Sunday 31 May 2015

May (No Longer Alternative) Round-Up

Apparently I usually write introductions to these things. Not this month, humans, not this month. For May I have also gotten rid of the five favourite tracks from this month. But I have got that cool new banner. Also, watch out for a thing I may be doing about things I hate - don't hold your breath though.

May Playlists: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer

I've already written an insane amount about The Great Escape so I'll probably leave it at that. It's even more nuts considering I didn't go with a press pass or anything. I think next year I'll send them links to all of this year's stuff and not back down until a press pass is granted. Below are all of the things I wrote:
The Great Escape 2015 Clashless Guide - Part One: Thursday
The Great Escape 2015 Clashless Guide - Part Two: Friday
The Great Escape 2015 Clashless Guide - Part Three: Saturday
Seven Artists Who Played The Great Escape 2015 Who You Need To See ASAP

The second festival of the month seemed to come around much thicker and fast than I'd anticipated. I was so wrapped up in TGE that I didn't have time to prep for Slam Dunk at all. I had the beginnings of a preview post drafted but it just didn't work out time-wise. A couple of standouts from the day were probably Cartel and Moose Blood. Slam Dunk were (supposedly) Cartel's final UK shows ever (not because they're splitting, just because it costs to much to come all the way across that Atlantic ocean and play here) so the vibe was pretty high. Similarly, for Moose Blood the atmosphere was probably what made it.

I caught the majority of Jack Garratt's set for Vevo at TGE but in the back of my mind, I knew it wasn't long until his headline shows at Village Underground, and I knew it would be mindblowing. It was. Can confirm, my mind was blown. There weren't just lights. There were lasers. Lazers. Lasers. Lots of them. And they were perfect. The way that everything came together as one to build this whole Jack Garratt experience was nuts.

So no doubt I'll probably write more about A Loss For Words next month but the Boston pop punk band are currently on their UK/European farewell tour, which is heartbreaking. I went to the first date of the tour in Kingston and then saw them at Slam Dunk too. They played good songs. Crowds at both shows ruined everything. Praying for the best night of my life at the final London date next Sunday.

I've had The LaFtontaines debut album since I came back from Australia at the start of the month and I definitely haven't given it as much attention as it deserves. Produced by Matt O'Grady, 'Class' is the album you'd expect from the Scottish five-piece; big rock anthems but with that hip hop influence and lead rap vocal twist. 'Slow Elvis' sets the pace with class, getting matters off to a speedy start, closely followed by 2014 single and live favourite 'Under The Storm'. Recent single 'King', featuring guest vocals on the chorus from ex-Canterbury boys Mike Sparks and Luke Prebble, is albeit a little disappoiting. But not to worry as the standout track from the record 'Junior Dragon' is just around the corner. It's high octane, catchy and all round brilliant. Although The LaFontaines do seem to slow it down a bit towards the latter half of the album, the quality of the tracks still shines through on the likes of 'All She Knows' and 'Paperchase'. Class is out 8th June and The LaFontaines are also half way through their UK headline tour. See you in London!

You know when you hear a song and upon listening to the lyrics you envisage this incredible music video for said song. Well, Alessia Cara (but more likely, her people) delved into my brain and took inspiration for her video for 'Here'. I can not begin to describe how perfect the video is. The credit here most definitely goes to the track itself, in particular the lyrics, which have been portrayed incredibly in the video.YES *air grab*

Look, I don't know what's happened, but since I saw Thomston at The Great Escape, I have been OBSESSED. I actually saw him live twice in about 5 hours. In fact, this month I haven't listened to much other than Thomston's two EPs along with Huntar's new Love I Know EP. No regrets.

So if you watch Catfish (The TV Show) you may know that Max Joseph has directed his first film. You may not know what it's about. The trailer was released a couple of weeks ago and here is a 10/10 satirical review of the trailer.

It is more than common knowledge that I utterly despise Neck Deep, but they have a new song, it sounds like All Time Low, and the chorus isn't actually that bad. You must bear in mind though, the entire premise is about their hometown, just sayin'.

I absolutely adore Jarrod Alonge, he's one of those rare 'Americans with an actual sense of humour' types. His debut album (YEAH) was released last week and parts of it have made me literally laugh out loud. The standout way beyond everything else, though, is the sheer genius of 'Hey Jarrod, What's That Song Again?'. Alonge et al have ripped off every scene/metalcore band around at the moment in the most intelligent way, sewn them altogether and produced this absolute masterpiece.

And a final thought:

Saturday 30 May 2015

ICYMI - This Week on WIIHAMB - 2015 Week #21

In case you missed it - You shouldn't have, but just in case you did.

A special Saturday edition of ICYMI today because it's monthly round up day tomorrow! I'm always deeply concerned that anyone who stumbles across this blog may think that it's something I do full time. It's definitely not, and I think that may have shown a bit this week with some actual day job commitments taking over a little bit. However I did manage to fit in a day at Slam Dunk followed by the INCREDIBLE Jack Garratt at Village Underground. I have loooaaads going on next week too so pray for WIIHAMB.

Keep up to date with all of the daily goings-on over at WIIHAMB Daily.

