Wednesday 23 May 2018

R&Been Away

Wow. So whilst I've been tied up doing an FPL podcast, R&B has had a pretty exciting revival. Not that it ever really went away or stopped being good or whatever, but some true classics have surfaced over the last three months and I would just like to do is run you through them.

Very shortly after I gave up on even just weekly posts here, Brent Faiyaz went and dropped two hits, one, a solo effort, and the other as a member of Sonder. I'll freely admit at this point that I had absolutely no idea Faiyaz was involved in a project other than just him being him, nor was I actually aware of Sonder's existence. So, February was a nice surprise. The solo track 'Make Luv' has a bit more attitude about it than I remember the tracks on Faiyaz's last full-length Sonder Son having. I quite like scorned Brent. I guess the "thought I wasn't much but now you wanna make love to me" line relates to what we heard on the chorus of Goldlink's 'Crew', "I was down and out like last week, tell me where have you been". The Sonder track, 'One Night Only' flips the coin (is that the phrase??) on the situation with a softer vibe and vocal with a pretty outrageously catchy bass and guitar lines.

Was I genuinely unaware that both CVIRO and GXNXVS are Australian before sitting down to write this?** Like... it's actually quite obvious but took me by absolute surprise. It's no secret, however that a couple of years ago these two released one of my favourite songs I've ever posted, 'Sober', so I'm sure you can only imagine how gassed I was to see they are back and imminently releasing their debut EP together. (I have no idea when that's actually happening because God forbid anybody send me a press release I actually want to receive.) The two new tracks we've heard from this singer/producer duo so far are 'Lady', which is good, and 'Twisted', which is great - a hit. CVIRO's vocal is a perfect 90's throwback from start to finish, and GXNXVS's production is crisp as hell. I am hyped, you should be too.

God. The amount I love white men doing R&B is nigh on embarrassing. Some other songs I reckon you should be 100% aware of. LA based Danish artist Galimatias released a track called 'South' the other week which is such a shameless attempt at being sexy but it works thus I am not mad. Canadian duo Always Never have put out the weirdly titled 'Morgan Freeman'. The vocal sounds scarily close to those of Chase Atlantic but I feel like this pair have far more integrity than those kids from Australia who probably really just wanted to be a rock band. Finally, Ama Lou (woah, at last, a female) released a three track... EP(?) titled DDD; the stand out on which is opener 'Tied Up'. This track is strangely minimalist, one of those where you don't really realise how little is going on underneath Ama Lou's voice unless you pay some real attention.

All of these songs are available to listen to right now (non)exclusively on Keep It 2018.

** In my first ever post about both CVIRO and GXNXVS I noted that they were Australian. So, it's transpired I'm just thick.

Wednesday 16 May 2018

The Great Escape 2018 Clashless Guide - Part Three: Saturday

The guide to Thursday is here and the guide to Friday is here, just in case you missed them!

Can you believe it's almost over already? Mad isn't it, considering none of us are actually there yet. Friday always seems to be a bit more thin on the ground than the previous two days so that's my excuse for the more concise nature of this post. Without further ado, here's everybody I suggest you should see on the final day of this year's Great Escape Festival.

Weather Report: Highs of 17 degrees Celcius, sunny intervals and breezy... no rain!

I have been narrowly missing out on seeing Teischa live for about the last eighteen months but I (alongside you, dear reader) am putting that to rights this weekend. I first posted about Teischa Jones when she was going by her full name three whole years ago. The 21 year old does simple pop with a soulful vocal and we're all going to watch her do this live at midday on the Dr Marten's Stage. Yes, I did just say midday. Fight me. If your weary bones couldn't stay awake long enough for Ecca Vandal on Thursday night, she's up on the Dr Marten's Stage straight after Teischa at 12:40. Next we're up to The Hope and Ruin for off-the-wall French electro-pop two piece SuperParka at 13:30. Lead single 'Girl', from their debut "mixtape", sounds a bit like Superorganism with poppier roots and literally a quarter of the members.

It's down to the Queen's Hotel at 14:30 next for London based Crooked Teeth, who are billed as a "synth propelled noise pop band", which I'd say does them a fair amount of disservice. They're a rock band, with pop tendencies, and an American twang. It's back up to The Hope (and Ruin) afterwards for Holly Hardy, professionally known as CuckooLander. CuckooLander's three EPs so far all show quite different sides to the music that she makes, the latest of which is more... ethereal than it's predecessors. You can catch this particular spectacle at 15:30. If you missed The Faim on Thursday afternoon (which I actually quite feasibly may do now) you can catch them again at 17:00 at Volks.

