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!
Circling is beautiful, raw and emotional, and what pours from it is nothing shy of exquisite.
With their album ‘Every Bad’ due to be released next week, Porridge Radio have shared another new single with us today, as anticipation builds. I have been eagerly awaiting their album release for a long time, purely for one song alone. That song was shared with us today and with it, I was awash with a tidal wave of emotion. I completely adore ‘Circling’, having heard it live for the first time last year. I became obsessed from the very start. Having held my live recording dearly for such a while, to finally hear the studio recorded version was completely mesmerising.
I look at this song through two channels. When I’m struggling I can see it through the eyes of someone with thoughts swirling and rattling through their brain, desperately reassuring themselves that everything is ok. Nothing is wrong, everything is fine. In repeating waves with increasing intensity, swaying with desperation in the longing for everything to actually be ok. When I am happy and content, this song is safety, a comfort blanket and homely, and I love it dearly. The song reminds me of summer and happiness, of being wrapped in the arms of the person I adore. When I listen to the lyrics I am content and safe, and nothing is wrong and everything is fine.
Isn’t it peculiar, how we can perceive songs differently depending on our state of minds, our moods and our feelings. This is honestly what I believe Dana and Porridge Radio have tuned into. Their songs are deep swells of heart wrenching emotion, happy and sad, in equal measures. The songs are an ode to and an advocate of mental health, and are deeply rooted in both emotional agony and emotional wellbeing. Porridge Radio sing in lulls suffering and recovery, and it is honestly glorious to behold. Lyrically and vocally the band are absolutely blooming in the most beautiful way. Each time I’ve seen them they just get better and better. Dana’s voice is unbelievable, a beacon of passion and power, that delivers her message in the most sublimely gorgeous setting.
Through Instagram, Dana describes the song, ahead of their upcoming album release. ‘A lot of the songs on Every Bad are centred around the sea, and Circling was one of the last songs focused on water that I wrote about for the album. I was thinking on the idea of willing things to be ok by repeating that they are, because I need them to be. I tried to follow the flow of waves, and how they keep coming in endlessly, washing everything away, without judgement, and then bringing it back again.’
Usually in my single reviews I will tear a song apart, dissecting it piece by piece, and share with you its sound, style and everything in between, but honestly I don’t feel that is needed here. Circling is beautiful, raw and emotional, and what pours from it is nothing shy of exquisite. Both your heart and your mind are invoked and awakened, as the tide rushes in.
We all need to go inside the sea sometimes.
If you doubt me, listen for yourself.
Porridge Radio’s album‘Every Bad’ is due to be released on 13th March.
See Porridge Radio perform for yourself at one of the following dates (or all of them):
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.
Following the release of their debut album in November of last year, TJ Roberts are a band on the rise. Breaking out of Cardiff’s thriving music scene, TJ Roberts mash up indie and rock to create their own truly unique sound. Championed by Libertino Records who also support award-winning Welsh band, Adwaith. TJ Roberts are certainly in safe hands, and I have no doubt that their growth as a band will be sublime.
‘True Secret to a Happy Life’ is the first of many new songs that we can expect to be released by TJ Roberts this year. It is also anticipated that these songs will culminate to form an upcoming second album release for 2020, which is seriously impressive considering their first album came out just 3 months ago. This makes TJ Roberts a hot new band that you’ll certainly want to keep your eyes on over the next few months.
Their latest single begins with a steady guitar riff that captures your attention from the offset. We are then met with a head-banging indie song that progresses in really drawing you in. You’ll be singing it in the shower, humming it at your desk in work and blaring it out of your car windows in no time, I assure you. The verses are charged with varying vocal and instrument tempos that really make your ears prick up, and clearly emphasise the capabilities of lead singer Tom, as well as the rest of the band. With a catchy chorus to follow, it’s honestly difficult not to like this song.