Another Amelia Maher recommendation. She said she’d had it on repeat, I put it on repeat, everyone has this on repeat! Any song with the word ‘hoes’ in it is 100% something I can get behind. Oh and this is another goddamn debut single during which Asha takes us on this emotional RnB journey through a relationship.

Behold the greatly detailed #content I came out with post-bank holiday weekend: Leks Rivers is a guy. He does songs. ‘Parlour Games’ is a new one of those songs. It is a very good song. It is also available as a free download on the Soundcloud link below. CAN I GET A ‘HELL YEAH’ FOR FREE STUFF? (Rhetorical question because I don’t need to ask, we all know that free things are great.) For real, this is really good though.

It blows my mind how Walking On Cars keep bringing out these tracks that are just full to the brim with emotion. Songs that really make you feel and believe in every word. I caught this Irish five piece at The Great Escape last weekend too and the whole emotion thing definitely transpires during their live show as well.

I have been posting Maths Time Joy on WIIHAMB for as long as I can remember so I’m super excited to hear that he’s back with new material. ‘After Hours’ is taken from his new EP ‘Sanctuary’ which was released this week. Proper FTSE vibes in the chorus. This is chilled electronic music at its finest.

Just about every other blog on the planet has featured The Night VI before but this is their debut slot on WIIHAMB thanks to the beautiful ‘Just Words’. Vocalist Kirsty Marie treats us to some smooth Jessie Ware-esque vocals that suit the track perfectly.

Throwback Thursday
I’ve decided that I’m really into these massive 80s pop tunes and ‘Do You Really Want To Hurt Me’ is absolutely no exception. I feel like we don’t get songs as iconic as that anymore, why is that? Or maybe we do and it’s just too early to tell.

Revelation is a 24 minute long mixtape featuring some music and songs from Tom Aspaul as well as a hipsteresque nebula-filled visual to go along with it. (Old) personal favourite ‘Good Together’ makes a nice and early appearance in the tape, and I also have a new favourite, ‘Chocolate II’, which starts at 13:34. The impressive thing about this mixtape as a whole is how nicely everything flows and works together. Also, the visuals are really good if you’re pining for a warm sunny day, just immerse yourself in the Tom Aspaul experience.

New York-based duo ASTR are back with new single ‘Activate Me’ which has much heavier house influence than their previous releases, but it really works. ‘Activate Me’ is taken from their forthcoming Homecoming EP. The single version is now what was the “Darkchild mix” so I’m a bit intrigued to hear what the original track sounded like.

May playlists: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer

Sunday 24 May 2015

ICYMI - This Week on WIIHAMB - 2015 Week #20

In case you missed it - You shouldn't have, but just in case you did.

The severe amount of exercise, excitement and exhaustion of The Great Escape has really caught up with me this week. I've been pretty much shattered for the duration but still thought it would be a good idea to go out for dinner every night and then go to see A Loss For Words on Friday night. Today I'm at Slam Dunk, hopefully bursting right through those gates at the time of posting, so it's another fairly hectic weekend. I am finding all of this is messing with all of my top quality #content. I was planning on writing a Slam Dunk "preview" but I just didn't have time. I'm sure everybody will manage without it though.

Keep up to date with all of the daily goings-on over at WIIHAMB Daily.

Only a month ago I posted a star studded track by Towkio featuring Chance The Rapper and Eryn Allen Kane. Now the latter artist is back on her own with the first track from her debut EP. ‘Have Mercy’ contains three elements and three elements only: some finger clicks, some backing vocals, and Eryn Allen Kane’s lead vocals over the top. That’s it. That’s literally it. Beautiful soulful gospel-inspired R’n’B.

My amazingly clickbaitly titled Seven Artists Who Played The Great Escape 2015 Who You Need To See ASAP. As things go, it's fairly self explanatory. This wasn't a post I intended to write, especially with all of last week's preview posts but I couldn't help myself.

‘4EVER!’ is Lany’s new single, taken from their forthcoming EP ‘I Loved You.’ which is due for release at the start of June. If you’re in the US you can download ‘4EVER!’ now and you can pre-order the EP. In typical UK music industry fashion, if you’re here, you can’t. ‘4EVER!’ is another synth-led pop masterpiece from the LA trio. The “and how you dance with me throughout the night” line really gets me every time. Emotions.

There is no ounce of me that doesn’t believe that Jarrod Alonge isn’t an absolute genuis. Youtuber Alonge rose to internet stardom with his rock vocalist impression videos which he has since turned into an entire parody album. No, really. ‘Hey Jarrod, What’s That Song Again?’ parodies every American post-hardcore/“metalcore” band on the “scene” right now, including some standout moments in homage to A Day To Remember, Bring Me The Horizon and Sleeping With Sirens. It’s just incredibly well put together.

London based DJ duo Toyboy and Robin have teamed up with Guernsey born Robyn Sherwell for their new track. When I posted a Sherwell track back in January, I didn’t think that I’d be posting an electronic track featuring her vocals four months later, but God I’m glad this exists. Sherwell’s voice is still so soothing and effortless and this song would definitely not be as great without her. Proof that two Rob(i/y)n’s are better than one.