Okay Saturday evening, letsbeavinu. Easy Life sound like an updated version of Jamie T's debut album but if it were made in the Midlands and featured a saxophone. The five piece play The Haunt at 18:30. A short walk along to Patterns (Upstairs) for 19:15 and you'll find yourself stumbling in on Valeras. As far as young British rock bands go, Valeras have to be one of the coolest you've never heard of. Not only are they all under 20 years old (maybe? sometimes birthdays happen) but they put quite a fun little twist on the indie/pop/rock thing which is a refreshing in this quite frankly over-saturated genre. From Patterns, cross the road and head down the pier to Horatios for ALASKALASKA at 20:15. The London based six-piece are described as off-kilter jazz/funk/R&B which has taken me right by surprise (alongside their latest single 'Meateater') because I 100% assumed that they were "just another indie band". (Day Fly also play again at The Walrus at 20:15 and it would be wrong of me not to note that.)

If Day Fly are the act I am the most excited to see at TGE then Tom Tripp comes in at a very close second. I know I shunned The Old Market yesterday but for Tom Tripp I am willing to go the literal distance to see his set from 21:15. The tracks on Tripp's debut EP RED, are a prime example of how to do slick R&B with perfectly fitting vocals. Man I am hyped. If you aren't willing to walk all that way west, I beg you go and watch Nervus instead who play at 21:30 at Sticky Mike's (a venue otherwise omitted from this entire guide). A very cool rock band who have threatened to just press play on some pan pipes if you get on stage with them. Worth it, I'd say. My final pick for you all of the weekend are Now, Now. An undoubtedly cool American duo on the verge of the release of their third album, I'm not sure why you'd want to end the structured part of the festival anywhere other than The Arch at 22:00.

A quick round up of everything we planned today:
12:00 - Teischa - Dr Martens Stage
(12:40 - Ecca Vandal - Dr Martens Stage)
13:30 - Superparka - The Hope and Ruin
14:30 - Crooked Teeth - Queen's Hotel
15:30 - Cuckoolander - The Hope and Ruin
(17:00 - The Faim - Volks)
18:30 - Easy Life - The Haunt
19:15 - Valeras - Patterns (Upstairs)
20:15 - ALASKALASKA - Horatios
21:15 - Tom Tripp - The Old Market / 21:30 - Nervus - Sticky Mike's
22:00 - Now, Now - The Arch

Thanks so much for reading, I'll see you there, hit me up on Twitter @WIIHAMB if you fancy a beer or three xoxo

Tuesday 15 May 2018

The Great Escape 2018 Clashless Guide - Part Two: Friday

Part One, the guide to Thursday at The Great Escape 2018 is just here.

Day two, let's go, we busy out here. This is far shorter (it seems) in terms of word count to yesterday's guide, I'm not too sure why that is, but I can confirm the content is still great. (There's actually just less chat about getting from A to B, which is fine because you all know how to walk, congrats!)

Weather Report: Highs of 15 degrees Celcius, sunny intervals and breezy... no rain!

It's an early start and for that I will not apologise. Day Fly are a duo, one of whom is based in The Netherlands, the other in the UK. They are (as of right now) the act I am most excited to see at The Great Escape please do not get it twisted. Think R&B, in a similar vein to Klyne, I guess, but with a bit more edge. If anybody is familiar with CVIRO & GXNXVS, that's where I'd place Day Fly. They're on at 12:15 in Komedia's Studio Bar, don't be late. [Update 12/05/2018: I took a break from this whole TGE thing to listen to Tyler's Cherry Bomb, you could find me doing this at this point on Friday as well, will keep you updated.] Aeris Roves is on at The Walrus at 15:00. The south London based singer has only released two singles thus far (the second of which came out last Friday) but with both boasting production from Two Inch Punch, Aeris' take on pop and RnB makes him one to watch. Taking a punt on the next stop on this guide with Dermot Kennedy at 16:00 down at the Beach Club. Kennedy does pop leaning guitar singer/songwriter stuff, but he does it quite well. I'll be gassed for this if his live set up isn't just him and a guitar, but even if it is he's still got a pretty hefty vocal.