Lyrically, I got the initial impression that the songs delves into relationship issues and how they can affect an individual over a long period of time, however as the song develops I believe the lyrics delve into the bigger picture, as though these problems are a reflection on our current society at large.
The single is a brilliant new offering from TJ Roberts, after what has been a period of change and transition for them. ‘True Secrets to a Happy Life’ has given us a wonderful flavour of what we can expect from their album next release.
I have yet to see TJ Roberts perform live, but I’m sure that if not already, then following this new single they are not only on mine, but also many others’ radar.
‘True Secret to a Happy Life’ is available to stream on all platforms NOW
You can catch TJ Roberts performing live on the following dates:
This album was released on Christmas Day. Before this, it was kept a total secret. There were none of the usual pre-album single releases, or marketing strategies to prepare us. We weren’t aware this was happening, until the tweet came through on the bands page and the album was available to stream online. What a present it was.
The surprise element sent fans into melt down, and there was no denying the buzz around this album. So many questions teemed about it from not only fans, but names in the music industry too I’m sure. The release was a completely wonderful surprise. As it was Christmas Day though, I struggled to find a moments peace to listen to the album in full. On Boxing Day morning, I seized my chance. I listened to the album in its entirety, twice for good measure. My first impression? Honestly, it’s just stunning.
This new album has stripped Blaenavon back to their roots entirely. Recorded mainly just using a piano and an acoustic guitar. It consists of pure, raw, emotional lyrics that encapsulate singer Ben’s struggle with anxiety and depression. The album speaks of pain and hurt, but also of recovery and redemption. It’s a stunning vocal outlet of emotion and feeling, gift wrapped in gorgeous piano playing and acoustic melodies.
Stand out favourites for me are ‘Michael’, ‘slow down, cyclist’ and ‘write it down’. I just love how real and simply recorded these songs are. I don’t think I can gush about this album more. The way they’ve left dialogue in from where they’ve conducted the recording session, the emotional conversations, the odd bursts of laughter. It doesn’t appear to me that there were any forced retakes, any attempts at utter perfection. This album is perfect simply as it is. Blaenavon. Ben. Honestly this album is a masterpiece, and you should be very, very proud of it.
The songs are extremely touching and truthful. Whether there is intense meaning behind them, or whether they are simply the produce of a recording whim on the spot. The fact they leave the listener guessing and to draw on their own conclusions is magical in itself. For me, this album isn’t one that necessary needs to be understood and dissected lyric for lyric, as I have seen people calling for. It just needs to be listened to. It’s beautiful.
“What happens when you listen to one version of something so much that when it’s properly recorded it’s difficult to accept.”
For me personally, it would be a crime not to start this post with my absolute favourites. It is no secret to anyone who knows me, that I am a huge fan of Trampolene. Not only because they’re the most friendly and down to earth band, you will have the pleasure of getting to know, but because their music is out of this world. Upon initially discovering Trampolene, I was hit in the face by the sheer power of their lead single ‘You Do Nothing For Me’ but after listening to them more, I discovered an incredibly soft side to the vocals of lead singer Jack Jones, and this is what I fell in love with. How someone can sing with such raw spirit and passion on guitar shredding songs such as ‘Alcohol Kiss’, and then utterly tame their voice to a beautiful soothing lullaby on other songs like ‘She Sits With Me’, it just melted my heart. I’ve seen this band perform live several times now, and every time I see them they just get better. Despite the recently sad departure of drummer Rob Steele; Trampolene continue on their journey with Jack Jones, Wayne Thomas and new drummer Jay Bone. You can catch them at select locations on the upcoming Libertine’s Tour.