Throwback Thursday
I always surprise myself that I liked this weird off the wall rock stuff when I was 15, especially because even now I assume bands like this are bands that only musician/guitar types like. Anyway, I first saw Envy On The Coast at Give It A Name Festival seven years ago this month! A year and a half later they were supporting Underoath on my first ever visit to London’s Astoria. Shout out to teenage me.

Since The Great Escape I have been absolutely obsessed with Thomston. I don’t know what happened, but I can barely listen to anything other than his Argonaut and Backbone EPs. Even though it’s only been a month and a half since the release of Backbone, the young New Zealander put out new single ‘Expiry Date’ last week. This track is more of the beautiful haunting R’n’B we’ve come to expect from Thomston, but a little more haunting with what sounds like a heart rate monitor running the whole way through.

I’ve been waiting for about a week for an official stream of this track and I’m so glad this one’s finally appeared. I’m not a fan of Young Thug, I just don’t really get it. For about the first five times I listened to this I laughed out loud every time Young Thug came in, but still couldn’t stop replaying it. I’m not hugely knowledgable on Jamie XX’s catalogue but this is a bit different for him, right?

Ridiculous debut single alert. Eighteen year old Brit Keyes has been sending the blogosphere crazy over the last five days, racking up over 20,000 plays on Soundcloud of her debut track ‘Veins’. ‘Veins’ is another great pop track and Keyes’ voice and vocal tone make it sound super authentic and really turn the song into something else.

May playlists so far: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer

Monday 18 May 2015

Seven Artists Who Played The Great Escape 2015 Who You Need To See ASAP

Check out my Buzzfeed style clickbait title. Love me, Internet.

I wasn't going to review The Great Escape. Those three preview posts were more than excessive but as you may remember, I said I hadn't seen many of the acts I recommended you all watch. So I feel like I'd like to share how great some of them were for anyone who didn't make it.

Youth Club - The first band of the festival (technically barely even the festival seeing as it was an Alternative Escape show) were also one of the standouts. When I saw them setting up I actually thought I'd got the times wrong. Band least likely to look like what they sound like. That aside, this six piece, complete with the long haired trio up front, played one of the tightest sets of the entire weekend. It sounded as if I was listening to their EPs... But no, real life live music. Something I really liked were that even the backing vocals were 100% on point. An astoundingly clean and polished set for a band so early in their career.

Thomston - I watched Thomston twice on Thursday and absolutely fell in love both times. The young New Zealand based artist has only played four shows to date and I've been to two of them. Taking this into consideration, I was really surprised me was how great everything sounded. It didn't feel over rehearsed either which I think is really important. Thomston has a really great commercial R'n'B voice but him and his super tight band add that extra edgy electronic element. I almost forgot. He did this cover of Mario's 'Let Me Love You' and it was incredible. I've also pretty much listened to barely anything other than Thomston since. Full on obsessed.

High Tyde - One of the few problems with The Great Escape is that there are a lot of industry types about, and unless they can look extremely cool doing it, industry types don't like to have fun. This was the only thing that stunted High Tyde's otherwise perfect performance. A band who are just really fun to watch, they're having a good time, so why shouldn't you? The Brighton four piece definitely win the award for best Marty McFly performing at the school dance impression too, although I'm sure that probably wasn't intentional.

CC Smugglers - I don't know where to start. As long as you're up for a good time it's pretty easy to look past the fact that these six guys are dressed as though they've just hopped off their tractors from the local farm. With more instruments than you can shake a stick at, CC Smugglers play this insane folk, indie, old-time, fun crossover craziness. Quite obviously not a band you'd catch me listening to in my spare time but definitely something more than worth watching live. The perfect festival band. And come on, when was the last time you saw a band finish their set in the middle of the crowd with a backflip? Yeah, I thought so.

Jack Garratt - It's no secret that I queued for over an hour and a half to watch Jack Garratt at Vevo's event on Thursday night. It's also no secret that once I squeezed my way in I had a great time. The most impressive thing about Garratt is that he does everything himself, a real one man show. That's what makes him such an incredible performer. The tracks sound flawless as well. I always claim that men can't multitask but Jack Garratt blows that out of the water completely. Either that, or he's actually a woman.

Jerry Williams - I don't know if I've ever witnessed a live performance from someone as utterly charming as Jerry Williams before. Everything about her is so sugary sweet from her look, to her smile, and of course her voice, so sweet it's almost sickening... in a good way, obviously. With a set featuring fan (my) favourite 'Boy, Oh, Boy', a couple of covers and her forthcoming single, Williams showcases something for everyone. She's also got that 'one of those girls men want to be with and women want to be' thing going on.

The Age of L.U.N.A. - Similar to Thomston, this was also only young hip hop tykes The Age of L.U.N.A.'s fourth live show. Although it was a bit more obvious that they were new to the whole live thing, it didn't deter from everyone in the "room" being able to see the potential this four piece have. The standout element of the quartet's performance was by far their singer Daniella Thomas, whose voice is beyond incredibly captivating thing. Overall The Age of L.U.N.A.'s performance felt a tad over-rehearsed but I don't think it will take more than a few months for these guys to completely come into their own in a live setting.

