it is an absolute masterpiece. Matt was at the top of my lists for artists I needed to see, so I was beyond delighted when I realised he was coming to headline this all-day gig in Cardiff.
Matt’s music is very close to my heart, so to say I was excited would be a sincere understatement. His music means so much to me, to describe how I felt waiting for him to come on stage, well I’d say I felt emotional more than anything else. I’d played his vinyl over and over, I’d cried, I’d laughed. Matt felt like more of a companion to me than a musician. So, to be faced with the fact that any moment now he was going to be performing the songs I adored so much, merely inches away from me, it was completely overwhelming but utterly blissful. It is an unreal sensation, which I’m sure you’re all familiar with, when you know you’re going to be in the same room with someone whose music honesty means that much to you. It could have accompanied you through the happiest or the saddest times in your life. I think this highlights why I feel so passionately about the live music scene. These artists are there for us when we could be completely alone, and to then be able to see them and treasure their songs and the memories attached to them in our own lives, is stunningly beautiful. This is what musicians need to hold on to and cherish about their fanbases.
Matt’s setlist that night was utterly gorgeous. To be able to watch him play piano and sing, so closely. Honestly it took my breath away. Matt played songs from ‘Bad Contestant’ including the incredible ‘Like a Fish’, and mixed in songs from his newly released album ‘Krystal’, which is of course a triumph, and I’d argue more emotional in its content than its predecessor ‘Bad Contestant’. My favourite from this album is the track bearing the same name, which I was also lucky enough to hear him perform live that night.
Matt even made time to run his own merch table, and greet fans after the show. Of course I went bounding over, and introduced myself. How could I not? I really felt as though Matt went the extra mile in this gig, not only with his stunning performance, but all by how approachable and personable he was. It really made me smile, ironic really, with lyrics so heart-breaking.
Massive Wagons – Patti Pavilion, Swansea, October 2019
I just had to choose this gig as one of my favourites! I love a good rock show, and Massive Wagons made sure I experienced one in all its glory. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this band a couple of times now. The first gig was on a whim, as we had booked tickets for a Saturday night out. A few drinks and some good music. The added bonus was that I got to see this amazing band! Their live music was great, and during the days that followed I listened to their albums and I was hooked. I had to wait a few months to be able to stream the other songs I’d heard live, as they were touring prior to the release of their next album ‘Full Nelson’. It was this album that really cemented my love for Massive Wagons.
When their next headline show was announced a year later, there was no way I was going to miss out! Although I’ll admit I did have some difficulty getting hold of my tickets due to a local disgruntled ticket supplier, but I was determined not to let anything dampen my spirits! Massive Wagons were coming back to Swansea, and I was so looking forward to it. The Lancashire rockers put on an incredible show, as I knew all too well from when I last saw them. This time though, I loved the songs, I knew the lyrics and I couldn’t wait to be down at the front.
Billed as an evening of rock and roll, there were several bands performing before Massive Wagons took to the stage. Ryders Creed, Scarlet Rebels and Ravenbreed got the crowd ready for what was to come. The room wasn’t packed, but it was a Sunday night and to be honest we were having a such a good time. Who needs a boring Sunday in, when you can go to a rock show?
Massive Wagons stormed the stage. Baz’s hat introduced them, by making a perfect landing on the coat stand, which made all of us laugh and cheer even louder! One thing I will say that makes Massive Wagons so great, is how fun they are as a band! So many rock bands take themselves way too seriously, but Massive Wagons are a real down to earth and friendly band. You can see within seconds of them being on stage, that they love being there and they work extremely hard for it too. Baz, lead singer of the band, recently wrote a very touching piece on their Facebook page, explaining just how much dedication it has taken to keep the band going. For me this makes going to their gigs a million times more worthwhile. This band absolutely love what they do, and for the price of a ticket to go and see not only a rock band that care, but a rock band that put on one of the best performances I’ve seen. It is worth so much more, and it keeps the dream alive for not only them but us as fans too.
Massive Wagons have a mixed following of all ages, and this could be seen that night in Swansea. They’re the type of band that I love, and my whole family could love. Their reach spreads far and wide, and this is fantastic. Their music consists of classic rock and roll, punchy guitar solos, and one hell of a voice. Massive Wagons are brilliant, and really make you want to get up and get involved. If you want a taste of how great they are, just listen to ‘Hate Me’ or ‘Ratio’, and then come back and tell me what you think. I promise, you won’t be disappointed. Better yet, if they’re coming to your hometown any time soon – go. You’ll see one of the best rock shows around.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, I hope you enjoyed hearing all about my favourite gigs of this past year. Of course there were so many more I enjoyed, and I wish I could write about them all. If you would specifically like to hear about any other gig that I went to, please feel free to get in touch! Alternatively, if there were any gigs you loved in 2019, please share them with me! It would be lovely to hear from you!
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, and I wish you lots of love, music and happiness in 2020.