Buzzard, Buzzard, Buzzard
I will admit I was a bit late catching on to the brilliance of Buzzard, but by god am I glad I’ve joined that party. I’d heard of Buzzard’s chaotic, fantastically flamboyant live performances, but I’d yet to see them for myself. With my Swansea Fringe ticket in hand, I was eagerly excited to see Buzzard, and they didn’t let my high expectations down. Lead singer, Tom Rees, is a law all to himself, with not only a fantastic voice in the bag, but a wonderfully fun on stage presence that I dare anyone not to be captured by. Buzzard are brilliant to watch live, and since the show, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned up the volume of ‘Love Forever’ and ‘Double Denim Hop’ in my car. If you want a proper feel good, fun Welsh band, with a modern twist on a classic rock n’ roll sound, then look no further than Buzzard, Buzzard, Buzzard.
I’m going to mention one song, and one song only here, ‘Girls Talk’. It is phenomenal. Hailing from the welsh valley’s, CHROMA really pack a punch with their sound and unmistakable Welsh vocals. I absolutely love it when a Welsh band really let their accents come through thick in their vocals, and it’s truly glorious from CHROMA. Beautiful and powerfully female-fronted, CHROMA are fantastic to watch live. Katie Hall is a wonder on stage, and really gives you that girl-power vibe, keep doing what you’re doing girl! Also, if anyone is a Welsh speaker, this band are even better for you, as they have a lot of songs in the Welsh language. Even if you’re not a Welsh speaker, I still urge you to give them a listen anyway, as Katie’s vocals are mind-blowing, as are the guitar, bass and drums.
With a new album looming on the horizon, and a number of live shows already under their belt, Rosehip Teahouse are definitely ones to watch. I’ve been lucky enough to see them play twice in a short space of time now, and I just get a warm, fuzzy feeling from watching their live performances. As well as their individual crafted sound, their material is heartfelt but also has the boldness to touch upon delicate subjects. Music is a message, and to see a songwriter and band having the courage to show such expression and heart in their lyrics is truly admirable and fundamentally important. The words are hard-hitting, but are sung so softly, that they caress and linger on your skin. Every single time this band finish their set, I’ve been left wanting more. I really can’t wait to see the journey Rosehip Teahouse are going to take. Having the pleasure of also having watched their sound checks, and seeing them after gigs, I love that you can see how close they are. There’s a real homely feeling to their sound and character, and I just love it. I’m excited to see what the future brings for this band.
Those Damn Crows
Your local Welsh rock band, Those Damn Crows. This band has skyrocketed over the last few years, winning multiple awards and taking their music across the length and breadth of the UK. I really feel proud of what these guys have achieved, and how far they are going to go. I’m a sucker for a good, classic rock band. Give me a guitar, give me drums and give me a powerhouse of a lead singer and I’m there. The Crows really bring it. I saw them support the incredible ‘Massive Wagons’ over a year ago now, and they almost stole the show. A Welsh band performing in the heart of Swansea, with a dedicated following in tow, trust me when I say you could feel the crowd’s excitement swallow the room. Onstage, The Crows will bring you a loud, energy-packed rock show. If you ever go and see them play live, get down the front, take your earplugs out and get into the atmosphere for this band. They will blow you away. Songs such as ‘Rock n roll ain’t dead!’ (get it) and ‘Blink of an eye’ are stand-out favourites for me.
I know Dan Bettridge is a solo artist, but his backing band are lovely, so they’re being included in my blog post. I’m sorry if this is technically against the rules.
Where do I start with this? Well I think it’s fair to say that Dan Bettridge has an old-romantic soul, which is reflected stunningly in his music. He’s a singer that could soothe you to sleep. Now I’m not saying his music is boring by any means, instead think of it as a warm hug. I adore acoustics, and Dan really has that folky, acoustic guitar sound that I love. Think of a Welsh Paolo Nutini, but with more of an American-folk style. I can just imagine sitting in the New Orleans sunset, on a big ol’ American porch, listening to Dan’s music. His voice is so unique and comforting, everyone should have his songs on repeat. If you’re feeling a little stressed right now, and need something to listen to, put on ‘Rosie Darling’ and I promise you’ll feel a bit better. His music is soothing and his live shows are mesmerizing. Last time I saw him in the cosy downstairs room of Clwb, I actually found myself having that lost in the moment feeling. I was just consumed by the beauty of his voice. As much I love a loud, rowdy gig; I truly adore those moments where you can be so still, just listening, and you feel yourself connect with the stage. To be in a gig where you can’t hear a pin drop but the sound of the band, where the crowd are stood in awe of the beauty of who they are listening to. Have I got your attention yet? Trust me on this.