Others I saw who were more than alright:
I only managed to catch about ten minutes of Ekkah's set on Saturday night and I've written before about how amazing I think they are live. Brilliant pop songs and amazing synchronised dance moves. The reason I only caught a snippet of Ekkah was because I wanted to watch aaaaall of Oceaán and so I did and I enjoyed it very much. I was wandering around alone on Friday afternoon and heard Loris as I walked past the Spiegeltent. I liked what I heard, I went in, and it was all very good. Zibra aren't an ensemble I know much about but their live show sounded absolutely huge. Finally, even if it's just to witness Jillian Harvey and her incredible hair in person, it's definitely worth your time checking out Lion Babe if you get a chance.

Others I'm upset that I didn't get to see:
Due to various line-up clashes or huuuge queues I didn't get to see Adam French, Aquilo, Honne, Josef Salvat, Louis Mattrs or Shamir and I'm pretty gutted about all of that. Also fairly gutted that I walked in on the last Nai Harvest song on Saturday night and Pav Tav was going off. Next time, everybody, next time.

Sunday 17 May 2015

ICYMI - This Week on WIIHAMB - 2015 Week #19

In case you missed it - You shouldn't have, but just in case you did.

Welcome back to an almost back on track What If I Had A Music Blog. This week has pretty much entirely solely been revolved around The Great Escape, with three days previewing the festival and three days spent down in Brighton. I wasn't going to do a review, but I've seen some things man, I've seen some things so I might have to. Other than that I'm going to attempt to the best of my ability to get things ironed out everywhere. Slam Dunk festival is happening over the upcoming bank holiday weekend too so there might just be a preview for that coming this week too. I don't half stretch myself thin do I.

Keep up to date with all of the daily goings-on over at WIIHAMB Daily.

I think that it’s fair to say the whole electronic/pop/dance crossover genre is fairly oversaturated at the moment with a lot of European acts repeating the same “formula” over and over again. LA based DJ trio Cheat Codes have broken the mould a little especially by teaming up with Lostboycrow. Also based in California, Lostboycrow and his track ‘Hiy Hiy’ blew me away towards the start of the year with his great R’n’B vocals and a unique and quirky edge. This shines through on ‘Senses’ transforming the song from “just another dance track” to an EDM masterpiece.

Monday - Wednesday
This is all a little irrelevant now that The Great Escape is over but I spent three days this week planning out your time at the festival so that you didn't have to. I'm pleased with how well it sort of worked out. There were a few hiccups during the event, the standard not being able to get into venues, queuing for longer than you want to, venues running late, but overall I think I did pretty good. If you'd like to revisit them you can do that right here: Thurday - Friday - Saturday

Throwback Thursday
Deftones are a band whose alternative/nu-metal has shaped the lives and music of so many others. ‘Back To School’ and the album it’s taken from ‘White Pony’, is an incredible 15 years old this year.

Toronto based and Def Jam signed Alessia is making some huge waves at the moment. Her new single ‘Here’ describes her night at a party that she doesn’t want to be at, and there’s nothing more I love than a song that tells a story. Alessia’s voice is classic R’n’B with a tinge of hip hop and soul thrown in. Predicting pretty huge things for this chick.

Anticipation is building for Being As An Ocean's upcoming third self-titled album which is due for release at the end of June. ‘Little Richie’ is the first track to be released from the album and it sounds absolutely huge. It has an intro that you never would have expected from this band at the time of their debut.

I think I would have much rathered Years & Years switched ‘Shine’ and ‘Worship’ around. Obviously ‘Shine’ is still great, as is everything Years & Years seem to put their mark on, but I think ‘Worship’ was a stronger song for the purpose of release as a single. ANYWAY, that’s not what’s happened, ‘Shine’ is the new single and it’s out towards the start of June. Will it have chart success equal to that of ‘King’? I’m not so sure.

May playlists so far: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer

Wednesday 13 May 2015

The Great Escape 2015 Clashless Guide - Part Three: Saturday

View Part One: Thursday right here
View Part Two: Friday right here

A reminder that: The majority of artists playing the core TGE venues will have a 30 minute long set. Assume this is the case with artists detailed below unless otherwise stated. Artists, venues or showcases coloured in pink are free to attend without a TGE wristband/pass.

At the time of writing, I genuinely feel as if I've already fought through two days of The Great Escape but it hasn't even started yet. Whilst I pull myself together, below you can find my guide to the third and final day to Brighton's greatest music festival.


I have to be honest that I'm struggling a bit today. There just aren't that many artists I'm familiar with or that have had much to do with WIIHAMB before playing on Saturday. But rest assured, this is okay, it's a day for stumbling upon things that you can fall in love with. On the Saturday at TGE three years ago I fairly literally stumbled across Scandinavian artist Bernhoft playing on an outdoor stage with just his guitar and a loop pedal and it was to date one of the best live sets I've ever seen. Whilst you're aimlessly wandering there are still a few acts I'd recommend. New City Kings play their straight up heartfelt pop/rock at the Komedia at 12:30 as part of the Great Day Out, headlined by Lawson. As part of the same event, Alcopop Records' finest indie punk four piece Get Inuit headline the Komedia Studio upstairs at 13:45. You've always gotta give your friends a little plug haven't ya? So in typical "my mates are playing" style, young grunge meets indie garage types Blinder play Access To Music's event at Latest Music Bar at 14:30. Something else that's running all day on Saturday worth checking out is Brighton's International Label Market. After the success of London's Indie Label Markets both at Christmas and Easter, it's clear that these hipster hangouts are all the rage at the moment. Even if you aren't familiar with many of the labels it's worth going for a walk around The Open Market just to have a look or even just to pay a visit to the market's resident food stalls, because food is important too.