Friday evening is always chaos at TGE so I've tried to pick out artists who are definitely worth watching. The first on my list is Australian alt-synth-pop human (yeah I just made that up) Hatchie who plays her third and final TGE set at 18:00 at The Arch. Next up eighteen year old German/Canadian but currently residing in The Netherlands Bulow is a must see, playing Wagner Hall at 19:00. Her Damaged Vol. 1 EP released at the end of last year contains a trio of pop hits that if released by an artist with a higher profile could have taken the world by storm. Stella Donnelly plays her second of three TGE sets at 19:45 inside the Unitarian Church. There couldn't be a more fitting venue for the Australian singer/songwriter's heartfelt and angsty tone as she belts out the likes of 'Mechanical Bull' from her debut EP. Then for a complete change of pace it's Ebenezer downstairs in Patterns at 20:30. Ebenezer blends hip hop, R&B and trap, emulating many of his American counterparts but using his North London roots to give his tracks a UK spin. Miriam Byrant's bio on the TGE website boasts that she is "one of the biggest artists on the Swedish music scene" and I guess that means we should all probably squeeze into One Church at 21:30 to see her in action. Her latest single 'Black Car' definitely took Spotify playlists by storm and it doesn't take more than one listen to hear why the pop sphere is so excited by Bryant.

I've never seen BØRNS before and am thus fully commiting myself to his hour long set at Coalition from 22:45. I'd definitely recommend arriving early if you're also planning on seeing him, but I do also have some alternatives if you prefer your acts to be less well established. Wild Front play straight up indie pop at Latest Music Bar at 22:15 and then you can stroll down to the end of the pier for Bad Sounds at Horatios at 23:15, who I'll now miss for a second year in a row. I think I'm contractually obliged to include one Domino band in this guide so this year's pick is Sorry, 00:30 at The Haunt. (Superorganism and Tirzah both also play on Friday but the former is at The Old Market *eye-roll* and I've no doubt there will be an abundance of time to see the latter in the coming months.) There's absolutely no excuse to head home early on this particular night as Maximillian plays at The Walrus at 01:15. Yes, of course, every Nordic artist is great at pop music but in this current new wave Maximillian is one of the best.

A quick round-up of what we've planned for Friday:
12:15 - Day Fly - Komedia Studio Bar
15:00 - Aeris Roves - The Walrus
16:00 - Dermot Kennedy - Beach Club
18:00 - Hatchie - The Arch
19:00 - Bulow - Wagner Hall
19:45 - Stella Donnelly - Unitarian Church
20:30 - Ebenezer - Patterns (Downstairs)
22:15 - Wild Front - Latest Music Bar
22:45 - BORNS - Coalition
23:15 - Bad Sounds - Horatio's
00:30 - Sorry - The Haunt
01:15 - Maximillian - The Walrus

The third and final guide will be here tomorrow, please ensure that you return for it.

Monday 14 May 2018

The Great Escape 2018 Clashless Guide - Part One: Thursday

Wow hello, hi. Yep, surprise, I'm still alive! Alive and back to bring everybody's favourite piece of annual WIIHAMB content: The Clashless Guide to The Great Escape. If you're new here, it's pretty self-explanatory but I'll run you through all three days of the UK's best festival for new music with who to see when and how to avoid being left outside in the inevitable cold. This has by far been the trickiest guide to put together of the three or so years of clashless guides, but at time of writing I am so much more ahead of schedule than I usually am, so you win some, you lose some.
Update 10/05/2018: A big fat reminder to both myself and all of you that I hate writing, kill me.

As ever there are a bunch of new venues this year and I have absolutely no idea what the capacity or bar stock is like for any of them. There are three TGE stages on the actual beach which sounds like a logistical pebbly nightmare to me, Bau Wow looks like an attempt at a less sleazy Shoosh, and The Walrus refers to itself as labyrinthine, something that none of us need. There are my hot takes.

Weather Report: Highs of 14 degrees Celsius, sunny intervals and breezy... no rain...!

Where this guide starts for you is obviously very dependent on your ETA into Brighton but I'd encourage you to make it sooner rather than later. I think Sonny was the first act we saw at TGE last year so how fitting that hopefully he'll be our first in 2018 too. Sonny will be taking to the stage in the Marine Room (at Harbour Hotel) at 12:30 to ease you into the weekend. Next up are wildcard pick Glaswegian duo LOVE SICK. Their debut single 'Bullet' shows a fair amount of electro-pop potential and if any of the pair's unreleased material is close in quality they'll be worth checking out at 14:00 at The Walrus. I rarely bother with "rock" bands at TGE (for absolutely no reason whatsoever) but The Faim will be an exception to this unwritten rule. The Australian four piece channel the likes of Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco, and genuinely have a shout at being the scene's next big thing. Catch them at Komedia at 14:50.