The People The Poet
With a jagged edge to the voice of lead singer Leon Stanford, it is hard not to enjoy the sound of The People The Poet. A homegrown band, who are as friendly as they are musically talented, have an infectious on stage spell that they cast over anyone who sees them. You can’t help but be charmed by them and their music. They’re the loveliest bunch of boys you’ll meet and are so deserving of all the success they are set to achieve, after putting in years of hard work playing across Wales in every small venue you could imagine. They have a classic old rock n’ roll style, accompanied by Leon’s whiskey-smoke vocals and flawless playing. They’re different to your usual modern rock band, and this works tremendously in their favour. So many rock bands are just carbon copies of each other, but The People The Poet are a refreshing change. I wish them all of the success for their future, and I’ll definitely be keeping a keen eye on them.
Having just released their first English language single ‘Wine Time’; primarily Welsh vocalized band Adwaith have seriously impressed me with this swirl of indie goodness. Following in the footsteps of Welsh heavyweights Boy Azooga, Adwaith recently walked away with the Welsh Music Prize. Unlike all of the other bands I’ve written about in this list, I haven’t yet had the pleasure of seeing Adwaith perform live. Therefore taking this into account coupled with the ever-frustrating fact that I can’t speak my homeland’s language. I’m ashamed to say that, rather narrow-mindedly, prior to the release of ‘Wine Time’, Adwaith’s music was a lost cause on me. As this band had been making a quiet buzz in my peripheral vision and were certainly on my radar of music events, I really kick myself for not seeing them before now. Their sound is very up my street, and I have definitely learned my lesson that language is certainly no barrier in your own unique music tastes. Don’t be a fool like I was, give Adwaith a chance, I promise you won’t regret it.
I’ve only discovered Apostle recently, after seeing them support Dan Bettridge, and honestly I thought they were so great, I needed to write about them! The Cardiff based band are different to the usual genre of music I listen to, with more of a pop sound, but honestly this is refreshing and their songs are incredibly catchy. Apostle were a pleasant surprise for me on stage, having a totally different sound to what I expected. They’re a band I’ll definitely look out for if they are embarking on a solo gig or supporting in the future, just because their music is so upbeat and exciting. The band work wonderfully well together when performing, and I love how they mix the vocals between lead singer Sion Russell Jones and other members of the three-piece band, it adds a lot more variety into their performance and helps you to focus on all of the band rather than just the lead. They really left a smile on my face after their set, and isn’t that what live music is all about? If you want to feel happy too, and have a little dance in your room, listen to ‘Lavender’.
Anyone who has read my first blog post should have had a pretty good idea that I’d be including Panic Shack in this list. Fresh off the back of supporting Amyl and The Sniffers in Cardiff, Panic Shack certainly gained a room full of fans that evening; myself for one. Their set was fantastic, and I loved how brilliantly they moulded together as a band. Their 80s style, combined with raw powerful vocals and intensely played instruments make for incredible music, and really brought this band to the forefront of ‘wow’ for me. You can read my full review of their set at Clwb here. For now, just let me say, that this band are most definitely ones to watch. I’m so glad I discovered them when I did, and I can’t wait to see how far they go.
I hope you enjoyed reading this, and that you find the time to listen to a few if not all of these incredible bands. However, if there is a Welsh band you could scream at me for not having included here, please get in touch. I always LOVE listening to new music, and discovering bands to worship along with my favourites above. Please don’t be a stranger.