Obviously compared to the last couple of days it's clear I have a lot less of the core acts to recommend today, so you'll understand my absolute sheer devastation when I saw the mother of all clashes: Ekkah vs Oceaán. *Deep sigh*. *Long breath out*. Compose yourself Natalie, it's going to be okay. Is it? Is it though? Is it going to be okay? How does one choose between those two?! Ekkah start slightly earlier at The Arch at 18:30 and I can't stress how fun the 80s infused female pop duo are to watch. I saw them back in January and left absolutely buzzing with excitement for how huge they're going to be. My fear is going in with the intention of watching the first half of their set and then not being able to leave. A few minutes walk along the seafront will land you at Coalition where you'll find Oceaán from 18:45. I wouldn't hesitate to say that Oceaán is one of this year's most exciting upcoming electronic artists; think Ben Khan and Jai Paul but a little more soulful. There it is, clash of the century. I can't help you on this one. Staying at Coalition, rising alt-pop star and blog universe favourite Vérité performs at 19:30.

The Haunt and I at TGE in previous years haven't had the best of relationships. In 2012 I passed out in the crowd during Friends and last year during an attempt to see Jungle we found ourselves at the back of a very long queue an hour before they were due on, with a one in/one out system already in place at the door. This year, however, I'm going to try my luck again with Shamir but with only 45 minutes between the end of Vérité's performance and the start of his, it's looking unlikely. If you want to see Shamir on Saturday (as opposed to his set on Thursday night) I'd recommend you make your way to The Haunt at least an hour early. If you've attended TGE before, you'll know I'm not joking. The Cribs' second show of the weekend, their 45 minute set at Concorde 2 at 21:45 I'd also recommend getting down early for. Obviously remember to factor in the 15 minute walk over there. Back over in the centre of town, you'll find Canadian punks Single Mothers at The Hub at 22:30. That's sort of it for scheduled acts, but like I mentioned yesterday, keep an eye out for those mysterious special guests. There's a pretty lengthy slot, 00:00-01:45, at the Corn Exchange for a Q Magazine/TGE presented special guest. I'd put my money on that being a pretty big one.

We've made it. Your TGE festival schedule is now ready to go and you're ready to hit up the real thing. I'll be around all weekend so tweet me, @WIIHAMB obviously, if you fancy a beer... or three.

Tuesday 12 May 2015

The Great Escape 2015 Clashless Guide - Part Two: Friday

View Part One: Thursday right here

A reminder that: The majority of artists playing the core TGE venues will have a 30 minute long set. Assume this is the case with artists detailed below unless otherwise stated. Artists, venues or showcases coloured in pink are free to attend without a TGE wristband/pass.

Welcome back to WIIHAMB's exhausting marathon look at how to best avoid clashes throughout 2015's Great Escape Festival. You find us at the start of the second leg and trust me, Friday will be at least as tiring, if not more so, than Thursday was.

Tally ho!


Once again it's an early(ish... well it is if you stayed out for the Jack Garratt show) start but like I said, there's no point in beating around the bush at The Great Escape. Orla Gartland kicks off proceedings at the little old Prince Albert at 12:30. Today's first venue is a pub so I reckon it'd be rude not to grab a beer and then metaphorically sit back and let Gartland seduce you with her dreamy indie/pop. Playing upstairs in Patterns at 15:30 is one of the bands I'm most looking forward to catching at The Great Escape, local boys High Tyde. A quick sprint down the pier will land you at Horatio's for Spindle and Firetrap's Alternative Escape showcase where you can catch JP Cooper at 16:10. If that's too out of the way or the venue reaches capacity, head over to Believe Recordings' showcase at Carousels on the seafront. At 16:15 you'll find alternative duo Meadowlark taking to the stage. Either way it's worth being at Carousels for exciting young hip hop quartet The Age Of L.U.N.A. at 17:00.

The evening gets back into full swing at the Spiegelpub at 18:30 with young singer/songwriter Jerry Williams. Breaking More Waves recommended Williams as one of their 20 artists to see at the festival and her quirky acoustic tracks are definitely something you shouldn't miss out on. If Model Aeroplanes were on too early for you yesterday, they play another set tonight at the Queens Hotel at 19:45. Another female rising star Raye is next on our list taking to the stage at Shooshh at 20:30. I'd be surprised if Raye accompanied by her exciting blend of crossover electronic/RnB/pop aren't topping 2016 Ones To Watch lists. A quick run down to seafront venue Coalition and you'll be able to catch Radio 1's new favourite rock band Nothing But Thieves at 21:00. I was going to strongly advise against going to seeing the incredible vocalist that is Rag 'N' Bone Man unless you wanted to queue for hours however he is playing one of the festivals largest core venues (apart from the main Dome itself), the Corn Exchange at 21:30. In seeing Rag 'N' Bone Man however, you will run the risk of missing hotly tipped duo Lion Babe at The Arch, a venue of half the size, at 21:45. The pair haven't released a lot of music thus far but their latest single was produced by none other than Pharrell so I'm excited to hear what else they have to offer. Also I need to see Jillian Harvey and her amazing hair in real life.