Continuing our journey north through Brighton, aptly named Canadian quartet The Beaches play Green Door Store at 15:45. With punk-esque garage pop being such a popular genre at the moment and so much to choose from, The Beaches could easily be one of the weekend's overlooked band's but I'd encourage you not to miss out. It'll need to be a brisk walk as soon as The Beaches are through down to... well... The Beach Club, one of TGE's new festival stages for opener Moss Kena at 16:30. Moss Kena delivers weird (I guess they call it "alternative") R&B at it's finest and although he's unlikely to be the last artist of this ilk you'll see over the weekend he is likely to be one of the best. Depending on how much you need a break from it all I have one final afternoon recommendation in the form of G Flip, "multi-instrumentalist" Australian Georgia Flipo, at 17:30 also on the Beach Club stage.

If you stayed down on The Beach for G Flip, hang around a little longer for Tyne over in the Beach House at 18:00. Quite similar in style to G Flip but with a string of singles under her belt and recently supported PVRIS across their latest European tour. Otherwise head down to The Arch for 18:15 to catch Veronica Fusaro. I have been infatuated with Fusaro since first hearing her new Ice Cold EP a few weeks ago. A must see. At this point I should mention that I will be ignoring the existence of Pale Waves; they're too big for this guide and to be honest, if you're UK based and haven't seen them yet you just don't really care that much, do you? And so up to the Prince Albert we go where at 19:30 you'll find Swimming Girls. Only one of the four piece is actually a girl but that's okay although I've no knowledge on their capabilites in water. The band were forced together (not unlike Little Mix) at uni (quite unlike Little Mix) but you'd never tell because as far as indie pop goes the likes of Pale Waves should feel rivalled.

I'm fairly sure I at least tried to squeeze Raheem Bakare into my guide for last year but I definitely did not get around to seeing him - the same mistake will not be made in 2018. It's back down to Komedia's Studio Bar for 20:15 is essential for Bakare is the UK's answer to Gallant - yes, I went there. The first recommendation I have this weekend where there is the genuine possibility of not getting in is Rina Sawayama. Although she does play again on the Friday night, that's at Wagner Hall and capacity will be even more stupid than Coalition, so this is the one to go for. The Asian pop sensation isn't on until 21:15 so that's a whole half hour post-Raheem to secure a place at the front before we are slain by pop-royalty-to-be.

Entering Thursday night's home stretch, if you want to catch Alma at 23:00 you'll need to get to Wagner Hall long before then to get the chance to make it inside. I'm dedicating myself to the beers (read: gluten free beer, or any other non-carbonated alcoholic drink... maybe I'm dedicating myself to shots?) this TGE and I wholeheartedly believe that at this time of night Alma will be perfect. Chasing highs, good vibes, etc etc. However if you're looking for something a little more mellow I'd like to suggest Auður, who plays The Walrus at 23:15. Sure, it's more alt-R&B, but this time from Iceland, which is quite exciting because I just assumed everything from Iceland sounded like Bjork or Sigur Ros - it's not the case. Hop over to Bau Wow in time for Eves Karydas at 00:15. She's originally from Cairns in Australia which has me gassed. I can't work out who else her brand of pop reminds me of but it's not the kind of thing I'll recommend anywhere else in this guide. Our final stop on Thursday night, if you're up for it, is Ecca Vandal up at Green Door Store at 01:15. I predict it being a loud and audacious affair but I would also like to put in a request for a circle pit and maybe some stage-diving.

A quick round-up of what we've planned so far:
12:30 - Sonny - Marine Room
14:00 - LOVE SICK - The Walrus
14:50 - The Faim - Komedia
15:45 - The Beaches - Green Door Store
16:30 - Moss Kena - Beach Club
17:30 - G Flip - Beach Club
18:00 - Tyne - Beach House / 18:15 - Veronica Fusaro - The Arch
19:30 - Swimming Girls - Prince Albert
20:15 - Raheem Bakare - Komedia
21:15 - Rina Sawayama - Coalition
23:00 - Alma - Wagner Hall / 23:15 - Auður - The Walrus
00:15 - Eves Karydas - Bau Wow
01:15 - Ecca Vandal - Green Door Store

Please, I beg, join me again same time (probably, hopefully) this time tomorrow for a run down of Friday's TGE must sees.