If after all this excitement you're still standing, there are a few more acts to go. Over in Komedia's main room at 23:30 you'll find chilled stunning R'n'B duo Honne. Probably a nice pair to sip another gin and tonic to really. If you're still up for any running around at all, female duo Nimmo are on all the way back at Coalition at midnight. I can vouch for Nimmo being a great live band but I fear that general logistics this late in the evening aren't going to work in their favour unless you're already down that way. The Cribs play two lengthy sets during The Great Escape, the first of which is an hour long and takes place with Vevo at Wagner Hall. If this is the one you're opting for I'd suggest getting there half an hour or so early because if last year is anything to go by, Wagner Hall isn't so big once Vevo have kitted it out with all their fancy decorations. A final thing to note about late on Friday night is that there are a couple of scheduled "super" and "very" special guest slots. Last year's special guest at The Haunt was Peace so chances are they won't disappoint this year either. Keep your ear to the ground and be prepared for anything.

Friday out. I'm so tired just thinking about all of this. I'll see you back here tomorrow for a look at Saturday, shall I?

Monday 11 May 2015

The Great Escape 2015 Clashless Guide - Part One: Thursday

The Great Escape, the UK and Europe's leading new music festival, is almost upon us for it's tenth year. 2015 will be my third time at the festival but my first time as an actual punter rather than a volunteer. This means that I'll have so much more free time to spend swanning around Brighton's finest (and grubbiest) venues. The downside though, that being the horrific amount of clashes we need to battle our way through.

A little while ago Breaking More Waves posted a TGE preview series that contained more than enough to keep us all busy over the weekend but when I thought about doing a clash free guide, I just couldn't help myself. So for the next couple of days I'm going to be sharing some of my "tips" and tricks for the festival and how to avoid some of the weekend's nastiest clashes.

Something to note about the fair majority of the artists featured across these posts is that I haven't seen a lot of them live before so it will be a learning experience for us all. It's really important to remember the vast amount of secret and pop up shows that take place during The Great Escape. The organisers have already said that this year will see the most secret sets they've ever put on; so if there was a year to sign up to the text alerts or download the app, 2015 is probably it. As well as information about secret shows, the text alerts will (sometimes/when it wants to) let you know which venues are at capacity and some options for where to head instead. Also, a final word of advice: Concorde 2, St George's Church and The Old Market are VERY far away from most of the other venues. Use your time wisely.

Whadda you say we get this thing started then?

The majority of artists playing the core TGE venues will have a 30 minute long set. Assume this is the case with artists detailed below unless otherwise stated. Artists, venues or showcases coloured in pink are free to attend without a TGE wristband/pass.


There's no point in wasting time at The Great Escape so I'm going to jump straight in with Model Aeroplanes who are up bright and early in the Brighthelm Centre at 12:30. These four young Scots play infectious indie rock and recently supported Prides on their UK tour. Although the forecast for Thursday, in true UK fashion, is predicted to be rain all day, summer indie feel good vibes is the WIIHAMB agenda for the afternoon. Spinnup and TMRW Magazine are hosting a showcase at the North Laine Pub and Brewery all afternoon. I'd suggest checking out Youth Club at 14:15 (20 minute set) for the dose of summer that you've been searching for. This mob from Southend sound like a Phoenix meets Two Door Cinema Club hybrid and will definitely leave you thirsty for more. If you fancy a spot of exercise, Coffee House Sessions are also putting on a showcase at The Fishbowl in The Lanes, featuring Bristol based singer/songwriter and occasional drummer Florrie who takes to the stage at 14:40. Both of these showcases are part of the Alternative Escape and are free to attend with or without a festival wristband. The final act for the afternoon I'd recommend are local to Brighton five piece Fickle Friends who play up at The Hope and Ruin (formerly The Hope, formerly without that ridiculous sign out the front) at 15:20.

I've separated the start of Thursday evening out into two routes that then join up later on.
Route one begins and essentially spends all its time inside seafront venue, Coalition. I predict that the venue will be busy this evening but if you want to catch three of this years most talked about newbies, it's definitely worth the trip. Lapsley is the first artist on when Coalition reopens for the evening's events at 19:30, so I suggest getting there for around 19:00 would be a good call to beat the rush/queue/get a good spot. Even though Coalition is one of the larger venues taking part in TGE, it does still only have a capacity of around 600. Once you've made it inside, it's worth sticking around for French Cuban twins Ibeyi at 20:15 and then for flamboyant BBC sound poll nominated Shamir at 21:00.

Route two is slightly more complicated. I know I claimed this was clash free but it's just not that simple so you have a couple of options here. If you're someone who likes to make the most of the time they have, you can still watch Blog Sound Poll 2015 winner Lapsley and then you can shoot over to The Arch (just along the seafront) to catch the majority of young New Zealand native Thomston's set. Alternatively, you remember I mentioned earlier that both Concorde 2 and The Old Market are more than a little out of the way? Well these come into play thick and fast, with pop pioneer Josef Salvat performing at The Old Market at 19:30 and the surfer rock Sunset Sons on stage at Concorde 2 at 19:45. Getting back to the centre of the festival from either of these venues takes around 15 minutes (walking, obviously). So opting for Salvata means you may be able to catch the second half of Thomston's set, but seeing Sunset Sons puts you out of action until around 20:30. Now all of that running around is out of the way, take some time to relax at Paganini Ballroom with singer/songwriter Adam French at 20:45, a young man whose voice and style wouldn't be at all out of place alongside that of George Ezra's. Around the corner at Shoosh at 21:30 you can catch Astronomyy. I'm not sure how to describe him or his music, electronic vibey good stuff, you know. Also, we used to have a Shoosh in Croydon and I don't have many good things to say about it... hoping for the best in Brighton.

It's only Thursday night and I feel that actually this guide is absolutely laden with clashes and that's not about to stop any time soon. A pair you'll have to make your own mind up between are stunning pop/electro duo Aquilo (22:15 at Komedia) and the equally stunning Irish band, Walking On Cars (22:30 at Brighthelm Centre). Both venues are reasonably close together so location doesn't help with this choice. I would maybe be a little cautious of Komedia filling up due to Aquilo being more well known. However if you are feeling worn out maybe Komedia is the best place to head as you'll only have to drag yourself upstairs at 23:30 Chase & Status collaborator and R'n'B genius Louis Mattrs. The final stop on Thursday's tour is the much talked about must-see Jack Garratt who plays an hour long "headline" set at Wagner Hall as part of Vevo at The Great Escape. This is your best chance to see Garratt during TGE. He also plays two more shows on Friday but the evening set is only the standard 30 minutes and it's downstairs in Patterns (formerly Audio) which has a limited capacity of around 300.

Feeling tired already? We're only getting started. Check back tomorrow for your guide to Friday at The Great Escape.

Sunday 10 May 2015

ICYMI - At Some Point on WIIHAMB - 2015 Week #17-18

In case you missed it - You shouldn't have, but just in case you did.

To say that over the next week or so I'll be stretching myself thin is an understatement. I've been able to fight off the jetlag since getting back to London on Thursday morning but I'm waiting to just completely crash. Whilst I deal with that, I have compiled at ICYMI of everything that has happened since the last one. It's also The Great Escape this coming week and I AM SO EXCITED especially after missing Live At Leeds whilst I was away. In light of this, I had a stupid idea/stroke of genius to create a "clashless guide" to TGE... I still think it's genius but it's coming on very slowly and I mean snails pace slow. Time will tell etc I guess.

Keep up to date with all of the daily goings-on over at WIIHAMB Daily.

Shout out to Chris for this one, he basically handed it to me on a plate and I stole it right from his very hands. I can tell you next to nothing about this band other than that there’s three of them and they’re from Reading. Apart from that, I can tell you that The Parades have this bouncy little tune called ‘Uh’ which sounds like what you’d get if you stuck Everything Everything in a blender with The 1975. Gettin’ you ready for summer like uh uh uh uh.

Unlike every other blogger ever I haven’t actually posted anything from Japanese Wallpaper before. But this track ‘Forces’ featuring Airling has won me over. Australian singer Airling’s voice kind of sounds a bit like Kloe who I’ve posted a couple of times before and I think being able to relate to that got me on board. There’s so much hype around eighteen year old Gabriel Strum (aka Japanese Wallpaper) right now that it’ll be interesting to see his progress throughout the rest of the year.

Anything Chance The Rapper features on you can assume is going to be gold before pressing play and ‘Prisoner’ is no different. New York singer Jordan Bratton has teamed up with the Chicago rapper for this beautiful daydream-like pop song.

I wasn’t blown away by ‘All Cried Out’ originally but this remix has won me over like you wouldn’t believe. Swedish producer Oliver Nelson has given Blonde’s new single a 90s makeover and it sounds so great.

April Round-Up
In the new alternative format, this round-up includes all of the music related things I did, saw and liked in April.

Insert Guest Post Week here
So the reason why this ICYMI isn't just from the previous week is because whilst I was away some friends helped me out with a week's worth of posts. You can find those all here.

I was sitting in the airport waiting for my flight to Australia two weeks ago when my Twitter feed was set alight by Joel Compass premiering his remix of Lion Babe’s ‘Wonder Woman’. If I’m honest, I think I prefer this version to the original which it doesn’t stray too far from, but there’s just a hint of je ne sais quoi that gives this remix an exciting edge. Sidenote: There’s still no lion emoji.

I’m late again. So shoot me. In fairness this time, if you’ve been keeping up with WIIHAMB you’ll understand why. Anyway, 2015 seems to be zooming by, it only feels like yesterday that I was posting Oh Wonder’s April track and all of a sudden we’re well into May and ‘Livewire’ is already a firm favourite in everybody’s Spotify playlsits. The release of Oh Wonder’s debut album is now only four months away and the duo have also managed to sell out their first four live shows. There are certainly exciting times ahead for Josephine and Anthony.

April playlists: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer
May playlists so far: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer

Friday 8 May 2015

Guest Post Week

I've been away. Some friends wrote some things. These things have been going up on #theDaily over the last week but here they are all together. Chris has described it all really nicely in his unprompted introductory post so I'll just jump straight in. I can't thank these guys enough for taking the time out to write these posts and I'd love to do more stuff like this in the future.

Hello! You’re probably wondering what we did with Natalie… or who this is, so let me explain. Dear old Natalie is on vacation, lapping it up in Australia. I on the other hand, am Chris, and I’m stuck in the UK desperately trying to prove that a pair of raybans and turnups still look cool in bursts of arctic winds.

If there’s one thing I don’t like, it’s music that doesn’t get to the point quickly. Thankfully, home counties four-piece Sahara’s first new material in over a year, ‘Again Into Blue’ is the kind of flat-out indie rock that kicks in straight away. “Where do I look now?” are the lyrics that are brandished aggressively at first from the band, before they quickly slide into a jumpy melody that carries them through a fug of early Foals and The Maccabees influences. Coupling this inspiration with subtle shoe-gaze synths, and as if their catchy choruses weren’t enough, a drawn out refrain goes on to burst into growling lyrics during an energy-zapping, supersonic bridge. Sahara’s return is marked with a heavier sound for sure, but it’s a sign that these guys have come back with more fire than ever. It’s the punchiest they’ve ever sounded, and off the back of this single alone I foresee them creating some wild scenes at their upcoming shows. - Chris Donnelly (Twitter / Close Up Promotions)

Summer is around the corner, and what better way to bring it in than with a healthy dose of funked-up soul? ‘Vinyl Skip’ is the debut single from New Zealand singer Wallace Gollan and it’s a banger that pulls together a range of influences; from blues, jazz, soul and early ‘00’s R’n’B. Her immediately intriguing voice is softened by feathery vocal frills and a summery accompaniment of laid back jazzy beats. Get a cocktail, and enjoy this whilst sitting by the pool. - Amelia Maher (Twitter / The Music Shepherd / Black Cherry Records)

So, this dude isn’t reinventing the wheel, it’s inoffensive acoustic pop for sure. But I DO think that Mendes has a lot of potential. If he can recapture the same kind of pace, groove and for lack of a better phrase… ‘rhythmic swag’ he has in this song for his future efforts, then he’s on to a winner for me. At the ripe old age of 16, I guess he’s got some time to work on that side of things. Above all else, it’s a refreshing break from F***in all the B****es in da club and every other chart song, AKA some rapper singing about his dick. A to the MEN. - Dan Twining (Twitter / Swim Good)

Fans of Ohio band twenty one pilots have been waiting a long time for a song like this. If you know this band you'll be familiar with their unique upbeat songs with dark lyrics that are lead singer Tyler Joseph’s signature songwriting style. But through music Tyler invites his fans into his struggles and triumphs, and the single shred of hope present in every previous twenty one pilots song has been blown into a full-on heart-melting pop anthem of love in “Tear in My Heart,” the second single off their fourth and upcoming album, Blurryface. The inspiration behind the song? His beautiful new bride who makes a real kick-ass cameo in this video, literally. - Era Bushati (Twitter / Era Writes Stuff)

Hold up, did Jesse Lacey just do a thing? He did, he did a thing, hold tight whilst I update all my socials so peeps know I’m CVRR£NT. But…are we sure this is Brand New? I mean, it didn’t come as a limited 7" you had to order a secret off-menu pizza in a Brooklyn take-away to receive. It was posted to the internet alongside a headline about their instagram account. Brand New’s been hacked. Felix’s Law (now in it’s fifth unchallenged year) states that the relevance of an opinion is halved with each Brand New release. You don’t need my opinion, but you do need Lacey’s whiney backing vocals in this chorus.
Now for my final thought: The residents occupying my twitter feed with their vitriol at the Brooklyn Bowl’s website for cheating them out of tickets could fill Alexandra Palace a few times over. So why isn’t it sold out? *Smug face emoji.* - Taylor Baron (Twitter / House of Bltmr)

Ours Is Chrome, Superheaven’s follow up to their ridiculously brilliant debut record, Jar, is out this week and this is one of the best songs from the record, ‘Next To Nothing’. If you know the band, you’ll know the score by now; huge 90s alt-rock/grunge vibes, super laid-back vocals and some great pedal stomps to lead into every chorus. If you don’t know the band, then basically it’s music to wear flannel shirts to. Even in summer. Also, the video’s just them dicking around in the SideOneDummy offices. It’s pretty jokes. - Ryan De Freitas (Twitter / Louder Now!)

After their release of 'Sticks and Stones’ in 2002, this song is enough to take anyone back to when New Found Glory were in their prime. They are an amazing band to see live, if you ever have or do get the chance, it’s not an opportunity you should pass up on. This is probably my favourite album by them, with ‘Resurrection’ released in October last year as a close second. The video sums up their classic pop-punk style perfectly and I will never not love this band. - Tania Beck (Twitter /